Meanwhile back in the Waking World
Doctor Rodgers had had a long day, and the last thing he needed was some freaking mix-up. He stormed down to the x-ray department, x rays in hand, “Who sent these films up to the Coroner’s office? Is this a fucking joke?”
“Honest, Doctor,” the young x-ray tech, a tall thin young man with a dark buzz cut, tried to assure him, “That’s what came out. The best we can tell, there’s nothing there but a pool of blood.”
“You mean to tell me that there was no heart in Jubal Garner’s chest?”
“Not that I can see.”
“You did these chest films yourself?”
“Yes, sir. We knew they didn’t look right, so we did the two views three times. The other four are here.”
Rodgers looked at the additional x-rays, all of which showed nothing where the heart should be except some fluid. “Keep these up here,” he told the young man, “and you show them to no one. You tell no one, you hear me?”
Rodgers went back to the morgue to get on with Garner’s autopsy. His body was smeared with blood, but the chest cavity had not been opened in any way. There were no cuts or other marks than the blood smeared on his torso and his shirt, pants and shoes. That had all been bagged and tagged, and the preliminary test showed that it was at least the same type as Garner’s. He knew that the son had told some bizarre story about some Witches pulling out his heart, but he was sure that was some drug induced delusion or a poor attempt to hide that he’d killed his own father. At any rate, they were going to solve the mystery right now.
Quickly, skillfully, Rodgers opened the chest cavity and found that Garner’s heart was… wait, what? He couldn’t make sense of what he found. The heart was where it should be, but it was upside down. He picked it up and it pulled away clean, not attached to anything around it, blood pooling in the empty space. It was almost as if the heart had been removed, then put back in place incorrectly. The arteries looked shredded where they were separated from the heart, as if they’d exploded. Why did he smell sulfur?
As quickly as he could, he finished the autopsy, declaring the death was due to a heart attack. He went back to the x-ray department and took all of the 6 chest films home with him, along with all the other documentation related to this case. He took it all into his library and spread it out on the table, making himself a scotch and water, waiting for a call from Garner’s brother. He had no idea what he was going to say.
Sookie was up and refreshed, jumping up and down with delight at the pink ballerina dress she was given for the circle that night.
“Ah!” Eric sat up with a start. “Oh, gott , Sookie!”
“What’s up, Sweetie! We need to get dressed.”
“Come here for a minute,” he motioned to her as he sat up on the side of the bed. She sat on the side of the bed, surprised when he hugged her, but she hugged him back and gently ran her nails on his back because she knew it relaxed him.
“Eric, are you alright?”
“I just had a crazy dream.”
“Yes, disturbing and crazy. I was naked in broad daylight on the top of a mountain, sitting in a lounge chair in the snow, reading a book. Suddenly, I felt a shiver and I started to burn in the sunlight!”
“Sweetie, that sounds horrible!”
“It was, I was burning… it was so real.”
Sookie leaned back, placing a palm on each side of his face. “You know that will never happen, though, right?”
“Yes… yes, of course.”
“You’d never be on a mountain alone like that! Where was I? Where were the boys?”
“You were dating Alcide Herveaux and there… I guess there were no boys. Bill Compton wrote some kind of book about being a god… It was like some kind of alternate universe with the stupidest, most horrible things you could imagine for all of us.”
“Well, nothing against Alcide, but I’d much rather be with you than anyone – you know that. That was quite a disturbing dream you had but that’s all it was – a shitty dream! You’re here with me and the boys and we love you more than anything. I will never let you sunbathe naked on a frozen mountain, I promise, because I love you.”
Eric laughed and kissed her, knowing she was trying to joke him out of his lingering fear.
“My life without you…”
“Hey! NO SUCH THING, right? We’re a unit, now and always. There is no life that doesn’t include all of us.”
“You will never leave me,” he said, almost to himself.
“Never. You’re stuck with me!” Sookie laughed, kissing him again and tickling him a little. “Now, shake it off and get dressed. We’ve got moonlight to bathe in and fires to dance around.”
“What do I wear?”
“Not to worry, sir,” Maddy spoke up behind him. “I’ve got your clothes right here.”
Eric was happy to have a pink dress shirt, worn untucked, comfortable jeans and boots to wear. The boys were dressed in onesies in blue for Alex and Lavender for Aubie and they each had little crowns of ivy to wear that somehow magically stayed in place all night. Maddie put a small, gorgeous diamond tiara on Sookie and polished the aqua stone and chain, around her neck again, without taking them off of her. She touched the stone only with the cloth so she didn’t “imprint” on it.
Eric had a crown of ivy, too.
“Wow – you look like the Great Horned God in that, Sweetie!” Sookie squealed as she threw her arms around him, grabbing two handsful of behind as she did and squeezed.
“I think that’s the idea,” Eric wiggled his brows at her, grinding forward a little and making her laugh. He was so pleased to see her this bright and happy that the dreadful lingering fog of the dream was quickly subsiding.
“Hey, I’m already pregnant – they aren’t going to need me to lead an orgy again are they?” Sookie asked, half kidding.
Eric and Maddy cracked up.
“Oh, no, Milady!” Maddy assured her. “Just dancing around the fire tonight. Nothing like a full moon on a warm summer night and a cup or two of mead the let the magick flow!”
“Are we going to do magick?” Sookie asked a little nervously.
“I don’t know,” Maddie said, “but as far as I know, we’re just supposed to drink and dance and howl at the moon!”
“Arooo!” Eric howled like a wolf and the babies giggled, then tried to howl like Daddy did.
Sookie laughed at all of them, “people are going to think I’ve got a pack of wild dogs in here.”
“Pag uv wyd wuffs!” Alex giggled, flying around the room, doing flips in the air.
Aubie laughed as Eric bounced him in his arms and tried again, “ahwooo!” in his silly little voice.
Eric held on to Aubie and Alex flew between him and Sookie as they walked down the corridor and down the great stairs. Scores of people were walking in the same direction, down a long path lined with flowering trees, eventually reaching a huge clearing beyond a grove of sacred oak.
The grove looked very much like the Wiccaning, with food tables and drinks on the sides and some tables scattered around, but this grove had a huge fire in the center of it and no observation stand because it wasn’t a formal setting. Instead, there was a huge group of people playing drums, stringed instruments and flutes.
People and creatures of every description were drinking, talking, laughing. There were some of the young pages in the blue tunics, White ladies in their black and white robes, angels, Goddesses, Amazons in one shouldered white gowns with the left breast exposed, Fae of many kinds but suddenly Sookie realized that there weren’t very many men here – maybe 50 out of 2,000. There were some children and animals and lots of the colorful little winged Faeries that liked Aubie so much and they fluttered around the group of them all night.
One of the pages came over with two golden goblets of ambrosia and two bottles of apple juice for the babies. “Queen Sookie, my name is Ariel,” the petite blonde girl told her, “If you need anything special tonight for you or the babies, just let me know. I’ll stick close to you, just in case.”
“Oh, that’s nice! Thank you. I hope you’ll get to have fun, too, though.”
“This is fun!” the girl laughed, “we had a big contest to see who got to serve you tonight and I won! You, too, King Eric, unless you’d rather have a boy – I can get one of the other guys if you do.”
“I’m sure your help will be sufficient, Ariel. Thank You.” Eric had his Lord of the Manor manners on tonight and Sookie loved it.
“Ariel, is there anything we need to know about tonight?”
“Not really – it’s just an Esbat Celebration to enjoy the full moon. Oh, Lady Nivian did say that you might want to give each baby a spoonful of Ambrosia early in the night.”
“Oh – we’ve never given them any before…”
“She said it will keep them from being stressful in the crowd and then they’ll sleep soundly when you get back to your rooms.”
“Where can I get a spoon?” Sookie felt like that was a dumb question.
“Right here, Milady,” The girl pulled a blue and white napkin from the pocket of her tunic and unwrapped 2 golden baby spoons.
“OK, we’ll hold the boys and you can take a scoop out of our goblets, OK?”
“Yes, your majesty.” The girl was very excited to help.
Eric held Aubie down toward her and she took his goblet and scooped a spoonful of the thick blue liquid from it, then fed it to Aubie.
“AAAAahhhhhheeee!” Aubie yelled then giggled so hard he got the hiccups. Everybody laughed together because Aubie was making the cutest faces and saying “ooo, ooo, ooo, Hic, ooo, ooo” and smacking his lips.
Alex settled in Sookie’s arms and said, “Wadiz dat, Dadee? Obee wyg dat a wot!”
“That’s Ambrosia, Alex, that’s what Daddy gives me every morning before I go to bed,” Sookie explained. “You want some?”
Alex gave that exaggerated nod that he did and told her “Eeyahh! Wond thom!”
Ariel used the other spoon to feed Alex, who was thrilled with it, “Ooh hoo!” Alex imitated Sookie’s call from swimming, “Ah wyg dat anbwothza! Mo an mo!”
“Alex,” Eric said firmly, “you only take what we give you, understand? You no touch Ambrosia – only Mommy and Daddy, yes?”
Alex huffed a little and scowled, but he could tell Daddy was serious and he knew at this point not to ruffle him, especially in front of all these people. “Oday!”
Maddy brought their cloaks to each of them, and Alex was quickly on to the next issue.
“Wadah we doween? Do majick, Mamee?!”
“Well, sort of, Sweetie – we’re going to dance around the fire,” she laughed as she and Eric exchanged babies since Aubie was lighter than Alex.
Suddenly the drums all beat together: bam! bam! bam! bam! And the music took off as the crowd started moving around the fire clockwise.
Sookie couldn’t remember having more fun than this because there was no pressure on her tonight, and no conflict near as far as she knew. Niall and his band couldn’t get here, and there were obviously very powerful Goddesses and Priestesses here, so she just let loose and had fun.
Eric was beaming because he could feel Sookie’s relief and watched her aura, clearly visible to anyone in this setting, glowing pink and yellow and through the night, the more fun Sookie had, the larger the big pink cloud surrounding them reached out to the edges of the crowd. He could see people looking at Sookie bouncing around the fire with Prince Auberon, laughing and smiling, feeling and seeing her joy.
Sookie started singing a chant at some point, even though she was aware that she didn’t really know any chants, but she did it and had fun any way:
“Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna!”
The whole party joined in for about 13 rounds then Sookie switched to:
“Lady Freyja blesses Me and as I will so mote it be!”
Again, the whole party followed Sookie’s lead. Suddenly Sookie’s big pink cloud of an aura throbbed in time with the drums bam! bam! bam! and Freyja appeared in the sky, riding in a golden chariot pulled by the two biggest cats Sookie had ever seen. Everyone cheered and the crowd all started chanting:
“Hail, Freyja, Hail to the Queen, hail to the King and both our princes,
Hail, Freyja, Hail to the Queen, hail to the King and both our princes,
Hail, Freyja, Hail to the Queen, hail to the King and both our princes!”
Now the flutes began playing a song that sounded more Native American than Irish or Welsh and the dancing became more like jumping around the fire. People kept jumping and Alex flew over to Aubie, taking his hand so they danced in the air between Mommy and Daddy, having a great time.
The dancing, drinking and eating went on all night, the group basking in the light of the huge fire and Sookie’s bright-as-the-moon aura. It was near sunrise when she finally asked Eric, “Is it time to go home yet? I’m having a great time, but my feet are starting to hurt!”
He laughed and swept her up into his arms giving her an amazing kiss then called.
“Auberon! Alexander! Come with Mommy and Daddy.”
Once the boys were with them, Eric kicked it into almost vamp speed, going just slowly enough that Sookie could hear “good night, Queen Sookie! Good night, little Princes!” and various other greetings and well wishes that went out to them all as they returned to the Cenobium. People were meandering back along the path, tired and happy, a little buzzed, satisfied, ready to fall into bed with a smile on their lips. Once they reached the great stairs, Eric really kicked it up and in no time they were in Sookie’s room, the boys tucked in with fresh nappies, Sookie humming to herself as Eric finished with the boys and came to bed.
As soon as Eric was in bed, Sookie snuggled up against him, her head on his chest and her fingers playing with the fuzz below his navel.
He already knew the answer, but he asked “How is my little Goddess tonight?”
“Happy! Tired but happy. I didn’t think I could…” suddenly her mood began to darken.
“Focus on happy, my lover. We had a wonderful day and night. We’ll wake up in a few hours refreshed and relaxed and I think the plan might be to go on a picnic with the boys, and if I recall correctly, there will be other children there with whom the boys can play and use magick and not worry about being seen by humans. Alright?” he finished and laughed softly because she was already asleep in his arms. He closed his eyes and the family was sleeping peacefully in an instant, safe and secure.
Sookie was dreaming. First, she was wondering about Eric’s dream, but decided that was such a ridiculous idea there was no need to dwell on it. As she made that decision, she realized that she was lucid in this dream. ‘This is good,’ Sookie thought, ‘I can do something – some kind of work. What do I want to do?’
Sookie couldn’t decide what to do so she just said “Freyja! Are you there?”
“Of course, Sookie, I’m always here for you, dear!”
“What do I need to do?”
“You need to let yourself be happy, Sookie.”
“Sookie, that situation was predestined. It could not be changed. There is nothing you could have done to change it – even if you had known and tried, the Universe would eventually make the key elements fall into place.”
“Not even with magick?”
“Not without a price you aren’t willing to pay.”
“Would you give up Alexander to make the event go away?”
“NO! Of course not!”
“Before you ask the Universe to make a change, Sookie, remember the unintended consequences. Alex is born to defend our kind from a particular threat. Remove that threat, what becomes of Alex?”
“Are you saying that Alex might die if I changed this event?”
“Is it likely?”
“But I still killed someone…”
“Sookie, is that one person worth more than the 1.3 million lives you saved? More than Alexander? Or Auberon?”
“Of course not.”
“You’re a soldier Sookie and this is a war. You did your duty, you protected those you needed to protect.”
“Shouldn’t magick make all of this unnecessary?”
“There are no should’s Sookie. There are choices. There are actions and reactions.”
“Free will, you mean?”
“Is there anything I can do to help the Garner boy?”
“No, Sookie. Let it go.”
“Let it go,” Sookie repeated to herself.
“What did you say, Sookie?”
Sookie eyes popped open, “Bjorn?”
“Yeah, are you alright?”
“Uh, yeah. Am I supposed to be here now?”
“I don’t know. I thought you’d be gone until the morning?”
“Maybe I should go back to sleep.”
“Probably, but take this pill first. Dr. Ludwig left it for you.” He brought a glass of water and the other sedative to her and she swallowed it, though it went down a little rough and she coughed.
“Anything going on?” she asked him as she settled again.
“Everything here is quiet. Go have fun with your boys,” he said affectionately, glad to at least see that much of her, and know she’s all right.
“Eric?” Sookie called to him to see if she was back in Avalon.
“Sookie?” Are you all right?” Eric said softly, not wanting to wake her if she was talking in her sleep.
“Eric? Yeah, I’m OK. Where are we now?”
“Still in Avalon.”
“Oh, good. I was just home, but Bjorn said it was all quiet so I came back here.”
“Good to know things are well at home.”
“Do you have a way to contact Bjorn if there’s a problem? Or can he get in touch with you?”
“Yes, we have special yellow phones.”
“Yellow? I wonder why?”
“I didn’t ask, we were worried about you.”
“I’m sorry I scared everybody.”
“Don’t be sorry, Sookie. You were in shock. Everybody came together to help you.”
“Do you know what happened?” She turned on her side to face him and he did the same. “Do you… know what happened?”
“We know what Amunet told us. That you teleported unexpectedly and took Jubal Garner’s heart, but his son saw you.”
“Why did Amunet do that?!”
“Sookie, Amunet is also married to a King. Garner has been much more direct in dealing with the Egyptian nests. I’m sure she didn’t intend to hurt you, but I’m equally sure she was looking for a way to get you to kill him sooner rather than later.”
“I’ve ruined that boy’s life!”
“Sookie, that man threw bombs at our house and sent armed men to hurt us all. It is a great advantage to us that he’s gone. Grieve a little for the boy, but keep in mind that some day he will come for us just as his father did…”
“… And Alex will take him out,” she finished his sentence. “Freyja told me to let it go.”
“Freyja will always tell you the truth, Sookie, I’m sure of that.”
“So how long are we staying here?”
“I’m not sure, but when we get back, only a day will have passed.”
Alex and Aubie landed right in between them, making Sookie and Eric crack up.
“Our sons are awake, it seems,” Eric tickled both boys who let out squeals of joy. Sookie joined in and they all giggled and huddled together.
“Yes, Alex, Mommy is happy,” she told him as she kissed him on the head.
“Ay!” Aubie wanted a kiss, too, which she gladly gave him.
Sookie and Eric howled with laughter and Sookie tried to explain.
“A picnic is when you go to the country and run around and play games and eat lunch on a blanket under a tree!
“Ah don no dose wordsth!”
“No, I guess you don’t, Sweetie. You’ll just have to wait and see!” Sookie teased him and blew raspberries on his belly, then did Aubie, too because he was cracking up. They were being pretty loud and boisterous when Maddy knocked on the door.
“Excuse me, Milady, Sir Robert is here to take you on your picnic.”
“Oh, is he going with us?
“Aye, he’ll be around to get you to the park and to be sure the babies are safe in case you and the King want some time alone together.”
“Do you have clothes for us to wear?” Eric asked, hoping she’d say ‘yes.’
“Of course, Sir and the horses are waiting for you all.”
“Horses? Are we taking a carriage?”
“No, Milady, you’ll be riding today.”
“Riding?” Sookie asked as she looked at the pretty pale blue dress with cleavage and tank straps and a full, waltz length skirt, “I’m going to ride a horse in this?”
“Not to worry, Milady, everyone does it. Give it a try.”
Eric just had jeans, boots and a tight red t-shirt to wear. Sookie’s dress was beautiful, and she hoped she didn’t ruin it today.
“I’m not going to have to ride side-saddle, am I?” Sookie asked.
“No, no, nothing like that, Milady.”
Sookie and Maddy were putting new diapers and onesies – yellow for Alex, orange for Aubie – when there was a knock on the door.
Eric opened it and saw a smiling Sir Robert, also in jeans and boots.
“Good morning, your majesty! We’re ready any time you are!”
Eric looked expectantly at Sookie, who said, “Yeah, let’s roll!”
They all headed down to the front of the Cenobium where there were horses and a small, horse drawn carriage waiting for them. Sir Robert helped Eric put on a sling that would hold both babies and when they were set, Eric easily swooped up into the seat which thrilled the babies to no end.
Sir Robert helped Sookie up onto her horse and Maddy fussed around her a bit, adjusting the skirt of the dress. The dress was long enough to cover Sookie’s legs to below the knee and the back of it spread back over her and the saddle.
“OK, this isn’t too bad,” Sookie said as she got centered and comfortable. Maddy rode with the carriage driver and two pages and Sir Robert rode a beautiful chestnut stallion ahead of Sookie and Eric.
Sookie didn’t really notice the horses until they were on their way. Eric’s horse was enormous and muscular, jet black and shiny with a wild mane. Sookie was on a medium size white mare with pink and blue ribbons braided into her mane and a beautful bridle embossed with pink flowers.
“Eric, aren’t these horses fantastic?” Sookie said when it got quiet along the way and she trotted her horse up parallel with his.
“Yes, they’re very nice.”
“Dadee, wadiz dat wyd?”
Eric didn’t quite catch that. “What is what, Alex?”
“Dat WYD.” Alex said as clearly as he could, reaching for the horse’s mane.
“Wyd?” Sookie repeated, “OH, RIDE, Eric, he wants to know what we’re riding.”
“Horse, Alex. This is a horse.”
“Yes, Alex, we are riding a horse.”
“Sir Robert, do our horses have names?” Sookie asked.
“Yes, Milady. Your lovely horse is called Samantha and she’s specifically trained for a female rider. She’s gentle, but she’s also strong. If you want to race her, she’s up to the task. The King’s beautiful stallion is called “Embers” for his fierce eyes that burn like embers of coal. It’s by far the finest horse on Avalon.”
Eric liked that. Sookie directed her horse closer to Eric and the boys and she patted his mane, “See, Alex, the black pony is named “Embers.”
“Yep, Embers. Can you say “Embers,” Aubie?”
“That’s pretty good. Keep practicing!” She laughed as she stroked his cheek.
“Wadiz oours orsth, Mamee?”
“Her name is Samantha. SA – MAN – THA.”
“Very good, Alex. You’re learning very quickly.”
“Fast, Alex,” Sookie thought he might know that word.
“This is fast, Alex!” Eric said as he ruffled the reins and put his horse into a run. Alex was screaming wildly with laughter and Aubie’s mouth was hanging open. He never felt anything like this!
Eric circled around and brought the horse back into line with Sookie’s horse as everybody laughed.
“See that, Alex? That was FAST!” Eric said and then planted a kiss on each baby’s head.
“Ah wyg fastht! Mo fastht, Dadee!”
“Actually,” Sir Robert said as he led them all left, “we’re here. Let’s pick a spot and we can watch you ride.”
“Ooh, yeah! I love that idea!” Sookie was all into that. She loved to watch Eric do anything, but riding around on that big ol’ horse? Swoon!
There was a nice little stream on the right of the park and there was a shady spot by a clump of trees that looked lovely. Sir Robert tied his horse and Sookie’s to the back of the carriage and Maddy and the two pages spread a huge quilt on the ground. Sookie sat on the blanket and watched Eric and the babies ride around a big open lawn on the other side of the walking path.
Eric knew the babies were loving this so he took the horse at an even gallop and made a big circle on the lawn. The squeals and shrieks from the boys was cracking Eric up. He’d never pictured riding with the babies at this young age, but they seemed to be handling it fine. They made a few more circles then Eric noticed Aubie was squirming.
“Auberon, all right, buddy?” Eric stroked his head
“You want to sit with Mama? OK, here we go,” Eric turned the horse and they trotted over to the picnic area.
“What’s wrong?” Sookie asked as they came back.
“Auberon is asking for Mama,” Eric said, proudly. He liked that Aubie was so fond of Sookie. He thought it was good for both of them. It made Aubie feel loved and it gave Sookie something to do so she wasn’t afraid to let Alex stretch when he wanted to. He knew it distracted Sookie enough to calm her natural tendency to worry.
A good part of the afternoon involved Eric and Alex galloping back and forth. Eric was amazed that Alex’s shrieks didn’t scare the horse. After an hour or so, Eric and Alex joined Sookie and Aubie in the blanket.
“Ah wyg taytoth sthawed!” Alex said after he took his first bite. Aubie ate a couple of bites of mashed up potato salad but he didn’t love it the way Alex did. Both boys enjoyed the chicken wing pieces, Sookie tearing off small bites for Aubie and Alex eating them double-fisted to Eric’s great amusement. Both boys were drinking bottles of apple juice and eating cookies, which were still a bit warm so the chocolate chips were still “melty.”
“Wow, this is a huge basket of cookies,” Sookie laughed.
“Plenty to share,” Sir Robert told her.
As they were finishing up their lunch, they heard giggling and the sound of flutes and little noise makers as a group of about 10 children came across the field where Eric had been riding the horse.
“Look!” A little girl with strawberry blond curls said, jumping up and down, “it’s Queen Sookie! And the babies! And King Eric!”
“Yay!” “Huzzah!” “Is it really them?!” Look, Alex and Aubie!” The boys and girls all squealed with laughter and joy at seeing that the rumor – the one about the royal family being on a picnic this morning – were true and they ran across the lawn up to toward the path, stopping there and waving, excited but wanting to be polite.
“Hi, Sir Robert!” A boy with dark hair and small blue wings was the first to speak.
“Hello, children,” he welcomed them, “have you met Queen Sookie and her family yet?”
“Hi, everybody,” Sookie waved them over, “come have a cookie!”
“Thank you, Queen Sookie!” The tallest little girl said, being the first to walk over and take one. The other kids followed her lead, very happily, bubbling with questions:
“Ooh, they’re still warm!”
“Thank you, Milady!”
“Which one is Alex?”
“Which is Aubie?”
“King Eric, did you bring a sword?”
“Queen Sookie, you’re so beautiful! Do you like Avalon?”
Alex was beside himself at seeing other “boiz an guhs” and he jumped up and said “Ewwo!”
“It’s true! The babies can talk?” They squealed, jumped up and down, and took turns shaking their little hands, which tickled Aubie, who said “ay-aya!” as best he could to say “hi!”
“Ahm Pwinz Awegsth,” Alex said, “what is ur dame?”
“I’m Tomas!” said the little boy with the blue wings, “do you like berries? There’s a great mulberry tree right over there!”
“Fruit, Alex, you like fruit, remember?” Sookie reminded him.
“Oday!” Alex took his hand and flew across the path to the tree at the edge of the woods with Tomas and some of the other kids.
“Does Aubie fly yet?” A little girl in a peach flowered dress with a top like overalls asked as she knelt next to him and Sookie on the ground.
Some of the other kids sat down, too, munching on cookies and touching Aubie’s little hands.
“Yes, he can fly,” Sookie told them, holding Aubie on her knee facing the kids, “but he’s a little shy.”
“Wait right here!” A little girl with brown ponytails in a blue dress unfurled little yellow wings and flew to the mulberry tree, coming back with her hands cupped to hold a lot of berries. “Here, Aubie, these are really sweet!”
Aubie giggled, beside himself with all this attention, and took a berry, looked at it and popped it in his mouth. “Goo’ Mama!”
“Good? Did you say “good,” Aubie?! You learned a new word!” Sookie praised him.
“Ah!” He said pushing up with his legs as she held him, standing for the first time.
“Very good, Auberon! That’s a big boy!” Eric said with pride, making Aubie giggle and the little girls clapped their hands as he did, too.
The girls and boys made a few trips back and forth, feeding Aubie berries. One little redhead offered Eric some berries, which he accepted, thrilling the little girls to no end.
Alex was running after some of the kids across the road, flying, turning tricks in the air, giggling like crazy. When he started to feel sleepy, he went back to “Mamee an Dadee,” covered in mulberry stains and very pleased with himself.
Alex flew into Eric’s arms with a big yawn. “I think my little vampire is sleepy, Eric whispered.
“Nah seepy, Dadee!” Alex said, but then he put his arms around Eric’s neck and fell asleep with his head on Dadee’s shoulder. Aubie was slowing down, too, so the children said “bye-bye,” taking one more cookie each and running across the lawn toward home. Sir Robert led them all back to the Cenobium in time for the “nap prynhawn” and they were happy to tuck the boys in and take a nap, too.