LATE Chapter 065

 

Good Morning, Las Vegas!

 

Sookie sat astraddle the air mattress so that the pillow bulged up in front of her and she could lean on it. The others were still eating and talking up at the tables so she had a few minutes to float around and think about what Octavia had said about water and energy. She watched the patterns of light in the bottom of the pool. She paddled around a bit and watched the circular waves ripple out away from where she put her hands in the water. Could it be true that everything that exists is connected by a field of energy?

“Octavia?”

“Yes, darlin’?”

“So you’re saying that we’re sort of swimming in a sea of energy, but it flows through us, too, right? We’re part of it?”

“Yep, that’s how it works.”

“So I’m connected to that table up there?”

“Yep, and that mattress there and to me and to those lobsters and to the air and the sun that’s shining on you. None of it is separate. If you had the right perspective, it would all just look like patterns of molecules vibrating in space.”

“That’s physics, right? I don’t know much about science.”

“That’s OK, the scientists are still trying to figure it out, too. They keep thinking that their calculations say something is possible, but their reason tells them it can’t be, then they do an experiment and find out the calculations are right after all.”

“What kind of things?”

“Particles on opposite sides of the universe communicating with each other instantaneously. A series of a million calculations happening all at once instead of in a sequence. Particles affecting each other backwards in time. A computer answering a question without even being turned on.”

“That all sounds like…”

“Magick. It is. And when you understand magick, all that other stuff makes perfect sense, but they’ll never admit that. You ever see a model of an atom?”

“Yeah, like with sticks and circles and protons and neutrons…”

“Right, well, what’s the biggest single thing in every atom?”

“The middle of it? The nucleus?”

“There’s something in it bigger than that.”

“I don’t know, then.”

“Space. Most of an atom is nothing but empty space with a center particle and some little particles swirling around it in a kind of orbit, but mostly it’s space. Now, ask yourself – why are things solid if they’re made up mostly of space?”

“I don’t know.”

“Neither do the scientists, because they don’t know about the energy – the water.”

“So this energy field is… Goddess?”

“Yep. Some cultures call Her the Dragon, and dragons and snakes are almost always Goddess symbols, though they got reinterpreted after patriarchy like most other symbols did.”

“Why are knights always slaying dragons, then?”

“Christian knights killing off the Goddess so they can take the maidens from Her. If they kill the dragon, they can kidnap the girl and carry her off for a forced marriage. Women didn’t leave the Goddess willingly – they were burned, tortured, beaten and raped into giving Her up, but some never really did. When people get married and the groom carries the bride across the threshold, that harkens back to the patriarchal invasions when women were stolen and sold and forced to marry – it’s about rape, not love.”

“Ew. I’m glad Eric and I didn’t do that, then.”

“Eric is a Goddess worshipper, isn’t he?”

“Yeah, he is, I think. I know he’s close to Freyja, or he was…”

“How well did he know Her?”

“This sounds crazy…”

“Try me.”

“He said they were Lovers.”

“No wonder he’s having a Goddess-touched baby. That explains a lot about you, too.”

“Yeah – I’m trying to adjust to the idea.”

“You’ll process it all when the baby is here. You’re going to be a good mama. That’s a more natural role for you, though your sex life will always be kind of wild. You’ll be driven a lot by your instincts. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. When you need to know something, you will.”

“I hope that’s true.”

“Remember, girl, you got a Goddess on your side. She’s not going to let you mess up where that baby is concerned. Trust the Goddess and She will provide.”

“Right… OK. I will.”

“Sookie!” Alicia called from the table, “would you like a piece of watermelon, dear?”

“Yes, please!” She and Octavia laughed and Octavia went out of the pool but Alicia brought Sookie some melon on a plate and set it on the ground beside the pool so she could float and eat at the same time. She was munching on it when Bjorn went down to the diving board and gave the ladies another thrill with a beautiful dive into the pool. Even the maids and attendants applauded as he came up out of the water. He laughed and shook his head, slinging water around. “Hey! You’re splashing me!” Sookie yelled at him, laughing as she floated next to her plate of watermelon, taking another big bite.

Bjorn swam over to her. “Maybe I should dunk you like I did Bobbie.”

“Don’t you dare!” she giggled, “want a bite of watermelon?” She held a wedge up toward him and he let her feed him a bite.

“Mmm – good watermelon. Nice and sweet,” he laughed. “You know, I never saw anyone use an air mattress as a horse, before,” he teased her, pulling on the mattress a little so she couldn’t quite reach the side of the pool.

“It’s a seahorse,” she laughed and he did, too. “I can’t help it – I know I’m such a big kid, but I like to float around in all kinds of positions and stuff. I can stay in the pool longer that way.”

“Did you have a pool growing up?”

“Oh, no, but we used to go to a community pool when I was younger and I’d stay in just as long as I could. Gran would sit beside the pool talking to the other mothers and knitting or working her crossword puzzles and she’d let me and Jason stay until the pool closed at 6 pm, then she’d wrap us up in beach towels and take us home. She’d stop on the way and get lunch meat to make turkey or roast beef sandwiches, or stuff for a big salad, and she’d get a watermelon about every other day. She made us eat it in the yard because we’d get it all over us, then she’d hose us off and we’d go in and take a bath and put on our pajamas. We didn’t even have a shower in those days – she had our bathroom updated when I was 15, and by then I didn’t go to the pool much because people were afraid of me.”

“So you didn’t swim?” He was still pulling her away from the wall, then letting her go back, then pulling her back again.

“No, not much. I’d just sunbathe in the back yard. I got a sprinkler I’d run through now and then to cool off,” she laughed.

“Did people give you a hard time in school?”

“Not too much directly, because my brother Jason wouldn’t let them, but they all thought I was crazy and I let them. I was happier by myself most of the time, anyway.”

“You were a lonely kid, then?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“That’s why you like having everyone around now.”

“Yeah, maybe. I always wanted a big family and right now I sort of do have a big one, in a way.”

“Yeah, you do.”

Alicia and Octavia were sitting at a table under an umbrella as Bobbie and Amelia waded back into the water. Bjorn let go of Sookie’s mattress and dived under the water, swimming around and showing off a bit as the other girls made their way to the middle of the pool.

“Did you guys get enough to eat?” Sookie asked them as she finished up her watermelon.

“Yeah, I’m stuffed,” Amelia laughed, “but I’ll be going back for more in a little bit.”

“Me, too!” Bobbie said. “By the way, Sookie, we need to get back in the swing of doing your afternoon massages so they’re going to bring the chair down before dinner and we’ll get a good massage in for you. You float another hour or so and then we’ll do a work-out, OK?”

“Yeah, that sounds good – oops! The little Viking thinks it’s a good idea, too, I guess,”

Sookie laughed, “and I think he wants more watermelon. Alicia?”

“Yes, dear?”

“Can I get some more watermelon?”

“Of course you can!” Alicia started to get up but one of the attendants was eager to serve the young Queen so she didn’t have to. Caroline quickly brought Sookie a new plate full of watermelon and Sookie beamed at her and thanked her. She made a note to herself to tell Eric how nice everyone was to her today so he could let them know he was pleased. She dug in again – you’d never know she had just had a huge lunch and a big plate of melon – and Bobbie and Amelia were throwing a Nerf-type football around with Bjorn playing “hot potato.” They would all crack up when one of them dropped the ball and the other two would splash them like crazy. Sookie was eating and laughing at them.

“Sookie, come play with us!” Amelia said.

“I can’t, I’m too full!”

“But you’re still eating?” Amelia laughed.

“Yep. I don’t think I’m up to jumping around.”

“Ok, then.”

“Actually, I think I might lie down for a bit. I think I could sleep a little.” Sookie looked around and saw a comfy-looking chaise lounge with big soft pillows under an awning. She tried to get off her air mattress and Bjorn came over to help her.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt your game,” Sookie apologized.

“I’m here to help you, Sookie, that’s my priority.” Bjorn said as he walked out of the water with her. Alicia handed him her towel and walked over to the chaise under the awning with her, spreading the towel on it and helping her get settled.

“Thank you, Bjorn. I don’t want you guys being quiet on my account now, I want you all to play and eat and have fun.”

“Not to worry, your majesty, we’ll keep the party going. Don’t you hesitate to call me if you need anything.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“We’ll be right here, too, your majesty.” Caroline chimed in. She had decided she had a definite “girl crush” on the new Queen, who was every bit as sweet and pretty as people said she was.

“Thank you, Caroline. Would you consider getting me an iced tea?”

“Of course! I’ll be right back.” Caroline hustled to get Sookie a tall glass full of ice, a straw and a can of sweet tea, opening it and pouring part of it into the glass. She sat the glass on the table next to the chaise and Sookie gave her a dazzling smile as she picked it up and took a big drink before she settled back. She was asleep before her head hit the towel over the pillows.

Bjorn jumped back into the pool near the girls and made sure he splashed them. He looked back at Sookie, and smiled, motioning to the girls “she’s already asleep.”

“Good! This is more activity than she’s used to right now. I’ll let her sleep until about 5, then we’ll do her massage. We might have to skip the work out, though, or do it after dinner.”

“I think sleep is more important for her right now,” Bjorn agreed, “she looks very, very pregnant today.”

“Yes, she does,” Amelia agreed with that. “I hope she makes it back home before she delivers.”

“Me, too,” Bobbie said. “I mean, we could handle it if she did, but the longer she goes, the better. I’m sure she’s not going to make it to August, though.”

Bjorn retrieved the little football and got the game going again. Alicia, Octavia and Sookie were all enjoying their siestas and the attendants were clearing dishes and getting set up for the next round. Corn on the cob, still in the shucks, that had been soaking in buckets, was put on the grill. It would take a while for the corn to cook and when it was done, it would be almost dinnertime. Sookie seemed to be breathing a little hard so Caroline brought out a standing fan and pointed it at her so it oscillated back and forth, keeping her in a cool breeze that seemed to help her rest more.

Sookie heard a familiar voice call her name and opened her eyes. “Niall! What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to see how you are feeling, my dear. How’s my little boy doing?”

“He’s wonderful – very active and smart. I can’t wait until he’s born.”

“You won’t have to wait long, my dear. He’s growing faster than anyone expected.”

“He won’t be too big will he – big enough to be dangerous for him or me?”

“Oh, no, he’ll be healthy but not huge. Don’t worry about that.”

Sookie was very relieved to hear that. “Bobbie said he’s in the wrong position right now.”

“Not to worry, dear, he has plenty of time to move and Dr. Ludwig is quite capable of handling the situation if he doesn’t – human women should be so lucky as to have Ludwig attend their births. She has skills you can’t imagine that will make it much easier on you.”

“Oh, that’s so good to know! I feel much better knowing that!”

“Good, good. I’m actually here to deliver a message to your Vampire, my dear. Tell him to watch out for the silverware.”

“The silverware?”

“You’ll know it when it is time. And you’ll have more time to spend with him now that he’ll be waking earlier and going to ground later.”

“He will?”

“As long as he’s not in direct sunlight, he’ll be fine. The diffuse light at dawn and dark won’t hurt him now, and cloudy, rainy days he can stay up all day if he wants.”

“How is that possible?”

“It’s an effect of his drinking your blood every day. Don’t neglect the mutual feedings, my dear, even after the baby is born. We think it’s going to give you both some advantages where the child is concerned.”

“OK, we won’t stop.”

“Good, good. Now you go back to sleep, Dear One, and take care of yourself. I know you’ll make me proud in your television debut.”

“Sookie?” Bobbie tapped her arm.

“Bobbie – where did Niall go?”

“Who?”

“My great grandfather. I was just talking to him – didn’t you see him? ”

“No, honey, you’ve been lying here asleep for a couple of hours. I wanted to do your massage before dinner if you’re up to it.”

“Oh, yeah, that would be nice. My back kind of hurts.”

“That’s going to become more of a problem, I’m afraid, until the baby is born.”

“Yeah, but Niall said it won’t be too long and he said not to worry about the position of the baby – even if he doesn’t move, Dr. Ludwig can handle it.”

“That’s good to know! Really good. Can I help you up? The massage chair is set up for you over here.”

Bobbie took Sookie’s arm and helped her sit up on the side of the lounge chair. Bjorn came over and wrapped his arm around her, taking her right hand in his right hand and guiding her to the massage chair. The chair was set so she could see them preparing dinner for the grill, which was covered at the moment with charred ears of corn.

“Oh, goodie – I’m starting to get hungry. I can’t wait to tear into a cob of corn,” Sookie laughed.

“I’m getting hungry, too,” Bjorn said, “I hope they’ve got plenty of lobsters.”

Sookie laughed and Bjorn and Bobbie helped her straddle the chair and get into position. Bobbie only used a little oil on her shoulders and under the sheer netting of the swim suit that covered her lower back, and Sookie dozed again as Bobbie worked on her muscles. The tension just melted away and it wasn’t long before she was dreaming. She thought she was at an elegant dinner, sitting with several people, holding Eric’s hand when suddenly, out of nowhere, someone tried to stab Eric. Sookie screamed and suddenly felt Eric shake her.

“Sookie! Wake up! Are you alright?” Eric was so intent on Sookie’s distress he didn’t realize everyone was staring at him. It was still light out, though it was the edge of dusk but he wasn’t suffering any ill effects.

“Eric – oh my Goddess!” Bobbie was the first to speak.

Eric looked up and realized he was out in the light just as Sookie realized what was happening. Eric had a look of fear and confusion on his face as he stood up, his hands still on Sookie’s shoulders.

“No, Eric, it’s OK,” Sookie told him, “I saw Niall and he said you could go out in indirect sunlight now – you can even stay up all day on rainy, cloudy days.”

“You saw Niall?” Eric was still looking around and everyone else was holding their breath, waiting to see if he would burst into flames.

“When I was asleep, but it was real. He told me that drinking so much of my blood is making you able to be in indirect light. He told us to continue the mutual feedings even after the baby is born because it’s giving us strengths we’ll need for the baby. And he said not to worry if the baby is in the wrong position because Dr. Ludwig can handle that. And he had a message for you –”

“A message for me? Wait, whisper it to me.” He bent down so she could whisper in his ear.

“He said, “tell him to watch out for the silverware” – hey! I just realized – that’s what I was dreaming about just now.”

“About what?”

“About being at a dinner or something and someone trying to stab you with silverware.”

“That’s a good warning. We’re going out to dinner tomorrow night. We need to make sure we are in a place that does not provide real silver utensils. I might not have thought of that since I don’t eat.”

“You might decide to eat while we’re out and forget.”

“True. Good to know.”

The rest of the party was gathering around the tables and lobsters were being put on the grills.

“Bobbie, are you done with Sookie’s treatment?”

“For now, but her legs look a little puffy so I want to rub her legs some time before she goes to sleep tonight. Swelling is likely to become more of a problem as she gets closer to delivery so we need to watch out for any changes in her legs and feet.”

“Can that be dangerous?”

“It could be, but not if we stay on top of it. If we let her blood pool she could get a blood clot and that can be very dangerous, but we’re a long way from worrying about that. I’ll make sure we don’t let her get to that point.”

“Hey, somebody help me up, I’m hungry!” Sookie was a little tired of them consulting about her right in front of her. It wasn’t a logical reaction and she knew it so she didn’t let herself fly off the handle about it, but still – it was enough.

Eric gripped both her elbows and helped her raise up so she could move one leg then the other back around the seat of the massage chair and stand up. He picked her up and carried her to the table even though it was fairly close, sitting her on a bench and sitting right next to her.

Everyone was in place as Bobbie sat down and the attendants began to serve them cobs of corn, grilled halves of lobsters basted with butter and clams. Sookie had a big bowl of melted butter set in front of her so she could dip her lobster and clams. The others had bowls, too, but Sookie’s was as big as a cereal bowl and made of crystal.

Eric beamed at her as she dug in. “Have you enjoyed your cook out today, my beautiful Queen?”

She laughed and gave him a brilliant smile “Yes! We ate lobsters and I floated in the pool and I took a nap on one of the chaise lounges. Except that you weren’t here, it was a great day.”

Everyone was digging in, engaging in chitchat and gnawing on cobs of corn or slurping butter drenched bits of sea creatures. Sookie looked around with a satisfied air and Eric knew she was feeling like she had a family for the first time since she was a child.

“You are happy, my Angel.”

She leaned her head on his shoulder. “I am very happy. Thank you for letting us do this.”

“Anything to make my Sookie happy,” he said as he wrapped his arm around her and kissed her head. “I haven’t felt this from you before, this… comfort. I like it. It makes me feel like a good provider.”

“Eric, you’re the best “provider” ever. This is just the icing on a spectacular cake.” She stretched her neck upward to kiss him and everyone at the table teased them with “ooh’s” and “awwww’s.” The attendants, who had not seen Eric before, were in awe of him – his size, his beauty, the long blonde hair and blue eyes, his ability to wake and walk in the light and the way he obviously doted on Sookie. The two of them together almost glowed with love and they were both so fair and pretty – even the King was pretty, not handsome, but still very masculine – and they were both very kind to the help though they knew Eric’s reputation. It was hard to reconcile the deadly, merciless Vampire with the loving husband they saw before them, but you could just tell from his size and strength that he was not someone you wanted to anger.

“Hey – I just realized – what are you wearing?” Sookie asked him.

“Swim trunks and a shirt.”

“Yeah, I recognize the muscle shirt but I’ve never seen you in swim trunks before.”

“Alicia bought them in case I wanted to join the party.”

“You’re going to swim with us?” She was very excited at that.

“Yes, of course. But first, I want to try a bite of everything you are eating.”

“OK, cool. Here…” she offered him a big piece of lobster tail dripping in butter.

“Mmm – that’s good. I see why you wanted this. The meat has a sweet mild flavor. Very good indeed.”

He tried a clam which he thought was just OK and then he took a bite from a cob of corn, which he loved. “You know, corn had not been discovered when I was human. This is the first time I have ever tasted it. It’s good. They sometimes serve it cut off of this…”

“…cob.”

“… cob? Alright. It’s very sweet. It is a fruit?”

“No, it’s a vegetable but it has so much sugar that they make corn syrup out of it – don’t they, Bobbie?”

“Corn? Yes, and they use corn syrup in almost every processed food available these days. It’s one of the reasons Americans are getting so fat.”

“Corn creates fat?” Eric asked.

“No, just the syrup being added to everything. The concentrated sugar is the problem.”

“Corn will affect the blood sugar,” Bjorn added, “but it’s generally good for you. It has lots of fiber in it that’s really good for the system. You just have to be aware not to have a lot of sugary foods all at once. You don’t want your blood sugar too high or too low.”

“Blood sugar?”

“Yes, too much can give you diabetes. Too little can make you faint. You want to keep it constant by eating small meals through the day.”

“Is that what you do?” Eric asked.

“Not as much as I should, but mostly. I use protein bars and shakes through the day to keep it level and keep my energy up.”

Eric was obviously processing the information and Sookie knew he was thinking about the baby.

“You wouldn’t worry about that too much with a baby or small child though, would you?” Sookie was hoping to get this into perspective.

“Not too much, no.” Bjorn said. “A child shouldn’t lift weights until their late teens when they’re mostly grown. Children should run, ride bicycles, play sports, do martial arts.”

“Martial arts?” Eric perked up at hearing that.

“Yes – Tai kwan do, karate, jujitsu – even sword fighting, if you start them with a wooden sword that they can’t cut themselves with.”

Eric nodded and raised his eyebrows and gave Sookie a satisfied smile.

“Alright, as long as he can’t get cut.” She acquiesced.

“Do you know any of the Asian martial arts, Bjorn?” Eric continued.

“Yes, several. I’m trained in a five types of martial practices. When he is old enough, I will help your son learn to fight if you want.”

“Good, I would want that. He needs to be able to protect himself even when he is small.”

“Martial arts are good,” Octavia said, “they teach discipline. You just want to make sure that he’s well rounded and remember that he’ll have other ways to protect himself as well.”

“Yes, that’s true.” Eric agreed. “How old before he can begin to learn martial arts?’

“I’d say 5 years old.” Octavia said.

“Maybe earlier if he’s very advanced as he may be.” Bjorn said.

“Yes – he already wants to fight.” Eric said proudly.

“Yeah, that nut didn’t fall far from that big old tree,” Octavia cracked and they all laughed. “He knows who he is already. I can’t wait to see that boy.”

“Neither can I.” Eric said wistfully.

“How you feel about this, Vampire? You being a daddy after all this time?” Octavia asked.

“It was a shock at first but when I understood he was really MY son, it was like a dream I never dared have. The more I learn about him, the more excited I am. It’s so unusual and it’s something no other Vampire has. And the fact that it is a gift from Freyja – I don’t have words to say how special it is to me.”

“You were close to Her?” Octavia continued.

“Very. I thought She had forgotten me,” he said with a sense of awe, “but She did not. She found a way for us to be together forever, just as She said She would.”

Everyone at the table and all the attendants listened spellbound, realizing that Eric had been chosen by the Goddess Freyja, and so had Sookie. It was true – the baby was Goddess–touched. They were all privileged to be in their presence. The rumors were true!

Caroline in particular couldn’t keep her eyes off of Sookie and Eric noticed it.

“The young blonde there has a crush on you, my Angel,” he whispered to her.

“What?”

“She can’t keep her eyes off you. Not that I blame her – you look very beautiful in that… bathing suit?”

“Yes, it’s a maternity bathing suit – I’m too fat for the regular ones now …” Sookie stopped and smiled as Caroline replenished her butter bowl and put another half lobster on her plate. “Thank you” she said with a dazzling smile and Caroline flushed and almost dropped the pitcher of butter. She rushed back into the kitchen and Eric cracked up.

“You’re being silly.”

“Perhaps, but she flushed when you smiled at her and nearly dropped her butter. There was no doubt of her arousal when she looked at you – I could smell it,” he teased Sookie and wiggled his eyebrows at her. Sookie stuck her tongue out at him and he whispered in her ear, “Do that to her and see what she does.” He was still laughing.

Sookie looked at him with shock and amusement, her eyes wide and her mouth hanging open – she couldn’t believe he said that. “Eric, what are you doing?”

“I’m merely observing that she would like to know you better. Invite her to our room if you want.” Sookie was incredulous as he whispered to her again, “you can have her as long as I can watch.” He wiggled his brows again and had that smug smile that made her want to slap him and fuck his brains out.

Caroline came back over with a tray of lobster halves and was giving them out to the ones that wanted them. Bjorn took numbers five and six for the meal, 11 and 12 for the day. She stood behind Sookie and Eric and was very nervous about speaking but she managed, her voice cracking, to say “excuse me, your majesty, would you like another?”

Eric answered for her, “Yes, she would. My wife was wondering what your name is, girl?”

“I’m Caroline, Sire.” The girl smiled nervously at Sookie, “I was the one that put the fan on you when you slept so you didn’t get overheated.”

“Oh, thank you for doing that! It felt so good! I’m sure I slept better because of it.” Sookie was genuinely grateful and it did feel marvelous when she woke up.

“How long have you worked here at the residence, Caroline?” Eric asked. Sookie knew he was busting on her hard but she wasn’t going to do anything to embarrass the poor young girl.

“This is my second summer here, Sire, I started right after school let out.”

“What school is that?”

“UNLV, Sire”

“And what do you study there?”

“Psychology, Sire, I want to specialize in treatment for Vampires and their significant others.”

“Interesting. I didn’t realize there was a field of psychology that addressed Vampires yet?”

“It’s very new. There are three concentrations – depression, adjustment and relationships.”

“And yours is relationships? That is fascinating. And what led you to apply for a job here?”

“It’s the best place to encounter out Vampires in the area that isn’t a bar. The former king would let me talk to guests when he entertained. He liked to be interviewed, too.”

“And was he helpful to your studies?”

“Not really. He was more of an anti-social personality. His relationships tended to be transitory or non-romantic. I’m interested in studying romance between Vampires and humans.”

“Really? Have you had a chance to talk to Sookie about that?”

“No, Sire, but I thought maybe when school starts back in the Fall I would ask if I could interview one or both of you for a paper. You’d be perfect subjects.”

“Yes, of course, we’d be happy to help you, wouldn’t we, my Angel?”

“Of course we would. You keep in touch with my liaison in the office here and when you’re back in school, and we’re in town, you and I can have lunch and talk about whatever you need.” Sookie figured what the hell – it would help the girl in school and the idea would get Eric’s motor running – not that it wasn’t already. She could feel the bond humming and his energy piqued when Sookie spoke just now.

“That would be wonderful, your Highness. Thank you so much!”

Eric was very pleased with himself. He knew Sookie would get him back for that but he enjoyed it immensely and the idea of Sookie and that girl “getting to know each other” was a pleasant little fantasy. The promise of a future meeting would really keep it going.

The girl went back to replenish the bowl of clams and Sookie looked at Eric with narrow eyes, half mad and half amused, at him pulling that on her. “Alright Northman.”

“What?” He played innocent.

“You enjoyed that didn’t you?”

“Oh, yes, I did. I will enjoy it even more when I’m watching the two of you…”

“SHHH – Eric, stop. That is not going to happen.”

“Not this trip perhaps, but after the baby, I’ll bet it does.” He whispered and nuzzled her neck, making her giggle.

“I know what you’re thinking, Eric – watermelon first, then we’ll go upstairs.” Sookie didn’t actually hear his thoughts, but in this case, he wasn’t that hard to read.

Eric laughed and turned his attention to the rest of the table. Everyone was finishing up and the attendants were slicing watermelons. “So everyone, what is on the agenda tomorrow?”

Alicia spoke first. “I would suggest that Sookie sleep very late and then I help her memorize the information she’ll need on TV Friday morning. Then I’ll help her get dressed for your evening out and I’ll go into town to see a show.”

“Alright, that makes sense. Bobbie?”

“I was wondering if tomorrow could be my day off and I’ll go sight seeing with Amelia and Octavia?”

“Alright, and did you make the plans for Friday?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Have you told anyone yet?”

“No, I thought you might want to.”

“Alright then – Ladies, I have an announcement. Friday afternoon…” He looked at Bobbie who nodded, “you are all going to be Sookie’s guests at the Spa at the Bellagio. Bobbie has all the details, but basically, you’ll be pampered and massaged and whatever else you ladies do at such places. I mean all of you – Bobbie and Alicia as well as Octavia and Amelia. You can all get your hair and nails ready for the Ball while you’re at it – is that correct, Bobbie?”

“Yes, it’s going to be amazing. It’s a custom Pamper Party. We all get facials, massages, waxing if you want, special full body baths or exfoliation, pedicures, manicures, hair styling and it’s all going to be in a private room with just us. You’ll all be able to adjust your treatments to your tastes or preferences and I described each of us so they have an idea what each of us might want or can make recommendations. You can even get spray tans if you want – Sookie I thought you might like that for the ball. They’re also going to provide lunch and champagne, and they’re going to send hair and makeup people to our suites to get us all ready for the ball Saturday including a special shave, manicure and pedicure for Eric so he can dazzle all the Sheriffs and Queens and Kings and his subjects Saturday night.”

“I want you all to get exactly what you want and do not worry about the prices. This is a special party for Sookie and I want everyone to have a wonderful time.” Eric added.

Octavia was excited but a little worried because she hadn’t done much in the way of salon or spa visits. Amelia assured her it would be fine and they’d make sure she was comfortable. Alicia was tickled to death and Sookie was in shock.

“Eric, when did you plan all of this?” Sookie asked.

“I wanted to do something very special for you, my Angel and I thought you might enjoy having a party with your friends where you all get pampered and prettied up.”

“All of us? That’s really considerate… I don’t know what to say.” Sookie didn’t know how to react. There was a time when she’d be angry that he sprung this on her but she knew her girls would all love this, and to be honest with herself, she would, too. She certainly didn’t want to seem ungrateful but it was so much money…!

‘OK, Sookie, he did this to make you happy so you pull it together and show him he did,’ she told herself. She couldn’t think of anything to say so she turned to Eric, took his face in her hands and kissed him hard and long in front of everybody. “Thank you so much, Eric. This was a really thoughtful gift.”

He beamed at her and kissed her again, then he spoke to the group. “You will all have to be packed up to leave when you get up Friday morning. Bjorn will be Supervising the move to the suites at the Bellagio while you girls are at the Spa. He’ll go with you all to the TV station, then you’ll have an armed guard that will stay outside the Spa while you are there and Bjorn will return to Supervise the movement of our luggage and my travel box, which will be delivered tomorrow. By the time you are all done at the spa, Bjorn will come get you and take you to your suites upstairs. Saturday will most likely revolve around getting ready for the ball, and then Sunday everyone – Bjorn, Alicia and Bobbie – has a day off. Monday, I’d like Alicia to take Sookie shopping and of course any of you other ladies may go as well.”

“I can’t believe we get to stay at the Bellagio!” Amelia said.

“Fancy?” Octavia asked.

“The fanciest. Wait until you see it. It’s going to be great. It has it’s own art gallery, shopping, restaurants, a spa.”

“Have I got clothes for this place?” Octavia asked.

“Anything is fine, really, but we can go shopping tomorrow if you want some new stuff,” Amelia offered.

“If any of you need additional funds added to your cards, let me know and I’ll have the office take care of it. I want you to be able to shop and eat, gamble, do whatever you want. I can comp you for our casino on the strip, too.” Eric added.

“Which casino is yours?” Alicia asked.

“The Regency. I can get comp cards for you all to gamble and eat there. It’s very pretty.”

“Hey, it never occurred to me – why didn’t they hold the Sheriff’s ball there?” Sookie asked.

“The ballroom there is too small for such a large event and the Bellagio is much more prestigious – at least for now. When our new construction begins, we’ll be giving the Bellagio some competition.”

“Wow…” Amelia said.

“Yes, indeed. The plans and the prospectus were quite ambitious. It’s going to be spectacular,” Eric said with great pride.

“Even in this economy?” Sookie asked.

“Our sources of money are untouched by the economic crunch. By the time our construction is complete, the economy is going to be humming again and the money flowing.”

“You sound very sure of that.” Alicia said.

“I am. Humans tend to look at short spans of time – Vampires have a different perspective. We see trends that play out over hundreds of years rather than a few decades. This is a minor bump in a long road. The market will rebound in no time at all, really.”

People were finishing their meals and when Sookie was sure she was done, Eric pulled his shirt off and scooped her up, wading into the pool with her. The women at the table as well as the attendants flushed a bit when they saw Eric’s pale but muscular chest. Looks were exchanged all around as they watched his muscles ripple as he picked Sookie up and carried her off.

“Wow – we’ve never been in the water when we couldn’t have sex,” Sookie said as he lowered her in the water. He kissed her on the forehead as he set her down and then he dived into the water and did a couple of laps back and forth. Bjorn whistled as he came to stand beside the pool and watched Eric slip through the water like a dolphin.

Eric came up, smoothing his hair back with his hands. “Want to race, Bjorn?”

“I’m pretty sure you’d beat me, but it wouldn’t hurt me to do a couple of laps.”

“Come in, then, and let’s go – once up and back – butterfly stroke.”

Bjorn threw his shirt off and dived in, and the others all gathered around the pool as Eric and Bjorn moved into position, side by side. Sookie stood to the side facing them, ready to yell ‘go,’ as all of the ladies were swooning over the two gorgeous hunks side by side. They were god-like – Eric taller and slimmer but with the muscled arms and chest of a warrior used to wielding a heavy Viking sword in one hand and a mace in the other, Bjorn a little shorter but with more deliberately defined and developed musculature – the body of a modern warrior. They stood at the ready.

“On your mark!” Sookie yelled and the guys leaned forward.

“Get set…. GO!”

They were off in a shot, water splashing like crazy. Everyone knew Eric could easily beat Bjorn if he kicked into Vampire speed, but he didn’t to make it a little more even. He was still well ahead of Bjorn but everyone cheered and pretended it was a contest anyway. Eric even waited a bit at the end of the pool to give Bjorn a chance to close the gap before he headed back. When they both reached the end of the race, they came up laughing and shook hands and everyone cheered.

“Can you do the back stroke?” Eric asked?

“Yeah, but I don’t know how fast.”

“No race, then, let’s just go up and back.”

“Ok, let’s go.” Both men started moving backwards through the water at a more leisurely pace, just enjoying the activity and a bit of male bonding. Next they did two laps with Sookie holding onto Eric’s back and Bobbie holding onto Bjorn, both girls giggling like crazy as the guys gave them piggy back rides. Sookie really cracked up about half way through when she felt the baby send “Fight! Fight!” – the little whippersnapper apparently recognizing that this was sort of a contest or game.

The party wound down as everyone wandered off for the evening. Alicia, Amelia and Octavia went to the Regency since Eric had offered. He offered to take Sookie, too or let her go with her friends but she was very tired and said she’d go on another trip, knowing they would be coming to Las Vegas a lot now. He could tell she was very tired and she was beginning to get really uncomfortable from the pregnancy so he decided they’d spend a quiet evening at home watching a movie. He would try to skip sex tonight if she’d let him because she seemed so tired. She enjoyed her cook out and he was glad she had it, but it really was probably too much for her.

Bobbie and Bjorn decided to go to see the new Star Trek movie and get a drink somewhere, and Bobbie promised to check in on Sookie when she got home later. Bobbie didn’t expect anything romantic with Bjorn, of course, but she liked being around him and having his attention. Bjorn liked hanging out with her, and they had some interests in common like health, diet, and exercise. He was hoping he could at least get some massage out of her at some point, though what he’d really like was a “friends with benefits” deal for when Bill wasn’t around. He knew Bobbie seemed crazy about Bill, but Bill only seemed fond of her, not in love with her. Not that Bjorn had specific designs on her or anything – he just believed in keeping his options open and Bobbie seemed like a viable option in their current situation.

Eric carried Sookie back up to the royal suite and into their bedroom. He sat her on the bed, and retrieved a little lavender nightgown for her, and helped her out of her suit.

“Aren’t we going to take a bath?” Sookie asked.

“Are you up to it?”

“Actually, no, but I should at least shower off.”

“That we can do.” Eric took her into the shower and washed her off, washing and conditioning her hair as she became so relaxed he had to hold her up. He finished his hair quickly and carried her into the bedroom wrapped in a huge fluffy towel. He put her little gown on her, and they went back out into the living room to watch the huge TV and snuggle on the huge red velvet couch. About an hour into National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Sookie fell asleep and didn’t remember anything, even being awakened for her RMs, until Alicia woke her up to eat at 2 pm. After she ate breakfast and Alicia reviewed the information for the TV appearance the next day, she went back to sleep until after 6 when Eric woke her. The two of them showered and Alicia helped Sookie get ready to go out while Eric checked his messages and returned some phone calls.

Alicia curled Sookie’s hair and did it in a sophisticated modern version of a 60s style falling around her shoulders. She helped Sookie into the slightly retro yellow and black evening dress she had chosen for the night and when she was done primping, Sookie joined Eric and Bjorn in the living room. Eric was on the phone when she walked in, but his eyes bugged out and his mouth dropped open when he saw her. He actually forgot what he was saying on the phone. Bjorn did a double take, too. Sookie looked radiant.

Eric ended his call. “Sookie, you look lovely!”

“It’s not too much? Or too old fashioned?”

“It’s beautiful,” he assured her.

She looked at Bjorn who smiled and nodded his approval. “You look great, your majesty. All eyes will be on you.”

“Alright, well, the Mayor and his wife are waiting for us in the parlor down front so we should all get moving.” Eric said.

“I’m ready,” Sookie said as Alicia handed her a beautiful black burnout silk shawl with long gorgeous fringe on it, and a small black and yellow handbag. Finally she fastened the Tiffany art deco diamond bracelet on Sookie’s wrist and put two lovely diamond chandelier earrings in her earlobes.

“Are you sure you’ll be alright in those shoes, dear?” Alicia was worried because Sookie had chosen a pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos that she was afraid would hurt her feet.

“I don’t think I’ll be on my feet that much. Eric can carry me if it’s too bad.”

“Alright then. Just in case, here’s a little tote with a pair of more comfortable shoes you can change into if you need to. Just have the driver keep it in the car for you.”

“OK, thanks! You’re going out tonight, right?”

“Yep, the car is waiting for me now. If you’re done I’ll go on down.”

“I’m fine, thanks. Don’t they look handsome?” Sookie pointed to Eric and Bjorn.

“Gorgeous, ” Alicia agreed. Eric was wearing an expensive navy suit with a pale blue silk shirt and tie combo. Bjorn Had on a nice grey suit, crisp white shirt and red tie.

Everyone headed downstairs where Mayor Norris and his wife were waiting.

“Mayor! So nice to see you!” Eric was in full bullshitting mode already. “Mrs. Norris, you look lovely!”

“Oh, please, call me Irma. Sookie, my dear, you look wonderful – even though you look like you’re about to pop!”

“I feel like I’m about to pop, too.” Sookie laughed.

“This is Bjorn Andersen – he’s Sookie’s new body guard. I hope you don’t mind that he’ll be going with us. I need him to stay close to Sookie.”

“That’s quite alright, Eric,” the Mayor replied, “I understand you have to be more cautious now that you’ve moved up in the hierarchy.”

“Isn’t that exciting? Sookie, dear, do they actually call you “your majesty” now?” The mayor’s wife asked.

“Yes, actually, they do – it’s a little hard to get used to.”

“I’ve been reading all about you in the tabloids – they say you’re the new Princess Diana. I’ve been telling everyone I know that it’s absolutely true, that you’re just as sweet and wonderful as she was. You can’t believe how excited everyone is for you to have that baby!” Mrs. Norris had a hold of Sookie’s arm and didn’t let go all night. Sookie plastered a smile on her face and held on for dear life as they piled into the mayor’s limousine and headed for the restaurant.

“Where are we going tonight?” Sookie asked, wanting to contribute something to the conversation.

“Fleur De Lys restaurant in the Mandalay Bay hotel. It’s a spectacular French restaurant. Do you like French food, my dear?”

“Yes, some of it. I usually end up having some form of duck, or onion soup.”

“Oh my dear, you’ll just love the chocolate soufflé with mocha ice cream. We’ll order that at the beginning of the meal so we don’t have to wait later on. ” Irma then went off for the rest of the ride to the restaurant talking about every meal they had had there which were many.

Eric and the Mayor were in deep discussion about business and their plans and Sookie did her best to keep smiling. She answered questions by the dozens – her Olian dress was from Nordstrom’s, her shoes were Jimmy Choo, the baby was a boy, they lived in Shreveport but were thinking about relocating to New Orleans, they were going to move to the Bellagio tomorrow, and on and on and then Sookie made the tactical error of mentioning she was going to be on TV the next morning. Irma Norris latched onto that like an alligator on a poodle.

The best part of the night was the Prime Steak Tartare, the Pan-Seared Duck Breast and the famous chocolate soufflé, all of which Sookie enjoyed immensely. The evening went off without incident and they even took a brief break in one of the casinos where the ladies played slot machines. Sookie was getting used to Irma at this point and she was learning to steer her into interesting topics like magick and astrology that Sookie figured she should know about any way. If you got her on the right subject, Irma could be really interesting. She seemed to know a lot about a lot of different topics. Sookie also gathered that their children were grown and away from home and it was kind of a relief for Irma to have someone to talk to. She belonged to several committees and charity boards, of course, but she was still a lonely person because she didn’t feel as if she really fit in with the shallow society ladies she had to deal with. Sookie could relate to that and she was actually starting to like Irma.

Sookie actually dozed off in the car on the way home and Irma wouldn’t let anyone wake her. Eric said their good nights and carried her upstairs, tucking her in around midnight and then going to work. She didn’t know another thing until Alicia woke her up at 5 am to get ready for the TV appearance.

Sookie was a little tired and nervous, but Alicia had them bring her an RM and a bottle of sweet tea to perk her up a little, plus an English muffin with some blueberry jam to stave off hunger. Alicia had her wear a demure white voile peasant maternity dress from Sookie’s Nordstrom’s spree. Her jewelry was the Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the Yard pieces that added just a little sparkle but made her look polished.

Alicia and Bjorn went in the first limo with Sookie and Octavia, Amelia and Bobbie took the second. A third van of security guards followed behind. Fans jumped up and down and waved as they left the residence, and it seemed as if the royal entourage was also being followed by a caravan. Alicia quizzed Sookie on the information about the Ball and the Fundraiser as they traveled.

There was a crowd of about 300 people outside the TV station being held back by a police line. There were actually paparazzi there, too, with cameras flashing all over the place.

“What in the world is going on?” Sookie said, incredulous.

“They’re hear for you, your majesty,” Bjorn said. The car pulled up to the side entrance where the crowd was gathered. Police and guards from the third vehicle gathered in front of the door. Bjorn exited first, pulling Sookie out behind him and wrapping his arm around her as the other guards and police formed a gauntlet for them to pass through. People screamed and went crazy when they saw the blonde hair and realized it was Queen Sookie. Once Sookie and Bjorn were safely inside the building, Alicia, Bobbie, Octavia and Amelia were escorted in by the Were guards.

The group was led to a small “green room” where there were donuts and coffee and they all managed to catch their breath.

“Damn, Sookie – you have actual paparazzi out there!” Amelia laughed.

“I can’t imagine why – it’s not that big a deal,” Sookie said.

“It is to them,” Octavia said, “and you need to remember that. That kind of fame brings responsibility with it. You want to be kind when you can but you need to remember to be cautious. Learn to use the energy they send you or it can drain you. They all want something you most likely can’t give them. Take the good and let the bad wash by you.”

“But why me?”

“Freyja, honey, and that special baby you’re carrying. That big blonde hunk of a husband of yours, your own sweetness and power. There are many reasons for people to be drawn to you – the combination of all of them is irresistible to many people.”

As Sookie and Octavia spoke, Alicia brushed Sookie’s hair, then pulled a small jeweled crown out of her bag and set it on Sookie’s head, sliding the little combs at the side into her hair where they wouldn’t be seen but would hold it in place.

Sookie looked at her. “You’re kidding, right?”

“I’m afraid not, dear. His majesty chose it from the Royal jewels – it’s the smallest one in the collection – and he said to insist because this is an official appearance in your capacity as Queen. It’s very small and it will look lovely with this pretty dress. Very fitting for a young royal.”

“Hello! Hello!” A tall blonde in a fancy red suit came bouncing in. “I’m Toni Terry, I’ll be doing your interview this morning. You’re the Vampire Queen, I hope?”

“Yes, I’m Sookie Northman. I’m not a Vampire, though, my husband is, and he’s the King of these territories.”

“How fascinating. You know we already have stations all over the country begging for permission to use the footage we shoot today. Everybody wants to see the Princess Diana of the Undead.”

“Great….” Sookie’s head was spinning. She reigned herself in, though, knowing that Eric and a lot of others were counting on her to be a good representative for the Kingdoms. ‘Alright, Sookie, this is part of being Eric’s wife and Eric Alexander’s mother, so you get serious and do a good job,’ she told herself.

“Fantastic – you’re going to look great on camera. Come on with me now and we’ll get your mic on you.”

The tall woman led her onto a small set with a couple of nice upholstered chairs and a sound engineer attached the battery pack to the back of Sookie’s dress and placed the earpiece in her ear. The producer of the segment was a heavy young woman who seemed very stressed out, but she was obviously in awe of Sookie.

“Hello, your majesty, I’m Janet Walsh – I was the one who set up this interview. It’s an honor to meet you.”

“Oh, hi, thanks. Call me Sookie.”

The woman flushed. “Oh, thank you. Toni is just going to ask you some questions that should be fairly easy to answer. We’ll try to do just one take unless something goes horribly wrong, so just relax and keep going forward with the interview.” She turned to the camera operator, “J.D. – how’s she looking?”

“Gorgeous. Her hair needs a bit of a tweak where they put the earpiece in for her.”

Alicia immediately moved up and fixed Sookie’s hair, and she touched her nose and forehead with a little powder to knock out the little bit of shine. She stepped back and the camera operator asked her if she’d like to see how Sookie looked on camera. She said yes and he led her over to the monitor. Sookie looked very sweet and feminine. Alicia motioned to her to sit up straight and Sookie did, taking on a more regal air as she did and steeling herself to do what she had to. The tall blonde sat next to her and they put her mic in place, then the producer said “OK, we’re going to go in 5…4…3…2…and ”

“Good morning, Las Vegas! I’m Toni Terry, your host this morning and we have a very special guest with us today. Sitting next to me is Queen Sookie Northman. You’ve all read about her in the tabloids, now we’re going to speak to her in her first ever televised appearance.” She turned to Sookie. “Welcome to Las Vegas, your majesty.”

“Oh, thank you, but please, call me Sookie,” Sookie gave a dazzling smile and used her best Southern accent and manners.

“Now you became Queen when you married a Vampire?”

“Actually, we were married first and when he was promoted to King I automatically became Queen.”

“Did your husband kill Felipe de Castro?”

BITCH! She blindsided Sookie! “Of course not. He was simply installed in his old office when Felipe disappeared.”

“Why did The Council choose your husband?”

“He was the best qualified person at his level. They knew he would do a good job.”

“OK, most of us know a fang banger or two – what possessed you to actually marry a Vampire?”

“We fell in love and we are having a baby so marriage was the logical thing to do.”

“I’ve read that Vampires can’t have children – are you sure it’s his baby?”

“Yes, I’m quite sure. It’s a very rare occurrence, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is Eric’s son.”

“So you already know it’s going to be a boy?”

“Yes.”

“Have you chosen a name yet?”

“Yes, he’ll be named Eric Alexander Northman.”

“When is the blessed event?”

“Well, officially it’s early August but everyone seems to think it will be before that.”

“Well, you certainly look like you’re ready to pop,” the woman laughed. Sookie was growing to hate this bitch. “Now, you’re in town for a special event. Can you tell us a bit about the Sheriff’s Ball.”

“Yes, well, it’s held in a different territory every year. This year is Nevada’s turn and we’ll be welcoming all the Sheriffs and most of the regents in the North American territories, though some will come from over seas as well.”

“And Sheriff is a Vampire title?”

“Yes, they over see one area in about 5 or 6 in each territory. They answer to the King or his representatives.”

“Are there Vampire Queens who are actually Vampires?”

“Oh, yes, of course. They have female Sheriffs, too. They’re pretty gender neutral in their offices. A Vampire’s age determines their strength rather than their size or gender so they all have an equal shot at similar levels of seniority.”

“Now, this Sheriff’s Ball is very exclusive, isn’t it? I know someone sold tickets to it for $50,000 on eBay recently.”

“They try to keep it a Vampire-centric event, but lots of humans want to attend as well. They limit the attendance because they want it to stay focused on rewarding the sheriffs for their hard work.”

“And you have another event coming up in New Orleans, yes?”

“Yes, we have a fundraiser at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Ballroom in New Orleans on Friday, July 3rd beginning at 9 pm to raise money for the rebuilding efforts.”

“Is it true BrAngelina might attend?”

“I really don’t know, but of course we’d love it if they did. They’ve been very dedicated to the reconstruction. A lot of people are still in need and it’s very important to get New Orleans back on its feet again. She’s such an important part of our culture and history – we should do everything we can to bring the city back to its full potential.”

“OK, now for some girl talk – what are you wearing to the ball?”

“A strapless red dress, one of two pairs of red Jimmy Choo’s but I can’t decide which one yet, and a ring that used to belong to Marie Antoinette.”

“Wow – where did you get that?”

“It was a wedding present.”

“Is this it?” She pointed to Sookie’s left hand and the camera zoomed in.

“Oh, no, that’s my engagement and wedding rings.”

“This is very rude, but can I ask the size of that diamond?”

“10 carats. The rubies are 1 carat each.”

“They’re shaped like…”

“Drops of blood, to represent my blood bond with Eric.”

The host choked a little, then recovered herself. “So, what’s it like having sex with a Vampire.”

Everyone watching on the monitors in the green room said “Oh, shit.”

“Better than you can possibly imagine.” Sookie said with a brilliant smile. If the bitch was going to be ignorant, Sookie would give her shit right back. “My husband is 6’5″ of solid muscle. He’s big and beautiful with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes and he never gets tired, won’t age and won’t die. Frankly, I’m completely spoiled for other men.”

“How did he get the name Eric the Untouchable?”

“I’m not sure – I guess because he’s not afraid of anything.”

“Why is that?”

“He’s a Vampire King – he’s the most feared creature on this earth. Everyone and everything else is afraid of him… and should be.” Sookie looked the woman straight in the eye and let her know that she was fucking with the wrong girl, and she backed right down.

“Oh, uh, well, Thank you so much, Queen Sookie, I hope both events are very successful. OK, Chuck, back to you!”

Sookie just glared at the woman while they removed her mic, then got up and walked out without a word.

“You OK, kid?” Amelia asked.

“How bad was it?” Sookie asked.

“She came off like an asshole, you handled yourself fine,” Amelia assured her and the others agreed.

“Is Eric going to be embarrassed?”

“Eric is going to be thrilled,” Bjorn said and everyone cracked up.

“Alright then, I want to talk to some of the people outside and let them take some pictures.

“Sookie, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Bjorn said.

“I know, but I want to. All of you will be with me. They went to the trouble of showing up for me, the least I can do is say ‘hi.'”

Octavia nodded her approval. Bjorn wasn’t happy about it, but he told the guards outside what they were going to do. They stayed right with Sookie as she posed for pictures, signed autographs and even kissed a baby or two. Everyone got a smile and a picture if they wanted one.

“Sookie, there are FOTS protesters across the street. I’d really recommend we get out of here.” Bjorn whispered to her. Sookie nodded and they moved her to the car where the others in the party were waiting.

The FOTS crowd got more agitated as they saw Sookie moved into the car. The louder they got, the more the police moved toward them. As Sookie’s limo pulled out, one of them threw what turned out to be a bottle of blood and almost hit the car with it.

What they didn’t see was the melee that took place after the limos left. The FOTS started harassing the fans as they dispersed and three separate fights broke out between the Vamp fans and the extremists.

The third car called Bjorn on his headphone and told him about the fights so he refused to let Sookie say hi to the people outside the residence. Once inside the gate, Bjorn gave instructions to the guards in the last car to stay close to the women and to call him if anything out of the ordinary happened. He was going to haul ass and get Eric and the luggage moved to the hotel so he could get back to Sookie because he was afraid word would leak out as to where she was.

He stuck his head back in the car. “Sookie, listen to me – you don’t let anybody get near you no matter how harmless they seem. Once you check into the spa, don’t tell anyone who you are or who your husband is. I’m going to get this move done as quickly as I can so I can get down there with you. There will be guards at the spa with you, but I’m going to haul ass so I can get there myself ASAP. Alicia – nobody leaves Sookie alone at any point. There is always someone with her no matter what, OK?”

“We’ll keep an eye on her,” Alicia assured him.

The women headed to the spa and Bjorn started barking orders to get the move going. He double-checked every room to make sure all of their things were loaded and that there was nothing left behind. They checked in through the Executive Suite Lounge and Bjorn confirmed that the flower arrangements Eric had ordered for Sookie were to be in place by 5 o’clock so they’d be there when she came up from the spa. Once all the bags were in the right rooms and everything set up, plus 4 guards outside Eric’s door, Bjorn high-tailed it down to the Spa.

The girls were all in a meditation room being pampered so one of the technicians checked to see if they were decent before Bjorn could come in. They said he could so he stuck his head in. “Having fun, ladies?”

“Yes!” most of them said in unison.

“I just wanted to let you know that I’m back. I’ll be right out here if you need me. I’ll make a trip or two upstairs to check on Eric, but in the mean time, Sookie, put this around your neck.” He handed her a small plastic thing with a button on it on a long chain.

“What’s this?”

“A panic button. I’ll have the receiver. If anything even looks suspicious, you press that button and I’ll get to you as fast as I can.”

“OK.”

Bjorn hesitated. “No argument?”

“No, it wouldn’t do any good anyway and besides, that bottle of blood his morning freaked me out.”

“OK, well, I’ll be here.” He was amazed – something finally got her attention.

The pampering included drinks and lunch and went on for hours. Octavia was really pleased with her treatments, since she hadn’t had a real manicure or pedicure in years. She had her feet and hands exfoliated, and massaged and it made her feel like a hundred bucks. She even had her hair styled and dyed and she had an anti-aging facial. Alicia did pretty much the same, plus a stone massage. Bobbie and Amelia went all out – eyebrow and lip waxing, full body exfoliation, massages, mani-pedis, hair conditioning and trims. Sookie had the exfoliation and spray on tan, stone massages for body and face, a vitamin c facial, mani-pedi, hair trimmed and conditioned. She felt a little cheesy getting the spray on tan but she was wearing a strapless gown for the Ball and she didn’t want tan lines or white spots so she let them give her the works and came out looking perfectly “brown as a biscuit” as Gran would say.

It was nearly 6 o’clock when the girls headed up to see their suites. Bjorn took Sookie to the Presidential suite and they found Eric standing at the door talking to the guards.

“There’s my girl!” He said with a big smile. “You look radiant, my Angel.”

“I should – I’ve been exfoliated and massaged and conditioned and a whole bunch of other things that all felt wonderful. I feel melted,” she laughed and wrapped her arms around his waist.

“Good, now, close your eyes.”

“Why?”

“Just do, please.”

“OK,” she closed her eyes and Eric gently guided her into the suite. “Hey, I smell roses!”

“Open your eyes, Sookie.”

Sookie was stunned. The entire suite was filled with pink flowers. There were vases and wreaths and all kinds of arrangements of pink flowers everywhere and they stretched right into the bedroom, too. “Eric what is all this?”

“It’s every pink flower in Las Vegas, plus what I could have shipped in. I wanted to surprise you.”

“Eric…. It’s amazing! You didn’t need to do all this, though. The spa party was plenty.”

“That was for all of you – this is just for you. As is this.” He handed her a small blue jewelry box.

“Uh oh.”

“Open it, sweetheart.”

“Oh. My. Goddess!” Sookie was holding the most gorgeous pair of ruby and diamond earrings imaginable. “Eric, you shouldn’t have!”

“I wanted you to have something spectacular to wear with your red ball gown.”

“They’re stunning!”

“You might want this, too.”

It was another, much larger jewelry box. “Eric…”

“Just open it.”

HOLY. SHIT. A matching diamond and ruby necklace of heart shaped stones.

“But…”

“Listen to me before you go off. I knew you wouldn’t wear the large crowns in the royal jewels, now, will you?”

“No, I’d rather not…”

“So with these earrings, and this necklace, the smaller diamond crown with the heart shape will be plenty. The larger ones would be too much with all of this. You have your hair put in an updo, wear the small tiara and then this jewelry and you’ll knock them dead… as it were… tomorrow night.”

Sookie started to speak and stopped. She started again and stopped. She tried one more time, then gave up and kissed Eric long and hard. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” he smiled. No fit at all – she was growing up, he thought to himself.

“I don’t suppose you just borrowed these…?”

“Sookie, you know better than that.”

“Yeah, I do. I’m just trying to process it all – the spa party, the flowers, the jewels, the TV thing this morning…”

“How did that go, by the way? Well, I suppose?”

“Uh… I’m not sure.”

“You’re not sure?”

“No, I’m not sure. The interviewer was a bitch…”

“Sookie!”

“Well, she was. I mean this chick was right up here with Sabrina in the Bitch Hall of Fame. She asked me if you killed Felipe!”

“And you said?”

“Of course not, that you were simply put in his place after he disappeared.”

“Anything else?”

“Yeah, but I don’t remember it all – it happened so fast. Ask Bjorn. He thought you’d be happy.”

Eric looked at her a second then went to the hallway where Bjorn was talking to the other guards and waiting to see if Eric had orders for him.

“Bjorn, come in for a minute, please?”

“Yes, your majesty.”

Eric closed the door behind him as Bjorn walked into the room and stood near Sookie.

“How did Sookie do on TV this morning?”

Bjorn cracked up. “What did she tell you?”

“Just tell me your version of it.”

“OK, the interviewer was a royal bitch – no pun intended. She hit Sookie with a couple of nasty questions, which Sookie handled perfectly well then to wrap up the interview she asked Sookie what it was like to have sex with a Vampire.”

“The hostess on the morning show asked this?”

“Yes” Bjorn and Sookie said in unison.

“In those words?”

“Yes,” Bjorn continued, “and Sookie had had enough of her shit at that point, so she made you sound like the sexiest, baddest mother fucker on two legs.” Bjorn laughed.

Eric smiled and laughed “She did?

“She did, I mean, it was great. The interviewer almost swallowed her tongue.”

“It wasn’t that bad…” Sookie said. “Anyway, I’m sorry if I embarrassed the kingdom or anything like that but she was so rude, she was lucky I didn’t tell her to kiss my royal ass.”

“Sookie!” Eric was shocked and Bjorn nearly fell over laughing.

“Seriously, your majesty, you came off sounding like the sexiest, scariest guy alive. She helped your reputation more than anything else possibly could have.”

“Is there a tape?”

“Yeah, I think Alicia has it in her tote bag. Want me to go get it?”

“Please. I have to see this.”

“I’ll be right back.”

Bill Compton was in a distinctly unsatisfied mood. He had been working hard in the New Orleans office and he had a lot on his mind. He was also lonely and being away from Bobbie for so long had been difficult. Bobbie wasn’t the love of his life- there would only be one of those and she was married to his King – but she was good company, comfort and most importantly, sex. Bill had considered stepping out while he was in New Orleans, but resisted. He was just really glad he would be in Las Vegas in a few hours and he could finally satisfy his hungers with something other than True Blood and fantasies.

As he entered the small plane, he realized that there was only one other passenger and she looked interesting from the back as he approached the seat next to her.

“Bill – what a surprise.”

“Pam? What are you doing here?”

“Going to Las Vegas for the Sheriff’s Ball just like you are.”

“Yes, I suppose you are a Sheriff now, aren’t you.” Bill sat in the seat across the aisle from Pam.

“Yes, I am.” Pam looked especially good today. Bill was used to seeing her at Fangtasia wearing black clothes and too much makeup. Today she looked really lovely in a demure pink sheath dress and natural looking makeup that made her look like a doll. She was wearing a delicate floral perfume that reminded Bill of the floral waters women used in his human era. As Bill was fastening his seat belt he picked up the scent – Pam was most likely nude under that dress. Great. She was that available, looking as pretty as she did, within easy reach with no one else on the plane. He knew he wouldn’t be able to think of anything else the entire flight, and worst of all, it was entirely possible Pam could already smell his arousal.

Bill had kind of a love/hate fascination with Pam. He resented the way she fawned over Eric, even though she was his child and that kind of comes with the territory. On the other hand, Pam was truly beautiful and feminine and any man would find her attractive. If she weren’t as jaded as she was and as enthusiastic about being a Vampire – both qualities he blamed on Eric – Bill could easily see himself in a relationship with Pam. He’d be loathe to admit how often he’d pictured himself with her in a sexual or romantic context.

The Stewardess offered them True Bloods, which they both accepted, and Pam told her they’d like some privacy. What? Bill watched in horror as the Stewardess went into the cockpit area and locked the door, leaving him alone with Pam. Pam unbuckled her seat belt and gave Bill a predatory look. Before he knew what was happening, his seatbelt was open and Pam was straddling his lap, kissing him. To his shock and shame, Bill was kissing her back.

It wasn’t Bill’s fault. He was a Vampire and driven by his instincts. He was entirely too horny to resist the advances of a beautiful Vampiress – her scent enveloping him, her soft, full lips on him just the way he’d pictured so many times – and before he knew it his hands were in her hair and she was opening his pants as she nibbled his neck. The luxuriously wide seats on Anubis Airlines had probably been designed specifically for this purpose, knowing that Vampires were driven irresistibly by instinct and, in cases such as this, sex was going to happen.

As she lowered herself onto him, Pam whispered in his ear, “let’s just consider this a kind of détente. Nobody has to know. No strings attached.” Bill moaned but couldn’t speak. The circumstance was like something out of that magazine Vampire Confidential, the adult magazine that had nude pictures of female Vamps and featured a Penthouse style letters section –”Dear VC, I never thought this would happen to me…” – but Bill had played scenarios like this in his mind a thousand times and it was sweet, indeed. To be honest, a large part of his resentment toward Eric was the control he held over Pam. If not for Eric, Bill would have courted Pam in earnest long ago.

When they had both reached their first release, Bill let the seat back flat and turned them so that Pam was on her back on the seat and he could really make the most of the situation. He pushed her dress up under her arms so he could see her whole body nude beneath him and she was more beautiful than he’d ever imagined. He rammed into her with great relish. Pam was purring, growling and laughing as Bill pounded away at her.

Nothing Bill would dish out was going to even approach what Eric was like in bed, so there was no danger of him hurting her and Pam knew it so she did everything to spur him on. Bill knew he would be racked with guilt later but for now, he stopped thinking and just went with Pam’s agenda. It felt so good to just let go and take what he wanted. Even by Vampire standards, Pam was a good lay, and Bill knew that men rarely got to taste Pam’s charms. He reached his second release before she did, and he marked it by biting her breast viciously, making Pam howl and come like nothing Bill had ever seen. Even Sophie Ann, let alone Diane, couldn’t compare to Pam in this department. It flashed through Bill’s mind that this was an effect of Eric’s training but he shook it off and began to take her again more slowly, kissing her deeply and savoring what might be the only chance he’d ever have to feel Pam under him this way.

Pam was actually impressed with Bill’s skill and his natural tendency to be gentle, even when he was letting go. It had also occurred to her that since she would be answering to Bill as Eric’s representative, having a sexual connection to him could help her curry favor. If she were completely honest, Pam liked Bill’s Southern manners and she had always wanted to have some fun with him. She usually sneered at him but that was mainly to keep from swooning for him openly in front of Eric. Eric was still a little jealous of Pam’s male sex partners and it was possible he would be harsh with Bill if he knew Pam was attracted to him, especially once Sookie came into the picture.

“This is your captain speaking: we are now making our approach to the terminal in Las Vegas, Nevada. We hope you have enjoyed your flight with us today. Please return your seats to their upright positions and fasten your seatbelts. Thank you for flying Anubis Airlines.”

Pam and Bill both laughed when the captain hoped they’d enjoyed their flight.

“Thanks, Bill – it was fun flying with you.”

“Thank you, Pam. Any time.”

“Mmmm – I might have to take you up on that.”

Eric checked to make sure there was a video cassette player, which turned out to be in the huge living room in the suite. Bjorn came in with the tape.

“Sookie, are you coming?” Eric called to her in the bedroom where she was changing clothes.

“Do I have to?”

“No, but I thought you’d want to explain it to me.”

“It’s pretty self-explanatory. I’d rather not watch myself on TV.”

“You won’t need an interpreter,” Bjorn laughed as he put the tape in the VCR for the flat screen on the wall and handed Eric the remote control.

Eric pressed the button and the tape began to play:

[“Good morning, Las Vegas! I’m Toni Terry, your host this morning and we have a very special guest with us today. Sitting next to me is Queen Sookie Northman. You’ve all read about her in the tabloids, now we’re going to speak to her in her first ever televised appearance. Welcome to Las Vegas, your majesty.”

Oh, thank you, but please, call me Sookie.”]

“She looks lovely,” Eric said.

“Yes, she did – the white dress and the crown made her look very regal,” Bjorn agreed.

[“Now you became Queen when you married a Vampire?”

Actually, we were married first and when he was promoted to King I automatically became Queen.”

Did your husband kill Felipe de Castro?” 

Of course not. He was simply installed in his old office when Felipe disappeared.”]

“She didn’t miss a beat,” Bjorn noted.

“I can’t believe that bitch asked her that – on a morning show!” Eric was not pleased at all.

[“Why did The Council choose your husband?”

He was the best qualified person at his level. They knew he would do a good job.”]

“Good answer,” Eric nodded. “But how does she know about The Council?”

[“OK, most of us know a fang banger or two – what possessed you to actually marry a Vampire?”

We fell in love and we are having a baby so marriage was the logical thing to do.”

I’ve read that Vampires can’t have children – are you sure it’s his baby?”

Yes, I’m quite sure. It’s a very rare occurrence, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is Eric’s son.”]

“She questioned the paternity of my child?” Eric was beyond angry now.

“Yes, and I thought Sookie handled it really well.”

“That she did, but she should never have had to.”

[“So you already know it’s going to be a boy?”

Yes.”

Have you chosen a name yet?”

Yes, he’ll be named Eric Alexander Northman.”

When is the blessed event?”

Well, officially it’s early August but everyone seems to think it will be before that.”

Well, you certainly look like you’re ready to pop! Now, you’re in town for a special event. Can you tell us a bit about the Sheriffs’ Ball?”

Yes, well, it’s held in a different territory every year. This year is Nevada’s turn and we’ll be welcoming all the Sheriffs and most of the Regents in the North American territories, though some will come from over seas as well.”

And Sheriff is a Vampire title?”

Yes, they oversee one area in about 5 or 6 in each territory. They answer to the King or his representatives.”

Are there Vampire Queens who are actually Vampires?”

Oh, yes, of course. They have female Sheriffs, too. They’re pretty gender neutral in their offices. A Vampire’s age determines their strength rather than their size or gender so they all have an equal shot at similar levels of seniority.”]

“That’s an excellent explanation,” Eric said, impressed with the way Sookie handled it.

[“Now, this Sheriffs’ Ball is very exclusive, isn’t it? I know someone sold tickets to it for $50,000 on eBay recently.”

They try to keep it a Vampire-centric event, but lots of humans want to attend as well. They limit the attendance because they want it to stay focused on rewarding the Sheriffs for their hard work.”

And you have another event coming up in New Orleans, yes?”

Yes, we have a fundraiser at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Ballroom in New Orleans on Friday, July 3rd beginning at 9 pm to raise money for the rebuilding efforts.”

Is it true BrAngelina might attend?”

I really don’t know, but of course we’d love it if they did. They’ve been very dedicated to the reconstruction. A lot of people are still in need and it’s very important to get New Orleans back on its feet again. She’s such an important part of our culture and history – we should do everything we can to bring the city back to its full potential.”

OK, now for some girl talk – what are you wearing to the ball?”

A strapless red dress, one of two pairs of red Jimmy Choo’s but I can’t decide which one yet, and a ring that used to belong to Marie Antoinette.”

Wow – where did you get that?”

It was a wedding present.”

Is this it?” She pointed to Sookie’s left hand and the camera zoomed in.

Oh, no, that’s my engagement and wedding rings.”

This is very rude, but can I ask the size of that diamond?”

“10 carats. The rubies are 1 carat each.”

They’re shaped like…”

Drops of blood, to represent my blood bond with Eric.”

guh – So, what’s it like having sex with a Vampire.”]

Eric stopped the tape. “I can’t believe she asked Sookie a question like that.”

“Wait ’til you hear the answer!” Bjorn laughed.

Eric hit the Play button.

[“Better than you can possibly imagine. My husband is 6’5″ of solid muscle. He’s big and beautiful with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes and he never gets tired, won’t age and won’t die. Frankly, I’m completely spoiled for other men.”]

Eric laughed out loud and so did Bjorn. “The look on the hostess’ face is priceless. That’s my girl, Sookie.” Eric was very proud of her. He rewound the tape so he could hear the next question.

[“How did he get the name Eric the Untouchable?”

I’m not sure – I guess because he’s not afraid of anything.”

Why is that?”

He’s a Vampire King – he’s the most feared creature on this earth. Everyone and everything else is afraid of him… and should be.

Oh, uh, well, Thank you so much, Queen Sookie, I hope both events are very successful. OK, Chuck, back to you!”]

Eric and Bjorn both cracked up.

“She scared the piss out of that bitchy interviewer,” Eric was pleased with that.

“See what I mean – she made you sound badass. I think she handled it very well.”

“Yes, she did. SOOKIE! Come in here, please!”

Sookie stood in the doorway sheepishly, expecting Eric to be angry, but he motioned for her to come over to him.

“Well done, Lover, well done.” He kissed her and hugged her.

“You’re not angry?”

“Why would I be angry?”

“Well, the whole point is to make Vamps seem less scary, right? And I made you sound like a monster.”

“A hot, sexy monster, though,” Bjorn laughed.

“Exactly. You added to the Vampire mystique, my Angel, and mine especially. Yes, I’m very pleased with your performance. You looked beautiful, you were soft spoken and sweet, you answered quickly with assurance, and you made me sound…” He looked at Bjorn.

“Badass…” Bjorn laughed.

“Yes. “Eric the Untouchable.” Very good. Very, very good.”

“Not to change the subject, but are there any plans for dinner?” Bjorn asked.

“Good question. Round up the troops and see if they want to strike out on their own, go out or have dinner brought to us all up here. ”

Bjorn went to find out what they all wanted to do. Amelia and Octavia wanted to stay in their rooms and order room service because Octavia had never done that before. Alicia was getting ready to go shopping downstairs and Bobbie, who had been in her room unpacking and lying down, wanted to order dinner in. Bjorn decided he wanted to order in, too, so it would be Eric, Sookie, Bobbie and Bjorn for dinner. The butler for the suite would handle the arrangements so the girls migrated to the entertainment center in the living room.

“Let’s see what’s in the bar, Bjorn,” Eric motioned to the bar in the room. Eric walked around behind it and opened the refrigerator, finding some True Bloods and RMs as well as some very fine beers. Bjorn pulled up a stool as Eric asked him “Regular beer or dark?”

“Dark, please.”

Eric handed him an expensive German beer and Bjorn twisted the lid off as Eric got his RM from the microwave.

“Anything else I need to know about today? Some of the guards mentioned fights or something at the TV station.”

“There was a small group of FOTS protesters that the police held off the property. There were no problems until we began to leave, when they threw a bottle of blood at the limo – they missed and made a mess in the street. As the fans that had gathered to see Sookie began to disperse there were three altercations between fans and FOTS.”

“We had plenty of security there?”

“It was adequate with the number of police. We kept Sookie surrounded as she posed for pictures and signed autographs.”

“She what?”

“She insisted. It was a friendly crowd and I didn’t let people touch her. It was a little risk, but it went well. They loved her – you should have heard them calling her name, ‘Queen Sookie! Queen Sookie,'” he laughed. “She even kissed a couple of babies.”

“I’m not crazy about the idea of people getting that close to her.”

“Neither am I and if I had had any bad vibes I’d have stopped it. As a matter of fact, I did stop it when I saw the FOTS getting agitated. I think she really enjoyed it, though and people adored her – you could just tell.”

“She’s adorable, there’s no doubt about that. I just don’t want her getting hurt. I’m trusting you to keep her safe.”

“I won’t let her get hurt. Don’t worry about that. I know when there’s trouble around.”

“Alright, good. Sandy will be here at 2 am for a meeting with Bill and me. An hotel representative will gives us all a tour of the villas available on the grounds here. Since you’re in charge of the security detail, you might want to attend the tour. We’ll hold a meeting in the conference room after. I want you to feel free to use the conference room to address your guards if you need to. Make sure everyone is on the same page, especially tomorrow night.”

The butler directed the room service carts into the dining area of the suite. Sookie was starving – she practically inhaled the steak tartare appetizer and ate an entire half a duck and pommes frites. Bobbie had squid ink ravioli and Bjorn had a big steak and a plain baked potato and salad. Eric had another RM and sat with them. The meal stretched into the night, everyone chatting and enjoying each other’s company. They had no idea how late it had gotten until the door opened and Bill entered, with Pam close behind.

“Hey, Sweetie!” Bobbie jumped up and hugged and kissed Bill. Eric smiled at first, saying hello to Pam but then he caught the scent and glared at Bill.

“Master, the desk said that my key was here?” She just looked at Eric like it was no big deal. Eric had known, of course, that she was having sex on the plane, but it had never occurred to him that she was having sex with Bill.

“I have your key cards,” Bjorn said. “I had them move you from the smaller room into a tower suite. I didn’t think servants’ quarters were appropriate for a Sheriff. I hope you don’t mind, Eric?”

“No, of course not – Pam should have the best accommodations. Thank you for doing that.”

Bjorn stood and took the cards from his wallet and handed them to Pam. “I checked it out for you and it looks great. You’re next to Amelia and Octavia. Do you want me to show you up there?”

Pam’s eyes twinkled. “Yes, I think I’d like that,” she purred.

“Don’t forget our meeting at 2 am, Bjorn.” Eric fully expected Pam to jump Bjorn when she got him to her room.

“Yes, your majesty, I’ll be back by then.” Bjorn wasn’t thinking in those terms at the moment and he didn’t know Eric knew what Pam was thinking, so he was surprised that Eric thought he wouldn’t be back. As it was, he barely made it.

Sookie had fallen asleep while Bobbie was rubbing her lower back, which was feeling the strain of the pregnancy, so Eric tucked her in with a kiss and went to work. He knew she needed to be well rested for the Ball tomorrow night because she was going to have to be gracious all night as hostess of the event.

He had originally planned to ask her to go tour the Villas with them, but he knew she needed the rest and it would ultimately be his decision anyway. Eric was very pleased with the privacy of the 3 bedroom, 7 bathroom villa. There were even a private workout room, hair salon and barber salon and it had 24-hour butler service, a pool and courtyard. Bjorn thought it would be a convenient location to defend if necessary and it would be easy to keep its location secret. Eric made sure they knew about the baby and they were fine with one child as long as they provided a nanny or other caretaker. He was confident Sookie would be happy here when they had to be in Las Vegas and the Hotel offered them a great deal on exclusive use of one villa and one office suite in exchange for being able to refer to His Majesty in their Vampire-oriented advertising. He made arrangements for them to give Sookie and Alicia a tour the next day so they’d know what the facilities were, and they reached an agreement for continual use beginning in September.

Sookie hadn’t seen anything of particular interest in the residence except that she liked the red velvet furniture and the extra large bed and matching bedroom suite from their room, so it was determined that most of the contents of the house would be sold at auction if the new owner didn’t want to include them in the purchase. Once the new residence was established in New Orleans, the red furniture and the few things Sookie had tagged would be moved there.

The meeting went quickly – Sandy, Bill and Eric all agreed to put the residence up for sale immediately. Bill had three properties for Eric to consider, though one was probably the clear winner for the New Orleans compound and it wouldn’t need a lot of construction to fit the growing family. Bill had made arrangements for them all to tour all three properties with the real estate agent on Thursday before the fundraiser. Bjorn left and Eric signed papers for an hour – sales of property, construction contracts for New Orleans, more purchasing agreements.

Sandy presented him with the plans for consolidating some of their businesses but Eric didn’t like them. Niall was right – she had little imagination. Eric told Sandy to leave them with him and he’d get back to her, then when she left he handed the project to Bill and asked him to take a look at it and make recommendations. Bill came up with 3 recommendations right off the bat that were far more to Eric’s liking. Eric realized that he needed to combine the kingdoms so that Bill had authority in both offices and Sandy simply administered the day-to-day operations in Las Vegas. Sandy was loyal to a point and could be relied upon to execute Eric’s orders to the letter, but for anything that looked forward, Bill would need to be involved.

Eric and Bill talked about the concept of combining the territories. With Eric located in New Orleans and Sandy running the Las Vegas office, Bill would be able to oversee Sandy along with Eric and it would eventually benefit them all.

Eric took out his iPhone and called Niall.

“Vampire?”

“Niall – yes, this is Eric Northman.”

“Is everything alright with Sookie and the baby?”

“Yes, they’re doing well. This is an official call, Regent to Council member.”

“Ah, well, what can I do for you?”

“I’m finding that it would be in everyone’s best interest for me to combine the two territories under one administrative system. Do I need to consult The Council to do this? Or do I need to keep them separate in case they want to bring in another regent at some point?”

“We actually discussed this recently. We’ve been keeping an eye on your progress and are quite pleased with the direction you seem to be taking. We all agreed that it was wasted effort for you to keep two sets of books, as it were, so we agreed that if you asked to combine the territories that we would give you carte blanche to set your accounts and hierarchy up any way you like. There’s some expectation that you might come up with an innovation or two that we might want to employ in other territories. Yours can be a sort of test case.”

“Can you give me authority?”

“It is done. Would you like it in writing from the Ancient Pythoness?”

“Yes, actually, I would.”

“Very well, you shall have it before the Sheriff’s Ball begins. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

“Tomorrow night?”

“Yes, I’ll be in attendance along with a couple of council members who wish to meet your little family. See you then.” CLICK.

“Well?” Bill asked.

“The son of a bitch hung up on me. He’s coming to the Ball with, quote “a couple of Council members who want to meet my little family.””

“Wonderful,” Bill said, dripping with sarcasm.

“You can imagine how much I am looking forward to this. Tomorrow will be a very long night.”

“It will be a long day for Sookie, too. Remember Sandy said they needed her to approve some final arrangements from Noon to 4.”

“That’s right – I need to tell Alicia and Sookie and I need to make sure Sookie uses a wheel chair.”

“There’s a wheel chair in our room – I assume that’s for Sookie’s use?”

“Yes. I’ll not wake Sookie up tonight other than to give her blood. I’ll leave her a note and let her rest.”

“That’s probably best. I’ll make sure to tell Bobbie to keep an eye on her and not let her overdo it tomorrow. She looks as if she might deliver any time now.”

“Yes, she does. I swear she’s grown a good 10 per cent since we got here.”

“It’s even more obvious since I haven’t seen her. We should all watch her very closely tomorrow night. Let people see her early in case she needs to retire early. People will understand. All they have to do is see her and they’ll be sympathetic, even if they are Vampires. Everyone is very excited about the prospect of the first Vampire Prince – they won’t want her to take any chances.”

“Do you want to see the tape of Sookie’s TV debut this morning?”

“Yes, very much.”

When the tape was done playing, Bill laughed and shook his head. “Well, considering the crudeness of the woman’s questions, I think Sookie did remarkably well.”

“Yes, I agree.”

“She made you sound utterly irresistible.”

“Yes, she did.”

“That’s nice for you.”

“Very. You do know that I know about your… flight… do you not?”

“Yes, I thought you might.”

“And that Bjorn will know, too, since he was with her and would have smelled you on her.”

“Why would I care about that?”

“Did Bobbie tell you that she went out with Bjorn for a movie and drinks?”

“No, but there really hasn’t been time. What are you saying?”

“I’m saying you might not want to take Bobbie for granted. You could lose her if you neglect her.”

“I don’t think Bjorn would have any serious interest in her, do you?”

“Probably not, but they have a lot in common and spend a lot of time together. It’s something you need to keep in mind.”

“So this is out of concern for me and not jealousy about Pam?”

“I’m a married man – I have no need to be jealous of anyone.”

“Really? I would think I might not be the only one who needs to be aware of how attractive the Queen’s body guard can be.”

“I am aware of more than you might think.”

“Let’s hope. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to spend some time with my…” Bill was at a loss as to what to call Bobbie. Girlfriend? Lover?

“I’d pick a label if I were you, before someone else picks one for you.”

“Such as?”

“Ex. Good night, Bill.” Eric went to his room and closed the door.

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4 thoughts on “LATE Chapter 065

  1. It looks like Bill could loose Bobbie if he is not careful. As Bobbie is into D/s and so is Bjorne, and this Bill you are rioting does not seem to be. Besides I’m not a Bill lover, wouldn’t mind if he was out of the picture. Like Thalia but haven’t seen her in your story maybe you could get rid of Bill and bring in thalia. Loving your story.

    Like

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