joyeux-noel

Chapter 21

The characters of the Southern Vampire Mysteries belong to Miss Charlaine Harris. No infringement on my part is intended. The characters on True Blood belong to Mr. Alan Ball. No infringement on my part is intended.

I have no BETA, editor, or other such charming person. All mistakes are my own.

This story is rated M

 

“The people in the government,” Sir Scully, shook his head, “are not to be trusted. I speak from experience.”

“How so?” Sookie asked.

All the vampires in the room were suddenly busy looking elsewhere.

Even Pamela who picked up a glass of port that Lafayette was drinking pretended to look interested at the liquid in the glass.

“What am I missing?” Sookie asked as she regarded her grandfather.

“Been chattin’ with Sir Scully,” O.I. said gently. “Workin’ on your weddin’ plans. Explaining him to what you want. That is why we are workin’ it into the play, Macbeth. Gonna’ give it a little somethin’ somethin’ more. A bit of light in an other wise deep and dark universe.”

“Yes,” Sookie nodded. “I like what we have discussed so far. We have figured those three witch costumes Madame Vedo made for that Were are for the three witches in the play. Lookin’ to cast a real spell the night of. We have plans to block that. I like it,” she said with a sure nod of her head. There was still no reaction from the crowd.

“That’s right,” O.I. replied. “And we has been mightly talkin’ to the very fine and talented Madame Vedo for your weddin’ dress.”

“Yes,” Sookie nodded again and looked around the room. Pam was still busy looking into the depths of the port. Eric was admiring her engagement ring. The two kings were staring at the fire. Lafayette was pouring himself another glass of port. Gran was holding Scully’s hand with her lips pressed together.

This verged on being just a bit odd, even for vampires. “What…am…I…missing?” she said peering about the room. “Whatever it is,” she stressed, “it must be bad. Hey come, it cannot be that bad.”

“I was,” Scully began quietly, “in my human walk, a man by the name of Donwald. A warrior for my Scottish king. When we were returning from battle, I lagged behind, on the bequest of my king, to deal with a rag-tag band of thieves. My friend Duncan and I dealt with them and left them dead on the side of the mountain. It was a fiercely cold night with snow beginning to blow and we saw a great bonfire burning in the distance. Seeking warmth and shelter, we found the guardians of the flames. Three witches who foretold a horrible prophecy. That I would be king…”

“Oh-h-h-h-h shit,” Sookie breathed out.

“Yes,” he nodded sadly, “I live on forever as Macbeth, a horrible monster. And rightly so. Do you know those in the theatre believe this play is cursed? And when they work this show, they merely refer to it as that Scottish play. Never by name.

This is my legacy,” Scully’s voice was low and sad.

Sookie looked around the room. “So all you vampires knew this?” she asked.

“Yes,” Ian responded. “King Donwald ruled the Scottish highlands before my time as human. This story of betraying your king was old when I was a lad.”

“Myself as well,” Eric nodded. “My father would tell stories of King Donwald. And he would end by saying, Absolute power corrupts absolutely. You have no need to look any further than at this mad king whose thirst for blood and power drove him insane.

“When I was turned,” Scully sat up straighter and his face was set in neutral. “My maker found it most humorous that he had turned the famous tyrant. He taught me just what a despot oppressor was capable of doing. He did not care who he tortured. Human, supernatural, animal…” Scully shook all over. “If it could scream in pain, it became his plaything. I pledged to never be like him. I made a sacred vow in my heart to never again to be like the human that I had embraced. That politics was to be feared and forsaken.

So I trudged along beside my master, heeling when told, sitting at his side when given the command. Although I was not happy to do so, I thought it was just punishment for what I had done as a sworn oath bound warrior, who had given his loyalty to his king and then killed him in his sleep under my own roof.

Then as an oppressor king, I slaughtered any who thought to stand against me. Men, women, children…” his voice trailed off at the memories, horror in his eyes.

“One night,” he began slowly, “we were at a gathering of other vampires celebrating a marked occasion for the undead and my maker was being particularly brutal to me. I thought for sure he would end me and I prepared myself as best I could. I was praying. I could not ask for mercy for myself. I merely hoped to see God’ face before He cast me into Hell.

I prepared myself for the final blow when my maker’s head went flying across the room, blood splattering on all those richly dressed vampires who said nothing and made no move against the vampire that had freed me.

That was the first time I saw The Viking and his two boon companions. The King of Eire and the King of British Isle.

So I went my way. Staying away from those vampires who proclaimed themselves to be the high and powerful and doing what small, unnoticeable amounts of good when I could. Sometimes, it was nothing more than weeding a garden at night for some poor granny woman. This helped to sooth my pain and recall my memories of when I was human.”

His voice reflected simpler and more pleasant times and memories.

“My mother raised me in her garden,” his voice was soft and loving. “She told me I had the gift of working in the dirt,” he smiled at the memory.

“As I grew,” he sighed, “I did not think working in the dirt was very glamorous or exciting. Certainly nothing to brag about.

I sometimes think what a different path I would have walked if only I had stuck to gardening and not struck out on the killing trail of the warrior.”

“Why did you?” Sookie asked.

“Warrior paid more,” he gave her a small smile. “And if you were good enough, there was advancement, which meant more money and prestige and honor. Until it became no longer wanting to serve your king, but to be king.”

“So we thought,” Gran brought Scully’s hand up for a kiss, “Sookie now that you know this, if you would not mind, that we could have your wedding during the play. We could use it to counter act the poison that the three witches will be wanting to spew out into the audience. That something good and beautiful and full of joy would take the place of the curse laid down by these three.

And it would forever, give Scully a new memory of this play. That from his horribleness, his great grand daughter married and lives in love and happiness.”

“I can understand if you would rather not,” Scully said, his voice full of self loathing. “Your love and joy should be your own. It is very selfish of me to wish to benefit from your wedding…that I might gain something for myself.

I had every intention of telling you Sookie.

But things have been extremely busy. That is no excuse, I know. But…” his voice trailed off. “I am so embarrassed and mortified to ask this of you.”

Adele, patted him on the cheek. “That was a long time ago, beloved,” she said softly. “And you are no longer that person.

And O.I. thought it was such a fine idea to not only offset the witches but to give Scully a new perspective of himself. I could only agree with him.”

“How…?” Sookie hesitated. “O.I….?”

“Miss Sookie,” O.I. fluttered to her. “I sleeps with one eye open. I sees the past, the present and is constantly searchin’ the futures.

This has been weighin’ on Sir Scully. Even since I has come to know him, his soul has been weepin’ at how wrong he was and how good you are.

He has been rehearshin’ in his mind and even in his sleep how to tell yous Gran and then how to tell you. To ask your permission to allow your festive occasion to be a marker in time for him. That from his evil, comes somethin’ full of goodness and rightness for his family.

So I stepped in. Maybe not right or proper, but his grief has been for centuries and his remorse has saved thousands. I am good at stirrin’ the pot. Been known for it and will continue to do so. Bring easement where there is sufferin. So I been busy…you are family now and I step up and nosy my way into my families business. So here we are.”

“I would be honored,” she smiled at the vampire that was her blood family, his tears staining his cheeks. “Grandfather,” she bowed her head as she began to weep. “I am honored that in some small way you will be blessed from our wedding.”

Adele wiped at her own tears. “Thank you Sookie,” she nodded as she took her granddaughter’s hand and kissed it. “We both thank you.”

“Please, don’t…” she sobbed. “Gran, you have been so good to me…always believing in me. Loving me,” she hiccupped. “So what do I need to do?”

“Wants you to take a look at your weddin’ dress,” O.I smiled. “Madame Vedo done made the first one for her royal badass QEI. Has her makin’ this one for you. See I is takin’ it from the *Ditchley portrait of Lizzie the first. We’ll sweep your hair up and those mo’ fo’ers will think the ghost of Christmas Past has done come for a visit.”

“See,” O.I. fluttered over to the laptop and putting on his half glasses, his claws flew across the keyboard. “Miss Sooks, come take a look.”

“Wow…!” Sookie’s eyes were big when the dress popped up on the computer screen.

“With your coat,” Lafayette grinned, “you will be smokin’!”

“It will be cold that night at the Globe Theatre,” Eric nodded. “Your coat will definitely be needed. Plus a blanket of some sort for keeping your feet warm.”

“There could be snow that night,” Ian nodded. “Our seats are under cover, but for those standing in the pit and the actors on stage, they must dress for the elements.

And our seats are most excellent, but if the wind is blowing, the snow could still end up decorating our noses.”

“So,” Sookie was admiring the dress. “Why the Globe Theatre? It is closed this time of year. And who is paying to have this play produced? And…I have lots of questions.”

“All good ones, I am sure,” Ian began. “So let us start.

A couple of months ago, this production started being talked up. How The Globe was going to do a special showing of Macbeth during the Yuletide season.

Now, Macbeth at Christmas is not exactly keeping with the Christmas spirit and this made several of us go hm-m-m-m-m. And a vampire, once curious about an anomaly, does not lose interest.

So without asking questions or appearing too interested, I have been keeping watch, keeping in mind the mistakes Chamberlain made in regards to the war. You know, you can see it coming but you just don’t want to believe it type of attitude,” he added with a tight smile and a small shake of his head. “So I employed Madame Vedo to pass on any interesting bits of information. Everyone gossips with their dressmaker, especially Vedo. She can be very charming with her mouth full of pins and the way she rolls her eyes and clucks her tongue: either in sympathy, regret, or yes I know that fucking asshole, someone should stake him and move on.

And they say the damnedest things in front of her. She says it reminds of her of when her mother would tell her about going to confession. Only now she is the priest and politely listens and when they ask her what they should do, she says her reply is go home and clean your bathroom and get down on your knees and scrub all your floors.”

“Wow,” Sookie nodded. “That is some good advice. A little physical labor and some alone time to figure things out while you clean your own toilet and sink and whatever else you have tracked into the house.”

Ian grinned. “Yes, I was in bitching one night while having a new suit made and she set me to rights with that bit of advice. I have scrubbed every floor in this manor and for that week while I was down on my hands and knees, sloshing around soap and hot water, I got over myself,” his voice was heartfelt.

Then the grin was back. “Of course, I still bitch, I just don’t do it in front of her,” he laughed.

Then he became serious. “Vedo remains my best source of information for this. She was the first one who told me that the audience is encouraged to wear Elizabethan. Now, those who purchase tickets for standing room only in The Pit, they are often in their low brow, poor Elizabethan costumes anyway, but these productions are done during the day and during the spring through autumn months.

Then behold, up pops an evening winter production. And when she told me that a Were had been in and ordered three witches costumes from QE1’s time frame, I opened a file.”

“And?” Eric asked. “Who is sponsoring the play?”

“Gadford LaRue, Count of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.”

“Really?” Eric raised an eyebrow. “Last I heard Gaddy was broke. Has been for the past two centuries. Just living off the kindness of wealthy humans he could glamor and robbing an occasional bank for folding money.”

“Yes, most interesting is it not?” Ian smirked. “And it was French diplomatic plates that picked up Wion at the airport and Gaddy is in town. Arrived today, I understand. They brought him across using the Chunnel. Or so says the gossip. He is hosting numerous parties before opening night and today in the mail arrived an invitation for a gala after opening night.

Anyone interested?” Ian was now openly smirking.

Eric was now looking intently at O.I. “What do you know?” he asked.

“Knows this spell,” O.I. nodded. “This recreatin’ as close as possible. Was being practiced back in the day. Recreate the big bang all the way down to where you was standin’ and create your own universe where you can be God. Pardon’s me while I roll my eyes,” he snorted.

“That makes sense,” Samuel nodded. “Witchcraft, with the invention of the printing press, became a curse you did not wish to live under. They hung you here in England, those or the continent were not so fortunate and were burned.

Sadly, those were innocents. Those that practiced the black arts, and there were several in Queen Elizabeth’s court, never met any type of justice here on earth.”

“That’s what Vedo thought,” Ian nodded.   “Thinks maybe she knew of one. There was a Lady Smithers at court during her time.

As a seamstress, Vedo kept a very low profile, but her betters did gossip. Only in very low and hushed voices did they gossip about Lady Smithers and her husband Lord Ralf.

They hailed from Yorkshire.”

“Yorkshire,” Cedric interrupted him. “That is where they have found evidence of Egyptian mummies. As from the African continent mummies.

Also the Romans that settled there, they used mummification as well. They found a minted coin in the area. One with Marc Anthony on it. I believe the coin was dated 31 BC.”

“In 31 BC Anthony would still have been with Cleopatra,” Samuel said. “They were defeated sometime after that.”

“O.I. what you said was interesting about casting a spell,” Samuel was thoughtful. “The Egyptians did that as well. Built a replica of a miniature city that they wished to conquer or keep safe and then enchant it before a battle.

Sounds like this is what these witches wish to accomplish. Something from the time of Elizabeth is what they are casting for, perhaps.”

“So this Smithers,” Gran was caught up in the story telling. “If she was all that, would she have kept a spell book?”

“Would have been risky business back in the day,” Eric nodded. “But yes, probably.”

“So, do you think maybe she was from Yorkshire?” Gran asked. “Or an outsider that married into the family?”

“Vedo would know,” Eric said, making the call. When the dressmaker picked up, Eric began explaining the information that he needed. Then he put her on speaker.

“After the Wars of the Roses,” she began, “Henry the Seventh married Elizabeth of York and ended the bloodiest of battles ever fought on English soil.

To join the two families, their red and white roses formed the Tudor Rose.

The Smithers’ family was old and well regarded in York. They had helped to broker the peace and the marriage of the two Roses. The crown was grateful.

The family was trusted and well thought of and was often called upon to council the King. During the time of Elizabeth, Lady Smithers was often in service to the Queen.”

“Any idea how in service?” Gran asked.

“No,” Vedo replied. “It was always behind closed doors and the halls were cleared to insure privacy. They would take a meal and their revelry could be heard all afternoon until it was time for the next meal. We all thought they talked as old friends. Drank too much and laughed and our Queen had someone with whom she could just be a woman.”

“But you don’t know that for certain,” Samuel said.

“No,” Vedo responded. “I know nothing for certain. Other than no one gossiped about Lady Smithers. No one,” she stressed. “There was a lady-in-waiting, named Catherine, for whom I was working a bed coat. One day in passing, I heard her say that she thought Smithers had worked a spell on our Queen with her foreign ways. The next day I was told to put the coat aside for now. That Lady Catherine would no longer be needing it. Lady Catherine disappeared from court and the whisperings about Lady Smithers became less and she was given a wide berth.”

“Any idea what her foreign ways happened to be? And was she from York originally?” Gran asked.

“She was from York, but she had a slight accent,” Vedo replied. “Her grandmother had been a princess from someplace on the continent. Austria-Hungry, I believe. She married an English diplomat. When his tour of duty finished, he moved his bride back to his farm in Yorkshire and started a family. Hence the birthing place of Lady Smithers.”

“Budapest,” Eric’s fangs dropped. “Thank you Madame Vedo,” Eric said with a slight bow of his head. “You have been most helpful. Please bill me for your time.”

“Nonsense, Eric,” she replied. “It is always a pleasure to speak with you.”

“Have you a ticket for Macbeth?” he asked.

“No,” she replied. “I saw the original.”

“Well,” you could hear the deadly mirth in his voice. “You may not with to miss this one. It will be the talk of the town. I have a spare.”

“Well,” you could hear the humor in her voice. “I had no idea. If you would be so kind, I would enjoy being in attendance.”

“Most excellent,” Eric grinned. “I will have it delivered. Until then,” he signed off.

“Until then,” she replied and Eric pocketed his phone.

“That part of England,” Ian was shaking his head and what sounded like a low chuckle was coming from him. “What a cauldron of beliefs. You had the Romans, Celts, Danish Vikings, the Normans; throw in warring with some Scots and then the Black Death. That part of the country has been exposed to it all.”

“Well,” O.I. had a full-fledged toothy smile. “Good times. At the height of those witches wrong doing nasty assed ways, we shall be changing that up for them and havin’ us a weddin’! Full of love and well wishes and then we shall push on to a Joyeux Noël.”

“Hear! Hear!” was shouted by all as O.I. poured the port and there was talk of the wedding to come!

 

Annie sat looking through the two-way mirror that separated her office from the main bar floor. Were shit just continued to rain down on her!

“Why me?” she sighed as she looked through the bills. Her electric was up and running. The kitchen had been gutted of all appliances and in their places sat expensive, she shuddered, shiny new.

And now, to top it all off, sat a Packmaster from the States. A bloody Yank from Shreveport, Louisiana, by the name of Alcide Herveaux.

He had come in earlier wanting to talk to her. Thankfully, she had been up to her eyes in watching the installation of new appliances while she checked things off her inventory sheet. Her new oven was supposed to come with eight stainless steel racks. Inside were five. There had been that discussion and then her vent-a-hood was the wrong size. As in it did not fill the space of the old one. Too fucking short! So there had been that discussion!

And now she was going to have that discussion with this Were who was far from home and without a dick, if what she had learned today from her stateside pals was true. Seems his x had bitten it off. Damn…sucks to piss off your woman.

“Might as well get this over,” she sighed as she pushed the bills aside and went out into the crowd.

“Packmaster Herveaux,” she said sitting down across from him at his table. “What can I do for you?”

“Is there somewhere more private we can talk?” he asked.

“Were shit,” she hissed. “I am not interested in intrigue, outlaws or illegal dealings under the table. Nor do I have any extra drugs to sell, antiques that I no longer want and I do not know where you can get a good deal on hardwood flooring. Now, what do you wish to talk about?”

“I am looking for a vampire,” he began.

She hooted out loud. “You have come to the wrong place. I especially do not traffic in vampires. I do not know any personally, nor do I want them taking up a paying customer’s seat.”

“I get that,” he sighed. “Really I do. But I was just wondering if you have heard of a vampire by the name of Eric Northman and if so, any gossip he is in England?”

“The Viking,” she snickered. “Well, who has not heard of him. And no, I have not heard he is about.”

“I am willing to pay if anyone has information about him.”

“Packmaster…” she began.

“Look,” his voice lowered. “I am in a bad way, here. I have not one fucking clue what I am doing or how to find him. I get delivered to me a plane ticket, my passport, and a phone with a note that says I am to get my ass to London and find Northman.”

“A passport?” she raised an eyebrow. “How did you become known to your government?”

“About a month ago, I was approached by a Were, wanting me to store some illegal arms for him. Offered to pay me in gold. I refused.

It all went to Were shit with the Vampire Queen of Louisiana and my name came up. I was paid a visit. And now, here I am paying you a visit. I have no place else to start. Northman, just yes or no. Anything would help so I can haul my ass on out of here and back home.”

“Wion,” she smiled at him when she said the name. His reaction was interesting. It was one of hate then his eyes flashed orange.

“You know him?” he asked.

“I have abjured him,” she responded. “He is a presumptuous mother fucker. A dead one, if he shows himself around me or mine.”

“Well, this makes a little more sense, now. Northman knows of him as well. Warned me about him. Perhaps he is tracking Wion, maybe. And they sent me to make sure…” Alcide shrugged. “Honestly, I think I was sent here to die. Cross either Northman or Wion and just toss my dead carcass into the Thames.”

“That is what happens when you show weakness,” she smiled at him daintily. “You get your dick bit off.”

“Well Cher,” Alcide smiled in return. “I noticed today you got all new appliances. Would not have anything to do with you getting ride of evidence because you have been cooking vamp in your kitchen, would it?”

What stared back at him was a challenge. He did not give a fuck.

“See,” Alcide stopped smiling and sat back in his chair. “I have my sources as well. I am not,” he stressed, his eyes holding hers, “looking for a pissing contest. I am just looking for Northman so I can call this fucker who is right now running my life and tell him or her, yes or no. It is that fucking easy.

Because however you want to look at this, I figure my life is over. When you start getting official government passports in your mail along with the message they expect you to go looking for the Louisiana Sheriff of Area Five,” he stressed and shook all over, known world wide for being a mean fucker. And I am supposed to find him in England,” he stressed, “because hell, poking my nose in Eric’s business is not risky enough at home where I at least have some type of back up,” he spit out in anger then righted himself. “In time, I am just a pelt laying in front of someone’s fireplace. Either Northman kills me, you, or hell now that stupid fucker Wion who is back in the picture,” he rolled his eyes, “or my own fucking government.”

There was no lie in his voice. She could always hear it in a Were. Someone was pulling his strings. She knew what that felt like. Not to be in control of your own life. Just fine then, maybe she could cut him so slack. “So you will die without your hard on,” she grinned at him.

“Something like that,” he grinned back.

“Honestly, this is the first I have heard of Northman being in country. Where ever he is, he is keeping a very low profile.”

“Would he check in with the British vampire king?” Alcide asked.

Annie started laughing. “What,” she got out, “you want me to go up and ring King Ian’s bell and ask for The Viking?

First of all there are Weres that work for the King of British Isle. And I would have heard if Northman was there.

Second of all…well hell, there is no second. Where are you staying? If I hear anything, I will send word.”

“Not anywhere at the moment,” Alcide replied. “I just got in this morning. Slept a bit in your back alley. That is how I know about the appliances. Helped them out a bit by moving that new stove in. Shawn bought me lunch and told me about a hostel.”

“Just a plane ticket and a passport and a phone?” Annie’s voice was curious. “Those cheap bastards gave you no money?”

“Fucking right,” Alcide replied. “No money. I looked at hotel prices before I left. Fucking shit,” he hissed. “Who has that kind of money? I thought maybe I would just roam the streets at night until I heard anything then high tail it on out of here.”

“Well Packmaster,” she smiled at him. “Just so happens my night janitor is dead. If you are interested, there is a room in the basement that you can call our own until you leave.”

“That is nice of you and also risky. For you and me.”

“Well yes,” her smiled got bigger. “But I have learned in the past couple of days life is a crap shoot. And that fucking Wion has crapped all over me for the last time. You just might want to make it your last time as well. So I am giving you a bit of warning about him. Back in the day, he was Jack the Ripper. During the holidays, he still does the deed. He likes to see his name in print. Be careful out there. He kills males just as easily as he kills females. No remorse.”

 

Pamela, being the good child that she was, and she never liked to miss an opportunity to fuck with her maker, was making the rounds in the back alleys and sheltering places of her four legged, disease carrying British friends.

The name Alcide Herveaux came up several times. A Yank sleeping in the alley and doing a bit of work in the Pretty Pink Bicycle.

According to Ringo the Rat, who claimed he had the name first, this Were was in there now. Probably having a pint and dropping chips on the floor that poor, starving Ringo would never get to eat.

“Chips it is,” Pam said to him. “I will get them delivered here, tomorrow night.”

The rat squeaked in agreement and saluted.

Putting in her listening device, she jumped up onto an overhang that covered the front outside seating. There was plenty of noise inside, but she soon found the Louisiana accent she was searching for.

“Well,” she smiled as the conversation finished up. “No loving for my maker, this dark,” she grinned as she took to the sky and was gone. Her first stop was to visit with Leah. “I am going to get my sweet alone time in before Eric gets the good news. This just might be my last chance at some loving while I am here. Tally ho!”

 

“Midnight,” Eric sighed as he kissed Sookie one last time. “Lover,” he nuzzled her ear, “Pamela is incoming. And it will be good. If she comes calling at midnight, she is going to fuck with the rest of my old dark.”

“I’ll get dressed,” came the satisfied reply. They were still not having “sex” as they were not yet married but what they did was nasty enough!

“No need, whatever this is, she is gleeful and I am sure it will require me to be gone until sunrise. It is that type of joyous, over the top gleeful. The kind that says Eric is going to be so pleased and yet so pissed off.”

“I will pull on some clothes and at least hear the news,” she grinned as she stretched beneath the covers.

“Would probably be for the best,” he sighed as he helped her find her clothes that had been tossed all over the floor.

 

Pamela told her newest news. Grinning the entire time.

“Fucking…Were…shit…” was all Eric said. Pulling Sookie up for a passionate but brief kiss, he walked out the door, the front door closed and he was gone.

“That went well,” Ian nodded. “And my front door is still intact.”

“You have tamed his wild, inner beast,” Samuel smiled at Sookie. “Maybe all of our front doors will survive from now on. No more slamming that shatters it into a million pieces.”

“I rather liked the look,” Cedric said smugly. “Oh, on your front doors not mine,” he laughed. “I am just a poor Irish lad. I have not been havin’ the money to replace my front door every time Eric feels the need to explode the universe with his force of will.”

“I feel your pain,” Pam replied. “Only it was the doors at Fangtasia. I just finally put a door replacement guy on retainer. It cost, but fuck, it was worth it.”

 

Eric roamed Whitechapel hoping for a sniff of Wion. No such luck. But it did give him a chance to calm down and think. Two was last call at the pub. If Alcide was playing janitor, he would wait until there was only his heart beat left in the building.

 

“Not bad,” the packmaster of Shreveport said as he emptied his mop bucket and stowed his cleaning supplies in the closet.

“I understand you are looking for me,” he heard the voice in his ear.

“Nothman,” he said turning around.

“Give me the phone,” Eric said, extending his hand.

“What?” Alcide replied.

“The burn phone. Give it to me.”

Alcide removed it from his pocket and handed it to the vampire.

Punching one, the phone ran and then picked up.

“This is Northman,” he said his voice deadly.

“I understand you wanted to know where I was. Well, this should be an indication. When I return home, Zelda, you are dead. Just like your sister Zoe.”

Hanging up, Eric handed Alcide back the phone. “Go home,” he said. “You will not be bothered by that particular person, again.”

“I would not mind staying for a few days. Working for Annie and seeing London.”

Eric took a step in. “The vampires they made burgers out of were Compton and his monster of a maker. Fortunately, these two were not well liked or highly regarded in the vampire community so I am willing to let it slide. But beware, Alcide. Do not let your name become attached to the Pretty Pink Bicycle. The traffic snarl that was caused by the skateboarders were Weres from her pack. Wion bought them the vamp burgers for his own purposes. The British government has their names. Several worked here.”

“Got it,” Alcide replied. “I am on my way back to Heathrow, now. Will just stay there until I can get a flight out.”

“Good plan,” Eric replied. “A Joyeux Noël to you and yours.”

 

 

 

 

Zelda was in a panic. “Zoe, dead!” she screeched. “That is not possible. I would have heard. I would have been notified,” she wailed as she kicked the wall in her office.

“Ma’am,” a young intern stuck his head in.

“Get the fuck out!” she screamed as she fumbled with her phone.

When the phone stopped ringing and someone picked up, she started sobbing. “Is she dead? Is my Zoe dead?”

“Who told you?” the voice asked.

“So its true,” she wailed even louder.

“Who told you?” was asked again. “The Coven needs to know.”

“Northman! Fucking Eric Northman! He called me on the Were’s phone! He knew my name! He knew my sister was dead! What the fuck have you done?” she screamed in anguish.

 

 

As Eric walked away, he contemplated the night and the sounds of the dark that pushed in around him. “Fuck,” he rolled his eyes. “Can I not take a day off? And Sookie, when I give her my last name, the world can go to hell. I am going to start at her toes and slowly lick every part of her until she is screaming for me.

Better frame of mind now, Northman,” he said as he passed by a real estate office and stopped to admire the homes for sale in the window.

“Back to work,” he sighed as he dialed a number. “Director,” his voice was low. “Zelda Turnnings, your go-for, has been busy issuing passports and giving orders to look for me.”

“Eric, I am so sorry,” he replied. “I will take care of this, immediately.”

“Thank you,” he said and then hung up.

Director Castle walked out of his office and down the hall. There was no mistaking the ruckus coming from inside Zelda’s office. All those in the bull-pen just stopped and stared as the Director knocked on her door. When there was no answer, he opened it.

When he stepped in, she stopped screeching and throwing things against the walls.

“Northman is off limits,” was all he said as he shook his head. As he advanced toward her, she kept backing up until her back was against the window. Hissing at him and making the sign for the evil eye, turning, she opened it and jumped to her death, fifteen stories, below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*If you want to see Sookie’s wedding dress, put into your search engine Queen Elizabeth I Ditchley Portriat. Once more, a photo of this painting is worth a gazillon words. Because that is how many it would take me to describe it.

As always, thanks for reading!

Be blessed and be the blessing,

CES