Tag Archive | Stevie

LATE Chapter 116

When Sookie opened her eyes, she was in a dark room with the door ajar so she could see light from what she assumed was a living room. She could see her blonde wig and pink gloves on a little desk toward the window and she felt her head finding that her own hair had been taken down and brushed. She could hear soft voices in the front room and recognized Eric’s laugh. She couldn’t get up and she couldn’t make sense of what was going on so she mustered the attention needed to call out to Eric in her mind.

‘Eric? Where am I?’ Eric was in the door before she finished projecting the last word.

She tried to raise up, but she couldn’t.

“Shhh, my angel, everything is all right.”

“Where are we?”

“We are in a suite on the top floor of the Royal Senesta. Brad and Angelina thought you might like a little privacy since you were indisposed.”

“What happened to me?”

“Your Majesty,” Bjorn was at the door.

“Come in, Bjorn.” Eric motioned to him and Bjorn unrolled a blood pressure cuff and began to put it on Sookie’s arm.

“My blood pressure is too high?” she guessed.

“Just the opposite,” Bjorn told her, “you bottomed out on us.”

“Did I look like a jerk or anything?”

“No, Sookie, we should have been checking you all day, but we had so much going on…”

“Yeah, yeah, Fae assassins and dragons and pancakes and kilts.”

“You sound a little loopy, your majesty,” Bjorn was checking her pupils with a pen light.

“I feel light headed. Did I mess up the party?”

“No, my Angel, we doubt anyone even knew you passed out” Eric reassured her. “ We slowly and quietly brought you to the elevator, then I carried you the rest of the way.”

“Who took my wig off?”

“Angelina suggested you might feel better without something pressing on your scalp, so she took your hair down and even brushed it for you.”

“Wow, that was really nice of her.”

“Yes, she’s a very nice woman. Alex and Auberon love her and they’re in the front room playing with her little ones.”

“They have twins? A boy and a girl, right?”

“Yes, that’s right. Knox and Vivienne – they’re very sweet children. You met Shiloh and Zahara earlier, I believe?”

“Knock, Knock!” Angie looked in at them. “How’s our patient doing?”

“Still a little dizzy but better,” Sookie answered with a weak smile, her eyes half closed.

“Ok, we’re having a little dinner brought up for all of us. Dr. Ludwig wants you to eat and take it easy for while. I have a little knit dress you could throw on instead of your gown if you want.”

“Oh, that would be nice if it’s not too much trouble,” Sookie looked apologetic but she knew her hostess wouldn’t mind lending her something simple to wear. Angie got the little black knit dress from her luggage and she and Eric helped Sookie out of her Marilyn gown and into the much more comfortable black t-shirt dress. Angie put the gown on a hanger and Eric lead Sookie out to the front room where Brad, Bobbie, Bjorn and the two sets of twins were waiting.

The children were playing with some wooden alphabet blocks and having fun. Aubie was able to sit up and to stack one block on top of another, which Bobbie later said she thought were new abilities for him. The Jolie-Pitt kids were a little older than the Northman boys, but they were pretty evenly matched with Aubie in terms of basic skills.

“Here’s our little sick girl!” Brad gave Sookie a big smile and a kiss on the cheek as she let the others lead her into the room. It did not escape Sookie’s attention that he was dressed like pirate with a sword, a goatee and black eyeliner. Yum.

“Sorry if I ruined the party…” Sookie began to apologize, but the others laughed gently. “What’s so funny?” Sookie wasn’t exactly hurt but she didn’t expect them to laugh.

“Don’t worry, Sweetie,” Angelina told her, “the party hasn’t even started yet!” She said with a wicked little wiggle of her perfect eyebrows.

Food was arriving so no explanation followed as every one was dishing out the delicacies and getting bibs on babies, passing out glasses of sparkling wine from Brad and Angelina’s own vineyard.

As soon as she got a few Asian style chicken wings, shrimp balls,  and some grilled pineapple in her, plus a glass of orange juice followed by a little white wine spritzer, Sookie was nearly her old self. Bjorn was wandering in and out, looking fantastic in a tux Bobbie picked out for him, consulting with a couple of big guys who were obviously security and Bobbie was helping Aubie eat some pureed grilled pineapple and little bits of chicken with his brand new teeth.  Their Nanny was helping Knox and Vivienne, but Alex didn’t need any help.

Before Sookie knew he moved he had grabbed two mini-legs from Sookie’s plate, one in each little fist, and sucked all the meat off of them with a happy growl.

“Alex, wait, you can’t eat all that, there’s cartilage and stuff!” Sookie intended to pull it out of his mouth before he choked, but he swallowed it all nearly whole and gave a little kittenish hiss followed by a big burp. Sookie’s mouth dropped open but everyone else laughed. “Eric, I’m afraid he’ll choke!”

“Alex, my son, slow down. Mommy needs to eat, too,” He spoke slowly and distinctly, to let Alex know he was serious, but he also winked at him so Alex understood that this was a “Mamee thing.”

“Wayd por beebee sthisthuh?” Alex asked, provoking a smile and a nod from Dadee.

Dadee prepared Alex for this telling him during story time that he was not to upset Mamee  while they waited for baby sister so he waited politely for Sookie to shred some more meat from some wing pieces and he ate the pieces with his fingers, sticking his whole hand in a bowl of ketchup that came with a big platter of fries, which he also munched while waiting for Mamee to get on with the chicken pickin’.

As the kids finished their food and began wanting to sleep everyone focused on getting them into pajamas and gathering up dishes. Sookie was surprised that there were ‘jammies in a bag for Alex and Aubie, too, and that Alicia and Octavia as well as Amelia and Jerry had come to sit with them during the rest of the party.

“I didn’t know you all were here?!” She said, tickled to see Octavia and Alicia especially.

“There’s a lot you don’t know, Queenie – the fun is just starting.” Octavia teased her.

Eric knelt by Sookie’s chair and asked, “Feeling better, now, Sookie? Would you like to go home now or would you like to go to the VIP party that starts at 11:30?”

“VIP Party?!” Her eyes brightened and Eric beamed at her, “Oh yes, this was just the party before the real party,” he gave her a wicked grin and wiggled his eyebrows in that way she loved. “I want to stay on one condition!”

“What would that be?” He tried to look suspicious because she obviously knew he would deny her nothing.

“I want to put my Marilyn gown back on but not the wig…” she looked hopefully at him.

“Yes, I’ve never liked wearing wigs myself,” he laughed, “Your own beautiful hair is much more attractive – it’s so soft and glows like corn silk. Angelina remarked on the glorious color when she brushed it earlier.” He leaned closer and whispered conspiratorially into her ear “I think she was surprised that the color is natural – she expected dark roots, apparently.” Sookie had been taking a drink of wine and nearly spit it out. She gave a wicked little laugh that told him she was good to go another few hours. This was good news. He wouldn’t tell her until later that this night had been planned for months and he had been afraid he’d have to cut the night short. If she’d been too sick to go on, he’d never have told her what she missed.

It took Sookie, Bobbie and Angelina working together to get Sookie back into the pink satin gown and Alicia had to tape the top a little to make sure Sookie didn’t pop out of it since the pregnancy was making her a little top heavy.
“You’re so lucky – you can barely tell you’re pregnant,” Angelina marveled at her as she turned to change into her own costume – a very pretty lavender Faerie costume with ribbons all over, a thigh split and not a little cleavage. She let Sookie borrow some make up as she added some hot pink hair pieces to her own ebony locks, then sprayed it with a little glitter. Sookie was getting pretty good at doing her own cat’s eye liner and Alicia added some real gold in a special solution to her lids. She finished with a shocking pink velvety lipstick that matched her fuchsia gown.

“Bobbie,  that dress is gorgeous,” Sookie told her about her lacy black gown, “you look like Stevie Nicks… she’s so  beautiful, I always wanted to be her for Hallowe’en when I was a kid but I was afraid people would say I was a Witch.  It’s too bad you didn’t wear a costume, though…” Sookie felt a little bad about that, but it didn’t last when Bobbie replied, “I did, Sookie, I’m dressed as a Witch!” and the three of them cracked up.

“Aren’t you a little young to be a Stevie fan, Sookie?” Angelina asked, her feigning innocence.

“Yeah, but I have all my dad’s old Fleetwood Mac albums and  mom had most of her early solo stuff. I used to dance around my room with Gran’s crocheted table cloth and a hair brush singing along, though she’d yell at me for stretching it out,” she laughed.

“I never heard you mention that before, Sookie,” Bobbie said, honestly.

“I know. It makes me a little sad because I associate her with my mom. I only mentioned it to Eric once, but I don’t dwell. I guess I could have been her for this Hallowe’en but Eric and I like Marilyn and once Amunet hooked me up with the seamstress, I decided to wait for another year.”

Angie and Bobbie exchanged looks, but said nothing. Angelina had several pretty beaded and feathered masks that someone had contributed for the evening, so the three of them were ready to rock.

The funniest part of the evening was when they returned to the living room and Brad, who had been a pirate captain, had switched to Eric’s Black leather Highlander coat, while Eric was wearing the Pirate gear.

There were some hushed (so as not to wake the babies in the other rooms)  squeals from the women, “Eric, you look like such a badass pirate!” Sookie bubbled.

“What about me?” Brad teased, “I’m a Vampire King!” He pronounced with a flourish of the cape-like coat and sword (which was not real as Eric’s was.)

“To match my Faerie Queen!” Angelina laughed and waved a beribboned wand with a silver sparkled star on the end.

“And a lovely one,” Eric nodded to her, then kissed her hand – “I’ve only ever seen one prettier…” He flirted, then winked at Sookie, who was pretty much jumping up and down, five inch heels be damned.

“Why did you guys decide to switch clothes?!” Sookie wondered later how they fit, but that was beyond the point.

Brad laughed, “It was Bjorn’s idea – he thought you’d like Eric to wear some eyeliner for some reason,” he teased.

“You owe me one, Your Majesty” Bjorn kidded Sookie.

“Yes, I do!” she laughed as she grabbed Eric’s belt buckle and pulled him toward her. She popped up on tip toes so he could kiss her but she nipped at his lip instead.

“Someone is back in the holiday spirit, I see!” Eric said, knowing Sookie would love the next part of the night.

“I don’t know, Eric, I think I’m starting to regret changing costumes,” Brad laughed with only a little jealousy.

“Don’t be jealous, Honey, you look pretty tasty, too,” Sookie vamped in her best breathy Marilyn voice cracking everyone up.

“It’s quarter after 11, Sire,” Bjorn reminded Eric, “You want to be seated by 11:30.”

Eric nodded and put his hand on Sookie’s back to gently guide her into the hall.

“Hey, isn’t the ballroom that way?” Sookie asked, wondering why they went this way. Was she all turned around?

“We’re going to the Hospitality Suite that overlooks Bourbon St., Sookie. Wait until you see it!” Bobbie was about to bust. They approached a suite with open french doors and saw Amelia standing outside talking to Jerry as others people moved in and out.

“Amelia what are you doing here?!” Sookie said incredulously, “I thought you were watching the babies?!”

“Don’t worry about that, Your Majesty,” Jerry said with a sly look, “this suite has four bedrooms, and the twins are tucked in safe as can be. We won’t leave them unguarded for a minute.”

“Wow, this is huge!” Sookie marveled as she tried to take it all in. “There’s a bar in here!  And a white grand piano! Pretty red roses! That looks like there’s going to be music in here. I hope it’s not boring…”

“You’ll be happy, Sookie, promise!” Angelina laughed as she took Sookie’s hand and led her to a seat right beside the piano as Eric and Brad went to the bar for drinks and so Eric could schmooze some local dignitaries. There were musicians setting up with acoustic guitars that had “pick-ups” for amplification attached and some primitive looking drums of the type you play by hand. There was a big thing with lots of buttons that Sookie thought was a synthesizer. There was so much to see!

“Hello, Mr. Mayor!” A man said to the man sitting directly behind Sookie. She looked around and recognized his wife, so smiled and gave her some “sugar” as Gran would call it – that extra sweet manner that you use for ladies you know in “society.” “Hi, so nice to see you!”

“Oh, we wouldn’t have missed this for the world!” replied Mrs. Mayor, so pleased the Vampire Queen recognized her.

A tall thin man with very long curly hair walked in and picked up one of the guitars, tuning it and fussing with a stool. Sookie was about to say “He looks so familiar!” but fireworks were going off out in the streets and you could hear people cheering and whooping it up.

“Wow, the crowd outside is crazy!” Sookie laughed at the bacchanal which was obviously in full swing below the balcony that overlooked Bourbon St. Suddenly Sookie saw a familiar face across the room.  “Angie, do you see that woman with the dark hair and the long sleeved black sequined gown over there?” Sookie whispered to her as other people quickly came in and found seats throughout the room.

“You mean Anne Rice?” Angie asked.

“Yes, I thought that was her! This is some swanky party if she’s here. OH – I forgot Brad was in that movie!”

“Mm-hmm,” Angie agreed as the woman waved to her and started toward them. “Time to be the Queen, Sookie,” reminding Sookie that this was her party and hoping she wouldn’t be too starstruck. Sookie caught on and took a deep breath and let it out.

“Angelina, how delighted I am to see you! And your children were here earlier, I saw.”

“Yes, they’re all nearby. Have you met Queen Sookie Northman?” She knew Sookie was about to bust.

Sookie put on her emergency smile and removed the pretty lace mask she was wearing. “I’m so pleased to meet you! I’ve read all your work over and over!”

“I’m so happy to know you enjoy it! I’m sure it doesn’t compare to real life?”

“Oh, well, I’m definitely glad I read your books before I met my husband.” The three women cackled a little as the lights in the room blinked twice.

Anne seemed delighted, “almost show time!” she laughed and headed back to her seat.

“Five minutes, Ladies and Gentlemen.”  A maitre d’ or something announced as people became more orderly and the pace at the bar picked up so people could sit down.

“Wow, look at all the paintings displayed in here!” Sookie said, still trying to take it all in. “Eric, is all this beautiful art from your collection?” She asked as he sat beside her.

“No, Sweetheart these are painted by tonight’s guest performer.”

“He can paint and play piano, too? Some people are so talented” she said wistfully as the lights in the room were turned low and a spotlight pointed at the white piano.

“I’ll be right back, Sweetheart, here hold my handkerchief for me” Eric said as he kissed Sookie’s cheek and stepped to the front of the room .

“Avast ye mateys!” Eric joked, playing up the Pirate look, taking the big hat off, his long blonde hair in a pony tail tied with velvet ribbon, and he bowed to the room. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m Eric Northman. My beautiful wife, Queen Sookie, and I are honored to welcome you to our first Samhain in New Orleans. The Witching Hour approaches, so  I won’t keep you waiting any longer, will you please welcome our honored guest, Ms. Stevie Nicks.”

And suddenly, there She was! The Goddess of Rock was sitting right next to Sookie who was so shocked she began to quietly cry and shake. Eric looked at her, putting his arm around her. He kissed her hair and gave her a gentle squeeze and whispered, “Happy Hallowe’en, My Angel.”  She lay her head on his chest, his right arm around her shoulders, her left hand reaching across him to hold his left hand, fingers entwined, to let him know how she felt because there were no words. No wonder he handed her his handkerchief! She was hoping she didn’t have eyeliner running down her cheeks.

Stevie took a quick bow, then sat at the piano and began to sing a song that seemed to be about what was happening right now. She later found it it was called “New Orleans:”

In the city of dreams

Lies the city’s ghost

There’s a beginning

There’s a middle and an end in this city

We reach out for the middle ground

We throw a great party*

 (*she emphasized this line with a flourish as the audience applauded softly)

So hearts will start to mend

We forgive… at least we try

In the midst of the sea of dreams

Lies a perfect storm

In the sea of tears

Lies a city ghost

In the spirit of the Mardi Gras

Well, the people hope

That their lives will get better

The people hope

That their lives will get better

I wanna get a room in New Orleans

I wanna sing in the streets of the French Quarter

I wanna dress up

I wanna wear beads

I wanna wear feathers and lace

I wanna brush by Anne Rice

(the audience laughed and applauded)

And go down Bourbon Street

I see a sea of smiles

I see a haunted city reachin’ out

I see hope in all their faces

Behind the mask of Mardi Gras

Where the good and the righteous walk

And the wicked as well

I wanna get a room in New Orleans

I wanna sing in the streets of the French Quarter

(the audience joined in the chorus this time through}

I wanna dress up

I wanna wear beads

I wanna wear feathers and lace

I wanna brush by the vampires

{Stevie really played this line up}

I wanna dress up, ooh yea

I wanna wear feathers and lace

I wanna brush by Anne Rice

And go down Bourbon Street

Mmmm, go on down Bourbon Street

Within these rooms

{she motioned to show the room they were in}

I go up to my balcony

{she nodded toward the street then spoke the next lines}

And I hang my paintings on the wall

And I open up my gallery

{she indicated her art}

And I open up my doors

I stare at the city

I stare at my city

I wanna get a room in New Orleans

I wanna sing in the streets of the French Quarter

I wanna dress up

I wanna wear beads

I wanna wear feathers and lace

I wanna brush by the vampires

I wanna get back to New Orleans

I wanna sing out in the streets of the French Quarter

I wanna dress up

I wanna wear beads

I wanna wear feathers and lace

I wanna brush by Anne Rice

Go down Bourbon Street

Go down Bourbon Street

Go on down Bourbon Street

Go on down Bourbon Street

Go on down

Go on down

Go on down

Go on down Bourbon Street

In the city of tears

Lies the city ghost

When the song ended, Sookie finally caught her breath. She felt like she was dreaming. It was almost like being hugged by Freyja and by her own mom at the same time. She never dared wish for such a gift. This was so far beyond anything she ever imagined – Eric had reached right inside Sookie and found what she wanted so much she didn’t even know to ask for it.

Suddenly the bass player laid down a minor chord thumping rhythmically in a way that spoke of darkness and Baelfires, spiral dances and fucking.

Stevie introduced the next song: “This is for all my Sisters here tonight on this beautiful Samhain evening, it’s called SISTERS OF THE MOON

Intense silence

As she walked in the room

Her black robes trailing

Sister of the moon

And a black widow spider makes

More sound than she

And black moons in those eyes of hers

Made more sense to me

Heavy persuasion

It was hard to breathe

She was dark at the top of the stairs

And she called to me

And so I followed

As friends often do

I cared not for love, nor money

I think she knew

Well, the people they still love her

And still they are the most cruel

She asked me

Be my sister, sister, sister of the moon

Some call her sister of the moon

Some say illusions are her game

They like to wrap her in velvet

Does anyone, ooo…know her name!

Then Stevie began to play a slow but familiar melody which the audience instantly recognized… Singing very slowly and looking right at Sookie:

Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night

and wouldn’t you love to love her?

She rules her life like a bird in flight

and who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen

a woman taken by the sky.

Well would you stay if she promised to you heaven?

Would you even try?

And he says, “Rhiannon, Don’t go.”

And he says, “Rhiannon, stay.”

And he says, “I still cry out for you.

Rhiannon

{then the bass line became harder, more intense, irresistibly primitive, mesmerizing}

She rings like a bell through the night.

And wouldn’t you love to love her?

She rules her life like a bird in flight.

And who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen

a woman taken by the sky.

Well would you stay if she promised to you heaven?

Would you even try? Say, would you even try?

She is like a cat in the dark,

then baby, she is your darkness.

She rules her life like a fine skylark,

when the sky is starless.

Once in a million years a lady like her rises.

Oh no, Rhiannon, you cry, but she’s gone

Your life knows no answer, Your life knows no answer.

Dreams unwind

Love’s a state of mind

Your dreams unwind

Love’s a state of mind

Your dreams unwind

And love is hard to find, I know.

Your dreams unwind

And still it’s a state of mind, I know

Dreams unwind

And still it’s hard to find, I know

Dreams unwind

And still it’s a state of mind, I know

Take me like the wind, child

Take me with the sky

Take me now

Take me like the wind, baby

Take me with the sky

All the same

All the same

All the same, Rhiannon

All the same

Baby, all the same

All the same

(more slowly now…)

And he still cries out for her,

“Don’t leave me now.”

“Don’t leave me now.”

“Don’t leave me now.”

Sookie just let the beautiful music wash over her. In her mind she could see herself as a child of about three or four, sitting on her mother’s lap as they rocked in the old white rocking chair that still sat on Sookie’s porch in Bon Temps. Stevie’s Bella Donna album was playing softly in the background and Sookie could see a woman in a white dress standing in the corner watching them and suddenly realized that the woman she thought she imagined as a child was Freyja!

As if she stepped back in time, Sookie was the child in her mother’s arms and felt the very real sensations of being held and loved and tucked into her little bed. Mama turned the light out as she closed the door, apparently never noticing the glorious Lady in the corner. Sookie’s eyes blinked slowly watching the Lady float slowly over to her bedside as the scent of roses filled the room.

Little Sookie asked “are you a fairy?”

“No, my Angel, but you are,” Freyja said softly as Sookie fell asleep.

Sookie’s eyes popped open, her head still on Eric’s chest, still in this wonderful dream which she hoped would never end. Had she been asleep? She didn’t want to miss a minute of Stevie’s singing but she was bursting to tell Eric that the “Fairy Lady” from her childhood was Freyja!

Stevie adjusted her mic a little, saying “I wrote this next song with Edgar Allan Poe when I was 17.” People froze, then laughed. “I don’t look that old, do i?” she laughed as the audience laughed with her. “Actually, he wrote the lyrics in 1849, the last poem he finished before his death. I’d like to dedicate this song to King Eric and Queen Sookie because it’s about a love that transcends death. It’s called Annabel Lee.”

People applauded and Stevie sang:

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago

In a kingdom by the sea

That a maiden lived

Whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee

This maiden, she lived

With no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me

She was a child and I was a child

In this kingdom by the sea

We loved with a love

That was more than a love

I and my Annabel Lee

With a love that the winged

Angels of heaven

They coveted her and me

And the moon never beams

Without bringing me dreams

And the sun never shines

But I see the bright eyes

I lie down by the side

The angels, not half

So happy in heaven

Went envying her and me

That was the reason as all men know

In this kingdom by the sea

That the wind came out

Of the cloud that night

Killing my, my Annabel Lee

And the moon never beams

Without bringing me dreams

And the sun never shines

But I see the bright eyes

I lie down by the side

But our love was stronger

By far than the love

Of those who were older than we

Many far wiser than we

Neither the angels in heaven above

Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee

And the moon never beams

Without bringing me dreams

And the sun never shines

But I see the bright eyes

I lie down by the side

I lie down by the side of my darling

My life, my life and my bride

I lie down by the side

I lie down by the side, my darling

My life, my life and my bride

I lie down by the side

I lie down by the side

I lie down by the side

I lie down by the side of my darling

My life, my life and my bride

I lie down

I lie down by the side of my darling

My life, my life

I lie down by the side of my darling

My life, my life and my bride

I lie down

I lie down

I lie down by the side

At the end of the song, Stevie stood up and bowed as people continued to applaud, and she took a red rose from the arrangement on the white piano and handed it to Sookie, who was awestruck. People were moving forward to speak to Stevie, who whispered to Sookie “Don’t leave yet – I have a special present for you,” then she straightened up and spoke to some of the various VIPs in attendance, greeting Anne Rice with a big hug and kiss.

Eric and Sookie stood up and prepared to talked to the people who wanted to see them, too. Sookie was holding Eric’s hand and was not about to let go, even as Angelina asked her, “Were you surprised, Sookie?!”

“I’m blown away! Is my eyeliner smeared? Did you know about this?” She asked as Bobbie came up to them.

Bobbie and Angelina laughed and said “Yes!” together.

“I’ve been going crazy trying to keep it secret,” Bobbie told her, “The only one who didn’t know was you! Bill went all kinds of lengths trying to make sure you didn’t see anything at the offices.”

“Hey – where is Bill?” Sookie asked as she suddenly realized he was absent.
“Bill is at Fangtasia helping Pam with the party there,” Bobbie explained, “Eric was satisfied that there was enough help through the office and the hotel that he could be spared.”

“That seems strange…” Sookie started, but then she realized Eric was free for a minute, pulled him to her and gave him a huge, hot kiss, his face in her hands. “Thank you, Eric, this was amazing,”

“I’m glad you enjoyed it, my angel. There’s something else – Stevie has to explain it, though, it’s a Witch thing,” he winked at her with that glint in his eye that she loved.

“Ooh, goodie!” Sookie said nearly jumping up and down as she turned back to  Angie and Bobbie. “Do you guys know what the surprise is?”

“I have no idea but Brad said it involves us, too.”

Bobbie wiggled her eyebrows and made them both laugh.

“Bobbie! I can hear you, you know!” Sookie could hear Bobbie’s dirty mind at work and was she getting an earful.

“I have an idea what it is,” Bobbie teased, “but I have no idea how it is.”

“Huh?!” Sookie and Angie looked at each other quizzically.

Servers were moving through the room with glasses of champagne and trays of amazing food as the evening became more of a cocktail party so the girls took the opportunity to eat some cajun shrimp, which was spicy huge shrimp wrapped in bacon, some cheese puffs that Angelina said were called “gougere”

and some little paper cups that had a watermelon and feta cheese salad in them.
“Watermelon and – what’s this cheese called, Bobbie?”
“Feta.”

“I never heard of eating watermelon with cheese before… Or wait, maybe at one of the openings…”

Angelina laughed and kicked one back as if it were a shot of liquor. Sookie did the same.

“Wow – that’s weird! Delicious, and weird,” Sookie laughed.

Brad came over to the girls as Eric spoke to the Mayor, “Ok, Ladies, Stevie requests that we meet in the fourth bedroom back that way.” He pointed to a corridor and the four of them moved in that direction. As they moved past the first door, Bjorn came out and spoke to Jerry, who nodded and took a post at the door.

Brad asked Bjorn. “Is the room ready?”

“Yes, it’s all set up. It’ll just be the 6 of us.”

They entered a bedroom where Stevie was setting a large blue velvet box on a wooden table in the center of three sets of two chairs arranged in a triangle. There were candles all around the room and a soft scent of incense.

“Come on in!” Stevie smiled.

“Are we going to do magick?” Sookie wondered aloud as Eric came through the door and Bjorn locked it behind him.

“Technically, I’m going to do magick,” Stevie laughed, “but you’ll be the ones enjoying it.”

“Not you?” Sookie was a little disappointed

“Oh, don’t worry about me, I’ll be around.” Stevie laughed. “grab your mate and take a seat everyone and we’ll get this show on the road.”

Stevie took the lid off the velvet box and the sides folded out and way from its contents. The thing inside was glowing as if lit from within, and was shaped like a 3-sided pyramid. Stevie left it on the table and stepped out of the circle to stand behind Eric and Sookie. She placed her hands on Sookie’s shoulders, kneading them just a bit. “Relax, Sookie, you’re going to love this. Everything is all right. Now everyone take hands, boy-girl-boy-girl.”

Sookie already had Eric’s left hand and now Bjorn took her other in his. Bobbie had his and Brad’s, Angelina had Brad’s and Eric’s.

Stevie continued,  “Sit up straight and breathe slowly. If at any time you get scared or things start to go bad, all you have to do is release your hands and take off this mask,” she explained as she handed out feathered and sequined masks to them all, “you’ll jolt right back to safety but only do that in case of emergency – it’s a rough ride and not in a good way.”

Everyone laughed and put on their luxurious masks on. They were really nice satin and velvet – simple black ones for the guys and lovely black feathered, purple beaded ones for the girls.

“Do we have to keep these masks on all night?” Eric asked, very curious about the process.

“No, but don’t lose them, and don’t let go of your hands in the triangle if you do. These have to go back to the owner by noon tomorrow.”

Everyone had their masks in place and were all holding hands again. Stevie saw they were settled and began the Work:

Numena, Numena, Mater Magna, Nuema, Numena, Mater Omnia

This…” she pointed to the pyramid which was now throbbing and opening to show a crystalline flower that was pulsing with all the colors of the rainbow, turning and bathing them all with twinkling light, “… is called a Masquerade. It cloaks your true identity and allows you to move among crowds with anonymity. You’re all going to join the pleasures of Mardi Gras as if you’re regular people who are neither rich nor famous. People will see you and interact with you, but they won’t be able to see who you really are.”

Everyone was stunned.

Numena, Numena, Mater Magna

“Is this possible? No one will know us?” Sookie asked, very excited.

“Oh, yes – no Queen Sookie tonight,” Eric assured her, “you’re just a pretty girl running through the streets with everyone else.”

Nuema, Numena, Mater Omnia

“All of us?” Angie couldn’t believe it, either.

“Yes,” Stevie continued as she walked around them and put strings of Mardi Gras beads in gold, purple and green around each of their necks, “You run with the parade, flash the tourists for beads, drink, dance, do whatever you want because no one will ever know you were there:

Numena, Numena, Magna Mater Nuema, Numena, Mater Omnia

“How long will it last?” Brad asked

“Until sun light, so I’d head back here by no later than 5, Cinderella,” Stevie teased. Nuema, Numena, Mater Omnia

“Bobbie and Bjorn, too?” not to be rude but Sookie couldn’t see why they needed it,

“We’re going to keep an eye on you, Sookie. You still need my protection even if you’re invisible.” ‘Bjorn teased her.

“Awesome!” Bobbie was ready party.

‘Invisible?” Sookie asked – that was something different, she hoped.

“Not invisible, anonymous.” Stevie laughed and reassured her, “Three pretty ladies and their beaux out for a night of bar-hopping, parading and raising the roof New Orleans style. Nuema, Numena, Mater Omnia… ”

“Oh, but I can’t drink! The baby…”

“Actually, Sookie, Doctor Ludwig said to drink what you want – it won’t affect her,” Bjorn told her.

“Doctor Ludwig knows about this?”

“Of course, Sookie, we couldn’t risk hurting you or the baby. She assures us this is safe for you both,” Eric put her mind at ease so now Sookie was raring to go. She’d worked in bars before, but she never had a friend to go “clubbing” with. This was going to be fun!

Stevie was continuing to chant, saying “Now watch the pretty lights from the lotus:

Numena, Numena, Magna Mater Nuema, Numena, Mater Omnia,

Numena, Numena, sub rosa omnia, Dea Secreta, sub rosa omnia,

Omnia, omnia sub rosa, Dea secreto, Dea Obscura memoria, Omnia sub rosa

Suddenly the room seemed to shift and Sookie held Eric’s hand as tight as she could. She was very glad Bjorn had hold of her, too! She could hear Stevie’s deep voice chanting but she was spinning in space and praying she didn’t throw up before she landed.

There were three big pulses of energy and light:

Womp,

Womp

Womp … and the world got REALLY LOUD with trumpet blasting out When the Saints Go Marching In.

The six of them were suddenly standing in a circle on Bourbon street with the parade in full force. They all opened their eyes and couldn’t believe where they were.

“Alright,” Eric took the lead, “Are we all here? Everyone make it through the whirlwind?’

“I’m still standing, right?” Sookie laughed, a little dizzy but excited that it seemed to work. She threw her arms around Eric and he kissed her until her knees buckled, then laughed as he held her up.

“Whew! Hey, Sookie, is that what it feels like when you pop in and out of places,” Bobbie asked, delighted with everything that was happening right now, including being on Bjorn’s muscular arm.

“Sometimes, yeah!”

Brad was cracking up and so was Angie as they sort of held each other up. They were surrounded by people throwing confetti, whooping it up, throwing beads and dancing along.

“What do we do first?!” Angie was excited because it had been a long time since she had gone bar-hopping. Brad answered her by lighting up a joint and taking a deep drag, then passing it around.

“Oh, goodie!” Sookie jumped up and down, “I always wanted to try that!”

Sookie took it from Bobbie enthusiastically and took a deep drag. She knew she had to try to hold it in but she coughed like crazy, but she was jumping again as Eric took a drag of it. “Yay!”

“Does that work for vampires?” Brad asked, fascinated.

“For most, no, but I can get a pleasant sensation from it. Probably connected to the fact that I can eat some food occasionally.”

“Hey, when did you figure that out?” Sookie asked, wondering if he’d be doing this without her.

“When we knew what we were doing tonight, I tried it at the offices last week. One of the girls had some in her purse and she …. hooked me up!” It took him just a minute to remember that phrase. Maybe he was a little buzzed?!

“OK, now that we’ve got a start, I suggest we all do some shots!” Angle proposed and everyone quickly agreed. They went into the first bar they found and ordered shots of Tequila, except for Eric who had something called a
“Fairy Squeeze” that was just for vamps.

“Not exactly the most PC name for that,” Sookie joked, “I’m their Queen, you know!’

“That’s right I can’t wait for your coronation!” Angie laughed, showing Sookie how to rub lime on her hand and sprinkle it with salt. “Ok, people, kick it back!” Angie laughed and they all downed their shots.
“Wow, that’s like swallowing sunshine,” Sookie laughed while Angie was ordering another round for the group and gathering up the used lime rinds.

The rest of the night was a blur for Sookie. They finished a third round of shots then hit the street and danced along with the parade.

It was a riot of color and noise. At one point Sookie couldn’t see what was happening so Eric hoisted her up on his shoulder so she had the best view on the street.
“Wow, lucky!” Angie said, a little jealous, but then Eric bent his knees and lifted her up onto his other shoulder. Sookie and Angie grabbed each other’s hands and shrieked and giggled like little girls. “He’s so srong!” Angie never dreamed Eric could do something like this!

“LOOK, There’s the King of the parade!” Sookie shouted, and the float passed them, beads flying from everywhere. There were fireworks going off in the sky, and Angie said, “Sookie, look!”

Sookie turned to her to ask what she was supposed to look at and Angie gave her a big kiss which elicited a bunch of reactions from the rest of the group.

“Hey, no fair!” Bobbie teased them.

Brad and Bjorn were stunned and Eric was happy to be in the middle of it.

“Look,” Angie said when they parted lips “there’s a disco down there. Let’s all go dance for a while!”

Eric let the girls down and Brad had another joint going so they all finished it off quickly and went into the dance club.

They bought another round of drinks and DJ started playing Lady Marmalade which had Sookie, Bobbie and Angie shrieking again.

“I love this song!” Sookie bubbled and the bar tender told her “Easy for you to say, they’re playing the damned song every half hour,” and they were all cracking up as they dragged all the guys onto the dance floor.

Another crazy dance mix came on and Bjorn yelled “Everybody switch partners!” and they did, so Sookie was dancing with Bjorn, Eric with Angelina and Bobbie with Brad. Bobbie thought to herself if they never paid her another dime this job with still the best deal EVER. Nobody was being shy, either, there was plenty of bumping and grinding going on.

That song was an extended dance mix so they spent quite a while with their new partners. When they started playing a Bee Gees mix, Eric said “switch again!” and they did. Bobbie was suddenly chest to chest with Eric, Sookie was with Brad and Bjorn finally got to wrap his arms about Angelina, who didn’t mind at all.  Eric decided to give Bobbie a thrill so he twirled her around and then gave her a big “dip.” Sookie was giving Brad a little dirty dancing and whispered in his ear “I can hear your thoughts, you know?” and they both cracked up at that.

That song ended and they all went laughing and whooping it up to their own partner. This song turned out to be an extended version of “Stand Back” and the girls all yelled, “STEVIE!” and Sookie was sure she could hear Stevie laughing somewhere. In fact, she thought she saw her twirling with a white shawl in one of the mirrored walls of the club, but it was just a glimpse and she was gone.

The rest of the night was a glorious kaleidoscope of color and sensation  for Sookie and she enjoyed all of it. Every now and then, though, the room would spin. She decided it must have been the alcohol so she didn’t mention it and just kept partying. They were all dancing down the street when Eric picked Sookie up and spun around with her and the world was suddenly bright white and spinning.

Sookie finally felt still for a minute and she knew she was on the ground. She was quiet for a while and remembered to put her palms out flat to ground her energy. She thought she was there a long time, and she was very comfortable so she just went to sleep.

“Mom?” A young girl’s voice said, “MOM!”  and someone was shaking Sookie the way you do to wake someone. Sookie opened her eyes and was looking into the very pretty face of a girl about 14 years old with long blonde hair.

“Whew – you were sure out of it, Mom, I thought something was wrong!”
“Sunny?” Sookie recognized her this time and realized she was lying in warm sand by the shore. She smiled gently and placed her palm gently on the side of the girl’s face. “What’s going on?”

“Freyja said I should warn you not to freak out.”

“Freak out?” UH-OH!

“Yeah, I’m tired of waiting…”

Nothingness.

Sookie didn’t open her eyes yet, but she knew she was safe in her bed and she could hear rain and thunder outside. She stretched a bit,  smiling and giggling to herself about all the fun last night. She was sure that she had just been to Freyja’s and had seen Sunny and she should tell someone but she was too comfortable right now. She let out a deep sigh and wrapped her arms around the baby in her belly but suddenly her hand was in something slimy and something on top of her was wiggling like crazy!

“Eric!” She shrieked as she threw back the covers. Eric came flying out of his box in the closet as Bjorn jumped up and Bobbie came running into the room, too. Alex and Aubie, who had been napping next to Sookie in their little wicker bed, were flying above the bed watching her with big eyes.

“Help me!  What’s happening?!” Sookie was frantic – instead of a baby bump there was this squirming little thing enclosed in some kind of membrane on top of her and she couldn’t make sense of it at all. Sookie was covered with blood and trying to hold onto this tiny baby in all of this slime as everyone froze for a minute trying to decide what to do.

“Wookie, Dadee, bud!” Alex knew something exciting was happening but he didn’t know what. He and Aubie both popped their fangs and hissed at the sight of blood.

“Mama!” Aubie started toward Sookie but Alex grabbed his hand and said “Nah nah, Obee, Dadee!”

“The baby” Bobbie was first to find her voice. “I’ll get towels!”

“I’m calling Ludwig,” Bjorn said at the same time and immediately had his phone to his ear.

“Sunny!” Eric was thrilled once he was sure that Sookie was not hurt and fascinated that the baby was enclosed in a sac of some kind. “Sookie, the baby!” Eric picked the little thing up very gently and cradled her in his arms where she stopped wiggling so much and was calm.

‘Dadee, wadiz dat?!” Alex wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing.

‘This is your baby sister, boys!” Eric held her so they could look at her and they came a little closer.

‘Beebee?” Aubie asked. “Mama beedeen?” Aubie was starting to cry but Alex held his hand and said, “Nah, nah, Obee, Mamee oday.”

Ludwig popped into the room, laughing with delight. “Well, now, our little girl wouldn’t wait any longer!” She laughed as Bobbie put down a towel and Eric gently laid the baby on it then held his hands open to Aubie who flew into his arms anxiously. Eric kissed him and said “Mommy’s alright, Auberon, Your little sister is here! See.” He nodded to where the baby was being fussed over and Aubie watched for a bit, chewing on his finger, trusting that Dada said it was all right.
Eric was fascinated as Ludwig pierced the sac, then cut and tied off the baby’s umbilical cord. “Doctor, what is this thing she was contained in?”

‘That’s called the amniotic sac. In most pregnancies, that opens when the birth process begins and that’s what they call breaking water. This little one decided to skip the discomfort of the birth canal all together. It’s good that you called me – handling this wrong could be fatal, but all is well now. She looks healthy and strong, though she’s a tiny little thing.”

Bobbie handed Ludwig a little rubber bulb thing that she used to clear the mouth and sinuses. The baby took a big breath and wailed like a banshee.

Eric was laughing with delight as Bobbie took Aubie from him and the doctor let him pick her up and he gave her a big kiss on the forehead.

Sookie was still trying to process what was happening but she knew enough to be concerned, “Is she alright? Isn’t it too early for her?”

“It’s early, but we couldn’t hold her back anymore.” Ludwig laughed. “The minute Freyja was sure neither of you would be harmed She let the little girl go.”

“We should give her a bath, yes?” Eric was beside himself as he held the tiny thing in his hands.

“Put her to Mama’s breast for a bit first,” Ludwig told him, as she turned to look Sookie over. She lifted the bloody white gown Sookie was wearing. “There’s no real bleeding here,” she explained as she felt Sookie’s abdomen, “this is all just from the baby. Does anything hurt, little girl?”

“No…” Sookie considered the question for a bit, “No, nothing hurts. I actually feel pretty good, all things considered.”

“Alright, let me just check your blood pressure, and we’ll let your helpers take over and clean you up.”  She pumped up the cuff on Sookie’s arm and looked concerned but not alarmed. “Anderson, I want you to check her blood pressure every half hour and you call me if it spikes or drops more than ten points. It’s not bad at the moment, but it could be better. Bobbie, you can handle things from here?”

“Yep, we’re good!”

“Alright, feed her for a bit, Mama, then let them give her a very gentle bath. Congratulations on the birth of your little princess, your majesty,” Ludwig said with a big smile then POP she was gone.

“OK, so give me my baby and let me feed her a bit!” Sookie was teasing Eric because she knew he didn’t want to let go of her for a minute.
“Here, we go, Mommy” he said affectionately as he helped her settle at Sookie’s breast, where she latched on quite firmly and mewed like a kitten.

Alicia peeked in the door, “Excuse me…?”

“Oh, hi, Alicia! See the new baby?!” Sookie was now thrilled with the circumstances. She hadn’t been looking forward to giving birth again. Once was enough.
“I see that! She’s beautiful. When you’re ready, Margaret and I will change the sheets on the bed.”

“Oh, yeah – oh, I guess these are ruined, huh?”

“Not necessarily. Margaret is a magician when it comes to blood stains.”

“Yeah, I guess with us she’d have to be!” Sookie was feeling a little giddy right now, which didn’t escape Bjorn’s notice. He gave Eric a little look so he knew that they needed to keep an eye on her. She had had a lot of fun for her first Samhain in New Orleans, but there was a ridiculous amount of energy running through her, too.

When the baby stopped nursing, she let Bobbie show Eric how to give her a little bath. Alicia helped Sookie out of the bloody gown and Sookie went into the shower with Bobbie’s help.

“Wada, Mamee!” Alex called from the room outside the bathroom door.

“OK, baby, come take a shower!” Sookie called out while Bobbie grabbed a clean towel. Both boys came slowly into the room and Alex said “Obee fuhss!”

“OK, Aubie first!” She looked out and let Aubie come in. Sookie held him under the gentle shower and cracked up when he made his “Ooh-hoo!” noise. She washed his longish hair gently and soaped him all over, giving him a good rinse and a snuggle and a kiss, then passed him to Bobbie, who wrapped him and hugged him and set him in the empty tub for a minute. “OK, Alex, come to Mommy!” she called and Alex went next, getting his crew cut washed and his body soaped and he was happy as a clam when Sookie handed him off to Bobbie. Sookie was wrapped in a towel and combing out her hair while Bobbie put diapers on both boys. Eric and Bjorn were sitting in the chairs by the side table, Eric holding the little girl, wrapped in a little pink receiving blanket, in his hands.

“I tell you, Bjorn, there is no happiness greater than this,” Eric gushed over the baby who was looking at him with big eyes. “She’s so perfect!”

“She’s beautiful. She’s very small.”

“Yes, the doctor mentioned that, too. She didn’t seem to think it was a problem, did she?” Eric asked with concern.

“That’s true, she would have warned us if there were any kind of problem,” Bjorn agreed. “A human baby that small would be considered a premie, I think. We need to weigh her and measure her. Hopefully, she’s at least 5 pounds.”

“We’ll all watch for any problems that might arise, of course, but she appears to be perfect on the outside,” Eric said as the baby stretched and let our a wail, making both men laugh.

“Well, her lungs seem well developed, so I’m sure she’s fine,” Bjorn laughed.

In the bathroom, Bobbie had both boys diapered and Sookie was in a bra and panties, looking at herself in the big mirror over the sink. She was flexing her abdominal muscles in and out, facing forward, turning to the side, frowning as she did so.
“Sookie, you barely look like you were ever pregnant!” Bobbie told her, not needing to be a telepath to read Sookie’s thoughts.

“Yeah, I look OK, I guess, I just wonder…”
“Wonder what?”

“When I was in Elfyria, if I wanted to change the way I looked, I just looked in the mirror and made it happen.”

“Do you think that will work here?”

“I’m wondering.” She looked straight into the mirror, “I want my waist smaller, my abs flatter, I want my baby belly completely healed.” As she spoke, her body slowly changed its dimensions to fit her wishes.

‘Wow – unbelievable. How long will it last?”

“I think until I change it. I can do it with my skin, too – I can look pale like a vampire at one moment, then I can have a tan when I want it.”

“How long have you been able to do this?”

“Quite a while, I think, I just never thought to try it here.”

“That’s an amazing gift, Sookie. I never heard of anyone doing a glamour that extensive, or that long lasting.”

“Yeah,” she said, still checking herself out in the mirror. I have a lot of amazing gifts. I hope I deserve them.”
“Have you ever tried doing it to someone else?” Bobbie asked hopefully.

“No, I haven’t. You want to be my guinea pig?” She laughed but she knew Bobbie was serious, too. “What would you like me to try?
“Can you make my tummy a little flatter? And my backside rounder?”

Sookie concentrated for a minute and passed her hand over Bobbies abs which flattened visibly. There was still a little belly there, but it was more toned and a little bit muscular. “How’s that?”

Bobbie was amazed. “That’s just what I pictured!”
“Yeah, I could see it in your head. I can see what you want in back, too.” Sookie stepped behind her, placing her hand on the widest part of her hips then gently ran her fingers over Bobbie’s bottom, creating a nice round bubble.
“Bjorn will love this! I love it!”

“Cool – I’m so glad it worked. We’ll just have to watch and see if it changes back. It didn’t seem to take a lot of energy, either,” she said with a little surprise as Bobbie handed Aubie to her and she had Alex ready to go, the boys wearing similar blue onesies with teddy bears on them. “I’m starving!” Sookie laughed, “What time is it?” she asked as they went out to the bedroom and Eric answered her, “Almost 4, my angel.”
“I guess you’re up early because it’s rainy?”

“Yes, but I think even without the rain I’d be able to respond to you when you’re that scared. You were very upset.”

“Do you blame me?”

“Not a bit. Shall we all move downstairs so everyone can be fed? The only one who has eaten is Sunna,” Eric said, baby talking just a bit to the precious little bundle in his hand.

“Dadee, wadiz ur nambe?” Alex asked now that he could see her.

“Her name is Sunna, but I’m sure you and your brother will call her Sunny.”

“Sthundee- ah wyg dat nambe! Woogie, Obee, Sthundee!”

“Sudee?”

“Sthundee.”

“Sudee!”

“Very good, boys! Now let’s get everyone fed!” Eric laughed as he and Bjorn steered everyone out of the room and down the stairs.

Octavia was sitting at the long table in the dining room drinking a cup of tea and looking at a newspaper while Alicia and Margaret were getting some lunch and breakfast going for the house. “Well, I hear we have a new family member this mornin’!”

Eric held the baby so that Octavia could see her, “Octavia, I’d like to introduce you to my daughter, Princess Sunna Northman.”

“Hello there, little Princess. Welcome to the family. You’re going to love it here because you’ll be running this place by sundown.” Octavia laughed, “I see you’ve already got your big Vamp daddy wrapped around your little finger!”

Everyone took a seat at the table as Jerry came in carrying  a little scale to weigh the baby. Eric happily unwrapped the tiny thing and they measured her to weigh 4.87 pounds.

“Wow – if you had her in a hospital they’d make you leave her there until she reached 5 pounds,” Bobbie explained as they measured the baby to 13 inches long.

Bjorn wrote down the information and called Dr. Ludwig with the information for the birth certificate.

“Babee, beebee doo nappee.”

“The baby needs a new nappy, doesn’t she,” Bobby agreed with Alex as she put a diaper pad on the table, then she pinned a tiny diaper on the baby who was taking everything in with huge blue eyes. As soon as Bobbie finished, Eric wanted her back,

“Here, Bobbie, let me see her,” Eric took her and held her in a seated position looking at him. “How are you, my daughter?”

The baby got a big smile and wavered her little arms in response and Eric was holding her with one hand and tickling her with the other. You could tell the baby loved it because she was laughing and gurgling. After a minute, she got the hiccups, which was also adorable.

“Eric, what’s that on her back?” Sookie asked when Eric brought the baby up into his right arm. Hic!

Hic!

Giggle,

drool

“What do you mean?” He asked, still playing with the baby, so he turned her facing away from the two of them,

Hic!

Sookie said, “See, what is that? A birthmark?” She touched a little dark curved line next to the baby’s shoulder blade.
“I see what you mean,” he looked closely at the baby’s back. “There’s one here, too. It doesn’t seem like color, it looks like a line or a wrinkle.

Hic,

Giggle,

Flip,

Whoosh,

Hic!

“Eric!” Sookie shrieked but Eric was speechless. They both sat frozen, watching Sunny test her little pink and yellow wings for the first time.

HIC!

 

To be continued!

(Soon, I promise! This is just getting good!)