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
When Sookie came home from work, she told her gran about the Were and what had happened.
Adele listened intently. “I remember the day your grandpa bought that pistol. They went to put out a fire and there was a nest of snakes that they had to stop and kill with their shovels before they could do their job properly. Well, after that, he carried that pistol and nothing came between him and his job. Glad to see that it is still stopping snakes.”
“Thanks Gran for giving it to me,” Sookie took the older woman’s hand. “It gives me a great deal of comfort knowing that I have it. I did not enjoy one bit pointing it at that Werewolf but it stopped him from coming any closer. That low life and Compton did not come in tonight and I was most pleased with that. Compton has not been over has he?” as she hugged her gran and then took down a cup.
“No,” Adele replied as she watched her granddaughter make hot chocolate. “Sookie, I am washing sheets and mattress covers tomorrow and towels. If you will strip your bed in the morning before you go to work, I’ll get that done. I noticed we are about out of toilet paper. I will be going to Piggly Wiggly first thing. You need anything else, you make me a list.”
“Will do, Gran,” she smiled at her as she leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. “I’ll check the dryer sheets, I think there are only a couple left.”
“Well then, I will leave you in charge,” Adele patted her hand and standing, made her way to bed.
Dear sweet Jesus! Earl always said this day would come! I just did not want to believe it!
When they answered the call to put out fires, he saw all manner of strange and unlawful things. And some just downright unholy!
“Adele,” he would tell me, “I hope I am there to do this burden for you, but if I am not, there are things you need to know how to do.
And as awful as it sounds, there might come a time when you will have to burn someone or something out. I cannot tell you when that time but come. And I pray that it never does. But you will know. In your heart you will know and you will know that you have no other options.”
I will never forget the look on his face when he told me that. So appalled at what he was saying and scared that I would have to do it.
They threatened my Sookie. The time has come.
Grabbing her cup of cocoa and her phone, Sookie headed upstairs. It was time to put her plan into motion.
Into her search engine went Fangtasia and up popped a phone number. “Time to call,” she said to herself and hit the phone number on her screen.
“Fangtasia, where all your undead dreams come true,” a very bored and sarcastic voice answered.
“Good evening. My name is Sookie Stackhouse and I need to reach Eric Northman.”
“You and every other female on the planet,” came the response and she was disconnected.
“Fuck!” Sookie groused as she hit the number again.
“Fangtasia, where all your undead dreams come true,” a perky, young voice answered.
“Good evening, my name is Sookie Stackhouse and I need to reach Eric Northman.”
“I am sorry the master is not available at this time,” was said with a smile in her voice as Sookie was disconnected a second time.
“Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me? Master?
Get ahold of yourself Sookie!” she chided herself. “This is about preservin’ the peace. So whatever it takes, let’s make this happen.”
For the next hour, Sookie continued to call and be polite to only be hung up on. “Midnight,” she sighed. “I have got to get some sleep. One more time…”
This time when the phone was picked up she said, “You need to tell Mr. Northman there is a Werewolf gunnin’ for him,” and with a great deal of satisfaction she hung up.
“Mistress,” Death’s Door bowed to Pam who was checking the stock in the back. “A most unusual message for the master.”
“Has been a night of them,” Pam replied. “What makes this one so special?”
“The woman said that a Werewolf was gunning for the master,” she said with a nervous chuckle. “Are there Werewolves?”
Pam said nothing, just growled in return and said, “Get back to your post.”
“Of course, pardon my idiocy,” the young woman bowed from the waist and headed back to the front door.
Pam went back to her office and pulled up the phone’s history. It showed that there had been the same person calling for the past hour. It was the same number she had picked up earlier, tonight. “Sookie Stackhouse,” she said to herself and typed the name into Brother Samuel’s search engine.
Up popped everything there was to know about Sookie. “So she really does exist,” Pam chuckled. “With a name like that, one would have to wonder. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, Sookie Stackhouse, knower of Werewolves and caller to Fangtasia.”
As she continued to read about Sookie, things became clearer and also more obscure.
Her door opened and Eric stepped in. “Just what the fuck are you working on?” he asked leaning over her shoulder. “There is enough back blow from you to create a black hole.
And what the hell is a Sookie Stackhouse? A Yuletide cocktail? A Yuletide pastry? A pole dancer? Is that what we are giving the staff this year?”
“No,” Pam switched over to Sookie’s DMV photo. “This is Sookie Stackhouse. She lives on Hummingbird Land in Bon Temps.
Her are her tax records. She works for Merlotte. Orphan, lives with her grandmother and between the two of them they manage to hang onto the family land and house that has been in the family since the Civil War. Their biggest money maker are the pecans from their trees, followed by Gran’s social security check followed by Miss Stackhouse’s wages and tips.
She drives a yellow 1981 Honda Civic. I don’t think she does so because she thinks it is a classic.
Please note, the Stackhouses have been in Bon Temps since the Civil War. Everyone’s favorite ass kisser at court also grew up in Bon Temps,” she said wiggling her eyebrows. “Compton would have known the original Stackhouses. Plus, he is home for the holidays,” she smiled sweetly at Eric, “and living in the family manse. If only you would have let me burn it down when HRM called and said he was coming home. Chances are good he has tried to reconnect with the locals, looking for a free meal.”
“No the to burning. No to silvering Compton. You know the rules,” Eric said gently. “Child, I am not connecting the dots. Why are you so gleeful?”
“Miss Stackhouse called here tonight.” Pam showed him the phone’s history. “I took the first call and when she said she wanted to talk to you I told her to basically take a number behind all the other women in the world and hung up. But she kept calling back and she finally left this message with Death’s Door and then she hung up. You need to tell Eric Northman that a Werewolf is gunning for him.”
Eric sat down on Pam’s desk and turned the laptop toward him. “This little blonde knows about Werewolves?”
“I believe so,” Pam snickered, “and also that one is trying to kill you.”
Eric took out his phone and dialed the number and putting it on speaker, set it on Pam’s desk. He was greeted with a sleepy “Hello.”
“This is Eric Northman, I believe you wanted to speak to me Miss Stackhouse.”
“I don’t know you from Jack Shit or his brother,” the sleepy voice was gone and had been replaced by pissed-off. “I will call Fangtasia and ask to speak to you. If I get the royal run-around like I did all night, after this Were eats you, I hope he shits your vampire remains for the next week.”
Pam laughed out loud as Eric glared at her. When the bar phone rang, Pam checked the number and picked up. “Miss Stackhouse, please wait. I am handing the phone to Eric.”
Eric glared at Pam again and straightening his cuffs, took the phone. “Miss Stackhouse, please, if I might apologize for my staff. They are very protective of me. I hope getting in contact with me has not caused you an undo hardship.”
There was a lot of rude mouth noise. Did she just “Pbbbllltttt,” at him?
“Undo hardship. That must be nice,” she said lowering her voice and sounding snarky. “Now, before we go any further, I want to ask you some questions?”
“Yes, go ahead,” he said staring at the phone crossed eyed while Pamela made a jerking off motion with her hand.
“Do you know a Bill Compton?” He could hear the distaste in her voice.
“Yes,” he replied mouthing “what the fuck?” at Pamela.
“Mr. Northman, everythin’ is ridin’ on this. Give me your honest opinion of him.”
“He is a cheap assed ass kissing bastard,” Eric responded. “I would not trust him to do anything or believe anything he says and you should not either.
And if I might ask, how do you know Compton?”
“He has moved in across the cemetery from us. Back into his family manse. My gawd, the place is a rundown hovel and a fire trap. He is trying to work his way into the hearts and blood of the town folk, telling them stories about the Civil War. Probably all lies but those that belong to the Glorious Dead love to hear them. My gran included.”
Eric just stared at the phone while Pamela started sending off text messages.
“Next question,” she said staying on track, “and if I was to ask him his honest opinion of you,” he could hear the expectation in her voice, “what would he say?”
Eric laughed. “Oh Miss Stackhouse, I cannot use such language in front of a woman. None of it would be flattering.”
“Okay, good…” Eric could hear her hair moving as she nodded in agreement. “Because I am being stalked by this Were and his vampire buddy-buddy Compton.
How good is Were hearing?” and he could hear the concern in her voice.
“Very good,” he replied. Once more mouthing “What the fuck?” while Pamela sat entranced by the phone call as messages began to ping back on her phone.
“I thought as much,” she hissed, disgusted. “I need someplace safe to talk to you. This asshole has peered though my bedroom window and I sleep upstairs. Either he managed to get up here by himself or Compton helped him out. Who knows where this asshole is now. Hopefully not hanging from my roof and listening in.”
“I see your problem,” Eric responded. “Miss Stackhouse. Does this Were have a name?”
“I don’t know it,” she replied. “We were not formally introduced. But he is a mega ass hole. I pulled my gun on him this morning. If he would have taken one more step toward me I would have shot him.”
Pam grinned and air-pumped as Eric grinned and wiggled his eyebrows. “I am intrigued Miss Stackhouse. Are you available this evening?”
“You mean now? No,” and Eric swore he could hear her rolling her eyes. “I work for a livin’. And I am workin’ the breakfast shift tomorrow. I will be at the Shreveport Mall tomorrow night. I don’t think this ass hole would follow me there but I just don’t know.”
“There is a lovely restaurant called Tanagers. Is nine too early, too late?”
“Nine should do. I am comin’ to the mall with a friend. He can just continue to shop while I take a time out with you. Oh, how nice is this place? We are going to spend the evenin’ hittin’ the big sales. I’ll be in comfort and tennis shoes.”
“That will be fine,” he smiled. “Just give them your name at the desk. Until then. Rest well.”
“Thanks,” she replied, “and…aw-w-w-w, the same to you.”
Pam looked up from her phone. “Old Cranky says that Compton is at the residence. Just arrived. Smells of wet dog but did not bring one inside with him.”
“He brings a Were into my area,” he seethed. “What, the pack in Shreveport does not does not shit enough out in the woods?”
Pam was gleeful. There was going to be a war. “I must say, I think I like this Sookie Stackhouse. Compton has been here for three weeks and she can recognize him for what he is,” Pam countered as she looked at the DMV photo of the human, again.
Eric was still glaring. “It is one thing for HRM to send that lower that Were shit Compton, here. It is another for him to bring a guest and not inform me. HRM could be in some deep Were shit once I get to the bottom of all of this.”
Pam grinned. “Oh my maker, I am so counting on that.”
When Sookie got up at six, she could hear the washing machine going and the dryer. “Gran has been up for a bit,” she smiled as she stripped off her bedding. “Clean sheets tonight after a big day of shoppin’ and maybe a nice meal! Yippee!”
By the time she got downstairs the dryer and the washer had stopped. “Make sure you clean out the dryer filter dear. That last load was towels.”
“Will do,” Sookie replied as she headed for the machines on the back porch. “Gran,” she stuck her head back in the door. “You savin’ the dryer filter lint?”
“Yes dear, just please put it all in the plastic bag I have there. I am collecting snow for the mantel. Now, I am off to Piggly Wiggly, soonest. Then I am having lunch with the Glorious Dead and I think Maxine said something about a new tearoom that has opened this side of Shreveport. So if I don’t see you before you get off work and head for the mall, you have a grand day. I love you.”
“I love you too, Gran,” Sookie replied as she passed by and hugged her. “I put my sheets in the washer. I’ll change them out before I leave for the mall.” Pouring herself a cup of coffee, she was out the door.
Adele worked on her non-perishable grocery list, listening for the washer to stop. Tossing the sheets into the dryer, she added the towels and the soap to the machine. Picking up the bag of dryer lint, she stopped off in the bathroom, grabbed two rolls of toilet paper and sitting down in the living room, began to make her torches.
“It is going to rain starting at eight,” she checked the weather one more time. “Starting to cloud up. I don’t want to burn down the farm, but Earl, if we get a nice fire started on the main floor, it should draft up those stairs, collapse the top floor and burn everything else.”
The older she got, the more time she spent in the cemetery visiting with family and friends that had gone on before her. If anyone saw her out there, no one would think it was odd. Putting on her raincoat, she tucked the toilet paper rolls under her shirt and buttoning her coat and tying the belt, went outside.
Walking through the graveyard, she stopped at the headstone that she had erected for her husband. “Where ever you are Earl, I hope you are looking down on me and smiling,” she sighed as she patted his monument and then continued her journey. The sky was beginning to look dark and the air felt heavy. The rain was going to start. Good. That would cover her tracks. As she approached the Old Compton place it looked like it had since she had known it as a child. An abandoned derelict. “Run!” screamed from its peeling paint and caved in roof. “There is no hope, here! Only misery!” There were no cars parked on the grounds. That was good. Not that it would matter at this point. Anyone tried to stop her, she was also carrying a pistol.
She knew this house. It had no gas lines, no water lines, no electrical lines. It held only death…well, not for her or hers!
There was a small downed tree limb in the driveway. Picking it up, she walked up the porch steps and taking out her two rolls of toilet paper from under her rain coat, she broke two front windows with her small club and holding a cigarette lighter to the lint filled center, she lit it and tossed it in one window and aimed for a rat ridden couch. Then she did the same thing to an old broken chair, the material in tatters and now whispering in the breeze. Both of her torches took. There was no need to stay. Earl had been most specific.
As she walked back toward her house and sanity, she tossed the limb into the woods. The rain began when she entered the graveyard. Once in her own driveway, she took out her keys and opening the car door, she turned on the engine, the windshield wipers, the lights, and motored off.
As she drove down Hummingbird Lane, she knew the Compton place was off to the left, burning. After what her brother had done to Sookie she had taught her granddaughter how to shoot and make her own bullets.
Looking in Sookie’s window had been the last straw. What that vampire and Werewolf were capable of doing…and would never be held accountable. Well, not on her watch.
“Take no prisoners,” she smiled to herself as she headed out for a most pleasant day.
The lunch crowd was coming in and Sookie was getting ready to clock out. No lunch crowd for her today….! No, no and no!
“Sheriff,” she smiled at Andy and his two new deputies, “please allow me to buy your coffee, today. It is do a good deed Thursday and I am off the rest of the day and shoppin’ tonight and things are right in my world. Ho ho ho!”
“Well thanks Sookie,” Andy smiled and then they all felt the windows rattle followed by a big boom!
“What the…?” Sookie said as she and everyone else looked out the windows.
“Is that firecrackers?” she asked, listening to the pop, pop, pop happening at a high rate of speed.
“That is ammo cooking off,” Deputy Brent, an Army veteran of Afghanistan said, standing and looking about. “Large caliber. Military grade.”
“Let’s find it,” Andy said, talking into his radio and requesting backup.
All three ran out into the rain. Hitting the lights, they were gone.
Sam went to the door and sniffed the air. “Fire someplace,” he said trying to track the scent through the shifting air currents and the pounding rain.
“Sookie,” he asked as she passed by to check out, “you leave the stove on this morning? Or the iron?”
“No why?” she asked, grabbing her purse from his office.
“I smell smoke. It is drifting on the wind, but maybe it is coming from your side of town.”
“I will be watchful,” she said, peering out into the storm. “One thing for sure, I don’t think it is going to spread.”
“Well Sam was right,” she could smell the smoke the closer she got to home. Pulling into her drive, she dialed 911. “Kendra, this is Sookie Stackhouse, tell the Sheriff that the fire is someplace over here by me.
Whoa!” she yelled as an explosion shook her and her car. “Maybe it is the old Compton place. But I can’t tell for sure with the rain.”
It was an eventful afternoon.
By the time the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) showed up, the area had been cordoned off. Their line stretched through the graveyard, right up to the Stackhouse property line. Sookie watched with interest all the comings and goings from a blanket and the comfort of her own front porch. Andy came from the direction of the graveyard and walking up the steps, sat down beside her.
“How is it lookin’ over there?” she asked.
“Not good for vampire Bill. He has some serious explaining to do. Other than that, his house has burned and there is not much left…where a basement used to be is just a big hole. There is not much rubble and they are out walking the blast radius with dogs, mechanical sniffers, you name it. There was some serious ordnance in what is now a large hole.”
“So just cover it up and call it done?” she asked.
Andy shrugged. “This is the Feds’ show and they are pissed. Lots of different Feds. Lots of talk of terrorist things that go boom. But you did not hear that from me because I am not allowed to discuss an ongoing investigation.”
“Those big booms were big things, huh?” she asked.
“Something like that,” he nodded.
“We are safe here, right? I mean, we don’t have to move out or anything?”
“No,” Andy shook his head. “It left a very big hole and they are not finding much.”
“Well okay,” she nodded. “You want some coffee?”
“I surely would but then I would have to explain where I got it and there would be a parade of law enforcement agencies over here.”
“Well, that would be just fine. I think we have some to-go cups. I’ll go make a pot and send you over with a cup so you can send them over.”
The afternoon passed. Sookie set up a coffee station with a sign saying to dump the grounds and make a new pot when one was needed. Milk and sugar sat outside along with cups and a trash container.
Adele pulled in at five, wondering what was going on and waving to the different men and women standing on her porch.
The light was on and their blazers announced who they were. “Mercy, so many three letter alphabets,” she said as she got out of her car.
“Evening,” she smiled and nodded to those that passed her and they all smiled back.
“Gran,” Sookie stuck her head out the front door. “Everything is just fine. Come on in and I will tell you what I know.”
When Adele came up the steps she clucked her tongue. “Is my granddaughter serving you coffee out of a paper cup?” she shuddered.
“That’s fine ma’am,” one young woman smiled at her. “We appreciate it.”
Gran shook the milk carton and nodded her head in approval and then checked the sugar bowl. “Well let me go check in and if you all need anything at all, you just let us know.”
“Yes ma’am,” the two men refilling their cups nodded and saying their “thank yous” were down the steps and off into the night.
“Lord have mercy Sookie,” she said as she came in and removed her raincoat. “So this is what happens when I step away for the day.
Just what did happen?” she asked.
“Compton’s place blew up. Apparently he had military grade ammunition along with a few other things that make a big terrorist boom when they cook off. Andy says there is a hole that reaches to China where Compton’s house used to be.”
“Lord have mercy,” she gasped and sat down. “And we have had him to our Glorious Dead meetings! Do they think he was plotting to blow us all up?”
“The Feds don’t know,” she said. “Like they don’t know anything at all and Andy says they are pissed off. The ATF and the FBI and several other letters I did not recognize are all wearing unhappy faces and mumbling about how did they miss a weapons cache of this size coming into the country.
I was still at work when this great big boom shook all the windows in Merlottes’. I thought the roof was comin’ down. Andy and two of his deputies were in there with him. They took off lookin’ for it and when I came home I smelled smoke and called it in.”
“Military grade…” Gran’s voice trailed off.
“Mm-m-m-m. You met Deputy Brent. The Army vet. He knew right away listenin’ to it explodin’ what it was. He said it was big stuff. I guess there is a great big hole in the ground showing just how right he was.
Do you feel okay about me leavin’ you here while I go with Lafayette to the mall?”
“Well of course dear,” Adele smiled. “I don’t think I have ever felt this safe in my entire life. All those nice law enforcement folks out there taking care of business. I think I will make a couple of pans of brownies to set out with the coffee. Now you run along. I know the sales start at six. You going to eat before you go?”
“I had a pb&j to tie me over until we get there. Then we’ll find something at the food court.
I am drivin’ over to Lafayette’s. Don’t wait up. Love you,” she kissed her Gran on the check and grabbing her purse, went out the door.
Motoring off, she waved at those she saw along the way and sang along with the Christmas Carols until she got to the Reynolds’s Residence of Fineness Respite. Hopping out, Lafayette came out and locked the door and then they were off.
As he drove, she told him all she knew about the Old Compton Place.
“Lordy,” he said shaking his head. “So they think maybe he is an arms dealer?”
“I think that has crossed one or two minds. Deputy Brent said enough armament went off today to purchase a third world country and declare yourself king.”
“Have mercy,” Lafayette crossed himself.
“And I am sure Compton was in cahoots with that Were. I talked to a couple of FBI agents today about him. Told them that he was French and had only recently started coming to Merlotte’s.
I am sure a couple of agents took themselves over there to ask around.”
“Good day to be shoppin’,” he said, nodding his head wisely.
“There is more,” she said. “Lafayette, as of about midnight last night, I have an appointment at nine.”
“Midnight planning of a rendezvous. Well and good,” he countered. “Do I get to know with whom?”
“Yes, I guess someone should know. That Werewolf, he wants to start a war with Eric Northman and disrupt the status quo. So I finally got in touch with Northman early this morning and I am meetin’ him at the mall because I don’t know if that Were is still stalkin’ me or not.”
“Oh shit, Sookie! Northman! He wants Northman! The face of all things tax payin’ vamp! Northman. I has heards this and that’s about that vampire! This mo fo’n Were certainly believes in goin’ vampire big or why bother your ass about it. Dumb shit Were,” he stared at the road and shook his head.
“Yes,” she nodded. “And since I like my world the way it is, well, you know, now that I know about the vamps and Weres, I don’t want to have to shoot everyone that walks up to the door that I don’t know. Or maybe that I do know.”
“I gots that and I know that to be truths,” he sighed. “But Northman, I hear, can be a real piece of work himself. So you be careful. You want me to go with you?”
“No, I should be just fine. I am meeting him at the restaurant called Tanagers.”
“Oh do tell,” Lafayette responded with much respect and awe in his voice.
“Really?” her voice took on a panicked note. “I told him that I was shoppin’ the sales and that I was wearing comfort. He said that was just fine.”
“Then it will be just fine,” Lafayette nodded, his voice assuring. “You look lovely, Sookie. Your goodness shines through everythin’ else. Don’t know how anyone can be noticin’ what you are wearin’ when they are blinded by that halo that dances around your head.”
“Oh stop it,” she smiled at him.
“You will be just fine,” Lafayette squeezed her hand. “I promise. You just turn up the collar on your shirt, undo a button and work that blazer all the way down to your tenny runners.”
“Well, I’ll walk in and give them my name. Northman said that was all I needed to do.”
“Send me a text when you are done, I will meet you,” Lafayette said all knowing. “If this meetin’ last until ten, that still gives us until midnight to get our shoppin’ on.”
“Yes,” she nodded sagely, “I have not seen a sale like this at Penny’s, ever. And I am makin’ the most of it!”
Sookie was more than happy as she left Penny’s at ten until nine. Gran’s shopping was done, along with something for Lafayette and Tara. Time to take herself up the escalator.
Tanagers was a restaurant on the third floor. It was named for the brightly colored songbirds that lived in South America. As Sookie stood in line to speak to the maître d, because that was certainly what he was and there was not a hostess to be seen, she admired the photos and paintings of the birds on the walls. Looking at the menu, out front in the fancy leather binder, she thought maybe the food was Mexican but she seriously doubted it was anything like Taco Bell. They featured a lot of seafood and fresh hand made tortillas and locally grown everything.
The folks standing in line were dressed pretty nice. Maybe the women were wearing jeans and a blazer, but they were also dripping in diamonds.
When it was her turn, she approached the hand carved, ornate stand where the man in the tux was directing traffic. “Good evenin,” she smiled. “My name is Sookie Stackhouse.”
“Of course madam,” he said snapping his fingers and a woman in a tux appeared. “Phoebe will take you to your table.”
They walked down a side hall, passed through a set of beautiful carved doors and the noise all departed as if on command. Sookie decided it was like being in church. She was walking on carpeting. But not wall-to-wall….this was one long runner that was woven with the same colors as the song birds out front. It was a lovely floral and songbird design. Wool, she was sure as her feet made no sound when she walked. Another door opened and she was ushered in. Standing there and waiting for her was Eric Northman. He was holding a bouquet of flowers. “Damn,” she thought as she approached him. “How tall is he and no one should be that gorgeous!”
Keep walking Northman. Do not stop now. She might vanish into a ray of moonlight! Fuck me fuck me fuck me, time to change my approach. Damn, glad I had the flowers delivered. Fucking wish I had filled the room with them! Compton and that Were must be jerking off non-stop! She looks like one of Raphael’s Madonnas! The way the light plays across her face and her shimmers through her hair! You can see the peace and contentment living there in her blue eyes. Get your head in the game. She probably does not want to be ravished in a restaurant. Smell that innocence. It is intoxicating!”
“Miss Stackhouse,” he said as he approached. “Eric Northman,” he raised her hand to his lips. “It is not often I get to meet someone who wants to save my life. Please, these are for you,” he said handing her the bouquet and daring a small intimacy, placed his hand in the small of her back directed her to the table. Pulling out her chair, he helped her to sit down. Pushing her chair in, he walked around to the other side and pulling out his own chair, sat down.
“Please, call me Sookie,” she said to him.
“Thank you. And I am Eric. I realize you are on a time restraint,” he began by saying as he took in everything about her. Clean. Fresh. Fearless. Untainted by filth and corruption. Certainly not a member of the me, me, me, fuck you! 21st century.
He could feel his fangs flirting with his gum line. Virgin… Just fuck me now, I want her…! King Eric was starting to stir! This would never do!
“I am grateful for whatever time you can spare me.
How wrong would it be if I just nuzzled her hair all night long? I would not even ask to lick that pulse in her neck!
I hope you don’t mind, but I have taken the liberty of ordering for you so that you may eat while we talk.
Please, let me watch you put things in your mouth so I can pretend that it is me you are nibbling on!
“Thank you,” she said as a waiter appeared and filled her water glass while another placed a spinach and strawberry salad in front of her.
As the men stepped away, Eric indicated she was to eat.
“This is lovely,” she said as she tasted the salad and the dressing slipped delightfully across her tongue. It was a honey mustard walnut delight!
“How about if I just start at the beginning,” she said as she took another bite. “But before I do, I guess you need to know that Compton’s house caught fire and blew up, today.”
“What?” That caught him completely off guard. Had Pamela made good on her threat to torch it?
“Yes, has not exactly been in the news. Apparently he had some military grade ammunition stored there. His house caught fire and the ammo cooked off and a couple of very big somethings exploded that vaporized his house and left a very big hole in the ground. There are Federal and state and local agencies crawling around all over the place.”
“That would be very big news,” Eric said, concern in his voice.
“Yes,” she shook her head. “They are keeping it quiet. Vampires, terrorists, and just how the hell did this cache make it into the country without a whisper. Back to vampires and terrorists. That type of thing. They are looking for answers before…well just before.”
“Yes, vampires,” he shook his head. “I am so sorry,” he said lifting her hand to his lips for a kiss. “Please excuse me. I must contact my associate with this information.” Sending out a text message to Pamela, he waited for her reply before he looked back up.
“So let me tell you about the Were,” she began. “He showed up about a week after Compton did. Or at least that is when he started comin’ into Merlotte’s.
Since they didn’t tip, we all had to take turns waitin’ on them. And it was not like they were having a glass of water and a dinner salad. The Were was spending about a hundred dollars a night on food and alcohol. Whiskey. I think he drank that just to impress us. You know, I can afford fifty dollars worth of booze to have with my meal. You don’t make fifty dollars a day. Compton would sometimes have a True Blood or not.
They would sit in the back booth and speak French. Compton’s is not very good, the Were was not bad. You would hear them discussin’ Paris, so I guess that is where the Were was from.”
“I don’t understand,” Eric said. “They were talking loud enough for you to hear them?”
“Oh yes,” she nodded. “They would snicker about how we were nothing but dumbass crackers and talk about us like we could not understand a word they were sayin’. Seriously,” Sookie rolled her eyes, “this is Louisiana, everyone speaks and understands some form of the Mother Tongue.
The times I waited on them, I was under the distinct impression that I was there only to serve. It was like I was invisible. Which made sense. Compton’s family owned slaves before the war so he only showed his manners to landed gentry like himself. That would not be me. And I bet this Were was born to the manner as well.”
“You hear anything interesting?” Eric asked, leaning in across the table, wanting to lick that tiny piece of strawberry from her lower lip. “I would puke my guts out all night long,” he thought as her salad plate was removed and lobster pieces with refried beans and rice appeared along with fresh tortillas.
“Well, the Were is on leave from the Legion and he liked his FAMAS.”
“Fusil d’Assaut de la Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne,” Eric replied. “French army’s assault rifle. He is a member of the French Foreign Legion.”
“That explains it,” Sookie said taking out a tortilla and adding some beans and rice to it along with some lobster meat.
“I have been told it is good with the avocado,” Eric smiled at her.
“Thanks,” she said checking out her accrutments plate. Adding the avocado, she spooned on what she thought was sour cream and some grated cheese as well.
“Explains what?” he queried.
“I thought he was something…in a uniform…but greasy. Untrustworthy. You know, he had a regulation hair cut but he gave me the creeps.
When I see our military in uniform here at the mall, I always rest easy inside. They have a confidence and bearing to them that makes you feel safe. Clarity of eye. Pride in themselves and their job. Not this asshole,” she said shaking her head. “It was like he was masquerading around pretending to be something that he was not.”
Up until this point, Sookie had eaten with gusto! Clearly she was enjoying the meal. She had gone back to making another fajita and finally stopped and sat staring at him.
“Is there something else?” he asked her. Whatever it was, it was a very big something else. Her eyes had gone to a darker shade of blue.
“Yes,” she nodded.
After speaking with her last night on the phone, she was not one to mince words.
Just cut to the chase.
“Sookie, you know people’s lives depends on this.”
“Yes,” she nodded, “and so does mine.
The only thing I know about you is that you are the vampire on TV telling us all to pay our taxes and get along.
I guess you do that. Pay your taxes. I have no idea if you get along with others or not. I have no idea if you drain a human every day or once a week or if you have a human quota at all.”
“I understand your point,” he said nodding. “What can I do to convince you?”
“Tell me a secret about yourself,” she said carefully. “Something that no one else knows.”
“Well, my brother, Samuel, he knows most things about me. The really big important things and perhaps the small things as well.
My child, Pamela, she knows several things about me.”
“Oh. Okay. I get that. My true friends knows this about me. So, what is a secret that you would not want the world to know about you in general?”
“Well…” he began, thoughtfully.
“Not a well know fact is that I am over a thousand years old. But that would not be news to the vampire community. I am a Viking. And that is not news to them at all. The vampire community generally refers to me as that fucking Viking. Most do not care for my charm or winning ways or if they cross me, I am the last thing they will see in their undead lives.
But what they do not know about me is that my grandmother was the wise woman of our clan. And our clan could trace its way back into the mists of time. And each wise woman of our clan, before she died, she passed the collective magic to the next wise woman. So we are talking countless generations of magic. When my grandmother died, she passed all that magic to me.”
“Wow,” she got out. “You can do magic? I mean, real magic?”
“And more than just vampire magic,” Eric grinned. “Oh yes. And if the vampire population knew this, they would look to end my days. Because this would explain several deaths of prominent vampires that could not be explained,” he added with a grin.
“Okay, that’s fair,” she nodded.
“I read a lot,” she began by saying. “And I like accurate, romantic historical fiction. I have a couple of favorite writers. C.E. Stewart wrote the novel, Love Until Death, set in Victorian times. The Were,” she nodded, “he is not French. While he speaks French, he thinks in Victorian English, complete with word phrasing and accent.”
Eric heard the words but was not believing what was sitting across the table from him. “Telepath,” he whispered.
“Yes,” she said, her voice low. “My Gran knows, and my friend that I came here with tonight, Lafayette. The town of Bon Temps calls me Crazy Sookie. They know something is wrong with me, they just don’t know what.
I can’t read vampires and with Lafayette’s help, I figured out those that growl inside my head are Werewolves. But I keep my shields up as best that I can because I really do not want to know what others are thinkin’.
Gran told me when I was young that if I told folks, the government would take me and lock me away and make me work for them. Lookin’ inside the heads of horrible people.”
“But you trusted me,” Eric said gently.
“This Were,” she shuddered, “he wants to blow the world apart, startin’ with you.
I want to do my Christmas shoppin’ and tree decoratin’. Make Christmas fudge, drink egg-nog and watch Arlene’s babies grow up and keep my little part of the world from goin’ to hell. I am hopin’ you know how to do that.”
“Please eat,” he smiled at her. Ringing a bell, a waiter appeared. “I need a table cloth and several pencils,” he said.
“Would you like a drink?” he asked Sookie when his attention was back on her.
“No thanks,” she smiled. “I realize you should probably be drinkin’ tequila neat with this meal, but honestly, I like gin and tonic. You know, in my heart, I think that is how a Christmas tree would taste. That is the only reason I drink it. Other than a gin and tonic, I don’t drink at all. But I will have another one of these fajitas,” she grinned as she began putting another one together.
“This lobster meat is just the best,” she sighed as she took a bite.
“Well,” Eric grinned. “The lobster is flown in from Sweden. The water there is so cold, it adds to the lobsters taste and texture.” Sookie put her fajita down and looked at him. “I could see you on a longboat,” she nodded. “Some chain mail, leather breeches. Wrapped up in a long wool jacket. You grow up eatin’ these lobsters?” she asked.
Grinning, he bowed his head to her. “Indeed I did. We even had butter to dip them in along with a flat bread somewhat like you have there. It was one of the best parts of being a Viking. Well, and of course, sailing the dragon boat. That was fun, also.”
When the waiter reappeared, “A gin and tonic please for the lady,” he said and the waiter disappeared.
Eric folded the tablecloth in an intricate pattern. All the edges opened out.
“It resembles a book,” she said as Eric tossed it over by her and standing, pulled a chair around with him.
“Yes,” he nodded, as he sat down next to her. “Now tell me about the Were. Nothing specific to start. For instance, how tall do you think he is?”
“Hard to say,” she said. “Maybe around six feet. He is as tall as Compton. I saw them walk in together several times.”
“Excellent,” Eric said as he sketched a side view figure picture of a male and drew an arrow up and down the body and wrote in six feet. “Now, what about the way he dressed?”
“Things were pressed. Crisp. Fresh from the laundry. It made you notice the way Compton was dressed. You know, Polo shirts just pulled from the dryer.”
On another page, Eric sketched a shirt.
“Button down collar,” Sookie added after he had finished.
“Most excellent,” he grinned as he added that detail.
“You notice anything else about the way the Were was dressed?”
“Yes, he wore those pointed toe men’s dress shoes. I mean, wicked witch pointed. Very odd lookin’ on him along with a watch that was so big I figured you could probably drive your car with it. The face of this thing reminded me of a Transformer. Did you see those movies?”
“Yes,” he nodded. Eric took out his phone and did a search. “Does it look like this?” he asked.
“Yes, that’s it.”
“It a Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Ferrari watch,” Eric grinned. “I believe they made around 50 of them.”
“Ugly thing,” Sookie said. “Since it is a Ferrari, it most cost a fortune.”
“Correct,” Eric nodded as he added the watch to his list on the tablecloth.
“Now, you see him walk in the door. What strikes you the most about him?”
“That he is a stranger,” she replied. “I mean, you have to want to come to Merlotte’s. It is out a bit and we don’t serve anything healthy. If redneck had an eatin’ place, this would be it.”
“Now that is interesting,” Eric nodded. “Did he look uncomfortable there?”
“No,” she shook her head. “Not at all. So I guess maybe that means he is used to eatin’ in greasy spoons…no offense Sam,” she sighed.
“Maybe he likes eating in greasy spoons,” Eric replied. “Cheap food, cheap beer, an easy waitress to round out his meal. And this would just not be No Where, Louisiana, but anywhere in the world.”
“Yes,” Sookie nodded. “He just figures he could find all three at a place like that.”
“Correct,” Eric said and moved on, not wanting to linger there. “Now, he is sitting down and you approach from the side. Tell me about his profile,” as he turned the page.
“Not a prominent forehead. Bit of a hawk nose, small mouth, weak chin. And he has a scar by his,” she took a moment as she shifted her hands about, “by his right ear. It is not very big but noticeable. No earrings. Not even a hole for one. And no necklace. Or at least, not one I could see,” she watched in fascination as Eric brought her words to life.
“Now, you are looking at him face on. What do you see first?”
“His eyes are dead. Along with his smile. His eyes are the same shade of green as the ring that he wears. It is a scarab ring. Or at least I think so. It looks like a carved beetle. Has a bit of wear and tear to it and it is big. Covers the area from his knuckle to the base of his ring finger on his left hand. It looks old. Older than him. And it looks important. His hands are small and his hands do not look important. They are not soft, but they are not callused, either.
How odd is that?” Sookie asked as she took a drink of water.
“Not odd at all,” Eric shook his head. “You are a lateral thinker. Not a logical thinker. You run with your senses. Very intuitive. Gut instinct is important to every day survival.
You said, It was like he was masquerading around pretending to be something that he was not. There was no logical thinking to this. Logical as in Point A leads to Point B and up the rungs to the top of the ladder as you monitor and evaluate every situation and draw a sound conclusion.
You started close to the top rung. You would not be able to explain why you did not trust him, you had no proof. But you knew. Logical thinking is good, science stands true to this. But in day-to-day living, if you tarry too long, it can also get you killed.
What color is his hair?”
“It’s brown. Crayon brown. No gray in it and I don’t think he colors it.”
Eric unfolded the tablecloth and Sookie watched in fascination as her bits of information were laid out so neatly in different squares. There was the equivalent of four blank squares in the center and Eric began to sketch a face. As it took form, Sookie would add that the eyes are closer together. There was a crease across his nose. That shirt collar does not look right around his neck. Make his neck a bit longer.
When he had finished, Eric sat back and Sookie leaned in to get a closer look. “Wow…that is him. He does not look American. There is nothing of that Heinz 57 look about him.”
“English, most assuredly,” Eric said in agreement. “You telling me about his dated accent helped to put him in perspective. Add small nuisances that unless you had lived through the time or was surround by paintings and portraits of that era, you would not know.
Plus, he is Were so his bone structure is a bit heavier.”
“That is really good,” she said, nodding her head. “You have someway of checking the Victorian age for who this guy really is?” she asked.
“As a matter of fact,” Eric grinned, “I do.”
There was a knock at the door and a waiter stepped in. “Sir, there is a Lafayette Reynolds here asking for Miss Stackhouse.”
“Oh shoot,” Sookie said. “How late is it? I told Lafayette to come and get me if it got to be too much past ten. There is another big sale at Penny’s starting at ten-thirty until closin’.”
“It is ten,” Eric replied and “please, show him in.”
“This is a lot of food,” Sookie said, now feeling a little guilty. “Would you mind if I shared it with him?”
“Of course not,” Eric replied, wondering if her heart was indeed taken by someone else.
In through the door walked…well, yes he was black and yes he was handsome and yes he was gay and proud of it.
“Miss Sooks,” he came toward her carrying all manner of shopping bags. “Air kisses and…” he stopped when he saw the sketches on the table cloth. “Mo fo’n,” he hissed. “You have captured that piece of cheap assed trash perfectly.”
“Seriously,” Sookie nodded. “Lafayette this is Eric Northman, the sketch artist. Eric, this is my life-long friend, Lafayette Reynolds.”
“Please,” Lafayette said nodding his head. “Miss Sooks, I am glad and happy to see you still standin’, not that I was worrieds much about you being a tasty vampire snack.
Don’t look at me like that Blue Eyes,” Lafayette said arching an eyebrow. “I did have me some reservations. But when she invited me to come along, I figured she was gonna’ be just fine for now.”
“And later?” Eric asked, his voice quiet and reserved.
“Depends on how much of a later we are talkin’, mm-hm-hm-hm. I know pretty boys, be they live, dead, or undead,” he said setting down the bags and with a snap of his fingers made his point. “Eventually they get around to some sweet talkin’, just ‘cause they can. May not want what they are lookin’ at, but they all have egos and wantin’ a taste of strange and never before. And our Miss Sooks, she is just as pretty as she is kind and generous. Has gots that golden glow all around her. Must remind you of day walkin’ your human self and just how nice it would be to run your hand through that warmth again. M-m-m-m hm-m-m-m. His La La Fineness is a Medium. That Were that came in, he had all kinds of half eaten dead folks followin’ him around. Some still cowerin’ and cryin’ Werewolf. No dignity in their deaths and this mo fo’er likes them hangin’ around. He won’t release them to take a different path. Some serious darkest of the dark hellish shit hangin’ onto this boy and he revels in it.
But not you,” he said nodding. “You are cleaner than a newborn baby’s butt. You has got a dangerous edge but a righteousness oil that you hone it with. Honest when it counts, death when needed.”
Eric stared at him for long minutes. “Good to know about the Were,” Eric said standing. “Please, would you like to join us?”
“Come on Lafayette,” Sookie smiled at him, “I have enough food here for both of us. These lobster bites are from Sweden and are unlike anything I have ever tasted. And the flan is supposed to be really good.”
“Okay, but at ten thirty, we are out and shoppin’.”
“Great,” Sookie’s smile got bigger and patted the chair Eric had vacated.
Pulling up another chair, Eric sat across from them and asked questions about life, death, and spooks in general. He had hit the mother load.
“You want the rest of my gin and tonic?” Sookie asked. “I know it is probably watered down by now but you are welcome to it.”
Eric rang the bell. “Bring out a bottle of Rey Sol Anejo,” he told the waiter when he stepped in.
“You get one shot,” Sookie arched an eyebrow at Lafayette. “You are drivin’ me home. I would drive us home but your car is stick.”
“Not a problem,” Eric smiled like the gracious host he was. “I will drive you home. It would be my pleasure. Please, enjoy the tequila. I have purchased the bottle and I obviously will not be able to drink it.”
Dinner lasted until a quarter of eleven. Conversation was lively and Sookie talked the fine art of bullet making while Lafayette discussed shoes with Eric.
As the hour got later, Sookie divided up the shopping bags on the floor with Lafayette.
Eric shook his head no. “Go shop. I will have the bags and then the car keys when I meet you in front of Penny’s facing the food court at midnight.”
“Thanks,” they both said.
“See you then,” Sookie said fluttering her hand as they headed out the door.
With his phone, Eric started taking photos of his make shift sketch pad. Folding it up, he pulled on his leather jacket and tucked the tablecloth into his waistband. Punching in a number, a face appeared on his screen. “Ian, oh King of British Isle,” he said into his phone. “I am uploading some photos to you. They are rough sketches. Find Ziggy and have him do a portrait. I want it by the close of business with the new dark. Then I want you to take a good long look at it and tell me who this cocksucker is and where on British Isle his family hails from. Start with Victorian times. And if it helps, he is a Were.
And once we have his particulars, I am turning his hairy Were ass over to Samuel. After Samuel bleeds whatever money he has, I am going to bleed him. This cocksucker is going to wish he had never been born.”
There was mad laughter coming from his phone. That certainly was not stiff upper lip Ian laughing his ass off. That had to be Ian’s life and undead long partner in crime and best friend, Cedric, King of Erie. “And please give Cedric my best.”
Tossing his phone up into the air, he thought about the nights to come. The Were would eventually be dead and Sookie…well…and Sookie…he let his thoughts get lost there. Lafayette was right, she was like a ray of sunshine on a dark cold winter’s day.
When he was human, during the summer, on warm days, he would swim in the ocean and then lay stretched out on his bearskin to dry. The warmth would surround him and cling to him like a lover’s caress. Causing him to embrace its golden rays while he jerked off. Yes, there had been something about the sunshine that made him horny. Unnaturally so. And there was something about Miss Stackhouse that made him horny…and filled with want and longing…unnaturally so.