Beatles and Burning Rugs
Bobbie was the first one up in the morning. She arranged for Room Service to bring Sookie a rare steak and eggs with potatoes and two bottles of cold blood at 2 o’clock and worked out a deal with them to use a portable massage table during their stay. She turned one of the chairs, trying not to damage the oriental rug it was sitting on, so she could see the amazing view. She just sat in front of it for a while meditating, then she read for a bit. At one o’clock an Anubis overnight package was delivered for Eric, and Bobbie signed for it. She let room service in at 2 and woke Sookie up so she could come out to the table and eat. Both of the girls were excited to be in the city and they quickly decided to go play some slots and do some shopping until dinner.
Sundresses were the order of the day, Sookie in the one in shades of blue that Eric liked and Bobbie in a yellow and green floral print. Sookie was bummed to see that it no longer hid Baby E.
“I love you, Baby E, even though you’re making me look fat.”
He was laughing at her again. Just like his daddy, she thought and shook her head.
Sookie was in a good mood and felt free in a way she never had before. She felt centered and open and she talked to Bobbie about it and how different she felt. She was sure part of it was getting away from Felipe’s house but she thought more of it was being married. Until it actually happened, she had never really thought Eric would go through with it. She was sure something would happen – he’d get cold feet or some old lover would crawl out of the woodwork or he’d realize she wasn’t worth the effort – but none of that happened. He actually married her! She’d have bet money against it.
They played slot machines and she didn’t mind using his credit card to buy quarters. She even played a machine that took one dollar bets with her card. She actually hit a 20 dollar prize at one point. They went into some of the stores in the hotels and Sookie bought herself two outfits and a dress for Bobbie when she caught Bobbie looking wistfully at it. She found a style of sleeveless Indian cotton print dress in one store that was pleated and very forgiving of the baby bump and she bought them in three different colors.
“I hope Eric likes these, because I’m going to be wearing them a lot,” Sookie joked when she saw how they’d expand no matter how big her belly got, but didn’t look at all like maternity clothes. She bought a yellow and blue one, a navy blue and light blue one and a red and pink one. She figured they’d all look good with her little Birkenstock sandals and she wouldn’t have to wear much under them.
They saw a lot of posters and billboards for different shows, but the only one that sounded good to both Bobbie and Sookie was the Cirque du Soleil show based on the Beatles music. Bobbie wasn’t really into “Vegas-style” shows like Celine Dion, and Sookie didn’t know what or whom most of the shows were about. Everybody loves The Beatles, though, right?
They shopped until about 6 o’clock, then went back and had dinner. Sookie was on the massage table provided by the hotel when Eric and Bill got up and Bobbie was giving her particular attention to her lower back, which was starting to hurt a lot more now. Bobbie warned her that as the baby grew bigger, that pain in her back would get worse and her feet would start to swell. Great.
“Hello, my lover. How was your day?” Eric bent to kiss her.
Bill came out and kissed Bobbie on the cheek as Eric and Sookie talked. Bobbie just beamed at him.
“It was good – we played slots and shopped and I found some dresses I’ll be able to wear for the whole pregnancy that are actually kind of cute. It’s starting now, you know…”
“What is starting?”
“The getting fat and ugly part.”
“Sookie you are not going to be fat or ugly. You are going to be ripe and beautiful…”
“And huge. Look how big the bump is now!”
Eric patted the bump affectionately. ”He is growing, my angel. Your body is becoming rounder and softer to make room for him.”
“You just like the extra cleavage now…”
“Yes, I do love the extra cleavage, but I love your round hips and your round tummy, too. I will love you no matter how big you get because the bigger you get, the bigger my son is growing.”
“I hope he’s not huge.” Sookie looked nervously at Bobbie.
“Just because he’ll be big when he’s grown doesn’t mean he’ll be unusually big in the womb,” Bobbie assured her.
“For real or are you just saying that to make me feel better?”
“For real, Sookie. Plenty of 5 pound babies grow up to be basketball stars and football players.”
“There, my lover! He can be small and still end up big. Do not worry.”
He was trying to reassure her but he was worried about this, too. Sookie was a small girl and there were still almost 2 and a half months of this pregnancy. If the baby continued to grow at this rate, it could actually be a problem. He never told her that Niall said there was always danger to mother and child. He wanted her to think that the magick would protect them, and who knew – maybe it would? He remembered that Freyja had taken an interest in Sookie and the baby, and that gave him great comfort. If the Goddess was personally interested, he was sure his wife and son would both be safe.
Eric decided to change the subject. “So, what would everyone like to do tonight?”
Bill spoke, “Well, tomorrow Bobbie and I will go on a proper date since you and Sookie have plans, but I thought tonight maybe the four of us could take in a show.”
“That sounds good to me,” Bobbie said, but then she thought anything Bill said was a good idea and Bill was enjoying that more than he would have thought possible. He was growing very fond of Bobbie’s gentle manner and luscious curves. Most people would assume Bobbie was an airheaded hippie, but she was actually just very lady-like and spiritual, and Bill liked that about her.
“That’s a good idea – anyone have a particular show in mind?” Eric asked.
“I kind of know one I’d like to see…” Sookie said as if someone would object to what she had to say.
“What is that, my angel?”
“The one with the Beatles music. I think it’s called Love?”
“Oh, I love the Beatles!” Bobbie was excited now. She didn’t know Sookie actually wanted to see it, but that would have been Bobbie’s first choice.
“I could see that,” Bill said, “I like their music.”
“Alright, then,” Eric said, “Beatles it is. Then after maybe we’ll have drinks somewhere and stop into a casino for a game or two. I’ll call the concierge for tickets and arrange a car for us.”
Everyone was in agreement. Eric laughed because he had been absent-mindedly rubbing Sookie’s tummy and the baby was apparently in agreement, too, because he gave a happy kick.
“The little Viking thinks It’s a good idea. He’d also like me to drink a couple of bloods.”
“Alright, then, bloods first.” Eric said.
“Go ahead and call the concierge and I’ll get the bloods for her from the mini-bar.”
“OK, thanks, Bill.”
Bobbie did a little more work on Sookie’s back and legs, finishing with a nice foot rub, while Bill got the two bottles of blood and Sookie drank them down, then both girls went to dress for the evening. It was a warm evening, so Sookie wore the red and pink Indian print dress. Bobbie wore a sleeveless blue silk dress she had brought with her.
She thought about wearing the dress Sookie bought for her that afternoon, but she decided to save that for her date with Bill the next night. She was really excited about that. They were already rooming together and he didn’t have to take her on a date, but he really seemed to want to and she figured that was a good sign. She couldn’t believe how considerate and romantic he was. He was like some dream that stepped out of Gone With The Wind, but had slightly more modern sensibilities and he was very educated and well read. If you offered to build a dream man for Bobbie to her specifications, you couldn’t do better than Bill Compton.
Eric made arrangements for tickets and a car, and found the package Pam had sent him with his laptop in it. He had hoped get through the week without it, but he found he needed to check on a few items at home. Pam also included a note that confirmed that the announcement for Eric’s and Sookie’s wedding/ invitation to the reception at Fangtasia went out on Monday as planned.
While the girls were getting dressed, Eric and Bill pulled up the false bottom in Eric’s travel box and took out the swords and dagger. Eric put the dagger in Sookie’s train case where she would find it and he and Bill both put the swords in the main compartment of their boxes where they could get to them easily if need be. They weren’t expecting trouble but they knew they needed to be vigilant as long as they were in Felipe’s territory.
Eric showered and dressed while Sookie did her hair and makeup and they were both ready to go at the same time. She took off the self-belt of the dress and showed Eric how it would expand as she got bigger throughout the pregnancy. He assured her that it was very pretty and he liked it and she told him she bought three of them, which he thought was a good idea. The dress was very pretty and he knew she’d feel less conspicuous if she could wear relatively normal clothes and the design of it really did give it room to expand.
The four of them were ready to go and all looking gorgeous as they arrived in the lobby of the hotel. They all turned more than a few heads, especially Eric and Sookie because they were both so fair and well dressed, and Eric so big and handsome, Sookie so pretty. They stood out no matter where they went.
When they got to the show, they found their seats, which were two pairs in different parts of the theatre. Bobbie and Bill were over to the left of the room and she was pleased when he took her hand in his almost as soon as they were seated. Bill knew a lot about the Beatles and he talked while Bobbie nodded and smiled and hoped if she was dreaming that she’d never wake up.
Eric and Sookie were just right of the center of the room, and she wrapped her arms around his and rested her head on his shoulder. He smiled down at her, knowing that as soon as the lights went down and the soothing music started, Sookie would be asleep. Baby E was apparently comfy, too, because he was sending warmth and love to both of them and they were mirroring it back. The lights went down and Sookie fell asleep in middle of the second song. Eric figured it was just as well because he could tell that while she liked the music, she didn’t really understand what was happening on the stage.
He laughed to himself when he realized he could tell that Baby E was sleeping, too, but moving a little in time with the music. He laughed at himself because he realized that he really had no idea how wonderful this fatherhood thing could be. Knowing that he was listening to his son’s heartbeat in his wife’s womb – well, there just weren’t any words to describe it. He never expected to feel this because he didn’t even know this was possible. Being able to feel love from the baby and send love back to him – every second of it was such a divine gift. He was lost in his thoughts and feelings through the whole show and was actually a little surprised when it ended. He had been so engrossed in listening to Sookie breathe and the baby’s heartbeat that the time just slipped away. He was sorry he was going to have to disturb Sookie and the baby so they could leave. They were both resting so sweetly and peacefully, it was a shame to wake them, so he did so very gently.
“Sookie,” he whispered, “my lover, it is time to go. Can you awake? Bill and Bobbie will be waiting for us.”
Sookie slowly woke up and realized where she was, and she laughed a little. “I’m sorry – did I miss the whole thing?”
“You needed the sleep more than you needed to see the show. I could tell you found the music soothing, even if it was so loud.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t get to enjoy it with you.”
“My angel, I enjoyed this more than you could imagine.”
She didn’t get it but she was glad he wasn’t mad that she fell asleep. He didn’t tell her why he enjoyed it so much. He wouldn’t know where to begin.
He held her arm because she was a little wobbly as they moved to the aisle, and they quickly spotted Bill and Bobbie in the entrance of the theatre. Bill had a great time and Bobbie was just happy to be with Bill, so they were both feeling good. Sookie was still a little quiet, but they all agreed to go to one of the casinos for drinks and a few rounds of craps. Bill and Eric bought chips and gave some to the girls, giving them a quick run down on how to play and bet. Bill spent his time helping Bobbie bet – he was more interested in seeing she had a good time than in actually playing, and she actually made a little money with his help and he let her keep the winnings.
Sookie took a turn at rolling the dice and she turned out to be lucky for a couple of men from Los Angeles so they bought her a bottle of blood to thank her for making them some money. She smiled so sweetly and thanked them with such Southern charm that Eric was about to burst with pride. They asked him where he found her and he said Louisiana and when they found out he and Sookie were just married two days ago, they offered their enthusiastic congratulations and told Eric he was a lucky, lucky man and he agreed. Eric was pretty sure they made about $500 dollars from betting on Sookie’s throws. He didn’t make a show of it but she made him about $1,500. He had been in a casino with her twice and come out with more money than he went in with. She was good luck for him in more ways than one.
They were all feeling good and looking forward to getting back to their beds when they entered the suite. Eric and Bill frowned and looked at each other, knowing someone was in the room. A shot, fired through a silencer, hit the door as each vampire grabbed his date and took her to their respective bedrooms. No one followed, so Eric and Bill came back with their swords after Bobbie was locked in her bathroom and Sookie hidden in a closet.
“Where is she, Viking?” The accent was unmistakable – it was Felipe de Castro.
“Bullets, Felipe? You know you can’t kill me with a gun.” Eric wanted him to talk so he knew where he was.
“These are special bullets, made with silver. They will stop you, then I will kill you and that Witch you brought into my house.”
Bill and Eric were advancing, having determined that Felipe was sitting on the couch in the living area, sounding crazy and sick. If he weren’t a vampire, they’d think he was drunk.
“What Witch? Amelia isn’t here.”
“Your wife, Northman, that little blonde Witch that sent that falcon to attack me. Sookie did this to me, and I am going to kill you, both of you. I am bewitched and I cannot rest. I spend the day fighting that thing off. I know it won’t stop until she is dead.”
“She is not a Witch, Felipe, you know she is not.” Eric knew what he was saying probably wasn’t true any more but he was trying to distract him. He wasn’t sure whether Felipe knew there were two of them or that they had swords. Bill was down behind the table hoping to move around behind the couch. Eric thought the best move was to keep Felipe distracted and try to get him to come toward him.
“I know no such thing, Viking! She sent that thing to me – I touched her and it will not leave me alone!”
Eric had never heard a vampire this mentally disturbed. He was surprised Felipe hadn’t killed himself. Why the hell would he come here alone? Eric wondered if anyone knew he was there. He must have left the mansion when no one was watching him. His guard would never leave him unprotected this way.
“de Castro – whatever happened to you, you brought it on yourself…”
“NO! NO! That Witch did this to me! I wanted to make her my Queen! I wanted her to have my son!”
“She’s having MY son, de Castro. You attacked her the day before our wedding. You’ll be lucky if Niall Brigant doesn’t bring the entire Fae realm down on you and your kingdom for attacking her.”
“Fuck the Fae! This is my kingdom! She belongs to me!” Felipe jumped up and stumbled toward Eric, waving the gun, but spun around when he heard Bill behind him. He moved to shoot at Bill, but before he was able to pull the trigger, Eric separated Felipe’s head from his shoulders. Bill caught the gun before it hit the ground, and Eric hit the light switch. Felipe was becoming a pile of ash.
Bill and Eric looked at each other.
“One down…” Bill said.
“And the worst one to go.” Eric replied.
“Do you think he came alone?” Bill couldn’t believe it, either.
“I can’t imagine his guard letting him confront us if they knew he was here. He would have sent an assassin or Victor and his crew the way they did for the coup against Sophie Ann. This was insane. There’s no other way to describe it.”
“Why did he think Sookie is a Witch?”
“Honestly, Bill, she might be. Things are… happening.”
“This was about his attack on Sookie the other night, when he thought he was being attacked by a falcon?”
“Yes. He said the attack was still going on when he went to rest.”
“What was it? Sookie couldn’t have been responsible for that, could she?”
“Sookie has been having dreams… or visions… of the Goddess Freyja. Freyja wears a cape of falcon feathers that lets her take the form of bird, and she governs blood magick. When de Castro touched her the other night, she was bleeding.”
“Sookie doesn’t know magick, does she?”
“No, and she thinks the baby did it.”
“The baby? You’re not serious?”
“Yes, I am. He’s showing some unusual qualities and abilities. We can already communicate with him through feelings. He recognizes my voice. He can let Sookie know he wants blood. We were told he will be a natural Witch. Freyja told Sookie he used blood magick and she can, too.”
“There are bigger forces involved in this than I realized.” Bill was almost in shock.
“Do you want out?”
“No. You’ll need me. It took both of us to handle de Castro, as sick as he was. Victor Madden will be much harder. I’m not going to let Sookie end up a widow. It would hurt her too much. And, a child does need his father.” Bill’s sadness at the thought of having to leave his own children behind was obvious.
“Thank you.” Eric didn’t know what else to say, but he did know what they needed to do. “We need to clean this up. I don’t know how we’re going to hide what happened here.”
“Should we leave Las Vegas?”
“No. If we’re right and Felipe was acting alone, no one will know what happened to him. If we leave, we look guilty. If we act as if nothing happened, they can’t trace it to us – if we can get rid of the smell.”
“Bobbie has many oils and fragrances – maybe she’ll know of something that will work.” Bill headed back to let Bobbie know it was safe to come out. Eric went to get Sookie, and he was trying to figure out what to do about this mess.
“Eric, what happened?”
“It was de Castro. He’s dead.”
“Oh, god – are we under attack?”
“No, Bill and I think he was here without anyone’s knowledge. We think if we can mask the smell, no one will connect us with his disappearance.”
“Is that possible?”
“I don’t know.”
They went back out to the front, and found Bobbie already scooping up the ash and putting it in a wastebasket from her bathroom. Sookie knelt down to help her.
“Bobbie,” Eric asked, “do you know of anything that can mask the smell of vampire?”
“I know we can mask this enough to keep a human from recognizing it, and maybe a Were, too, but I don’t know if we can mask it so a vampire can’t smell it. I do have an idea, though.”
“Destroy the rug.”
“Destroy the rug?”
“Yes. Most of the ash is on this Oriental rug on top of the carpeting. If we can sneak it out of the hotel, you can take it somewhere and burn it. I’ve got scents that can mask the smell in the air.”
“Won’t they miss the rug?” Sookie asked.
“If they do, they’ll bill us for it. The main thing is to leave no trace that can be found,” Eric agreed.
“How can we get it out of here?” Bobbie asked.
“That’s the easy part,” Eric said.
“He can fly,” Sookie explained.
“You can fly?” Bobbie had no idea that was possible.
“Yes. We’ll roll it up and I’ll take off from the balcony. I’ll take it to the desert and burn it. You work on the smell.”
“It would help if I could get to the Internet.”
“Use my laptop.”
Bobbie went on the Internet as Bill and Eric rolled the rug out from under the furniture and Eric took it out to the balcony.
“I’ll be back” he said and took off. Bobbie stared for a minute, not believing what she just saw, then she found something that said roses, vanilla and myrrh would mask almost anything, so she mixed up the oils and spread it around the room. Bill pried the bullet out of the heavy front door to the suite and flushed it since it was made of silver. Bobbie was right behind him with the wastebasket of ash that used to be king, and she flushed that, too. The door was a dark color so the hole would be hard to see. Bill told Bobbie what she could buy the next day that they could use to fill it in. If she could find a color match, it would make the hole nearly invisible. He wrapped Felipe’s gun full of silver bullets, silencer and all, in a scarf and they decided to put it in Bobbie’s luggage since that’s the last place anyone would look.
Bobbie ordered steak tartare for Sookie and two cold bloods. Sookie thought it looked gross at first, but found it was really tasty and Baby E was practically doing a happy dance when she ate it.
Eric landed on the balcony about an hour later, smelling like smoke.
“Any problems?” Bill asked
“None – it went up like a rocket. It must have been made in a country that never heard of fire retardants. It smells different in here.”
“You think it’s enough?”
“Maybe. You girls keep the air conditioner on high tomorrow. If it gets too cold, go down to the pool or go out.”
Sookie and Bobbie confirmed that they would, and Bobbie and Bill went to their room.
Dawn was approaching so Eric took a quick shower to kill the smoke smell so he could go to rest. By the time he came out of the bathroom, Sookie was asleep, so he kissed the bump, then her lips, and went into his box, praying to Freyja that they’d be safe until he awoke that night.