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.
The Diplomatic Pouch Chapter 6—Day 4
The Caddy was big enough that the wind pushed against it but it held the road.
“I thought I had seen it rain, before,” Sookie said as she tried to peer through the darkness, “but that is just a wall of water. You see okay?”
“Yes,” he replied. “And you are correct, I have ridden through a couple of hurricanes out on the ocean, nothing like this.”
“You think magic is pushing it?”
“Possibly,” he responded as he slowed down to take the corner onto Hummingbird Lane. “But as a rule, magic carries a certain taste to it. A smell to the wind and a certain flavor that you can detect when you lick your lips. This…this seems to just be weather. But it has been my experience that when things seem normal, suspect everything.”
“Do,” she hesitated, “do you think this was one those whispers that Eddy was talkin’ about?”
“How long has Eddy been here?” Eric asked as he pulled into park. “Wait one, let’s get inside.”
Opening the car door, he reached for Sookie and vamp speed they were on the porch.
“That was quick,” she smiled, “and I am still drenched. Good grief,” the rain, needing a little company, now had lightning as its partner.
“Let’s get inside,” she shivered as she unlocked the door.
Grabbing a towel by the door, she passed one to Eric and then began to dry herself off.
“Eddy has been around here for a while,” she was thoughtful. “A long while. He was a janitor at the schools when I was startin’ school. Then vampires came out and he was outed and lost his job. Which was a shame, because the schools were always spotless. After that, he worked the night shift at the Quickie Mart. You know, no robberies, no kids tryin’ to buy beer or cigarettes. And the place was always clean. So, maybe twenty years or so. Why?”
“Well, we have in our midst an x-Catholic priest and the Vaults have been…” Eric shrugged. “Blown up as this is how the media is referencing it. Although we do not know the extent of the damage or if there was anything in them at all. At one time, all they held was wine.”
Sookie looked at him…long and hard. “I am just not for real sure how I am supposed to respond to that. You have been under the Vatican?”
“First lesson in misinformation, Miss Stackhouse. I have been in The Vaults, they are not located under the Vatican. They are actually a set of caves pushed into a hillside just past the palace. You can certainly access them from the Vatican, but the, lets just call it the basement, under the Vatican, is not The Vaults.”
“So, this went off under the Vatican, correct?”
“We believe this to be true,” he responded. “Sookie, if I might call you Sookie?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Of course,” she replied.
“The caves, you cannot penetrate them. Perhaps with a bunker buster dropped from a plane, but no…” he shook his head. “There would be no other way.”
“So the really important things are kept someplace else?” and he could hear the question in her voice. “And not under the Vatican.”
“That would be correct.”
“How…” she was scrutinizing him. “How do you know this?”
“Remember, I told you about my grandmother and her map?”
“Yes,” she nodded.
“After I was turned, my maker and I visited all those sites, bringing news of Grandmother’s death and I now walked in her place. We obviously came at night. I would perform a little magic to show I was indeed her heir, we were noted with respect and we moved on. On this route, the holy places became a hut, then a structure made of wood and then one made of stone. They still stand, today. And I still drop by.”
“No fuckin’ way!” she exclaimed.
“Way,” he nodded.
“So, you can just walk into the Vatican?”
“No,” he shook his head. “Into The Vaults.”
“Wow and…”she paused. “Okay, all I have got is wow! So, you think what?”
“Unless there is something extraordinary about Bon Temps I cannot see why a priest would be planted, here. Would you happen to have a local Hell Mouth somewhere? Or demon holes?”
“Not that I am aware of,” she remarked. “Why?” there was horror and fascination in her voice. “Are there such things?”
“Honestly, I do not know. But in the old stories, there is a ring that opens up and hideous creatures come out.”
“How hideous?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Grandmother would speak of it as if it happened only yesterday. But it was ages old in the legends. Sometimes, when I am certain places, I get a tingling sensation. Like something where I am walking is not correct…or of this realm of being.”
There was a knock at the door and Sookie jumped!
“Sookie!” Lafayette was yelling above the roar of the storm. “Sookie, come on girl!”
When she opened the door the wind and rain blew in along with Lafayette and OI.
“Bad night to be out, his La La fineness says, but my little mans, he brought us ons.”
“There is someone local,” OI said as he handed La La a towel, “that is pullin’ the storms this way. I was out ridin’ the winds, and every time I pulled back and went to a higher altitude, this was the way I was bein’ pulled.”
“We have an x-priest vampire working a Merlotte’s,” Eric smiled at the crowd, no humor in his voice. “Do we want to take the Caddy or do we want to fly?”
“Roads are all kinds of flooded,” Lafayette responded.
“Miss Sookie, you ever ride a Claymore dragon before?” OI winked at her.
“I, I honestly can say that I have not,” she responded.
“First time for everythin,” he chuckled. “I’ll be outside waitin.”
“I can shift,” Eric replied.
“Yes and yes again, oh fine, gifted, and aged one. Best not tonight until you get used to dragon business. If you wants to fly our Miss Sooks as vampire, you would miss out on ridin’ a dragon. Not just anyone has those braggin’ rights. How long you known me? I ever offered, before?”
“Oh,” Eric nodded in agreement. “Absolutely, OI you are the pilot tonight.”
“My manifest is looking most delightful,” he grinned as he opened the door, the rain and wind pushing back in as he fluttered out.
OI had some sort of harness around his neck and upper body, to which Lafayette was strapped into. She sat behind Lafayette with her arms wrapped around him and Eric was behind her with his arms securely and snuggly wrapped around her. There was no fear of falling off. None. What. So. Ever. She would give her eyeteeth to be able to do this without the storm. But since this was what she got, she was going to make the most of it. “Ridin’ a dragon,” she chanted all the way over to the bar, occasionally trying to squeal in delight! Which got her a mouth full of water, almost drowning her once or twice. But what the hell, it was the ride of a lifetime!
They landed in the back and they were off and onto the back porch.
“I only have a key for the front door,” Sookie yelled above the wind.
“I’ll go pound on the front door,” Eric said, shifting to his E. E. persona. “And be right back.”
Soon, Eric was back around and Eddy was standing at the back door.
“Sorry,” he shook his head. “I can’t let you in. Promised Sam.”
“Got this,” OI said as he turned his head outward into the storm and let loose with the dragon’s to war bellow.
“Enough to wake the dead,” Sookie said as he was back under the porch and grinning.
The lights came on in the parking lot. OI’s flame then lit up the night and Sam was there in short order.
“Just what the fuck?” he yelled as he ducked under the porch.
“Eddy would not let us in,” Sookie said. “And we wanted to talk to him.”
“Come on in,” Sam said motioned with his hand as they all trooped in after him.
“You all are soaked, me too,” Sam growled. “We are not trackin’ up these,” he paused, looking around. “Floors…” he said in wonder. “And walls,” he ran his hand down one. “Really clean. There was a blood stain here, could never get it out to fade completely out. Eddy, toss us some towels out of the stock room.”
“Come on in,” the vampire smiled. “It is no big deal to wipe the floors after you.”
They made their way to the main bar area and Sam had a moment. Set up on one of the tables was a small, crude altar.
“What the fuck, Eddy, come on! No dancin’ in my bar and certainly not church!”
“I did not light the candles, Sam, until after I had finished everything. I swear,” you could hear the truth in his words. “It is just with the howlin’ winds and restless sleep,” he shivered a bit, “I wanted a piece of comfort.”
They all stood looking at the table. There was a goblet, carved out of wood, not but an expert craftsman, but clearly by someone who loved what it was.
The candlesticks were done by the same hands along with the small plate. Over at a booth were a couple of what were maybe journals. You could see the rough, worn leather outlining the edges and the hand written script. They were open.
Eddy saw their glances shift. “I was reading the good words,” he said. “And praying a bit. When I was a priest, there was not any money for a Bible. So I copied the words from my favorite passages and for giving the sacraments and the last rights.”
Lafayette was nodding his head in agreement. “Sure nuffs, his La La fineness says. Been lookin’ at the good book, myselves lately, while I shouts my hallelujahs and amens. It has been an age and an age since I had the blood and the body. I could do with some of that.”
Eddy looked shocked and then took a step back. “I could not,” he shook his head. “I am undead and unclean and…” his tears started. “When my human became this…” he wiped his eyes. “I lost that privilege.”
Lafayette arched both eyebrows and pointed at him with his finger. “You just became more, your La La says. You think God cares that you is vampire? He knows what is in your heart. He knows what is in the heart of those that still love Him and humans has turned these good folks away from their glorified buildings and God-in-the-box way of doin’ thangs. Some day, you will stand before His glory, but not this minute. And I am askin’ for communion. Now, I’m not Catholic, but I am a believer and I am still askin’. Sam, would you mind?” Lafayette asked. “I’ll pays for the bottle of wine and the soda crackers.”
“If I hear about this standin’ in line at the grocery store…” Sam let that threat run out.
“Why,” Sookie shrugged, “maybe would not be such a bad thing. Could bring in more business. You do last call, any Supe that wants to take communion could finish his beer and could hear the good words. After everyone leaves, Eddy prays for them and then locks up and cleans.”
“In these troubled times,” OI began, “I would be wantin’s all the good mojo I could gets.”
“Troubled times,” E. E. echoed those words. “That is exactly what these are.”
“Which is why we are here,” Sookie smiled at Eddy. “We need to talk to you.”
“Of course,” he nodded.
“Did you hear about the Vatican’s basement being blown up?”
“Mother of God,” he whispered as he crossed, himself. “I don’t own worldly possessions. So I don’t get the news. What was damaged?”
“Don’t know,” Sookie replied. “Not much more than that have we heard. And OI was out ridin’ the storm and this,” she looked and pointed outside, “is bein’ pushed here and on up. You said you were not restin’ easy, you got anythin’ else? Any kind of vibe at all?”
“I get flashes of a male and female, battling until the death. I never see their faces. All I can see are their silhouettes.
They are backlit by this fierce storm in the distance that is raging right along with them.”
“Any idea what it means?” E.E. asked.
“None,” he said shaking his head. “I have to wake myself from my slumber at times, the violence feeling like I am going to be sucked into it.”
Sam sighed, “That sounds about right. I have had something similar happen to me the past couple of nights. I don’t remember a dream, just the violence. I wake myself up and I am filled with rage and wanting to fight.”
Sam glanced over at the small altar.
That was not lost on Eddy. It would be time to move on. “Would you be so kind as to keep me posted about the Vatican?” Eddy asked, his eyes lovingly looking at the small place of refugee he had created. “If some one was hurt, I will gladly say a prayer for them.
“Of course,” Sookie smiled at him.
“Alright,” Lafayette started toward the bar, “I am gettin’ the wine. I thinks I remembers where Sam keeps a bottle or two for those ladies too goods to drinks beer.”
“Wait,” Eddy called out to Lafayette. “I don’t think…”
“’Course you cans,” Lafayette turned to him, his voice was soft and assuring. “God knows what is in your heart and everyone elses. Don’t you be lettin’ the world judge yous,” he said pointing his finger at him. “‘Cause if you does that, you are always gonna’ fall short. They will personally see to it. Every last mo’ fo’n’ one of them.”
When Lafayette returned with the opened bottle and the crackers, they all got down on their knees.
Sookie looked at Sam as he kneeled, questions in her eyes.
“I haven’t been to church since I was declared a Supernatural,” he replied gruffly.
Then she looked at E. E.
He shrugged and said, “I will take whatever blessings I can get.”
“Myself as well,” OI was also on the floor on his knees.
“I,” Eddy wiped away his tears, “I am going to open with just a very small prayer,” he said, his hands trembling as he picked up the bottle and filled the cup.
Sam saw his friends out the door and watched as they disappeared into the storm. Going back into the bar, he watched as Eddy carefully packed his things into what looked to be a very old, heavily waxed waterproof bag.
“I thank you for tonight,” he smiled at Sam. “I know you did not approve. I will be moving on.”
“Eddy, two things I don’t hold with in my bar, that is dancin’ and preachin’. What you did tonight was neither one. Actually, it was kinda nice. I guess I missed that more than I thought. I am happy to keep you on and you can have a spot in the walk-in. I’ll do a time card for you. And what Sookie said about last call, if they want to have a beer and then stay for a prayer, I guess I am okay with that. But if anythin’ goes wrong, I am holding you responsible.”
“Thank you,” he smiled and then hugged him. “Thank you. Thank you,” he sobbed as he sat down on the floor, wrapping his arms around his knees, tears of joy flooding his face.
Sam patted him on the top of the head.
“I’ll get the floors, do not worry,” he smiled at him through his tears.
“Good night then,” Sam nodded to him. Opening the door, he pushed out against the storm and ran to his trailer. “Oh what the fuck…!” he yelled as he pulled his door closed and stood there with his back against it. “Just what the fuck…” he sighed as he stripped out of his wet clothes. “Who am I kiddin’. I am gonna’ need to build some sort of small building out back and maybe just a covering with benches. We will have Supernaturals from here to Florida lined up to have someone say a blessing over them. Not gonna’ be anything fancy,” Sam squinted his eyes. “No, not spendin’ any kind of money on this. It will be just a very small reminder of an old-fashioned brush arbor. It was good enough for the early Louisiana settlers, damn sure good enough now.”
At that time, Sam’s clock radio went off. “Brother Love’s travelin’ salvation show,” Neil Diamond sang.
“Well Were shit,” he said out loud. Looking heavenward he said, “I guess I’ll have to build a bathroom, also.”
When OI landed at the farmhouse, they off loaded and went into the house and dried off.
Sookie eyed Eric. “You convinced that it is not Eddy causin’ the storms?”
“Yes,” blue eyes looked back at her. “I think I am. He was just a sad, misplaced vampire. Now that he has his calling back, his life has purpose. I understand that.
And actually, the kind of energy you need to push this storm around, you are going to need something more than just him and the Pope combined,” he stressed.
“These storms, when they come back, it is with the same intensity that they left. That is just unheard of in nature. There should be some fluctuations, some variation in temperatures. But this, it is like it is the same storm every time it pushes through.”
“Like someone has it on continual loop?” Sookie asked. “It just keeps playin’ the same song over and over?”
“Something like that,” he replied as he eyed OI.
“Mo fo’n, Eric,” the dragon stood upright and replied, horror in his voice. “You think it is me?”
“I have only a very small drop of what you are,” he replied. “And it is damned impressive.”
OI looked indignant. “Ifs I wanted my big mans and me to have the days off, I’d just burns Baton Rouge to the ground. I would not be messin’ with this. I ams direct and to the points and not carin’ if I flies with the political correctness or not, ‘cause I do not! Flame on!” He snapped his talons, “And I would calls it dones.
But that’s a good call, though,” he grinned and pointed at Eric. “Suspect everyone is the dragon motto. I am proud and honoreds that you think so highly of me and my powers.”
“What did bring you here tonight?” Sookie asked.
“Coulds feel Erics movin’ this way and that and not restin’ easy with all these thoughts roamin’ rounds in his head.
Also, out in the wild, all kinds of questions floatin’ within the dragons bond. Berlin is frantic and keeps askin’ my brothers and sisters just where the fucks is Eric Northman and did he die in the blast? Berlin is hopin’ he did but not for real sures where to look if he did not.”
“That is fact,” Lafayette nodded. “You would not believe what has been comin’ across my blackberry! Berlin is yellin’ and screamin’ conspiracies. Eric is raisin’ an army! Eric is gonna’ burn Berlin to the ground. Eric is gonna’ unite The Clans and march against the English and crown himself king of England.”
They all had a good chuckle.
Then Lafayette was back to being all business. “With Baton Rouge shut down, Berlin is frantic for information, especially since that is the last place Eric was seen and no information is streamin from there. I understands they are interviewin’ all the Supernaturals that were there at the party. Haulin’ all those big muckety-mucks off to Berlin and wantin’ to know who Eric was with and were they lassoed tied. They called for all the photographs. Plenty of Mr. Eric’s, just the back of Miss Sookie’s head. Damn, just like there was a plan.”
“Yes,” OI nodded. ‘With such good and joyous times, just thoughts we would come on ups and have a face to face. No need for you to be missin’ out on all the fun,” the dragon snorted.
“My big mans, you learn anything useful from our out and about to Merlotte’s?” Lafayette asked.
“Just piece of mind. From Mr. Eddy came truths. He says that there is an even bigger storm brewin’ between a male and a female. A fight to the death from the sounds of it. Just hopes we all don’t drowns before we gets there. I am likin’ The House of Ole for nourishment. They serve the breakin’ the fast meal.”
“Lafayette, you guys off again, today?” Sookie asked.
“Yes, lightnin’ still bouncin’ around and takin’ down power grids here and there. Our buildin’ is still as cold and dark as a lifeless tomb emptied by the soul-suckin’ demons of the pit. No offense Mr. Erics,” he bowed his head to him, “for I am sures yours is a rich and princely thang with a nice roarin’ fire.
And I knows it sounds miserable stingy, but I likes bein’ off and not dispensin’ the law to those miscreants who looks to me for the correctin’ of their law breakin’ ways. The House of Ole is a good thang.”
“Amen,” OI said, placing his hand over his heart. Then his head shifted to one side. “I am listenin’ to the wind. The storm is breakin’ up. Time to get on back. Suspects we’ll be off with the new dark as well, but you gots to be seen in that town and there are eyes, everywhere.
‘Sides, I feels another Ole! moment comin’ on!” OI shouted to the heavens! “Maybe sangria with breakfast and margaritas for lunch. I likes bein’ off,” he shimmed all over.
“Yes, if we needs to be seen, they can just watch us there! Live and with alcohol in our hands! “
Ole!” OI and Lafayette both yelled.
“We’re gone,” Lafayette smiled as he zipped up his jacket. “Miss Sooks, if this weather keeps up, look into some kayak’n layers. Works famously! Kisses,” he pecked everyone on the cheek followed by great big hugs. Then they were out the door and gone.
“You know,” Sookie eyed Eric as she closed it against the wind and rain. “My life used to be sorta quiet until you came along.”
“Want to play truth or dare?” he grinned, holding up a bottle of tequila. “Only, if you take the dare, you have to drink.”
“When’s sunrise?” she asked, cocking that eyebrow at him.
There was evil laughter coming from Eric. “Three hours yet. And then who knows. Maybe it will be a non-life threatening event for me after a thousand years,” he smiled at her, wiggling his eyebrows.
Sookie looked at him and grinned. “I like tequila. As you can see, it is the only liquor I keep in the house.”
“Why Miss Stackhouse,” Eric’s grin got bigger. “That sounds like a challenge.”
“If it is tequila shooters, then we are playin’ by the Shot Glass Rules,” she said. “So lets go get them out of the kitchen. And maybe another bottle. Oh, and if I were to ask you somethin’ like have you ever been in the White House? You know I am speakin’ of the one and only. Not the one on 4th and Main.”
“Got it,” he nodded, arching an eyebrow at her. “I am to know that your generalizations are meant for historical people, places, events or things. That almost sounds like you are bending the rules a bit.”
“Cheating?” she drew back in dismay. “No, not me,” she shook her head. “And exactly,” she punched him in the chest with her finger. “I expect you to know what I am referencing. Oh, and if it’s a dare, you can’t ask the same question twice.”
“Mo’ fo’n, sounds like cheating to me,” he chuckled as they went into the kitchen and he got down two shot glasses. “Let’s start.”
“Do I get a glass?” King Eric asked, hope in his voice.
“No!” they both shouted at him.
“Mo’ fo’n,” he grumped. “Do I get to play?”
“No!” they both shouted at him again.
“So not fair,” he mumbled.
“Aw-w-w-w, poor thing…” and Sookie stopped herself and blushed as she started to pat Eric on the crotch.
“Why Miss Stackhouse,” the vampire laughed, batting his eyelashes. “Let the game, begin.”
During the course of the challenge they learned lots of things about each other. Sookie was fascinated at the places he had been and the people he had met. When she asked him personal questions about his vampire life, he mostly drank.
Eric was fascinated that she was very intelligent and yet had not ventured far outside the town’s city limits. She was very proud of herself that she had actually driven her car to Baton Rouge and had been to New Orleans. When he asked her questions about her personal life, she mostly drank.
At six, Eric began to shift around. “About thirty more minutes,” he said. “Then sunrise…”
“You know?” she asked. “Even with the clouds?”
“Oh yes,” he replied. “Only, now it feels different. I feel different.”
“You think that is the tequila talkin’?”
“No,” he gave her a small smile. “This is…different. I think I would like to sit outside on the porch. Watch the rain and even if it is a gray sunrise, I would like to see it all the same.”
“Well then,” she nodded, “the storm has let up. We will each grab a towel and dry off the porch swing and rock for a while.”
There were still traces of moisture in the air and everything was gray. Not that Eric minded. It reminded him of home; the fjords on a wind swept day. The drizzle falling. Not enough so you had to bail out the boat but enough to make you want to get home to a fire and inhale its warmth.
Sitting next to this woman, that is how he felt now, wanting to inhale her warmth as he overcame this major obstacle of his un-death and once more could look to the sky and the bright yellow orb that brought life to the world and death to vampires.
“I wish,” he heard her speak and turned to face her. “I wish, with something so personal, I wish you could just savor the moment by yourself.”
“Sookie,” he began, “I could not fathom that this moment would ever come again for me unless I was seeking the true death. I am pleased that you are here to share it with me. And if I do not survive it, I am pleased that you are here to share that with me as well. The sun is up,” he smiled as he stood and walked over to the edge of the porch.
“Yes,” Sookie nodded. “The birds have started singin’. A sure sign.”
Eric sat down on the top step, watching the world as it woke up. The slightest thing catching his attention as his eyes flitted everywhere.
He did know long he had sat there. He had shut down his internal clock, refusing to listen to the warning voices inside his head.
It was lovely. There were so many different shades of gray! And the bare trees glistened with the millions of drops of water that clung to them and reflected back the variations of colors in the bark.
The rain stopped but the clouds lingered and the sky was changing…light…and then he saw it! A ray of sunlight flitting through, like an eagle taking flight as it winged its way towards the water!
“Thank you,” he pressed his fingers to his lips and kissed them. “Thank you for Grandmother and Asta and Sookie. For the first light of a new day,” he trembled a bit as he brushed away the tears. He thought he had remembered the colors and in his down time, he would watch the sun rise…or push through after the rain…glisten on the snow…reflect off a pool of water…rise up out of the ocean! His brain had come close, but seeing with his eyes, he thought perhaps he had never seen a sunrise that was so beautiful!
Standing, he hoped he had not sounded too foolish. Looking at the swing, Sookie had stretched out and was asleep.
He could hear the rumble of the truck as it turned onto Hummingbird Lane. “Company,” he smiled as he shifted to his E.E. persona. He sat back down on the steps and waited. “Most good. Let us get this show on the road.”
The truck said Bailey’s Construction on the side. A man got out. Older. Eric liked that. He had researched this company. Always on time and on schedule.
“Mr. Bailey,” Eric stood as the man came up the steps. “I am E. E. Emory. Sleeping on the porch swing is Miss Stackhouse. It is her house you will be working one. You brought the new locks for the doors?” he asked.
“Yes, sir and the hot water heater. For the next three days we are not supposed to get rain. The bulldozer was right behind me as well as the roofing materials. We’ll get started on the drive. Pour the cement tomorrow, cover it while it cures. When the rain moves back in, that will be welcomed for the next several days. Now, I am lookin’ around, I think we could bring the roofin’ truck right on up this side of the house. Won’t get in the way of the driveway work. We’ll get that on today. My guys are the best metal roof layers in the business.”
“Good, I’ll wake Miss Stackhouse. And you brought the television?” he asked.
“Yes sir, in the back of the truck. John, Dave and I will get right on that.”
“Did you talk to the cable company?”
“Yes sir, they will be out today. I am expecting them as soon as they open for business at eight.”
“Excellent,” he smiled. “One moment please.
Sookie,” he lightly shook her. “I have a gift for you. Ear plugs,” he grinned. “That, and you are sleeping on the couch today. The workmen are here to get started.”
“What?” she sat up startled!
“The hot water heater is being brought in. Oh, and there is the equipment for the new driveway and roof. Roof will go on today as well. There is a break in the weather. Also, new locks for the doors. New windows, triple pain, argon filled, energy efficient. Really expensive to replace if one of them breaks so it is good you keep your shutters is such excellent repair. While the plumbers are here, if you have anything that drips or leaks, now would be the time.”
Eric could see it on her face, she just might be getting ready to explode! Obviously, she did not like being managed. Well, just too fucking bad. “No,” he shook his head, “Do not. Loose the grouch face. This is my payment to you. I am going to write a best seller. You would not believe all the material I have,” he grinned. “Inside. Have your coffee and we’ll eat breakfast as work goes on around us.”
“I have to work, tonight,” her voice matched the grouch face look as her yard and house became very active. “How am I supposed to sleep?”
“I told you, earplugs,” he grinned dangling them in front of her. “On the couch. So I may be present with my lap top.”
“Oh,” was all she said as the new hot water heater was carried in and she showed them where it was located. “Breakfast and then maybe some sleep. Maybe…” she watched the flat screen come in through the door. “Does that come with cable?” she asked.
“Just as soon as they open their office, they will be out. Now do you want it hung on the wall or…oh, here it comes. The antique low-boy that goes with your décor.”
“Oh, that is really nice,” she eyed the piece. “I like that. It is long and lots of drawers. Useful for keeping things in as well. You have nice taste.”
Eric bowed from the waist down.
“Against that wall would be nice, where the piano is,” she said. “Can you fellas move the piano against the staircase? No one plays anymore. And the TV could go right there.”
Eric smiled at them, held up a couple of folded twenties and nodded his head yes.
“Yes ma’am,” they said. “You just show us where you want it.”
Over breakfast, Sookie finished her list of things that leaked.
“What about the outside faucets?” Eric asked.
“Oh yeah, thanks,” she nodded as she added that as well.
After breakfast, Sookie yawned hugely, lay down and went to sleep. Eric sat in the chair and worked on his laptop. Occasionally he would nod to a workman as they went about their business. He was most pleased. There were no dawdlers or gawkers at Sookie as she snoozed on the couch.
Neither did they think that it was odd that he sat here working. Which was nice, because he found it very odd. He was a vampire that was sitting out during the day and not a trace of the bleeds or spontaneous combustion. Somehow, he had fallen down a rabbit hole and sat here all because long ago an Alice granny had a dragon lover. “Thank you, you grand and noble granny woman for not being bashful about interspecies mating,” he smiled as he kissed his fingers. “I now keep tequila in the drink me bottle, and I am able to sit here and work on my next best selling novel, just like every other human in the world.”
Sookie moved around a bit, punched her pillow and went back to sleep. Never was this little blonde Mad Hatter ever going to be late, again, he grinned at her. He just got a text from his mechanic, Ronnie. Sookie’s newest version of the ugly duckling car had been found and was now getting an overhaul. Tweety Bird yellow, Ronnie had called it. A Civic Honda…Eric shook his head in dismay. But that was just fine. Ronnie would work his magic and she would be able to out-run anything on the road.
There was a knock at the front door. “Yes,” Eric looked up.
“We have the wire run from the highway. We are ready to bring the cable on inside. We are going to need to drill a hole. Where should we put it?”
“Sookie,” Eric said out loud.
“What?” she said sitting up and rubbing her eyes.
“They need to drill a hole for the cable. Where?”
Sookie eyed the man and decided she liked her warm covers, better.
“You see where the TV is?” she said pointing.
“Yes ma’am,” he nodded.
“Go take a look outside and you tell me.”
“Yes ma’am,” he smiled at her and out the door he went.
“Is it lunch time?” she asked. “’Cause if I have been drinkin’ I wake up starvin’ and I am ready to eat.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Eric grinned at her.
“How are you doin’?” she smiled back.
“Good,” he nodded. “Really good.”
He felt the grin light him up, inside! Here was someone he could share his secret with! Someone who understood just what it meant that the sun occasionally peeked through and he reveled in it!
“Let’s go get somethin’ to eat. I could maybe still be just a tiny bit drunk,” she looked very serious then giggled.
“Yes, ma’am,” he walked over and helped her up. Taking her in his arms, he waltzed them into the kitchen.
“Told you he was gay,” Steve Boy said to Mikey as they came from the back porch where they had been checking the plumbing for the washer. “Who else waltzes a woman into the kitchen? Or anywhere?
And every time I would walk by, he would be checking out my ass. I caught him looking at me in the mirror and he winked at me. I don’t give off that vibe do I?”
“Well,” Mikey was thinking back, “when you use that perfumed bath soap.”
“Fuck,” Steve Boy hissed. “That only happens when the Dove is all gone. Then I have ten bottles of different smell good to pick from.”
“Yes,” Mikey smiled at him, “but you smell real nice all day and the next day as well.”
Steve Boy glared at him. “Cut the shit,” he whispered. “You know, sometimes I worry about my sexual preference on account of how much I like my pink t-shirt.”
“You look real good in that shirt and hell no that does not make you gay. And you should only get so lucky,” Mikey said looking around, once they were outside and out of earshot of all the other workers. “Hell, I’d blow him right now if he would do all this for me. He’s a best sellin’ author. He’s followin’ her around just like they are joined at the hip. This is her payment for lettin’ him in so close and personal.”
“How do you know that?” Steve Boy asked.
“I said to him that he looked familiar and did I know him from somewhere and then he told me.
That’s E. E. Emory. My momma was in love with him back in the 90’s. Most the women were.
I read his book, couple of years ago. Momma still had it sittin’ out on the coffee table. The sex scenes were really good as in you needed to jerk-off kind of way. And maybe I did. But the death scenes scared the bejesus out of me. I slept with a gun under my bed for months.”
“Well where in the hell did she meet him?” Steve Boy asked as he unlocked the truck.
Mikey was full of useful information and proud of it. Normally Steve Boy ran with the hottest gossip and news. “You heard of the Lord Authority Judge Lafayette Reynolds?”
“Yes,” Steve Boy was looking very serious. “I had some Weres runnin’ through my woods without my permission. They claimed immanent domain. Said their families had been doing it for generations. Went and saw the judge. He was more than fair.”
Mikey was nodding his head. “Heard that about him. That he was real fair to the humans, real grounded. That’s because he grew up poor here. He and Miss Stackhouse are friends. He introduced her to E. E.”
“I don’t see the connection,” Steve Boy replied as he took his lunch out of the truck.
“Reyonlds is gay,” Mikey took out his cooler. “As in a 20 on a scale of 1-10.”
“How do you know that?” Steve Boy looked at him. “You grew up in Shreveport.”
“Have a cousin,” Mikey sighed, “Willy the Third. These days he is just as pretty as they come.”
Steve Boy rolled his eyes. “Seriously,” he replied, “you name your boy that and how do you think he is gonna end up with all the kids calling him Willy the Turd? That boy is doomed…his choices are either wearin’ women’s shoes out in public or a serial killer.”
“Pretty much,” he sighed. “On the gay scale of 1-10, Willy is a 12. He and Reynolds used to date. That knowledge killed Willy the Second.”
“What?” Mikey chuckled. “You just went to the funeral of Willy the Second.”
“Yes, I know, but Uncle said that it was gonna kill him one of these days knowing that his boy….you know…did those kind of things to other males…and it finally did.”
“Good thing you are a most excellent plumber,” Mikey shook his head. “’Cause other wise I would think you were the dumbest cracker in Louisiana, especially now that your uncle is dead.”
“Hey now,” Steve Boy punched him on the arm. “Show some respect for the dead. That hushpuppy recipe I gave you. That was his.”
“Respects,” Mikey said taking off his hat. “To the up and gone best hushpuppy maker in the state of Louisiana.”
“Better,” Steve Boy said as he opened his thermos and the smell of hot chocolate wafted out. “What are you havin’ for lunch? I got fried bologna on white and looks like some ‘nanner puddin’ and of course, a bag of French onion potato chips that no one else in the family will eat. I do not care for them either, but it makes no never mind. The girls won’t eat them and Missy buys that big variety pack and nothin’ goes to waste so here I am. Just once, I would like a bag of Cheetos. And oh,” a bigger sigh came out. “And a peanut butter cookie. Missy knows those are not my favorite but the kids like them in their lunch. I remember when lunch cookies used to be about me,” he sighed again. “Yes sir. Gone are those days. I got a house full of girls. I am just damn lucky that my wife buys any kind of neutral smellin’ soap at all. I swear between perfumed this and that and female once a month things all over that bathroom, I am lucky that I still have a beard in the mornin’ to shave.”
Mikey was shaking his head and commiserating with his friend as he unwrapped his sandwich. Smelled like peanut butter. His little Robby Rabbit supervised lunch making these days. Him helping his momma make lunches for the family. And his little guy liked to spread peanut butter. Mikey was hoping someday Robby was gonna like to spread on grilled chicken or even better, fry a burger. Fried bologna was starting to sound good. “I helped you build that other bathroom onto the house so you would gets yours back. They still in yours?”
“You don’t have girls, you have no idea what that is like. If I need to shit and they need to shower, you can guess who is waitin’. I’m puttin’ in an out-house, next. Just for me. Maybe that way I can poo in peace.”
While Sookie tried to eat her left over pizza, Eric was pouring himself another shot of tequila and telling her verbatim the conversation that was going on at the plumbing truck. He did Steve Boy with a German accent and body posturing and Mikey with a French one who smoked and wore a beret that he kept fussing with.
She was laughing so loud, that tears were rolling down her face.
“Stop it,” she finally snorted out, wiping her eyes. “Stop it now!” she whooped in laugher! “I have got to eat,” she hooted as Eric wiggled his eyebrows and said, “Maa-a-ay-be, zat way,” he took a drag off a pretend cigarette and puckered his lips and blew out, “I can poo,” he made a loud farting sound with his mouth, “in peace,” he smiled and batted his eyelashes as he held up his pointer finger and middle finger in a V.
“Oh shit,” she giggled, as she pushed her empty water glass over. “Just a smidge of the blue agave. Then back to sleep. This is really smooth,” she sighed as she took a sip. “What brand did we buy?”
Eric picked up the bottle. “’Gators’ Finest.”
“No way,” she laughed, reaching for the bottle.
“Way,” Eric replied as he slid it over to her. “I put that into the search engine before we bought it. This agave plant is ready at 6-10 years. Poaching is a problem. Especially for this particular plant since it is the most rare. This farm, they release alligators at night into their fields, to keep poachers from harvesting their aging plants. Hence the name and why it is so expensive.”
“Damn,” Sookie took another sip. “Here’s to the Gator’s Finest,” she said as they clicked their glasses, together. “Now, my pizza is cold…one more time…into the toaster oven.”
Eric was eyeing the kitchen. Looked like she could use some new appliances in here as well. But that would probably mean a re-work of the electrical. Somewhere there was probably a fuse box that would blow if you turned on more than one thing at a time.
While she ate he checked his messages and made chit-chat. Her car would be ready in a couple of days and the on-line boards were lit up wanting to know where he was and speculating what had happened to him.
As soon as the workmen left the house, he was going to tie into his news feeds. If you wanted a pulse on Berlin, just watch the news. All the news.
After lunch, Sookie was back on the couch, covered up and eyeing the TV. The remotes were on the coffee table before her. One of the cable guys, his nametag said Ted A., which made Eric snicker, “So was there a Ted B?” as Ted A. was running through the channels making sure the signal strength was good.
Sitting down next to Sookie, Ted Not B began to explain to her how all of this worked: record, play back, on demand, and gave her the listing of all the cable channels. With a smile, he got up and left and was out the front door.
“He wants to steal my TV,” was all she said as she flipped through the premium channels magazine. “He thinks that while I am gone to work, he can just break one of my brand new windows and walk in here and take it.
He has not one flippin’ clue just how expensive windows are and what I have to go through to make sure they do not get broken.”
“We’ll see about that,” Eric grinned.
Sookie eyed him and said nothing. Holding up the magazine and pointing to a show she said, “Oh look, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is on. I know it is politically incorrect, but damn, I have seen this while visitin’ with Tara at her apartment in Shreveport. Joss Whedon always leaves you with somethin’ to think about and ponder.”
“Buffy it is,” he chuckled. “And before we leave for Merlotte’s tonight, we have a stop to pick up a couple of guard dogs.”
While Sookie watched, Eric had his lap top open and was streaming all the news channels and formulating ideas.
From time-to-time he would laugh along with Sookie at the show.
“I like the little blonde,” she said, turning to him. “She is feisty.”
Grinning, he nodded his head in agreement and then he was watching i24News out of Tel Aviv, Israel.
The afternoon progressed. Sookie said she was putting a time limit on herself for TV. No more that two hours a day. It was not going to take the place of her chair in the library. Then dinner rolled around and she went back to sleep.
Eric continued to monitor the events of the world that he had missed the past couple of days. Odd, not one mention anywhere of the blast at the Vatican.
At eight o’clock he said, “Sookie, wake up. We have to go unless you just want that ass wipe to walk off with your TV.”
Errand run, shower taken, dressed for work and out the door.
“You really think I should just leave a key under the mat? Is that too obvious?”
“He would have to get past your shutter to get to your window. You want your shudder as well as your window broken?”
“Hell no,” she stomped her foot. “I hope the dumbass thinks to look here first,” she said as she slid it under the mat. Standing back she took a good look around. “Porch light is on. Everyone knows that means I am not at home. Let’s go.”
Sookie was having a very fine night. E.E. did indeed shadow her, taking notes and making rough sketches as she went about her job.
Word had somewhat passed. Maxine Fortenberry knew Sookie was having work done on her house. She had search engined E. E. Emory. Yes, he was gay and Sookie had apparently fallen into a very sweet deal. She just hoped it all worked out for her. She had read his book back in the day. It was a keeper. The sex scenes were just the best. The murderin’ scenes, she thought maybe she could have written those just a bit juicer than he did but then, her she sat drinking a beer and there he went, taking notes, making sketches and using his cell phone for photos.
Sometime E. E. stood behind her, sometimes to her side and sometimes he walked backwards, taking photos of Sookie as she walked with her full tray or an empty one.
Right before midnight Sam took a phone call and then he hurried over to Sookie. “You need to get home, now,” he said. “There has been a break-in…” Sheriff Andy is there now with the perp. The perp called the Sheriff and Andy held up the phone so I could hear him screaming in the background.”
“Thanks Sam, sorry about leaving you short handed. Do you want me to come back?”
“No,” he shook his head, “this might take a while. Eddy is here. He can step in.”
When they got in the car, they both started to laugh.
“Glad we left the key out,” she chuckled as Eric started the car.
Before they reached her house, they could see the flashing lights.
“Oh,” she grinned, “looks like Andy and Kendra are waitin’ for us on the porch.”
“Most excellent, Miss Stackhouse. I do so love it when a very fine plane works itself to the benefit of all.”
Eric pulled in behind the cruiser. They got out and started walking towards the house. “Sheriff, Deputy,” she nodded her head to them. “What’s goin’ on?”
“There is a thief, inside. We…well we just though it would be for the best to wait for you before we arrested him.”
When she started to open the door, the law enforcement officers drew their guns.
“Really?” Sookie said. “Is he armed and dangerous and you are lettin’ me go in first?”
“Not the perp we are fearful of, Sookie.”
“Oh, you mean Rosco and Bosco?”
“I guess,” Andy replied as she opened the door and went in. “He’s in the kitchen.”
Making their way towards the heart of the home, Sookie stopped at the kitchen door and was shaking her head. “Why Ted A.? Did you break into my house?” she asked the male that was perched up on top of her Hoosier.
“Please,” he was pleading, “please. They can jump, they have been trying to pull me down from here…” he was crying.
“So, did you break into my house or not? Yes or no?”
“Of course I did,” he yelled.
There was a lot of hissing and snapping of jaws from the floor as Bosco took another lunge up into the air.
“Good boys,” she said to the gators. “Rosco, Bosco, come on boys, out the back door.” She made hissing gator sounds as they walked behind her to kitchen door and she let them out.
“Come on down from there,” Andy shouted at him.
“You sure its safe?” he asked.
“Inside the house, maybe,” Sookie said. “But now they have a smell of you, they are liable to find your car and use the tires for chew toys. They do that when they don’t get to feed.”
“Oh shit,” Ted A., sobbed. “I am drivin’ my momma’s car. You know, on CSI they make castings of tire marks. I did not want this to come back to me.”
“So they could put your innocent momma in jail,” Kendra said with a sad shake of her head. “Get your ass down here. You are under arrest.”
Sookie and Eric both waved to them from the front porch as the police car drove away.
“Very good, Miss Stackhouse, I must say I was impressed. You showed no fear at all.”
“Hey,” she looked at him and pointed her finger. “You said your dragon blood trumped their watered down alligator. You said you glamoured them to listen to the sound of my voice. Sure ‘nuff, you did. So I would say that the reptile world recognizes the original reptile and they all know that you are a lot meaner then they are.”
“You would be correct. Now what?” He asked.
“Sam was right. He is gonna have last call in about another forty-five minutes. No sense in goin’ back. You like chick flicks?” she asked as she picked up the TV guide.
“Mostly,” he nodded.
“Sometimes I get laid afterwards,” was said with enthusiasm from his crotch. “Hear, hear!” King Eric shouted. “Let’s find one and watch it!”
Eric whacked his ever-jubilant penis.
He continued the conversation as if nothing had happened. “Do you have a preference?”
“Not really, all of them is gonna’ be first run for me. So if you have a favorite and it is on, I’m good.”
“Oh, 27 Dresses,” Eric grinned. “Coming right up.”
“Katherine Heigl…” she heard the long, deep, sigh from King Eric.
Sookie turned her gaze on Eric. “Are we revisiting old love interests?” she asked, maybe a tinge of something in her voice.
“Of course not,” King Eric’s voice was shocked. “This big oaf is many things, but he would not look at another while he was with you. He would never demean you in such a way. When it comes to a woman and her company, he is faithful!”
“Safer that way,” Eric replied as he tuned in and whacked King Eric again, just for good measure and for giving away his secrets.
The movie was very entertaining. As was King Eric…he always gave the foreshadowing of a good part and boo’d the sister whenever she appeared on the screen.
When the movie was over Sookie grinned. “Thanks, that was nice. I liked all those dresses. And twenty-seven weddings,” she laughed. “All original and fun. Those would make for some good memories,” she smiled.
“How many weddings have you been, too?” he smiled at her.
“None,” she replied.
He did not know what to say to that.
“Sun is gonna’ be comin’ up eventually. How was your day?” she asked him, grinning.
Wiggling his eyebrows at her he replied. “I think my favorite thing was you walking out with the alligators following you.”
“What about your day walkin?” she asked, joy in her voice.
“Oh well,” he lifted his head and sat up taller. “You know, if you have seen one sunrise, you have seen them all.”
Sookie snorted and rolled her eyes at him. “So, no rain in the forecast. Come the magic hour of daybreak, you haulin’ my ass out of bed and takin’ me outside with you?”
“Absolutely,” he grinned. “You should probably get some sleep. They are pouring the driveway, tomorrow. It will be a lot quieter and it should not take all day.”
“Today is Halloween,” she said.
“Very appropriate,” he grinned. “I shall watch the sun rise on my first All Hallow’s Eve. And Spike was correct. Supernaturals stay home and behave themselves on this night. We are not the cliché. But I have to ask, are we trick-or-treating with the new dark?”
“Well, not house-to-house. But I have to get dressed-up. Sam likes to light pumpkins and howl along with his Halloween music.”
“Most excellent,” he replied. “I shall come as a world famous author. And you?”
“I’ll dig out my Glenda the Good Witch costume, again.”
“Oh,” was all Eric said as he fired off a text message.
“Time for bed,” she yawned as they headed that way. “Don’t forget the bottle.”
Eric hefted the Gator’s Finest. He seemed to average about one bottle a day. Of course, he was always up for sharing. He felt King Eric stirring. Hell, he was up right now. Get her to sleep and then he was going to get off. With her on top of him…pleasant thought but not exactly the top he had in mind. “Will have to do,” he grinned as he unscrewed the cap and had a drink while he sat on the bed and she went into the bathroom.
Yes, the Gator’s Finest…it lives on.
As always, thanks for reading!
Be blessed and be the blessing,