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Chapter 8

 

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

“Where the hell is this party supposed to be?” Ian asked.

“Old warehouse district,” Pam replied as she pulled in and parked and looked around. “The art and upscale tavern side. The directions said to go two blocks past Art or Art Not and we did that and it is the second building on the left hand side. Just look at that very large, angry-looking abandoned warehouse. Looks like part of the roof has caved in,” she said as she opened the car door. “Oh and bats just came flying out. I am taking that as a sign. A sign of what, I am not for real sure because there is clearly no door on this side. I am going to take a look-see.”

“This is not right,” Cedric spoke up. “Stay in the car. This is not right.”

“What’s up?” Ian asked as he turned to look in the back seat at his friend.

“Don’t you feel it?” he asked. “And smell it? Hell Mouth!”

Pam did not say anything but she did hurriedly close the van door. Cedric might be a poser, but when it came to spooks and things that went bump in the night, nothing got past the Irish.

“Look,” he pointed with his finger, “there goes Foster and Grant, looking a bit confused and lost themselves. They are good boys, call them over,” Cedric said, an unnatural hurry to his voice.

Pam rolled down her window. “Hover,” she called out, “and then to us.”

“What’s up?” Grant asked as they both took a step up off the ground and flew over.

“Looking for a party?” Pamela asked.

“Well yes,” Foster replied. “We are. It should be right here.”

“And yet it is not,” Pam added for them. “And our Irish lad in the back seat, his eyes have rolled up into the back of his head. He keeps repeating something is not right and his mutterings are of the unnatural bent. I keep hearing Hell Mouth. Get in if you want and let’s watch.

Cedric,” she turned to the back, “what are you reading?” she asked.

“Evil,” he stuck out his tongue and tasted the air. “Pure evil. Hell Mouth evil!”

“Yes,” Grant shivered. “My Scottish ass is twitchin’. This place is giving me the creep-a-willies!”

Pam nodded in agreement. “Cedric, give me your very best guess where the door is to this party,” she said as she watched the dark.

“There is not a door on the building, no opening for one,” Ian whispered. “Unless we are on the wrong block.”

“Yes,” Cedric crossed himself. “There is a door. Do you not hear it? A murder most foul was committed here. The hellion wants his revenge. To drag his murderer back into the abyss with him! Listen to the chatter! They are a’watin’ its sacrifice before it will open. The wrong-doer is close, time is short and revenge is wanted.” Cedric looked thoughtful. “Have you a bagged blood?” he asked.

“You sure you want to do this?” Grant asked.

“Unless you approach it, the evil has only come for the one that murdered him. You step through and you are alivin’ in Hell.”

“I have never see a Hell Mouth,” Pamela looked thoughtful. “Yes, cooler in the back,” she said as she watched Cedric retrieve one and then opening the door, leaned out and heaved it toward the derelict building.

“What the fuck!” Pam hissed as a portal opened and all kinds of nasties made a grab for the blood, screeching and hollering and screaming in such anguish that it trembled in your bones! In the scuffle, a small hideous mouth with two arms grabbed it and shoved it in.

You could still see the doorway pulsing, a glow around it that was now soft and welcoming.

“Shit,” Grant whispered. “We woke it up. It has set a trap.” Cedric laughed and replied. “On All Hallow’s it is always lookin’ for evil. It is here, ‘awaitin…”

“Wait one, there is a truck headed this way,” Foster said leaning out the window.

With the music blasting, it still did not drown out the screams of a woman who wanted hot, nasty sex!”

“As I live and no longer breathe,” Pam hissed as the truck approached. “That is Jason Stackhouse. Man whore extraordinaire! That would be the ghost of Hadley Savoy sitting next to him, his cousin and cursing like a banshee.”

“Would you look at that,” Ian whistled. “Those things that are staring out of that doorway, they almost looked human. Smiling and waving and oh, flashing a pair of tits! There goes the truck driving right on it. And just what the fuck was that in a hard hat that waved them through?”

“Demon,” Cedric hissed out and crossed himself.

All the others did the same.

“It is All Hallow’s Eve,” Ian voice was low and steady. “The unseemly do walk and those from Hell do roam.”

Pam had a moment…”Just who did we get the invitation from?” she asked, looking around the car.

“You know,” Grant began, his voice faltered as he watched the door open again and something slithered out. “Just heard…what the fuck was that?”

“Looked like a perverted version of a water horse,” Grant answered. “My grandmother spoke of them. Actually claims she saw Nessie.”

They watched it enter a bar. There was screaming as patrons came running out.

“Well, here it comes back,” Cedric said. “And what does it have in its mouth? Is that a beer keg?”

“Looks like,” they all muttered as the magical door opened and there was a lot of cheering and snarling and then closed.

“What are you doing Mistress Pamela?” Cedric asked as she got out and popped open her trunk.

“Since Miss Emmy has been born and I know that there are evil witches that want her, I carry rock salt and a shot-gun in the trunk of my car. I am going to empty several barrels of salt into where those doors just opened.”

“Good plan,” they all nodded their heads while she loaded the gun and got up on the roof of the van. They all joined her and together they pieced together just exactly where the door had opened.

Then, hovering in the air she approached. “Ka-blam!” the shotgun roared as she fired both barrels at once.

There were shrieks and there was a light show of multiple colors going on behind the outline of the portal and then it all just got smaller and winked out.

Vamp speed she was back to the van. “Do you think they will be back?” she asked.

“At midnight starts All Saints Day,” Cedric crossed himself. “If they do cross back over, it will not be for another year. I have had enough for one night. I am headin’ on back to the farmhouse! Singing with the goats and then slipping under Miss Sookie’s bed and tellin’ the Da’vid and his royal dumb ass brother they can just kiss my scared and shakin’ ass! My granny told lots o’ tales about Hell Mouths. I actually saw her close one. Did not think I would witness that, again. Tonight and for many nights to come I am a’sleepin’ under the bed of the angel’s kiss.”

“Good plan,” Ian nodded and they both took off into the night.

Grant and Foster looked at Pamela. “Was that really a Hell Mouth?”

“Possibly,” she steadied her nerves.

“Who blessed the salt?” Foster asked, his voice shaking.

“An angel’s kiss,” she replied.

“Truly?” Foster whispered. “Cedric was not foolin’?”

“Not fooling and truly,” Pam replied.

“Give Eric our regards and thank him for the money,” they both bowed their heads to her and disappeared into the night.

“I am beginning to understand about Lafayette staying home on Halloween,” she nodded to herself. “It is just fucking dangerous out here. I am hauling my ass on back to the farmhouse.”

Getting out of her van, she went over to where she had fired the salt. There was the distinct smell of sulfur. And ozone. It smelled like a direct hit lightning strike. There were some scorch marks on the pavement and…and…what was that smell? “Car exhaust?” she sniffed again.

Taking out her lipstick, she drew a heart on the pavement. “X marks the spot,” she nodded to herself and getting back in her van, headed towards Bon Temps.

As she passed a local bar, she could see where the beer keg had come from. There were people in Halloween costumes outside, throwing up and crying in fear.

“Ghosts and goblins!” was being shrieked as phones were out and they were all comparing what they had just experienced.

“Yes,” she rolled down her window as she drove by, listening to the approaching sirens, “there is the distinct smell of sulfur. No wonder they are retching.” Rolling her window back up she did not want to get embroiled with the police. Time to be someplace else. Fuck driving to Bon Temps. Flying was faster! Parking her car in the garage at her penthouse, she took to the air.

 

Eric and Samuel were waiting for her on the swing when she landed..

“Ian and Cedric and hiding under Sookie’s bed,” Eric began. “They said the safest place to be was with the angel’s kiss. What was the aftermath?”

Pamela explained what she witnessed.

“I have been carrying that rock salt in the back of my car since Miss Emmy was two. She said a little bless this Jesus prayer and kissed it. I have used it from time-to-time, but mostly for grins. This shit tonight was not funny.”

“And Jason and Hadley are locked in there with them…” Samuel’s voice trailed off.

Pam only nodded and then crossed herself. It was noted by both males. So, Pam had taken a hit of the scares! Must have been the real thing. They said nothing and moved on.

“Who sent out the invitation?” Eric asked. “How did you hear about it?”

Pam shrugged. “The pick-a-party web site,” she said and shrugged, again. “Sometimes you get lucky and the party is a hummer…other times a bust. But you have to be a Supe to access the site and you know how word spreads. This is not for humans unless they are very special…and just how did Jason know about it?”

Samuel was checking YouTube. “Videos are up and running. Someone opened a hell-mouth and a slime beast crawled out and got a kegger…this one says. Slithered in, ate the barkeep who would not part with it without a fight. The wee man…says so right here, the wee man barkeep kept shouting something about a deposit on the keg.”

“I know that to be true,” Pam nodded. “Those kegs are not free. I would not part with one either without a deposit.”

Eric had a moment. There were times his child left him speechless. Then he had another moment. His child was sleeping in with her mother and she left him speechless as well.

“I marked the spot with my lipstick. The area is crawling with the police. I thought maybe tomorrow night we could venture back that way. Emmy will be up before the sun rises. I am going to have her bless my shotgun as well. For now, I am going out to the barn and sit with the goats and think on things.”

 

Eric looked over at Samuel as Pam walked out the door.

“She has come a long way,” Samuel smiled, joy in his eyes. Then his focus was on his brother. “I am giving 50/50 odds that Miss Sookie welcomes you back in her bed.”

Eric became quiet. “I am doing the best I can.”

“I know that,” Samuel smiled at him and took his hand. “I also know that walking away from Sookie, this was the safest thing for you to do and that it was not easy.

I prayed for guidance my brother. With the rising of each new dark I sorrowed and I prayed. I could not let you greet the sun without knowing about this wonderful life that you had created. And this woman who was the mother of your child.

But you do not know fully what you did to Sookie. What you did to Emmy.” Samuel handed Eric the memory stick. “Watch Sookie’s tummy while you are in the mall. Watch this through to the end. You need to understand just what a fine person she is.”

Samuel kissed Eric on the forehead and walked out into the night. Eric opened his laptop and stared at the small device in his hand. “Own it, you stupid fucker!” he said as he activated the stick and it all came crashing back around him.

“You need a friend?” Sookie asked as she came in and sat down next to him. “Let’s watch it together,” she said moving his hands off the keyboard.

“No,” he whispered.

“Yes,” she nodded. “Let’s have done with this part of our lives.”

“I love you,” he whispered and she laid her forehead against his.

“I know,” she whispered back. “And I love you. But relationships are built on trust and faith and understanding and forgiveness and caring…and…” she pulled back from him. “And respect. I understand about your pride and ego, Eric. I do. But clearly, you did not respect me. I do not know if you do now.”

Eric hit play and together they sat and watched as a young woman had her heart ripped out of her by a vampire who mocked her and embarrassed her and insulted her when he offered to make her his whore. All he could say as they sat and watched was, “I am so very sorry,” as his voiced choked up more than once.

When it ended Sookie wore a sad smile. “I was so happy and hopeful and scared. Up until that night, I thought this would work, somehow.

After seeing you, I doubted just about everything except for Emmy and Lafayette.

Eric, you can make someone believe in everything but you can also make them believe in nothing.”

“Do you want me to leave?” his voice was strangled.

“No,” she shook her head. “But you have to understand my life changed that night. Up until that time, I was always hopeful. Even…” she paused, “even when my Uncle would abuse me. I was hopeful every time I told someone that they would believe me. And finally my Gran did and the abuse stopped.

But after that night in the mall, it was like all the hope in my balloon had been let out into the stratosphere. That I would never be able to reclaim it. When Emmy was born, I had hope for her….but not much for myself. It has been a long haul to put my self-esteem back into place. Emmy helps with that, as well. She believes in me. One-hundred percent. At times I cannot fathom it. And I want to be for her one-hundred percent. And at times I do not know how to do that. But I will not let anyone take that from me. Not again.”

“Will you ever be able to forgive me?” he asked.

Sookie’s hand stroked his. “Eric, I forgave you a long time ago. My problem is that I cannot seem to forgive myself for letting you have that type of control over me.”

“What do you want me to do?” he asked, as he brought her hands to his lips and kissed them.

Shrugging she laughed. “I cannot tell you how to live your life. But I would like to know the person your grandmother knew. The one that trusted you with the entire line of your clan’s magic.”

“Oh,” he laughed. “You really don’t want to know him. I was an arrogant ass hole  with my ego out of control even then. That part of me has not changed. But Grandmother, she put me through my humbling paces before she died and she turned the magic over. I lived with her in her hut for the last three months of her life and I had a menstruation cycle all three months. I cared for her. Carried her wherever she wanted to go. I became her primary caregiver, running all the other women off.”

“You sat with her during her Never Time?” Sookie asked.

“Yes,” he nodded. “Once a month, I now realize it was regulated to her menses, she slipped away and I stood guard. She said nothing when she returned. She would just sit and stare at me as I sharpened my weapons and cooked our meal.”

“What Eric do you want me to know?” she asked.

“How about the one that is scared that I will never see that trust and faith in your eyes again and the Eric that is lonely and will not go back to being without you and Emmy.”

“Will you come and lie down in bed with us?” she asked. “I know you have news. I can feel it humming through you. After you tell me, if it is not yet dawn, will you just hold me?”

“I would be honored,” his hands brushed the hair back from her face.

Taking out his phone he opened it. “There is video if you want to see the slime monster snake its way through the streets.”

“What?” she drew back from him.

“Let me begin, at the beginning,” Eric said with a wiggle of his eyebrows. “Pam and the boys went into Shreveport to attend this party…”

“Miss Sookie,” Ian and Cedric were there vamp speed from under the bed, sitting on the floor in front of her. “It is dangerous in the tellin’ and I suspect the one who was not in attendance,” Cedric glowered at him, “could not do as good as a job as the lad of the Irish lilt.”

 

Sookie sat with her mouth open most of the time and shaking her head in disbelief. “And Jason drove right in? Without a by-your-leave?”

“Indeed he did Miss Sookie,” Cedric nodded vigorously. “Show her the videos on YouTube,” he nudged Ian.

“Okay…” she said under her breath as she watched. “What is that that…slimy great big…wormy kind of thing?”

“Demon, we think,” Ian nodded.

“Or a cross transfer vapor hatchling of some sort from the underworld,” Cedric nodded. “That is why me and my boyo here scurried home to hide under the bed of a four-year old angel’s kiss.”

“Then,” Ian elbowed his friend, “then Miss Pam closed the Hell Mouth with a shotgun and rock salt blessed by Miss Emmy when she was just the wee age of two and a bit, I believe Pamela said.”

“I marked the spot with my lipstick,” Pam said as she stuck her head in the front door. “Thought for those not faint-of-heart we could go back tomorrow night.”

“Plenty here faint-of-heart,” Cedric replied. “Sleepin’ under the angel’s kiss’s bed I am.”

“Sleeping sounds like a good idea. I need my sleep,” Sookie said as she stood and all the males stood with her.

Eric eyed them all and then said as he extended to her his hand, “Dance with me?” he asked as he bowed.

“I would be honored,” she smiled in return and humming a 3/3 time tune, Eric waltzed them back to the bedroom. Closing the door, the others did not take the hint.

“If you were serious about keeping us out,” Cedric said as they scurried in and under. “You would be a’lockin’ the door.” Jostling for space under the bed the room finally became quiet and Sookie was asleep.

There was the rustle of bed covers and Eric felt Emmy climbing across the bed. Sookie stirred and sat up as her baby climbed over her.

“Daddy,” she said as she lay on his chest, her eyes concentrating on his.

“Yes my angel’s kiss?” he smiled at her.

“Are you strong?” she asked.

“Well yes,” he replied, “and perhaps not. It depends on what you need done?”

“Are you strong enough not to hurt my Mommy?” she asked.

“Emmy,” he said her name, tears in his voice. “I want to be that strong.”

“Six, seven, eight, nine,” she counted, “walk in the sun and you will be fine,” she said and clapped her hands.

“Mommy, now you say it,” she smiled at her mother who was sitting up in bed. “Six, seven, eight, nine,” Sookie counted, “walk in the sun and you will be fine,” and then she clapped her hands.

“Now you Daddy,” Emmy urged.

“I cannot,” Eric was sobbing. “I do not deserve such a gift, Emmy. I often am and can be a horrible monster.”

“Eric,” Sookie took his hand. “We trust you. We will say it with you.

“Six, seven, eight, nine,” everyone in the room said, “walk in the sun and you will be fine!”

There was a soft sigh that stirred the curtains in the house and you could feel the burden of aloneness lift from the air.

Samuel was crying as he stood at the bedroom door.

Eric had earned his girls trust and respect. His brother had found his way.

It was All Saint’s Day. He could walk on his God’s holy days. The Northman Triad had now become mobile. Things for the bad guys were just going to go to Were shit. Samuel grinned. “A grand show it will be,” he said as he closed the door and went to sit on the front porch and wait for the sun to rise.

 

 

Daryl stood at a distance and watched the police cars with lights flashing and the videos on YouTube playing on the big screens in all the bars and in the outside bar areas. He hated technology!

“Where the hell is Stackhouse? He was supposed to bring me Sookie and the child. That was the plan. It was a good plan. He would bring me the females and I would rid him of the…” he began to weep! “Fuck it Hadley! Just what the fuck, woman! You were to rule by my side and be my goddess. Fuck it all, anyway,” he sobbed. “What am I to do now with that spell that would fool others into thinking you were Sookie? I spent a lot of money on that spell and it only works on blood relatives. And Sophie-Anne would pay me vast amounts of money for Sookie and her brat and…and…where is my Hell Mouth?” he whined. “This is so not fair. It was not a big Hell Mouth, just a very small one. After all, only Bruno died there. It was a Hell Mouth that I would have easily closed and all the fucking Supernaturals would just fucking bow down and worship me! So not fair, I want to be a YouTube star! And where the hell is Sophie-Anne, that lying bitch! She was going to meet me here and watch me do the deed and just back that truck up full of money into my portable vault.

Fuck! I can provide grand entertainment!” he snarled at a group that had just come out of a bar. Raising his arms over his head, he growled at them and screamed!

“Monster!” several squealed and ran.

“Monster! Where!” he screamed and jumped backwards, pulling his gun. Landing on the curb he tumbled backwards onto the street. As he pulled the trigger, the bullets went straight up into the air. And bullets can come down just as fast as they go up…fuck…!

The crowd scattered! Running as fast as they could screaming “Gun!” and “Monster!”

“Fuck!” he screamed as one hot piece of metal fell back to earth and tore through his arm and then his leg! “Help me, I’ve been shot!”

There was no one around. Taking out his cell phone he screamed in pain when he saw his damaged screen! “Fuck,” he whimpered as he dialed 911. “I’ve been shot,” he sobbed. “I am dying! Please, I think a monster shot me. Please send help!”

 

 

Eric held Emmy and Sookie the rest of the dark. He was so pleased that Sookie had invited him under the covers with them!

“Day walking,” he chuckled silently. “Well we will see. But for right now, Northman, you are indeed blessed. You need nothing more.”

 

 

Oh my….the early morning hours of All Saint’s Day were indeed, busy! Pamela had spent the night out in the barn with the goats and watching YouTube. One video after another as they came on-line.

“Tiny Hovering Blonde A Real Slayer!” the lead-line said.

“Ought-oh,” she whistled as she saw the back-side of herself take aim with the shotgun and the Hell-Mouth closed.

“Well just fuck,” she grinned as she watched the comments grow. “Looks like I am a real-life hero!

How about that!” she said to the nanny goat Baby Houdini. “You are in the presence of a real live hero!”

The horizontal, rectangular blue eyes stared back at her and “Bla-a-a,” was replied softly as Baby Houdini shifted and put her head in Pam’s lap. “See,” she smiled and showed Baby Houdini the screen, “everyone thinks so.”

“Well just damn,” she sighed. “For a slayer at least my ass does not look that bad.”

Hearing the main door open, all the goats got up and went for a look-see. Oh-h-h-h, it was Brother Samuel! He always opened the sweet feed door if you asked nicely enough.

“Good morning,” Pamela called out as he opened the stall door where the treats were kept and there was a small stampede. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“I am giving them some sweet feed. Maybe a few dried apple and peach rings thrown in as well.

According to YouTube, there is a new slayer in town,” Samuel chuckled as he tossed feed to the goats. “A real life Hell Mouth closer that can defy gravity.”

Pam grinned. “If I had known they were going to get footage of my ass, I would have worn that cute little white vintage Chanel number.”

“The one you bought in Paris?” Samuel asked. “With the diamond buttons?”

“That is the one,” she smiled.

“I just came out to give you a heads up,” Samuel said. “Emmy has turned Eric into a daywalker.”

Pam took a breath and then let it out. “She really is all that,” she said under her breath.

“She really is,” Samuel smiled. “No one is defining that as of yet. Apparently she and her father came to some type of understanding early this morning. I think Miss Emmy reads from her daddy that he is in for the long haul. That he loves her and her mother and is not going to go down without a fight to protect what is his.”

“You think something bad is coming?” she asked.

“I think something bad is already here,” he replied. “And Emmy has upped the odds for the good guys.”

“So…?” she took a handful of corn out of Samuel’s bucket and tossed it.

“Starts this morning. I suspect he will be out here to meet and greet during the day. Folks are going to want to meet Emmy’s daddy. Take their measure of him. I do not think Eric is going to disappoint them.”

 

 

Lafayette was up and fixing breakfast when Samuel walked back in from the barn.

“You need some help?” he asked.

“Could use some,” he smiled. “You know we always have a big breakfast to greet Emmy’s new birth year. Just happens to fall on All Saint’s Day, Day Walker. Everyone brings somethin’. You got a new special for us this year?”

Samuel looked very smug. “I can make a pumpkin crumble bread pudding if you have any left over bread ends.”

Lafayette arched an eyebrow at him. “Question is Brother Samuel, can you be makin’ enough cause Poppi-La La can eat a whole pan by himself. Help yourself to the fridge and I will get started on the vanilla sauce”.

“Lafayette,” Samuel said in a much quieter tone, “Emmy turned her father into a day walker.”

Nodding his head he smiled. “I wondered if she could. I am guessin’ we are glad that she did.”

“Have you seen the Hell-Mouth videos?” he asked.

“Lordy no,” he gasped. “They on the good and righteous YouTube?”

“Yes. I’ll stir you watch. You are going to need to be up to speed. And the slayer with the shot-gun, that is Pam.”

“Oh,” he nodded. “Lookee here, we went right to that. Lordy,” he said as he sat down and tried to drink his coffee as he watched. “That Miss Emmy’s rock salt Pam is usin’?”

“Indeed,” Samuel replied.

“Lordy,” Lafayette whispered. “That monster is carryin’ a keg!”

 

 

 

“How are you feeling?” Sookie asked, whispering in Eric’s ear.

“Good,” he nodded as he brushed the hair from her face. “I know it is still early.”

“Yes,” Sookie nodded, “the sun is not yet on the horizon.”

“Tis a fact, Mrs.,” the all heard the Irish lilt. “I am not so much feelin’ the effects either.”

Eric leaned over the side of the bed and lifted the bed skirt. “You two stay under there. I mean it.”

“Just call him Bossy Pants,” Sookie said as she leaned over and peered under the bed as well.

“Thank you Miss Sookie,” Ian smiled at her. “God knows I have called him much worse. But Bossy Pants is an accurate description for ladies’ ears.”

“I smell food,” she inhaled deeply and turned toward the door. “Lafayette always does a big spread for Emmy to start her new birth year. And Samuel always does a special recipe. Eric, if you would like to stay here with your daughter, I am going to do some official tasting. After all, we are having a crowd of people. And I guess it will be your coming out party as well. You got an answer for these good folks when they say you look like Eric Northman the vampire.”

Well yes,” he batted his eyelashes. “I get that a lot. But I am much better looking.”

Grinning at him she kissed him on the nose. Then became serious. “Sun up is in thirty minutes,” she said softly. “How do you want to do this?”

“With my family,” was all he said.

“I am honored,” she replied. “I will be right back.”

 

Sookie showed up in the kitchen and helped herself to a piece of bacon. “I got the good words from Brother Samuel,” Lafayette said. “How do you want to do this?”

“Eric said he wanted to watch the sun rise with his family. That includes you. So in about twenty minutes meet us out on the front porch.

Samuel,” she turned to him, “anything special? What did you do the first day you greeted the sun as vampire?”

Those soft green eyes turned to her and he gave her a very small, gentle smile. “After I was turned, I thought I was an abomination to my God. It was the first day of Feast of the Unleavened Bread. In the pre-dawn hours I sat weeping under a date tree, counting the shooting stars as those souls raced toward Heaven. I was ready to greet the sun. And as the sun rose, I could hear the earth waking up! The sunlight as it broke through the clouds sang a sweet song. Like a thousand stringed instruments until the sun broke over the horizon,” his voice was far and distant “and the colors of the earth became more. The heavens shouted for joy and I could see the paintbrush strokes where the angels had wept and used their tears for paint.

When I did not burn, I realized,” he wiped away the tears, “That this was the day the Lord had made and I was to rejoice and be glad in it,” he added softly.

“Is it always like that?” Lafayette asked.

“Yes,” Samuel smiled. “I live for my Father’s holy days,” he replied, his voice humbled. “And for those days that are not yet.”

“What can we do for Eric?” she asked.

“Just love him,” Samuel answered.

Emmy stuck her head in the kitchen. “I am going to go with Daddy out to the porch,” she smiled. “We will see you there.”

It was a bit chilly that first November morning. All Saint’s Day and the good people of earth had chased those of the crude and vulgar ways of evil back into the pit. Some had accomplished that with a shotgun and rock salt!

Eric was holding Emmy as they faced the East. There was a rosy glow pushing up through the dark as Sookie stood by his side and his arm went around her. “I love you,” she said, looking up at him.

His arm tightened around her. “With all that I am,” he replied bending his head to lightly kiss her lips. “I love you and if my life ends now, I could not be any happier than to stand here with my family.”

Samuel and Lafayette came out. Samuel stood on the other side of Eric and Lafayette next to Sookie.

As the colors slowly stretched out across the trees, Eric began to cry. “There are thousands of stringed instruments,” he sobbed as the dark was pushed and the sky began to be tinged with blue, yellow streaks of sunlight racing towards him and gently caressed his face as his tears fell. There was a clear, pure, sweet note that sounded like a French horn that said rest well to the dark and welcomed the life-giving glory to the day. When the sun cleared the trees, he said, “The last time I saw the sun, I was on my funeral pyre. My friends in attendance. Waiting for me to die. I treasured the color of the leaves and the blue sky that I could see through the trees. A white cloud that would pass by, cooling my body from the sun and the fever that raged within me. I thought with the passing of the day, I would take the colored bridge to Valhalla and sit at the table with my forefathers. There has never been anything more beautiful than the Northern lights that dance in the sky. I have never seen the sky more beautiful.

Until now,” he said softly.

“I love you Daddy,” Emmy whispered and licked the tears from his face.

Smiling at her, he kissed her on the nose. “You and your Mommy make my life complete. Thank you Emmy for your gift of love.”

Emmy patted his cheek. “Mommy says life is never a mistake. That only a wasted life is a mistake.”

“Your mother is a very wise woman,” he smiled at her.

They all heard the cars pull into the employee parking lot.

“Got to gets this goin’,” Lafayette said. As he started to step away Eric hugged him. “Thank you, Lafayette,” he said. “With all my heart, thank you.”

Nodding, Lafayette smiled at him and headed for the kitchen.

“Come Miss Emmy,” Samuel held out his arms and took her. “Let us go greet the goats.”

“I need my muck boots, Uncle Samuel,” she laughed. “They are in the laundry room.”

“Well then, let us head that way,” he grinned and spun them around before they went in the door.

Eric took Sookie’s hand and together they sat down on the porch swing. “What scared me the most about you,” he said, “was that when I looked at you, I could hear and see the sunrise every time you smiled. The first time I saw you,” he smiled sheepishly, “all I could think about was how to get in your pants and keep that smile all to myself.”

“And now?” she smiled at him and kissed him on the nose.

“I still want to get in your pants,” he grinned and then became very solemn. “And I only want to see you smile. Please, I do not want to see tears, especially ones that I may have caused you to cry from my selfish ways.”

Sookie watched him as the sun reflected off his hair. He was so serious. In his eyes lurked a thousand years of life and also a small boy, wishing to please. “There was another part to your ring,” he said softly as he drew it off her finger and out of his pocket came a small black velvet box. Opening it he removed the ring guards that were inside. Eternity rings. Each one was fashioned in platinum with diamonds circling it. Eric slipped one onto her finger, then the garnet band and then the other eternity band and then gently kissed her finger where they rested. “I was so scared Sookie that you would leave me. That you would want me. That you would weep and say that we were star-crossed lovers that were never meant to be. But all I have ever wanted was you. Only you.”

Eric held her hand up and the sunlight danced across scattered millions of points of light upon her.

“Will you marry me?” he asked, his voice trembling. “Will you be my place of sanctuary?”

“Yes,” she nodded, “if you will be mine. And you have seen what all I come with.”

“You come with life, Sookie, and live is never a mistake. Only a wasted one. And I am tired of wasting mine.”

When the folks walked over from the barn for breakfast, they found Eric with Sookie in his arms, as they twirled in the bright morning sunshine.

Emmy laughed. “That Daddy is going to marry my Mommy,” she giggled.

“Indeed he is,” Samuel smiled along with her.

“I am going to get a baby brother and some sisters,” she laughed, her curls dancing all over her head.

“Indeed,” Samuel grinned. “Let us go see what your Poppi-La la is doing in the kitchen. Let us help him finish up so breakfast can be served.”

“I need to put my boots in the laundry room,” she said with a sure nod of her head.

“We are on our way,” Samuel set her down on the ground and they danced their way to the back door.

 

Breakfast was a chatty affair. Eric smiled and shook hands while Emmy introduced him to all who came in the door. Once the novelty of Eric slowed down, the talk turned to the Shreveport Slayer and Jason driving his truck into that Hell-mouth.

“Just a real shame about Hadley,” Arlene shook her head as she talked to Sookie off at the side of the living room. “You know, if only Sam Merlotte had married her and not Remy Savoy. Maybe her life would have turned out different.”

“What?” Sookie leaned into Arlene. “Hadley dated Sam?”

“Oh yes,” Arlene nodded. “Big time. He would take her out-of-town to someplace nice for dinner. You always knew when he had a date with Hadley because he actually shaved and put on slacks and a button down shirt.”

“Really?” Sookie made a face. “How did I miss that?”

“Sookie, that was when your Aunt Lydia was dying of cancer. You and your gran spent a lot of time with her because Hadley was nowhere to be seen. That is because she was havin’ her way with Sam.

Yes,” she nodded. “He rented an apartment for her in Shreveport. I saw him once pulling out of Long Pine Luxury Apartments. They were at a stoplight and she had her tongue down his throat. He did not look like he was objecting.

“You mean the nice ones over by the mall?” Sookie sounded shocked. “The gated community?”

“Those are the ones,” she raised both eyebrows. “I just figured that is where he kept her.”

“I had no idea,” Sookie was flabbergasted.

“I think that was the idea. No one was supposed to know. She had just graduated high school. She was legal, but only by a couple of months. Which means she probably was jail bait when they started.”

“Holy shit,” Sookie whispered to her.

“Exactly,” Arlene nodded. “Now, who made that pumpkin crumble bread puddin’?”

“Samuel,” she said pointing to him. “He is Eric’s brother.”

“Brothers…” she regarded the tall handsome blond and the short handsome brunet. “Well, I have seen stranger,” Arlene nodded. “But I do see the family resemblance. I wondered who Miss Emmy got her curls from? Knew it had to be her daddy’s side of the family.

You know,” she paused, “Eric looks familiar. Oh, I know, he kinda looks like that Swedish actor. You know, the one that played in Tarzan. Only your Eric is by-far better lookin’.

And girl, you certainly did a good job of keepin’ him under wraps. You just waitin’ for him to be done with the Marines, huh?”

“Yes,” Sookie smiled. “Yes, I was just waiting. We are all glad he is home safe and sound.”

“Is he going to be workin’ the farm?” she asked.

“Yes, I think he and Mr. Hyett will get along just fine. In another life before the Marines, he used to build sailboats.”

“That a fact,” Arlene smiled. “Well just how nice is that.”

“Yes,” Sookie grinned. “It is very nice. He did some farming also with his parents and raised goats.”

“That man is made-to-order,” she grinned.

“I think so,” she smiled.

“Now, Sookie…” she leaned in closer. “Those ring guards…?” she wiggled her eyebrows and smiled like the Cheshire Cat.

“Yes,” the lady-of-the-house said sounding pleased. “Hey was that me?” she thought to herself. Sounding happy and pleased? Arlene was so happy for her, you could see the tears sparkling in her eyes!

“Those are someday going to be my wedding bands. No date yet but he wants me to wear them and so I am. May not be for a while…you know…live together for a bit, maybe a year, and see how it all shakes out so don’t be making any plans.”

“Oh girl!” she hugged her. “Congratulations! I am so happy for you!”

“Thanks,” Sookie grinned, “I am happy for me too! And Emmy is thrilled to have her daddy home with her. I guess she told the entire town that last night.” And then Sookie had a moment. She was happy for herself! Looking down at her left hand, the grin on her face got bigger! Looking over at Eric, he was watching her and had the sweetest smile on his face. Arlene hugged her again and left to talk to Eddy. Walking over to her, Eric put his arm around her and said loud enough for only her to hear. “I am so pleased that you are pleased.

I love you,” he said bringing her hand up for a kiss.

“I love you,” she lightly kissed him on the lips. “And I have news.”