Entitlement Chapter 016

Part 16 A Rose in Bloom

 

 

“See – it’s not my imagination! He reacts to what we’re feeling.”

“You are right, Sookie, that is a distinct feeling separate from either of us.”

“What do you do when a baby is tapped into a blood bond?”

Eric spoke as he was kissing her neck and shoulders. “There may never have been a baby in a blood bond, Sookie.”

“He’s telepathic, too, at least where I’m concerned. He’s always going to know what we’re feeling or thinking. How do we have sex when he’s that aware?”

“What do you mean?” He looked at her with surprise.

“We can’t do it if he knows what we’re doing…”

He tried not to laugh. “Of course we can. Children know what their parents are doing at night. I told you, in my lifetime, people slept in one lodge…”

“Yeah, Bobbie said it won’t warp him, but I don’t know if I can do it if I know…”

“Don’t think about it, Sookie,” he nuzzled her neck again, trying to distract her, “just relax and do what comes naturally. It’s good for him to know his parents are in love.” He slipped his fingers between her legs and her eyes rolled back in her head a bit. “Look how happy he got when I tickled you. He obviously loves it when we enjoy each other.”

Sookie still tried to talk, though it wasn’t easy with his fingers probing her. “He must be really smart, right? To… to understand what’s going on?”

“I’m sure he’s very smart, but he only needs to feel what we are feeling to react. If we are happy, he is happy.” Eric began to suck her nipple, so she moaned as she spoke.

“Bobbie said he’ll never have the kind of hang-ups about sex and nudity that humans have,” she was determined to talk about this as he pulled one of her wrists above her head and pinned it down.

“Exactly. We are going to raise a healthy, happy, Goddess-worshiping vampire baby,” he said hoarsely as he pinned the other wrist above her and spread her legs with his knees, balancing himself effortlessly in a way no human man could.

“He might be more Fae than vampire…”

“He will be vampire, trust me.” Eric emphasized the last two words by sliding into her forcefully and she finally stopped talking, She was overcome by a wave of sensation then, and he released her wrists. She was frantic in the best way, wrapping her hands around his neck and pulling his forehead against hers as he took her aggressively. She loved this. It flashed through her mind that the baby would love it, too, and shocked herself a bit, but it didn’t last long. Almost as if Eric could read her mind, the minute that thought hit her, he bit her neck and she started to come instantly. She heard Eric think that she was beginning to be conditioned to climax from his bites and she knew he was very pleased with that development. She laughed as it occurred to her that she didn’t mind it one bit, either, and Eric laughed, but then redoubled his efforts to focus her attention between her legs.

A picture flashed through Sookie’s mind that she wished he’d do her doggie style and before she registered the thought she was flipped over on her stomach and pulled up on her knees. Was he reading her mind? She’d have to think about it later because right now all she could do was grab the edge of the mattress and hold on. Eric slammed her at vampire speed, something he’d only done a few times, and she began to come again. As she did, he pulled her upright, still on her knees, and bit her shoulder, but not hard enough to break the skin, and squeezed her breasts hard then yanked the nipples. It all happened so quickly that she had trouble remembering the whole thing later – all she could remember is that her orgasm was like an explosion in her body and brain. In the distance she heard Eric howl as he finished and she felt like a ragdoll as he let her back down on the mattress with her back to him.

He lay behind her laughing softly.

When Sookie could speak again, she asked “is he actually cheering?”

Eric laughed loudly then, “yes, he is. My son, the Viking warrior! There is nothing like a good fuck or a good fight!”

“Oh. My. Goddess!”

“Look at it this way, Sookie – at least you know he is not disturbed by it when we fuck. He knows we’re having fun and enjoys the energy.”

“Oh, man – if he’s like you when he hits puberty, they’ll have to lock up every girl in the state to keep him away from them,” Sookie laughed.

“Of course he will be like his father. That is a part of the magick. And you are his mother, so I think it’s safe to say that he will have an active sex drive.”

“There won’t be any other kids like him, though.”

“There will be a whole world of vampiresses, humans, Fairies, probably even Weres and Shifters who will offer themselves to him. He will be more famous than a rock star.”

“I hope he doesn’t grow up to be a geek who wants nothing to do with fighting or girls…”

“I told you, Sookie, I saw him. He’ll be magnificent.”

Sookie cracked up, “I know, I was just teasing you. He has to be pretty special if all these powerful people have gone to such lengths to get him here.”

Eric turned to face her and she rolled over. “So you believe me, now?”

“I always did. I’m kind of enjoying the idea that my baby is going to be a big, gorgeous badass like his daddy. It’s the next best thing to having you cloned, and there just aren’t enough hot vampire Sheriffs like you to go around,” she cracked up again.

“You’re getting silly,” he said with delight, stroking her cheek.

“I always feel a little giddy after we do it, you know, it’s such a high!”

He kissed her, then kissed her again and took her in his arms. “My Sookie. It doesn’t seem possible, but you get prettier every day. When I see you for the first time every night, it’s like I’m seeing you for the first time, and I’m shocked by your beauty.”

Sookie laughed. “I feel the same way about you. I mean, when we’re apart, I know you’re gorgeous, but then when I see you again, it’s like DAMN! He’s gorgeous!”

Eric laughed at that and hugged her. “You know, I have laughed more since I met you than I have in the century before. I can’t believe how much brighter my world is with you in it.”

“Aww – Sweetie!” she teased him and kissed him and hugged his neck tight. He held on a long time until she yawned.

“My Sookie needs to sleep,” he said firmly, pressing his forehead gently against hers and looking her in the eye.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m still a little hungry, though.”

“Is there food up here?”

“There should be at least one more meal, but I’ll need that for later. I could into some milk, crackers and peanut butter, though, and a True Blood.”

“Alright, wait right here,” he got up and went around to the little fridge, pulling out a pink plastic covered dish that had a section full of peanut butter, some crackers in another section and some celery in another. There was a note with it that told him to get her a knife and a straw from the basket and use the glass in the door for her milk. Her tray was on top of the little fridge so he set it all up then set it across her lap, opening the True Blood once the tray was in place.

“Wow – now that’s what I call service!”

“We can’t let my son go hungry, now can we?” he joked.

“No, we can’t because he’s a persistent little critter.”

“He is very demanding – he knows what he wants and he knows how to get it, as improbable as that seems,” Eric said proudly as he lay next to her. “I told you, Sookie, my son and I will be selfish. We want all of your attention.”

“Oh, man – wait ’til he’s on the outside and can scream and cry for what he wants.”

“That won’t be necessary – you’ll be right there to see to him. He won’t want for anything.”

“Babies still cry, Eric, even if you’re right with them.”

“Yes, they do, and he will have strong lungs,” Eric laughed, “it will be like a battle cry instead of an infant mewling.”

Sookie just laughed at him. It was so precious how proud he was of the baby already. She couldn’t wait to see them together. “Um – after this, don’t forget to feed me your blood. I think that really helps the baby.”

“It helps you, too, judging from the orgasm is always gives you,” Eric laughed smugly.

“It’s a good thing I love it when you brag about yourself and YOUR SON,” Sookie laughed, “or I wouldn’t be able to take you at times like this.”

“I cannot wait to hold him in my arms, Sookie. To dress him up and take him to Fangtasia with me, take him to see the Queen and present him at Court.”

“What if he’s Fae?”

“He is vampire. Trust me.”

“Alright, if you say so. I just don’t want you to be disappointed or ashamed of him.”

“Sookie, I will never be ashamed of my son,” he said in all seriousness. “He is a part of me and a part of you. No matter how he looks or acts, I will love him as fiercely as any father could.”

Sookie got a little misty at that as she spread peanut butter on another cracker. “You’re going to be a great Daddy. And, I’m going to try like hell to be a good Mommy!”

“You will be, Sookie, I know it. What a lucky boy he will be to wake up to your pretty face, and that big smile, and be held close and suckle at those wonderful breasts. No child could want for more. I can just picture you, sitting on the floor in the den, playing with him, showing him his little toys and teaching him to talk. That reminds me – I need to get a good video camera! I want you to tape him if he’s awake in the day time so I don’t miss a minute of it.”

“OK. You know, I never even thought of that. I just always assumed he’d be awake in the day time.”

“Has the doctor said anything about that?”

“No, not that I remember. Most babies sleep and eat around the clock. You think he might be out for the daylight hours like you are?” Sookie hated that idea.

“You sound disappointed, Sookie.”

“I want him with me in the day time! I don’t want to miss both of you all day!”

“If he keeps vampire hours, Sookie, you could always come over.”

“You mean, become a vampire?”

“Yes. Then he never has to lose his mother.”

“Yeah, I’m going to die like a normal human, right?”

“No, you’ll live pretty much as you are for another 60 years or so – my blood will keep you young and pretty for a very long time. You’ve got lots of time to think about it.”

“I never even considered that. If he’s immortal and I’m not…”

“You’ve got many years to think about it, Sweetheart. Focus on the joy.”

“Right. I’ve got ti-iiiiiIIIIIImMMme – wow! What a yawn!”

“Are you almost finished? You need sleep.”

“OK, let me brush my teeth and I’ll settle down.”

While Sookie did her thing in the bathroom, Eric cleared her tray away and set the dirty dishes on the dresser so Alicia could get them in the morning. He fluffed the pillows and slid into his side, holding the covers back for her when she came back to bed. He put his arm out so she could lay her head on it, and once she was settled, he turned off the light in the headboard. He lay in the dark, listening to her breathing, and when he was sure she was asleep, he put his hand over her womb and closed his eyes. He smiled to himself that it was as if he could “see” the baby floating there, too, just as Sookie said, and he was warm, happy and sucking his tiny thumb. He also got a distinct sense that the baby was aware of him somehow.

‘Kick’ Eric thought and he felt the vibration in Sookie’s stomach.

‘Kick kick.’

Two little bumps.

Eric projected a clear picture of the baby turning, and he could feel the shift in Sookie’s stomach. There was no question – the baby could read Eric’s mind. The question now was whether this telepathy only worked because the baby was tapped into the bond, or would it extend to other vampires? If it did, that was both an advantage and a great danger. As powerful as that could make an adult vampire, if it became known while he was a child and couldn’t control or conceal it, it could put him in danger.

FIGHT!

Eric’s eyes flew open. Eric knew that feeling well – the feeling that a warrior feels when he knows battle is immanent. The feeling that you can’t wait to kick ass on someone who richly deserves it. That feeling that says “come on, fuck with me, see what happens.”

‘My little warrior,’ Eric thought proudly, provoking a wave of happiness from the baby. Eric had to wipe the blood from his eyes as he lay there, communing with his son. At one point, Eric felt the baby’s awareness fade, and he knew his son was sleeping. He lay there a bit longer, stroking Sookie’s stomach with the backs of his fingers, thinking about what it meant to be a father.

He finally realized it was less than 2 hours before dawn and he had work to do, so he made himself get up and get to work. He berated himself for being so reluctant to get out of bed. Leaving them was gut-wrenching, and he was shocked at himself. He wondered if he was getting old, or soft, then had to admit to himself that he was simply in love with his family. For good or ill, he wanted to be with them more than anything – more than he had ever wanted anything in his long life. ‘Might as well get used to it, Erik,” he thought to himself, “this is what happens when you have a family – you care about more than yourself.’ Weakness or not, this was his new reality, and he wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Sookie was on the shore again, sitting on the throne in her black dress, wearing a crown of laurel leaves on her head. The morning sun was warming her as she sat there playing with the beads, chanting one stanza for each of six light pink beads:

Freyja, Frigga, Vanadis,

Wrap me in Your golden bliss

Lady, Lover, Warrior, Mother,

Bless Our love for one another

Wrap me in your Falcon cloak

Let Erik’s love in me invoke

My greatest good; I shall aspire

to manifest all You desire

Sun and Moon, Land and Sea

Let your power flow through me

Wise of mind and pure of heart

From Erik We shall never part

Lady Shining on the Sea,

Awaken magick born in me

With good for all and harming none

Through me now shall Your will be done

Freyja, golden boar and cats,

Let me remember my lives past

To finish work that came before

I’m ready to walk through the Door

Your power is Mine,

Now is the time,

East through North, three times three

You manifest Your dreams through Me.

Then when she got to a dark pink bead she said “Blessed is the Lady, Our Mother and Our World,” and then began the six stanzas over on the next set of six beads. Somehow, Sookie knew there were 13 sets of six beads, and she knew there was another way to use them, too. Sookie felt as if she was there for hours, saying the phrases over and over, until she reached the last bead and opened her eyes.

“Whew – I think I got it all!” Bobbie, who was writing furiously, said.

“Hey, Bobbie – what are you doing?”

“I’m writing down the lines you were chanting. I came in in the middle, but you went through them several times so I’m pretty sure I got it all.”

“You mean that was real?”

“What?”

“I was on the shore in the morning sun, sitting in that big throne or whatever, playing with those beads and saying that poem. It went on and on while I worked my way around the string or loop or whatever.”

“Were you saying the six sayings through, one stanza for each bead?”

“Yeah, but I knew I could do it differently, too.”

“Tell me about that.”

“I could take one stanza and say it 6 times, then do the next one on the next set of 6, and do that twice then do one for each of 6 for the thirteenth group.”

“Awesome! Anything else happen?”

“No, I was just sitting there, saying that poem and playing with the beads.”

“What were you wearing?”

“The black dress.”

“What time was it?”

“The morning sun was warm on me. OH – and I was wearing a crown of laurel leaves, whatever that is. I don’t know how I knew what they were, but I was wearing them.”

“This is so cool, Sookie. This tells us how to make your beads – 13 groups of six, and I guess there’s a bead in between where you say “Blessed is the Lady…”

Sookie joined in and they spoke together “Our Mother and Our World.”

“That’s a neat little way to end a prayer. Did you read it somewhere?”

“No, I never heard it before until I said it in the dream.”

“Those dreams of yours are no joke. I wonder what we’ve already missed. I’m going to come in here early every day like this just in case. This stuff is amazing.”

“Are we going to go to Gran’s today?”

“I’ve got a better idea. Let’s go tomorrow. The bead store is open today, but tomorrow is Sunday and they’ll be closed. While this is fresh in your mind, let’s get going on this rosary.”

“OK, I guess.”

“I’ll call them and see what their hours are.” Bobbie grabbed Sookie’s computer to look for the number and Sookie grabbed the phone off of Eric’s nightstand.

Bobbie was able to find out that the shop was open, but there was a kid’s party going on, though they could still come in if they wanted since it was only two of them working on one piece. Sookie went in to shower while Bobbie got directions and did some research on the computer. At one point, she called in to Sookie, who had just rinsed her hair, “Hey, Sookie, were the beads on a chain or string?”

“Some kind of string. You could see knots in between the beads.”

“What color?”

“Pink, maybe? I’m not sure.”

“Alright, Sweetie, and you said there were small gold beads?”

“No, I got a better look at them this time – the beads were definitely copper.”

“Interesting. Copper is for love Goddesses – that’s a good choice to go with Freyja and with the pink colors.”

Sookie finished and wrapped a towel around herself, continuing the conversation as she combed out her hair. “And I was really saying all that out loud?”

“Yep. It took me a minute to realize that you were asleep, and I just grabbed your steno pad and started writing. I’m so glad it repeated – it took three times through to get it all, then you said it once more so I was able to check it. You woke up right as you said the last “Blessed is Our Lady” phrase.

Sookie laughed a little, “I guess I was done, huh?”

“Apparently. This whole thing is so cool, Sookie. I can’t wait to see the finished product.”

“I never heard of anything like this – have you?”

“I’ve heard of dreams coming true, and people getting answers and ideas from dreams, but a complete design for something like this is pretty rare. I mean, it has happened, but it’s a huge deal when it does.”

“OK, that gives me a little perspective, I guess. It’s not the freakiest thing in the world, but it’s a big deal.”

“Right, and a great gift from the Goddess. People would do almost anything for such direct information.”

“You think I’ll ever get to talk to Her or see Her?”

“Eric thinks you will, so my money says ‘yes.'”

“Why’s he so sure about this stuff? Sometimes I think he knows a lot more than he’s telling me.”

“I’d bet money on that, too. He’s what? Hundreds of years old?”

“Don’t tell anybody, but he’s over a thousand years old.”

“WOW!”

“I know – I can’t even wrap my mind around it. He’s an actual Viking.”

“Yeah,” Bobbie nodded as she looked up in the air, then back at Sookie, “yeah, I can totally see that, his size and the way he carries himself. He’s used to being the biggest, baddest thing on the block.”

“Exactly,” Sookie said as she wiggled into a dark blue dress Alicia laid out for her.

“What a turn-on, huh?” Bobbie laughed

“Yeah, you have no idea. It makes me feel really safe, too. Did I tell you about that vampire party he took me to?” She pulled on a pink thong and slipped on her new navy sandals.

“No! When was this?”

“The same week I found out I was pregnant.” She said as she picked up her navy bag. “Alicia just started and helped me shop for it. Anyway, it was at the Queen of Louisiana’s house in New Orleans.”

“Fancy?” Bobbie asked as they headed downstairs.

“Like an Egyptian palace! Reflecting pools along the walk up to the house, then pale teal green marble with purple and black inlay inside.”

“How many people?”

“Maybe 200, mostly vampires. It was the first time I met Amelia, and my cousin Hadley was there, but there were only one or two other humans besides us.”

“How did they react to you?”

“Everybody looked at me like they were starving. I smell extra sweet to them and Eric said it was rolling off of me because of the baby. Then, when the Queen announced the baby and extended her protection to us, I swear every one of them thought about taking me from Eric, and that’s not conceit, you could see it in their faces.”

“Nobody tried, though, right?”

“No – they’re all afraid of Eric. I’m so glad I wasn’t with Bill. He couldn’t have protected me, I don’t think.”

They had to stop the vamp talk as they went into the kitchen. “‘Morning, ladies!” Sookie said to Alicia and Margaret.

“Miss Sookie! We didn’t know you were up yet!” Alicia was surprised she was already dressed.

“Yeah, instead of going to Gran’s today, we’re going to go to a bead shop in town. Do you have something quick I could get for breakfast before we go, and a True Blood?”

“Of course, Miss,” Margaret smiled at her. “Are you going to make jewelry for the wedding?”

“Why? Can you do that there?” Sookie didn’t know this.

“Oh, yes, bridal jewelry is one of their specialties. You can make it yourself or they’ll make it for you.”

“Oh – that’s nice. Maybe I’ll get a little something for the wedding. I need something to wear in my hair.”

“That would be nice. How would you like salmon and bagels?”

“Awesome. Bobbie you want some?”

“I could eat one, I guess, but only if you’ve got plenty.”

“Not a problem, we’ve got plenty,” Margaret assured her.

The four women all had a pleasant chat about wedding details so Sookie would have it all fresh in her mind when she looked at the bead shop. They never told Alicia and Margaret the real purpose of the trip, just because Sookie didn’t want to explain it all. When breakfast was done they headed out in Sookie’s new BMW.

“You can drive, right, Bobbie?”

“Yeah, you want me to?”

“Yeah, I don’t feel up to it right now.”

“Are you sick?” Bobbie asked as she took the keys and went to the driver’s side door.

“Just a little out of it still.” Sookie said as she slid into the passenger seat. “I feel like I’m not completely awake. I’m not real comfortable driving this thing, either.”

“Don’t you like this car?”

“It’s a little intimidating. I really liked my Camaro, but it didn’t have room for a car seat, plus this one is bullet-proof.”

“Try not to think about it, Hon. Eric is just being overly protective. This is a really nice car. He just wanted the very best for you and the baby.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

They chatted about music on the radio as they drove, and got to the store in about half an hour. The kid’s party was in full swing, a bunch of 12 year old girls squealing and jumping up and down as they picked out their beads and learned how to put them together. Bobbie had been to places like this before, so she grabbed a tray and started counting out the beads that she needed, showing Sookie the various sizes available and doing what Sookie thought was a very good job of recreating the rosary from her dream. Sookie learned that copper spacers and findings are relatively inexpensive, so they were able to use all they wanted without worrying about driving the price up. Bobbie thought it was funny that Sookie still worried about things like that, but they went with it. Ruby beads, on the other hand, were really expensive and the store only carried small ones and not quite enough to use them for the whole string, so they plugged in garnet for the main part of it and just used rubies on the part where the string joined and went down to the pendant. Sookie found a nice Goddess pendant in the “drawing down the moon” position that she found was used quite a bit these days and it had a gorgeous copper color, though Bobbie was less than thrilled that it had a pewter base.

“What’s wrong with pewter?”

“It can’t hold mana.”

“What’s “mana?””

“Life force, chi, a magical charge. Pewter is relatively dead that way, which is a shame because the market is being flooded these days with pewter pentacles and other magical seals. It’s hard to find a decent quality one these days because of all the crap out there.”

“What makes a good pentacle?”

“I’m really picky about mine. They have to be real silver for everyday wear, or gold would work for you since you’re with a vamp, but silver is traditionally worn for protection. They have to have a solid circle around them, and the points of the pentagram have to be inside the circle. Then, they need to be on a real silver chain. These black cords that are showing up everywhere don’t protect anything.”

“And that’s hard to find?”

“You have no idea. There’s so much trash being produced these days and people don’t know any better than to buy it, then they wonder why their magick doesn’t work.”

“I’ve got a lot to learn,” Sookie said absently as she watched Bobbie count out enough small copper spacers to go between every larger bead.”

“How long will it take to put it together?”

“Depends on how nimble my fingers are today, and whether they have equipment to help with tying the knots, but I’m sure they will. That’s the time consuming part – you have to get the knots up close to the beads, and it can take a while. The quality of the string makes a big difference, too. Hopefully they’ll have waxed string so it handles more easily.”

“Do you have to knot it between every bead?”

“Well, the more knots, the longer it will last and then the easier to fix if it were to break. The best quality necklaces, like strings of pearls, are knotted between every bead. I don’t think we should skimp on this.

When Bobbie was sure they had all the components, they sat at a work table and Bobbie showed Sookie how the flocked beading trays helped you lay it all out, though they had to use two because this was going to be a long string. Sookie mostly watched and helped Bobbie, and they had a special little needle thing that helps tie the knots that Bobbie was able to use pretty quickly.

Bobbie talked a little about the properties of the stones as they worked, about how rose quartz was for the heart chakra and good for love magick and love Goddesses, and that garnets created energy but you had to give it direction or they could make you bitchy. The rubies were definite love stones and they were rare, and expensive partially because people believed they had lots of power. She explained that the roundness of the stones would make them feel more sensual than the other shapes – faceted, briolette, oval, coin, tumbled irregular stones, chips, etc. – and she would be more likely to use them if they were smooth. Bobbie was also picky about having natural stones rather than heated ones that were formed from dust and manufactured.

“You should make one for you, Bobbie.”

“I have one, Sweetie, but it’s not divinely inspired the way yours is. I’m fond of it, though. It uses a lot of different stones and beads with real silver spacers between them. I’ll show it to you when we get home. You know, you can buy Goddess rosaries these days, too.”

“What are the purchased ones like?”

“There are several different styles, but the ones that I see most often are thirteen white stones, thirteen red stones and thirteen black stones for the three main kinds of magick.”

“Like, white magick, red magick and black magick?”

“Exactly.”

“Is black magick evil?”

“No, Sweetie, that’s Christian propaganda. The church doesn’t want people taking their spirituality into their own hands. They want you to go through their priests and say novenas instead of casting spells.”

“What is it, then?”

“Black magick just refers to actual ritual or spell work. White magick is art, poetry, writing, drama, anything creative. Red magick has to do with the body – healing, massage, menstruation, childbirth, sex.”

“Which one would cooking be – red or white?”

“Good question. It could be any one of the three, depending on what you were cooking and why.”

“Are there cooking spells?”

“Sure, sweetie, that’s why you always see Witches stirring cauldrons. Cauldrons are also a womb symbol, so that’s another reason they’re associated with the Goddess. The Goddess Cerridwen had a magick cauldron that gave wisdom and inspiration and in some stories it could reanimate slain warriors. It’s also associated with the Holy Grail.”

“I read that book a while back where they were saying that the Holy Grail was Mary Magdalene’s womb – like that?”

“Yeah, all those stories are connected. Bran the Blessed is King Arthur is Jesus is Dionysus is Mithras is Osiris. Those stories were told and retold all over Europe and the Middle East and it’s all somebody’s religion. Most of it got synthesized into what people call Christianity these days.”

“Isn’t it?”

“No, what passes as Christianity these days has little to do with the actual teachings of Jesus. It’s an amalgam of myths that may or may not have some historical basis.”

“Why has it been so successful?”

“Because, unlike most civilizations, it’s practitioners have been willing to commit genocide everywhere they went.”

“That’s like in When God Was a Woman, right?”

“Right.”

“I’ve been thinking about that book a lot lately. That’s why I’m hoping I get to actually see Freyja. If I can see Her and talk to Her, I’ll believe it.”

“Does seeing her in a dream count?”

“If it’s a dream like I’ve been having, yeah. They aren’t like normal dreams. I really feel the ocean and the breeze and the sun on my skin. It’s like actually being there until I open my eyes. It’s a little bit disorienting.”

“When you wake up, you mean?”

“Yeah, it’s like I’m there, then all at once I’m here and there’s no transition. It’s just “bam,” eyes open, I’m back! Ready or not, there I am.”

“Interesting.”

“Why?”

“Well, if there’s no transition, maybe you’re right there no matter where you are. Have you ever tried to go there consciously?”

“How would I do that?”

“Relax, close your eyes and picture it. Try it sometime when you’re alone.”

“OK, maybe. No reason not to, I guess. Are you getting hungry?”

“A little – you must be, right? Do you want to eat out or go home?”

“You have a lot more to do there?”

“Not really. I’m faster at this than I expected. The string is really cooperative today.”

“Would you mind if we went home for dinner?”

“No, not at all. We’re getting ready to tie this off and add the pendant. Would you ask the lady up there if they have a thread burner?”

“Thread burner? OK, sure.”

Sookie went to the counter while Bobbie added a ruby to each side and a copper connector engraved with a rose design, then she extended a string of rubies going down to the Goddess pendant. Sookie brought back a burner and they finished the end knots and sealed them with glue. They added up the pieces they had used and went up to the counter to pay with Sookie’s credit card and she was a little panicked at the price, but she realized that in other ways this was priceless. She also knew Eric would be thrilled that they made it and care not a bit about the cost. Bobbie bought a few things for herself, so while she was paying, Sookie called home to tell Margaret they’d be there for dinner.

“Hey, Bobbie, can I wear this?” Sookie asked as they settled into the car for the drive home.

“Sure, if you want. That’s a great way to get your energy into it – wear it, sleep with it under your pillow, and pray on it every day.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be disciplined enough to do it every day, but wearing it and putting it under the pillow are easy enough.”

“It’ll get to be like a friend and it will get charged with your energy. You could dedicate it in a ritual, too, of course, for optimum energy. That’s a great, simple ritual to start with.”

“Can you show me, or should I ask Amelia?”

“I think you should ask Amelia because I don’t want to step on any toes. If she suggests I show you, though, I’m happy to do that.”

“This is why I want you to meet her. I know I can learn stuff from both of you. Her teacher is coming to visit Fourth of July weekend and I’m really looking forward to that.”

“What’s she like?”

“An older black lady is all I know, but Amelia says she knows everything. I love people like that.”

“You do?”

“Yeah, talking to people about things that I don’t know much about is so much fun. It’s a little more fun than reading a book, though I like that, too. I like to learn new things.”

“That’s good. Magick is a good subject for you because there’s always more to learn.”

“I hope I can learn enough to do what I’m supposed to do.”

“What’s that?”

“Teach the baby magick.”

“Well, you’ve started, so by the time he’s old enough to understand, you’ll know at least enough to stay ahead of him.”

“That’s true – but Dr. Ludwig said to study now because once I have the baby there won’t be time to”

“She’s got a point there. Babies do demand a lot of time and attention. Plus, the more you know then, the more you can teach him as he grows.”

“Is that a good idea, though? Shouldn’t I wait until he’s old enough to know who to tell and who not?”

“Ask Amelia about that. I think starting him early and making it just another part of life is a good idea. It’s not something you pick up and put down. It’s a way of living. Even human babies are psychic, but they’re trained out of it by the time they go to school. Your baby can have just the opposite training – you can teach him to develop his gifts and respect them rather than fear them. Part of that will be teaching him when it’s appropriate to cast or read and when you should be discreet about it. Start early and he’ll never have to think about it – he’ll just automatically do what he’s always done.”

“Can a baby understand that we don’t talk about this around Gran, or Uncle Jason, but you do talk about it with Mommy or Aunt Bobbie, for example?”

“Sure they can. This is going to be a very smart baby.”

“Yeah, he already is. Eric thought I was asleep last night and he was thinking “kick” to the baby and he responded every time. If he said “kick, kick,” he’d kick twice.”

“Wow – why didn’t you tell him you were awake?”

“It was too sweet. He had his hand over my uterus and they were sort of communing with each other, so I just breathed really deep like I was sleeping and let them have time together.”

“That’s awesome.”

“Yeah, it is. You know what Eric brought up though, that never occurred to me – what if the baby sleeps all day like he does?”

“Won’t he?”

“I don’t know. I just always assumed he’d be with me all day. I don’t want to miss both of them.”

“Don’t get too excited about it either way, yet. We don’t know how much vamp and how much Fae you’ll have in him. If he’s more Fae, no problem.”

“Eric’s convinced he’ll be vampire.”

“He can be both – did you know that some Fae only drink blood?”

“No, I didn’t!”

“Yep, and some take milk or blood, or food and blood. There are all kinds of possibilities for your little darling.”

“Wow – that’s almost a bigger deal than knowing whether it’s a boy or a girl.”

“Bigger, if you ask me. With boy or girl, you’ve got a 50-50 chance. There are probably hundreds of combinations possible with this bambino. It’s going to be an adventure.”

“That’s kind of exciting, when you put it that way…”

“What else would it be?”

“Scary.”

“Don’t be scared, Sweetie, you’ve got Divine Influence here. Speaking of which – any idea why She chose you?”

“Yeah – for Eric. She promised Eric she’d be born as a human and make all his dreams come true and be with him forever.”

“Wow! And you’re the incarnation? Bless your heart, girl – that’s amazing. There’s no telling how strong your magick might be.”

“Amelia says it’s pretty strong. She says when I learn how to work my energy I could, and I quote, “light up all of New Orleans,” Sookie laughed.

“I don’t doubt that a bit, Hon. Your aura is no joke.”

“Can you see auras?”

“Yeah, very faintly. Yours is brighter than most, though, so it’s easy to see. You’re pink and yellow like a summer day or spring flowers.”

“That’s how Eric says he likes me to dress – feminine and pretty like a summer’s day.”

“You must wear a lot of dresses then, ”

“Yep, he doesn’t think shorts cover enough.”

“Yeah, that’s a vamp thing, from what I remember.”

“How many vamps have you known?”

“Lots of clients, but I dated a couple, too, even before the Great Revelation.”

“Wow – did you know?”

“Yeah. I was pretty wild in those days, so it was just one more bit of kink, you know? You never really knew for sure – you’re not going to expose your boyfriend to sunlight or stake him or anything like that, and there’s no way to know if they live forever. Plus, anybody can lie about their age. It can be hard to tell a vamp from an extreme Goth kid if you never see them in daylight and they have a taste for blood.”

“What about their fangs?”

“There are dental quality fangs you can get put in – even some that retract.”

“Wow – you can buy anything if you know where to shop!” Sookie laughed hard at that and Bobbie did, too.”

“Vampires can glamour people, though.”

“Nobody knew that then.”

“I’m so glad that doesn’t work on me,” Sookie said as they turned down the street to go home.

“I wonder what Margaret is making for dinner?”

“I don’t know, but it will be fantastic, whatever it is. I swear, Bobbie, she can make anything taste better than anybody. Even a roast beef or turkey sandwich just explodes with flavor.”

“That étouffé last night was amazing.”

“Yeah, and she uses shrimp the size of lobsters,” Sookie laughed.

“I didn’t even know they got that big in this part of the world,” Bobbie laughed. “Where’s the garage door opener, again?”

“This button here,” Sookie pressed a button in the ceiling console and the door went up. Leroy, who was polishing Eric’s car, waved at them with a big smile.

“He’s a cutie!” Bobbie said softly as she pulled into the garage.

“Yeah, he is. He’s really nice. He’s one of the gardeners.”

“How many are there?”

“The main gardener then the two boys. I think the boys work around their classes or something like that, but there’s almost always at least one of them here,” Sookie explained as they opened their doors.

Margaret had the kitchen smelling fantastic when they walked in.

“Mmm – Margaret! What are we having?” Sookie looked over into a skillet where something breaded was frying in a little oil and butter.

“Turkey cutlets with a parmesan crust. The boys went wild for it.”

“I think they’re going to have company!” Sookie laughed and Bobbie agreed. Sookie and Bobbie both went to the bathroom in the den to wash their hands as Alicia set the table for them and Margaret poured sweet tea. By the time everyone was seated and eating, Eric was up.

“Hello, Ladies!” Eric came into the room barefoot, wearing jeans and a black tank shirt, looking like dessert as far as Sookie – and the other women, too – was concerned.

“Hi, Sweetie!” Sookie stretched up to meet him in a kiss, he running his fingers under the rosary and giving her a big smile. “Did you make these, Sweetheart?”

“Yep, I had a dream today that gave me a whole thing to say for them, so Bobbie and I went and she put it together for me.”

“It’s very pretty. You did a good job, Bobbie.” Eric was thrilled that Sookie, with Bobbie’s help, had followed through on the dream. The sooner she cemented her relationship to Freyja, the better as far as Eric was concerned. He’d been waiting for this for hundreds of years and now that he found Her again, he wanted all of Her, now and forever. Sookie was the best thing that ever happened to him, and he knew in his heart she was only going to get stronger, wilder, sweeter in every way.

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