[Contains spoilers for the movie The Craft.]
Part 15 A Force of Nature
Sookie was walking along a shore at sunrise, alone in the cold. She didn’t recognize the long black dress with spaghetti straps that she was wearing, and she realized she was cold because she was barefoot. She had no idea where she was, or how long she’d been walking, but she was exhausted as she came upon a very large, carved oak chair with rose pink velvet cushions. She wondered what it was doing out here so far from anything, but she sat down in it for a few minutes, curling up in the soft cushions, trying to get warm, trying to remember how she came here. She must have fallen asleep, because when she awoke the tide had come in around the chair and the tail of her dress that hung down from the chair a bit was wet. It was warmer now and the sun was coming up, and she could see thousands of little things floating in the water. She scooped through the water with her left hand and got pink rose petals. She scooped again and was holding 3 pink roses. She scooped a third time and had a long string of beads, red, pink and gold or copper, and heard a woman’s voice saying, “remember, 6 and 13.”
“Roses!” Sookie sat up just as Bobbie was about to wake her.
“Good morning, Sunshine!” Bobbie was standing there with Sookie’s breakfast tray, wearing a blue paisley “Indian” style dress and looking like she was in a great mood.
“Hey. Did you just say something?”
“I was just about to,” she said as she settled the tray over Sookie’s lap, “were you dreaming about roses?”
“Yeah, it was weird…”
“OK, where are you writing the weird stuff down?”
“Just in a little steno pad. It’s probably in that tote bag over there.”
Bobbie got her settled with her tray, then went over to the chair on the far side of the side table and picked up the pink tote bag sitting in it, putting it up on the table and finding the steno pad with Sookie’s name on it pretty quickly. “OK, here you go. Pretty handwriting!”
“Oh, yeah, Eric wrote my name on it. He has beautiful handwriting, doesn’t he?”
“Yeah, a lot of vamps do – it’s because they’re so old. People used to take penmanship very seriously because so few people knew how to read or write.”
“Yeah, what am I doing with this?” Sookie didn’t want to seem dumb, but she was half asleep and not thinking clearly yet. She felt as if she left a part of her in the dream.
“I want you to write down everything you remember about that dream. Remember? Roses?
“Oh, yeah…OK,” Sookie opened the pad to the next empty page and began to write. “How detailed should this be?”
“As many details as you can remember – where you were, what time it was, what were you wearing, doing, every detail you can remember.”
“I remember a woman’s voice saying, “Remember, 6 and 13.””
“6/13 as in the date a couple of days ago or 6 hours and 13 minutes between high and low tides?”
“Tides! Yeah, I was in a chair and fell asleep and the tide came in and surrounded me.”
“What kind of chair?”
“A huge one like a Queen would sit in and it was made of oak – how I know that I have no idea – but it would seat two people at least and it was beautifully carved with these stick symbols and covered with velvet pillows in almost the same rose color as the chairs in the living room.”
“And you sat down in it? Why?”
“I was exhausted and cold and I just wanted to rest and be warm and figure out where I was, but I must have dozed off. Then I was scooping stuff out of the water…”
“What stuff and with which hand?”
“Um – left hand, and the water was full of thousands of pink rose petals and I got a handful of them first; then the second scoop I got three pink roses; then the third scoop I got a long string of beads. Hey – maybe the beads were in groups of 6 and 13?”
“What kind of beads were they?”
“Some kind of actual gemstone – again, no idea how I know that – but some were gorgeous pale pink and some were a pinkish red and there were some gold or copper beads separating them.”
“Do rose quartz and garnet sound right?”
“Quartz, yeah, but I don’t know about garnet. These were more like… rubies, maybe? Yeah, rubies – Freyja loves rubies – why do I know that? Anyway, they were kind of like rosary beads but instead of a crucifix on the end there was an image of a lady with her arms pointing up.”
“The Goddess – those were rosary beads, then.”
“Rosary beads? But that’s a Catholic thing, right?”
“Prayer beads and similar tools have been used in lots of cultures all over the world. Rosaries are a Pagan thing that was sort of stolen by the Catholics.”
“Wait, what am I eating?” Sookie just noticed what was on the tray in front of her and it didn’t look familiar.
“Bagels and lox – smoked salmon is a Swedish thing, so Eric apparently asked Margaret to see if you’d eat it for the baby.”
“For the baby?”
“Yep. He read somewhere that fish is brain food, which is true.”
“How do I do this?”
“Spread some of the cream cheese and/or butter on a bagel, pile up some fish, and some red onion if you like it, then dig in.”
“Do I put two halves back together or eat it open face?”
“Whichever you prefer.”
“OK, then, sandwich… now, tell me more about rosaries…” she smashed the two bagel halves together and tried to take a bite out of the thick sandwich.
“OK, In Buddhism they call it a Mala, and it has 108 beads. I think the Catholic rosary has 108, too. That’s also the number of stitches on a baseball, by the way…”
Sookie laughed, but her mouth was full of fish so she didn’t say anything.
“The Hindus use from 32 to 108 beads, and theirs are made from “rudraksha,” which are the seeds of a specific tree. In Islam it’s called subha, which means “to exalt.” They have 99 beads for the 99 names of “god.””
“OK, so where does the Goddess come in?”
“At the very beginning, as always. The first were what we call Witches’ Ladders – just knots tied in a string to help you count off your prayers. That’s still an easy way to do a spell.”
“Cool. Will you teach me?”
“Definitely!” Bobbie nodded enthusiastically as she finished helping Sookie with her breakfast and sat in the side chair.
“OK, it went from knots to beads?”
“Yes, and the root word for beads means to count. The first beads were probably created for counting, then for praying, then only later they were used as jewelry.”
“OK, this fish or whatever is AWESOME! I never tasted anything like this. Now, where’s the Goddess, again…?”
“OK, well the word Rosary refers to roses which are a symbol of the Goddess. The petals of the rose represent the labia of the Goddess.”
“Labia as in “down there?”” Sookie’s eyes were wide – she couldn’t believe her ears!
“Yep, when you stroke the beads…”
Sookie’s swallowed her food and her mouth dropped open, her eyes still huge. “NO WAY!”
“Yes, way. If the Catholics only knew! Especially since Jesus didn’t approve of rosaries.”
“He specifically says in Matthew 6:7 “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.””
“That’s actually in the bible?”
“Yep – that’s a direct quote from the King James version – look it up, if you want.”
“I’ll take your word for it, but remind me later because I want to write that down in my book, too, but I’m too hungry to stop eating right now,” Sookie laughed, covering her mouth because it was full, and Bobbie did, too. “You want some of this?”
“I already ate, Sweetie, but thanks. Margaret stuffed me like a turkey!”
Sookie cracked up at that, knowing it was true. “So people don’t know about rosaries being about the Goddess?”
“For the most part, no, but look at who the Catholic rosary focuses on – Mary, not Jesus. And whenever people see visions, it’s always of the Mother, not the son.”
“Yeah, I noticed that one time. Protestants never see visions of Jesus like they did at Fatima or that other one I can’t pronounce.”
“Yeah that’s it – I can never remember that word, but I remember seeing the story on one of those Unexplained Mysteries type shows.”
“Right, well, when Paganism was driven underground, some people, most notably the Irish people, refused to give up certain Pagan practices, so the church tolerated some of it and eventually wrote new definitions for things. The Goddess Brigid became St. Brigitte, the Mother Goddess became Mary, Mother of god. They even use the traditional titles of the Great Goddess to refer to Mary.”
“Queen of Heaven, Stella Maris or Star of the Sea, which originally referred to Isis. There’s a Native American Goddess who actually managed to work Herself into the Church in Mexico.”
“Which Goddess is that?”
“The Catholics call Her the Virgin of Guadalupe, but it’s really the Goddess Tonantzín. The picture of Herself She left on a peasant’s cloak even shows Her as an Indian, not the European version of Mary you see most places.”
“What kind of Indian?”
“Aztec, I think. The name Tonantzín just means “Our Lady,” which is common for many Goddess names. Freyja means the same thing, just in a different language. All the names of the Goddess really refer to the one Living Goddess, so many of what we think of as names of different Goddesses are really just the local word for Lady or Mother and refer to the Universal Mother.”
“Is this information hard to find? Like, if I did a search on the Internet, would I find some of this stuff?”
“Some of it, yeah. Wikipedia is pretty mainstream and it has articles on Freyja and Tonantzìn, for example and they both say that the names mean “Our Lady.””
“OK, this may seem like a weird question, but is there a favorite name of the Goddess? One she prefers over the others?”
“Traditionally, Isis is supposed to be Her favorite name, though that’s a Greek translation of the original Egyptian, “Au Set.””
“Does it say that anywhere?”
“I don’t know where it was said first, but there’s a quote from the only Latin novel to survive about Her preferring that name.”
“A Latin novel? Like from Rome?” she asked and Bobbie nodded, “How old is it?”
“Second century or something like that.”
“What’s it called?”
“The writer called it Metamorphoses, but it was later called The Golden Ass.”
Sookie giggled a bit at that. “What’s the quote?”
“It’s a long one and I don’t have it memorized – want me to look it up?”
“Yeah, my computer is right there. Are you good at shopping on the Internet?”
Bobbie reached for Sookie’s computer, which was charging up on the side table, as she answered. “Yeah, I can shop with the best of them,” she laughed. “What do you want to buy?”
“Ooh – fun!”
“You’ll help me with that, right?”
“Sure, Hon, anything you want.”
“Cool. I know it’s early, but I want to at least have a crib in the house, just in case. Plus it will make it more real, you know?”
“Your nesting instinct is kicking in,” Bobbie laughed. “That’s a good sign. We want to nurture that all we can.”
“Hey, can you use rose oil in my treatments?”
“I was thinking about that. I think I’ll talk to Doctor Ludwig first, because there are some who say that it should be used with caution in the first four months of pregnancy, but Freyja would really dig it, I think, and if you’re dreaming of pink rose petals, I think that’s a pretty direct sign. OK, I found the quote.”
“Cool – read it to me, please?”
“It’s from The Golden Ass, by Apuleius and they date it around the 2nd Century CE …”
“It means Common Era – people use it now instead of AD because that’s a religious phrase.”
“OK, so what to they use instead of BC?”
“BCE – Before Common Era.”
“Good to know,” Sookie laughed, “OK, let’s hear it,”
“I am nature, the universal Mother, mistress of all the elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual, queen of the dead, queen of the ocean, queen also of the immortals, the single manifestation of all gods and goddesses that are, my nod governs the shining heights of Heavens, the wholesome sea breezes. Though I am worshipped in many aspects, known by countless names … some know me as Juno, some as Bellona … the Egyptians who excel in ancient learning and worship call me by my true name…Queen Isis.”
“Aspects. Amelia told me about aspects of the Goddess – that each one is a part of the greater whole.”
“She’s also trying to get me to wrap my mind around the idea that a thing can be two ways at once, like alive and dead, or positive and negative…”
“Schrödinger’s cat stuff?”
“Yeah, she talks about quantum physics and stuff and how it relates to the Goddess.”
“What do you think about that?”
“I think it’s a lot to think about. It’s nice to know that there’s a real basis for stuff, I guess, but I kind of feel like I’m never going to need it.”
“You might be right about that, but if you ever do need it, it will be good to have it in your head.”
Sookie laughed, “that’s what she said. So do you know anything about interpreting dreams?”
“A little bit. Not enough to make money from it, but I’m pretty good with finding the message anyway.”
“So what’s the message of my dream?”
“Well, water is usually either emotion, the subconscious or psychic ability and your Goddess, Freyja, is called Shining on the Sea, so we can draw a couple of things from that.”
Sookie was loading up another bagel as Bobbie explained. “What things?”
“Well, the tide came in around you while you slept. You woke up just in time. Your magick is flowing whether you’re ready for it or not, and you’re a little overwhelmed, but not drowning yet.”
“I think you should try to recreate those rosary beads.”
“Like, find a set to buy, or make a set?”
“Make a set like the one you saw.”
“Can you just make those?”
“Yeah, of course. Haven’t you ever been to a bead store?”
“No, what’s that?”
“A store where they have all kinds of beads and jewelry findings where you can make your own jewelry.”
“There’s nothing like that in Bon Temps – I don’t know if there’d even be one in Shreveport.”
“We can get what we need over the Internet if we have to, but let me do a search.” Bobbie put Shreveport, beading and jewelry in the Google search box.
“Do you know how to make jewelry?” Sookie asked
“Yeah, well enough to put a rosary together. Here we go – there’s a place on Line Ave. called “String a Bead.” Do you know where that is?”
“No, but we could find it. Don’t you need certain prayers and stuff to do that?”
“You’ll write your own, or find them.”
“Yeah, in a dream or in books, we’ll come up with something.”
“If you say so.”
“It’ll be easier than you think. What were you wearing in the dream?”
“Kind of a nice long black dress made out of t-shirt material with spaghetti straps.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind having a dress like that. I was barefoot, too, does that mean anything?”
“This is going to sound weird, but were you wearing underwear?”
“No, now that you mention it, I wasn’t.”
“I think that’s you being bare before the elements. That’s probably as close as your subconscious would let you get to naked in your dream.”
Sookie laughed at that, “so I’m a prude in my dreams?”
“Not a prude – maybe just a little shy,” Bobbie teased her.
“Hey, have you got your swim suit on under that dress?”
“Yep, I was hoping you’d feel up to doing some water aerobics today.”
“Sounds good to me – what time is it?” She looked at Eric’s clock, “quarter to one.”
“Get your suit on, and let’s go do some exercises, then we’ll play in the pool a bit, do your massage, and maybe we can head off the nausea today.”
“OK, I’m not dressed – will you care if I get out of bed naked?”
“No, Hon, you’ll probably be naked around me a lot, so don’t even think about it.”
“Yeah, it’s just us girls, right?”
“Right,” Bobbie laughed, “and Goddess worshipers aren’t really hung up on nudity, anyway.”
Sookie laughed, “Yeah, really!” and got into the hot pink suit that was currently her favorite and grabbed Eric’s white shirt and her pink tote and they quickly headed for the pool. Bobbie carried Sookie’s tray back as they went down in the elevator.
“Hey, Margaret!” Sookie said as she entered the kitchen, “that breakfast was fantastic!”
“I’m glad you liked it, dear. Would you like to have it again some time?”
“Yes, please!” Sookie laughed as she bounced on out the back with Bobbie in tow.
Bobbie took Sookie through some easy stretches to give her breakfast time to settle, then had her do about 15 minutes of hard work in the water to get her heart pumping. They worked a total of almost an hour, then they each took an air mattress –Sookie a pink one and Bobbie a green one – and they floated and chatted about baby, the nursery and wedding things for about an hour until Sookie felt a little nauseous. She was afraid she’d lose her breakfast in the pool so they got out and Bobbie got her oils as Leroy brought the massage table downstairs for her. Bobbie spread a sheet over the table and wrapped one around Sookie so she could wiggle out of her suit without anyone seeing her. Sookie laughed at herself as she lay naked on the table except for the sheets, wondering what Gran would say if she saw her outside like this.
The massage was very soothing and Sookie fell asleep about 10 minutes into it. Bobbie worked slowly and deeply to get Sookie’s body to begin to release some of the tension she probably wasn’t even aware of. As bright as Sookie’s personality seemed, Bobbie could tell from the rigidity of her shoulder muscles and the resistance in her back that she was under more pressure than she was showing. Their chat in the pool revealed how quickly all of this had happened to Sookie and Bobbie knew she was trying very hard to be grateful and positive, but anyone would be having problems adjusting to such extreme changes, and these changes were all the more extreme because both Fae and vampires were involved. ‘What must it be like,’ she thought, ‘to know you’re having a baby that’s not like anyone else on Earth?’
“It’s crazy,” Sookie laughed.
Bobbie cracked up, “I didn’t know you were awake.”
“That thought was really loud,” Sookie laughed. “I just keep telling myself he’s a magickal baby and the Goddess made him possible so he’s got to be wonderful, plus Eric says he’ll be magnificent.”
Bobbie laughed. “Wishful thinking?”
“No, he says he saw him, when he knew it was really his baby. He says he’s tall and looks like him and he’s going to be “magnificent.””
“Does Eric have any powers of any kind?”
“He can fly…”
“Yeah, really fast when he wants to. Is that what you meant?”
“Is he psychic at all?”
“I don’t know if I’d call it psychic, exactly, but he’s got strong intuition. He’s really good at picking the right people for the right job. Of course, with our Blood Bond, he knows how I’m feeling all the time, so I can’t hide anything from him.”
“He can’t hide anything from you, either, though, can he?”
“Sometimes I think he can – like he can project a feeling that hides another feeling underneath.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, like one night, I’m pretty sure he was in a fight or something like that, but he was projecting happy and satisfied feelings because he liked what he was doing. There had to be some anger or violence there, but the main thing I got where I was, was satisfaction.”
“He wasn’t really able to hide it, then, he just projected something you didn’t expect. He probably enjoys kicking ass.”
Sookie laughed, “yeah, I’m pretty sure he does. He likes being Sheriff and he likes everyone calling him Master.”
“At his club, absolutely. They call me ‘Mistress,’ too, which I’ll never get used to.” Bobbie cracked up at that. “Wow – what a turn on!”
“It’s a turn on when they call him that, but I feel a little stupid when they say it to me.”
“They aren’t rude to you, are they?”
“They wouldn’t dare! I know that, for sure – Eric would never tolerate anyone being disrespectful to me. I hear what some of the fang bangers think about me though, but I know they’re just jealous. I also know the reason is because he won’t touch them or let them touch him anymore.”
“Being able to hear their thoughts is a real advantage.”
“I always hated being telepathic until I met Eric. He’s trying to get me to see it as a gift instead of a disability.”
“Yeah, that’s how I always thought of it. It isolated me from people and it made it impossible for me to function in school. Most people thought I was crazy and were afraid of me. That’s why I like vamps so much – I can’t hear them so I can be normal with them.”
“Sookie, that makes me so sad. There weren’t any relatives that could teach you about it?”
“No, I was the only one I knew who could do it. I only just met my Fae great grandfather about a month and a half ago. I still haven’t really met another telepath, but I assume some Fae are telepathic, right?”
“I guess. Did you say some of them are coming to your wedding?”
“Yeah, even though I don’t know them.”
“Are you excited to meet them?”
“I’m nervous about it. I don’t know anything about them. What if they don’t like me?”
“Sookie, there’s nothing about you to dislike. Relax and look forward to it.”
“Hey, Bobbie, my stomach is getting weird. I think I’d better go in now.”
“OK, Sweetie – go ahead and take the sheet with you and I’ll come find you after I put this stuff away.”
“Thanks!” Sookie wrapped the sheet around herself tightly and went into the kitchen in a bit of a hurry. “Hey, Margaret, Alicia, I’m going upstairs for a while. Can I get a really cold can of pop?”
“I’ll be right up with it, dear,” Alicia assured her, noticing it was later today than it usually hit, so this was progress.
“Thanks!” Sookie called back from the hall in the pantry where she was calling the elevator, which was on the second floor because one of Margaret’s helpers was working up there. Sookie prayed the whole way up that she not throw up in Eric’s elevator, or on his carpet in the hallway, or in the bedroom, or in the bed. She went into the bathroom and stood by the commode a few minutes waiting to see if she was going to get sick. She was definitely nauseous, but decided she felt no “quickening,” so she used the sheet she was wrapped in to wipe some remaining oil off of her back and arms and stepped into the shower just to quickly wash off and wash her hair. She combed out her hair and wrapped one of Eric’s big, super soft Ralph Lauren towels around her and went back to her bed, taking the wastebasket and her computer with her. She sipped the cold drink that was waiting for her on her nightstand and ran the options for her next move through her mind, but nothing exciting emerged. Ugh – she hated being sick.
As had become her routine, she used the remote from Eric’s nightstand to raise the TV out of the chest at the end of the bed, and looked at the stack of movies on her nightstand. She figured she’d try Persuasion again, since she slept through it when she tried to watch it with Eric and every time since. She probably wouldn’t see it this time, either, since she and Bobbie would be talking, but it was something to have on in the background. As she remembered, it wasn’t bad and most of it was quiet. Quiet was good when she felt sick, because she was easily over-stimulated. She suddenly had an idea and buzzed the baby monitor Alicia used to keep in touch with her when she was ill. “Hey, Alicia?’
“Is there a fan in the house anywhere?”
“Yes, there are several small ones and one or two large ones. Do you want one in your room?”
“I’ll bring it right up.”
“Hey, Sweetie,” Bobbie came into the room.
“Hey, Bobbie. Do you like Jane Austen stories?”
“Sure – is that what you’ve got on here?” She looked around at the screen from Eric’s side of the bed.
“Yep – it’s Persuasion. Have you seen it?”
“No, and I don’t think I’ve read that one either.”
“Sit down,” Sookie patted the bed next to her, “What’s your favorite.”
“I’m a huge fan of the Colin Firth version of Pride & Prejudice.”
“The one they’ve been advertising?”
“No, an older one. It’s a long one, but it’s great.”
“I wonder if we have it downstairs?”
“Have you got movies downstairs somewhere?”‘
“Yeah, Eric has a big cabinet full of them, but I don’t know what all is in there. If you ever want to look at them, they’re in alphabetical order.”
“Where is it?”
“In the den, back to the left of the big TV.”
“You want me to go see if you have it?”
“Yeah, and see if there’s anything you like in there. You’ll be baby sitting me tonight, so you might as well bring some we can watch.”
“How about something Witchy?”
“I don’t know if there is anything like that, but if you can find something, sure.”
“OK, I’ll be right back. You need me to bring anything else back?”
“Ask Margaret if there’s anything crunchy to snack on?” Sookie said apologetically.
“Will do. Hang on.”
Bobbie went to the elevator and took it down to the kitchen.
“Hello, Bobbie. Can I get you anything?”
“Sookie asked if you had anything crunchy to snack on?”
“I’ll put together a tray of crudités for you two.”
“That sounds nice. I’m in search of movies…”
“Look in that cabinet straight on through here and to the left of the TV.”
“OK, thanks.” Bobbie bopped on through the den and found the cabinet with what she figured was about 400 movies in it. She pulled out the Pride and Prejudice set she had told Sookie about, plus Bell, Book & Candle, Practical Magic and The Craft. She stacked them up on the opaque lid of a big blue plastic container that held carrots, celery, cucumber spears, red, yellow, green and orange bell pepper slices, grape tomatoes, snow pea pods, and a big cup of ranch dressing. She got back to the room just as Alicia was plugging in a nice white oscillating fan on a stand that was set up down by the TV so it would cover the bed. “Wow, that’s nice.”
“You won’t mind, will you, Bobbie? I think it might help my nausea,” Sookie said as she leaned back on the wedge pillow, still wearing a towel.
“Don’t worry about me, Sookie, you do what makes you comfortable.”
“What did you bring me to eat?” Sookie said playfully as Bobbie sat next to her. Bobbie let her take the movies off the plastic container and pulled off the lid. “Ooh, yummy! I think I can eat this stuff even on a queasy stomach.”
“Just go slowly and relax and maybe you won’t get sick today.” Alicia said hopefully. “Is there anything else you need? Did you want to put a gown on?”
“Yeah, I should. Something soft and small, please?”
Alicia pulled a light blue knit gown with spaghetti straps out of a drawer and tossed it to her. “Here you go – I’ll be helping Margaret with dinner if you need me.”
“Thanks, Alicia.” Sookie held the gown up and looked at it for a minute. “You know, Bobbie, if this were longer and black, it would be just like the dress I wore in the dream.”
“Where’d you get that one?”
“Alicia bought it for me.”
“Ask her if it comes in different colors and lengths.”
“Good idea, because that dress was simple and really sexy. I know Eric would like it.”
“It would make a good ritual dress.”
“You have to wear special things for rituals?”
“You don’t have to, but a lot of people like to have a certain gown or robe to wear to help set the scene. It’s just one more way to make a dedicated space, you know?”
“No, I don’t know. I’ve never seen a ritual or tried one.”
“I need to meet Amelia and see if she has specific plans for you. I don’t want to interfere with her teaching you, but later, we’ll watch The Craft – it’s really hokey in parts and the end is stupid, but there’s a pretty nice ritual they do early on so you can see how they Call the Quarters.”
“That’s like North, East, South and West?”
“Yeah, or East, South, West and North.”
“How do you decide which one to use?”
“Which one makes sense to you?”
“Which one makes sense to you?” Sookie asked with a laugh
“I like starting in the East and following the sun.”
“That makes sense.”
“Sookie, have you had any other dreams that you haven’t written down?”
“Probably, but nothing that stands out in my mind.”
“OK, from this point forward, we want to really pay attention to that. Things seem to be coming at you from all directions.”
“Amelia said there’s like a whirlpool of energy that’s pulling the things that I need to me.”
“That’s a good way to describe it.”
“Let’s go see them tomorrow.”
“I thought they were busy this weekend?”
“They’re making favors and centerpieces for the wedding. We could help, or just chat while they work.”
“OK, well, if you get up feeling good tomorrow, we can drive over there. Do you have a car?”
“Have I ever – Eric bought me this crazy BMW that’s all bullet-proof. I’ve known him like 7 weeks and it’s the second car he’s bought for me.”
“Yeah, the first one was because my old one broke down, but then when he found out I was pregnant, suddenly that car wasn’t good enough for his son.”
“That is one involved daddy,” Bobbie laughed with admiration.
“Yeah, to be fair though, the other car is a two-seater so there was no back seat for the baby seat.”
“Well, that’s understandable, then. It’s not safe to have a baby in the front of a car.”
“Yeah, and he’s all about safety for me and the baby. I asked him if he was afraid of anyone in particular, but he always blows me off by saying that any sheriff is bound to have enemies.”
“That’s the truth, though, Sookie. The position itself means someone might try to use you to get to him.”
“Yeah, I try not to think about that. All that political stuff is scary and boring all at the same time. Do you know anything about the vampire power structure?”
“Mostly that they have regional sheriffs within each territory, then each territory has a king or a queen. Have you met yours?”
“Yeah, her name is Sophie Ann and she’s really beautiful. She’s got a thing for Eric, I think, and her … what’s that word they use? Not boyfriend or husband, but…?”
“Yeah, consort. He hates Eric, big time. He’s the scariest person I’ve ever met, Bobbie. I dread even seeing him at the wedding. I don’t like the idea of him knowing where Gran lives. I never thought of that when I picked the place for the wedding, but I’m thinking of it a lot these past few days.”
“If somebody wants to find you, Hon, there’s always a way, so just live your life and pray for the best. Is the scary consort definitely going to be there?”
“Well, the Queen RSVP’d for, like, twenty people, so I assume he’s one of them.”
“That would make sense – unless they need to leave someone home to mind the store.”
“That would rock, if she’d just come with my cousin and her entourage minus creepy André.”
“Yes, it would,” Eric smiled at her from the doorway.
“Eric!” Sookie motioned for her hug, and Eric said, “sit still, Bobbie,” going around the bed, TV and fan to hug Sookie.
“How is my beautiful bonded tonight?” He asked as he sat next to her on the bed and hugged her tightly.
“Not bad, actually. I had some nausea and came in, but I haven’t actually thrown up.”
“That’s progress. You look tan and seem rested.”
“We played in the pool and worked out and Bobbie gave me the best massage!”
“She even fell asleep on the table for a bit,” Bobbie reported.
“Good. The doctor says sleep is her number one priority. I see you girls have a stack of movies for tonight?”
“Yeah, Bobbie says one of them has a good ritual in it.”
“Really?” Eric asked her.
“Yeah, the movie is cheesy, but they do a pretty good ritual at the beginning that will give her an idea of what to do.”
“Excellent. Any baby news?”
“She had a pretty important dream this morning.”
“Did you write it down, Sookie?”
“Yeah, it’s in the steno pad over there.” She pointed at the table and Eric moved from the side of the bed to the side chair and opened the tablet to read Sookie’s notes. He read through it very thoroughly, then asked “Sookie, what did the carvings look like?” Eric asked her
“Everything was pointy and some looked like F’s and P’s and B’s and tall, skinny M’s and arrows and fish…”
Eric pulled the pen from the spiral at the top of the note pad and turned to a clean page, then he drew a few characters and showed them to Sookie. “Like this?”
“YEAH! Exactly like that. You know it?”
“Yes, those are Norse runes. Altogether they are called the Elder Futhark. It’s a language even older than I am.”
“Indeed. The next time you see them, try to remember them exactly so we can see what they say.”
“It was just a dream, Eric, I doubt I’ll see them again.”
“I don’t doubt that you will, Sookie. I believe you were seated in Freyja’s throne, but I won’t be sure until I see the inscription. If it’s the throne I know, I know you will see it again.”
“You seem so sure…” Sookie didn’t see how he could know whether she’d see them again.
“Trust me,” he smiled and kissed her lips, then put the steno pad back on the table and started to the bathroom.
“Hey, plug in my laptop before you go, please?”
Eric laughed, “research?”
“Shopping. I need baby stuff. Bobbie’s going to help me shop for the nursery.”
“Did the boys clear the room out?”
“Yes, but it needs to be painted.”
“Have Alicia make arrangements with my day man.”
“I should do a little research about paint first,” Bobbie said, “some aren’t safe for pregnant moms or babies.”
“Alright, when you know what you need, let Alicia know,” Eric smiled, glad to know that Bobbie was aware of things like that he might not think of. He went to his chest of drawers and took out a Fangtasia t-shirt and a pair of jeans as they talked.
“Thanks, Sweetie,” Sookie smiled, thinking about how much fun it would be to put the nursery together. “I’ll feel better when we get a crib in the house.”
“A crib?” Eric was surprised she was concerned about such a thing.
“Yeah, for the baby to sleep in.”
“The baby will sleep with us for the first years of his life, Sookie,” Eric told her. “You have plenty of time to furnish his room. I want to do what they call a “family bed” the way we did in my human life. I’m convinced a baby should be with his mother as much as possible.”
“Isn’t that dangerous?” Sookie asked, “I always heard the baby could be suffocated that way.”
“Bobbie?” Eric asked for backup.
“It’s controversial, but there are work-arounds and special equipment to make it safer. If you’re willing to have him in the bedroom with you, I’m all for it. I think it’s better for the baby to keep him close at least for a few months. It makes them much more secure if they’re picked up quickly when they need you.”
“Exactly.” That was exactly what Eric wanted to hear. “That’s not a problem, is it, Sookie?”
“No, I just assumed you’d want our privacy.”
“That’s a modern concept, Sookie. Where I am from, large families slept in one open lodge. No one had a private room as they do in these times.”
Sookie just looked at him, not wanting to mention their wild sex life in front of Bobbie just yet.
Bobbie looked at Eric and nodded, letting him know she’d explain to Sookie that this was a Supe baby and would have different needs and attitudes than she might expect.
Eric decided to leave it to her and see how that worked out, since he really did need to get going. “Enjoy your movies, ladies, I should get ready to go. Pam left a message that she has a lot for me to do.” He closed the bathroom door and set about showering for the night.
“Sookie, are you worried about having sex with the baby in the room?” Bobbie tackled the subject head on.
“Yeah, I mean…”
“Is it because you’d feel inhibited or because you’re afraid it will warp him?”
“Mostly the warping part. We get pretty loud…”
“Sookie, you have to remember that this is not a human baby. He’s a supe. He’ll never have the kind of hang-ups about nudity and sex that most humans have.”
Sookie laid her head back and looked up at the ceiling. Bobbie let her run it through her mind for a few minutes before she spoke. “Sookie are you upset?”
“No, I just haven’t really wrapped my mind around him not being human. Like, humans in Eric’s time didn’t have hang-ups we have now, but things are better now, right?”
“You’re talking about cultural differences, hon. Different times, different people have different values. What one culture thinks is normal, another might be horrified with.”
“Knock, knock?” Alicia called from the hallway.
“Come in, Alicia,” Sookie responded.
“I know you’ve got snacks, but I thought you might want to try a little dinner now, Dear?”
“Yeah, we both need dinner…”
“Alright, I’ve got one of your favorites here – shrimp etouffeé.”
“I thought that might overcome your discomfort,” Alicia laughed as she served Sookie and Bobbie two big bowls full of rice and slightly spicy shrimp and sauce.
“Thanks, so much, Alicia,”
“Yeah, thanks,” Bobbie chimed in, happy to be included.
“Alright, I’ll be back in a little bit with your meals for tonight, then Margaret and I will be going home if you don’t need anything else tonight?”
“No, food should be it. Thanks so much, and tell Margaret thanks, too, OK?”
“Alright, Dear. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Alicia went back to the elevator and Sookie went back to where they were interrupted and they chatted while they ate.
“So what culture am I raising him in? Mine, right?”
“Not exactly. Not the one you were raised in. You were raised as a human, and probably learned limitations that really don’t apply to you. Also, modern American culture is heavily influenced by Puritanism, so it’s a lot more uptight than is really healthy. Plus, Eric is a Supe and you’re both Pagans.”
“Goddess worship is the definition of Pagan, Hon. A baby with his connection to Freyja shouldn’t be constrained by Christian hang-ups about sex and nudity. Freyja is all about fucking.”
Sookie cracked up. “I can’t believe you said that!”
“Just stating the facts, ma’am. By the time the baby is old enough to know what’s going on, he’ll be in his own room, but at the beginning, he’ll be oblivious to everything except whether he gets fed when he’s hungry.”
“On those Nanny shows, though, they always say the babies shouldn’t sleep with the parents.”
“Uptight English Nannies, Sookie. They’d have no concept of raising a baby who drinks blood and can fly.”
“Nobody does, now that you mention it. We’ll be making it up as we go along,” Sookie laughed, but that was scary, too.
“So err on the side of keeping him close. A secure baby is a strong baby.”
“OK, you said there’s equipment of some kind?”
“Yeah, there are special little cribs that attach to the side of your bed so he’s right there, but you can’t roll over on him.”
“Oh, that sounds cool. As long as I know he can’t get hurt, that’s the main thing.”
“OK, so let’s get on the computer and find one,” Bobbie laughed and sat their empty bowls on the dresser.
They had just settled into the Pottery Barn website when Eric came out of the bathroom fully dressed, his hair still wet, and he bent to kiss Sookie goodbye.
“Oh, you smell so good! I wish you didn’t have to go!”
“So do I, Sweetheart, but I have many things to do. You girls will have fun and I will come home as early as possible and you can show me pictures of what you bought.” He kissed her forehead, “have fun, ladies,” and he was out the door very quickly because he had things to do that had nothing to do with Fangtasia, and the earlier, the better.
Sookie managed to find a crib, changing table and co-sleeper she liked, and was considering what kind of lighting she wanted in the room when she fell asleep. She had already given Bobbie the information to complete the order, so she put the order through and then opened another browser window and did research on paint for the baby’s room. She wrote down the phone number of the company and the specific item number of the paint they needed so Alicia could call them for color chips. Sookie knew she wanted a robin’s egg blue color, so this way they could send her a range to choose from and they’d get things going. She also had an idea that she should take Sookie toy shopping and she confirmed that there was a Target in town, so she’d suggest that for one day this week. She knew Sookie would love having some tangible signs of the baby to play with – some soft toys to cuddle and some little clothes. She planned to take her several times as time went on, not only out of necessity but to keep her from getting stir crazy.
It would be easy for Sookie to become isolated in this big house, but between shopping trips and trips to Grandma’s, Bobbie figured they could keep that from happening but still keep Sookie safe because they’d make sure someone was always with her. Bobbie was a lot more aware of the dangers to Sookie, both health-wise and Supe-wise, than Sookie was and she knew Eric wanted to keep her home as much as he could. Hopefully an escort for her outings would put his mind more at ease. After Alicia stowed the meals for later in the mini-fridge, Bobbie ran up to her room for her journal and she sat at the side table and made notes for a bit until Sookie woke up at 10 wanting to watch a movie. Bobbie loaded up the DVD of The Craft and they munched on vegetables as they watched.
Eric drove to Fangtasia quickly because his first task for the night was best done as early as possible. He checked in with Pam then took to the sky, and managed to touch down in front of 457 Maple Drive, in a subdivision of Monroe, just about 7:15, pleasantly surprised that the house was relatively invisible to its neighbors down the road. Eric smoothed his hair, straightened his clothing, and knocked on the door.
The old man took a few minutes to get there, and opened the door with the chain on because he didn’t recognize this tall man on his front step.
“Can I help you?”
“Yes, sir, if you are Bartlett Hale?”
“Yes, I am.”
“I am Eric Northman, Sookie’s fiancé. I wanted to talk to you about the wedding next weekend?”
“Oh, yes, please come in.” He removed the chain and let Eric step in the door. “I was hoping you might reconsider allowing me to attend. I was always very fond of little Sookie and I’d love to see her again.”
“Yes, I’m sure you would,” Eric said as he extended his fangs and struck like lightning. The old man never knew what hit him. Staging an electrical fire was easier than Eric expected because Hale had an electric blanket on his bed. Eric put him in the bed in his t-shirt and shorts, frayed the wiring and started the spark. Once the blaze had covered the bed and the body sufficiently to hide the cause of death, he slipped out of the back door and waited in a tree until the house was nearly consumed. There was still no sign of fire engines when he left. Eric flew back to Fangtasia and made a round through the bar, scaring a few tourists, then going back to his office where his work really was piling up a bit.
Sookie and Bobbie were chatting about the movie as it played. Before the opening credits, 3 girls were shown chanting “Now is the time, This is the hour, Ours is the magick, Ours is the power.”
“Is that a real spell?” Sookie asked
“Yeah, it could be. Any words that hold meaning for you can be used.”
“Why do they say it over and over – is that like the rosary thing we were talking about?”
“Yes, chanting like that is used to focus your mind and build energy so you can send it off to work your spell.”
“So, that girl’s mother died?”
“Yes, before she was able to teach her to use her power.”
“I know that feeling. She’s going to Catholic school?”
“One of the first Witches I ever met went to Catholic school,” Bobbie laughed, “though, technically, she was a warlock, not a Witch.”
“I thought a warlock was a boy Witch?”
“Nope, that’s from watching too much Bewitched,” Bobbie laughed. “Warlock means truce-breaker – someone who forswears an oath. These days it usually means someone who doesn’t follow the Wiccan Rede.”
“It’s the only real rule Witches follow – “An’ it harm none, Do as thou wilt.”
“That’s pretty broad – is that like their 10 Commandments or something?”
“Basically. There are groups that have written sets of values or concepts that some choose to follow, but the only real rule is don’t hurt anyone, yourself included. That’s harder than you might think.”
“OK, they’re waiting for a fourth – does it take four people to do a ritual?”
“No, the way they want to do a ritual is to have one person call each direction. One person can easily call them all herself. That’s probably what you’ll do first.”
“OK, so, obviously, the girl is able to make the pencil stand up because she has powers. Have you ever known anyone who could do that?”
“No – have you ever tried?”
“Why would I?”
“Maybe later,” Sookie laughed. “I don’t like this guy that’s hitting on her. He’s creepy.”
“You have no idea…”
“How accurate is this movie?”
“Not very, but there was a real Witch who consulted in making it, so the rituals are good. They refused to include Goddess, though, which is both typical and ridiculous, and she picked a non-existent deity so teenagers wouldn’t be calling down a real force of Nature, though the name matters much less than the intent. If you decide the ultimate power in the Universe is called Donald Duck and you invoke it that way, you’ll get an answer.”
“But the ultimate power is Goddess, right?”
“Right. That’s important because the female contains the male. Every human begins as female, and less than half eventually become male. It takes several things to make that happen.”
“So there’s no such deity as Manon?”
“No – the name is made up.”
“Ew – she’s out with that creepy guy.”
“Yeah, bad idea, but he’s a major part of the plot.”
“”We are the wierdos?”” Sookie repeated a line from the movie.
“A lot of people loved that line. A lot of Pagans are outsiders.”
“Why are they holding knives to each other?”
“That’s one way to do the traditional challenge. Letting a person into a coven meant giving them the power of life and death over the members – they had to seriously want in and you had to really trust them before you got to that part. Now this ritual they do here, where they pledge themselves to each other – a lot of Wiccans would be really offended by the idea that they put drops of blood in the wine. Most go out of their way to emphasize that there’s no blood sacrifice in the Craft, or at least they did before the vampires came out.”
“They didn’t want to be connected with Satanic practices, which are all bullshit, but get a lot of publicity. Wiccans go out of their way to seem harmless most of the time.”
“Yes, but not in the way you might think. It’s not that they’re not powerful – it’s that they learn not to send energy out randomly and they practice ethically.”
“Oh, yeah – Amelia said people send chaotic energy out all the time…”
“Right, because they haven’t been taught not to. What you send out comes back, so Witches are careful to only send out good energy.”
“So these girls are violating the rule, right? Making that girls hair fall out and that guy fall in love with her…”
“Yes, and it’s going to backfire on them.”
“Hey, are they doing glamour like the vampires do?”
“It’s a little different. When a Witch does glamour, it’s usually to avoid being noticed or to influence, so it has to do with appearance or the way others perceive them. When a vampire does it, it can actually make a person forget or think differently. It’s a kind of direct control.”
“That doesn’t work on me, you know?”
“No, I didn’t know, but that’s great. You’re not so easy to control.”
“Yeah, I’m really glad because it gives me a little edge with Eric that another girl might not have. I think it’s one of the things that made me stand out to him.”
“Cool. OK, now this ritual here is heavily Gardnerian, meaning it is influenced by the work of Gerald Gardner’s group, which was heavily influenced by patriarchal groups like the Golden Dawn. Not everyone invokes “the watchtowers” of the directions. Most people just invite the elements in a much less formal way.”
“What’s the Golden Dawn?”
“One of several groups of magicians who were popular in England in the late 19th and Early 20th centuries. They were based on the Kabbalah, mostly, so they really shouldn’t have anything to do with Wicce. When you hear people talk about Wicca only being 60 years old, they’re talking about Gardner’s work. Real Wicce is ancient, but it wasn’t necessarily always called Wicce.”
Sookie nodded and asked about the movie. “Now they’re all out of control, so it’s starting to come back, right?”
“Right. The story gets pretty stupid from this point forward. There were apparently some other really good scenes that were filmed, but they weren’t put in the movie because they went the more sensational, profit-making route.”
“Are there any realistic movies about Witches?”
“Not really. Practical Magic is the closest. I’ve got it here too.”
“We’ll watch that some other time, OK?”
“Sure, whatever you want.”
“Cool, because I feel Eric coming home. He’ll be here in about 10 minutes.”
“You can actually feel that?”
“Yep, and I know he worked hard tonight, too, but he’s happy about how it turned out, whatever he was doing.”
“That must be amazing.”
“It is. I’m finally starting to get a handle on it. When we first bonded, it was almost too intense to stand. It was like waves crashing down on me and I couldn’t find my way out.”
“You wouldn’t want out, would you?”
“No, I wouldn’t, but when it’s that strong and big and you aren’t used to it, it takes a while to get grounded. He helped with that as much as he could, of course, but when you bond with someone so old and powerful, anybody would have trouble handling it.”
“Are there ever people who can’t?”
“Yeah, Eric said some humans have a kind of nervous breakdown. There’s a certain amount of danger to it, but the rewards are amazing. I’ve never felt so loved in my life.”
“Had he ever bonded before?”
“Yes, but he says it ended badly. I think she’s the one that died of black plague, but I don’t question him about it too much. As he always says, we have a long life together so we’re putting all of our energy into having a healthy baby right now. I figure he’ll fill me in as time goes on.”
“Why don’t you eat that little salad in the fridge while you wait for him?”
Bobbie got up and brought the salad to her, which had chopped roast beef in it and some kind of dressing on the side that neither of them could identify, but Sookie loved it. As predicted, Eric came up the steps as Sookie was finishing her salad.
“Hey, Sweetie!” Sookie was reaching for a hug as he came through the door and Bobbie was already up and out of the way. Eric hugged Sookie and kissed her.
“Bobbie, thank you so much for staying with Sookie,” he smiled, “I’ll take it from here.”
“OK, cool – I’ll be in my room if you need me. Have a good night!” Bobbie grabbed her journal from the side table and left them with a smile. She had more to write and planned to relax with a pitcher of sweet tea and a bag of cookies she had in her room.
“I have been thinking about your dream, Sookie,” Eric brushed her hair away from her face and looked at her with love in his eyes.
“You think you’ve actually seen that big chair, don’t you?”
“Yes, I think I probably have.”
“What was it doing on the shore? Where was I?”
“I’m not sure about that, unless it was the shore of the North Sea, or someplace in Folkvangr that I don’t remember. Did Bobbie have any ideas about it?”
“She said it’s my magick flowing whether I’m ready for it or not.”
“That seems obvious,” Eric laughed.
“Yeah, and she thinks we should try to make those beads I saw. She says it’s a Goddess rosary.”
“Well, that’s not a Viking tradition, but Goddess imagery and practices are not limited to one culture or time. You might find it very comforting to have something tangible to focus on, just as having things for the baby make that more real for you.”
“I never thought of that. It would be like having something straight from Freyja.”
“Are you going to try it?”
“Yeah, I am. There’s no reason not to, really, and it was a really nice string of beads. I could wear it to remind me of the Goddess, even if I don’t pray with it.”
“When are you planning to do this?” Eric stood up and pulled off his jacket, shirt and then pants as they talked.
“I don’t know – some time this week I guess. We might drive over to Gran’s tomorrow.”
“I thought they would be busy?”
“I just feel like going, if I’m up to it. I want Bobbie to meet Amelia.”
“I can see that, I suppose,” he smiled as he slid under the covers and helped her move under, too. Once she was tucked in next to him, he used the remote to pack the TV away, laid the remote on his nightstand, then took her in his arms and nuzzled her neck. She giggled as he teased her and tickled her, but they suddenly stopped in surprise.
“Eric, did you feel that?”
“Yes, I did. He’s very happy.”