The characters of the Southern Vampire Mysteries belong to Miss Charlaine Harris. No infringement on my part is intended. The characters on True Blood belong to Mr. Alan Ball. No infringement on my part is intended.
I have no BETA, editor, or other such charming person. All mistakes are my own.
This story is rated M.
“This should be the last of it,” Eric sighed as he slipped into bed next to his wife. “Attila has Compton whose days are numbered and Russell, who just might be finally dead before they reach New Orleans.”
“That bad?” Sookie reached out for him and pulled him closer.
“Worse. I was there for that final battle and The Hun and I walked out alive with Edgington on the run and a bunch of European royals wanting to ship us off to the New World. He went back to the Steppes and I came here. We figured it was just for the best.”
“The best….” she chuckled. “That would be the best for you. Do we have time for a quickie?” she asked.
“My wife,” his fangs slipped down, “we have time for whatever you want.”
Attila walked into the residence dragging Russell behind him. “Oh good, Pamela you are still here. Old Cranky, you want to stand witness also?”
“Of course, my liege,” he replied.
“Stake please,” Attila smiled at Pam as she tossed him one.
Attila leaned down until he was face to face with the now deposed king of Mississippi. The stench from the silver burning his flesh filling the room!
“I would love to have you stick around,” Attila smiled as he lifted the stake. “But when you involve yourself with the government, Eric is right, they do come looking. And do you see this smile,” his grin got bigger, “that is the last thing you are going to see.”
“Eat shit and die,” Russell managed to hiss out.
Sadly Attila shook his head. “Such language…” he titched. “And you are so proud of your elocution and extensive vocabulary. And that is the best you can do? Your last words Russell, require no thought or finesse and shall live on forever. Believe me, I will see to it! I expected something a bit more eloquent because believe me, your last words shall be famous…for their vulgarity. This is just embarrassing.”
Russell opened his mouth to snarl something more appropriate and blood hurled out before his body exploded.
“Eat shit and die,” Old Cranky laughed. “He was just a peasant after all.”
“Yes,” Attila stood up, “as a matter of fact, he was. I am going to shower. Crankshaft, if you would please, get someone in here to clean up. Mistress Pamela, call The Viking and let him know the deed is done. I think tomorrow night this time, Compton needs to be gone as well. Mississippi is about to come into the fold. Let us make this happen.”
Folks were up and moving the next morning, all wanting to hear the story first hand from Eric.
“So Russell met the true death?” Billy asked.
“Yes,” Eric nodded. “I got the call from Pamela. Russell who considered himself a wordsmith…” Eric chuckled, “eat shit and die was his last utterance. Not even very defiant, so it does not speak to the warrior in him as well.”
“Did Russell kill Attila’s family back in the day?” Lafayette asked.
“Yes,” Eric nodded. “He had several vampire children and two of them were still new to the vamp world. Edgington wanted the town crier rights that Attila held and he decided that he would make everyone miserable by forcing Attila’s hand.
Of course, since he was a coward, he waited until Attila was out of town and went after his children, thinking that The Hun would be without backup.”
Samuel snickered. “Russell did not count on Eric having Attila’s back.”
Eric sighed, his thoughts far away. “Russell brought on a lot of senseless blood shed and brought out the worst in everyone. When he came to the New World, everyone seemed to think he had settled out a bit.
But I knew differently. I had seen him in action and knew what he was capable of. In his undead, un-beating heart, he was still the spectacular psychopath and killer that he had always been, he had just learned to disguise it better.
The Hun could not allow him to linger for long. There are too many on the continent that would love to have him. If they would have found out he was in New Orleans, there would have been a raid on the residence.
Europe would come with force and in mass.
During The War of the Duchies, Russell was paid in gold…a lot of gold, to end Attila. When Russell did not deliver him, there were rooms of gold that were lost to that cause that disappeared along with Russell. Several duchies went bankrupt and several kingdoms fell, due to wanton greediness and fear of poverty.”
“Do you know what happened to that gold?” Sookie asked.
“Well,” Eric hesitated, but only for a second. “I do happen to know where some of it went. Funny story about that…” he chuckled as ears perked up all over the room. “At one point during the war, a wagon load of it was intercepted on its way into Mississippi.” Eric was laughing and shrugged. “That wagon load of gold that everyone always said General Lee was bringing into Louisiana…” his voice trialed off and the snickering started from those in the room.
“Oh no you did not…” Sookie pinched him and he yelped. “Well, perhaps I did,” Eric grinned. “Perhaps I had on a Confederate Uniform and I had grown a beard and I was glamouring the hell out of everyone, telling them I was Lee and this escort was gold to pay the troops.”
Lafayette was shaking his head. “Sure ‘nuffs, our old granny-woman said she met Lee and saw the gold in the back of his wagon. Just some smooth talkin’ and vampire glamour!”
“So where is it?” Billy asked.
Eric did not even bat an eye. “In the root cellar at the Old Stackhouse Farmhouse.”
“What?” Sookie stared at him. “Really? You left it there?”
“Of course I did,” he said gently. “Martha knew where it was. That is why we torched the detached kitchen and built on the new one. That money was for her and the children for after the war. She was to melt it down and use it accordingly.”
“After what happened to her son,” Sookie’s voice was low as she stroked Eric’s face, “I guess she did not want it.”
Josiah came in out of the kitchen, catching the tail end of the conversation. “Daddy,” he looked over at Eric. “We don’t need no money, we have our family,” the little boy smiled cheerily as he went to let the dogs out.
“That is right,” Sookie nodded and gave Eric a kiss. “We have our family.”
It had been his idea to install the especially modified “stove”. He had cooked several vampires on it and a couple of humans that thought to cheat him which meant they also thought to cheat his queen.
This was now just the wrong side of suck ass!
“I am William T. Compton,” he kept repeating to himself. “And I am strong and courageous! I shall overcome this and I shall be king!”
The sun was up, he had the bleeds and he could smell the blood cooking as it ran down the side of his face and onto the griddle.
Only his right side, starting at his face, his hip and his leg were cooking. “If I am going to survive, I must overcome. I must go into my day rest. I must believe that I am stronger than that which surrounds me. I must rest…I must rest…day slumber…” he mouthed as his body continued to scorch and cook but his eyes closed and the bleeds stopped.
Sookie could not remember a more excellent day! They had made cookies for humans, then they made cookies for the dogs! They had taken the high protein treats down to the kennels and the wee pups got one each and chewed on it in delightful abandon! They mushed, they took along a picnic to have in the snow and more doggie cookies came out! Josiah being the proud bearer and making much of the dog receiving the treat!
They had built a miniature snowman family. She had apologized to Lafayette and the Aunties for making them look like everyone else.
Josiah had looked at her after placing the sticks for arms and said, “Momma, we all sparkle,” and went back to his family making.
Sookie had looked at Eric and he had commented quietly, “Yes, even dragons.”
Josiah just nodded his head in agreement as he added more arms to his snow family.
Then it was back on the sleds and home to a roaring fire, dinner and bedtime stories. Her favorite one was The Three Little Pigs. Everyone was reading a part and acting it out as Josiah sat on her lap and they laughed, clapped, cheered and boo’d the bad guy! Which was played by Uncle Samuel. He made a fine and ferocious wolf and was even somewhat charming when he did the wolf with a French accent and a lot of winking! “How can life,” she sighed to herself, “get any better than this…? I do not know!”
There was time-out for hot chocolate and a small piece of warm brownie with French vanilla ice cream to go on top!
“Getting close to bedtime,” Sookie picked her little boy up and blew fluffies on his tummy.
“One more, please,” her giggling little man asked.
“Of course,” she kissed him all over the face and set him down. “Looks like your Uncle Samuel has a whole new stack of books. Go check in with him!”
Josiah and Samuel were sitting on the floor in front of the fire, going through books, discussing the merits of each and which one to read next when Josiah stopped in mid-sentence and looking up said, “I have to go.”
“Do you need some help?” Sookie asked because of the abruptness of his announcement. “Do you want me or Daddy to go with you?”
“No, Momma,” he jumped up and walked over to her and hugged her and gave her a kiss. “I have to go,” his voice was soft and gentle.
“Go where?” she asked and then she could feel it. A tingling sensation that was starting to telegraph through her body, alerting her that a very big something was incoming!
“My son,” Eric was up and kneeling down beside him, as he began to look around the room.
“Daddy, I have to go,” his small voice was earnest and his head was nodding up and down. “But don’t worry,” he hugged Eric and gave him a kiss, “I’ll be back.”
Quick as can be he hugged Samuel, Lafayette and the dogs.
“Come on Aunties,” he smiled at Billy and Jean.
“Wait, no…no…” Sookie stood up as a shimmer began in the air and then she noticed her little boy was beginning to shimmer as well. “Go, go where?”
Through the glittering light, there was a shape that was taking place in the background. Eric thought that if he looked hard enough, he could see snow capped peaks and smell the fjords…! There was not another smell in the world like those forests that grew down to the water’s edge! Where the blue of the water met the blue of the sky!
The sun was shining there, he was sure! It was sparkling off the water. In the distance, he could hear howling…Gabriel and Michael could hear it also and they howled back!
“Rosta!” Eric called out in wonder, “Gramr!” he called in joy as the dogs answered back in joyous harmony racing across the alpine meadows towards him!
“No,” Sookie was shaking her head and crying. “No…Josiah, please no…” the tears were streaming down her face.
“Don’t cry Momma,” he ran over to her. “I love you,” he said staring into her eyes. “I will be back. Soon. But I gotta go. My friends are here for me and I can’t stay.
Come on Aunties,” the little boy grinned at them and held out his hands.
“Lordy,” Jean stood and started to cry. “Billy,” he reached for his hand. “This is our ride,” as he hugged Lafayette. “Love you Little Sugar,” he said, wiping at his eyes. “See you on the other side.”
Billy stood there, unable to make his feet move. “Come on Auntie,” Josiah raced to him and grabbing his hand pulled him forward. “We have to go! Love you,” he cried as he turned to his parents!
“Josiah, my son,” Eric gasped out as the little boy was headed into the diorama that was set in the fjords of his home!
The dogs were baying in greeting and headed straight for Eric! He thought that if just reached out his hand, he could touch them once more! His good boys!
Josiah was holding the aunties hands and they were moving closer and closer to the shimmering lights.
“Sweet Boy,” her voice shook as her arms ached to hold him. She was on the move, “When are you coming home to us?”
“Soon Momma,” he grinned over his shoulder.
“How soon,” she choked on the words. “Do you know how many days?”
There was confusion on Josiah’s face as he shook his head. “I, I don’t know…that…” he looked thoughtful.
She could see it, he was loosing the human body that he had been wearing, growing accustomed too. Did time mean anything to him anymore? Did she and Eric?
“Billy, Jean, please,” she sobbed wiping at her eyes. “To God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. What is soon, please…please…can you ask someone?”
The lights before her were beginning to disappear, and Eric was moving toward the last bit of light. Reaching out with his hand to touch it, to grab it, to wrap it around his hand and pull it back into this reality.
Before it blinked out, she heard Billy say, “About two weeks, I think, give or take, but not for sure…there is more…” and then they were looking out the window at the falling snow.
The three men were all staring at where the vista had been. Sookie was sitting on the floor, with her arms wrapped around her knees, rocking back and forth, sobbing.
Eric sat down next to her, tears streaming down his face as well as he pulled her into his lap, his arms around her, holding onto her with all that he was, fearing that she would disappear, as well.
“Sookie, my Sookie,” was all he was able to say as he sobbed from a broken heart.
Samuel sat on the couch, unable to move. It was like someone had pulled the cork on a bottle of champagne. There had been the pulling of the cork and then the pop, but now everything was flat and without color. The fjords had shimmered, the colors alive! And now…now, he looked around him. Why was he here and not there?
He heard the whining and looking around he recognized where the noise was coming from. The dogs wanted out. Going to the door he opened it and felt the blowing snow bite into his face. The dogs looked up at him, “O-oo” was all they said and then trotted outside.
Closing the door, he heard them as they started howling! And then all the dogs and wolves and coyotes within hearing distance picked up the mournful wail and the night was filled with the cries of mourning.
Walking back into the room, he kneeled down by Eric and Sookie. “The dogs, they know he is gone,” he said to both of them and kissed them on the forehead. “I don’t think they will be back until he returns.”
“I want my baby,” Sookie sobbed. “I want him back here with us. Sleeping between us, a dog on either side, where I know he is safe.”
“Do no worry for him, my Sookie,” Eric placed his cheek on top of her head. “Rosta and Gramr are with him. They were my good boys. They are loyal,” he said with pride, “and fierce,” he said with conviction. “They will not allow anything or anyone to harm him,” as fresh tears cascaded down Eric’s face.
“Stop it!” Samuel’s voice rose above the two that were sitting on the floor and crying. “You know that where he is now, he is not a three year old human child. He was not even a three year old human child here. And you both know this!”
“I don’t care,” Sookie yelled at him. “I just don’t care! I want him back! I want my baby back! I want him right here, with us. So that I know he is loved and warm and not scared…” she sobbed into Eric’s chest.
“He will come back to you, Sookie,” Samuel said gently.
“You don’t know that,” she was crying again, turning to face him. “You cannot promise me that!”
“Yes I can,” Samuel’s voice was soft. “Sookie, our God is not a liar. He has said Josiah will return to us. And so he shall.”
Pulling up the hem of her shirt, she wiped her face as she stared up at Samuel.
“But we don’t know when?” she hiccupped.
“Around or about two weeks,” Samuel smiled at her. “And I believe you have plenty to keep you busy. You have said that there is only one bedroom on the ground floor of the farmhouse. Is he going to sleep upstairs or are you going to add on another bedroom for him? Josiah is going to need a bed and a dresser and a few other things,” Samuel smiled. “I think there will be plenty to keep you busy until he comes back.”
Her eyes met Eric’s. For a moment, she thought maybe he looked lost, unsure of himself. “What?” she asked him, wiping his eyes with her hands.
“Our boy is home now,” his voice was very low. “I am a vampire, Sookie. My reputation not the best. What if…what if he knows that now and he does not want me for his father?”
“Stop it,” she said through her own tears. “He came to us because he missed hearing our song. He will find his way back and we will be a family.”
Lafayette sat quietly in the armchair. Yes, the scene that had been in the family room had been the realist experience he had ever known. Everything about that said life!
Leaning back in the chair, there had been many marvelous things going on! The Aunties had blended right into the scenery. Just like they belonged there. And the dogs! Those two dogs running across those fields with all those wild flowers and butterflies…! Headed straight for Eric and you knew by looking at them that they were just as pleased to see him as Eric was to see them!
But that was not what had held Lafayette’s attention. Not even close. There in the distance, riding the thermals were dragons! And there was one in particular that had stopped flying and just hovered…those crystalline purple eyes fixed on his La La fineness! Those eyes had been familiar and he knew that they belonged to the greatest friend he would ever have. He was filled with longing to sit and talk with him and the sorrow at not being able to welled up inside of him. “I’ll be home in a bit and a bit,” he said to the air, kissed his fingertips and spread the kisses all around him. “You just keep my place on that log bench that sits down by the water. I’ll be that way directly and we’ll chat.”
Eric helped Sookie up off the floor. “We shall have our photos of him,” Eric kissed her on the nose, “until he returns. Let us see which ones we want…” his voice trailed off as he started going through his phone. “They are not here,” his voice held a startled sound. “This is our favorite of him with the dogs. There are the dogs, but there is no Josiah!”
“What?” Sookie gasped. “Eric, are you sure? Samuel,” her eyes went to him as their brother had his phone out, his finger swiping through.
“No,” Samuel slowly shook his head. “I don’t have any of him.”
“I’m checking,” Lafayette said as all eyes went to him. “No…” he shook his head. “I’m lookin’ out on the cloud…no…” his voice trailed off.
Eric called Pamela. “Child,” he began, “scroll through your photos on your phone for a picture of Josiah.”
“Who?” she asked. “Eric who is Josiah? And I should have a photo? Did you send it? Am I supposed to be following him? Give me some type of instructions and send the photo if you want me to do my worst.”
Eric just sat there, staring at the phone.
Samuel got up and went to the kitchen. When he came back, he was carrying a handful of blank white paper. “Cook and Clifford have no idea who I am referencing. His art work is gone, as well.”
Fresh tears fell from Sookie’s eyes.
“So why do we remember?” Lafayette asked.
“Maybe it is because we saw him leave,” Samuel offered.
“I am going to go to bed and cry,” was all Sookie could get out.
“Do you want me to hold you?” Eric asked, his hand holding hers.
“Yes,” she sobbed.
Picking her up, they were gone.
“Is there a bottle of tequila? ‘Cause if there is, his La La fineness is going to get drunk. And do you know why, Brother Samuel?”
“No,” he said.
“’Cause I have watched an angel come and go…and ’cause my best friend is a dragon.”
“Dragon,” Samuel sighed. “Purple eyes?”
“Yes,” Lafayette nodded.
“Well,” Samuel nodded, “I would say that warrants the entire bottle and any others you can find. In the cabinet under the bar,” he motioned with his head. “Enjoy!” he said heartily.
“I deeply thanks you and to you Brother Samuel, a very good night.”
“Rest well,” he managed a small smile.
It was quiet in the house. If he listened, he could hear Sookie and Eric both weeping. He did not want to listen that closely. Their tears tore at his heart reminding him of when he was a small boy and his mother sobbing throughout the night. At this moment, he would give all he had to be able to speak to his father. His strong, brave father that had been sacrificed in Pharaoh’s tomb. His beloved father had consented to being the lead architect so that he and his mother and sisters might live.
Silently he made his way to his chambers. Closing the door, he knelt down in front of the fireplace and prostrated himself. “Father God, O King of the Universe…” he began before the tears overtook him. “Thank you,” he managed. “Thank you, thank you, thank you…” he cried out with all the lost passion that he had left in the sands of the desert along with his family.
“Thank you,” he wept. For he had seen what his heart had through the ages, desired. Looking into the diorama, past the dogs, he had seen them, his family. They were in the field of wild flowers, his sisters making wreaths for their heads, his mother and father bedecked out in their crown of flowers as they laughed and played chase.
“Thank you,” he wept until there were no more tears in him and he slept.
The smell of cooked flesh was horrible! Bill had slept off and on during the light hours, but now it was dark and the flame had been turned on under his chest. His heart was cooking. He could feel it. “I have not much longer for this world,” he sobbed in pain and grief. “Since I cannot rule in this world, I shall have a crown in the next.”
The pain was excruciating! Briefly he managed to open his eyes. There stood The Hun with a stake. Then the pain was no more.
But there was fear!
Coming towards him were black shadows! Thousands of them! Crawling their way toward him! The smell made him gag as he started backing away. Horror ran through him. How could a shadow have teeth? Razor edged teeth?
His mind could not reason his fate. “No,” he screamed at them, “No! No! Stay back! Do not come near me!”
“Rosta, Gramr,” he heard the male voice and then two dogs appeared. With a growl and a snarl and a snap of their powerful jaws, the hideous shadows that wanted to eat his soul backed away.
“Be gone,” the shining light said with authority. “Good boys,” he motioned for the hounds who were still on guard, growling deep in their chests as the shadows slinked back upon themselves. “Come good boys, let us to home.
Follow me,” he said to Bill.
This being carried a dazzling light! For a moment Bill was blinded but continued on as the darkness fell away. “I knew that was a mistake,” he said with as much authority as he could muster. His heart was still hammering…What? his heart was beating again? How was that possible? “My name is William Thomas Compton, and that…must be what those in Hell look like.”
“No,” the being replied. “Those are the Dark Shadows. They are demons, they were never human. They are always happy to claim a soul. Gets them out of the dark domain. Those humans that are cast there retain something of their human looks and a type of physical body.”
“Well, I am very grateful that you came for me. For a moment, I thought they were going to take me. It must be easier to extradite a person from earth than to actually go to Hell and get them.”
Bill was not sure, but he thought he heard a chuckle.
“Do you think that is funny? To be cast into Hell and endure that and then be pulled out. That mistake should not have been made in the first place. I cannot believe that God would make such as error.
Or that he would send someone who does not take the gravity of the situation seriously. May I ask your name, sir?”
“Of course. My name is Josiah. And we have arrived. Please enjoy your visit.”
Bill saw the blue of the sky…no it was the blue green of the water and in the distance the grass was so green that his eyes ached at the wonder of it! He was standing in an old growth forest on a high cliff. In the distance was another cliff and he could see that the heavily wooded hill ran down into the water. The mountain peaks in the background were covered in snow. Blue skies and white fluffy clouds provided the backdrop for the mountains.
In the distance, he could see a man walking towards him. “He must be the angel that has come to welcome me home. To take me to God! Where are his wings? And I don’t see a halo. I want an angel wth a halo and wings!
Hello!” Bill called out. And then noticed something most odd. He was not actually standing on the ground. When he bent to pick a flower, he could not make contact.
“Hello,” he called again and waived. “Something seems to be amiss! Not at all right!”
“Oh,” the man approached him. “How so?”
“Well, first, I was late in being picked up. Then, well look at me, I can touch nothing here. I thought this was Heaven! I have been betrayed.”
“Have you now?” There was shock in the voice. “I know something about betrayal,” the guardian replied in a soft voice, “and I do not see any here.”
“I am William T. Compton,” he said with pride. “And I am here for my crown. And I do not see one of those, either. God promised me a crown. I am beginning to think that not only is he a slacker but a liar as well,” Bill said as he sat down on the fallen log.
There was a rumble in the distance that sounded like thunder. Was it going to rain? It rained in Heaven? And once more, he was not actually sitting on the log, just hovering above it. But he could feel the sun beating down on him. Smell the water, the pine, the cold that blew off the mountains!
He heard a call from the sky and looking upward said in a shocked voice. “Are…” he pointed and then stood as if standing got him much closer… “are those dragons? How did they get here?”
“Yes,” came a chuckle as the guardian stood. “All with a heart that has been sacrificed are welcome here. The fjords seem to speak to us all.”
“I, am glad this is here,” Bill smiled as he looked around. “I could not have imagined this.”
“You are right. You have not the heart for this place. Not one piece of this sanctuary ever entered your song.
Eric The Viking wanted this for his mate and his son. This is their piece of Heaven.”
“What?” Bill stepped in closer. “Eric…Eric Northman Eric?”
“Yes,” the guardian smiled. “This is his. And the only reason you are here is because there was a woman by the name of Martha that prayed with all that she was that she wanted you to see this…and know…”
Bill looked at the man. He was tall, with neatly pulled back blond hair that he wore in a ponytail. His beard was just a shade darker, tinged with some red as a blond’s hair was want to do. There was a small silver earring in one ear and blue eyes that twinkled.
“Well that was very nice of her. I shall thank her when she comes this way. Of course, Eric will be surprised to know he is sharing his piece of Heaven with me. Now, that is a good joke,” he chuckled. “How did you come to be here?” Bill asked.
“Crucifixion,” was his reply.
“Oh, horrible way to die I would think. I was cooked until I met the true death,” he said in an offhanded way. “I think I would have preferred crucifixion. Much easier than the way I died, I am sure.
I was expecting someone in authority to meet me. Are you even a saint? And I want a gold paved street lined with angels singing to welcome me! And I thought Jesus would be here to meet me so he could lay my crown at my feet.”
“Lay your crown at your feet, good one…” he chuckle. From above him Bill thought maybe the dragons were laughing as well. Just what the fuck? He was not here to be mocked.
“Well,” the guardian laughed out loud. “I am a bit more than a saint. There is no gold lined street for you, nor would I ask those in Hell to line a street to sing for you. And Jesus is here to meet you. So let us talk, human experience to human experience.
I have to ask you, William Thomas Compton, just what part of you are not to hurt a child do you not understand? And to kill one because he called you on your lie…this is not looking well for you.”
“Jesus?” his face drew a blank and then he drew back. “Where is your crown? The jewels beneath your feet? The legions of angels to do your bidding? You are not my lord,” he said indignantly.
“Damn straight I am not,” and there was thunder and heat in the voice.
Bill jerked his head up. That sounded somewhat ominous. “What?” he collected himself. “And how dare you accuse me of such things! I have killed no child.”
Looking to the heavens Jesus shook his head and rolled his eyes.
“Look into my eyes,” was all he said and Bill found that he could not look away. A movie about his life, started. “Josiah Stackhouse,” the righteous voice began, and Bill could see the young lad there on the porch. “You killed him over a twenty dollar gold piece he would not let you steal.”
“What?” Bill gulped. “That is not me. How dare you use my likeness to perpetuate such an act! I demand to speak to someone in charge!”
“Adele Stackhouse,” his voice continued on calmly, “did not have cancer. You just glamoured her and told her she did. And then you glamoured her,” and the heat was back in his voice, “and told her she needed to be turned vampire by you.”
“What? Well, she did have cancer. She told me so. She begged me…”
“You left her in the ground by herself, knowing she would dig her way out after the first dark. You took that good woman and you created not even a vampire, but a monster out of her. So you could sell her granddaughter…for money…” his voice was low and angry. “Do you see a theme here? I know I do. And the love of money is the root of all evil. You can believe that. Even quote me.
And you worship money. Which explains your actions on your wedding night. You really hated parting with that money to Caroline’s father. But you wanted her because of her inheritance so he sold her to you.
Did you really think beating your wife and then raping her on your wedding night is how a man and a woman should cherish each other?”
“What? You saw that? Is there no privacy with you? I am not for sure I am in Heaven. This,” he snarled, “reminds me more of Hell.”
“Lord Sugar!” was called out from the shoreline in happy, excited voices.
Turning, the guardian called, “Aunties! Welcome!” and waved back.
“Do not sir,” Bill hissed, “point the finger at me. There goes two fag…”
“Do not,” came the warning and Bill’s tongue froze. “This is a place of sanctuary created with love and hope and joy and faith. I will not have you defile it with your foul names.
And yes, those two men are dressed in women’s clothes. And do you see what I am wearing? A shift and a robe. Not exactly 21st century masculine.
As to those two, they are not for you to judge. Sometimes Bill, you just need a different perspective. I would know a little about that. I had spent my eternity in my Father’s glory, face to face with Him that shared His song with me. Then, there I am, born into a human body and in that hell-hole that was Roman occupied Jerusalem.
A different perspective,” he laughed, “sometimes, you just need one. Just like Martha needed one, after you killed her little boy. So she prayed as only a mother can do. She asked that her Josiah be the one to deliver you to Hell. That he be the last righteous soul that you see before you become the newest resident to reside in the belly of Satan. And Satan, she is a nasty bitch. Likes her meat tenderized before her table is set. Someone will be seeing to that. A lot of some ones. They specialize in pain.
Oh, here comes your ride.
Josiah!” The guardian called out in greeting. “OI you charming rascal! What no fire breathing?”
“No wait,” Bill tried to back away. “No, this is a mistake! I was promised a crown! My momma said I would get a crown! No!” he screamed as he was picked up by the scruff of the neck and they were airborne.
“Seriously Bill,” the young man that was holding him laughed. “It does not do to call God a slacker and a liar in His own house. All here take offense to that.”
Bill’s eyes went up to see the face of his tormentor. Staring back at him was Eric! “You…” he stuttered… “You….”
“I am Josiah, Eric’s son. I am also that three-year-old boy that you murdered in front of his family. Eric was my father then, as well. My mother, Martha Stackhouse, her prayers and God’s promise that He hears those prayers have granted me this right to see to your end.”
“White trash!” Bill yelled and tried to reach him with his fists. “Just poor dirt farmers,” he seethed. “Not even on the same par with sharecroppers! Just squatters on land that should have been ours! I was your better. By rights, what you had should have belonged to me.”
“When you take something that is not yours,” those blue eyes held his. “Jesus calls that stealing. Does not matter if it is money, someone’s dignity or a life.”
“Just a mo’ fo’n thief and liar,” OI spewed out as the Hell-Mouth opened. “Who is ready for release into the underbelly of Hell,” the dragon laughed and flames shot out of his mouth as those who were looking up out of the hell-pit. They drew back in terror from the righteous fire that would sear them deeper then hell’s blaze of hatred and envy ever could.
Josiah pulled Compton up so that they were eye to eye. “Thief,” he breathed out followed by “Liar” and the words were tattooed onto Bill’s forehead.
Josiah dangled him as OI came into position. The dragon swiveled his neck until he was face to face with Compton. “Keep the fjord in mind while you are roasting and being savored. Just how sweet is Eric’s, Sookie’s and Josiah’s place of sanctuary. That is what lives in Eric’s heart, from the very beginning. A place of sanctuary for his family was all he wanted.
And you could see it,” he grinned, all his teeth glistening, “but were not allowed to touch it. Live with that forever.”
That task complete, OI dropped Josiah off in the mountains. His friend was gong to traverse the peaks until he had to move on to his next job. Busy seemed to come in seasons and OI was seeing business pick up. He could feel the air currents shifting as he headed for the waves that were gently chasing the clouds. “Love the water,” he sighed as he landed. “My favorite,” he felt himself relax. “This is Heaven,” he whispered, floating on his back in the bluest water he had ever seen.
Everyone had their job to do and until Earth settled out, you really did not have the time to sit and reminisce with war stories. Someday though, he was going to tell about Compton. And a few other things…
It had been something when the veil had parted and he could see through to the other side. Eric and Sookie and Brother Samuel looked like they did when they walked their piece of Heaven.
And there were dogs….OI laughed out loud, of course there were dogs! Wherever Josiah was, there would be dogs. “Bit surprised there were only two with him,” the dragon chuckled as he chased the shadows upon the water…and then closed his eyes and let the sun shine through his eyelids as the colors exploded and looking back at him were two of the blackest eyes he had ever seen. Beautiful, shining like marcasite in a face that he would know anywhere. There had stood his best friend, that human just did not know it yet. But he did. “You hold my mo’ fo’n heart. I did not know who it was I missed until I saw your handsome face.
When your time comes, I’ll be there to greet you,” and he felt the tears trickle from his eyes. “We will have all of eternity to get caught up!””
It had been a long, miserable night. Sookie had slept, but fitfully. Each time she jerked awake, there were sobs. All Eric could do was hold her and wipe away his own tears as well as hers.
At breakfast, there were no dogs, no smiling faces and no little boy.
“Today,” Samuel looked around the table and tossed a pocket size calendar out onto the table, “we get to mark the first day off, counting down to Josiah’s return.”
Eric passed the agenda to Sookie along with a pen.
“I want to use one of his glitter crayons,” her voice was quiet. “He loved the blue one. Said it was the color of his Daddy’s eyes.”
“I’ll get it,” Lafayette said as he stood.
“I want to go home,” her voice broke. “I see our boy everywhere here that I look. Right now, he should be letting the dogs back in,” the tears started anew.
“Then we shall leave and get started on the house,” Eric nodded. “I’ll start calling architects. We’ll get the crews in. He’ll have his bedroom when he returns to us.
Samuel my brother, we love you…but we cannot stay.”
“I understand,” Samuel nodded. “There is much to do. And I know your hearts are breaking…for mine is also. Josiah brought love with him. And he lead you to each other, of that I am sure. But Josiah also came to teach us. And he came as a three year old so that we would believe him. Not as an adult that you would always question. Eric, you and Sookie are now safe. You, my brother, can day walk, eat…destroy your enemies.
You will never have to worry for Sookie. She can take care of herself against any evil that would think to come against her. This is a great gift. And who knows, maybe that is why there are no photos of him. Perhaps he will return as a young man, to be a helper to you for whatever the next phase of your life happens to be. And if that is the case, you will welcome him with open arms, for you will never doubt that he is your son.”
Eric was holding Sookie’s hand. There was great wisdom in his brother’s words. “Thank you, my brother,” he sighed as he brought Sookie’s hand to his lips and placed a kiss, there.
“Would you mind if we just left our winter things here?”
“Of course not,” there was a gentle smile on his lips. “I will notify the plane.”
“Thank you Samuel,” Sookie took a deep breath. “Time to get started on that next phase. If he does return to us as a young man, he is going to need his own bathroom,” her voice was holding steady as she tried to visualize Josiah as a twenty something.
“Let me grab my purse,” she kept her voice calm. “I am ready to go.”
Samuel walked with them out to the helio-pad. Returning to the house, he retired to his room and donned the sackcloth. Taking the ashes out of the fireplace, he carried the bucket out to the back porch. Sitting down, he dumped the ashes over his body as he began singing the Psalms.
Landing in Shreveport, they dropped Lafayette off at his house and then made their way to the farmhouse.
Going up the front steps, Sookie sighed. “We need to get the screen door fixed, first thing.”
“There is some dry rot up here,” Eric floated up and pointed out a spot on the porch’s roof. “The next two weeks will be busy with the re-do. We’ll start with the outside and work our way in.”
Sookie nodded as she unlocked the door. “You know, when I left, I told the house I would be back. I just did not know how I was going to make that happen.”
“You made that happen,” she pulled him down for a kiss.
“I have the money, but my Sookie, Samuel was right. Josiah made this happen. He gave us the tools. I have gone from being nastily suspicious of everyone to…” his voice faltered.
“To being a husband and father and I bet you are still the meanest mother-fucker out there,” she grinned at him.
“Yes,” he grinned back, “to all of the above.” When she unlocked the door, sweeping her up in his arms, he carried her across the threshold.
Once he set her down, looking around the room she heaved out a big sigh. “I guess I have to call in that Gran is missing. And find Jason…and get started on that process. Do you think we should go to the police department?”
“Is that what you would normally do?” Eric asked.
“Yes,” she nodded. “If Gran went missing, I’d go straight there.”
Our story is that we were married with Gran in attendance. We will need to call Lafayette and confirm that with him. We are home from our honeymoon in Breckinridge. We have not heard from your gran because of poor cell reception so we thought nothing of it. But your gran is not here, we have come to file a missing person report.”
“That sums it up,” she sighed.
“They will wait twenty-four hours, I’ll talk to Pam and see where she submerged the car. It might be time to have it float to the top.”
Officer Stackhouse had just walked into the station, tanned, blond, and slightly sunburned. “Thanks for the time off, Andy,” he said, spying the Sheriff. “That dive certification class was opportunistic. The Highway Patrol was running the class and I was right there. Thanks for giving me the time off.”
“Expect your ass go to out and battle those gators for those body remains,” Andy pointed a finger at him. “Good to have you back. Get cleaned up and get your ass to work.”
“Jason,” Sookie walked into the police station and hugged him. “Glad you are back. Have you heard from Gran?”
“What?” he said, as his eyes traveled over Eric and back to Sookie.”
“I came home and she is not there. From the looks of things, has not been there in a while. I’ve been gone for a couple of weeks and the house looks exactly the way I left it. So Eric and I are here to file a missing person.”
“Whoa,” Jason took a step back. “Who is Eric and where have you been for two weeks?”
“Eric is my husband and we have been on our honeymoon.”
“Married?” he started to say something a little ruder, but from the looks of her husband, he just might not appreciate that.
“Yes, now I am worried about Gran. Who do I need to see and where do we start?”
“Arlene said she went North to visit relatives,” Kendra said, taking out the paperwork.
“Well, yes, she was going to do that but she still has laundry hanging on the line in the laundry room.”
“We’ll get on it Sookie,” Andy smiled at her.
“Thanks, let me know if you hear anything.”
“I’ll walk out with you Sis,” Jason said. “I’ll be back,” he called out over his shoulder as they opened the door.
“There was that big storm that pushed through here two weeks ago,” Kendra was shaking her head.
“Sookie and Jason lost their folks to a flash flood. Just fuck,” Andy said to no one as he put the photo of Adele Stackhouse onto the missing person’s form. “I hope she is somewhere having tea and visitin’ with her feet up.”
“What do you think the chances of that are?” Kendra asked him.
“Next to nothin’. Well just fuck. We will have to call the state troopers for diving help. No way am I sending Jason down to bring up whatever the gators did not eat of his grandmother.”
The day had passed and Lafayette had gotten a lot accomplished. He had called Tulane and set things in motion. He was going back to school. He was going to be a lawyer.
Dark had rolled around along with Sheriff Andy, wanting to know if Adele had been at the wedding.
“Yes and hell yes,” Lafayette breathed out as a bat went zipping by. Eric and Sookie had stopped by and he had watched as Eric signed the marriage certificate with Adele’s handwriting. “Mo fo’n!” was all he could think as he watched Sookie and Eric drive off to start the hunt for Gran. With his lighter, he lit the candle, happy for its cheery light.
“Just damn, what a day…Tulane…never thought my very fine ass would be goin’ back there.” His eyes got a little misty. His mother was now in a very nice facility. He felt the tears rise up as he watched his life do an about face.
“Celebratn’ I am,” he dabbed at his eyes. Pouring the tequila into the crystal hi ball glass, he raised it in a salute. “To you Aunties!” he shouted out into the night.
Opening his humidor, he was going to light up one of the biggest cigars this side of the Mississippi.
“You need a light for that?” he heard the voice and grinned.
“I was wonderin’ if you was comin’ down off my roof or if you was just gonna perch up there until the Second Comin’?
Brought you out a glass. You like tequila?”
“I am’s drinkin’ whatever you are drinkin’,” came the smooth as silk reply.
Lafayette cold feel the pressure from the wings and noticed his bat had taken himself someplace else. A massive darkness blocked the moon and stars and he could see the outline of the neck and head swerve around to face him.
There was a very low flame that came out of a very big mouth that sported a lot of very sharp teeth. Lafayette held it into the flame and then puffed until the cigar was lit.
Staring at him were the purple-est eyes he had ever seen. “Your eyes must be what purple really looks like,” he stated.
“Tru dat,” came the reply.
Pouring the tequila into the glass, Lafayette then handed it to him. And in the lengthening shadows and the glow of the candle, the dragon was no longer big but now the size of a house cat.
“How did you do that?” he asked as he handed him the glass.
“Magic,” was his reply.
“And you are sir? His La La fineness needs to know so that I has braggn’ rights.”
“I am OI. The Aunties sent me. Said you needed a friend, someone to have your back. I need a friend, maybe someone to ride on my back.”
Tears began rolling down Lafayette’s cheeks. “Goods. I have been so worrieds about them. They were stuck here and I am so grateful that they has gone ons.
Lordies, that is a weight off my mind,” he said dabbing at his eyes. “You the same same dragon Brother Samuel saw at the castle take down?”
“I am,” he nodded and made a satisfying yummy sound as he sipped the liquid gold.
“Now, you here’s to stay or are you just slumming’?”
“My big man’s, slummin’? I am wherever you want to be. Now, we will not be doin’ skanks and we don’t slum.”
“You know that’s right,” Lafayette nodded in approval. “And no Wal-Mart. Just say’n. I just cannot be bringin’ myself to tread those boards even if they do bring shoppin’ to the masses.”
“No to the mo fo’n Wal-Mart then,” OI nodded in approval.
Lafayette blew smoke rings out into the night. “Well,” he said thoughtfully, “tomorrow I has to be on the big road down to Tulane. Got to get my happy ass back in school. You up for a road trip? And apartment searchin’ and other school endowed richnesses of life? Cause I has a little bits of money and I has got to gets back to my life.”
“Always,” he downed his glass and then fluttered up and poured some more. “Here is to the big-assed road trip!” and they both clinked their glasses together.
“You know anythin’ at alls about the law? Cause’ his La La fineness is gonna be doin’ research. Lots of it. Helps to have a study buddy.”
“Laws? Which one’s?” OI asked, looking over his shoulder at him as he went through the humidor looking for a cigar. “There is a library in the lower Heavens…she-e-e-e-e-ew we-e-e-e-e-e-e-e! And it is a mo fo’n big assed one. I has done and read every book in that library. One whole floor, nothin’ but laws. How far back do you needs to be goin’ and is we only talkin’ the planet Earth?”
“Perfect,” Lafayette grinned. “Now, my little man’s come over here and sit on my shoulder and let us talk some trash. Like do we rents or buys? I will be needin’ quiet. Gots to get my head in that study space. Lawyers are a mean and vicious bunch of cut-throatin’ so and so’s.”
“M-m-m-m hm-m-m-m, we gots that,” the dragon grinned and said with a snap of his claws, “I gots no trouble knockin’ on doors and tellin’m my big man has got his study habits on. Make it all quiet.”
The tears started. “I has been missin’ you in my heart and I did not even know its,” Lafayette’s voice was soft as he placed both hands on his chest. “I never had me a best friend.”
“I knows,” OI nodded. “When I saws you though the veil, I knews that there stood my best friend. And there in Heaven, I had a bit of the lonelyies cause you were what I was missin’.”
They both sat in comfortable silence after that. Admitting what was in their hearts seemed to forge the bond between them that was needed for keeping loneliness away.
“So yous in my guardian angel,” Lafayette said.
“Best in the biz,” OI nodded. “I comes with my own wings, no feathers required.”
“You knows anythin’ at all about a young man by the name of Josiah?”
“He is my ridin’ buddy,” OI nodded. “And I cans tell you that because that is how he crossed my path. But his song is his own to sing and share.”
“Gots that,” Lafayette sighed. “So you can’t dish about him.”
“Correct,” OI nodded again and stroked Lafayette’s cheek.
“But he is all good,” Lafayette’s voice was soft.
“Yes,” OI nodded. “Yes he is.”
At the old Stackhouse farmhouse, one day at a time was marked off the calendar. And each day the work crew added something new to Josiah’s room. In the evening, when they would leave, she and Eric would walk through and admire the work and make plans.
Sookie was on-line looking at little boy furniture. “Eric,” she looked over at him one afternoon as he sat working on a laptop. “I have looked at dozen of sites and I have not found anything I really like.”
“Have something custom done,” he replied.
“That can a little pricey,” and there was just a hint of concern.
“Sookie,” he raised both eyebrows at her. “If you want me to purchase the state of Louisiana for you, I will. Nothing is too expensive.”
“So,” she hesitated for only a moment, “Samuel is not the only brother that is extremely wealthy?”
“That is correct. Samuel is setting it all up so you know how to access my accounts and where the money is located.”
A look crossed her face.
“No,” he shook his head. “Do not. These are things you need to know.”
By the end of the first week, she was ready. “I found someone who designs and makes the furniture that I want. Bookshelves that grow with him and a small dresser for now that he can manage; something low and squatty so that another piece can be added to the top as he grows. This web site says they have wormy chestnut. I love that. They are in Baton Rogue. Can we go there?”
“Of course,” Eric grinned. “Get us out of the noise and the dust.
Maybe spend the night. Have dinner out. What do you think?”
He could sense and see the hesitation in her. “Sookie, our son found us in my locked chamber in Shreveport. I think he could find us while we are out at dinner.
Besides,” he took he hand and kissed it. “Adele’s car is going to be found, tomorrow. Jason will call. At that time we will return home. Your Gran declared dead, this will be our new reality. I know she was your all and when I met you, how alone you felt without her.”
“I am not alone any more” she wrapped her arms around him, “I am with you.”
When Sookie got the call from the police station, it came from Andy. “I have Jason here with me,” he said. “Call us when you get home and we’ll be out.”
Eric and Sookie were sitting out on the porch, waiting for the squad car to arrive.
Sookie gave each a glass of ice tea as they settled in.
Andy started. “We found the car, in Phillips Bayou. Windows all busted out. The car was tossed around during the storm, hit some trees and only God knows what else. She was probably crossing at Shelve’s Point, you know that low dip in the road and was washed on out and into Pity Creek.
There has been more than once we have had to come and pull her out of that ditch.”
“What?” Sookie looked confused. “That ditch in front of Old Man Smith’s place?”
“Yes,” he began slowly. “Adele,” Andy was holding his hat in his hands, “well hell Sookie, we all knew she liked to hydroplane on the roads when they were full of water. We always thought they would get her one of these days. And she was never one to wear her seat belt, no matter how many times we got after her about it.
When your momma and daddy drowned, we just figured your daddy had learned that behavior from her.”
“What?” Sookie’s voice went up a notch and she clutched Eric’s hand tighter.
“Yes,” Jason nodded his head. “Daddy and I would go out during a big rain and float a bit. He said his momma taught him how to do that. He said up north, they practiced driving on snow and ice in parkin’ lots for their winter drivin’ skills. So, he just figured this was what was needed for our flash floods here in the south. Besides, I think he liked it. There was always a big grin on his face. He said it was like drivin’ the Indy 500. Only you were battlin’ your wits against nature.”
“So when Momma and Daddy drown,” Sookie sobbed. “That is what they did for fun?”
Jason was beginning to think he had said too much. “Or maybe they just practiced doing it so that if they ever did get in that desperate of a situation, they would know what to do.”
The tears crept down her face. “That is insane,” she sobbed. “And they did that with a child in the car?”
Yes, Jason realized, he had defiantly said too much. “Hey Sis,” he leaned over and patted her hand, “do you want me to handle disposing of her car?”
“Yes,” she wiped at her tears. “Yes please.” Eric handed her a tissue and she blew her nose. “You don’t do that do you?” she asked her brother, her voice getting shrill.
“No,” he shook his head. “No ma’am.”
“I swear Jason, I know you are lyin’ to me. You promise me right now you will stop that shit. I mean it,” she stood up. “I will kick your ass if you do not. You look me in the eyes and you swear…”
“I swear,” his face and his voice were earnest. “I will not ever do that again.”
“Okay,” she took a deep breath and fought for control. “Okay,” she closed her eyes for a moment. Opening them, her brother still held that earnest look. Good.
“We’ll get started on that,” Andy said and they both stood.
Eric and Sookie stood at the edge of the porch and waved them off.
When all that was left was a cloud of dust, looking up at Eric she felt the tears start again. “What the fuck!” she sobbed as Eric picked her up and carried her inside.
Subtle changes began taking place in Eric and Sookie. Both of them had been loners and had lived inside their heads. This was a new experience for both to be able to share and where you would see one, there would be the other. They both worked from their laptops within close proximity of each other. Read in the evenings, snuggled up on the couch. Then bedtime. After sex, they talked and planned until Sookie would fall asleep and Eric’s urge to roam at night lifted.
Word spread about finding the car and folks called and stopped by to express their condolences. They brought food and well wishes and just because Adele had died did not mean there could not be a toast to the happy couple.
It was the middle of the second week and Mrs. Fortenberry was there wanting to plan the memorial service for Adele. “We would like to have it at the Glorious Dead meeting,” she patted Sookie’s hand. “Do you think she would mind?”
“No,” Sookie dabbed at her eyes. “I think that would be real nice. All her friends will be there.”
“You gonna’ put up a tombstone?” she whispered. “They are awfully expensive these days.”
“It is alright,” she nodded and had a sip of tea. “We are addin’ on an office for Eric. We have the money and I have picked out a spot there in the family plot. I will let you know when it arrives for those who would like to come out and pay their respects. Not that she is there, but it is somethin’ to remember her by.”
As she waved good-bye to Maxine, she went down the porch steps and around to the side of the house where Josiah’s room was still a work in progress. The outside was done and it matched the old farmhouse. Looking in the windows, she watched as they painted the walls. Although she could not see it, the wormy chestnut flooring had gone down yesterday. It was covered with painting cloths while the walls were painted white and the trim a glossy white. “He is comin’ home to us,” she chanted. “God has promised and he is comin’ home to us.”
Eric walked up to her and put his arm around her shoulders. “Storm is pushing in,” he kissed her.
“Well, all right then,” she put her arm around him. “Let us get inside.”
“Talked to the Garth about the furniture,” Eric looked inside the window as they headed in. “He said they are just about finished. The pieces are drying. They should have it on a truck and to us by Wednesday. I told him we would be ready for it. Let’s go talk to Seth and make sure they are going to be finished painting by then.”
Thursday passed and then Friday morning was here and Sookie sat up in bed with a start. “Josiah!” she called out. “Sweet Boy!” she called again as she pushed out of bed and her feet hit the floor and she was up and moving, listening for the sound of their son.
“Sookie,” Eric sat up and pulling on a pair of jeans, was after her.
He found her, standing in Josiah’s room.
“I just…” she paused and took a deep breath. “I thought I heard his song,” she smiled and then wiped her eyes. “Maybe it was just the thunder rolling around in my dreams. Or the rain hitting the roof.”
“He will be here, Sookie,” he said, bending down and looking into her eyes. “Our boy will be here. And two weeks was not an exact count. So it could go a couple of days long. But he will be here.”
Nodding her head in agreement, she wiped the tears from her eyes and smiled as she looked around his room. “I think he is going to like it here,” she smiled. “With these white walls, he will be able to make it his own.”
“Yes,” Eric held her to him, “yes he will. You want some breakfast?” he asked, pulling back from her and brushing the hair from her eyes.
“Yes, thank you, that would be nice.”
“Come on, I’ll do eggs and you can do the toast and we’ll eat out on the porch and enjoy the rain.”
Eric watched her the rest of the day. She jumped at every sound. Her head swiveled in the direction of each creaking floorboard. Eric thought his heart was going to break. There would be anticipation and then when she realized it was not Josiah, the tears would start to gather in her eyes.
“Please,” he caught himself praying over and over, “please, a sign, any sign, her heart break is tearing me apart.”
Thankfully the sun was going down which meant the day was ending. Sookie looked like she needed rest. After supper, they would relax.
For a summer evening, it was still early but it was dark. The storm was making its presence known. They had talked about a late supper. Eric knew Sookie was postponing the meal in case Josiah came home and she would fix him whatever he wanted.
They were looking at new cars on line, to help pass the time. “I guess it is getting late,” she stood and stretched. “I am making macaroni and cheese,” she said to Eric. “It keeps for several days. I want to be ready for when Josiah comes home.”
“I’ll help,” Eric smiled at her. “And perhaps we could have a small amount with our dinner.”
“I like that,” she nodded. “You can grate the cheese and I’ll get started on the noodles. There is so much food in the fridge, pick out what you think we would like to have with it.”
“Good plan,” Eric smiled at her and wrapping their arms around each other they went to the kitchen.
“I have watched Lafayette make this enough times,” she smiled, “that I should have it down to a science. I love it extra creamy, so does Josiah,” she nodded as she took a brick of cream cheese out of the door of the fridge. “This is starting to sound so good, I think maybe it is all I want for supper.
Well, and some of those crab cakes Miss Lucy made. I need to get her recipe for those. They are delicious.”
Eric nodded in agreement. Good, for the first time today, Sookie seemed to be grounded in the moment. She was busy doing something with which she was familiar and she enjoyed. Tomorrow, they might have to spend the day in the kitchen. She could teach him to cook. Until Josiah returned, this is how they would spend their time.
They had settled back on the couch and had continued looking at cars until Sookie was asleep, leaning against his shoulder.
Smiling, he carried her off to bed and tucked her in. Kissing her on the forehead, he went back to the living room to call Pam. She now spent her days between Fangtasia and New Orleans. Attila was doing just fine. Mississippi was glad to be rid of Russell and those vampires had assimilated into the new regime. Which was good. Because The Hun did not allow discontent in his ranks.
Pam had picked up after the second ring. “Eric, finally, what the fuck?” for a moment he thought maybe she was yelling at him. That she was unhappy was obvious.
“I cannot do both. Either order my ass back to Shreveport or move me here. This shit is way past old of not knowing where I am going to be sleeping during the day. Old Cranky is all the help Attila now needs.
The Hun speaks of making me his Lt. Governor. I tell him I am your child and that is all the fucking responsibility I need.
He grins and says you have always been the power behind every throne that has come to be and that in your heart of un-beating dead heart, you are happy to have me here. You had better fucking tell me how unhappy you are to have me here.”
“Yes child,” he grinned. “I am most unhappy. Because I need you here to deal with Area Five vampire shit.”
“Really?” she hesitated. “I thought I left that is good shape. I thought I had scared the life back into those undead fuckers. You need me back there? I told them at Fangtasia I would be there on weekends to check the books and do inspections on their undead asses. Has something gone amiss?”
“No,” his voice was very serious. “All seems to be in good order. Trixie is doing a fine job. I think she is scarier than you.”
“What?” Pam shot back. And then, “Oh, good one my maker.”
Eric laughed. “Make a decision and Attila and I will both abide by it.”
“Oh, well…well, things are not so bad.”
Eric grinned at the phone. Sometimes, his child just needed to vent.
“Most good, but you let me know whatever it is you need. I stand with you.”
“Thank you my maker.”
“No, thank you child.”
Hanging up the phone, Eric grinned to himself. Pam working multiple fronts was actually when she was her happiest. It gave her twice as much to bitch about.
Turning, he was going to sit out on the porch for a few moments and watch the storm. Opening the front door, he caught a whiff of something.
“That cannot be right,” he said and was vamp speed to their bedroom.
“Sookie…” he breathed out. “Sookie,” he called again as he was out of the house following her scent. The rain had picked up and it would make tracking her a bit more difficult but he had a good idea where she was headed. The graveyard.
Lightning was flashing across the sky and he could see her through the pouring rain, sitting on the ground in her white nightgown. The marker was old. It was of a small angel waving. “Josiah’s grave,” and then he felt his heart lurch.
Kneeling down next to her he could feel the pain and grief, like a physical entity, radiating out from her.
“I heard his song, Eric,” she was bawling, “I know I heard it. It was just not the thunder or the rain. It was him,” the grief shook her entire body.
“Sookie, we must get out of the storm,” he picked her up in his arms. With considerable strength, he pushed against the wind and rain and then he realized the song for this fury was coming from her.
“Sookie, my love,” he pulled her in that much closer, “he will be here,” he whispered into her ear as the storm raged. “Our son will be here. If you continue, the wind will destroy the house. Do you want that?”
“No,” he heard the word and felt her headshake and the wind died down.
Vamp speed they were home and then in and ripping the soaking nightgown from her, he wrapped her in a blanket that was on the floor by the fireplace and he sat down there, with his back against the wall.
“He is not comin’ back, Eric,” she sobbed. “He is in Heaven now and he knows what a horrible momma I was!” the tears would not stop. “I was standing right there and he killed him while I was standing right there!” Tears and snot was running down her face, mixed in with the rain. “I could not stop it, I did not even know what was happening!” Her head was on his chest and screams of pain lifted up out of her and echoed through the night with the thunder. “Who would trust me with a child?” she could barely get the words out. “No one, that’s who,” her tears could not stop, would never stop!
“Sh-h-h, my Sookie,” Eric felt his own tears slipping down his face. “You are a wonderful mother. And you are not responsible for the evil that walks this world. You are not responsible…” he kept repeating.
“I was standing right there, Eric…” her voice still held pain but the grief was no longer pouring off of her.
“You could not know,” he cleaned off her face with the blanket.
“Your clothes are wet,” she sighed as she was once more aware of her surroundings. “Let’s shower and then I want to sit out here and talk. And I don’t care if it sounds like a pity party. I need to cry and put things in perspective.”
Standing up with her in his arms, he kissed her lightly on the lips and carried her to the bathroom.
The shower warmed them both and seemed to calm them both. Wrapping her hair in a towel and pulling on a gown, she watched Eric while he toweled off and pulled on a pair of pajama bottoms.
Hand in hand they walked out to the couch. She sat down and motioned for him to lie down. “Put your head in my lap,” she graced him with a small smile. “I like playing with your hair and being able to touch your face whenever I want, too.”
“I would like that also,” he smiled at her as put his head in her lap.
“I want to talk about,” she swallowed, “what if he does not return…right away. What if it is years instead of weeks?”
“Sookie,” he began.
“No, I mean it Eric. Samuel is right. God is not a liar. But God’s timeline and ours is different. What if Josiah shows up thirty years from now.”
Eric shrugged. “Well, then he shows up then.”
“No,” her voice was soft. “I mean what happens to us?”
Eric brought both of her hands to his lips and passionately kissed them. He held her eyes with his. “I love you and I am not afraid to say that to you or to the world in general. I am not running away from you this time. I am staying and we shall do battle with whoever thinks that we should not be together. I do not give a fuck Sookie, what anyone else thinks except for you.” Closing his eyes, the tears trickled from the corners. “Of course Josiah would come to you,” when he opened his eyes, the tears made them a crystalline blue. “You are his mother. A very good mother. I am a vampire, a very bad vampire. If he should happen not to return, it would be because of me,” the last word was a sob as he wiped his eyes. “I might now be a day walking food eating vampire, but I am still a vampire.”
“Stop it,” she sighed. “I mean it. We both have got to stop beating ourselves up. You are a great daddy and I guess maybe I was not such a bad momma. You did not ask to be vampire and I would never have thought Compton would kill our son. So just stop it,” her finger traced his face. “And God does not lie,” she managed a small smile. “I am so tired of feeling unworthy,” she laid her head back against the couch. “That I am not good enough for you, not good enough for Josiah, not good enough for anything.”
“You are wonderful,” Eric smiled at her and taking a deep breath that he did not need, he slowly let it out.
The thunder had stopped, so had the rain and it was quit. Not even the smallest breeze was pushing against the house. Sookie smiled at Eric and then kissed him on the lips. “I guess we’ll do.”
“Yes,” he smiled back at her as she ran her hands though his hair.
“Eric,” she asked him, “what is it? You have the oddest look on your face.”
“I…I thought I heard Josiah’s song,” he held perfectly still and focused.
Looking up at her was a face of confusion and then love and then joy!
“Sookie, I hear a heartbeat!”
“What?” she gasped. “You mean mine?”
“No,” he pushed his head to her tummy. “I mean a very small, tiny, heartbeat. And Josiah’s song,” he was yelling as he was up and had her spinning around the room.
“Really?” the tears were falling again and this time in joy! “Really?”
“Oh yes,” he laughed out loud! “Yes!” he roared. “Yes,” he kissed her gently and they floated to the ground.
“I’m pregnant…” her face was full of wonder as both hands went to her tummy. “I’m pregnant!” she yelled as she jumped up and down and then into Eric’s arms as they were once more dancing around the room!
Eric had cranked down the AC and built a fire. They had turned the couch so it faced the direction of the fireplace. She was once more sitting and he was lying, with his ear pushed up next to her tummy as she placed kisses all over his face.
“So how pregnant am I?” she asked.
Eric shrugged. “Let’s put it into a search engine and find out.”
“Good plan,” Sookie said reaching for one off the coffee table. Handing it to Eric, he flipped it open. “Where do we start?” he asked.
“Heart beat?” she shrugged.
“When can you first hear the baby’s heart beat?” he said out loud as he typed in. “Six weeks,” he said smiling at her. “That is when the heart is formed and starts to beat. So you are six weeks pregnant.”
“So, I have about seven and a half more months to go,” she grinned. And then became very serious. “That’s why he could not explain when he would return,” Sookie started to tear up, again. “He would be here in two more weeks, but he would not be in our arms for several more months. Josiah was still three and human heavy enough, he could not explain that concept.”
“He,” Eric picked her hand up and kissed it, “he came to teach us how to protect ourselves from any evil that thinks to come against us. He did not want us to worry or live in fear. For each other and especially for him,” Eric shook his head and exhaled deeply. “Because you know once the word gets our that I am married and that you are pregnant, evil will make its way here.”
“Just let them come,” she smiled. “We can remove evil. And I can do it with a smile on my face,” she laughed out loud. “So,” she chuckled, “I guess we need to call and have them start making baby furniture. We’ll put the little boy things upstairs.”
“Most excellent my wife,” Eric pulled her down for a kiss. “A most excellent idea.”
“When all of his photos disappeared,” she sighed and wiped at the tears that wanted to form, “I…was so lost…and I thought I did not deserve to have anything of his…”
Eric rubbed his nose against hers. “Yes, myself as well only I thought maybe I did not deserve to have anything. That just like all the other people that I had loved in my life, he had faded from me also. I kept having the thought that you would leave me, seek out a human who could give you a child. That I would be even more cold and alone then I had ever experienced because I had been a part of a family that loved me and I would be denied that once more.”
“God bless Samuel,” Sookie smiled. “He believed.”
“He always believes,” Eric grinned in return. “The world for us has gone to hell a couple of times and there he is, saying, God has a purpose.
I would ask him if he knew why God has us up to our eyebrows in human shit. He would say no, he was not God and it was not for him to question His ways.” Eric laughed out loud. “My Sookie, I guess it really is about perspective. I can look back now and see where everything was leading to this moment. What was it you said? ‘To God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.’ Well, I have been alive for a thousand years and looking back, that is beginning to make sense. It seems as if only a day has passed. That my life begins now.”
“Call him,” Sookie kissed him. “I feel like all the air has been let out of me. Call Samuel and tell him the good news. I think I’ll be asleep when my head hits the pillow.”
Scooping her up, Eric carried her to bed. She was right, before he had tucked her in, she was sound asleep.
Samuel picked up on the first ring. “Our Josiah has returned,” he grinned. “At or around two weeks was said. Well, here we are and there he is back with us. I am looking my brother,” Samuel was trying to see past Eric. “And I do not see him. Have you sent him to bed before I could read him a bedtime story? I have purchased more books!” he said with gusto. “And I have been practicing!”
“Samuel, I admire your faith. And yes, he has returned to us.” The grin split Eric’s face! “Sookie is pregnant,” he said with pride and then began to weep.
“Oh by brother,” Samuel began to cry as well. “It is so much more than what we expected!”
Sorry to take so long with this chapter. Some of you do not like cliffies….so I had to keep writing so that there would not be a cliffie…and I have been somewhat limited on time. So, here tis! Ta-da! (Please pardon the mistakes, for then usual, I fear!)
There is for sure one chapter left in this story. If you have things you want answered, please let me know and I will do my best to work them into the plot line!
As always, thanks for reading!