Breakfast, which was actually dinner at this hour, continued quietly as everyone, lowered their voices just for a bit since Sunny was sleeping.
“OK, Bobbie and Amelia, you are both willing to be donors for Alex? How much does one pay for such a service?” Eric asked, getting back to business.
He “I don’t want to be paid for it. I love Alex as much as my own nephew.” Amelia said, “As close as we are, it just feels natural to want to help him.”
“Same with me.” Bobbie explained,”you already pay me a fortune for what I do. This seems like a logical next step.”
“All right then, Octavia, any idea how often we should do this?” Eric asked, s.ince it was her idea.
“Well, it will change over time, of course, but I’d start out on Mondays and Thursdays, once a week each, and see how it goes from there. That should give you girls time to build back up between feedings and you should both have weekends to rest.”
“That sounds reasonable. Can I take Monday?” Bobbie asked.
“Yep and I’ll take Thursday,” Amelia agreed.
“All right, I have one of these for each of you.” Octavia reached into her pocketbook that usually sat beside her and brought out 2 red velvet jewelry boxes, sliding them toward that end of the table so Jerry
could direct them to the girls. “These are called a “perceur” – it’s similar to a lancet diabetics use to draw blood, but it has a flat, sharp blade. You can use them two ways. One is to just use the blade and cut yourself, the other way is to pull that little lever back, put it where you want it, then push the button. It’s loud, but it’s fast, then it’s over. If you don’t flinch, you’ll hardly feel it. Now, you keep those clean and never share with anyone, not even each other.”
“Today is Sunday, so I’ll start instead of Alex’s second bottle in the morning before Sookie wakes up,” Bobbie planned. “Ok, I’m getting ready to swim. It’s really hot tonight.”
“Me, too – Jerry get your trunks on!” Amelia laughed as she, Jerry, Alicia and Margaret left Eric and Octavia to talk to Sookie so she wouldn’t feel like they were ganging up on her.
“OK, I’m confused,” Sookie said,“they’re getting bottles of RM – shouldn’t that be enough.”
“Maybe not for a growing baby.” Octavia explained. “A vamp who has been turned might survive on that, but it’s nowhere near as nutritious as fresh blood from a live source.”
How do we know it’s not enough, though?” Sookie didn’t like this idea, though they had talked about it before.
Octavia looked at Eric, who looked at Bjorn, who nodded his head.
“Sookie, you remember when the doctor took those blood samples a while back?” Eric reminded her.
“She had 6 different tests done. Most of them were done within a week, but there was a final test that took several weeks. That test shows what the doctor believes is a deficiency in Alex.”
“A deficiency? Of what, a vitamin?”
“Of a protein that may be required by vampires, similar to the way a cat has to have meat because they need a specific kind of protein only found in meat.”
“Alex is healthy as a horse!”
“But he isn’t growing – not since you became pregnant this time. The doctor compared Alex’s blood to mine, yours and Auberon’s. There’s a protein in Auberon’s blood, yours, and mine that is missing in Alex’s.”
“Is this a serious problem? How long have you known!?” Sookie was trying not to pitch a fit like she used to…
“Only a week – you were so close to delivery, we decided to wait to address the problem after the birth.”
“Is Alex sick? He can’t be sick…”
“We don’t know for sure – remember, Sookie, these babies are unique. It’s entirely possible that the protein in your blood, my blood and Auberon’s is incidental and means nothing, but the doctor wants us to try fresh blood for a month and see if it causes any change in him.”
“And it has to be a live donor?”
“For a while, at least.”
“What’s going on, Queenie?” Octavia was pretty sure what was bothering Sookie. It was natural for her to be a little green about it.
“I don’t know – it’s not logical.”
“OK, why isn’t it?”
“Blood from a bottle is one thing…”
“Blood from a person is, you know, personal.”
“It’s not sexual, Sookie, not at this stage,” Eric reminded her.
“True, it’s just… that’s one of the few things that only I can do for him. It’s like he’s drinking another mother’s milk.”
“You’re jealous?” Octavia was right.
“Yeah – is that crazy?”
“Feeling it is not crazy. Admitting it is very mature. Refusing to do it…” Octavia was telling her what she already knew.
“Yeah, I get it. I do want to do everything I can for him, to keep him healthy. OK, then, let’s all swim!”
“Sookie, I..,” Eric started to object.
“Yes, Eric, you want to sit with Sunny, but bring her outside for a while in the full moonlight.”
“Technically, tomorrow night is the full moon,” Bjorn laughed, “but it is really hot tonight.”
Eric laughed as everybody moved out back around the pool, and Alicia and Margaret said good night and retired to their apartment on the top floor.
Alex and Aubie were napping in their playpen near the kitchen door, kitten at their heels, dragon lying next to it in the moonlight.
“Hey, Sookie, are you up to doing a little shape-shifting tonight?” Bjorne asked as he jumped in the pool and splashed Amelia and Bobbie.
“Ah – I just had a baby, you know!” She said from the side of the pool where she was dangling her feet in the water.
“Come on, Sookie, you didn’t even work up a sweat. Look at that moon, don’t waste it. See if you can be a mermaid for fifteen minutes and I’ll leave you alone!” Bjorn teased her.
“Ok, who has a watch on?” Sookie asked, only half joking
.“I have, my Angel, Sunny and I will watch the time for you,” Eric teased her. It had been a few days since her last shift and he loved watching her do it. “Ready? Set… Shift!”
Sookie dived in as the others gathered in the shallow end of the pool to give her room. This pool wasn’t quite as big as the one in Shreveport, but she had room to walk on her tail fin a few times.
“10 more minutes, Sookie,” Eric laughed, studying the tiny baby’s little hand, wondering at her tiny little nails. How could a human be so small?
Sookie was just leaning on the side of the pool, swishing her tail, watching Eric with the baby. Was there anything sexier in the world than a man so in love with his child?
“5 minutes, my angel!” Eric laughed to himself, as Sunny squirmed a little and began getting upset.
“wah, wah –“
The cat jumped out of the playpen, spitting and crying out!
The baby let out a blood curdling scream – aaahhheeee!” She squalled at an ear-piercing level, then much higher “eEEEEE” as she pulled at the neck of her shirt.
Before anyone could react, some guards around the house, Jerry, Bjorn, Sookie and the kitten collapsed where they were.
Eric quickly pulled the t-shirt off the baby, who then flexed her little wings, sighed, and went back to sleep. Eric put the tiny girl in the playpen swiftly but gently, then ran to help Sookie in the pool.
Daemon guards were yelling as Bobbie and Amelia were trying to keep Jerry and Bjorn from slipping under the water.
Sookie was the first to wake up . “Holy Mother, what was that sound?” She cried as Eric laid her gently on the pavement next to the pool, throwing a towel over her lower half.
Raphael came around the house as Amelia had Jerry responding a little bit and Bobbie pulled Bjorn over on to the pool’s steps. Bjorn and Jerry were both holding their ears as they shook their heads and tried to clear them.
“Your Majesssty,” Raphael addressed Eric, who was stunned by what had just happened, “I believe the Shiftersss and Weresss were immobilized by the child’sss cry. Everyone sssseemss to be recovering. Fortunately, my men appear to be unaffected. Perhapsss we ssshould add an extra daemon to every ssshift for a while?”
“Yes, I think that’s a good idea,” Eric agreed. He couldn’t believe that noise came from that tiny baby!
“Eric – that was Sunny?” Sookie asked as she wrapped a towel around her waist.
“I’m afraid so…”
“Where is she?”
“When everyone passed out I put her in the playpen.”
“You’d better get her, the boys might hurt her, accidentally..”
Eric nodded, “yes, now that you are recovered, I will get her.”
He went to the baby at vampire speed, being very gentle with her as he slowly brought her back.
“What made her scream like that?” Sookie had never heard anything like that.
“The t-shirt was binding her wings. As soon as she could move them, she went back to sleep.”
“So much for hiding them, then.” Sookie had wanted to keep it quiet if she could, at least for a while.
“Well, we certainly can’t risk that again. Do you think she might shriek like that for other reasons?” Eric asked.
“I hope not. What if I were holding her? Or Bjorn or Jerry?”
“Or if she were to do it in the car, when Bjorn is driving?” Eric said with a shudder.
“Sookie, what was that?” Bobbie asked as Bjorn was drying off.
“Apparently, the baby didn’t like not being able to flex her wings,” Sookie explained. “Are you OK, Bjorn?”
“Yeah, I am now. I never heard anything like that! It was definitely the baby?”
“Yes, I was holding her, “ Eric confirmed.
“Who was affected?” Jerry asked as he was putting a dry shirt on.
“According to Raphael, only Weres and Shifters,” Eric told them.
“What about me?” Sookie asked.
“You were a Shift at that moment, Sookie.” Bjorn explained. “This is probably about animals hearing high pitched sounds that others don’t.”
“But not Vampires? Or Daemons?” She still felt a little loopy, but she wanted to understand this. “Eric, you felt nothing at all with your sensitive hearing?”
“Only concern that the baby was uncomfortable and then panic when people started falling over. I was afraid you would drown, Sookie, so I put the baby down and came over at Vampire speed.”
“Thank you, Sweetie – you saved me again,” Sookie stood on tip-toes and kissed him, holding the towel tight around her bottom. “Wait – what about Puff? “
“As far as I know, he slept through it.” Eric shrugged. “So did the boys.”
“Shifters and Weres, but not Vampires, dragons or Daemons…”
“OH MY!” Sookie, Amelia and Bobbie all said at once.