Sookie woke up to hear something bump the wall behind her bed. She thought for a minute and realized that they were emptying the storage room so they could turn it into a nursery. YAY! Eric wasn’t wasting any time – they had just talked about it last night.
Alicia came in a few minutes later with Sookie’s breakfast tray.
“Good morning, Mrs. Northman,”
“’Morning, Alicia. How are you today?”
“Oh, I’m fine. They’re almost done moving things out of the nursery, you know.”
“So I hear. I’m so excited – is that silly?” She sat up and Alicia put her tray in place.
“If it is then we’re both silly because I’m excited for you,” Alicia laughed. “It’s going to be so nice to have a little baby in this house. Margaret is beside herself, too. She worked for Mr. Northman for so long when this house was quiet and empty and she loves all this new activity with young people around and a baby coming. Don’t tell her I told you this, but she said she’s just as excited as she was when her own grandchildren were born, and I know just how she feels.” She handed Sookie the note from the dresser.
“I can’t wait ‘til I can hold him in my arms and play with him. I know there’s going to be gross stuff and not getting a lot of sleep and everything, but I can’t wait for all of it. You’re going to help me with the nursery, right?”
“Of course, I will, dear. That little one is going to have the finest nursery in Louisiana, and people that love him all around him. He’ll be spoiled rotten,” she laughed.
Sookie laughed with her. She was glad they weren’t dreading the baby. She was definitely looking forward to this and it helped to know that there would be some older women around that could help her learn what she needed to do for Baby E. She wanted to be a good mommy and she hoped he’d be a happy baby.
Aw – he was telling her he loved her. She knew he’d be happy because he already was. She patted the bump and said “I love you, Baby E!”
“Did you feel him move?” Alicia didn’t know about Sookie and the baby communicating. Oops!
“Yes, he’s awake and hungry,” Sookie laughed.
“Well, you and Baby E dig into that steak and eggs and he’ll be happy.”
Sookie knew Alicia was humoring her. She didn’t realize how right she was – Baby E would be very happy, especially when she drank those 2 bloods Alicia brought with the tray. Sookie drank a huge glass of milk that was on the tray and sipped a little grape juice before she cut into the steak. It was really tender and juicy – she was eating it with absolute joy and Baby E was doing his happy dance. Food tasted so much better to her now than it ever did before. She figured it had to do with the pregnancy but she would realize later it was the effect of Eric’s blood. Her senses were becoming more acute so things really did taste better than ever. It was affecting her in many ways she wasn’t aware of – she was stronger, faster, hornier and it was giving her mind-blowing orgasms. She would be a lot sicker and more tired without it, too, because this pregnancy was a huge strain on her body.
In weeks to come she’d have to sleep a lot more, especially as the cramps worsened. A doctor would prescribe Soma and that would add to the sleepiness. Sookie was afraid it would affect the baby, but Dr. Ludwig assured her it wouldn’t. Ludwig knew the baby was pretty much fully formed. It was just a matter of him getting bigger and his brain developing and that wouldn’t be affected by the drug. If anything, it would help because he’d sleep a little more, too and those were the times he grew most.
Bobbie came upstairs as Sookie was finishing her breakfast.
“Good morning, Sunshine!”
“Hey, Bobbie – did you see they cleared out the nursery?”
“Yep, I saw that. I’ve got a tape measure in my pocket so we can measure for curtains and things like that. I’ve been on Bill’s laptop looking for paint. We’ll have to have the brand we want shipped from Chicago, but they have it set up so you can choose your color on line. If we do it today, we could have it early next week if we pay a rush fee, then we can get the painters rocking and start filling the room up.”
“Oh, this is so fun – it makes it seem so real. I mean, I always know I’m pregnant, but sometimes it really hits me that I’m going to have a baby! I’m a mommy! I never thought this would happen to me and I’m afraid I’ll wake up and it’s all a dream.”
“Oh, it’s real, alright. Those cramps you have are no joke and you just wait until the Little Viking comes fighting his way through your vagina. You’ll have all the reality you ever wanted then.” She laughed and Sookie laughed with her.
“Yeah, but that just a few hours or so, then I’ll have my little baby Viking to snuggle and love.”
Happy. Love. Funny.
Sookie beamed and rubbed the bump. “I love you to, honey!”
“He’s sending to you now?” Bobbie was fascinated.
“Yep, he’s wiggling around, too.”
“May I?” Bobbie asked as she pointed to the bump and Sookie nodded and put her hand in the spot where she could feel the movement.
“What did he send you?”
“Happy, Love and Funny.”
“Yeah, we were laughing and he laughed with us.”
“That’s unreal,” Bobbie said, really impressed.
“Yeah, it’s so cool. He’s so smart already.”
“I wonder how long it will take him to learn to walk and talk. I’ll bet he starts early.”
“Very early would be my guess. I’ll be lucky if he doesn’t walk out,” Sookie laughed.
Bobbie could feel the baby really move then, and laughed.
“That’s his happy dance. He does that when I eat something he likes or when I’m having fun. You should see him go if Eric and I are tickling each other or … you know… having sex.”
“That’s so funny that he likes that.”
“Yeah, Eric says he likes it when we enjoy each other because it makes him feel safe and loved.”
“That makes sense. It gives him a sense of family. That’s sweet.”
“Yeah, it is. Oh – I forgot to read Eric’s note!”
She opened the envelope and pulled out the note.
“He has beautiful handwriting.” Bobbie said.
“Yeah, all the vamps do – because they’re so old.”
Please rest well today. You seemed tired last night and I worry you aren’t sleeping enough. I’ll have to go to Fangtasia tonight to make sure everything is ready for our wedding reception tomorrow night, but Bill will stay here in case you ladies need him. Stay in the house and keep the windows and doors closed, please.
I’ll wake you up when I get home.
I love you more than anything,
“Any instructions for the day?” Bobbie asked.
“He wants me to rest. He didn’t say this, but I think he and Bill are expecting trouble tomorrow night. Bill is going stay here to guard us tonight, just in case. I think he wants me well-rested so I’ll be sharp, more than just so I’ll look good.”
“That’s a good plan. The more rest you get today, the more you’ll enjoy yourself, anyway, and he’s right – you need to be sharp, just in case.”
“Yeah, he’s always thinking about what I need and what’s best for me.”
“You’re lucky, Sookie. A lot of men only think of themselves.”
“I know I’m lucky. He thinks about me all the time. I swear sometimes he knows what I want before I do.”
“I can’t wait to see him with a baby.”
“Neither can I,” she laughed. “When we first found out I was pregnant, I wondered if Eric would be able to be a daddy. Vampires tend not to show a lot of emotion or be very demonstrative, you know? But he’s so into this… I never would have believed he’d be this crazy about being a father. I thought he’d be mad at me for ruining his life.”
“His life was pretty boring from what I hear. He spent all his time in that club, he was never home, he didn’t have the pool open, he had no love in his life unless you want to count Pam. You didn’t ruin his life, Sookie, you gave him a life.”
“I guess. He was happy right from the start. I guess after a thousand years of doing the same things over and over that this is kind of a relief because it’s something different.”
“I’m sure that’s part of it, but he really loves you, girl, and he is wild about that baby already. That’s not just relief from boredom. That’s joy and pride and happiness. Even Bill has said that he has seen a change in Eric. He rarely saw Eric smile before. Smirk, yes, but not smile and rarely laugh. He said he was shocked to admit it, but he thinks Eric will actually be a good father.”
“Wow – that’s something. Bill doesn’t usually have much nice to say about Eric.”
“That’s understandable, though, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, it is. I’m glad Bill is with you now. It’s so good for him. He deserves to be happy.”
“Yeah, he does. Now, are you ready to take some measurements?”
“Yes, I am. Hang on.” Sookie looked in her nightstand and found her trusty steno pad and a pen. Alicia always made sure it was where she could find it. “OK, let’s measure that nursery.”
Bobbie and Sookie spent a lot longer doing that than it really required because they were giggling and dreaming about what kind of furnishings they wanted. Sookie was pretty sure the fru-fru stuff was out – Eric wouldn’t want HIS SON in a nursery that had any hint of feminine anything in it.
“You know, Sookie, that blue color you want would make a good sea and sky color. We could do a little mural of a dragon ship crossing the ocean.”
“Eric would love that! Can you paint?”
“Well enough to do that, yeah. We could do a big ship with Vikings looking over the bow at a sea monster.”
“Oh, I love that idea. Don’t tell Eric – we’ll surprise him.” Sookie was practically jumping up and down.
“OK, so tonight while he’s gone, we’ll get on the Internet and see what’s out there, baby-wise. Now, I have a suggestion.”
“Let’s hit the pool. We could both use some sun and some fresh air.”
“That works for me – I’ll meet you down there.”
Sookie and Bobbie enjoyed the pool for a few hours, floating and talking about nothing in particular. At about 4:30 Margaret and Alicia came out. Alicia had Sookie’s terry cloth cover up, which she laid on the chair with Sookie’s other sheer cover and her shoes.
“Mrs. Northman?” Margaret called her.
“Would you ladies like some burgers on the grill? I got some lovely sirloin that I can grind into burgers and you could eat yours rare that way. It wouldn’t take us long at all. I thought you might want to treat the gardeners crew for clearing out the room today.”
Sookie looked at Bobbie and they both loved the idea.
“That sounds great!”
“OK, and I’ll do a chicken at the same time that you can eat later tonight.” Margaret added.
“Awesome! Thank you!”
Alicia set up the huge gas grill while Margaret went in to get the food ready. Sookie and Bobbie could hear the food processor grinding the burgers and soon Margaret brought out a large tray of food for the grill. They saw baked potatoes wrapped in foil, a long foil packet that turned out to be asparagus, lots of burgers and half a dozen chicken halves, with corn still in the husks. The gardeners crew set up 2 folding picnic tables – Sookie had never seen such a thing – and while Alicia manned the grill, Margaret prepared the fixings for the burgers and some potato salad and coleslaw she had gotten at the store.
Bobbie and Sookie got out of the pool when Alicia started taking things off the grill and they dried off. Sookie put on the terry cover-up, which reached almost to her knees and went over her head so it was closed in front. She was pretty sure Alicia thought it was more modest and that she knew Eric wouldn’t want his wife running around in a sheer shirt and bikini in front of the help. Alicia was always a step ahead and Sookie was glad. She realized she would have felt funny in what she originally brought down. Walking through the yard to get into the pool was one thing, but milling around a grill eating burgers did call for more clothing.
The old gardener, Howard, was a pleasant white man who used to own a plant nursery outside of New Orleans. His two helpers were Leroy, a young white kid with shaggy brown hair, a not-quite-thick-enough to be called a moustache, and lots of muscles from playing football in high school, and Lonnie, a young black kid working his way through college by helping Howard out. Howard was able to pay well because Eric paid so well, and Sookie picked up through the conversation that Eric had some hand in helping pay Lonnie’s tuition. Lonnie as much as said that there was no other job a college kid could get that would give him the benefits Eric provided. These boys even had health insurance. Eric just naturally took care of the people who worked for him.
Sookie realized it was no wonder Eric took such care of her. He went the extra mile for the people he paid. He expected excellent work and no bullshit, but he paid for it, too. Sookie started to wonder if Eric didn’t believe in Karma. Maybe being so kind to his employees and subjects balanced out being so ruthless with his enemies in his mind?
Everybody ate a lot and had a good time, even Margaret and Alicia. They all chatted and laughed until after dark, and before they knew it, Eric and Bill joined them. Eric went straight to Sookie and kissed her as she sat at the table. Bill went to where Bobbie was standing next to the grill and hugged and kissed her.
“Good evening, Mr. Northman,” Howard started.
“Hello, Howard – Lonnie, Leroy, how are you boys?”
“Just fine sir,” Lonnie said
“Thanks for dinner, sir,” Leroy said. He was more afraid of Eric than the other two men.
“That’s fine, Leroy – we wanted to thank you guys for going out of your way for us recently. Did the storage room get cleaned out today?”
“Yes, sir,” Howard said.
“We even swept and dusted so the womenfolk wouldn’t have to,” Lonnie added.
“That’s good to hear, Lonnie. How is school going?”
“Doin’ great, sir – I got three A’s and a B this semester.”
“Very good. When you graduate maybe I’ll buy a plant nursery you can run for me.”
Everybody laughed but the cool part was that Eric might just do that. Sookie was really proud of how he treated his help and she loved it when he played “Lord of the Manor” which was a role she was finally starting to understand.
“What did you all have for dinner?” Eric asked.
“We had sirloin burgers and grilled Chicken – Margaret made extra chicken for me to eat later tonight,” Sookie said happily. He beamed at her. She was being very gracious to the help and he was particularly pleased to see that she was covered up after having been in the pool. He liked his employees but they didn’t need to see his wife nearly undressed.
“If you don’t mind, Mr. Northman, we also have watermelon for everyone.” Alicia interjected.
“That’s fine. Everyone relax and take your time. I’ll be leaving for the club in a bit, but the rest of you don’t need to hurry. I’m pleased to see you all enjoying yourselves.” Eric sat next to Sookie for a few minutes.
Lonnie and Leroy carried out the melons and Margaret cut them. Some of them passed the salt shaker around for their melon and nobody was shy about digging in.
Sookie had it all over her face and Eric could taste it when he kissed her.
“That smells delicious,” Eric said with great surprise.
“It does?” Sookie was surprised, too.”
“May I have a taste?” Eric asked
“Of course, Sweetie, but won’t it make you sick?”
“I’ll risk it – it smells really good.”
Bill was paying attention now – was Eric going to try to eat food? Sookie grabbed a small piece of melon off the newspapers they had spread on the table and handed it to Eric. He took a bite, chewed it up and enjoyed it. Then they all waited.
He looked at Bill. “Nothing,” he said. Bill couldn’t believe it. Eric finished the piece then hugged Sookie and went to shower. Everyone kept waiting for him to get sick, but by the time he got ready to go to the club, nothing had happened.
“Eric, you’re sure you’re OK? Should you try to drive to the club?”
“I’m fine, Sookie. I enjoyed eating it, and I don’t feel unwell in any way. I will be fine. You have fun but get some sleep so you can spend some time with me later on, OK?”
“OK, be careful tonight.”
“I probably won’t be too late unless I stay to supervise the decorations for tomorrow night, but I doubt that I will. Pam will have that under control, I’m sure. Bill, keep an eye on things.”
“Yes, of course, Eric.”
Sookie walked Eric to the garage and kissed him for a long time before she let him get into the corvette. She stood in the driveway and waved goodbye to him, then went back to the backyard.
“Bill, will he be OK?” Sookie asked
“If he were going to get sick, I think he already would have. It would make me sick almost instantly. I can’t believe it didn’t affect him.”
“Maybe I’ll call his cell later just to check on him. Anyway – I’m going to go take a shower. Margaret will you save me some watermelon to eat later, too?”
“Of course, Mrs. Northman. I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
“OK, thanks again guys – I really appreciate your help.”
“Thank you, Missus!” They all said thanks and good bye and Sookie went up to her room to shower.
Damn, it was lonely to shower without Eric. She looked at the tub that they hadn’t used in what seemed like months though it was really only a week or two. She really wanted to be in a tub full of suds and warm water, her back leaning on Eric’s chest, his hands roaming all over her.
“Thanks, Baby E. You know I’m missing daddy, don’t you?”
Love. Warm. Comfort.
“I love you, too, darlin’” she said softly, knowing he could feel the love she sent him. Suddenly, she didn’t feel like she had the energy to shower. She’d just lie down for a bit, then shower later. She was asleep before her head hit the pillow.
Bobbie came up about an hour later to look in on her and saw that she had gone to sleep with her suit on. Bobbie checked to see if her suit was still wet and found that it was damp, so with some great effort she pulled the suit off and left her in the terry cover which was basically dry at this point. Bobbie made sure the monitor next to Sookie was on, then went down to get the other end of it from Alicia before she left.
Alicia was in the second floor kitchen. “Hi, Alicia,”
“Hi, Bobbie – how’s Mrs. Northman?”
“She’s sound asleep. I got her out of her damp bathing suit, but she’s still got that little terry cover on. She never even made it to the shower.”
“She did seem tired today…” Alicia noted.
“Yes, she did. She had fun in the pool, but I could tell that she was a little frayed around the edges. Anyway – where do you keep the other end of that baby monitor?
“Right here,” Alicia took it out of her pocket and gave it to Bobbie.
“Thanks. I figure I’d better keep it handy. I’ll check on her again in an hour or so. I don’t think Eric’s planning to stay late at the club tonight, so she’ll probably be fine until then.”
“That’s good. How do you feel about her weight now?” Alicia asked with obvious concern.
“She’s not gaining enough that I can see. The baby bump is much larger but it looks like her body isn’t adapting the way you’d expect it to. She needs more calories, but it seems as if she eats a lot when she does eat.”
“I told Margaret to make sure there’s always cake in the kitchen. It might not be the healthiest thing for her but at least there’s milk and eggs in it and she’ll eat a lot of it. Either you or Eric needs to make sure she eats as much of that chicken as possible later. There’s a baked potato with it and an ear of corn, plus I put two big pieces of Margaret’s German chocolate cake in there, too. Also, I was wondering…”
“What’s that, Alicia?”
“Is it good for her to drink those synthetic blood things?”
“Yes, actually, she needs those. The baby has some unique nutritional needs. We’re thinking about trying a different brand, though. She’s going to try it at the reception tomorrow night and if she likes it Eric will start ordering that through the club. It’s a more natural recipe we think she might respond to better.”
“Well, if you’re sure. I know that this pregnancy is…”
“Unique and special in ways you can’t even imagine. I can’t explain it all to you, but trust me, you’re watching history as it happens. These are very special people and that is a very, very special baby.”
“I’ll take your word for it, then. I’m off. I’ll be in late tomorrow, but I should be in plenty of time to do her breakfast. If I’m ever not here for some reason, make sure she eats by no later than 2 pm.”
“Will do. You have a good night, Alicia.”
“Thank you, Bobbie. Oh, and by the way – you were right. Mr. Compton is gorgeous,” she laughed. “And that accent, and those manners. You’re dating Rhett Butler!”
Bobbie laughed and walked Alicia down to the kitchen, where Alicia headed out the door and Bobbie went into the den. Margaret had cleaned and closed the kitchen and was on her way out, telling Bobbie what was there that she or Sookie might want to eat later. Bobbie found Bill on the couch watching TV.
“Hello, darlin’” he said as she sat down. He put his arm around her and kissed her for a long time. Almost reluctantly, he pulled away and asked, “So how is she?”
“Poor little thing fell asleep in her swim suit. I got her out of it and left her in that little cover, but she didn’t even wake up as I was wrestling her around. She’s completely out of it.”
“Is that normal?”
“Normal is hard to gauge in this case. She’s only about 2 ½ months pregnant, but Dr. Ludwig and I are pretty sure that’s at least the equivalent of a 5 month fetus. We think he’s basically fully formed and just getting bigger at this point. The problem is she’s not gaining enough weight and we think she needs real blood. I don’t think the baby is getting what he needs from the synthetic stuff.”
“Are they going to try something else?” Bill was concerned about both Sookie and the baby. That child was already important to the Supe community.
“Tomorrow at the reception they’ll have some RM and she’s going to see if she can stand to drink it. I’m praying she can because I’m sure that baby needs real blood. I think Eric might be right – he may be more vampire that anyone originally thought.”
“You don’t think that’s just wishful thinking on Eric’s part?”
“No, I don’t. From what I’ve seen, Eric is very intuitive and he has a strong tie to that baby already. I think his hunches about this baby are dead on. I think he knows that kid as well as he knows himself at a certain level.”
“You know he’s worried about the two of them…?”
“Sookie and the baby?”
“Yes. Niall told him there’s always danger to mother and child in child birth.”
“Well, that’s true. The biggest problem I can see looming is that the baby might get too big for a vaginal delivery. That would be dangerous because she can’t go to a regular hospital. Odds are, that birth will be attended by Dr. Ludwig and me right here in this house. I’m going to suggest that we turn one of the rooms on the second floor into a birthing room and I want them to do it within a month.”
“A month? I thought she wasn’t due until August?”
“That’s what the doctor said, but Eric expects it sooner and so do I. If he came prematurely right now, I’m sure he would survive. By the end of another month, I think we need to watch for it very closely. I think he’ll be with us by Lughnasadh.”
“The Witch at the meeting last night said that. She said he would be a Lughnasadh baby. Eric agreed that he’d be early. They offered to host his Wiccaning, whatever that is, and Eric accepted.”
“That’s amazing! A Wiccaning is like a Christening but instead of just naming the baby and saving his soul, the parents take a vow to protect and nurture the child. It’s a wonderful ritual for a new family. I think that will be fantastic. I wonder why Sookie didn’t tell me?”
“I would guess that Eric didn’t tell her. He’s not one to give people advance notice. He tends to function on a need to know basis just out of habit. But, who knows, maybe he’ll tell her tonight, or tomorrow if they’re at the reception. Dr. Ludwig will be there, by the way, she’s going to give me another booster then.”
“That’s good. I know the shots make you sick, but it enables you to be around and I like having you here.”
He smiled gently at her. “And I like being here with you. It’s worth a little nausea. And besides, it didn’t make me that sick last time and you gave me that wonderful massage. It was worth getting sick to have that kind of care.”
She pressed her forehead to his and looked him in the eye. “you don’t have to be sick to get a massage. I’m happy to massage you, among other things, any time at all.”
No one was home but them and Sookie and Sookie was sound asleep, Bill thought, so maybe he’d give Eric a little taste of his own medicine. Bill kissed Bobbie hard and kept kissing her. Eventually, they found their way to the floor and Bill pushed her limits, knowing Bobbie wouldn’t dare say ‘no’ to him. They wound up having sex on the floor three times before Bill heard Eric’s car pull into the garage. They managed to be dressed and sitting at the kitchen table when Eric walked in.
“Hello…” Eric immediately knew what had been going on in his den. Whatever. He had Sookie waiting for him, so let them have their fun.
“Where is Sookie?”
“She fell asleep almost immediately after you left. She didn’t even manage to get out of her bathing suit, though I helped her. I’ve checked on her a couple of times but she has been fine. She might have been hoping she could spend more time with you when you got home.”
“I did tell her to sleep if she could, but I’m surprised she would sleep in her bathing suit. You are sure she is not ill?”
“No, not last time I checked. Speaking of ill, did you ever get sick from that watermelon?”
“No, and I really enjoyed it. I may try it again sometime. Next time I see Dr. Ludwig I’ll ask her if she knows what’s going on with me. I thought about it tonight and I think it has something to do with Sookie bleeding Fae blood now.”
“She what?” Bill was startled.
“Oh, didn’t I mention that? Sookie’s blood is pure fairy right now.” He started laying it on thick. “I can’t begin to tell you how sweet and intoxicating she tastes. I can barely control myself when I drink from her. It’s one of the reasons you have to take those shots. She’s quite literally irresistible right now. I’m convinced that’s what overcame de Castro – between the Fae essence and the pregnancy hormones, she’s the most delicious thing on two legs. And now that I’m thinking of her legs, I think I’ll say goodnight.” Eric smiled to himself knowing this would eat at Compton no matter how much he cared about Bobbie. The idea of Sookie bleeding fairy was a vampire’s wet dream.
Bill was trying to hide his jealousy and Bobbie pretended not to notice anything as they took the elevator to the 4th floor. How the fuck does Northman rate all these blessings. He gets Sookie as his bonded, she bleeds fairy blood, he gets a magickal son touched by the gods – it was too much. Why Northman? He didn’t even like humans, he never had any sense of conscience or morality. OK, that’s a little harsh but still, he was ERIC NORTHMAN. If anybody ever never deserved any kind of blessing or good luck it was Eric, yet the Universe was showering him with unimaginable gifts. Did he have a personal connection with the gods? Was some god or Goddess playing favorites with him? If only Bill had known.
Eric zipped silently into their room and saw his little angel lying there in that silly terry cover up. She hadn’t had a shower because her hair was obviously straight out of the pool. Well, he could fix that. He went into the bathroom and started the tub, using the vanilla bubble bath they both liked so much. He watched her sleep as he undressed, smiling at her the whole time. When he was naked, he raised her up so he could pull that cover thing over her head, then he scooped her up in his arms, carried her into the bathroom and levitated them upward and over the tub, settling them gently into the water. He was gently washing her when she woke up.
“Hey, you’re home!” she kissed him so hard it shocked him. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too, my lover. You fell asleep in your bathing suit, I hear.”
“I was going to take a shower and it was no fun without you and then I was so tired I thought I’d just lie down for a while and then I woke up here.” She snuggled into his neck as best she could. She was almost baby-talking and Eric was beaming at her and laughing a little. She needed to be baby-ed right now and he was more than happy to do that. He loved her when she was in this little girl mood. He was pretty sure that these phases related to her growing up without a father. That’s why she was so eager to please men in spite of wanting to see herself as independent. Intellectually, she knew what a modern woman should want, but emotionally she had needs she didn’t understand. He felt sad for her, but it only worked in his favor. It made her pliable and delighted him – he just wanted to pamper and spoil her when she was this way. It brought out all of his protective instincts that he had thought were dead and buried.
Until he met her, Eric Northman would never have instinctively stepped in to protect a human for any reason. He wasn’t completely heartless or cruel, he just didn’t care about them. Oh, how he had resented this smart-mouthed little blonde for making him feel again. She had frustrated him and defied him and he still couldn’t stay away from her. As far as he was concerned, she was his the minute he met her. No matter what anybody thought, she was most definitely his now, in every possible way, forever. He wrapped his arms tighter around her and held her against him in the warm water, then he began to gently wash her back. She was still half asleep and making very sweet little sounds as he washed and rinsed her.
“My angel, are you up to having your hair washed? We should get the chlorine out of it.”
“Um-hm” she hummed but didn’t really open her eyes. He used the hand-held shower to wet her hair, then soaped and rinsed it, conditioned and rinsed it again and the whole time she was soft against him, just enjoying the sensations as his hands and the water gently caressed her. She was unbelievably beautiful this way. She was sexy as hell but he’d have to wake her to fuck her and he just couldn’t bring himself to disturb her quiet reverie. When they were both clean, he let the water out of the tub and gently rubbed some nice lotion into her wet skin. Threw some towels open on the floor, and then he levitated them again so he was sitting with her still in his arms. He took another towel and blotted them both dry, then he combed out their hair and stood, carrying her into the bedroom. He pulled the covers down and laid her gently on the bed and in all this she didn’t make a sound until he started to pull away from her.
“Uh-uh!” she whined.
“Shhh- Sookie, I’ll be right there.”
He turned a soft light on in the headboard of the bed, then turned off the lights in the bathroom. He slipped into his side of the bed and snuggled up to her as she rolled into his arms like she was magnetically drawn to him. He held her for a long time, stroking her hair, fluffing it up so it would dry nicely, gently kissing her forehead and eyes and cheeks and lips. If she had awakened, he might have had sex with her, but she was really out of it and he knew tomorrow night would be stressful no matter how well it went.
He’d try to prepare her in the car so she’d know to take cover if things got rough. He would show Bobbie where the exit from the dais was and remind them both that if they got trapped in the club to go down to the love nest and lock the bathroom door because it was actually a safe room with a closet full of emergency supplies. He had never shown that to Sookie so he’d make sure he did before the club opened tomorrow. The doors didn’t open until 10 pm so they would have plenty of time for that. He had weapons hidden all around the club that only he knew about, and a few Pam knew about, plus all of his vampire employees were going to be on alert and packing some form of offensive weapon. When he met with them all earlier that night they had all heard rumors and he had tried to be careful what he said to them while also preparing them to fight.
They had heard that Felipe was missing. They had heard there was a coup in the offing but no one knew from where or what quarter. Eric had asked them all to be calm and listen. He said that that there may be an attempt against him tomorrow night and that if they owed fealty to him, they should be prepared to protect him and his wife and child before anyone else because in all probability, they had no king. One of the bouncers spoke up and said they all knew that the danger was coming from Victor Madden and whomever he managed to back his move to take Felipe’s territories. Finally, Felicia couldn’t take it any more.
“Master, we want you to be king.”
“Felicia…” Eric started to explain the situation, but she had to get this out.
“No, please let me say this. We know who the sheriffs in the territories are and we know that there are many of us who never liked the way Felipe and his crew killed our Queen when she was injured so badly. We would follow you if you would lead us. We know you have a family now and that has to come first, but on some level, aren’t we your family, too? You wouldn’t make us be subject to Victor Madden’s greed or Sabrina Matthews’ ego, surely. We don’t care what happens to Felipe’s Nevada territories but you should be king of the Lousiana territories and everyone, including Victor Madden, knows it.”
“You realize, all of you, that what you are talking about would be called treason if we failed.”
“Then we won’t fail.” The bouncer spoke up and they all agreed.
Eric had steeled himself to the fact that this was the time to act. “Alright, then, if we are all agreed, then know this. Victor Madden, if he shows up here tomorrow night, cannot be allowed to leave Fangtasia alive. Also know that he most certainly will have the same idea about me. Sandy will be here, but I don’t expect her to have arms with her. All of Area 5 is invited so you will have to know who is with us and who is not. Madden will be armed to the teeth and I expect him to have forces within and outside of the club. There will be Were packs from our territories inside the club and out in case Madden makes it past us.”
They all gasped. “You already knew” Felicia said.
“Yes. I wanted to keep all of you out of it until I had no other choice and we appear to have reached that juncture. The powers that be apparently expect me to kill Madden, and I will try, but if I fail, he cannot leave this club alive. If anything happens to me, turn to Bill Compton. You all know him. He has fought in many wars and will know how to lead you. More than anything, though, please protect my wife and son. No harm must come to them. The child… is… special. Protect him as you would protect your king.”
They all nodded and understood. This was rebellion and the rumors about the child, the ones that said he was sacred, were true.
Eric held Sookie for nearly 2 hours, just listening to her breath and the baby’s heartbeat. He bit his wrist and held it to her lips and she drank hungrily with her eyes closed. He knew she should eat, but she was so tired…. He got one of those supplements and a bottle of blood and had her sip them through a straw, after which she went right back to sleep.
He heard Bill on the 2nd floor and went down to talk to him.
“Eric – blood?”
“Did you talk to your employees.”
“They all knew. They’re all ready. If anything happens to me, I told them to follow you.”
“Who else, Bill? Sandy? Sabrina? You’re the obvious successor at the moment.”
“Well then we’d better make damned sure you live through this.”
“Consider it your incentive.”
“How did you tell them?”
“They told me. There are rumors flying about Felipe’s disappearance and a coup, and they asked me to lead them and be king.”
“That was convenient.”
“Yes, it was. This is all too….”
“Yes. It’s almost as if…”
“The pieces of a puzzle are falling into place. It’s like everything in the Universe suddenly decided it was time for you to be king and it’s just happening without you really being aware of it.”
“That’s how it feels.”
“That’s how it looks from the outside. Tell me, Eric, do you have some god or Goddess that is playing favorites with you?”
“I’m wondering that myself.”
“Any idea which one?”
“You have a history with Her?”
“We were lovers once.”
“Yes, of course you were. I’m going to rest now. I assume we want to leave around 8 tomorrow?”
“Yes. Semi-formal dress.”
“What are you wearing?”
“I guess I will, too, then.”
“Look at it this way, Bill. If we die, we’ll go out in style.”
Bill went to rest wondering how the hell they got into this mess.
Eric went to rest talking to Freyja in a way he hadn’t in a long, long time.