LATE Chapter 084

Prince Alex goes to Fangtasia

 

Bjorn was sitting down to breakfast with that big book in hand when Margaret pointed out the note from Eric. He didn’t get notes from the boss very often, so he knew something was up concerning either Sookie or the baby.

Good Morning, Bjorn,

Sookie behaved very strangely last night after sex. I don’t think she is sick or injured, but I want you, Bobbie and Alicia to keep an eye on her today. She almost seemed drunk, but I don’t think she hurt her head, though there was a span of time I cannot recall and she came out of it as if in a trance. She was able to converse with me, but couldn’t quite wake up. She might just have been tired, but watch her closely today, just in case.

Tonight I’d like you to accompany Alex and me to Fangtasia. I want to introduce him around and then test some of his abilities while he is away from Sookie. I suspect she may be a sort of antenna for him, so I want to test that theory. Sookie will be going to her other “place” tonight, so have Kerik man the door while we’re gone, then have him bring Sookie, Bobbie and Amelia to Fangtasia and we’ll have some drinks and a few dances. It will be nice for us all to get out of the house. Make whatever security arrangements you deem necessary. 

Thank you,

Eric 

Bjorn laughed out loud at the idea of taking Alex to Fangtasia.

“What’s so funny, honey?” Bobbie said cheerfully as she sat down at the long kitchen table.

“Eric wants me to go with him and Alex to Fangtasia tonight, then after Sookie does her ritual, Jerry is to bring her, you, and Amelia to join us for drinks and dancing.”

“You’re taking Alex to Fangtasia? Is that a good idea?”

“Eric says he wants to test his abilities away from Sookie, but I think he just wants to show him off. He was saying something about that the other day. He thinks it will create more interest in the bar if they think he might be there occasionally.”

“Yeah, right. I’m sure that’s what he’s saying, but you know he just wants to show him off to his employees.”

“Yeah, I know. He’s so proud of him – you saw how he was at Wal-Mart. He loves to see people fawning over his son. Plus, everyone at Fangtasia calls him ‘Master’ so Alex will see that, so he can show off to him, too.”

“You should have seen them, Margaret!” Bobbie told her as she served breakfast. “Eric was about to bust when Alex was talking to the lady with the French fries. I thought he would pop when Alex said “dayoo” without even being prompted,” Bobbie laughed. “And when he waved to the cashier – I never saw a man look at a child with such love.”

“Oh – isn’t that precious!”

“He’s the best dad I ever saw.” Bjorn said, “I never saw a man so patient with a child. Like when he was going through the stuffed animals with him…”

“Oh, I know! That was so sweet, how he took him out of the cart and held each one up for him, and told him the name and let him touch them. And then Alex was so sweet, getting that pink one for Sookie and I thought I would melt when he said “bundy sopf.””

“What did he say?” Margaret didn’t quite know all of Alex’s words.

“He picked this adorable little white bunny rabbit because it was soft. He’s as bad as Sookie – he loves soft toys.”

“He bought one for Mrs. Northman, too?” Margaret asked

“Yeah, Eric started to put it back but he insisted that Eric buy it for Sookie. He kept saying “Mamee peek!”” Bjorn explained. “He’s so smart, he knew pink was Sookie’s favorite color.”

“And when Eric gave it to him, he put it in the cart next to his bunny and showed Sookie it was right there for her. It was so sweet,” Bobbie added. “And then when he found the toy sword, Eric was beside himself!”

“Toy sword?”

“Yeah, it was on a table of clearance stuff,” Bjorn laughed, “It’s a plastic sword that has a button that plays sounds like two swords clashing together, and Alex said “FIDEEN!” and Eric was beaming with pride. I swear, they’re just alike. It’s going to be cool to see what Alex is like when he’s grown.”

“He’ll be the spit and image of his father, with that blonde hair and that strong chin,” Margaret bragged, “and those gorgeous blue eyes. I’ve never seen the like of those eyes!”

“Yeah, Sookie was praying Alex would have Eric’s eyes and he definitely does,” Bobbie recalled.

Bjorn finished up his breakfast. “I’m going to head upstairs. We’re supposed to keep an eye on Sookie today. Eric said she was acting drunk last night.”

“Drunk? Sookie?”

“Yeah, I think it had something to do with sex, but I’m not sure. He thinks she’s OK, but he wants us to be aware, just in case.”

“OK, well, if anyone was going to get high from sex, it would be Sookie,” Bobbie joked and Bjorn laughed.

“True. She’s on a whole different level from the rest of us,” Bjorn agreed. “OK, I’ll see you upstairs.”

Bjorn took the big book with him and climbed the steps two at a time, stopping at the top of the stairs. “Anybody in there?”

“Yes, Bjorn, I’m here,” Alicia said.

“OK for me to come in?”

“Yes, she’s covered up.”

“OK, thanks,” Bjorn laughed as he walked into the room and headed for his seat next to Sookie. “Wow, what happened to this place?”

“Another wild night at the Northman’s I presume. I’ll start gathering it all up as soon as I finish putting their clean clothes away.”

“Holy smoke. I want to be that guy for one day,” Bjorn said, half kidding and half in awe. “By the way, we’re supposed to keep an eye on her today. He said she was acting drunk last night… after, you know, and he thinks she’s OK, but he said to pay attention, just in case.”

“Well, she’s breathing alright, but she hasn’t really stirred at all. I gave Baby E a bottle about half an hour ago, and that was the second one of the morning. I have a feeling he’ll insist on being breast fed next time he gets hungry.”

“She can do that in her sleep, though, right?”

“Pretty much. I can put him in position and he knows what to do.”

“Did he leave her a note?”

“Yes – do you think you should read it?”

“I’m wondering. We’ll wait until after 12, and then if she’s not stirring, I’ll check to see if it’s anything she needs to take care of before a certain time. I think he always assumes she’ll sleep until 2.”

“That’s what he wants, yes. He thinks she’s still run down, and I agree with him.”

“Well, she needs a lot of rest for tonight, so let her sleep as long as she possibly can.”

“Alright – let’s see now – the sword and the stuffed animals go in the nursery, I assume?”

“Just the bunny and the sword. The elephant is for Sookie.”

“He bought her a pink elephant?”

“Alex insisted that Sookie have it because it was pink.”

“He actually knew that Sookie likes pink?”

“Yep, and insisted Eric buy it for her. He had everybody in Wal-Mart under his spell. You should have seen all the women gushing over him.”

“And Mr. Northman found a sword for him?”

“No, he found it, but Eric was about to bust over it. He was so proud of him.”

“I can imagine. I hear he’s very good with his swords.”

“Like nothing I’ve ever seen. You should see how he can move – faster than the eye can see.”

“Oh, my!”

Bjorn and Alicia talked about the trip to Wal-Mart and Bjorn described more about Eric’ martial abilities. Bobbie came in and got the cards out of Eric’s drawer and before they knew it, it was 12:45 and Alex was awake.

“Mamee!”

“Good morning, sweetheart!” Alicia said softly to him. “Will you drink another bottle for me?”

“Nah. Mamee ee!” He pointed then reached toward Sookie.

Bjorn looked elsewhere while Alicia got him settled at Sookie’s breast, and he, Bobbie and Alicia discussed the fact that Sookie barely moved as Alex fed. When he finished, Alex needed a new diaper so when Alicia took him into the nursery, Bobbie and Bjorn tried to rouse Sookie a bit.

“Sookie?” Bjorn said softly. “Sookie!”

Sookie shook her head slowly and mumbled softly, but she didn’t really respond.

“Sookie, can you hear me?” Bjorn continued, “Sookie!”

“Mm-hm…”

“Sookie,” Bjorn persisted.

“Fish fucker.”

“What?” Bjorn was shocked and Bobbie cracked up.

“What the hell went on in here last night?” Bobbie laughed

“I don’t know but the room was destroyed. It took Alicia half an hour to gather up all the clothes and towels and toys,” Bjorn laughed.

“There’s got to be a story behind that,” Bobbie laughed. “Wake her up and ask her who fucked a fish.”

“My guess would be Eric, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Sookie! Hey, Sookie, wake up.”

“….don’t even have a hootchie…” Sookie mumbled and Bobbie literally fell out of her chair laughing.

Bjorn was trying not to laugh but failing miserably. “Sookie, who doesn’t….” he never managed to get the word ‘hootchie’ out, he was laughing so hard. He managed to calm down a bit, and said, “Sookie, what fish?”

“Fuckin’ mermaid!”

“Whoa!” Bobbie said, “Is she saying Eric fucked a mermaid?”

“Is there such a thing?” Bjorn asked in amazement.

“I have no idea, but if there were such a thing, Eric would most definitely have fucked one,” Bobbie laughed.

“I can’t wait ’til tonight so I can ask him what it’s like!” Bjorn was cracking up.

“Sookie, can you wake up?” Bobbie was still laughing, but she did want Sookie to wake up so she knew she was alright. “Sookie, honey, wake up!”

“OK, now I’m getting worried,” Bjorn said as he checked her pulse.

“Yeah, she should be awake with all the laughing and stuff. I’ll go get the blood pressure cuff and you keep trying.”

Bjorn sat on the edge of the bed, being careful to make sure Sookie’s chest was covered. He slapped her face a few times very gently, trying to get her to stir, “Sookie! Sookie, wake up! Sookie, come on, wake up!”

Alicia came back in with the baby. “You mean she’s still not awake after all that?”

“No, she’s not,” he said soberly, feeling around her scalp to see if there was an injury of any kind. “Her skin is normal and warm but not feverish, so I don’t think it’s an hypoglycemic reaction.” He was opening her eyelids and checking her pupils, “I need a pen light.”

“I don’t know if we have anything like that, but if we did, it would be in my room – the birthing room – with the rest of that stuff. We packed it all in boxes and kept it in case she has another baby. Here, I’ll leave Alex with you and see if I can find one.” She put Alex in the co-sleeper and went down to the blue bedroom, which was her room now, and looked in the box of doctor’s supplies. There happened to be two pen lights in it, so she took one up to leave in Sookie’s room.

Bjorn was pumping up the blood pressure cuff when she came back. “Here you go,” she handed it to Bobbie.

Bjorn was very intent on the reading. “It’s low, but not dangerously so – about what a healthy, sleeping person would have. Let me have that light?”

He flashed the light in and out of her eyes a couple of times each. “Normal reactions. Are there any of those dietary supplements up here?”

“I think so,” Bobbie went to the little fridge and came back with a chocolate one and a straw.

“Sookie, I want you to drink this,” Bjorn said as he held the straw to her.

“Mm-hm…” she reacted just a little as he pushed the straw between her lips, but she drank it down without a problem.

“OK, now what?” Alicia was worried about this – this was more than just being tired.

“Well, if she’s not awake in 10 minutes, I say we call Dr. Ludwig,” Bobbie suggested. “Sookie is going through some crazy changes. She might have an idea what’s up.”

“Yes, I agree. Give the sugar in the drink time to hit her system and if that doesn’t help, we call her. Where’s her iPhone? Oh wait, here it is,” Bjorn found it on the floor behind the co-sleeper. It had apparently fallen off her nightstand.

“I don’t think we should wait. I’d feel a lot better if you’d call now,” Alicia wanted to know what this was NOW.

“Alright, I’m calling,” Bjorn said as he pulled the number up on the phone. “Yes, Dr. Ludwig, it’s Bjorn Anderson. Yes, I’m calling about Queen Sookie.”

“I’ll be right there.”

A very average-looking woman carrying a big carpetbag, was outside the bedroom door.

“Knock, knock!”

“Come in, Doctor,” Bjorn said.

Alicia wasn’t going to worry about how she got there – she knew Sookie’s doctor wasn’t human. She was just glad to see her.

The doctor walked around to the back of the bed and Bjorn detached the co-sleeper so Bobbie could pull it out of the way and keep Alex occupied.

“Queen Sookie! Can you hear me?”

“Mm-hm…”

“How do you feel?”

“Mm – tired,” she mumbled softly.

“Alright, let’s see what’s going on.” The doctor looked at Sookie’s hands and nails closely, then checked her pulse and BP. She used the stethoscope on Sookie’s chest, more to hide the fact that she was feeling her breastbone. She reached into the carpetbag and took out a little machine to check blood sugar, which gave a normal reading. “The good news is that there’s no emergency,” she said as she took a needle and a couple of vials out of her bag. “I’m going to take some blood samples and take them straight to a lab that can look at them for me. In the mean time, I suggest that everyone let her sleep. I’m quite sure she’ll wake up before dinnertime. If Northman arrives and she’s still asleep, have him call me immediately. Otherwise, I’ll call him tonight with the results of the tests. When she wakes up after while, I want her to eat a special diet I’m going to write down for you. She can eat anything else she wants as long as she eats everything on this list. It’s not a restriction – it’s a minimum I want her to eat. She’s still too thin. Anderson, you familiar with amino acids?”

“Yes, I use them for my work outs.”

“Good – I want her to take arginine and l-tryptophan an hour after breakfast every day and again an hour after she eats dinner. If she exercises at all, it should be anaerobic, preferably targeted muscle-building movements. More than anything, though, I want her to rest. Don’t be deceived by how strong she seems. Is she planning her special visit tonight?”

“Yes, doctor,” Bjorn replied.

“Alright, what else is planned for the night?”

“We’re all supposed to meet at Fangtasia for a bit after,” he explained.

“Alright, she won’t like this but no sex on the night of her visits. I’d prefer she skip the one tonight but I know she won’t. Anything special happening at Fangtasia?”

“Eric wants to test Alex’s abilities away from Sookie.”

“That’s a good idea. Might help us figure out who is able to do what. He probably wants to show him off a bit, too. I hear he was quite a hit at one of the local shopping centers?”

“Yes, the outing went very well. He was attentive and obedient and very polite. King Eric was thrilled.”

“And well he should be. That’s an extraordinary child, even more so than we had hoped. Just don’t make a habit of taking him away from Sookie at this stage. This once is fine, but that’s it. Now, Sookie is going to be sleeping heavily for the next few weeks. Have her express some breast milk in case she can’t wake up. Her little body is going through some extreme and unusual changes right now. She’ll come out of it better than ever, it’s just going to take some adjustment. Any other unusual symptoms?”

“Eric said she was acting drunk last night…”

“That’s from the blood and sex. His blood is beginning to make her high the same way hers does him. Tell them to relax and enjoy it. They won’t hurt each other. Being in the room won’t hurt the baby, either – he’ll sleep when they’re in the act. It soothes him. That’s a part of Freyja’s magick.

If the baby wants to be near Sookie, let him, and make sure he’s breastfed no less than twice a day in addition to bottles of her milk and RM. They’re still closely connected right now and we don’t want that disturbed just yet. He’s not quite ready to be independent no matter how smart he is, so I want him right next to Sookie when she’s asleep, either in that little crib or right in the bed with her. She can’t hurt him at this point, unless it’s by being away from him too much. I don’t want them even thinking about putting him in his own room yet.

He’s still drawing a lot of energy from her in ways you can’t imagine. Also, keep in mind that he’s going to be awake more at night as he gets older, so you’ll notice a tendency for him to sleep later in the mornings now, too. Can you remember all that, Anderson?”

“Yes, ma’am, and I’ll brief the King as soon as he joins us this evening.”

“Good, take this bottle, and put it in that little fridge.” She handed him a large green glass bottle with an ornate label on it. “Northman and only Northman is to give her this little gold cup full of that drink every night before he goes to rest. No one else is to touch it or taste it, understand? Tell him to keep going as long as it lasts, which will be longer than you think. Alright, let me write out this diet, and then I’ll be on my way to the lab. Things might get a little strange, so just call whenever you have a question – any time, day or night.”

The doctor wrote very quickly and left the note with Bjorn, then saw herself to the door.

“Things are going to GET strange?” Bobbie was half laughing and half worried. How much stranger could things get?

“It’s never going to be boring,” Bjorn shook his head. “OK, Alicia – she wants her to have no fewer than 4 RMs a day, 5 ounces of dark chocolate, a minimum of one 10 ounce organic rare steak and 8 ounces of red wine every day, lobster at least twice a week, and she’s to drink a one quart carton of organic whole milk every day. The rest of the time, she’s to eat seafood – shrimp, fish, mussels, scallops, etc. and lots of good quality caviar of all kinds and all that goes with it. Chicken no more than once a week – she says it’s poor quality protein and too low in fat. Eggs are better baked in cake or bread or as a garnish for caviar. Beef ribs are great, but no pork of any kind, and as much fruit and vegetables, olives and almonds as she wants. Fresh baked, whole grain bread with lots of butter and real preserves or good cheese. Cook with extra virgin olive oil, real butter or nut oils. Caesar salad with anchovies as often as she can eat it, which will hopefully be once a day. Think natural, non-processed, and very rich with as few chemicals as possible.”

“Whew, that’s a really rich diet!” Bobbie couldn’t believe the cholesterol in all of that, though there were mitigating factors like the chocolate, almonds and olive oils.

“She’ll definitely be eating like a Queen. Let me go give this to Margaret so she can plan her meals for the week. We’ll order some caviar and such and have it shipped overnight.”

“Thanks, Alicia,” Bjorn said.

Once Alicia was out of the room, Bobbie asked, “OK, what’s going on?”

“I’m not sure, but I don’t think that’s a diet for a human.”

“What’s it a diet for?”

“I could be wrong, but it’s either for an Angel or a Goddess or both.”

“You’re kidding?”

“No, I’m not. I saw the label on the bottle no one is supposed to touch or taste.”

“What is it?”

“It said “Ambrosia.””

“As in “food of the gods?””

“Yes. That’s why she’s sleeping so much – her body is changing.”

“Shit!”

Bjorn’s push-to-talk rang and it was Margaret telling him Jason and Hoyt were in for lunch and asking about Sookie.

“I’ll go down, and take the baby. I’ll just say Sookie is sleeping late so she can go out tonight. You can stay here with her that way.”

“Good idea. Tell them she’ll see them at dinner.”

“Will do. Hey, Alex, let’s go see Uncle Jason, OK?”

“Oday!” Alex said happily as Bobbie picked him up with a tickle and took him downstairs.

Bjorn sat and looked at Sookie a long time. Exactly what was she becoming? Was she literally going to be Freyja? Or a full Fae? An Angel? Some kind of hybrid? She definitely was not going to be a Vampire, but theoretically, she might be able to choose to live like one if she were divine. Bjorn didn’t know enough about other Supes to know exactly what was and wasn’t possible. As he sat looking at her, he just shook his head and said, not really expecting a response, “what are you, girl?”

“Tripartite.”

Bjorn thought he knew what that meant, but he pulled his phone out and used the dictionary to look it up.

tripartite |trī pär tīt| adjective

Consisting of three parts.• shared by or involving three parties 

Was she talking about herself? With Eric and the baby? Freyja? He figured he’d tell Eric about what she said, but maybe no one else until he was told it was OK. There were certain things that went on with them that even Bobbie didn’t need to know, unless Sookie wanted to tell her about it. He was lost in his thoughts when suddenly Alex was lying on Sookie’s chest.

“Ah, Borhd!”

“Hey, Alex. I thought you were downstairs with Bobbie?” Before he had the words out of his mouth he could hear Bobbie running up the stairs, calling Alex.

Bjorn shook his head and laughed, “he’s up here, Bobbie!”

“You little scamp!” Bobbie said as she came into the room and Alex cracked up.

“Please tell me he didn’t disappear in front of Sookie’s brother?” Bjorn asked as he put Alex in bed beside Sookie and pulled the covers over him.

“No, they went back out when they finished lunch then I turned my back for a minute and Alex was gone.”

“So he got to visit with them a little?”

“Oh, yeah, he got to show off a bit, and give them hugs and kisses. Jason even brought him a little gift.”

“What did he bring him?”

“A book about trucks.”

“For a baby?”

“It’s a board book of pictures made for babies, similar to the ones Eric reads to him.”

“OK, that makes sense. I know he’s crazy about his own truck.”

“So I hear.”

“Mamee!” Alex reached up toward Sookie’s face and she rolled a little toward him and put her hand on his tummy. “Ah, Mamee!” He patted her cheek.

“Hey, Pookie,” Sookie opened her eyes and smiled at him, and the two of them went to sleep facing each other.

“Well, that was something, anyway. She responded to him and rolled over,” Bobbie was relieved to see that.

“Yeah, I think the doctor just thinks she’s tired. She couldn’t go into a lot of detail in front of Alicia. She’ll tell Eric what’s up when she talks to him tonight.”

“Probably. I just wonder what she’s becoming.”

“Yeah, I know Eric is wondering the same thing. She probably is, too.”

They played cards for a while, then Bobbie asked, “I never heard of anyone becoming a Goddess, did you?”

“I’ve heard stories about people who were Goddess- or god-touched, and I have no doubts at all that that’s what is happening here, but I have no idea how it works.”

“Octavia said it might be a progression – she might have to be a Faerie first, then an Angel, then a full Goddess.”

“Honestly, I’ll bet she’s past the Faerie stage. I’ve been around Fae and they don’t smell as good as she does. Maybe she’s becoming an Angel?”

“Mamee nah andel, Mamee Goddesth!” Alex raised up and announced adamantly.

“I thought you were asleep, buddy!” Bjorn teased him.

“Nah seepeen. Poogie an Mamee.”

“Are you waiting for Mommy to sing to you?” Bobbie asked

“Eeah, dantheen.” Alex said as he sat up beside Sookie.

“The doctor said Mommy will wake up in a few hours. Can you wait until then?”

“Eeah, Mamee seepeen.”

“Who’s sleeping?” Sookie said, “Are you waiting for me, Pookie?”

“Eeah, Mamee. Nah seepeen?”

“Nope, Mommy’s awake now, Precious,” Sookie gave him a big smile and a kiss then pulled him up on her tummy.

“Boy, are we glad to see you awake!” Bjorn said. “We even had the doctor here because you couldn’t wake up.”

“Dr. Ludwig was here?”

“Yes. She took blood from you and you didn’t even react,” Bobbie told her. “She left a special diet for you and some special stuff Eric is supposed to give you every night before he goes to rest and no one else is to taste it or touch it.”

“Really? Where is it?”

“In the little fridge.” Bjorn told her.

“Can I see it?”

“I don’t think so,” Bjorn said, “she said no one but Eric is to taste or touch it and he’s to give you one of these full every night.” He showed her the little golden cup.

“Wow – fancy little cup. Look at all the engraving!” Sookie was impressed. “What are those symbols?”

“Runes from the Elder Futhark, I think. It’s an old Norse sort of alphabet,” Bjorn told her.

“Can you read them?” She was playing with the baby and making him giggle as they all talked.

“No, but Eric might be able to, though I think they’re even a little before his time.”

“It’s a language even older than Eric?” She said as she raised Alex up to blow raspberries on his tummy.

“Oh, yes, but it’s still used for divination.”

“Witches use runes for fortune telling and for writing. Some use the Elder Futhark, but there’s an alphabet called Theban Script that Witches use, too, that no one knows the origins of,” Bobbie added.

“Know one knows where it came from?” That sounded so strange to Sookie.

“No, it first appeared in a book in the 12 or 1300s but no one knows where that writer got it. It’s also called Angelic Script because they say if you use it to talk to Angels your spell has more power.”

“I think maybe I better learn that. In the mean time, can we look up what these runes mean?”

“We can try. I’ll get your laptop out and we’ll see.”

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

“Why not?” Sookie couldn’t see any harm, but she was paying more attention to the giggling baby than what they were talking about.

“Only Eric is supposed to touch this stuff, other than when you drink what he gives you. It’s not a good idea to do anything except what you’re told.”

“Where’s Octavia today?” Sookie asked. “If she says not to, we’ll leave it alone.”

“Good idea,” Bjorn agreed. “Are you going to have breakfast up here?”

“Is it cloudy today?”

“Yes,” Bobbie told her.

“OK, well, yeah, I’d rather eat up here.”

“I’ll go down and tell Alicia and I’ll ask Octavia to come up here. We’ll take the elevator. Be right back!” Bobbie bounced down the stairs.

“I wonder what I’ll get for breakfast?”

“Probably whatever they have that’s on the list the doctor gave them.”

“Salmon, I hope…”

“Sthama!”

“Maybe, Pookie, we have to wait and see, OK?”

“Oday.”

“Has he been fed, Bjorn?”

“Several times.”

“OK, then, you know what time it is, Pookie?”

“DANTHEEN!”

“Yep. Let’s twist again….” She sang to him for almost 20 minutes waiting for Alicia to bring breakfast, making him giggle like crazy, giving him lots of hugs and kisses. They were both very happy to see a tray full of salmon brought into the room, and Bjorn was happy to feed Alex. He was actually starting to look forward to giving the little guy his breakfast because he got to hold him and play with him.

Bobbie and Octavia came in about halfway through breakfast.

“Morning, Octavia!” Sookie was in a good mood since she woke up.

“I hear you been havin’ a hard time wakin’ up.”

“So they tell me, but I don’t remember any of it.”

“I also hear you’re wanting to delve into something you were warned not to…”

“I wouldn’t put it that way…” Sookie started.

“Were you told Eric is to give you one cup of it each night before he goes to rest and that no one else is to taste or touch it?” Octavia sat at the side table opposite Bjorn.

“Yeah, but…”

“No buts, girl. You drink that whole cup down when he hands it to you, then you forget it exists until the next night when he hands you another. The doctor didn’t give you those instructions just to annoy you. You might unleash all kinds of hell if you start playin’ around. You’re dealing with huge forces here. This is no time to experiment. Do as you’re told, exactly as you’re told, and things will be just fine.”

“You really think just looking up the runes on the cup would cause a problem?”

“I don’t know and neither do you, but I got a healthy respect for the powers it represents so when somebody who does know tells me don’t touch it, I don’t touch it.”

“Sookie, you said if Octavia said not, you’d drop it. I’m with Octavia – leave it alone, let Eric serve it up every night and forget about it the rest of the time.”

“And I’m just supposed to drink it down and not even know what it is?”

“Yes.” “Yes.” Bjorn and Octavia spoke at once.

“Dr. Ludwig is not going to tell you to do something that will harm you and she won’t give you anything that will harm the baby, either,” Octavia reminded her.

“Why does it always have to be some big mystery? Like Freyja always making some cryptic comment instead of just saying ‘do a, b and c, then this will happen.'”

“Because the Universe is more complex than that. You gotta proceed slowly and watch for unintended consequences. Not even a Goddess can calculate every single variable. It took her hundreds of years to set all this up around your Viking. It might take another few hundred to get it all right. You need to be patient. Keep your eyes and ears open, learn all you can, and there’s no telling how amazing your life could be. Imagine if you never had to sleep…”

“Huh? Is that possible?”

“I don’t know – maybe? There are all kinds of possibilities. That diet she wrote out for you was pretty interesting.”

“It was?”

“Yes, like the no pork rule. You know Freya is known to travel with a golden boar? Pigs are sacred to Her.”

“No more bacon?” Sookie crinkled her nose.

“Not from pigs. You can have turkey bacon if you must.” Octavia didn’t consider it a big deal at all, considering what Sookie would get in return. “And all that seafood…”

“Is that because She’s called “shining on the sea?””

“Maybe, but did you know Her father was a sea god in the later Norse myths?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“That’s the myth, though the Goddess comes before any god. OK, now I want you to think about this question before you answer it. You’ve been told repeatedly that YOU are Freyja. Why haven’t you read everything you could get your hands on about Her?”

Sookie was stumped for a few minutes. “Huh – I never thought about it. I looked Her up on line once when I caught myself talking to Her, but I haven’t done anything like that since I was told I’m Her.”

“And you know how you know that’s definitely true?”

“No – how?”

“Alex has been telling you that, hasn’t he?” Octavia was trying to get her to accept this and she knew this would get her.

“Yeah, sort of…”

“No sort of about it, Sookie,” Bjorn said, “he sat right there not half an hour ago and said you’re not an Angel, you’re a Goddess.”

“Eeah, Mamee Goddesth!” Alex chimed in.

“Oh, yeah, then what does that make you?” Sookie was just teasing but then he answered, “ahm a demigod!” and shocked everyone.

“What else are you, boy?” Octavia asked him.

“Dadee’s widdo bampaya!” Alex cracked up and so did everyone else in the room.

“Are you ever going to be a god, Alex?” Octavia wanted to see how much he knew.

“Eeah, an Dadee.”

“Alex, Sookie said she’s tripartite. Is that what she meant?” Bjorn asked on impulse.

“Nah, Freyja won an fee.”

“Freyja is one and three?” Octavia was trying to clarify what he was telling them.

“Eeah – Freyja, Mamee, bebe.”

“Freya will have three aspects – Freya, Sookie and a baby?”

“Eeah.”

“What baby – you?”

“Nah.”

“Aubie?” Sookie asked

“NAH NAH!” Alex shook his finger – he didn’t even want his name mentioned.

“Alex, are you going to have a little sister some day?” Octavia asked

“Eeah.”

“WHAT?” This was the first Sookie was hearing about this.

“Don’t panic girl, I’d say it won’t happen for a couple of years,” Octavia laughed.

“But – nobody ever said anything about that! It’s just supposed to be me, Eric and Alex and now there are going to be three?”

“You have all kinds of three’s in that configuration – three aspects of Freya, you, Eric and Alex are three and one, then three kids. It wouldn’t surprise me if the girl comes along in three years,” Octavia laughed.

“Oh, my Goddess – I just got a picture of Eric having a little girl!” Bobbie laughed.

“Imagine having a little baby Sookie and then Eric as her father? He’d behead every boy that looked at her!” Bjorn laughed.

“I’m glad you all think this is funny because I SO DON’T!” Sookie was overwhelmed at the idea. She didn’t even have both her boys and now there’s a girl on the horizon? YIKES!

“Just relax, Queenie. It won’t happen any time soon. Just take one day at a time and trust your Goddess to do what’s best for you,” Octavia reassured her.

“In mythology, though, gods and Goddesses mess with people all the time.”

“Myths written by patriarchal priests who wanted to control the people with fear. The true Goddess was never about that. Freyja is not going to mess with Herself, Sookie, and you are She,” Octavia was going to drill this into her. “Think for a minute, Sookie – how much time have you actually spent trying to talk to Her?”

“Not much, I guess – maybe an hour altogether.”

“You should be doing three times that every day. You should be learning to relax and be a clear channel for Her whole Being. We’ve all been expecting things to slow down, but I think just the opposite is happening and we’d better catch on now.”

“The opposite? You mean you think things are accelerating?”

“Yes, I do. That’s why you’re getting so much information up front. She wants you to think ahead because it’s going to be here sooner than you think. It might take three years, but that three years might feel like a couple of months to you. Look at the last two months of your life – where would you be if things stay that eventful for three years?”

“I don’t even want to think about that…”

“You’d better think about it. I hear Eric is going to Fangtasia tonight?”

“Yeah, I’m meeting him there later.”

“OK, then you’ve got a long time to work tonight. Get your shower so you can have dinner and get started.”

“Good idea.”

Bobbie threw Sookie her robe and she struggled into it as Bobbie took Alex out of his diaper. Octavia went downstairs and was sitting at the kitchen table talking to Amelia, who’d just arrived home, when Sookie and Alex came downstairs with Bjorn in tow.

“Hey, Amelia!” Sookie was glad to see her home.

“Ah, Ameeah!” Alex imitated Sookie, then he leaned and reached toward Amelia, wanting a hug.

“Well, hey, Punkin’!” She hugged Alex and took him from Sookie for a few minutes. “I missed you, Alex,” she kissed him on the cheek and he hugged her again.

“I think he missed you, too, Amelia,” Sookie laughed.

“Yeah, I mean, I had a great time with Jerry, of course, but when it would get quiet I’d catch myself wondering what Alex had been up to.”

“I was telling her about his trip to Wal-mart,” Octavia explained

“I already knew, though, from TV…”

“TV?” Sookie was sure she had to be kidding.

“Yeah, they showed some still photos from the security cameras on one of the gossip shows,” Amelia told her proudly as Bobbie cracked up. “They said “the little Vampire Prince won hearts everywhere he went,” and that he got “some French fries and some new toys and politely waved bye-bye after his daddy, the elusive and sexy 6 foot 5 inch Vampire, King Eric Northman, paid the bill and thanked the cashier. Queen Sookie, true to her reputation as a real sweetheart, gave everyone a big smile and a thank you as she pushed the cart through the line.” You should have heard the women on the show bragging on how cute Alex was and how sexy Eric was. They even made a joke about him being HUGE and they weren’t talking about how tall he is,” Amelia was cracking up now.

“Well, he’ll be happy about that,” Sookie said, rolling her eyes. “It just never occurred to me people would be checking us out. I would have dressed us all up more. I can’t believe the whole world knows I took my baby out barefoot!”

“Nobody cares, Sookie. They know he’s a Vampire. They were all too overwhelmed by Eric’s presence to pay any attention to that, anyway,” Amelia assured her.

“Yeah, heads were turning everywhere we went,” Bobbie confirmed, “Eric just commands attention even when he’s not saying a word. I saw some cashiers, or whatever, in the sewing department swooning over him when he was showing the toys to the baby, too. I’d love to hear the conversation that went on in the break room that night.”

“Oh, good morning, Missus! I didn’t know you were up!” Margaret said as she came in from the pantry.

“MAHDWID! MAHDWID!” Alex went crazy making his “come here” motion.

Margaret took him from Amelia and kissed him on the cheek. “How are you today, Master Alex?”

“Tatosth, pweeth?”

“Would you like potatoes or French fries?”

“Tatosth.”

“Alright, darling boy, let’s put you in your high chair and I’ll make you some potatoes.” Margaret settled him into the chair Bjorn had brought out from the pantry.

“Dayoo, Mahdwid,” he beamed at her, happy as a clam as Bobbie poured some Cheerios on his tray. The four women at the table just beamed at him as he became absorbed in munching on the cereal bits, which felt good on his sensitive gums, and bounced his leg up and down while he played with them.

“I love it when he bounces his leg like that,” Bobbie said affectionately, “you can always tell when he’s happy because that leg starts going.”

“Yeah, wait until he can walk – he’ll be running around and none of us will be able to keep up with him,” Amelia laughed.

“I wonder when he’ll start to walk?” Sookie asked

“Soon, probably. He can already almost stand up by himself,” Octavia reminded her.

“Yeah, when Eric was feeding him the other night he was standing on his leg just bracing himself on his shoulder,” Sookie remembered.

“I wonder if he can pull himself up yet?” Amelia mused, “before they start walking, they usually pull themselves up on things and hold them while they sort of creep along the side.”

“He’s never any place to do that!” Sookie laughed, “We’ve always got him in our arms or in a high chair.”

“Bundy!” Alex called and suddenly he was holding his new bunny in his hands.

“Want me to bring his play pen in here? He could play a bit while he’s waiting for his potatoes,” Bobbie suggested.

“Yeah, why don’t we? He hardly ever gets down to play,” Sookie nodded.

Bobbie went to the den and brought the play yard into the kitchen, unfolding it and setting it up between Sookie and Amelia at the far end of the table. Sookie took Alex out of the high chair and put him and his bunny into the little yard, and Alex made his happy “haaaah!” sound as she set him down. Bobbie brought the little shape-sorting house in from the den, too, so Alex had lots to play with. They watched him for a few minutes, then got distracted talking about the ritual Sookie would be doing and their planned trip to Fangtasia.

“Are you and Eric planning to spend some time in the basement tonight?” Amelia teased Sookie.

“I don’t think so – I think Eric just thought it would be nice for us all to go out, have some drinks and maybe dance a little,” Sookie explained.

“I think it will be a nice break. You aren’t supposed to have sex on the nights you do your little visit, anyway,” Bobbie told her.

“I’m not?”

“No. Dr. Ludwig told Bjorn to tell Eric no sex on those nights. She’d prefer you didn’t go to Faery tonight, but she knew you’d insist.”

“Damn straight, I’m going!” Sookie was adamant about that. “It’s bad enough I have to wait three days in between!”

“I know that’s hard on you, Sweetie. Everyone is just worried about all the changes you’re going through.”

“Yeah, I can feel something happening. I told Eric, it’s like one minute, I feel as if I have all the power in the world, then I’ll suddenly feel like a leaf being blown around in a hurricane.”

“That’s probably going to last a while as you make the transition,” Octavia warned her.

“What am I transitioning to?” Sookie was a bit exasperated.

“A Goddess, Hon.” Amelia reminded her. “It will all be worth it when it’s over with. Just enjoy life when you can and roll with it,” Amelia advised.

“Exactly,” Octavia agreed, “just roll with it and you’ll get there sooner than you think. Relax and enjoy it – think of all that wild sex and be happy.”

“Yeah, that’s true,” Sookie laughed.

“Alright, I have to ask,” Bobbie started, “did Eric actually fuck a mermaid?”

The other women cracked up.

“How did you find out about that!” Sookie said, both amused and a bit scandalized.

“You were talking in your sleep. You said “fish fucker,” then you said “doesn’t even have a hootchie.”

Octavia and Amelia were howling with laughter.

“Yeah, I was a little out of it or drunk or something last night. I told Eric I had a dream he said he did and he said he did and I called him a fish fucker,” Sookie laughed. “I might have said something about never eating a can of tuna again…”

All of the women were laughing so hard they had tears coming from their eyes.

“Did he explain how that was possible?” Bobbie really wanted to know – who wouldn’t?

“He said they have a…. you know…. But it’s covered by a flap of scales that move out of the way when they’re in the mood.”

“I’d love to see one!” Amelia said

“So would I,” Octavia agreed.

“Yeah and to top it all off, it was in the desert, at some kind of temple built by Dionysus when he was dying of thirst or something.”

“The Siwa temple?” Octavia asked, amazed.

“Yeah, I think that’s what he called it. He said something about being in the service there or something. My memory isn’t very clear. I do remember him saying you never knew what was going to happen at one of his parties, but they were always wild.”

“There was a mermaid at a party in an ancient temple in the desert…” Amelia was trying to piece all of this together.

“Yeah, I guess. That’s what he said.”

“Ooh-ee! That man has lived places and done things that most folks don’t even know enough to dream about,” Octavia said with admiration.

“You all talking about Eric?” Bjorn laughed as he came in the kitchen.

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“He’s usually the main topic of conversation. Either him or the baby but I heard Octavia say “that man,” so I knew it had to be Eric.”

“Can you blame us?” Sookie teased

“Not a bit. If I was a woman, I’d worship him, too,” Bjorn laughed. “I’m looking forward to going to Fangtasia with him and Alex tonight because he always tells the best stories when it’s just me and him!”

The women all laughed and Alex laughed, too, just because they did. Bjorn noticed where Alex was and bent down next to him, “Hey, buddy. You got your new bunny with you, huh?”

“Eeah, bundy sopf!” Alex held the bunny up to Bjorn and stroked it, wanting him to pet it and see how soft it was. Bjorn patted the bunny’s head and said, “Yeah, that’s really soft!” which made Alex squeal and snuggle the little toy. Bjorn rubbed his little back gently, then stood up. “Who is downstairs?”

“What?”

“Margaret – is anyone downstairs?” Bjorn asked

“Not that I know of…”

“I hear someone walking around…”

“It’s me, Bjorn.” Eric came up the stairs barefoot in just a pair of jeans.

“Oh, hey – I didn’t know you were here.” The women all reacted happily, yelling their “good mornings” and “you’re up’s” at him.

“It must be cloudy out?”

“Yeah, it’s really gray.”

“DADEE!” Alex moved almost faster than anyone could see, getting up first on his hands and knees then pulling himself up on the side of the play yard.

“There’s my boy, standing there!” Eric was excited to see him stand on his own, even if he was holding onto something. Eric picked him up, hugging and kissing him. “Hello, my Angel.” He bent and gave Sookie a nice long kiss, then sat at the head of the table.

“Hey, Sweetie. We were just talking about when he was going to start walking. I guess he can pull himself up, now, so it probably won’t be long.”

“I think it will not be long at all,” Eric agreed, “will it, my son?” Eric touched his forehead to Alex’s and set the baby on the edge of the table facing him.

“Nah! Ahm Dadee’s widdo bampaya!” Alex laughed and everyone else laughed, too.

“Yes, you are!” Eric said with delight and hugged him, kissing him several times playfully.

“Boy, that kid knows how to make Daddy smile,” Bjorn joked.

“Yes, he’s very smart, indeed,” Eric said, bursting with pride.

“Yeah, he’s been very informative today,” Sookie said.

“What do you mean?” Eric asked.

“Well, apparently, Freyja is, or will be, a tripartite Goddess, including Her, me and our daughter.”

“Our what?” Eric was thrilled. “Are you?”

“NO, no, not at the moment, but according to him, at some point I will be.”

“That is wonderful! I hope it is very soon!” Eric loved the idea.

“You’d really want another baby?”

“A girl? Of course! What a beauty she will be, Sookie! Look at her mother!”

“But…”

“Mr. Northman! You’re here!” Alicia came in. “Mr. Burnham just called and said he needed to speak with you urgently.”

“What time is it?”

“It’s only about 4:00…” Bjorn told him.

“Do I risk calling him?” Eric wondered aloud.

“Let Sookie call and find out what he needs. She can say she has a way to relay the information to you and get an answer,” Bjorn suggested.

“Yes, that might work. I’ll listen on the extension and tell Sookie what to say. Sookie, come with me.”

Margaret brought Alex’s potatoes to the table and Bobbie volunteered to feed him while they took care of business.

Eric had Bjorn come to the office with them and he took the cordless extension phone from the den with them. He dialed Bobby Burnham’s number and had Sookie talk to him.

“Hi, Mr. Burnham? This is Sookie Northman.”

“Well, hi, little lady – what can I do for you?”

“I got a message that you needed to talk to Eric immediately. If it’s an emergency, I have a way of communicating with him and getting an answer for you.”

“You do?”

“Yes, it isn’t always possible, you know, but today it is. Did you need to tell him something?”

“I needed to get him to review a tax shelter we set up for his new position. I can’t move ahead with it until he looks it over. I’ve got some contracts for the new clubs, too.”

“Oh, well, is it something he needs to see, then?”

“Yes, I can fax it to the house, if need be.”

“OK, well, go ahead and send it and I’ll have him look it over.”

“This is very important now – you need to be sure he gets it, and I need to have his signature on it. If that’s not possible…”

“Oh, no, I can get that for you and fax it right back to you.”

“You’re sure now?”

“Yes, I assure you, no one but Eric will see it, he’ll sign it if he needs to and then I’ll fax it back or call you back if he says to.”

“Alright then, I’ll send this to his upstairs office. If you can get back to me in an hour, it would make things a lot easier on everybody.”

“Yes, sir, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks.”

Burnham hung up and went to the fax machine, wondering how the hell she was going to manage this and hoping Eric wouldn’t be upset that he’d sent this stuff to her. He had said more than once that he trusted Sookie implicitly, but he had also said she didn’t need or want to know the fine points of running his new territories.

Bjorn and Sookie waited as Eric zipped up to his office and got a stack of 10 papers he needed to read. He zipped back down to Sookie’s office and sat at the desk, quickly reviewing the files. “I see why he was in a hurry. If we get this back to him, he can file this before the close of business in California.”

“What’s in California?” Sookie asked.

“Just a bank we have to deal with – something Felipe should have done ages ago,” Eric said as he reviewed the contracts. He signed where he needed to, wrote a cover page with notes to Burnham, and sent them back on Sookie’s fax machine.

The phone rang in just a minute and Eric motioned for Sookie to answer. “Hello?”

“Mrs. Northman – I got the papers. I can tell this is definitely his writing. Tell Mr. Northman this will be set by the first of the month, just as he wanted. Thanks for doing whatever you did.”

“No problem at all. Thanks for your help.” Burnham hung up. “Was that a big crisis?”

“It was pressing, but not really an emergency. There are some deadlines involved that are more likely to be made if he can get those things out today.”

“OK, I guess.” Sookie didn’t want to know about all the machinations of the kingdom – she knew Eric had to do some weird and sometimes shady stuff and she figured it was better not to think about it. They all headed back into the kitchen where Bobbie was in Eric’s chair, feeding Alex in his high chair. Bobbie jumped up as they came into the room so Eric could sit down.

“Thank you, Bobbie. I’ll finish feeding him.”

“OK, boss!” Bobbie handed him the spoon and the bowl of potatoes and went back to where she normally sat.

Eric sat down and took Alex’s face in his big hands and kissed him.

“Ah, Dadee!” Alex laughed and smiled at him.

“Hello, my son.” Eric looked right in his eyes with so much love, Sookie thought she was going to be a puddle on the floor. “What are you eating here?” Eric looked in the bowl, then began to feed him as Alex said “tatosth!”

“You seem to be eating a lot of potatoes. Sookie, is that healthy for him?”

“Well, he gets milk and blood, too, and we give him fruit and salmon and stuff, so it shouldn’t hurt him, should it, Bobbie?”

“No, it won’t hurt him, though it is a good idea to mix some veggies and some different fruits in there, too.”

“Margaret, do we have anything like that?” Eric asked.

“Yes,  I’ve got lots of baby foods – chicken noodle, turkey and gravy, lamb and gravy, macaroni and cheese, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, apples, and pears plus spoonable smoothies, organic apple juice, cans of peaches and pineapple in the pantry and I’ve got frozen broccoli that I can cook and put in the food processor if you want him to eat some greens.”

“He’s never had peaches or broccoli – let’s try and see if he’ll eat them,” Sookie suggested. “Maybe some turkey and gravy, too?”

Bobbie went into the pantry for a jar of “baby” turkey and gravy and a can of peaches while Margaret pulled a bag of broccoli out of the freezer and cooked all of it.

“OK, maybe this is a dumb question, but do you heat baby food?” Sookie asked

“Some babies don’t want their food warmed early on, but I don’t think that will be the case with little Alex,” Margaret told her. “All you have to do is open the jar and use the same warmer we use for the bottles. It’s best not to microwave things for a baby, you know, especially breast milk…” Margaret knew Sookie would have no idea that she could do that.

“No, I didn’t know, but I guess that makes sense.”

“Microwaving can destroy the nutrients in breast milk, Missus. Speaking of which, were you going to express some so we have it in case you’re asleep?”

“Oh, yeah, I was. Bobbie, can you help me with that?”

“Sure, Sweetie. Do you want to do it now?”

“Eric, would you mind playing with the baby while I do that?”

“Of course not, Sookie. I’ll feed him and keep him entertained while you do your… whatever you need to do…”

Bjorn laughed. “Yeah, I wouldn’t know what to call it either, Eric!”

“Everything you need is clean and ready up in the nursery, Missus. We put it in a pan in the crib this morning.”

“OK, then, excuse me, everybody.” Sookie and Bobbie headed back to the elevator as Amelia and Octavia decided to watch some TV in the den.

“Holler if you need us, Eric,” Amelia told him with a big smile.

“Thank you, Amelia, but my son and I will be fine, will we not, Alexander?”

“Eeah, me an Dadee!” Alex giggled then opened his mouth for more potatoes. At one point, he offered Alex a spoonful and Alex pushed the spoon toward Eric. “Dood, Dadee!”

“It’s good? Do you want me to taste it?”

“Eeah, daysth id!”

Eric tasted it, to Alex’s delight, and said, “hmm – not bad, but not the best thing I’ve ever had…”

Alex didn’t understand what he was saying but he kicked and giggled because Eric tasted his “tatosth.”

“He loves it when you eat some of his food, Eric,” Bjorn observed as Margaret filled his coffee cup again.

“Yes, he does. I wonder why?”

“I think because it means he does something Daddy does. There aren’t many things you do that he’s able to copy yet.”

“That’s possible, I suppose. Alex, do you want to be like Daddy?” Eric teased him.

“Awgsth wyg Dadee,” he nodded his head in that exaggerated style he’d just started using.

By the time Alex finished his bowl of potatoes, Margaret had a little plate with a bit of turkey and gravy, some pureed broccoli and peaches. “I only gave him a bit of each since he had his potatoes. There’s more for him later on if he wants it.”

“Thank you, Margaret.”

“Dayoo, Mahdwid!”

Eric and Bjorn laughed at Alex copying Eric.

“Alright, Alex, let’s see if you like this.” Eric took a spoon of the turkey and fed it to the baby.

“Mmmm!” Alex said as he sat up more and leaned forward. This was good stuff!

“That’s a hit,” Bjorn laughed.

“Apparently.” Eric gave him a taste of broccoli next and Alex liked it because his eyes got big. He went wild for the peaches, asking, “dat, Dadee!”

“I think he’s asking what that is…” Bjorn helped Eric out.

“This is peaches, Alex.”

“Pejes?”

“Peaches.”

“Ah wyg pejes, Dadee!” Alex was bouncing up and down but he opened his mouth wanting more and Eric gave him another bite. Alex ate everything on the plate, which surprised Eric.

“Bjorn, did he not eat earlier?” Eric wondered why Alex was so hungry.

“Yes, he fed a couple of times and he had that salmon stuff Alicia makes for him, then when they came down here he asked for potatoes.”

“And then he ate all this? That’s a very hungry boy, Alex!”

“Mo pejes, Dadee?”

“You want more peaches?”

“Eeah, pweeth.”

Margaret brought the jar of peaches she had pureed over and put more on Alex’s plate. Eric fed it to him, then when he finished that serving he said, “Dee Bee, Dadee.”

“You want to watch TV? We’ll have to go upstairs for that…”

“Bring him in here, Eric! We’re not watching anything in particular,” Amelia knew Eric was going to head upstairs because they were in the den.

“Alright, I will.” Eric wiped Alex’s face with a napkin and took him out of his chair, then he and Bjorn took Alex into the den. As they came in, Amelia put the Cartoon Network on and Alex made his happy sound when he saw the bright colors again. Eric took the recliner and settled Alex on his lap.

“Dippin chow,” Alex asked Eric, and he was pretty sure he knew what Alex wanted.

“Bjorn, what was the show he liked on TV?” Eric asked, pretty sure Alex wanted to see that particular show again.

“Teletubbies. I think that’s on PBS.”

Amelia changed the channel and the Teletubbies were just coming on.

“Haaaaaahh!” Alex was thrilled to see the little creatures running around. Eric still thought they were disturbing, but it was obvious that Alex loved them. He went wild when Dipsy showed a video on his/her/its little tummy. “Woogie, Dadee, DeeBee!”

“Yes, he has a TV in his tummy.”

“Eeeah! DeeBee inisth dumby!” Alex said as he pulled up his little white t-shirt and looked at his own tummy. “Nah DeeBee, Dadee,” he pointed to his tummy and looked up at his Daddy.

“No, you don’t have a TV in your tummy, but your tummy can do something that Teletubby’s can’t. He can’t do this,” Eric swung him up and blew raspberries on his tummy, making Alex squeal and giggle.

“Dat?” Alex said as he settled down to watch the show again, pointing to the screen.

Eric figured he wanted to know what he was watching. “That’s Teletubbies, Alex.”

“Tewetumbysth! Ah wyg Tewetumbysth!”

“Hey, did he just say Teletubbies?” Sookie asked as she came through the kitchen.

“Yes, he did,” Eric laughed. “Were you successful in filling some bottles for him?”

“Yes, so you can take a bottle of it and a bottle of blood with you tonight. Alicia and I filled up the diaper bag for you, just in case.”

“Thank you for that – Bjorn and I will be leaving as soon as dinner is finished. Alex already ate, so I thought he and I would take a shower while you all eat then we’ll be ready to go when Bjorn is done.”

“OK, that’s cool. I want to do a ritual bath after dinner, but I should be alone for that, right, Octavia?”

“Ideally, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. You’ll be able to focus better by yourself.”

“Excuse me, everyone,” Margaret came into the room, “dinner is ready whenever you are.”

“Thanks, Margaret!” Sookie said and headed straight for the kitchen. The others followed her and took their usual seats, except for Eric and Alex.

“Are you hungry, my son? Eat?”

“Nah.”

“Then we will take a shower, ok?”

“Oday! Ina wada!”

“Alright then, enjoy your dinner, everyone.”

“Bye, Alex!” Amelia called and Bobbie said, “have a good shower, Alex!”

“Have fun, Pookie!” Sookie said as Eric held him down to kiss her, then they headed up to the bedroom.

Eric flew up the stairs with him, making Alex giggle, then laid him on the bed to get him out of his t-shirt and diaper, talking to him and tickling him the whole time. Eric quickly stripped off his jeans and took the baby to the bathroom. He turned the shower on, and Alex was getting excited. “Wada, Dadee!”

“Yes, water! I just have to get it to a comfortable temperature, then we’ll get in,” he told him as he took the baby shampoo from the side of the tub and put it in the shower stall along with the baby soap. He put two towels on the rack beside the shower door, spread two out on the floor, one on top of the other, and in they went, Alex making his happy sound as the water washed over them. Eric couldn’t stop smiling. He loved seeing the joy Alex took in playing in any kind of water. He swung him in and out of the spray as he’d seen Sookie do. After a few minutes, Alex said “wath ma ayr, Dadee!”

“Of course, I will, my son!” Eric laughed, loving it when he asked him to do that, because he knew it was something Alex specifically associated with Daddy. He wet Alex’s hair, and gently soaped it up with shampoo, enjoying the way Alex closed his eyes and held his hands up and to the sides to feel the water run over them. Eric then soaped his own hair, Alex reaching up to help. Eric bowed his head so Alex could reach his hair and let him think he was contributing. After he rinsed his hair, he added some conditioner, rinsed it out then thoroughly soaped and washed Alex, then himself, letting Alex rub some soap on his chest and shoulder so he could think he was washing Daddy. He gave them both a final rinse, then reached out for one of the towels beside the door.

He wrapped Alex up with a hug and a kiss, then laid him on the two towels on the floor just long enough to towel himself off and wrap a towel around his waist. He scooped Alex up and headed into the bedroom, where he laid him on the bed while he quickly combed out his hair and dressed in his signature black Fangtasia shirt and black jeans, with black Double H boots. He added a touch of expensive cologne and took Alex to the nursery with him.

“Inthen, Dadee!”

“Incense? Oh, no, that is cologne, Alex. Does it smell good?”

“Eeeah, sthmew dood!”

Eric settled Alex on the changing table and warmed some baby lotion in his hands, spreading it over Alex and giving him a gentle massage, as Alex looked up at him with big eyes and chewed on his own fingers. “Dood, Dadee.”

“Good? Do you like that?”

“Eeah, dat Babee!”

“Yes, Bobbie gives you massages, too, doesn’t she?”

“Eeah, dood ‘sahjesth.”

Eric powdered Alex’s bottom and diapered him, then looked through the little clothing because he wanted to dress him up a little more than usual. He laughed out loud when he found a little black body suit that said “Hey, Dude – your wife keeps checking me out,” and instantly decided that was what Alex should wear.

“Let’s put this little suit on you, my son – it will show off your sense of humor and confidence. Besides, all the women will be checking you out because you’re so cute!” Eric teased and tickled him. “You’re going to go to work with Daddy. Won’t that be fun?” he explained as he snapped him into the suit and brushed his hair.

“Eeah!” Alex giggled, only understanding a little of what Daddy said, but knowing it was funny and it was about him.

Eric also found a cute little pair of black shoes with skulls and crossbones on them, and a little pair of black socks, so he had Alex completely decked out when they went back downstairs.

“Oh, look how sweet!” Sookie exclaimed as they came back into the kitchen. “You match!”

Everyone ooh’d and ahh’d over Alex’s ensemble to both Eric’s and Alex’s delight.

“Yes, I thought this suit captured Alex’s personality, and the shoes make the outfit, do they not.”

“Yep, he looks like a heavy metal baby. He’ll fit right in at Fangtasia,” Sookie laughed.

“I’m ready any time you are, Eric.” Bjorn told him as he came back into the kitchen. He had eaten quickly and had a shower himself and looked really hot in a tight black shirt and blue jeans.

“Wow – I’m glad you guys are taking extra guards,” Sookie laughed, “the women won’t be able to take their eyes off of any of you!”

“Worry not, my Angel, we’ll be waiting for you girls to join us so no one will have a chance to distract us.”

“Right, nobody will get near your boys, Sookie,” Bjorn laughed.

“That better include you, too, Bjorn,” Bobbie laughed.

“Yep. I’m definitely one of Sookie’s boys,” he laughed.

“Yes, indeed,” Eric agreed. “Shall we go?”

“Oh, wait,” Sookie jumped up. “OK, Pookie, you’re going to go to Daddy’s club and I’ll come meet you there later. You be a good boy for Daddy, OK?”

“Oday!”

“I’ll see you in a bit, Sweetie,” she kissed him, “and you, too,” she laughed as she kissed Eric.

As they went out to the garage, Bjorn asked, “Which car should we take?”

“Leave the BMW for the girls. You and I will take my ‘ Vette. I can hold Alex. We’re Vampires, so no baby seat is really necessary. That’s mostly for Sookie,” he laughed.

“Yeah, she worries about him.”

“She’s more vulnerable during the day, too. You and I can handle whatever happens, I’m sure.”

“Yeah, Alex has his own defenses, too.”

“Yes, he does,” Eric smiled proudly at the boy in his arms as they settled into the passenger seat of the bright red car.

Alex looked all around because he had never been in this car before. Bjorn noticed his big eyes looking all around.

“What do you think of Daddy’s car, Alex?”

“Dadee’sth gar?”

“Yes, this is Daddy’s fancy car,” Bjorn told him. “Pretty cool, huh?”

“Eeah, goow!”

The other car of guards was waiting in front of the house as they pulled out of the garage, and their group all headed to Fangtasia.

Once the boys were out the door, Sookie went up for her ritual bath, which was so pleasant that she took longer than she had planned. She felt very relaxed and focused when she got finished and wiggled into her black dress. She did a little makeup, knowing she’d see Eric later, and she used the black kohl on her eyes again because it made her feel really Witchy.

Octavia was downstairs with Jerry, explaining what he needed to do while Sookie was in her ritual and she sprinkled Sookie’s room with a little salt water just to freshen the energy a bit. A little book shelf had been added, so she put some of the books from the table in the outer room on it and she brought the herbs and candles in and placed them in the little armoire with lots of drawers they’d had moved into the room for her.

When Sookie came down, Octavia explained what she was doing, and Sookie was really grateful. “OK, now, girl. Scry to make sure it’s a good time, then just do your thrice around and see if that works. I’ll see you when you come upstairs.”

“Thanks so much, Octavia,” Sookie kissed her on the cheek as she left, then she decided to smudge the room with sage to get herself settled. When she felt really centered and grounded, she sat in the circle with the scrying mirror. The Fae mother was reading to Aubie as she rocked him in the chair next to his crib. Sookie watched them for a long time, trying not to cry. She could tell that the woman really loved him, and that he felt safe and comfortable. Sookie almost felt as if she could feel Aubie in the bond. Sookie had no idea how long she watched, but it seemed like hours.

Finally, the woman kissed Aubie and tucked him into his crib. Sookie waited to see if he would go to sleep, but he lay there with his eyes open, and Sookie almost felt as if he expected her. She took up the athame and traced the circle thrice around in a clockwise direction and instantly she was standing next to Aubie’s crib. He smiled a big toothless smile as she looked down at him and reached up for her. She scooped him up and kissed him several times, hugging him closely to her.

She sat in the chair with him and pulled the dress down to feed him. He latched on eagerly, reminding her so much of Alex that it nearly broke her heart, and she looked lovingly into his eyes as he suckled. Sookie played with his little fingers, kissing his hand, and when he finished feeding she held him up to her shoulder and hugged him, stroking his little back as he twirled his fingers in her hair still damp from the shower.

“Time to come home now, Sookie,” Freyja appeared before her. A tear fell from Sookie’s eye as she hugged Aubie one more time, kissed his lips and tucked him back in. As she raised up, she found herself back in her room, Freyja still standing beside her.

“That’s so hard – it’s so hard leaving him!” she said to Freyja.

“Trust that there is a reason for everything, my Angel. As with everything in life, this is only a temporary thing. When he needs you most, you will be there for him.”

“Doesn’t he need me most now?”

“No, not as he soon will. Now, you must focus on Alex, then Aubie’s time will come.”

“Am I going to have a daughter some day?”

“Of course, my Angel, did you not want a daughter? Is that too much to give the Goddess for all the gifts you’ve been given?”

“No, of course not, I just feel… confused, I guess. Will Aubie ever be able to come live with us?”

“All in good time. When he is stronger and can defend himself as Alex can, then he might leave Faery. For now, it’s the only place he is safe.”

“So he’s there because he’s not safe here? But he will be some day?”

“Someday, perhaps.”

“But it’s possible that I’ll get to raise him?”

“All things are possible – only a few are probable,” Freyja smiled and was gone.

“Damn – She did it again!” Sookie said out loud. Freyja hadn’t made any promises, but it did give Sookie hope. She was sure that breastfeeding him was making him stronger. She hoped that meant that after a certain point, he’d have enough immunities to live in the human world. She was more determined than ever now that she was going to have her child with her.

And the daughter – Freyja almost sounded as if She felt Sookie owed it to Her. Maybe she did? Sookie figured she had so many gifts now, that maybe that was what Freyja wanted in return. Well, that was no problem at all. She’d love to have a little girl and Eric was obviously wild about the idea.

Bjorn and Eric laughed and talked as they drove to Fangtasia. “You know, I didn’t warn Pam that we are bringing Alex in tonight. I wanted to surprise her,” Eric laughed.

“I hope she likes surprises.”

“She normally doesn’t, but she isn’t around Alex much and I want him to know her as he grows up. She’s an important part of my life, too.”

“Yeah, naturally. How long have you two been… together?”

“Since the end of the 19th Century. I found her in Brighton, England just before the turn of the century.”

“How did you meet her?”

“I had been searching for a companion for a long time, but I had very high standards. I saw her sneak out of a playhouse one night in the dark to meet a beau and followed her back in. I followed her for some time, getting to know all about her before I took her.”

“Wow – did she have a choice?”

“Oh, yes, I seduced her and asked her permission, though she didn’t really comprehend the situation completely.”

“She wasn’t upset?”

“No, she was thrilled. She wasn’t suited to the sort of tight-laced life she’d been born to. She had the heart and spirit of a Vampire. I saved her from a life of misery and boredom.”

“Wow – you picked a good one!”

“I picked a great one!” Eric laughed. “I couldn’t have hoped for much more. We’ve been very happy.”

“And she doesn’t mind about Sookie?”

“She thinks I over-indulge Sookie, but there’s no resentment between them. She’s probably right, but I enjoy indulging her so I’ve no plans to stop.”

“OK, so tell me about the mermaid.”

Eric laughed loudly. “Sookie told you about that?”

“OH, yeah, we’ve had big laughs on it. She was talking about it in her sleep.”

“Well, it was a strange situation. Do you know the Temple of the Oracle in Siwa?”

“No, but Octavia seemed to know of it.”

“That doesn’t surprise me. It still stands, but it’s considered a ruin by humans. It’s actually a portal.”

“A portal? Where does it go?”

“I’m not entirely sure – another dimension, perhaps? I just know that if you know when and how to approach, it becomes this huge place, almost like a combination castle and temple. It exists outside of time. I thought I had been there a year and a day but it turned out to be nearly a century.”

“Wow! And you didn’t know the difference?”

“No, but I might not have cared. Those were wonderful times. I became very strong there and honed my skills to their finest point. And, the worship was wild. There was a huge room, the size of a football field or bigger, with these three connected swimming pools in sort of a v or w shape in front of the altar. The entire room was covered with a mosaic of abalone shells that sparkled in the moonlight and candlelight. The roof opened up to the night so the stars were visible in doors. Dionysus would hold reveries there that went on for weeks. There were couches and beds around the room, some in alcoves with gossamer curtains, pillows on the floor.

There was always lots of food and wine, blood of many kinds, lots of wild women of every type – humans, Witches and sorceresses, Priestesses, Fairies, undines and wood nymphs, Vampiresses, of course, and Daemons, Angels, a few creatures I never knew the names for. Once there was a mermaid there in the pool with a few of the undines I knew. You should have seen her, Bjorn! She was magnificent. Her hair was a strange shade of red and sparkled silver in moonlight and it was nearly as long as she was, falling around her shoulders in magnificent waves. Beautiful, firm breasts, as white as the moon, and perfect, unmarked skin with the softest shoulders and the most beautiful face!. Her scales were the most magnificent shades of turquoise, lavender, green, silver, some colors I’ve never seen in the waking world.”

“So how do you….”

“You know how dolphins and whales do it, yes?”

“Not really…”

“Well, basically, just like people, though they’re more likely to perform homosexual acts if they aren’t specifically procreating…”

“What?”

“Oh, yes, it’s not uncommon to see as many as five male dolphins rubbing their bodies against each other and they even have a kind of oral sex, with their snouts on another’s genitals. Anyway, you don’t normally think of whales and dolphins as having vaginas and penises, but they do. A mermaid’s is hidden by a flap of scales that retracts when she is aroused.”

“What does that feel like?”

“Wonderful, but not like a human woman. They aren’t as warm as a human, and they’re much… moister, almost slimey, but not in an unattractive way. It’s very sensual, and they tend to sing as you make love to them. Their songs are ethereal and amazing. It seemed to go on for days.”

“Wow – what was her name?”

“Marielle. She lived somewhere in the South Pacific, though I never got around to seeking her out…”

“You mean she might still be there?”

“Possibly. They live hundreds of years. She was only 150 when I knew her.”

“How come no one knows they exist?”

“Well, like other cryptids, they’re smart enough to avoid humans at all costs. They don’t want to be found.”

“What’s a cryptid?”

“An unknown creature – unknown to science, anyway. Like the Loch Ness monster, or Big Foot. Those are real creatures, but they avoid humans, and humans don’t bother to look into the stories closely enough. Everyone thinks there is only one Nessie, but there are lakes all over the planet with such creatures. They’re always near a fault line or a volcano so the creatures can come in and out from the sea. That’s why they rarely find a body. They go to sea to die.”

“So Loch Ness isn’t the only one?”

“No – there are 20 lakes in Sweden alone with creatures. There has been video of some in China recently.”

“You’re kidding…”

“Oh, no, there’s much more to the world than human science wants to recognize. Their minds are resistant to new concepts and they’re very susceptible to ridicule. It’s why the government is able to conceal so much of their contact with interstellar and inter-dimensional travelers.”

“Are you serious?”

“Absolutely. Think about it Bjorn – the human mind is designed to look for familiar patterns when confronted with something unknown. If they see something unfamiliar, their minds automatically make it seem familiar by giving it a familiar label. Humans don’t look at shadows and see monsters. They see monsters and call them shadows. That’s why our kinds were able to stay hidden for so long. The human mind will simply ignore anything that doesn’t fit into their usually very limited experience. Even now, their scientists struggle to understand new discoveries in every field. With very few exceptions, they are not open to new ideas. We only had to come out because forensics reached a point where they could no longer deny their own results.”

“Yeah, I knew about the forensics part. It was really giving us fits in the military. Then they started getting suspicious about our full moons. Some of us even registered as Pagans so they’d think we were holding rituals on those nights and leave us alone. They wouldn’t schedule us if we said it was a religious thing.”

Eric cracked up. “That’s a great way to handle that. Americans are very squeamish about religious topics, especially if they’re not Christian.”

“Yeah, most of the psycho-fanatic Christians wouldn’t mess with us that way, either. Every now and then, one would try to convert some guy who was designated as Wiccan and he’d just scare the shit out of him so he’d give up.”

“Dadee?”

“Yes, Alex?”

“Ware di Mamee do?”

“Mommy is taking care of things at home, Alex. When she gets finished, Mommy will come see us here, alright?”

Alex looked at Eric with a pout.

“Look, Alex, we are here! You’re going to see Daddy’s club and meet new people. Won’t that be fun?”

“Nu peepoh?”

“Yes, like you met people at the store, remember? There will be other Vampires here!

“Bampaya?”

“Yes, lots of Vampires!”

Bjorn turned into the back lot and they got out of the car. The back door was propped open as it usually was when they were expecting a shipment of some sort.

Two guards went around in front of Eric and went through the door first, then proceeded through the club to notify Vincent that they were there. Two more stood guard at the back door, and there were two that took spots outside Eric’s office and would stay within easy distance of him and the baby as they moved through the club. Bjorn carried the diaper bag into the office as Eric went in carrying the baby.

Pam came back, having seen the guards go to the front, and knocked on Eric’s office door.

“Come in, Pam.”

“Master? Oh!” She was shocked to see her little brother. “I didn’t know we were having a visit from the Prince tonight!”

“That’s not a problem, is it?”

“No, not at all. It’s always a treat to see the little bloodsucker.” She walked up to them and tickled Alex under the chin, making him giggle. “He’s getting so big so quickly!”

“Yes, he gets bigger and smarter every day, don’t you Alex.”

“Ahm sthmard.” Alex agreed and Bjorn cracked up.

“What else are you, Alex?” Eric prompted him.

“Dadee’s widdo bampaya!”

Pam laughed with delight at that. “He’s going to be quite a hit out there tonight. You are taking him out front for a bit, I hope?” She gave Alex a kiss then wiped the lipstick off his cheek.

“Yes, I will.”

“Good. It will boost our patronage if people think the Prince is apt to drop by…” Pam speculated.

“Yes, I thought of that. A little boost in sales would do us all some good.”

“Indeed. How are you, Bjorn? You look yummy tonight,” she purred at him and ran her hand over his muscular arm.

“I’m well, thanks. It’s nice to be out of the house.”

“Yes, well, maybe you and I can squeeze in a dance at some point tonight?”

“We’ll have to do it early – Bobbie will be here with Sookie and Amelia later.”

“Alright, I’ll make sure we get to dance soon. I’d better get back out front. See you all in a bit!”

Pam wiggled back down the hall and Bjorn watched her as she went.

“Damn! You sure know how to pick ’em, Eric.”

“Yes, I do have good taste in women, don’t I?” he laughed.

They locked the door to Eric’s office so they could try some things with Alex uninterrupted.

“Alex, fly!” Eric urged him.

With no hesitation at all, Alex flew up into the air and made a circle around the office, then came back to Eric, floating in front of him.

“Excellent, my son! Now, go up to the ceiling and crawl.” He pointed upward and Alex went up and landed on his knees on the ceiling. “Wonderful, Alex!” Eric then concentrated on Alex crawling down the wall opposite his desk. Alex immediately did what Eric projected to him. Eric projected, “go to Bjorn,” and Alex flew to Bjorn.

“Hold him there for a minute, Bjorn.” Eric instructed as he took the bunny out of the diaper bag and walked across the room and behind his desk. “Alex, what have I got?”

“Bundy!”

“Call bunny, Alex.”

“BUNDY!” Alex said throwing his arms forward and the rabbit was instantly in his hands.

“Good, Alex. Now send it back to me.”

Alex just blinked at him.

“Give Daddy the bunny, Alex!” Eric held his hands out to him and Alex sent the bunny slowly flying across the room.

“Good, Alex. Do you know any spells?”

“Eeah.”

“Say a spell, Alex.” Eric walked back over to him and took him in his arms again.

“Aya, erf, wada, fiya, bwin do me wad I desaya.”

“Wow,” was all Bjorn could say.

“That’s very good, Alex. Daddy has a gun hidden in his coat pocket on the door there. Bring me the gun. Call the gun, Alex.” Eric held one hand out.

“Dun!”

Instantly, the gun was in Eric’s hand. “Very good, Alex! That’s a very good boy! Now you never touch a gun, alright? Only Dadee or Bjorn should touch guns, OK?”

“Oday!”

“Send the gun back, Alex. Gun go back.”

“Bat!” The gun was gone. Eric took Alex across the room and checked his coat pocket. The gun was right back where it came from. “Excellent, Alex!”

“Mudik!”

“Music? Yes, you hear the music from the bar, don’t you?”

“Ear mudik, Dadee!” He waved his little arms in excitement.

“Think we should introduce him to his public, Bjorn?”

“Sure, I want to see how he does out there.”

“Do you anticipate problems?”

“No, I think everybody is going to love him. I love to watch him show off.”

“So do I! Let’s go meet some people and hear some music, ok, Alex?”

“Oday!”

“I’ll bring the diaper bag. I’m glad Sookie used one that looks a little masculine.”

“Yes, I think she told me that one is designed for fathers to use so it’s not womanly,” Eric laughed.

They walked out into the hall and headed toward the bar as the two guards fell in behind them.

Alex was really excited as the music got louder. They stopped first at the front bar to the left of the door, where Felicia was serving bloods and beer.

“Master! So nice to see you! And the Prince!”

“Good evening, Felicia! You have not met Alex yet, have you?”

“No, I haven’t. Oh, he’s so sweet! Hi, Alex!” Felicia beamed at him and Alex patted her face and said “ah!” which thrilled her and Eric.

“He likes you, Felicia,” Bjorn smiled at her.

“Yeah, I think he does. How are you, stranger!” She reached forward and kissed Bjorn on the lips and he gave her a dazzling smile. They might have drifted apart a little but it was obvious there was still a little heat there between them.

“You’re busy, Felicia, but if you get a chance to take a break in the next hour or so, come sit with us a few minutes,” Eric invited her.

Felicia was thrilled that Eric would ask her to sit with them a bit. As they started to walk away, Alex leaned so he could see around Eric and waved at Felicia, saying, “ba ba!”

“Good boy, Alex! Felicia will love that.”

Every head turned to watch them as Eric said hello to a subject or greeted a patron. The Vampires automatically knelt to Eric and when they’d stand, they’d say hello, and pledge fealty if they hadn’t already done so. Eric took Alex up to the stage and sat in his big chair, motioning for Bjorn to sit next to him in a side chair. Alex was amazed by everything – the lights, the music, the people – and he could hardly decide what to look at next.

“See, Alex, this is Fangtasia. Daddy sometimes works here. We own this bar.”

“Ownd id?”

“Yes, this is Daddy’s bar.” A waitress served a warm RM to Eric and a beer to Bjorn.

“I’m sorry, Master, we didn’t know what to bring for the Prince.”

“That’s quite alright, we have things for him if he gets hungry. Thank you for asking, though.”

“Dayoo!” Alex said with a big toothless grin.

A few people approached the side of the stage, wanting to offer fealty or speak to Eric and he allowed it. A guard took a place on each side of the stage and the other two were on either side of the room toward the back, so it wasn’t obvious Eric and Alex were being guarded, but they were.

A small man who was new to the area stepped forward and Eric motioned for him to approach. He introduced himself and explained that he had arranged the move with Sheriff Ravenscroft but said he wanted to say hello and pledge fealty since he was from the East Coast territories. Eric received him politely and welcomed him. The man then addressed Alex: “I pledge fealty to you, Prince Eric Alexander.”

“Dayoo!” Alex said, right on cue and Eric was about to burst with pride at Alex instinctively knowing what to do. The man was thrilled that the Prince spoke to him and Eric told him to enjoy his evening and gave him a free drink ticket.

A very pretty brunette Vampiress Eric had known many years ago stepped forward.

“Desdemona, I barely recognized you!” Eric said with delight. She moved forward to kiss him but Alex yelled, “nah nah!”

“Alex, what is wrong with you?” Eric was shocked.

“Nah Mamee!” Alex said with absolute conviction, shaking his finger.

“Forgive me, Desi, my son reminds me that I am bonded to his mother and should not be kissing other women,” Eric laughed.

“He’s very protective, I see!”

“He’s that way with his Mommy, too.” Bjorn told them.

“He is?” Eric didn’t know this.

“Oh, yes, when she was with her friends at Merlotte’s before he was even born, her old boss tried to hug her and he had a fit. He doesn’t like anybody touching Mommy but Daddy.”

“Nor touching Daddy, but Mommy, it appears. I must accede to my son’s wishes, but it is lovely to see you, Desi. How long will you be in town?”

“Just a month or so, but I’m planning to take up residence in New Orleans, so I expect we’ll be seeing each other quite often.”

“Wonderful! Leave your number with the New Orleans office and we’ll see about getting together over the holidays, at the very least. I’m sure there’s some plan for a Vampire get-together in December. I’d love for you to meet Sookie.”

“Ah yes, the young Queen. She’s quite a beauty, I hear, and very nice. I’m amazed that you went for such an innocent type.”

“I was much darker when you knew me. That all changed when I met her. She brought light back into my life.”

“My, my – I never thought I’d hear you waxing romantically about a woman – let alone a WIFE! She must be treating you well, though, because you look marvelous.”

“Thank you, Desi. Would you sit with us for a while?”

“No, I’m not staying, I just stopped in to see if you were here. I’ll talk to you soon, I’m sure. Good night, little Prince. Sorry I tread on Mommy’s turf!” she laughed.

“Oday, baba!” Alex waved at her.

She laughed and walked away.

“Wow – he’s quite the little cock blocker,” Bjorn laughed.

“Yes, he is, but he’s right. I shouldn’t be kissing other women, no matter how well I used to know them.”

“She’s an old flame, I guess?”

“We spent some good times together in the South of France before I made Pam, and we spent some time together in San Francisco in the 60s and 70s – she’s hot, Bjorn, like you wouldn’t believe.”

“Yeah, I saw her. Feel free to tell me all about it, though, in great detail,” he laughed.

“Ware di Mamee do?” Alex said and he started to act as if he was going to cry.

“Alex, Mommy will be here in a little bit. Are you hungry?”

“Eeah,” he wiped his little eye and Bjorn pulled out the first bottle he could find, which was breast milk.

Eric sat Alex so his arm supported his back and held the bottle for him. Alex drank a little and said, “dat Mamee?”

“This is from Mamee, yes. She sent it for you. You just enjoy and Mommy will be here later, OK?”

“Oday,” he settled down and drank, though he was still a bit agitated.

“He’s trying not to freak out.” Bjorn observed.

“Yes, I know. The bottle is soothing him, though. Sookie’s taste is comforting to him.”

“That’s good. Watch his eyes, Eric – he just spotted that dancer and his eyes got huge.”

“Dantheen, Dadee!”

“Yes, she is dancing to the music, isn’t she?” Eric laughed as he watched the serpentine dancer writhe to the music.

“Ah wyg dantheen,” he waved his little arms and watched with amazement as he sucked on the bottle.

“Yeah, I like that kind of dancing, too.” Bjorn laughed. He thought to himself that all that was missing was the pole.

“Poh!” Alex laughed.

“What?” Eric had no idea what Alex was reacting to.

“Uh, I forgot that he takes after his Mommy. He’s reading my mind.”

Eric laughed. “Yes, you must remember to keep it g-rated around my son,” Eric laughed.

“Not that that’s going to help. With you for a daddy and Sookie for a mommy, he’s going to have sex on the brain no matter how careful we all are.”

“True. He’s already a flirt.”

“I know, right? Did you see him hitting on Felicia?” Bjorn laughed.

“He likes to show off for anyone, but he really turns it on for the women. He’d have put on quite a show for Desi if she hadn’t started to kiss me.”

“Bjorn, are you available for our dance now?” Pam sneaked up behind them.

“Can you spare me, Eric?”

“Of course, feel free.”

Bjorn stood up and took Pam’s hand, leading her onto the dance floor.

“Ware di borhd do?”

“He’s going to dance with your big sister, Pam. See, watch them.”

Bjorn and Pam were dancing slower than the music and Pam was making the most of her time in his arms, really rubbing up against him.

“Borhd dantheen?”

“Yes, Bjorn is dancing.”

“Nah Babee.”

“No, that’s not Bobbie, but Bobbie will be here later.”

“An Mamee?”

“Yes, Mommy, too, and Amelia and Jerry.”

“Ah wyg Ameeah an Babee.”

“Yes, I know you like Amelia and Bobbie. They play with you a lot, don’t they?”

“Eeah, sthwimmeen ina poo!”

“Swimming in the pool. You haven’t been able to be in the pool for a few days, have you?”

“Nah.”

“Excuse me, your majesty?” a skinny lady in clothing way too young for her interrupted Eric’s chat with his son.

“Yes, madame?”

“Would you mind if I took a picture of you and the little Prince? You just look so sweet together.”

“Yes, you may.” He moved the bottle to the side and said, “look at the lady and smile, Alex.”

She clicked the button on her phone and said, “Oh thank you. It’s so sweet.”

“May I see it?”

“Yes, of course,” she held the phone up to him and he loved it.

“Would you email a copy of it to me when you get home?”

“Oh, sure! Where should I send it?”

“Admin at Fangtasia dot com. Can you remember that?”

“Oh, sure. I’ll definitely do that. Thanks for posing, little Prince!”

“Oday! Dayoo!” Alex replied, eliciting ooh’s and aah’s from the lady and her equally trashy companions. Eric figured they must all work in the same office, because they had that look humans get when they escape from their cubicles for a little bit.”

Eric finished his blood and before it hit the table Felicia was there with another warm one.

“Felicia! Join us!”

“Thank you, Master!”

Alex reached toward her and Eric nodded as Felicia looked to him for permission to hold Alex. Alex hugged her and kissed her cheek, which shocked and delighted Felicia. “Oh, my!”

“He does like you, Felicia. I think my son has my fondness for pretty girls.”

“Oh, he’s so cute! Everyone is talking about him. I even heard at least three different people calling their friends telling them that the Prince was here. Everyone is so excited to see him.”

“Good. Maybe we’ll be busier later on tonight.”

“Dadee – dat?” he patted Felicia’s face and looked at Eric.

“Her name is Felicia.”

“Peeshah?”

“Awww!” She cooed at him

“That’s close.”

“Ah wyg Peeshah!”

“You do?”

“Eeah, inthen!”

“You are wearing perfume, Felicia?”

“Yes, I am.”

“He seems to think everything that smells good is incense. He likes your perfume.”

“Aren’t you sweet! I wish I had some kind of treat for him or something.”

“That’s not…”

“Bundy!” Alex was suddenly holding his rabbit.

“Oh, my!”

Eric looked around quickly to see if anyone else had noticed that, but no one seemed to.

“Bundy sopf!” He held the rabbit up to Felicia wanting her to pet it.

“He says it’s soft, Felicia, he wants you to pet it and see.”

“Yes, that’s very soft. You like soft things?”

“Eeah! Ah WUV sopf!”

“He loves soft. And by the way, Felicia, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t mention what he just did to anyone else. No one here seems to have noticed.”

“Oh, I won’t say a word. It’s true, isn’t it, Master? He’s magick?”

“Yes, he is, but let’s keep the particulars just between us, alright?”

“Of course!”

“Thank you!”

“Dayoo. Dantheen?”

Felicia looked at Eric. “He’s saying “dancing” but I’m not sure what he wants.”

“Is he asking me to dance?” Felicia laughed, delighted.

“Eeah! Me an Peeshah dantheen.”

“Apparently, he is,” Eric laughed.

“May I?” Felicia asked, to Eric’s surprise.

“If you want to, of course,” he said. Felicia took the baby out to the dance floor and held his one hand high and she danced around he floor with him in time to the music. Alex was beside himself, smiling and making his happy noise every time she’d spin around with him. That song ended very quickly, then a slower one came on and she swayed with the music and he laid his little head on her shoulder.

Pam was needed in the office, so Bjorn went back up to sit with Eric.

“Are my eyes deceiving me?” Bjorn said, looking back at the dance floor.

“No, Bjorn, my son is beating your time with Felicia,” he laughed.

“How did that happen?” Bjorn was cracking up.

“He asked her to dance.”

“You’re kidding?”

“No, I’m not. I wouldn’t believe it myself if I hadn’t seen it. He looked at her and asked her to dance. He did it very simply, of course, but he was clear about what he wanted.”

“Damn, he does take after his old man,” Bjorn laughed.

“I just hope Sookie is not jealous that he’s dancing with another woman!”

“Hey, a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.”

When the song ended Felicia brought the baby back to Eric. “Thank you, Felicia, he loved that!”

“I loved it, too. He’s such a doll. There’s something about him – like just being around him makes you feel so good. Thanks for the dance, Alex.”

“Dayoo, Peeshah!” Alex said happily then pointed to his bottle. Eric retrieved it from the table and let Alex drink some more.

“Let’s see now, he drank from the hottest actress on the planet when he was what – three days old? And he hit on his first chick bartender at just over two weeks? You should be writing this stuff down for him Eric!” Bjorn thought this was hysterical. “At this rate, he’ll be taking Salma Hayek to his first junior high dance!”

“You may be right. I wouldn’t dare write it in Sookie’s journal, but maybe I should make notes for him he can enjoy later in life.”

“Mamee! Mamee!” Alex got really excited.

“Yes, I feel her, too, Alex. She’ll be walking through that door any minute now.”

Just as a waitress brought Bjorn a new beer, Sookie came bouncing into the room in a really sexy, short pink chiffon dress with silver beading on the bodice. Eric and Bjorn both had eyes bugging out when they saw her. When she got closer, Eric noticed she was wearing the hot Mark Jacobs shoes with the silver heels that she wore to the fundraiser in New Orleans.

“Hey, Sweetie!” she said as she swished past the rest of the room, who were also all watching her.

“The shoes!” Eric said as she reached the stage.

“Uh-huh! New dress, too, do you like it?” She turned around, holding the top layer of chiffon out a bit, being very flirty and showing off.

“Sookie you know what the doctor said…” Bjorn told her.

“What did the doctor say?” Eric asked him as he handed the excited baby to Sookie.

“It’s not a big deal, Bjorn,” Sookie tried to get him to back off as she snuggled Alex.

“I was supposed to tell you all of his earlier, Eric. I’m sorry I didn’t. Anyway, Sookie couldn’t wake up this morning and we called Dr. Ludwig. She said, among other things, that Sookie was not to have sex on the nights she makes her trips to… wherever.”

“And this outfit is an attempt to get me to ignore the doctor’s orders?” Eric looked at her sternly.

“I feel fine. I’m eating all the stuff she prescribed, and I’ll take the stuff.”

“Stuff?”

“Yeah, she left a bottle of stuff in the little fridge, Eric,” Bjorn explained, “and a special cup. You’re to give Sookie a cupful of the stuff every night before you go to rest and then no one is to touch it or taste it until you give her some the next night.”

“What sort of stuff?”

“The label was very old and ornate and I didn’t look closely, but I think it said “Ambrosia” on it.”

Eric’s eyes were bugging again. “Dr. Ludwig gave this to you?”

“She left it in the fridge,” Bjorn confirmed.

“And I am to give it to her?”

“Yes, she said one cupful every night before you go to rest. I have a feeling it will knock her out for a bit.”

“Probably. There may be some effect that requires the dawn.”

“Good point. I didn’t think of that, but dawn and twilight are important times in magick.”

“They are?” Sookie asked

“Yes, ask Bobbie and Amelia about it. Where are they, by the way?” Bjorn had just noticed they were missing.

“They stopped in the ladies’ room. They’ll be here any minute.”

“Come sit down, Sookie, people are trying to look up the back of your dress,” Eric insisted.

“Are you mad at me?” she asked sheepishly as she sat in her chair and settled Alex on her lap.

“I’m not pleased with you at the moment.”

“What did I do?” she tried to play innocent.

“You know perfectly well what you did. The only question is what I am going to do about it.”

“I think I’ll go see what’s keeping the girls. I guess Jerry’s back there, too?” Bjorn asked as he got up. He knew Eric was angry with Sookie and wanted to give him space to deal with her.

“Yeah, he was parking the car. The lot is crazy full tonight.” Sookie said, though she never took her eyes off Eric.

“Thank you, Bjorn.” Eric said with an edge in his voice.

Bjorn worked his way through the crowd as the two guards in back of the room moved forward just in case, but they still stayed back from the stage.

“Eric, I …”

“Don’t you sit there and lie to me on top of trying to entice me to violate the orders from your doctor.”

Sookie’s eyes were big but she stopped talking. Eric was fuming. “I’m sorry, Eric…I…”

“You aren’t nearly as sorry as you’re going to be.”

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