The conversation with Miss Stackhouse – I mean Sookie – was illuminating to say the least. She said formality seemed misplaced given the situation we found ourselves in. Our conversation ran the gamut from sexual banter to confessions of her family’s deepest, darkest secrets. She said her grandmother was less than forthcoming when it came to talking about Sookie’s true grandfather; the only information Mrs. Stackhouse had been willing to give her was the name of Fintan’s lawyer. It was no shock to me when she said Desmond Cataliades was that lawyer. Sookie had wasted no time contacting the demon lawyer, which is how she managed to get copies of the contracts I wished to have with her family. Sookie spent a lot of time conversing with Cataliades; the lawyer apparently had been a close friend with the half-Fae prince. He was able to provide Sookie with stories about her blood relative as well as give special items Fintan had left for Sookie. From the little Sookie told me, Fintan always intended to be more involved in her life, but the deaths of her parents had altered his plans.
To human eyes, the deaths of Corbett and Michelle Stackhouse looked to be the result of a tragic accident caused by severe thunderstorms and a freak flash flood. But to the Supernatural community, it was a guerrilla attack by warring factions within the Fae realm. As Sookie explained to me, her introductory crash-course in all things Fae started with understanding that the Fae species all relate to an element in nature: sky, water, earth, and fire. Her family is the royal family for the Sky Fae and they are at war with the Water Fae. The Water Fae believe that the declining numbers of their race and the low fertility rate are due to cross-breeding with humans and spending far too much time in the human realm which has an abundance of iron, something that full-blooded Fae react negatively to. Iron is to the Fae what silver is to a vampire. So the Water Fae declared war on the Sky Fae; instead of fighting the battle in the Fae realm, they chose to fight it in the human realm by adopting practices employed during the 1930s and 1940s by Hitler and again in the 1990s in the former country of Yugoslavia and the African nation of Rwanda. The Water Fae were kidnapping, torturing, and ultimately murdering any Fae that was not pure blood. They were also attacking those pure-blooded Fae that associated with humans, with the royal house of Brigant being caught in the cross hairs.
In order to keep his grandchildren safe, Fintan killed those that murdered his son, but then kept himself hidden from his family. I could tell during our conversation that Sookie mourned the loss of her grandfather even though they had never met. Niall had said it would not be safe for him to meet Sookie, but I feel Sookie deserves to meet her Fae family; she deserves to know exactly how special she is.
Sookie had told me of the hours she spent reading Fintan’s journals and speaking with Cataliades to get his perspective on some of the things she read. I am surprised to learn how closely the demon lawyer has been involved in the Stackhouse family’s lives. He has always stayed on the fringes, but he has watched over them on Fintan’s behalf and intervened when he felt it was necessary. I do not understand why he didn’t intervene with Hadley and Sophie-Anne. Perhaps it is as the Prince said; she made her choice and she must deal with the consequences. However, Hadley does seem to be well-treated by my queen. It was obvious that Sophie-Anne has feelings for Hadley; perhaps Hadley has feelings for the vampire queen as well.
In addition to reading over her grandfather’s journals, Sookie read the contracts I intended to have her family sign. She said she had some concerns with some items in there, and she said I needed to discuss everything with all of the members of the Stackhouse family. She was not willing to commit her brother to anything, especially if it is something he will not be comfortable with. I found it interesting she did not extend the same consideration to her grandmother. I wonder how much the secrets of the matriarch of the family have damaged her relationship with her granddaughter.
It’s Thursday evening and I am getting ready to officially meet the Stackhouse family. When Sookie and I made plans to discuss everything with her family, she said she will invite her brother over for dinner this evening. She’d snorted when she said he was motivated by three things in life: food, booze, and women. He’d settle for two of the three by coming over for dinner and would more than likely get the third later in the evening. She said she would have the dinner around sunset so that I could arrive shortly after they finished eating to discuss everything.
I’d spent hours talking with Sookie Stackhouse the previous evening, clearing the air so to speak. She had been completely open and honest with me and I was more forthcoming with her than I’d been with anyone outside of my bloodline. Everything about the woman who is like sunshine in a pretty blonde bottle draws me in; she is beautiful, intelligent, funny, spirited, and brave. Her spirit and intelligence challenge me and I find that I enjoy pitting my brain against hers. I could not remember when a beating heart had entertained me with ribald jokes instead of fear or sex. And I don’t think there is any question that I find her desirable. I enjoy her company; so why the fuck am I so goddamn nervous for this meeting tonight?
Upon rising for the evening, I hurried through my shower so I could get ready for my trip to the Stackhouse home. However, that is where my dilemma lies. The floor of my bedroom is littered with discarded clothing. What the hell does one wear to a meeting where they are dragging skeletons out of a family closet, introducing the Supernatural world to someone who knows nothing, and is placing an entire family under contract as vampire pets? My hair stands on end as I’ve run my hands through it several times in frustration. I’ve drained multiple bags of donor blood, but I still feel on edge. What the fuck is wrong with me?
“Jesus Christ Eric, it’s like you’re a virgin on prom night! You’re giving me white hairs with all this anxiety,” Pam says snidely from the door to my chamber. She stares at my naked body clinically as she takes in the chaos that is my room. Neither one of us is bothered by my nudity; we were sexual partners for many years before that aspect of our relationship fizzled out. She knows every inch of my body intimately as I know hers. We can appreciate the beauty of each other’s body, but there is no longer the sexual attraction there once was.
“You’re not being very helpful Pam,” I say in frustration. “What the hell should I wear this evening?”
“Why the hell does it matter what you wear tonight? It’s not like this is a date; it’s a business arrangement,” Pam says forcefully.
“I have to tread carefully Pamela. This has the potential to blow-up in our faces if things are not handled delicately,” I remind her. My progeny’s faith in me is unshakable, but she sometimes forgets that even I have to answer to someone else.
“Fine,” she says with a huff as she crosses my room to pick through the clothes scattered on my floor. She hands me a pair of dark jeans before walking in my closet. She returns with a light blue v-neck sweater. “Wear this; it brings out your eyes. It is also dressy without being formal.”
“Thank you,” I say before slipping the clothes on quickly and then moving to my vanity to slick my hair back with gel.
“Dear Abby recommends bringing a gift when meeting a girl’s parents for the first time,” Pam says out of the blue. “She also recommends finding topics of conversation that keep the conversation going as well as being complimentary. It is also crucial that you show respect to the girl you are dating so that the parents will approve of you.”
I look at Pam flabbergasted. She has been fascinated with Dear Abby since its start in 1956. Pam was convinced the column was written by a vampire because of how long it has been published and how sound the advice is. She doesn’t believe the women credited with being “Abby” are the true authors; she thinks they are humans glamoured by a vampire to claim credit for the column.
“This isn’t a date Pamela,” I say firmly.
“Keep telling yourself that,” she smirks as she walks out of my room.
“What kind of present?” I growl out the question after silently brooding for several minutes. I grit my teeth in annoyance as I hear Pam laughing from her room. Fuck my life!
I pull up to the Stackhouse home nearly forty-five minutes later. There are three vehicles parked beside the home, so I am led to believe that all three members of the Stackhouse family are inside. The entire ride over I’ve prepared myself for this conversation. I know it is not going to be easy with the senior member of the family. If at all possible, I will keep the discussion about their Supernatural connection to a minimum. Perhaps the brother will not even connect the dots. Sookie and I had discussed the possibility of me using glamour on her grandmother and brother if they were recalcitrant to what I will be proposing. I have my doubts it will work on the brother, but the older woman is fair game.
A knock at my driver’s side window startles me from my ruminations. I drop fang and hiss in warning. Sookie stands on the other side of my door with her eyebrows raised in question. “Are you gonna stay out here all night?”
My fangs snap back in place and I wait for her to step back so I can exit the vehicle. Sookie’s eyes flick back and forth between the items in my hand and my face. “You brought me flowers?” Her voice is soft in the night but there is no mistaking the incredulous tone in her voice. Her lower lip trembles slightly and I feel like an asshole. Pam is going to pay dearly if she has caused me to fuck this up.
“Actually the flowers are for your grandmother,” I say gruffly. Sookie looks crestfallen and I make note to send her flowers sometime soon. If something as insignificant as flowers will keep her happy, I’ll buy her a goddamn florist shop so she can have flowers when she wants.
“I did bring you this though,” I say as I quickly hand her a long, thin white box with a red bow. Her expression brightens considerably as she shakes the box trying to guess the contents. Slipping the bow off the box, Sookie opens the lid to show an assortment of chocolates that I’d purchased at the florist. She gasps in delight as she picks a chocolate from the box to sample. I watch as her perfectly plump lips wrap around the chocolate square, and then her lips pull back so her tiny teeth can bite through the dark outer shell. Sookie moans in delight as her eyes roll back in her head. My body reacts instantly to her innocent actions. My cock thickens and hardens as she pops the remaining treat into her mouth. Never in my existence have I been jealous of a piece of candy. There is a small dot of white cream on her lower lip. Part of me wants to wipe it off with my thumb so I can then offer my thumb to her to suck on. But she beats me to it; she snakes her tongue out to slide along her lower lip before sucking on it to get all the goodness. I groan involuntarily as I’m assailed with images of Sookie on her knees sucking my cock until I explode with pleasure. She’ll suck me dry, moaning with pleasure as she swallows everything I give her. When she’s finished, she will lick the excess from her lips just like she licked off the cream filling of her chocolate. Sookie stares at me innocently as I struggle to get my body under control.
“You did that on purpose,” I accuse as my erections throbs painfully against the zipper of my trousers.
“I didn’t mean to,” she offers lamely though a smile teases the corners of her mouth. She turns to walk up the steps and stops at the screen door. Sookie turns around with a mischievous grin and a lively sparkle in her eye. “I wonder how you’ll react if I suck on a lollipop while around you.”
Saucy minx! I vamp beside her, the flowers for her grandmother dangling from my hand as I lean down so our faces are scant millimeters apart. My breath whispers across her ear and neck as I reply. “Be my guest, but know if you do that, I will take it as an invitation. And I promise you, I am immensely more satisfying than any piece of candy.” Sookie’s pupils dilate as she sucks in a quick breath. My fangs ache with need and my cock bangs a staccato beat in my pants as I smell the flow of her arousal dampening her underwear. Fuck this meeting! I’d rather be fucking Sookie against the hood of my car, on the porch swing, in the grass . . . I don’t care where but I need to be buried inside her and soon.
Our sexual bubble is shattered by an elderly voice calling us from inside the house. “Sookie where are your manners? Invite our guest inside. I’m sure he has better things to do than dawdle on our porch,” the slightly reproachful voice drifts through the screen door. Right now, the only thing I want to be doing is standing in front of me in an innocent, yet alluring, green sundress with a wry grin on her face.
Sookie opens the screen door and motions for me to follow her. “You have to invite me in,” I tell her.
“You mean that old wives’ tale is true?”
I nod my head and she cocks hers to the side. “Can I uninvite you later?”
“You can but I wouldn’t recommend it,” I warn her.
She smiles suggestively. “I don’t know. I wouldn’t want you sneaking in my room late at night. What would my Gran say?”
I crowd against the magical barrier which puts my body immediately in front of hers. However, I cannot touch her; it is torture to have her so close yet have her inaccessible. “I’m sure you’ve snuck boys up to your room before,” I tease her.
“Nope, never,” she says emphatically. “Being a telepath, I could never let anyone get that close to me.” Her words combined with her pure smell finally click in my brain. Sookie is a virgin. My inner beast as well as my inner caveman are for once in complete agreement with each other. They want to mark Sookie as mine in every way possible.
Sookie is oblivious to the savage state her innocent declaration has aroused in me. “Mr. Northman, won’t you please come in?” I glide past her body, making sure my arm brushes across her breasts. In that single instant, I could feel her nipples puckered and straining against the material of her dress. Her sharp inhale of breath is music to my ears as I walk to the living room where Adele Stackhouse and her grandson Jason are waiting. Mrs. Stackhouse looks as if she is wearing her Sunday best while her grandson is going for what I can only assume is redneck chic, jeans with a faded Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt.
“Good evening Mrs. Stackhouse,” I say congenially as I present the flowers to her. She rises slowly from her seat and seems pleasantly flustered by my gesture. She accepts the flowers with fluttering hands and a tentative smile. “It’s a pleasure to meet you both finally. My name is Eric Northman.” I nod my head towards the male in the room, but I’ve turned on the charm towards the elderly woman. If I can win her over, I’m sure her grandson will fall in line. Sookie did not follow me to the living room, but I hear water running in the kitchen. She must be getting a vase for the flowers. Based on the positive response from both Stackhouse women, it would seem Pam’s advice earlier was sound. I shall have to get something to reward her. If only she was as easily satisfied with chocolate or flowers.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Northman. Thank you for the flowers. It has been many decades since a handsome young man brought me flowers,” she says as she inhales deeply of the flowery fragrance. Sookie returns with a heavy crystal vase filled with water and a pair of scissors. Sookie places the items on the coffee table before taking the flowers from her grandmother. She gestures for her grandmother to sit back down before Sookie moves to sit beside her brother on the couch. She smacks his leg so he will move from his sprawled position. The siblings glare at each other before Jason sits upright.
“I am many things Mrs. Stackhouse, but young is not one of them,” I say with a cordial smile as I sit in the overstuffed chair indicated.
“Oh my stars,” the elder woman exclaims. “Forgive me for presuming. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that you look so young but in fact are older than me. If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?”
“I am over a thousand years old,” I tell her honestly.
“A thousand?” Her voice trails off as her eyes widen. “I think then it’d be best if you called me Adele, since you are the elder in this room.” Several moments pass as the only sound in the room is the sound of Sookie snipping the ends of the flowers before she places them in the vase. Adele breaks the silence by leaning forward in her chair, excitement rolling off of her. “I’d love to hear about history from your perspective! Where were you doing the War of Northern Aggression?”
Sookie snorts from her place on the couch and her brother rolls his eyes. Adele sends her grandchildren a withering look before turning back to me, waiting eagerly for my response.
“I was in Europe until the beginning of the twentieth century, so I have no first-hand knowledge of that particular event in history.” The woman opens her mouth to pepper me with more questions and I hold up my hand to stop her. “I will be more than happy to discuss my experiences with you some other evening, but I really want to discuss the reason for my visit.”
The happy expression is erased from her face to be replaced by a dour one. Jason Stackhouse must take that as his cue to be the “man” of the family. “What bizness exactly do you have with my family?” He rises from his seat to walk towards me, though he stops short. His chest puffs out, his arms cross over top of it, and he glares menacingly at me. I don’t know whether to admire his bravery or scoff at his foolishness; it’s a mixture of both I think. Sookie however is clearly on the side that scoffs at his foolishness. She rolls her eyes and tells her brother to hush up.
“Your family member, Hadley, has become involved with the vampire in charge of Louisiana, who happens to be my boss. I have been asked by my superior to place your family under my protection,” I simply say.
Sookie smiles warmly at me and gives me a discreet thumbs up sign. I’ve explained the situation in such a way that no light is shed on the Stackhouse family’s otherness. Adele is not forced to disclose her affair with Fintan to her grandson, and I explain the gist of the situation with Hadley and Sophie-Anne without revealing things that would be considered “vampire business”. I had learned from Sookie’s overreaction to the word “pet”, so I have refrained from using it to start. Unfortunately, I will have to explain the word to the family so they will not panic when they see it in the contracts from Cataliades.
“Are we in danger?” Adele looks alarmed after my brief explanation, and I shake my head no.
“There is no immediate danger to your family. It is merely a precaution to make certain that you are kept safe. Unfortunately, the world of vampires is often filled with danger.”
Jason’s lips have curled in disgust while I have spoken. “So let me get this straight. You’re sayin’ my cousin Hadley is a fuckin’ fangbanger! And you want to offer us your protection? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Ain’t no way in hell I’m lettin’ you or any other fanger drink my blood!” The two Stackhouse women call his name in disapproval but he walks angrily out of the living room, slamming the screen door behind him as he leaves the farmhouse. His truck roars to life and the sound of squealing tires and gravel flying signify that he has left for the evening. I held myself in check while I let the male Stackhouse say his piece, but I really wanted to show him who was the true alpha in this situation.
Adele looks aghast towards the front door of her home. “Mr. Northman, I am so sorry for my grandson’s reaction. He was not raised like that. Please accept my apologies. I know you are only trying to do what you’ve been asked to do.”
I smile reassuringly at her even though I feel like crushing her grandson’s skull between my hands because he is an idiot. “I did not expect this to be an entirely smooth discussion. My first meeting with your granddaughter was eye-opening to say the least.”
Adele’s eyes widen and she turns to stare at Sookie in horror. “Good heavens child! What did you do?”
I cannot help but laugh at Sookie’s look of indecision. She narrows her eyes to glare at me and I continue chuckling at her discomfort. “I can assure you Adele, there are no hard feelings. Our issues that evening were as much my fault as hers.” I think that’s fairly accurate.
Adele continues to stare warily between her granddaughter and myself. She finally sighs in defeat or acceptance, I am not sure. “Whatever you need to do Mr. Northman, I will agree to. I’ll talk to Jason, see if I can get him to calm down and see reason.”
I nod my head gratefully. “Thank you Adele. There is a contract I wish to have signed between us, clearly outlining the expectations from both sides. Sookie has had opportunity to review the contract and I know she has some concerns about it. With your permission, I would like to take some time to discuss these issues with Sookie.” Sookie raises an eyebrow at me, no doubt wondering who I am and what happened to the asshole she’s used to dealing with.
Adele nods her head in understanding and rises from her seat. “Of course, I shall say my good-byes now. It’s getting late for me and tonight has been a bit draining for me. Goodnight Mr. Northman and thank you again.” I wished Adele a good-night and Sookie kisses her grandmother’s cheek before the elder woman makes her way out of the room to the stairs. Sookie moves towards me and stares at the stairs until her grandmother is safely ensconced in her bedroom.
Sookie looks at me with a worried look on her face. “I’m sorry about my brother. I didn’t think he’d be that much of an ass. I couldn’t get a bead on his thoughts; when he wants me to stay out of his head he starts reciting baseball statistics.”
“It’s not your fault,” I tell her reassuringly. He’s not the first bigoted asshole I’ve met in my existence, and he will not be the last. “Do you feel up to talking more tonight?”
Sookie nods her head at me. “Let’s get out of here though. I can use some fresh air.”