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Chapter 3

 

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

 

Saturday morning at the farmers’ market, Sookie and Lafayette did a brisk business.

“Damn,” Lafayette remarked. “Shoulds maybe be done and back headed for home by noonish.”

“That sounds good,” she smiled as she rubbed her tummy. “Emmy and I are ready for some food and a nap. And a potty. Lafayette…” she smiled at him.

“Go,” he pushed her away with his hands. “Embla Adele Lafayette looks like she is crossin’ her legs. I gots this. Shew! And use those nice ones in the fairgrounds main buildin’.”

“Thanks,” she called out as she hurried away.

“Mr. Reynolds,” Lafayette turned around to see a striking white-headed woman with a beautiful wooden cane standing in front of their table. “I am Mrs. Peoples. I am the business representative for the Jaqua’ard Hotel in New Orleans. Your soap had been brought to our attention and we have been giving it away to our top-flight guests. The results have been very positive. They do so like it as a parting gift. We also have plans to sell it in our gift shop. We would like to purchase all that you make.”

I don’t own the company,” he replied, pulling out his lawyer persona. “Sookie Stackhouse does. The amount varies from week to week, depending on how the goats are producing.”

“I understand,” she nodded. “I read your brochure. All things raw things that go into the soap come off the Stackhouse farm.”

“That is correct,” he nodded. “The milk, rose petals, rosemary, lavender and sunflowers. Obviously we purchase the olive oil and the lye.

Are you going to want it in a certain type of packaging?”

“Oh no, we will do the gift wrapping in our own branded paper. If you prefer to ship it to us in your pans, we will return them to you the same day the soap arrives.”

“Have you a price point in mind?” he asked.

“No,” she smiled and winked at him. “I was told by my boss to make this happen. You should cost it all out to include taxes. I believe it is customary to then to triple that amount. As badly as the marketing group wants this, I think you could safely push that to five times the amount. Like I said, it tested very well. Here is my card. If you would please, I would like the rest of what you have. We have clients leaving tomorrow and they have asked about this. I believe this should cover it,” she smiled at him as she handed him five one hundred-dollar bills.

“Yes ma’am,” he said pocketing her card and then went to work providing for the lady her purchases.

Lafayette handed her the cellophane bag filled with soap. Reading the card she smiled. “The Angel’s Kiss: Soap by Emmy Adele Lafayette. Modern yet old-fashioned. I like it,” she smiled at him and taking her purchase walked off.

When she was out of sight, Lafayette took the card out of his pocket and read it. He began taking down their stand as he thought about the ramifications of what had just happened. “Fuck,” he fought back the tears. “We really are gonna be all right. Hallelujah and thank you Jesus,” he shouted to the sky! All those around him smiled and applauded as he continued, smiling, his soul getting ready to burst!

“What’s going on?” Sookie asked when she returned and saw their place was vacant. “We been kicked out?”

“Sold out,” Lafayette smiled. “Get in the truck. I got news. Of the best sort.”

“Okay Lafayette, you are crying and you are scaring me. What is going on?”

“Where do you want to go for lunch?” he asked pulling the five one hundred-dollar bills out of his pocket and handing them to her.

“Ah-h-h,” she looked at the money and then at him. “I guess we could afford the Golden Corral today,” she yelled and waved the money around.

“Oh, this is not the good news, no ma’am not even close,” he was still crying as he handed her Mrs. Peoples business card and began to explain.

 

Over lunch, Lafayette kept shaking his head, no. “No Sookie, we need a business plan. We have to cost this out from the goats’ food to our labor. When we are just farm hands, a smaller amount, but when we are soap chefs, that is skilled labor. Plus shipping and handling, times five whatever our bottom line is.”

“I am going to cry in my soft serve ice cream and get my bread pudding soggy,” she sniffled.

“You just go ahead, his La La Fineness is gonn’a do the same. Now, once that is done, I will call Mrs. Peoples and we shall chat and she will send us a contract. How much milk we got in the freezer in the shed?” he asked.

“It’s full,” she replied. “Gallons. I don’t know exactly.”

“Close enough,” he nodded. “Today we are making soap. As soon as we get that contract, we are shipping. If this is the real deal, I am quitting Merlotte’s and I am gonna be fulltime Poppi-La La. So just adjusts.”

“I can do that,” she smiled and then the tears began to run down her face.

They made soap that Saturday afternoon. That night, they did their spread sheet and business plan.

“Sunday is a day of rest,” Sookie said at nine. “I am going to bed. I will be up to eat and take care of morning business. You, sir, are to do whatever.”

 

July, August and September slipped away. With the first of October, Sookie started once a week baby appointments. Emmy was due on Halloween. Sookie was beginning to think that just might happen. Not that it mattered. She had insurance, now. So did Lafayette. The old farm truck had received a major overhaul. She was pretty sure they could make it to the moon and back if they had too.

They had tried out the baby seat in the front between them. That worked just fine. They were ready.

 

“Lafayette,” Sookie said on the 5th of October. “We keep having this conversation. Let’s advertise for someone to come in and help you during the first month, at least. If the baby is more than I thought, she or he can work the first three months. That takes us up to the New Year.”

“Maybe,” he said. “We gonna give them insurance?”

“Yes,” she nodded pulling out their plans until the first of January. “I can certainly live on a thousand a month. Easy. Way past easy. No way in hell are we touching our capital. I mean it.”

“We are partners, correct?” he said in his lawyer’s voice.

“Yes, of course,” she made a face at him.

“Then we split our money between us evenly.”

“I am not taking any of your salary,” she said, steel in her voice.

“You don’t scare me with that momma voice,” he chuckled. “We will hire someone else and we will split our monies down the middle. You give me half of yours and I will give you half of mine. There is not one way of having ice water in hell around this.”

“Fine,” she said resigned.

“Goods,” he kissed her on the nose. “Looks like the baby has dropped. Miss Emmy is preparing for her grand entrance!”

 

At 0330, the bewitching hour, on the 31st of October, Embla Adele Lafayette Stackhouse was born. She was 7 lbs and 3 ozs.

“All good and Godly signs,” Lafayette cried when he cut the cord. “That baby girl was born on all of God’s magic numbers!”

 

Carol Sue Hoover was hired to take Sookie’s place in the soap making business. Because she had two in grade school, she came in as soon as the boys went to school.

“Miss Carol Sue,” Lafayette addressed her on the second week. “You knows you got dental and glasses with your insurance?”

“Yes,” she nodded as she had her soup for lunch.

“Woman, La La is not one to mind his own business. You go get those broken teeth fixed. And you take Ron and Ray to get their eyes checked. Saw them the other day trying to see the goat I was talkin’ about. They need glasses. Go. You go today after you pick them up from school and get this started. We will cover the deductible for the dentist and the eye doc. Make this happen.”

“Yes sir,” and Lafayette thought he saw the ghost of a smile. Yes, she had a few rotted teeth. And a few broken ones as well. Her husband had been a mean bastard that was killed in a bar fight.

“Miss Sooks and I,” he thought as he watched the woman eat her soup, “we can live just fine on what we are makin’. That baby is gonna take more than three months. She is gonna take a lifetime.

Miss Carol Sue will just be workin’ her very own job right here.”

When Lafayette went in for dinner, Sookie was stirring a pot on the stove. “Making some pumpkin soup to go with the pork roast. What do you think?” she offered him a taste. “Does it need a hint more of cinnamon?”

“Nope,” Lafayette shook his head. “Is delicious. Now where is that angel’s kiss?”

“In her crib. She is sleeping and don’t you…” and it was too late as Lafayette was through the kitchen door and was back with her sleeping on his shoulder. “I’ll just sits and rub her back and you just continue on with your cookin’.”

“How is Carol working out?” she asked.

“Good. I sent her home today with the message to get her teeth fixed and those boys some glasses. Her too if she needs them. Told her we would pay the deductible.”

“She still eating soup?” Sookie asked.

“Yes, thinks that is all she can chew. But that is about to be fixed. And his La La fineness has made an Executive  Partner decision. She is staying and you are well….whenever…we live and eat just fine off our money.”

“We do,” Sookie nodded. “Even have a little left over so you can take a weekend off and go somewhere.”

“Hm-m-m,” was all he said as he nuzzled Emmy.

“What color do you think her hair is going to be?” she asked.

“You mean besides being bald like me,” he chuckled. “She looks good bald. Just like her Poppi-La La, don’t you my little angel’s kiss.”

“Oh, she is beautiful,” Sookie agreed. “But babies do grow hair…eventually. You think her eyelashes and eyebrows are strawberry blonde?”

“Yes, not a redhead. Not a blonde. More than a blonde. Strawberry blonde, Momma Sookie, I think that is gonna’ be it.”

There was a knock on the front door.

“I’ll go get it,” he said.

Sookie heard, “Come on in here and bring those boys. We are gettin’ ready for dinner. Come on in and sit yourself down.”

“Hi Carol Sue,” Sookie stepped out of the kitchen. “You are just in time for dinner. Come on in,” she smiled and went over to greet her.

“That is so kind,” the small woman smiled with her mouth closed. “It is just that I went by the dentist and the eye doc. This is how much the deductible is gonna be. I just wanted to okay it first,” she said, handing the papers to Lafayette.
“We got this,” he said handing the papers to Sookie who set them aside. “Now you boys come on in and wash up. Dinner is served.”

 

There were some days Sookie could not believe when Lafayette showed up and it was dinnertime. “The day just slipped away,” she smiled at him as he took the baby. “Good thing I did crock pot chicken bake. She was gurgling this afternoon and I just gurgled right along with her,” Sookie smiled as she kissed Emmy on her feet.

“M-m-m-m hm-m-m-m, I see my baby girl is wearing Stuart Weitzman’s today,” he grinned at her and she blew bubbles at him. “Never too young to start them out in the very best!”

 

Thanksgiving slipped into place and Carol Sue and the boys came for turkey and all the fixings. They had Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off. Lafayette had cooked with all the fixings. When she left, he sent her home with a complete turkey dinner and pay for the three days she had not worked. “We get paid holidays when we can,” was all he said to her when he handed her the check. “The business is doing just fine. Gonna be picking up a bit for the Christmas season. So, come back on Monday prepared to work. If you know someone who needs a job and who can keep your hours, or earlier ones if they gots no littles in school, we’ll talk.”

“Thank you,” was all she was able to get out as she hugged him. Hugging her back, he helped her to load the food and the boys into her truck. Waving them off, he looked around and sat down on the front porch.

Sookie stuck her head out. “You need a minute?” she asked.

“I told Carol with Christmas comin’ on, we were probably gonna need another person to help out. Maybe run a shift and a half.”

“Sounds good,” Sookie nodded.

“I know her momma is in a bad way. Lost her job at the motel. Not old enough to draw her Social Security.”

“Okay…”

“Sookie, we are usin’ all the milk we get. Weekends puts us a bit ahead, but…”

“But not enough to give her full-time employment.”

Lafayette nodded.

“Okay, so this is why we have capital. Right? Maybe it is time we build onto the goat shed and buy a few more Nannies. And maybe a Billy. But a few more milkers for sure, to start. That would give us enough to take on another employee.”

“Let’s work that,” he said nodding. “But not tonight. Today we is eatin’n and restin’ and nappin.”

“Sounds good,” she replied as she watched Emmy sleep. “Sounds very good.”

 

Carol started coming out on weekends, giving those week hours to her momma. Her boys loved being out on the farm. Sookie would hear her truck pull in and she would smile and continue nursing Emmy.

Mr. Hyett was an older man closer to forty than he was to thirty, who was a carpenter by trade, long retired. He had lost an arm but still knew his way around a saw and how to calculate angles. Carol’s boys, Ron and Ray were enchanted as they helped Mr. Hyett build the add-on for the new goats and do other fixer-upper chores.

“Smart boys,” he would say as they would hold the tape measure and sound out the numbers. “Really smart boys. Proud to say I know you!”

On those mornings, at around eight, Lafayette would have breakfast ready and he would go out and ring the bell. The boys would come running, with their glasses on their noses and a smile on their face.

Carol was smiling a lot more herself now that her teeth were fixed and her mouth no longer hurt.

Mr. Hyett was a good man. A little lost from time to time since he could no longer earn a living at what he had loved.

Sookie watched her extended family over breakfast. They could hire a part-time fix-it man and his two young helpers. If the Christmas season was really busy… “No,” she told herself. “We cannot get ahead of ourselves. And we cannot hire every stray that crosses our door.”

Well she was almost right about that. Later that week a large ugly dog appeared and settled on the front porch. He and his buddy, a smaller and uglier dog waged their tails and greeted her with rolling over on their tummies.

“Stop it,” she said as she scratched their bellies. “You two look a bit on the thin side. Wait here and I’ll get you something to eat.”

And that was all it took. They looked at her adoringly and Sookie sighed and put them out food and on the payroll.

 

Brownie and Blackie ruled the yard. Their job was to escort who ever was up, out to the barn. They could herd goats and chickens. They walked the stalls with you and had chased foxes away from the chicken yard. Not that Sookie had ever been scared living out in the country, but she felt comfortable knowing that B&B would call out the alarm.

And when Ron and Ray came out with their momma, there was the happy sound of dogs and boys coming from all over the yard.

“We need dog houses built?” Lafayette asked.

“Don’t know that we can move them off the front porch”, she replied. “We’ll see how it goes. I wonder if they are house broken?”

Lafayette said nothing, just lifted his eyebrow. “They stay out of my kitchen.”

“Got that,” she nodded as she took Emmy from him and went to work on the business plan for January.

 

Christmas came calling! Sookie, Lafayette, Emmy, Carol and her two boys and her momma Francy; Mr. Hyett and Blackie and Brownie had their pictures taken in Santa elf costumes. They had a Christmas party and everyone got a gift certificate and a holiday bonus check!

The dogs got beds in front of the fireplace. They were enchanted with Emmy and she was enchanted with them!

 

On the fifth of January there was a knock on the front door. She could hear the man talking to the dogs as he waited.

When she opened the door the dogs came in and sat down beside her.

“Good morning,” he began, “I am Griffin Styles and I work for FarFlung Communications,” he said handing her his card. “Miss Stackhouse, we pulled the plat maps for the county and your land is prime location for a cell tower we would like to build.”

“Saw the truck,” Lafayette said as he came up the porch steps. “Miss Sooks, we gettin’ cable?”

“This is my business partner, Lafayette Reynolds.

Not cable, a cell tower,” she said looking at Lafayette. “This is Mr. Styles of FarFlung Communications.”

“Yes ma’am. If I might explain. I have brought a contract with me.”

“Contract?” she asked.

“We would like to build a cell tower and rent the land from you.”

“You mean you would pay me?” she sound a bit shocked and yet pleased.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Come on in,” Sookie said. “Lafayette is my lawyer. You talk to him and I will listen. We are gonna need your bona fides.”

The meeting lasted an hour. It was all straightforward. They had the area picked out. They would not cut down any trees. Sign here, here, and here.

When he left, Sookie sat staring at the contract.

“Three thousand dollars a month!” Sookie was still in shock. “And more as their network expands just for having that ugly tower on the back forty.”

“You know what we could do with that three thousand Miss Sookie,” Lafayette grinned.

“We could farm it until all that money is gone,” she grinned.

“Yes ma’am. Plant maybe an acre of sunflowers. Grow more rosemary and lavender. Once we get up and runnin’, we are gonna need someone to manage that.”

“You think Mr. Hyett is lookin’ to farm?” she laughed.

Lafayette smiled. “Well, let us just say he is lookin’ and Miss Carol is lookin’ right back. If he is gonna’ take on those two boys and maybe have one of his own, he is gonna’ need full-time employment.”

 

On the night of the 20th of January, Lafayette’s phone pinged. Incoming was all it said.

Lafayette waited out in the goat barn.

“Nice,” Pam nodded as she looked around. “Improvements. Good investment on your money,” she said, her voice bored.

“What?” Lafayette glared at her.

“Save it,” she said as she picked up a baby goat. “You have money and now you need a financial planner. Sell the lady of the house on that idea,” her voice took on a slight tone of command. “Tell her you know just the guy.”

“And do I?” Lafayette glared at her.

“Oh yes,” she smiled. Then her voice became silky and a bit cold. “You can tell her whatever you like but he is a vampire. A very old vampire and Eric’s brother. He believes Emmy is Eric’s daughter. Always has. It is his hotel chain that uses your soap and his telecommunications company that has built that cell tower. He wants to help you invest for the long-term. Lafayette, you need to go back to Tulane and Sookie needs to be independently wealthy. So just get over yourself and make this happen.”

“How do I know he is just not one of your good time rip off artists?”

“Because,” a voice said behind him, “my God and your God, Lafayette, would not allow for this.

Good evening,” he bowed his head. “I am Samuel Da’vid. In vampire circles, I am a myth, a legend, a thing that goes bump in the night.  Silly vampires,” he grinned.

“I can assure you I am most real. I saw Moses walk with God’s strength across the Red Sea as Pharaoh’s army drowned in their pride and arrogance. I know money markets and Eric, my brother who is well…let us just say rash…correction…foolish for listening to his child about the affairs of his heart. And his ego is the stuff of legends and his pride does go before his fall. Baby Emmy is living proof.”

“Brother Samuel,” Pam bowed her head. “I thought I was going to do the preliminary meet and greet for you?”

“Yes,” he nodded. “But when you represent me, you do not do it with rudeness and contempt. Behave yourself or you are excused.”

Nodding her head, she took a step back and Samuel stepped in.

“Pam played for me the recordings of the night Sookie saw Eric in the mall. What he said to her was unforgivable. Someday he will realize his mistake.”

“You got time right now?” Lafayette asked. “Miss Sooks, she is rocking the baby. You can explain all this to her.”

Pam nodded. “I have to…”

“Make the introduction,” Samuel said. “Part of you penitence, child of my brother.”

“She is not going to let me in the house.”

“Perhaps not you,” Samuel replied. “But I have met her once before, albeit, briefly. Eric spoke nicely of me and I was my charming self.

Please,” he smiled at Lafayette, “may we proceed?”

“Aw-w-w-w,” Lafayette looked from one to the other. “You know, we don’t talk about Emmy’s bona fides. Supes have got uncanny hearing. I know you must have somthin’ in place.”

“The cell tower,” Samuel replied. “It gives off a white noise effect. It was noticed by many and my top engineer commented it was intentionally done so that the structure does not disturb any natural habitat. We may be metal and ugly but we are environmentally friendly.”

“There is some shit I just don’t wants to know,” Lafayette said. “This way.”

 

“Sookie,” Lafayette called out when he entered the door. “We have company.”

“Who is it?” she asked as she got up and started toward that way.

“Oh,” was all she said when she saw Pam.

“Good evening Miss Stackhouse,” Pamela said, bowing her head, “I would like to introduce you to Samuel Da’vid.”

Samuel stepped up and into the light of the door.

“Miss Stackhouse,” he said with a smile and bowed his head.

“Mr. Da’vid,” she smiled at him. “Good evening. A pleasure to see you again.”

“Sookie,” Lafayette said taking the baby, “the story is interesting. He is our kind benefactor. Owns the hotels we sell to. Also the cell tower in the lower forty. He wants to help us invest.

He also saw Moses partin’ the Red Sea and he is Northman’s brother. He believes Eric is our Emmy’s daddy.”

Nodding in agreement, the small vampire smiled.

“Samuel please come in,” she smiled in return.

“I’ll guard the house,” was all Pamela said as she began to depart.

“Would you like to see the baby?” Sookie asked.

“Thank you, yes please,” a much humbler Pamela replied as she came in the door.

The questions started the moment Pam entered. “What shade of blue are her eyes?” she asked as she stared at the baby intently and Emmy stared back. “They…they are the same shade as Eric’s but have silver flecks in them. Or are they silver with blue flecks?”

“We think about fifty-fifty,” Sookie replied as she kissed the baby on the head.

“And her hair is…strawberry blonde? judging from her eyebrows and eyelashes because that baby is bald,” Pam sounded a little shocked.

“Yes,” Sookie nodded, “right now she takes after her Poppi-La La. Hard to say who she is going to take after as she grows.”

“Please pardon my lack of manners,I thank you for you kindness,” Sookie addressed Samuel. “You have made all this possible for us. Please, won’t you sit down?”

Samuel sighed. “Thank you,” he said, taking a seat and indicating for Pamela to do likewise next to him. “My brother is many things. Stubborn is one of things on that list. Sadly, once he has made up his mind…” Samuel shook his head. “Of course, then his pride and ego rear their ugly heads that is when I am normally left just shaking mine.”

“I would love to ask you about Moses,” Sookie smiled. “But maybe some other time. I know folks pay a lot of money for your time. You would probably like to get started.”

Emmy sat in Sookie’s lap as Sookie explained about their soap making business . The baby watched everything going on around her. She would smile and laugh and windmill her hands and feet around. Her eyes would from time-to-time settle on Pam but clearly Samuel held her interest.

“May I see your books?” Samuel asked after Sookie had finished.

“Of course,” she nodded. “They are not very impressive. I enter everything into a ledger. Here Lafayette,” she stood up and started to pass the baby to him. But instead, Emmy held out her arms toward Samuel and jabbered away, smiling the entire time.

“May I?” he asked timidly and with a great deal of respect.

Sookie stared at him for long minutes while Emmy continued to babble and coo at Samuel. “Yes,” she nodded and handed the baby to him. “We can sit at the dining room table. That is my office.”

While they talked, Emmy played with Samuel’s hair the entire time, until she finally fell asleep on his shoulder.

“She was fascinated by your hair,” Sookie grinned as she leaned over and kissed her on the  nose. “How do you get it to curl like that?”

“It is natural. And because I am so old, this type of curly had not yet been breed out of the human gene pool.”

“Well, it is lovely,” she smiled at him. “You want me to take her?” she asked.

“No, please,” and Samuel held her that much closer. “Do…do you mind?’ he asked.

“No, I trust you with her. It’s just that she is getting to be a solid little lump.”

Samuel chuckled. “She is fine. Now, let us talk finances.”

Samuel laid out investment ventures. “You have to have money to make money is my mantra,” he repeated several times during his briefing.

 

When he had finished, Sookie closed her eyes, took a breath and said. “Samuel, I appreciate what you have done for us. I do, truly. But Mr. Hyett needs a prosthetic arm. You know, one that will work with him. Until I get can get enough money together for that, we are thinking about a little tiny backhoe so he can clean out the stalls and he can take that out to the pecans trees and other places so we can use it for fertilizer. Maybe a little tiny tractor. He can plow and put in maybe a half-acre of sunflowers and other things we put in our soap.

I am the first one to tell you, I would just much rather bury our money in the back yard. That way I know where it is and I don’t worry about a bank closing its doors.”

During Sookie’s briefing, Pam had sat there at times, with her mouth open as she talked about her staff.

“Sookie,” she finally could not contain herself any longer, “this is not about providing for every poor breather in the county. This is about taking care of you and the baby.”

“Child,” Samuel turned his attention to her. “You are excused.”

“Thank you Sookie for allowing me into your home,” Pam said as she stood. “Goodnight,” she bowed her head and she was gone.

Samuel smiled at Lafayette. “We need to get you off of her payroll.”

Lafayette shrugged. “I don’t mind her bullshit,” he whispered. “Sorry angel’s kiss for saying such a bad word around you,” he smiled at the baby. “But I agree with Miss Sookie. My momma is in a nice place. I know a male nurse there. He sees to it that she does okay. I only have to pay Pam in information. If I had money to pay for Momma, I would still pay Pamela in information and use that money to go back into the business. When my momma was herself, she would tell me La La with privilege comes responsibility. I have a chance to do some good. I am going to take it.”

Samuel regarded the two adults who had lived a life of having little but with great responsibilities. “I understand that. So here is what I am thinking; you two are going to start your employees slow and easy. A very small 401K….if they put in ten dollars out of every paycheck, we will match it with ten dollars. So at the end of the year they would have two hundred and forty dollars. Which, at that time, they could use for Christmas money or, they could continue to let it build interest. You would encourage them to let this build as a retirement fund, but…” Samuel shrugged. “I understand. Sometimes it is difficult to see the future.

Thank you,” he smiled at Sookie and kissed the baby on top of the head. “This evening has been most delightful. If you need anything, anything at all, please call me,” he said handing her his card.

“Peterson’s Investments,” she said reading it out loud.

“Yes,” he grinned. “My father’s name in Ancient Hebrew is a derivative of Peter. So, Peter’s son. Actually, that was Eric’s idea.”

“He is capable of having them,” she smiled.

“Miss Sookie, would you object if I were to take a photo with Emmy?” he asked politely.

“Of course not. Hand me your phone and show me which button to push. Okay, now turn your body just a bit toward me and you look at Emmy and wa-la,” she grinned showing it to him. “What do you think?”

“Thank you,” the smile covered his face as he handed the baby back to her. “Rest well this evening.”

Sookie walked him to the door. Down the steps Samuel went and found Pamela waiting for him. “I could not hear anything you said,” and there was a bit of awe in her voice.

“Of course not,” Samuel regarded her. “My engineers are the best in the business.”

“The baby, she is a beautiful little thing,” Pam admitted. She had come prepared to hate all of them. Now, maybe not. “I was out visiting with the goats. There are a couple of babies that wear little goat pajamas. Oddly, I am strangely attracted to them.”

“Baby goats are cute,” Samuel replied as they walked off. “Most baby things are cute. Except for snakes and scorpions. I kill both with equal abandon.”

“Myself as well,” Pam nodded and vamp speed they were gone.

 

Sookie talked up investing with her people. “Peterson’s Investment Group,” she said. “I know ten dollars out of your paycheck is a chunk of change. But we will match that for a year if you leave it in place. Next January will start the new fiscal year. That way, if you want Christmas money, you will have some.

You know me. I am not going anywhere. This is not mandatory, just an option.

Moving on. I talked with Mrs. Peoples. They like the soap. So much so, they are going to start offering it in their hotels in London, Paris, Rome and Tokyo. If you know someone who needs a job, you know what needs to be done and can tell them. We do whatever needs to be done to make all this happen.”

 

By the end of the first week in February, Mr. Hyett was working full-time. The very small backhoe did indeed clean the stalls.

And Lafayette had hired another full-time employee. Sookie was staring at the employment paperwork. “Seriously?” she looked up at Lafayette from the dining room table.

“Yes,” he nodded. “We both know Arlene is a hard worker. She grew up on a farm. Hell, she can even milk a goat by hand. She showed me. Apparently she used to milk cows. Knows all about the milking machines. Knows how to sanitize and everythin’. She is all good with working the manure into the flower beds, willin’ to do whatever it takes to get her forty hours in.

Sooks, she needs the health insurance. Mikey has developed asthma. They can’t afford the meds, let alone the E.R. visits when he can’t breathe.”

“Lordy,” she wiped at her eyes, “yes, of course.”

“Good, cause she is out there right now,” he smiled at her. “Done signed her up on the family plan. I told her you would put that in place, today.”

“Yes,” she nodded, “I’ll call. As a matter of fact, I’ll do it right now.”

At the end of the day there was a knock at the door.

“Come on in,” Sookie called out, burping Emmy as she went. “Arlene, hey it is good to see you.”

Sookie and the baby were both wrapped in a hug as Arlene bawled. “It’s okay,” Sookie kept repeating. “It is gonna be okay.”

“Oh Sookie,” she drew back, her mascara running down her cheeks. “You just don’t know how much I appreciate this.”

“Come to my office,” she laughed as she went back to the dining room table. “Here is your temporary insurance card. I printed this one out. You will be getting the real thing in the mail. Now, I talked with them. You call and talk with them. But you can get your scripts filled and you can also get a breathing machine and the meds to go in it to use at home. And one to take to school as well. There is no co-pay. This is all-inclusive. So anyone asks you for money, you just have them call the insurance company. It is all here in this packet that Brilliant Life sent me.”

“Thank you Sookie,” she started crying again.

“It’s gonna be okay,” she said hugging her. “Now, you may want to use the bathroom to fix your makeup?”

“Don’t care,” she hiccupped. “I’m gonna cry all the way home. Get those scripts and go get them filled. And I can get one of those breathin’ machines?”

“Yes, a nebulizer. It’s all in there.”

“Thanks,” she sniffled. “My gosh she’s grown. It does not take long. Looks like she is gonna be a strawberry blonde.”

“Yes,” Sookie nodded, “I have been told by her Poppi-La La that eyebrows and lashes do not lie.”

 

 

The old farmstead was a busy place. There were always people coming and going. There was no time clock, they policed themselves, with Lafayette keeping a careful eye on all. Once a day, Sookie went out and watched the soap making process, or the curing or working in the gardens. If it was a nice day, Emmy was in her Snugglie helping her mother with chores.

 

A drying shed had gone up and plants were left there to cure and become useful ingredients in the ongoing soap making process.

By the end of February, Emmy had a full head of hair. It was strawberry blonde and there were thousands of pencil size ringlets all over her head.

“M-m-m-m,” Lafayette said as he took a selfie with the baby. “Takes after her Uncle Samuel.”

“Sure does look like it,” Sookie chuckled as she took her back, wrinkled her nose and went to change her diaper.

 

The first of March, Sookie had a gentleman caller. When she answered the door, there stood Sam Merlotte. Blackie and Brownie sat on either side of her. Their noses pressed to the screen, low rumbles in their throats.

“Why Sam,” she regarded him. “What a surprise. I have not seen you since before Emmy was born.”

“I know,” he nodded as he stood there with flowers in his hand. “And I apologize for that. I just did not know if the baby’s father was coming back or not. So I just stayed away. The little one is what, four months old now?”

“Yes,” she nodded.

“You look good Sookie,” he smiled at her. “Being a momma sits well with you.”

“Yes, it does,” she eyed him. “Sam, I just gotta say, what are you doing here? I am surprised and then some. Last time I was in Merlotte’s you told me that you did not serve unwed mothers. Gave your establishment a bad name. People might think you were running a whore house.”

“Sookie, come on, give cut me some slack,” he whined a bit. “I only said that because Pastor Shubert was sitting there. He brings the entire congregation in the second Sunday of every month for pie and coffee after church.”

“Well good,” she smiled at him. “Now I have had a day and it is almost eight. I just got the baby down and now it is my turn. Thank you for stopping by, but whatever you are selling, I am not having any part of it.”

“Look,” he leaned into the screen door and the dogs now had a distinct growl. “Just because you no longer drop the g’s at the end of your words does not make you a college graduate. And maybe you are running a nice little business here, but you can’t afford to keep this up. You pay these people way too much money. You must be hemorrhaging in the red, about to go under. Now, I thought I would offer to let you sell to your suppliers my wild turkey jerky. And when we would need more meat we could slaughter one or two of your goats and use their meat as well. I was thinking something like an 80/20 split. I would get the eighty percent because I would be making it.”

“You are a cheap-assed, righteous bastard,” Sookie glared at him. “And no,” she said, most seriously as she closed the door and went to get ready for bed. “Slaughter my goats!” she growled, “I’ll turn him into a toad and fry his legs for dinner! Cheap-assed bastard!”

Lafayette was coming back from the barn when he saw Sam coming down from the steps.

“Hey Lafayette,” Sam called out. “Long time no see. Sure do miss you in the kitchen. Just want you to know your job is still there if you ever want it back.”

“Thanks,” Lafayette nodded.

“I mean that,” Sam smiled at him. “How long do you think you will still be working here?”

“Until they carry me out feet first,” came his reply.

“Oh come on,” Sam laughed. “You make soap and sell soap. I have seen you at the markets and fairs. And you are offering your employees heath insurance? Whose credit card are you putting that on?”

“Mine,” Lafayette smiled at him. “I get miles that way.”

“Wow, well okay,” Sam replied. “Now I am going to a real job. Anytime you want one, let me know.”

“I’ll be sure and not do that,” Lafayette replied as he watched Merlotte walk off.

Going in the house, Lafayette eyed Sookie who was ready for bed and rocking the baby.

“What the fuck?” he mouthed.

“He wanted to slaughter the goats so he could make jerky and we could sell it to our buyers. 80/20!”

“Do I need to start sleepin’ out in the barn?” he asked.

“No, the dogs will give warning if something is not right. And I am here to tell you, Sam is not right.”

Lafayette started laughing. “He always wanted to ask you out. But you worked for him. Then you were pregnant and did not work for him. I think he is taking the maybe we can partner up and then we can partner up approach. As in ride’m you nasty cowboy.”

“Maybe but I told you about him not serving me at Merlotte’s. No room for an unwed mother in his squeaky clean place. Would not want anyone to think it was a whore house.”

“What?” Lafayette drew back. “No-o-o-o you did not tell me that! I would have kicked his ass!”

“Yes,” she rolled her eyes. “Pastor Shubert was there and he was doing his best to impress. After all, his good church folks come in one Sunday a month, eat pie, drink gallons of coffee make a huge mess and do not tip.”

“Bless their nasty asses. His La La Fineness says God knows who all those cheap bastards are and they will be bussing tables in Hell when they are not beggin’ for ice water.”

“I love you Poppi-Lala,” she grinned. “Now the little missy and I are going to bed. See you in the morning.”

Lafayette, being no one’s fool, grabbed a shotgun, a blanket and a pillow, took Brownie and left Blackie inside to guard the house and headed out to the barn.

At around one, the goats started getting restless and they all moved to Lafayette and the dog.

All the hairs on the back of Brownie’s neck were standing up. Lafayette pumped the shotgun. “Come on in cocksucker,” he grinned, “and meet your maker.

There was the cry of a big cat at the door and Lafayette could hear its claws, working through the wood. “Just come on,” he said as he took aim at where he thought the cat was going to come through.

With another scream and throwing its body against the door, the wood gave way and yellow startled eyes stared into the double barrels.

Lafayette could have sworn he heard, “Oh fucking Were shit!” before he pulled the trigger. But he could not swear to it. His ears were filled with the boom of one barrel, then the next.

“Lafayette!” he heard Sookie calling frantically from the porch. “Lafayette,” she yelled louder.

“You little goats just behave yourselves, La La is reloading then going outside.

“Ma-a-a-a-a,” was called out as the herd was up and moving with their shepherd.

“Wait one,” he said to the goats as he got to the door and pulled the dead animal out-of-the-way.

“Ma-a-a-a-a-a-a-a—a!” was called in reply as the cougar was now something to stand on!

“Are you okay?” she asked when he approached and then saw all his four hoofed friends. “What happened?”

“Not sayin’ for sure, but I think the cougar I just killed that broke into the barn was Merlotte. I am pretty sure I heard the cat say Oh fucking Were shit! And lookin’ mighty and mightily surprised that I was there waitin’ on him.”

“You want to tell me what he said after I went to bed?”

“Not right now. Now I hear Emmy. You get yourself inside. I will take care of this. I needs to get these goats back to bed…or maybe not,” they both watched as they climbed up on the porch and settled in, chewing their cud. “Hell, they can just sleeps out here and we’ll leave the dogs to take care of business. What do you think?”

“Good plan. Blackie come on out. You are on goat patrol tonight.”

 

It was the first of February and Eric was in his office at Fangtasia, looking at new cars on-line. The new BMW caught his eyes but he liked the low, throaty rumble of the Vette.

Pam stuck her head in. “Didn’t you just get a new Vette?” she asked, knowing it was a dumb-ass question but Eric had stopped riding her about asking dump-ass questions. She was worried about him.

“Yes, but I saw a metallic black that I like better. Plus, the new model is out,” he said off-handedly. “How is the crowd, tonight? I thought I heard a big cat scream.”

Pam shook her head. “No, nothing like that going on. The Furry Fandom is tomorrow tonight.”

“Well then, that was just odd,” the screen continued to hold Eric’s concentration.

“Eric,” she began carefully, “you know if you buy that car, Sophie-Anne will come sniffing around wondering where the money is coming from.”

“That could be fun,” was all he said.

Closing the door, she walked down the hall to her office. Closing her door she leaned against it. “Please Eric,” she whispered. “Do not greet the sun and leave me here all alone.”

 

Mr. Hyett got an early morning phone call. He was there before dawn to survey the damage. “Lesson learned,” he nodded. “We want something a little more on the metal side. No easy meals for the big predators.”

At a more decent hour, Lafayette called the Game and Wildlife Department and explained what had happened. Lafayette said yes, he knew it was a very big fine but that cat had no business trying to eat their business. “I heard it screamin’,” he said “I heard our goats screamin’ and I came runnin!”

Arnold Dill was the game warden the state sent out that day. “Plenty of game out in the woods,” he whistled as he saw the damaged door. “It has been a mild winter. I cannot imagine why he would come into civilization. But man, he wanted in. Good thing he did not make a run at the house. Your front door is probably not as sturdy as this barn door. Could be that he was rabid. Or just had a taste for corn feed instead of gamey.

Whatever his reasonin’, he won’t be doing that again,” he said as photographed the evidence and then he bagged the body. “He would have made short order of your goats. Could have taken out your entire herd in a matter of minutes.”

Sookie came out with the baby as the game warden was getting ready to leave. “You want a cup of coffee to go?” she asked. “Folks have shown up for work and Arlene just made another pot.”

“Thanks I would appreciate that,” he smiled at her.

“Just go to the kitchen door and give a shout out. They’ll get you fixed up.”

Game Warden Dill was welcomed at the kitchen and made much of. There was a redhead who seemed to be running things. “We just finished up breakfast,” she said to him as she poured him a to-go cup. “You want me to fry you up an egg and make you a sandwich?”

“Well…” he began.

“Not a problem,” she said with surety. “Carol, we need two more pieces of toast and another slice of cheese. Let’s get this hard-working man of the state back on the road and righting wrongs.”

 

With they kitchen put to rights, they headed toward the barn.

“Damn!” Arlene said when they saw the door. “We would have all been out of a job!”

“Thank you Jesus,” was mumbled by one-and-all as they went in and began the day.

 

Several days passed and it became apparent that it was most odd at Merlotte’s. Sam’s truck was there. His bed had indeed been slept in. But there was no sign of him anywhere. That was buzzing through the town and his employees just continued on, carefully counting the till at the close of each day and each person getting paid at the end of their shift. They did not know what had happened, they were just praying it was not going to happen to them!

The rest of the money was deposited into Merlotte’s Bar & Grill bank account. Big Al, the burger cook, was actually on that account. “Business as usual,” was all he would say at the beginning of each workday and there was no Sam.

When Sam had not returned in a month, the staff took a vote and voted to keep themselves open. They all felt a bit more comfortable to be paid once every two weeks. They hired a bookkeeper and went on with their lives. Big Al could access the account and pay taxes and bills. Maybe they could become employee owned, at least until Sam showed back up!

 

March had come in like a lion.

And the as the weeks slipped by, they were getting much-needed rain and every thing was green.

 

Sookie was fixing the salad for dinner while Lafayette grilled chicken. During lunch today was the hot topic of Merlotte’s employees. Big Al had come over and wanted some pointers on running the business. Sookie and Lafayette had been happy to sit down with him and talk.

“Dead Weres shift back,” Sookie said as she brought Lafayette more marinade. “I thought shifters would as well.”

“Miss Sookie, I think maybe that big cat was Sam. But this here is your family’s land. Your women folk have been casting spells on it since they took up residence. I have seen not a spook, one. This land is blessed,” he said nodding his head.

“Well, just fine then. After dinner, I am taking Emmy and we are going out to hoe weeds in the rosemary bed for a bit before bedtime.”

 

While she did weed control, the chicken smelled delicious! When her tummy started to rumble, she put her hoe in the shed and came to the house.

“Beware the Ides of March,” Lafayette joked as he took the baby so Sookie could eat. “I am goin’ to see Jesus tonight and visit a spell with my momma. You gonna be okay?”

“Yes,” Sookie I smiled. “I got this momma thing going on an Emmy is helping me out. You know how loud she gets when it’s time to eat.”

“That angel’s kiss does have a good pair of lungs,” he grinned. “Be back tomorrow. If somethin’ comes up, call me,” he pointed to himself.   “Now, one more kiss and I am out the door.”

 

Lafayette had fixed her supper. She had eaten and the two of them had kept her company. When she finished, he cleaned the kitchen. All she had to do was take the baby from him, go sit in the rocker and nurse her.

Her life was perfect, as she stole little kisses off Emmy’s nose!

Oops! What was that? Emmy was a bit fussy. Time for the almighty burp! When Sookie picked her up and put her over her shoulder things most odd happened!

“Ouch,” she said casting her eyes toward her daughter. Her baby girl had latched onto her neck…and…and… “Emmy,” her voice trembled, “baby, are you drinking Mommy’s blood?”

Sookie broke the suction when she put her index finger into her daughter’s mouth and could feel…could feel…a little tiny fang!

There was still some daylight and her baby was not smoking or doing anything else odd. After a couple of seconds, she stopped and licked Sookie’s tiny wounds and burped, again.

When Sookie lifted her away, Emmy was licking her lips. If there had been a trace of blood, there, it was now gone.

“Well, okay,” she put the baby in her lap and stuck her finger into her mouth. Nothing happened. Emmy just coo’d at her and windmilled her hands and feet and smiled.

“Okay,” Sookie shook a bit as she carried her over to the window, carefully watching for any signs of vampire burning.

“Wow, wow…well, we normally sit outside after dinner. Gran and I always did. We will listen for the whippoorwills and then bed time shall be upon us.”

Sitting outside was a non event. The dogs lazed by their feet and would occasionally get up and go sniff at something and then come back by and lick the baby, which caused her to laugh and then the dogs would lay back down.

“Okay, my sweet baby girl,” she smiled at her. “Bedtime. One more feeding then sleepy time land.”

Emmy nursed well and had a little more blood. With a full tummy she closed her eyes and went to sleep…

Then it all went to an ungodly nightmare!

Sookie had her snuggled next to her when her baby went cold! “Emmy!” she said sitting up and pulling her daughter up to her. “Baby,” she started to cry, her little darling was white and did not appear to be breathing. “Emmy!” she wailed as she grabbed for the phone and dialed 911, explaining her situation and giving the baby small puffs of air, but Sookie did not see her chest move.

She was holding her baby and crying, doing her best to breathe for her when she heard the sirens wailing in the background. Picking her up, she ran to the door and then odd just continued to happen. When Andy came bounding up to the door, her daughter was just fine.

Sookie was shaking so badly that she passed the baby to Andy. “She was white and cold and not breathing,” she kept repeating as she cried nonstop.

“Here now,” Kendra wrapped a blanket around the shocked new mom. “Sookie, she looks just fine. I know new momma’s get the jitters about their first one. Now you said you were dozing,” Kendra wrapped the blanket tighter around her.

“Emmy do anything unusual? Throw up, stiffen up, you know, anything at all odd today? Eyes roll to the back of her head? She bump her head on anything?”

“No,” she managed to get out as she remembered the tiny fangs in her neck. “I mean our routine is not remarkable. We mostly live on the floor these days. Maybe the dogs brought in a tick but I did not see one when she had her bath before dinner. After dinner I nurse her, we sit out on the porch swing until bed time then I nurse her again and she goes to sleep until her ten o’clock feeding.”

“We can go the hospital in Shreveport, they are the closest Peds ward. But this sweet girl looks just fine. Look at those rosy pink cheeks.”

At that moment, Emmy woke and smiled at Kendra and turned her head when she heard Sookie’s voice.

“Thank you,” she was still shaking a bit. “New momma jitters suck,” she laughed as she brushed back the tears and held out her arms to take her daughter.

“If it happens again, call us,” Andy said.

“I will. I won’t be sleeping at all tonight,” she laughed, her voice still on edge. “Lafayette took the night off. I am calling his happy ass home.”

The dogs watched as the police car left. “You two were a fine great big help,” she said. “I would think you would do something heroic and sound the alarm if your baby was dying.”

They both gave her a doleful look, came over and licked Emmy and then laid back down.

“Huh?” she said as she watched the dogs go back to sleep.

Picking up her phone, she fired off a text. Please come home. I need you.

The next thing she did was to take out the business card she had been given by Samuel. Punching in his number a very business like voice picked up and said “Peterson’s Investments. How may I direct your call?”

Sookie felt a damn of emotion inside of her break! Cry was all she was able to do! There was silence and she heard Samuel say, “I will be right there.”

 

Lafayette and Samuel both arrived at the same time. Sookie told her story, about the fangs, blood, and the death like state.

Samuel took the baby from Sookie and kissed her on the nose. “What did the dogs do?” he asked as he rubbed his nose against hers.

“What?” she regarded him.

“The dogs, did they react?”

Sookie looked at the two on the floor who were watching and hoping for snacks.

“Nothing,” she answered. “Just, you know…and I even scolded them after Kendra and Andy left. You know, they should have sounded a warning.”

Samuel smiled. “There was obviously no warning to sound. After I was turned, I still had my dog,” he smiled. “I could not let him go and he did not want to leave. But every morning, just before I would go to my day rest he would start to whine and pace around me and he would put his head in my lap.”

“He knew,” Lafayette said.

“Yes,” Samuel nodded. “He never adjusted to me dying every morning. He could sense that there were changes taking place inside of me.

Our Miss Emmy, her father is after all, a vampire. That is in her blood. I would say that it has surfaced. I’ll be here Sookie, every evening until we get this figured out.”

“Thanks,” she let go of another wall of emotion and the tears started again.

“I’ll sit with her, Sookie,” Lafayette took her. “You get some sleep. When I gets tired, Mr. Samuel can take over.”

 

Samuel sat with the baby from midnight until daylight. In truth, he did not want to let her go, then. “I’ll be here before you fall asleep,” he smiled at her as she smiled in her sleep. Taking her into Sookie, Sookie sat up in bed. “Thanks,” she said taking the baby.

“I’ll see you at sundown,” he bowed his head, slid under her bed and Sookie and Emmy greeted the day.

 

The sun went down and no change.

Emmy was cooing and talking and looking around.

“Okay,” Lafayette said. “I have put some of her lovies in the dryer. We will have a warm one just in case she goes vampire on us, again.”

Emmy was down on the floor with Lafayette playing when she started to fuss.

“She is all yours, Mommy,” Lafayette grinned and handed her back.

While the baby nursed they talked about everyday things. Both the men could sense it. Sookie was starting to tense up.

“It’s fine,” Samuel reassured her when Sookie put her up on her shoulder to burp her.

Samuel watched Emmy closely as Sookie rubbed her back and then the baby latched onto Sookie’s neck.

“Drinking blood,” he said as he looked over at Lafayette and then watched with wonder when the tiny tongue licked the two pin-pricks and was burped again.

Sure enough, right as she went to sleep, Sookie gasped, “She is getting cold!”

Lafayette was there with a blanket! Swaddling her in warmth!

“I can hear her heart beat,” Samuel said, his ear on her little back. “And feel her lungs inflating.”

“Lafayette, another warm blanket, please,” she whispered. “I think I need one.”

Lafayette draped it around her shoulders. Sookie snuggled her close while Samuel monitored Emmy’s movements.

“I don’t know if the blanket helps or not,” she was crying again, “but I feel better, knowing that she is getting some warmth.”

Samuel kept his ear on Emmy’s back as they both listened to Sookie’s quiet sobs.

“Ten minutes,” Lafayette brushed back his own tears as he hit the stopwatch button. “And no reaction from those mangy hounds on the floor,” he said arching an eyebrow at them.

“Woof?” came back as they both looked at him, got up, went over to the window, came back, licked the baby and then lay back down.

“Whenever you are ready to retire,” Samuel smiled at them. “Just let me know. I will work until then and then I shall take the baby!”

For the next month the wealthiest man in the world slept under Sookie’s bed. Into the house came small heating units where blanket lovies were always at the ready. Into the freezer went a bag of the oldest vampire blood in the world, just in case.

The evenings were spent watching Emmy as she nursed, burped, had some blood and if she went immediately to sleep, for ten minutes, to the untrained eye, appeared to be dead.

 

Emmy continued to grow and thrive while the adults speculated about what had happened.

“Has to be the vampire,” they all pushed around that thought and voiced it out loud. One night Samuel said, “Or maybe it is some part of Eric’s magic. Or a combination of the two.”

Samuel said nothing else, just gave a sad smile. Eric was a subject they did not discuss. Most days Eric’s pride dictated his life. And he believed Sookie had walked away from him for a breather!

Sookie patted him on the hand. “Thank you for all that you do. With your blood in the freezer if anything happens, she will be just fine.

But I am taking a stand and she is going to be just fine. There will just be this different way of resting.”

The two men grinned and nodded their heads.

“She will never be able to do a sleep over,” Sookie sighed. “Which I guess is okay because I was never able to do one either. Tara Mae would always come here. Miss her,” Sookie smiled at Lafayette and patted his hand.

 

The first of May Samuel smiled at them, kissed all of them and said, “I have enjoyed very much my visit. But now I have to go. Eric is warring in the Old World and the face of the Old Empire has changed so much that there are monetary adjustments that must be done in person. Gold is a little difficult to pass through the bandwidth,” he added, rolling his eyes. “The old ones do not trust banks.” He grinned at Sookie. “So their wealth lazes about buried.”

Laughing, she hugged him and he took the baby from her. “Do not ever hesitate to call,” his voice was sincere as he smiled at them and kissed Emmy on the nose. Holding her close to him, he sang a Psalm over her. When he finished, he lovingly handed her back. With a bow of his head he was gone.

 

I still have a needful things list and it has every thing to do with my life, now.

And everyday I rejoice! I have a baby daughter that is beyond anything I could ever have imagined. Along with a life I could not have dreamed.

Including Lafayette and myself, we have twenty full-time employees.

The old kitchen shanty where we started out is now an air-conditioned building with a vent that sucks up all the bad stuff and pushes it through charcoal filters and out goes clean air. A paved parking lot. A picnic area and a covered porch to sit out and eat your meal when it rains.

We have a care facility. It provides both for babies and elderly parents that cannot be left alone.

Everyone still works their forty hours a week. They tell Lafayette what they need that week ‘cause if you got kids, you can make plans and if you listen closely, you can hear God laughing out loud.

 My daughter is a joy to watch! Emmy does have a way with animals. From the very beginning. Those that wanted to socialize with her came running. Those that did not went slithering away. Because so much of what we do can be outside, she learned from a very early age what to be weary of. I always checked for snakes before we did any weeding, me always on the look-out!

 So she watched for movement in the grass as well. It was the height of summer and she was two and a half. We were up on the porch and she was intently watching something going across the yard. “What is it baby?” I asked her.

“Snake,” she said, a very intent look on her face. “Bad snake. Not like blackie snake who eats the nasty rats out by the barn.”

“Glad he is gone,” I tried to see what she was watching.

“I told him to leave or I would cut his head off,” she brought her right hand down on top of her left in a slicing motion. “Just like my Mommy does with the hoe!”

When she looked up at me, her smile melted my heart.

“I love you,” I whispered to her as I hugged her close.

“Love you Mommy,” my baby girl giggled and hand-in-hand we were off the porch and headed to the flower patch.

 

 

The days were pleasant and the years passed. And babies grew. That was the ordained plan and the plan was worked. Sookie worried about Lafayette and from time-to-time would push him about going back to school.

He would just look at her and shake his head.

“You see our Emmy?” he would throw up his hands! “It is gonna take a male puttin’ the fear of Jesus in those panty robbin’ no goods boys. I will be right heres with a shotgun when they come around here thinkin’ they can take our angel’s kiss to the movies. I think not,” he replied, as he scooped up the soon to be three-year old.
“You,” he placed a kiss on her nose, “are stayin’ right here with me and your momma!”

“And those goaty-goats,” she grinned. “And Blackie and Brownie!” she clapped her hands in joy.

“That is right your Poppi-La La says. Those goaty-goats would be lost without you,” he rubbed his nose against hers. “Now I hear them callin’! Time for their sweet feed and corn and some fresh water.

Mr. Hyett said he got all those big rocks put out in the pasture, today. Those goaty-goats are climbin’ fools. Let’s see if they would rather climb or eat.”

 

 

It is October….fall. It is cooler temps in the South.

Emmy was a delight to watch during the spring kidding! All the baby goats were healthy and we had a small talk about where babies come from…

This spring, I was out composting the house flowerbed, down on my hands and knees.   Emmy was helping me with her little shovel and she asked about her daddy. That was the first time she has ever done that.

I told her that I had sex with her daddy, like the billy goat does with the nannies. That the billy goat provides the sperm, or biology, that the nanny goat needs to make a baby.

Besides making baby goats, the billy watches over his herd and protects them.

But the biology that made her, he did not want to be with us.

It was interesting to watch her as she processed that.

“So my biology, he is not a daddy, right? ‘Cause I have seen daddies. They help the mommy and love on the baby and sometimes they pay for things.”

That is right I assured her.

“So what do I call him?” she asked.

There were a lot of different ways I could have gone with this. Lots…

Because sure as there is no ice water in hell, Eric Northman did not qualify as a daddy!

So I figured what he had called her was good enough for him. “Call him fucking rat bastard biology,” I said. “Now Emmy, fucking and bastard are very naughty words. And you are not ever to use them, but if you want to talk about the man that makes up your biology, you can call him a fucking rat bastard.”

She took all that in. “Was he nice?” she asked.

Eric would probably eat Were shit if anyone thought of him as nice. “I think he was as nice as he knew how to be,” I replied.

“Did you love him?” she asked, her little hands on my cheeks, as she laid her forehead against mine.
“Yes,” I answered her truthfully. “I did. And a part of me is thankful for him because he gave me you.”

She went over to the porch steps and sat down and just stared out into space. Thinking on things, I guess as I put compost down in the flowerbeds and thought about my life.

 

Then came summer and we had another first. One evening a Were came to the door.

“Nice place,” he smiled at me through the screen “Be a real shame if lightning were to strike and burn down your home and outbuildings. I can see to it that does not happen,” he smirked.

I guess I am not getting any wiser as I get older but I am getting older and snarkier.

“What?” I snarled at him. “You threatening me? Have you any idea who I am?” I smiled at him as I picked up the broom I keep just inside the door. “I am the goddess for this local coven. May you be impotent for the next seven days. You come back and apologize when you want to see your hard-on, again.”

“You bitch,” he growled.

“I am done being nice. As you walk away, turn into a toad,” I said with authority and closed the door.

“He was not nice,” Emmy said as she looked out the window, a dog on either side of her.

“No my angel’s kiss,” I picked her up and hugged her to me, “he was not.” Mentally I made a note to myself to warn the others. Beware of Weres!

Later that day we were weeding out in the flowerbed.

“Hello toad,” she smiled. “Lots of bugs here for you to eat. Do a good job! 1,2,3,4,5,” my baby counted, “full moon and you are alive.”

Which I thought was odd. That sounded a whole lot like a spell! A small kiddo version, but a spell nonetheless.

That evening, when Emmy was asleep, I told Lafayette about what had happened. “When the next full moon rises, I want us out in the garden with a shotgun. If that toad turns back to Were, we are going to deal with him.”

Sure enough, the next full moon we were both standing in front of the house with loaded shotguns. When the moon cleared the horizon, there was a naked Were in my flowerbed.

He was screaming bloody murder and when he saw us, he started bawling. “I am sorry,” he was on his knees apologizing, “so sorry. Please, I just want to go home. I won’t ever come back. I am so sorry. Please don’t spell me again!” he was howling and sniveling and blubbering all over himself.

“Get,” I said to him, using my shotgun as a pointer.

“Yes ma’am,” he was still boohooing as he took off running.

“We has got us a bona fide,” was all Lafayette said as he watched the Were run, Lafayette nodding his head the entire time to a universal truth.

We had us a bona fide. The Wicca community would go ape shit! There was no way in hell they were going to find out.

“This has got to be Eric’s side of the family,” I mused as the Were finally disappeared from my sight. “My women, we did not do anything like this.”

“Does not matter,” Lafayette smiled. “Emmy has the gift. We has gots to nurture it and temper her gifts. I likes Weres that are toads. But her momma and her daddy both have a temper. Gots to work on that side of her.”

And so my baby grew. And we talked about privilege and how with it comes responsibility. Around the house and out in the fields and in our little soap facility, there were plenty of opportunities to teach that. And teach them I did. We were never going to hide who and what she was. Neither was I going to advertise it.

Those that worked on the farm knew Emmy had “her ways” and they loved that! As soon as Emmy could talk, there would be an adult asking her about something. Emmy would either shake her head no or nod yes, sending all those curls dancing across her head like a dandelion! “Good to see that Adele lives on in her grand baby,” and they would smile and thank her for her blessing or the small gift she brought them of the first flower to open up that morning.

 

We had celebrated Emmy’s third birthday in grand style! We all wore costumes and had cake and ice cream and that night we went into town and went Trick-or-Treating!

The first of November was a Saturday and we were having a birthday follow-on breakfast with the staff as well. Everyone had brought their favorite breakfast things and we had cooked about ten pounds of bacon and Lafayette make his famous stuffed French toast.

For three years and nine months, I have not seen my brother, Jason Stackhouse. He has not called, he has not dropped by to see the baby.

So here comes this truck with the music blasting, putting the hens off of laying, pulling into our driveway. I was just grateful that he had not pulled into the employee parking lot. I did not want to spoil anyone’s breakfast by the blast of foul language that was getting ready to be set loose into the atmosphere! I walked over to where he had pulled in. He was heading for the front door.

“Jason,” I called out.

“I heard you all was hiring,” he said with a serious face as he started toward me. “On days that Mac cannot be at the road site he leaves me in charge. So I have experience supervising the road crew. I could easily supervise your soap makin’ crew.”

“We are not hiring,” I replied. “All our positions are filled. We are thinking about buying two mules to replace the tractor we use to plow with. Can you walk behind two mules and plow?” I asked.

“Do what?” he looked at me like I had lost my mind. “I am a supervisor. I am qualified for a supervisor position. That is just some easy money and I am long past due.”

“Not hiring,” I said again.

“Not hiring,” he mocked me. “Listen to you, talkin’ like you are someone special! You think you are somebody. And if you are using Gran’s soap makin’ recipe, part of that money is mine.”

Taking out my phone I dialed 911. “This is not an emergency,” I started out by saying. “But this is Sookie Stackhouse and I have a trespasser on my property. I would like for someone to come and remove him.”

“Fuck you Sookie,” he yelled and walked toward his truck, kicking at the rocks that went flying though the air and hit his truck. “Fucking shit!” he bellowed and he climbed in and peeled out, leaving what tread was left on his tires in our driveway.”

“Kendra, this is Sookie, again. Looks like my trespasser has left.”

“You want to register a complaint?” she asked.

I looked at the black marks he had left on my cement drive. That had been a milestone when we had that poured! Why the fuck not!

“Yes,” I nodded. “It was Jason. He came out making demands.”

“He threaten you?” Kendra asked.

“No,” I shook my head to emphasize my point.

“It will go in the log,” Kenda replied. “He gives you any more problems, you just call. A couple of nights in the drunk tank just might do the trick.”

“He been drinking?” I asked.

“Past couple of years. Fortunately, we find him sleeping it off in the back of his truck.”

“Well, good to know. Thanks,” I replied and hung up.

Jason was still the all about me asshole he had always been. Good to know. We were having breakfast with pumpkin donuts and I was hoping he had crossed my path for the last time.

 

The third year of my baby’s life passed. I have not seen Jason. There was a rumor he was living with some bartender that worked in Monroe. No wonder he was a drunk…

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the month of October and I love being a mommy! Everything about it! My baby is three going on four at the end of this month and she is the light of my life. I mean that. She is the most special and spectacular thing that graces my each and every day!

I might come from a long line of witches but I just think on myself as a guardian of the earth and will say a blessing if one is needed.( I just call that being a good neighbor.) My baby is more…a lot more.

 There is still a list of needful things and that list is extensive. Rain once a week so there is water for the lawn. Keeping the crows off the roof. The mice out of the house. Roses that don’t get mites, bag worms (yes seriously), and for some reason the finches pick the petals from the roses and line their nests. (We need those petals for making soap!) Keeping the milk fresh past the expiration date. We need our goats to be healthy, the lavender to grow big and strong, the rosemary to always stand guard and the pecan grove to produce, produce produce! See needful things.

 There are also some not so needful things on my list. My community and the supernatural world are giving me grief. The local Wicca have been talking to the state-wide Wicca. The local coven wants a goddess and I am not it. I am Mommy. That is all the title I want.

But no…once again, someone has called for a meeting and it is required to take a vote and all must be represented. Apparently something big is coming and all the covens must be complete so Louisiana can have its own special ops group for closing Hell- Mouths!

Really?…please! Take a vote…just leave me out of this.

But no, since I am the one to be replaced, they want me there so I can abdicate or some such nonsense.

The meeting is to be held at Fangtasia! Fuck…me…running! These dumber than Were shit Wicca have no idea that they are being photographed and put on Pam’s MOST WANTED posters. It it scares me to think about where she posts them!

So, if I can end this once and for all….ta-da! Bring it!

I have a plan! And maybe, just maybe, I can put this nonsense to rest. After the night of the twenty-tooth, please Wicca your ass off and leave me and mine the fuck alone!

I have sent a couple of text messages to Pam. I am looking for a temporary spot for Emmy. With a temporary someone to watch her for twenty-minutes while I say fuck off and cast my vote.

Pam fired back that Eric is not only out-of-state, but out of country as well. Perfect. Pam consents to watching my baby in her office.

These assholes can have twenty minutes of my time. And that is it.

My speech is as follows: “Hi, I am Sookie. I am not a goddess. I do not care who is. Fuck off!”

I am setting a timer and when it goes off I am collecting my baby and hauling ass on home. Because I know what is important!

Wow…all things in retrospect!

Gawd, I really was that young and that naïve and I can admit it. C.h.i.l.d.i.s.h. Yes! Right! Mrs. Eric Northman! What a hoot! I really laugh at myself about that now.

I now know I fell so hard because it was my first time and my first love was with a guy who knew what women liked and wanted to hear. And he liked getting his way so he would promise you the world.

But you know what. Your world can turn on a dime.

Mine did…

Yes…funny how you can grow up over night. So it took me almost four years and nine months to get to this point and time but guess what. This is now me, laughing. Fuck off world!

 

Eric was sitting with Pamela in a small French bistro and not laughing. “You want to sell your part of the club?”

“Yes,” she nodded. “You are never there and I am tired of being the bad ass. It is a look I can carry and wear it well, but I am bored. Maybe it is time to move to British Isle and put some excitement in his life.

I have been talking to Samuel. He thinks now would be a good time to sell. And no, he does not wish to buy out my share.”

Eric nodded. “I’ll talk with Samuel.”

“Thank you,” Pam said standing and bowed. “I have to get back to my very small and insignificant undead life. I have a fucking bar to run.”

Eric watched Pam walk out. Thankfully, she did not snarl at anyone as she left the building.

Cedric, the King of Eire came in and sat down. “I waited for the bitch-on-wheels to leave. I did not care to once more listen to her ride me about burning down her house.”

Eric grinned. “That is a good story.

On a more serious note, she wants to sell her half of the bar and move in with Ian.”

Cedric hooted with glee! “Better him than me!”

“Well,” Eric gave him a very small, tight grin. “I won’t be here next week for the Were battle. It appears I have business to attend in the New World. I will be back once all this is settled. It normally takes thirty days to close on real estate. If we sell to another vampire that could stretch it out a bit. But I am finished in Louisiana.”

“Bold words, sir,” Cedric regarded him. “Have you told your Queen yet?”

Eric laughed. “I am hoping she is smart enough to figure that out.”

“What about Area Five?” Cedric’s voice was low and serious.

Eric shrugged. “I feel like going renegade for a while.”

“Drop by,” Cedric grinned. “Molly has been asking about you,” he said with a nudge and a wink.

Standing, Eric gave his friend a crisp, two-fingered salute and was out the door with his phone out, calling for a plane. Time to haul his ass back to the New World. If HRM SA gave him any Were shit, that would be the last thing she did.

 

Sookie and Emmy were discussing what to wear to the formal to-do, Sookie had taken to calling it. “Let’s go to the thrift store and cruise the aisles,” Sookie grinned at her girl. “I bet they have something there for both of us.

Now, at this to-do, Mommy has to go out and talk for about twenty minutes. You will be with your Auntie Pam, tucked into her office. So think about what you want to take to work on.”

“Okay,” Emmy nodded excitedly. “I hope they have sparkle dresses!”

 

Sookie had been coming to this Purple Heart Thrift Store with her gran since she was little. It had been a mainstay during her life. Gran always bought her new under ware and socks, but everything else could be washed. And sometimes even dry cleaned!

She now had a little bit of money, but now that she owned her  own business, she was even more frugal than she had been growing up. Her employees were always on her mind.

This is where she came for her clothes. She didn’t need designer anything for tossing hay to the goats or cleaning out stalls, making soap or down on her hands-and knees planting.

Emmy did get new things. But her baby loved coming here and they always went down the aisle that was her size. Emmy admiring the sparkle clothes and if Sookie could adjust them to fit, into the basket they went.

“Oh Mommy,” Emmy squealed with delight when Sookie tried on the black dress. “It sparkles all over! Let’s get that one!”

Sookie smiled at her daughter. “Love those shoes you found. And your sparkle skirt and that lovely soft jacket will keep you extra special warm.”

“I like my shirt,” she said with pride holding it up. “Miss Pig sparkles like me!”

“Let Mommy change they we’ll go pay out. You want to go someplace for lunch while we are in Shreveport?”

Emmy got a puzzled look on her face and carefully considered her surroundings.

“Emmy…” Sookie softly said.

Those blue and silver eyes settled back on her.

“Can we go home and eat. I would like some mac-n’-cheese. Like my Poppi-La La fixes it. Then,” she whispered,  “Mommy could I have some blood?”

“Of course baby,” she smiled at her and hugged her close. “Let’s go pay out, go home and eat.”

 

In a warehouse, a couple of blocks away, Eric woke from his day rest. Carefully, he looked around the room, expecting to see someone standing there, watching him sleep. Closing his eyes he listened for the slightest sound. It was quiet, but something had caused him to wake. He did not feel threatened, but from now on, he was going to be cautious!

 

During lunch, Sookie said to Lafayette, “We are going to need a warm blanket.” That was their code. Emmy was going to be drinking blood and then she would be wrapped up and kept warm until she came back to them.

“I just put extra ones in the warming units this morning,” Lafayette picked up the dirties. “You two girlies go ahead. Poppi-La La is king of this here kitchen.

 

They were lying on the bed when Lafayette came in, Sookie holding her daughter. “It was the oddest thing, today,” as she played with the curls of her sleeping baby. “She looked around the thrift store and then asked if we could come home and have your mac-n’-cheese and could she have some blood.”

“You think something in the thrift store triggered it?” he asked.

“Something did,” she replied as Emmy’ color returned and she shifted around and got comfortable and went into a human sleep pattern.

“That is the first time she has ever asked for blood during the day,” Sookie kissed her on the top of the head. “And this child is having a nap,” Sookie looked cross-eyed. “Odd,” she shook her head.

“We will be keeping our eyes and ears extra sharp and focused,” Lafayette said as he stroked the little girl’s back.

Sookie nodded in agreement.

“You ever tried callin’ Northman?” he asked gently.

“Once,” she replied. “I got a notification back that I had been blocked.”

“So no help on that front. Mighty grateful we have Brother Samuel and in dire straits, Pamela.”

All Sookie could do was nod her head in agreement. “You get Pamela past her vampire bullshit and she is not all bad,” Sookie offered up a smalls smile. “She likes reading with Emmy and then she just sits out in the barn with the goats.”

Lafayette sensed her mood. Northman. He had worked a real heart-braking number on her. “So, what did you buy today?”

“Look in the bags,” Sookie grinned. “Emmy will model her things for you later. I have to adjust that skirt but her shoes are the cutest!”

“Speakin’ of?” Lafayette arched an eyebrow.

“Yes,” Sookie grinned. “I am carrying the Wicca theme! I am wearing the Stuart Weitzman boots. Just to give them hope that maybe I am embracing my inner…whatever!” she rolled her eyes.

Lafayette took out her dress. “Lordy, sparkles. So you meet the Emmy seal of approval.”

“Yes,” Sookie grinned. “And I got a pair of red shoes and black shoes. Just in case.”

“His La La Fineness is admiring these newest. But this dress will look killer with those Weitzman witchy boots. Now, I’ll get these things to the cleaners. You rest a bit. Marla is here and needin’ more hours. She will hoe the lavender for you.”