LATE Chapter 038

Vegas, Here We Come!

 

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Ugh. Sookie scrambled to reach the alarm on Eric’s night stand and was desperately trying to turn it off. She hated alarms. She hardly ever had to use one, and when she did they were really jarring. What a crappy way to start the day. It was 7 am, and she remembered she had guests and they were all going to have breakfast together before they left. She got up and looked on the dresser – there was a note from Eric.

My Angel,

Have a safe trip. Keep some blood handy for the baby.

I love you,

Eric

‘My angel,’ she thought – she felt like there was something she was supposed to remember but couldn’t. Eric’s note was short and sweet today. She guessed he figured she had it under control. She jumped in the shower and was out in just a minute or two – no point in lingering if Eric wasn’t there. She pulled on the travel clothes Alicia had left out for her – the black dress with the lavender flowers and a thong with a pair of little sandals – and headed downstairs. She stopped at the second floor landing, listening to everyone come alive.

The first person she saw was Amelia, who told her Bobbie was already dressed and down stairs, and she would be down after a quick shower. Jason poked his head out and said good morning, and he’d be down in a few minutes.

Sookie headed on down. She went into the living room. There was no light of any kind in the room except the light from the hallway, so she peeked into the travel boxes to make sure Eric and Pam were there and OK. They both looked beautiful and comfortable, so she kissed her fingers and touched them to Eric’s lips, then clicked the locks and left them there, following the smell of bacon into the kitchen.

“Mmm- smells good in here!” She said as she entered the room. “Good morning Margaret. I’m sorry to get you up so early today.”

“Oh, no, Miss, I’m happy to do it. I’ll get to see you off for your wedding trip this way.”

“Morning, Bobbie.”

“Hey, Sookie – did you sleep well?”

“Yeah but man, I hate getting up to an alarm clock.”

“I woke up early so mine never got to go off.”

“Lucky – you didn’t get your nerves jangled.” Sookie laughed.

Margaret was putting eggs and bacon, biscuits, juice and sliced grapefruit on the table. She poured Sookie a big glass of milk and put a rare steak in front of her as Amelia came into the room. Sookie introduced her to Margaret, and as Jason came in she introduced him, too. Jason told the other girls good morning, and Bobbie thought to herself that she hadn’t noticed how cute Jason was last night. He was blonde and blue-eyed like Sookie and nicely built.

“Sookie, you eating steak for breakfast?” Jason asked.

“Yeah, the doctor wants me to eat a lot of rare meat.”

“Would you like a steak, sir? It wouldn’t take a minute to get it ready for you,” Margaret offered.

“Is that OK, Sookie?”

“Sure – go for it.”

“Ok, yeah, thanks I could eat a steak,” Jason said as he was filling his plate with eggs and bacon.

“Amelia, Bobbie – would you like a steak?” Sookie offered, but they both refused politely.

Amelia was digging into a grapefruit with one of the special spoons Margaret put with them and Bobbie was buttering a biscuit to eat with her eggs. Sookie looked around the table with satisfaction. It was nice having these people – people she cared about – here, having breakfast, getting ready for an adventure.

Sookie looked at her hand, at the glittering diamond and rubies and reminded herself that this was all for her and she was getting married. It felt like a dream.

‘Dream, ‘ she thought, ‘did I dream…”

“Sookie, are you excited?” Amelia asked.

“Yes, I really am. I’m nervous, too. I’ll be glad when Sunday night is over.”

“You’ll have fun between now and then though,” Bobbie said, “There’s that cocktail party Saturday night.”

“That’s kind of a political thing for Eric. The best part of that night will be wearing the dress I bought for it.”

“Oh, really? What’s it like?” Amelia asked.

“It’s a surprise, so I’ll just say I can’t wait to wear it. Eric knows what it is, but he hasn’t seen it on me, and I hope he’s going to love it.”

“He pretty much loves anything you wear or do, Sookie.” Amelia pointed out.

“Yeah, but I think this chick that has been after him for a long time is going to be there and I want to make sure I look perfect that night.”

“Going to rub her nose in it, huh?” Amelia said.

“Yeah, she was really catty with me when I met her and Pam told me she was mostly there to check me out and see if Eric really cared about me, so yes, I’d like to…”

“…Stick it to her?”

“Exactly” Sookie laughed and everyone at the table joined in.

“You aren’t jealous of her, are you?” Bobbie asked.

“Oh, no, Eric is devoted to me, and I know that. Pam assured me she was no competition at all, but she was just so mean that I kind of want to show her up a little. I know that’s not very nice.”

“Hey, it sounds to me like she started it.”

“Yeah, she did and I want to finish it but good. Is that awful?”

The women agreed it wasn’t and Jason just ate his steak. He didn’t pay a lot of attention when girls were gabbing about guys and weddings and such. He was thinking about what he and Pam did before he went to sleep last night. Damn, she was hot! She never seemed to get tired and she had orgasms like nothing he’d ever seen. He felt like he was king of the world when he was with her. This was going to be a damned good weekend.

They all devoured Margaret’s delicious breakfast and chatted until Margaret told them it was almost 9 o’clock. Everybody went to their prospective rooms to close up their luggage and get them ready to be taken downstairs. Sookie made sure the two garment bags had Eric’s two tuxes and her wedding dress and the pink dress for Saturday, double checked the big suitcase and closed it up, then she rolled it to the landing and laid the garment bags on top of it.

She went into her room and even though Baby E still seemed to be asleep, she drank a bottle of blood and stuck one in the tote bag Alicia had packed for her, just in case.

She checked her train case, which was sitting on the table between the two side chairs, and she did a mental check list of what she might need – shampoo, deodorant, soap, razor, toothbrushes, etc., and saw that Alicia had put it all in, then she opened the drawer to her nightstand and put the tube of lubricant in, too. She had a feeling Eric might need to “show his dominance” at some point during the week so she figured she might as well plan for it.

If creepy Felipe got hands-y with her, Eric would be wanting to claim his “territory” and she’d be happy to have him do it. He wasn’t the only one that got some reassurance from it – she realized that she wanted to be owned as much as he wanted to own her. He was right – she was perfect for him. It took her a long time to admit it, but it was true.

She was smiling at that when she carried the train case out to the landing just as one of the men came up to carry the luggage down to the living room. She went down the stairs ahead of him, carrying the tote bag on her shoulder, and joined the rest of the group who were waiting in the living room with all their bags.

“Jason, have you got both of your suits?”

“Yeah, they’re in this fancy bag the tailor packed them in. He said Eric told him I’d need one.”

“Ok, good.” She heard a clink as he moved his stuff and she realized he had filled his backpack with beers to drink on the trip. Whatever.

The doorbell rang then and since Sookie was in the entryway, she just opened it. It was Bobby Burnham.

“Hello, my dear! All ready for the big event?”

“Hi, Mr. Burnham. Please come in. Yes, we’re all ready to go. We’re just waiting for the car service.”

“I’ve got some papers Mr. Northman needs to take with him and I’ve got a form you need to sign for me.

“Ok, let’s go into Eric’s office,” and she led him through the door.

He had a form that had something to do with a trust fund for the baby that he had her read and sign and he handed her a folder of papers he said to give to Eric when he got up. She assured him she’d give them to him first thing, and he thanked her and was out the door just as the car service arrived. Sookie put the folder of papers in her tote bag, noticing that Alicia had included a couple of fashion magazines so Sookie would have something to read. She thought of everything.

The attendants loaded the boxes with Eric and Pam into a large van first, then they carried all of the luggage out and packed it all around them. There was a really nice second van to carry all the humans, too, and they all loaded in, Jason in the back with Bobbie and Amelia and Sookie immediately behind the driver. Margaret stood on the front steps and waved goodbye to them as they left, and Sookie waved back to her with a big smile on her face. This was it – she was going to get married!

“I can’t believe it’s finally here!” Sookie said to no one in particular.

“Are you excited, sweetie?” Amelia asked.

“I’m almost giddy – it seems like we’ve been talking about it for so long, and now it’s here. I’ve just got to get through today, and the party tomorrow night and then I’m married!” she nearly squealed.

Bobbie and Amelia laughed and Jason just shook his head at these silly women.

“Hey, Sis, who was that guy that came to the door?” Jason asked as he opened a beer. He offered one to Bobbie but she declined.

“That was Mr. Burnham. He’s Eric’s day time guy – he does whatever business Eric needs to be done during the day, like having things delivered or making appointments, or getting papers filed.”

“What did he want?”

“He had a form I needed to sign that was about the trust fund for the baby and he had some papers for me to give to Eric.”

“Trust fund?”

“Yeah, Eric is setting up a trust fund for the baby, and he has accounts set up in my name and stuff like that.”

“Is he that rich?”

“Yeah, he’s that rich. He owns a lot of businesses and he’s got money in accounts all over the place. He even has accounts and investments in other countries.”

“How do you know all of that?”

“We had a meeting with his accountant and he gave me a folder that told all about his businesses and accounts and everything. They gave me access to pretty much everything he has, and I have all kinds of credit cards and even some accounts that are just for me.”

Jason whistled. “Damn, Sookie, you sure did good for yourself.”

“Yeah, I really did. He’s been so generous, and he really takes care of me – doesn’t he, Bobbie?”

“From what I’ve seen, yeah. She’s got the best of everything and he spares no expense for anything she needs. You can tell he’s crazy about her.”

“Yeah, I guess so.” Jason said. He was starting to get used to the idea of Sookie being with Eric. He had plenty of money and he was already bragging about the kid. He might be a bad ass, but that was a good thing the way Pam described the situation. If Sookie really needed protection, he was a good guy to have around. He sure beat the hell out of that big guy in the bar last night and as far as he knew, all he did was look at Sookie the wrong way.

His sister would be safe and provided for, and his nephew would grow up with all kinds of advantages they didn’t have. He’d go to college if he wanted to, and Eric could set him up in any or all of his businesses when he grew up. He even realized that any dislike Eric had shown toward him was based on knowing that he hadn’t been the greatest brother to her, and he felt bad about that. He really did seem to have her best interests at heart.

So what if he was a dead guy? She wasn’t going to find a guy in Bon Temps that could give her this kind of life. Who was going to do all this for her – Hoyt? Catfish? Sam Merlotte, even? He just lived in a trailer behind the bar. That house was amazing and she had all those servants and she really looked healthy and happy. When you got right down to it, he couldn’t ask for more than that, so he made up his mind to get along with Eric for Sookie’s sake. If she was happy, he was happy. Hell, who knew – maybe Eric could hook him up, job-wise. He might be a good brother-in-law to have, all considered.

Bobbie asked Sookie what time they’d be getting to the estate and Sookie figured that all together, they should be rolling in there around 4 o’clock. Bobbie figured they’d be able to get a session of some kind in today and Sookie asked her what she was going to do about a table. Bobbie told her Alicia had made arrangements with de Castro’s staff for them to provide a table, and that her diet would be relatively unchanged while she was there, too.

It didn’t take long to get to the airport, and they were all making comments about the airport and the plane as they moved from the van to the plane. Sookie thanked the driver and gave him a generous tip, then tipped the driver of the other van as well. She hung back a little, making sure the vampires were situated properly, since she had done this before and knew what was necessary.

It was a smaller plane and relatively empty, so everyone was settled quickly into 4 seats 2-facing-2, and they were barely in the air before they were being served. Sookie asked for a cold blood and Jason looked at her a little funny, but Bobbie said it was for the baby, and he figured that made sense since his dad was a vamp. If Sookie could handle it, he could, but he was glad he wasn’t the one who had to drink that stuff.

Bobbie suggested that Sookie lean her seat back and try to take a nap. The stewardess brought her a blanket and sure enough, Sookie was asleep in no time. Bobbie, Amelia and Jason talked quietly among themselves so they didn’t disturb Sookie. Jason asked Bobbie what she did for a living and during the course of the conversation he found out Amelia was a Witch.

He tried to hide his surprise, and he figured you just never knew what was going to happen around Sookie. She really did seem to draw these people to her. He figured that made sense because of her thing about hearing people’s thoughts. She never really had many friends growing up, and now she had people all around her who were as weird as she was. That was probably a good thing. She sure didn’t fit in with his friends. He had always been popular in spite of Sookie, but nobody really wanted to be around her when they were in school. Everybody thought she was crazy, but he knew she just knew too much about people to get along with them. She was actually pretty smart underneath it all.

Amelia asked Jason what he and Eric were wearing for the wedding and he told them “white tie and tails” which impressed both women. He told them that was what Eric said would look best next to Sookie’s dress, though he didn’t know what she was wearing. Amelia told him the gown was by a very important designer who didn’t make anything that wasn’t stunning. He asked her how much something like that costs and he was stunned by the answer. His sister was going to be wearing a dress that cost more than most of his friends spent on their cars.

Bobbie said she had seen Sookie in it at one of the fittings and she was going to be a vision in it. Jason said at those prices, she’d better be. He couldn’t believe Eric let her spend that much on a dress, but Amelia explained that he would have spent much more, if that was what she wanted. Sookie was the one who was worried about the price but Eric told her not to worry about it. Jason was glad to hear she wasn’t taking advantage of him – she had been raised better than that. He didn’t want to think his sister was greedy. Amelia and Bobbie assured him that he didn’t have to worry about Sookie “taking advantage” because Eric had to fight to get to spoil her the way he wanted. He was glad to hear it. He thought to himself he might even tell Sookie he was proud of her at some point during the wedding. He realized he rarely said anything nice to her, but he sure hadn’t hesitated to say nasty stuff to her when he was angry.

The captain announced they were approaching the airport in Las Vegas and they all got a little excited. Sookie woke up and straightened up her seat, and the Stewardess stowed her blanket and took her seat. Sookie hated flying, so she white-knuckled it through the landing, which was relatively smooth and she was relieved. She supervised the loading of the luggage and vampires and then they all piled into the long white limousine that was waiting for them.

De Castro was pretty much in charge from this point forward. The limo driver told them to help themselves to a glass of champagne if they wanted. Sookie decided she’d better not, but the other three decided they might as well – it was part of the package. The estate was only about 30 minutes from the airport, so by the time they all had their drinks, they were pulling in to the front gate. Everybody’s jaw dropped. It was damned near a castle with a huge pond out front. A pond in the middle of the desert!

When they disembarked, Sookie tried to tip the drivers but none of them would allow it. De Castro had taken care of all of them very generously, and all of them were told their money was no good from this point forward. They were the king’s guests and he would provide anything they desired.

A tall, beautiful, very classy brunette woman met them at the door of the mansion. It looked like something from a movie. The chandelier in the foyer was larger than Jason’s truck. The floor was pink marble with a design inlaid in onyx. The huge staircase was carpeted in red. The doors that lead off in 4 directions were flanked by life-sized Greek style statues and red velvet curtains.

“Hello, I’m Janet Stevens. I’m His Majesty’s day representative. I’ll show you all to your suites. You’ll be staying in the East wing, so if you’re ready, please follow me. She led them up a grand flight of stairs and off to the right down a long, long hallway, then they turned left and went down another hall. They took another staircase upward, and she opened a set of double doors that led into a large, luxuriously, furnished living room all done in white leather. They were all in awe, especially Jason. There was a huge stone fireplace on one end of the room and on the other was the largest TV any of them had ever seen. One side of the room had a large dining table and 6 chairs. Janet directed Sookie into a huge suite to the right, and the other three into a large set of four rooms on the left.

Their luggage was coming in right behind them, and Eric was placed on a marble pedestal in Sookie’s room while Pam was taken into a room next to Jason’s. Jason discovered that there was a door that opened between his room and Pam’s and he planned to make good use of that at night. Amelia and Bobbie left the door between their rooms open so they could talk. Pam’s room was dark, but the windows were open in the other three rooms. The servants hung the two garment bags for Sookie and Eric in the closet and placed her suitcase on a special stand. She had never seen a bed that big, carved of dark polished wood, with a canopy that had to be 10 or 12 feet high, all with delicate ivory silk drapes and an ivory satin spread. There was a cabinet at the end of the bed that she realized had a TV in it like the one at home, and there was a matching high-boy, dresser, vanity table and armoire in the room. The bathroom had an anteroom like a hotel with a sink, large mirror, coffee maker, microwave and a tiny fridge full of blood, then had a large room with a big tub, shower stall and commode.

One maid went into each of the four rooms, while three maids, including a lady’s maid who introduced herself as Angela, went into Sookie’s room and began to unpack her things.

Angela explained that she had talked to Alicia at length and knew what her requirements were. She asked if Sookie would like to have her treatment in the pool or in the gym, as either one would be convenient. Sookie said she’d use the gym today, since it was right down the hall from these rooms, but that tomorrow she’d like to get some sun. Angela said she’d serve Sookie’s party’s dinner in the outer suite today at 6 pm, and that there was a casual reception in the parlor off the main hall at 7:30 in their honor. There would be a different maid that would serve her a rare steak at 2 am, or earlier if she’d like, and if she ever wanted milk, juice or a cold blood or something to eat she should just tell the nearest servant and she would have it instantly.

Bobbie was waiting in the outer room for Sookie and Angela led them down the hallway to a gym with everything you could possibly want, including four standing massage tables, yoga and weight equipment, treadmills and bikes, a sauna, a spa, and a tanning bed. Bobbie took Sookie through some yoga exercises, then did her massage, which was restful and non-eventful.

They returned to the suite and found Amelia and Jason watching the giant TV, talking about nothing in particular. Jason was lying on the couch, but Sookie noticed at least he kept his feet off of it so he didn’t ruin the white leather. Sookie found out later that Jason had asked Amelia about Janet using the phrase “His Majesty” and she explained that there was a caste system among vampires and it was a political thing. Jason didn’t really understand it, but none of the women thought it was weird so he went with the flow.

Sookie took a quick shower and put on her blue sundress, just pulling her hair back with a headband. If creepy Felipe was going to have his hands all over her, at least she’d be clean and that should keep her natural scent at a minimum. Unfortunately, her cup runneth over in the cleavage department and she was afraid Felipe would like that as much as Eric did.

They were all served roast chicken and grilled fish with a wide array of side dishes, some standard and some Mexican, for dinner, and Sookie noted they had both tortillas and cornbread. There was Baked Alaska for desert. Sookie had never seen one before and she couldn’t figure out how they kept it from melting and falling apart but they did. She certainly had no complaints about the food here.

About the time they wrapped up their meal, Eric and Pam were up. Eric came out and kissed Sookie as she finished her dessert, and Pam perched on Jason’s lap for a big smooch. Sookie thought it was sweet and Eric tried to ignore it. Sookie told them about the reception at 7:30 so both Eric and Pam went to their respective rooms and showered and dressed in high vampire gear.

Eric came out wearing tight black jeans and a tight black t-shirt and Sookie felt like she couldn’t breathe when she saw him. DAMN! He was gorgeous. She wondered if he was trying to make sure she was looking at him and not Felipe. He looked so good that she pulled him back into their room, closed the door, then put her arms around him and grabbed two hands full of his award-worthy ass as he kissed her. He laughed with delight at her reaction and he kissed her again, then ran the back of his finger down her cheek, her neck and down into her cleavage.

“Mmmm,” he purred, “they’re even bigger today.”

“Glad you’re happy about it, I’m wondering how much bigger they’re going to get.”

“I’ll love them at any size, my angel, but I hope they get much bigger, just for a while.”

She frowned and looked away when he said “my angel” and he asked her what was wrong.

“I don’t know. When you said “my angel”… I feel like I’m forgetting something. Oh, yeah, Mr. Burnham sent a folder full of papers for you.” She retrieved the folder from her tote bag and Eric looked through it quickly, nodding his head.

At that point, Janet was back and ready to guide them to the reception so they went back out to join the others.

Pam was in a demure yellow dress that showed off her figure and Jason was loving it. He loved girly girls and when Pam wasn’t working, she wore very feminine clothes. He hadn’t known that, because he had only ever seen her in black, so this was a positive development as far as he was concerned. Bobbie was wearing a peasant blouse and a full print skirt in shades of green, and Amelia was in a simple navy t-shirt dress. When they were all assembled Eric offered Sookie his arm and they fell in behind Janet to follow her down the hall. Pam held Jason back a bit, took his arm and followed them and Bobbie and Amelia fell in behind them, catching on that there was a bit of protocol involved.

They wound back through the hallways, down the stairs in the entry hall, and through a door beside them that led into a grand Hall. Janet directed them to a small room off to the right and they were in the presence of the King and his retinue.

Eric stopped and bowed his head.  Felipe was wearing a casual white cotton shirt and off white painters’ pants. Sookie was surprised to see him dressed so casually. Eric recognized Sandy and nodded to her.

“Ah, Sheriff Northman! It is a pleasure for me to welcome you and your lovely bride. Miss Stackhouse – how lovely you look tonight, my dear,” he said as he grabbed Sookie’s hand and kissed every individual finger. Eric was trying to hide his anger and Sookie was trying not to throw up. Felipe wrapped Sookie’s hand around his own arm and continued, “Please, my dear, introduce me to your charming guests.”

Sookie introduced Pam as Eric’s friend and business partner, Amelia as her friend and Bobbie as her masseuse, then introduced Jason as her brother.

“A brother! I had no idea you had any siblings, my dear. Tell me, Jason, do you share your sister’s talent?”

Jason was surprised to be addressed, but he pulled it together enough to say, “No, sir, I don’t. She’s the only one in my family.”

“Ah, well, that makes her all the more rare, does it not,” as he was stroking her fingers around him arm. Ew.

Jason didn’t like this smarmy asshole, and knew Eric was ready to get medieval on the guy’s ass, so he played it cool, but looked at Eric to let him know he had his back if there was trouble. Eric was surprised, but nodded to show that he understood.

He motioned to a really nice buffet with a small ice sculpture of two swans in the middle. “Please, my guests, help yourselves to drinks and food. You are most welcome here. If there is anything you desire, you have only to ask it of my staff. If you wish to go into the city tonight, there are cars available to you, and I’d be happy to treat you all at my casino tonight.

“Really?” Sookie said before she realized it. She panicked a little and looked at Eric, who sent her calm and gave her a nod. He thought getting out of Felipe’s house f0r a while was a fine idea.

Felipe liked that he had gotten a positive reaction from Sookie, so he continued. “Of course my dear. Why don’t we all have a drink, and I will have the cars brought around. I would very much like to show you my hotel. It is the shining jewel of the Vegas strip.”

Everyone nodded and agreed it sounded like fun. Jason, Bobbie and Amelia were offered beers and margaritas from the buffet, and Pam and Eric were handed a warm blood.

Eric asked if he could get a cold blood for Sookie, who had been pulled down to sit next to Felipe on a divan. When he was given the cold bottle of blood, Eric bent his knees and knelt down to give it to her and said, “Sookie, for you, my lover,”

“Oh, thanks,  Sweetie. I guess you knew the baby was hungry.” She was hoping that would turn Felipe off, but he didn’t back down at all.

“Yes, my dear, you look deliciously rrrripe tonight,” rolling his r’s so it sounded like he was growling seductively at her, and blatantly staring at her breasts. “Your body is what we would call “mas mujer” now – more rrround and womanly. Very enticing. You have a marvelous glow about you.”

Eric was having visions of decapitating this son of a bitch again. Kicking his ass out of the Louisiana territories was going to be a pleasure. He stood back up but never took his eyes off of Felipe. Everyone was outwardly friendly but there was an undercurrent of tension in the room that even Jason was aware of. Pam did her best to distract Jason, while keeping an eye on what Eric was going to do. Bobbie was only aware that Felipe was being too familiar with Sookie, and didn’t understand all of the political ramifications. Amelia knew about creepy Felipe from Sookie and she was keeping an eye on him, too. Felipe’s staff was on high alert to make sure they were all served properly, but there were people in the room who were obviously there as security. If trouble broke out, Felipe was well guarded.

About 20 very tense minutes later, Felipe was informed that the cars were out front. “Come, my friends, we will go now. Sheriff, you and your charming fiancé will ride with me. Your friends will follow in the second car. Sandy, you and the others will take the third car.”

Felipe never let go of Sookie, but dragged her out with him as Eric followed shooting darts out of his eyes. He had Eric enter the car first, then Sookie, then he squeezed in next to them on the same bench so he was right up next to Sookie. Eric shifted to the facing seat so Sookie could move away from Felipe, though he followed her a little, and she reached out for Eric’s hand and wouldn’t let go. As they drove, Felipe was pointing out landmarks he thought might interest Sookie, putting his arm around her and leaning into her at every opportunity. She was trying to be as polite as she could and Eric was doing his best to send calm to her, though he wanted to kill Felipe – and might in the not so distant future.

Comfort.

Sookie touched her belly and looked at Eric, and he smiled at her.

“Are you alright, Miss Stackhouse?”

“Yes, I just felt the baby move – Eric knows when it happens, too.”

“Ah – an effect of your blood bond?”

“Apparently, your majesty,” Eric explained. “The three of us can communicate in a way through feelings.”

“Interesting. Has there ever been a blood bond involving a child before?”

“I have never heard of one, your majesty,” Eric said proudly.

Felipe put his hand on Sookie’s belly. Her stomach turned but she managed not to throw up.

“It must be very gratifying for you, my dear, to have such a connection with the small one.”

“Yes, it is, I feel like I already know him. He’s just like his father,” She said proudly.

Felipe raised an eyebrow at that and Sookie could feel the smugness rolling off of Eric and the baby cheering him on. She sent love to them both.

“I had been told by several sources that you had rejected your bond, my dear…” Felipe was digging for information.’’ Now Eric raised an eyebrow.

“I didn’t understand what it meant at first and I was afraid of Eric but he and I grew closer and he taught me what a blood bond meant. When I saw how close we could be, and how good he made me feel, and I gave him a chance to show me who he really is. Now I love him and want to be with him forever.” She never took her eyes off of Eric as she spoke.

Felipe never took his eyes off of Sookie and was still pressed up against her. “You are a very, very lucky man, Sheriff. Such a great love and such a unique nest. You will be the envy of the vampire world.”

“Thank you, your majesty, but all I want in life is to be with Sookie and our son. That is worth any price to me.”

“Indeed. I would imagine that, were I in your position, I would feel the same way.” The king said softly. Was Felipe sad? Sookie almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

“Who knows, Sheriff – maybe it will become a trend. Vampires will find Fae hybrids to mate with and find someone who can work such magick. Your son might be the first of a new hybrid race.”

Sookie looked at Eric, and both of them knew he didn’t know the baby would be Fae, or that Eric was part Fae – and it was better that they keep it that way. Eric wondered if Felipe would try to find someone he could impregnate – was that his interest in Sookie? If Felipe wanted a son, it would make sense to choose fertile ground, so to speak, and Sookie would be the obvious choice because she was already pregnant by a vampire as far as he knew. All this time, Eric had thought Felipe had interest in Sookie’s talent and her sexual charms. If he thought she might be able to produce an heir for him that could make Felipe very dangerous, indeed.

It occurred to Eric that Sookie was going to be alone in Felipe’s house for three days after the others left. He had to come up with a way for someone to stay with her – that way she wouldn’t be so easy to take, if that was Felipe’s plan. Where was Niall in all of this, he wondered? Niall wouldn’t sell Sookie as a brood mare, surely? He knew it would be typical of a Fairy to play both ends against the middle, so he’d better be careful, just in case.

Amelia had a Job and so did Jason, but Bobbie… that was it. Bobbie’s job was to care for Sookie. He would ask that her stay be extended so she could treat Sookie, then at least Sookie wouldn’t be alone and vulnerable in the daytime. That would give him some small measure of comfort.

They arrived at the Regency Hotel and Casino and the party was ushered into a private entrance away from the crowds out front. Flanked by Were and Vampire guards on all sides, Felipe lead the group into the center of the hotel lobby. Sookie had never seen anything like it and it showed in her face. Everything was shiny and gold, from the shops and the escalators to the lights flashing in what had to be the casinos because she could hear the sound of coins dropping into the trays on the machines. The humans all looked around awestruck.

“What would you like to do first, my dear?” Felipe asked Sookie. What the hell, she figured, they were here so “I’ve always wanted to try playing a slot machine.” She said apologetically. Felipe pointed the way and the group moved into the casino. It was loud and flashy and exciting. Felipe made a motion to a pit boss, and he came over to the king who whispered something to him. The boss pulled some plastic cards out of his pocket, handing a gold one to Sookie and blue ones to everyone else in the party.

“These cards will work in any machine or at any table, game or restaurant in this building and you all get to keep whatever you win. Enjoy, my friends!”

Sookie looked at Felipe with surprise and he motioned for her to go on. Felipe spoke to another pit boss, and Eric and Sookie and the whole group migrated over to one section of slot machines. The others put their blue cards in the credit card slots and found they had $500 credit. Sookie’s card set off a bell and flashed ‘High Roller – No limits.’

She looked at Eric. “What does that mean?”

“It means the bastard king just handed you the whole casino if you want it. You can spend and lose as much money as you want, without limit.”

“He didn’t?!”

“He did. My advice would be to spend the son of a bitch blind, but you do as you wish, my angel,” he said as he kissed her.

“Eric – why would he do that?” Sookie asked. He didn’t want to worry her, so he just said, “Just relax and have fun, Sookie. Stay close to me or to your friends the whole time you are here. Try not to be alone at any time.”

“OK… Is something going on?”

“I’m not sure, my lover, let’s just say I have an idea, but I don’t want you to worry about it. You have an opportunity to have fun, so take it and enjoy it.”

Sookie shrugged and found a big shiny machine and played. When she earned her first pay out, about 8 quarters, she jumped up and down and Eric laughed. He was standing behind her with his hands on her shoulders, looking around the room and assessing the situation. He was pretty sure he had spotted all the security on duty and he knew where every exit and door was. He thought he had all the cameras scoped out and which machines and games were rigged. Felipe seemed to be doing casino business, but Eric was going to stay alert. He was pretty sure that they would be OK if they got through the wedding Sunday night, but until then he wasn’t going to let his guard down. At one point, he told Sookie to stay put, called Pam to stand with her and went to talk to Bobbie. Bobbie agreed that it would be good not to leave Sookie alone in the days and she’d be pleased to stay if he arranged it. Bobbie didn’t know exactly what was up, but she knew Felipe was way too familiar with Sookie and it was a good idea to keep someone with her at all times.

Pam asked Sookie how much was left on her card, and Sookie told her it was a no limits card. Pam nodded to Eric to let him know they were moving and took Sookie over to a $10 per bet machine on a circuit that could hit a grand jackpot, and told her to pull that lever as many times as she could. If Felipe was going to give them a bad time, Pam was going to make sure he paid for it out of pocket at least. Sookie was actually hitting a lot of small jackpots and Pam looked around to see who was tipping the odds in her favor. She figured the guy in the third cash window was looking at her too much, so he was telling someone which machine she was at.

Eric came back to stand with Sookie and nodded to Pam, who went to see how Jason was doing. Amelia hit a $50 jackpot and showed Sookie her bucket of quarters, and Sookie was thrilled for her. On one pull, Sookie’s machine went wild with sirens and flashing lights and a pit boss came over and gave her a marker for $20,000.

“Eric, did I really win that?”

“You probably had a little help.”

“Do I dare keep it?”

“I would. Buy yourself something special with it.”

“You buy me more than I need now. I don’t know what to do with it.”

“Hang on to it. You could always buy treasury bonds in the baby’s name.”

“Yeah, I guess I could. Creepy Felipe’s college fund,” she laughed and Eric smiled. Nobody was taking her away from him, not while he was alive. If Felipe tried anything underhanded, Eric would kill him and damn the consequences. At one point Felipe summoned Eric and he nodded. He asked Amelia to stick close to Sookie because the king had summoned him and she understood what he meant.

Pam and Jason indicated they were going to go into the bar, so Amelia steered Sookie and Bobbie over to a Roulette table. If Sookie was getting help, might as well enjoy it. Amelia showed Sookie how you could bet on black or red, and the dealer handed Sookie two big stacks of chips without being asked. Sookie was winning 75% of her bets easily and Amelia knew it wasn’t luck or psychic ability, she was being plied with prizes. Felipe was up to something, and she knew Eric knew it, so Amelia kept her eyes open as Sookie and Bobbie placed bets and celebrated their wins.

Eric told Amelia to watch out for Sookie and answered the king’s summons. Where he was standing, they could both see Sookie and he knew the king was watching her as intently as he was.

“So, Sheriff, are you happy in your position in Area 5?”

“Yes, your majesty, I am quite content just now.”

“Excellent. Tomorrow night I am going to introduce you to some VIPs from Las Vegas and New Orleans. All of my Sheriffs will be there and a few key players from all of the territories. I will announce the extension of protection to your son then when we toast your impending nuptials. You can expect a good deal of attention from this. I hope you are prepared for it. A birth in our community is a unique event, even in a case where magick is involved. Am I correct in that you do not wish for Brigant’s connection to your family be made public knowledge?”

“Yes, your majesty, I think it would be best to keep Niall’s involvement as quiet as possible.”

“Yes, I agree. He has many enemies that could be a danger to a young family such as yours. Are you prepared for questions about your paternity of the child?”

“Yes, your majesty. I will state that an act of magick by an interested party made the pregnancy possible and that I have been assured beyond any doubt that I am the father. When the child is born there will be no doubt. He will look very much like me.”

“Is that a part of the magick?”

“Yes, your majesty. Niall would not want people to think that his granddaughter had been unfaithful to her bonded. He has taken pains to make sure the child will resemble me. I have no doubt of this.”

“Yes, he assured me of this, also. My announcement, of course, will reinforce the issue of paternity. If I say it is so, no one will dare contradict me. To do so would be treason.”

“Yes, your majesty.” Wow – Eric didn’t expect Felipe to take such a hard line. What the hell did Niall tell him?

“You are a very fortunate man, Northman. The man that she chooses will be very lucky, indeed.”

“Thank you, your majesty.”

“You may return to her and enjoy your evening. We will all meet at the cars at 1 am. Thank you, Sheriff.”

Son of a bitch! He’s not trying to kidnap her – he’s going to make her an offer he thinks she won’t refuse. That’s why he’s throwing money and limousines at her. He’s trying to buy her affections. Well, he picked the wrong girl for that. The question now becomes how well the king can handle rejection. Will he take her word or will he resort to violence to get what he wants? What happens if he decides to kill her bonded and keep her for himself? What kind of warnings or encouragement does he have from Niall? He returned to where the girls were playing roulette.

“Sookie, do you have your cell phone with you?”

“No – almost everybody I know is here.”

“Do you know Niall’s number?”

“No, I’ve only called him twice. Why?”

Eric had his phone out trying to see if Niall had ever called him. Nothing.

“When we get back to Felipe’s, I want you to go straight to our room and call Niall. Tell him I must speak to him. I think I know what is going on and I need to know what Niall’s part is in it.”

“Oh, OK… is this big trouble?”

“Maybe, maybe not, but we need to be prepared, just in case.”

 

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