“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.”—Winston Churchill
Sookie had also asked that all of our guests—whom she referred to as “family”, of course—stand in a semicircle around the “altar-area,” which was basically just a little space marked by additional flowers and lanterns.
Despite any reservations that she still might have been harboring regarding Sookie, Pam was careful in making sure that everyone was in place just as Sookie had wanted before she turned on the music that would signal to Sookie that we were ready.
Sookie had chosen a piece of instrumental music that her Gran had liked, called “Appalachia Waltz.” The version that played filled the night air with the sounds of string instruments. I had to admit that the piece was lovely, and I knew that it would help Sookie feel as if her Gran were there in spirit.
Hell—maybe she was.
Maybe within the ether of the night my own mother and father also watched as I prepared to marry a woman whom they would have approved of heartily. Her fighting spirit would have won over my father. And my mother would have simply been glad to see me happy in my match.
And maybe Godric was there too—less corporeal than before because of his encounter with Lilith—but still present somehow.
I opened my lungs to the cool night air, and I breathed it in. The saltiness of the sea air took me back a thousand years.
I imagined for a moment that I was a human man—marrying Sookie in the meadow where I’d played as a child. I imagined the smiles on my parents’ faces. I imagined the catcalls from my sword-brothers.
But then—as I heard Sookie’s shoes clicking against the rock—I didn’t need to imagine anymore. And, anyway, I’d discovered that my imagination was a second-rate shadow when compared to the reality I got to experience with Sookie.
I had been expecting for my bonded to look lovely, but as I caught my first glimpse of her, I gasped.
Yes. Reality was much better than the imagination where my bonded was concerned!
Escorted by her brother, Sookie looked like a goddess in white. The gown she wore framed her curves wonderfully, including the “new” one enveloping our children. Her dress looked to be made of silk and had a lace overlay, a perfect tribute to both “sides” of herself: one side luxuriant and graceful, the other side lovely and delicate.
Both sides radiant.
Both sides capable of bringing me to my knees.
Her hair had been styled into a lose braid, and—since she’d forgone a veil—there were some flowers in her hair—reminding me of the brides of my human time.
Her brown eyes shone caramel as she walked toward me confidently. She held a large bouquet of daisies that I’d arranged for her to have, for those were her favorite flowers.
I was sure that Sookie didn’t know it, but daisies also had a sacred symbolic value in my human culture. They represented the goddess, Freyja—the goddess of love. Thus, they stood for love and fertility—and motherhood. They were perfect for the occasion.
Sookie was perfect.
She bit her lower lip a little as she walked nearer. I knew that small gesture was a sign that the human part of her was anxious—nervous. But then she smiled at me softly before taking me in from my shoes to the top of my head. I felt a jolt of lust in our bond to go along with the nerves.
Indeed, the fairy part of Sookie making herself known too.
Gods—how I loved every part of my bonded!
To me, she was the very personification of magic, for she loved me too.
As the music stopped, I discovered that Sookie’s hand was already in mine—fitted perfected within my larger grasp.
“Take care of her,” Jason said with a little sniffle before taking his place among the others.
I listened to the Justice of the Peace perform what I knew was a stock ceremony, but my eyes were only for my bride as the man told us that marriage was one of the foundations of every civilized society—that it was sacred to most religions around the world and protected by the state. He asked if I would take Sookie as my wife, and I didn’t hesitate before telling him that I would. Then he asked Sookie if she would have me as her husband. She was already saying “I will” before he’d finished asking his question. At that point, he asked if there were rings, and Sookie was surprised when I said that there were and produced both of our bands from my pocket.
We were instructed to place the rings on each other’s fingers as we said the words, “With this ring, I thee wed.”
Then the officiant asked if we wished to say anything to one another.
I could tell that Sookie was feeling too emotional to speak, and my own overwhelming feelings had reemerged at well, so I simply shook my head and allowed our bond to share my feelings with my bride.
She did the same for me.
At that point, the Justice of the Peace declared that Sookie and I were married and then gave me leave to kiss my wife. I did—with relish.
And I would have kept doing so if she’d not needed to breathe.
Her smile when I finally ended our kiss was radiant. And—before I knew it—we were being congratulated by the “family.”
Strangely enough, time seemed to be moving faster than normal, and—within—a couple of minutes, the Justice of the Peace had prompted us to sign our marriage license. Once that was done, he went on his way, and Sookie and I again made our way to the altar—this time hand-in-hand.
There was now a table there, and Ian stood behind it, dressed in his ceremonial garb. Obviously, he’d coached Sookie on what to do because she picked up the small dagger which had been placed beside a chalice on the table and raised her hands to give it to me.
As soon as it was in my hands, I felt the magic of the ceremonial dagger.
I looked at Sookie with surprise, for the ornate dagger was not the usually fare when it came to pledgings.
“Our gift from Claude,” she smiled up at me.
Understanding dawning on me, I recognized that the dagger was Fae in origin and had been blessed by Fae magic. I glanced at Claude and nodded in appreciation before raising the blade to my lips and kissing it.
And then—by impulse—I placed my free hand onto her belly. Both of her hands immediately encased mine.
“I swear that I will love you—and our children—for all of eternity,” I whispered.
And that is when I felt it—a small, but distinct kick right under my hand.
Awestruck, I gasped.
There was no way of knowing which of my sons had made the movement, but I let myself believe that they were of one accord on the matter.
Sookie obviously felt the kick too, and she smiled with joy.
“We love you too,” she said in response to my words, even as a tear spilled from her eye.
After gazing at each other wordlessly for a few moments, Sookie and I both placed our hands over the chalice before Ian drew blood from both of our palms. I sent calm through the bond until I could lick Sookie’s wound to heal it, and then we both drank from the chalice, with her going first.
As always, the mixture of our blood tasted divine, but I held myself back from spiriting Sookie away in order to make love to my newly pledged and wedded wife so that she could enjoy the celebration with the others.
And enjoy it she did.
Her smile was vibrant and constant as she danced with me again and again—before taking turns with both her fairy cousin and her brother. While she danced with them, I stood back to enjoy the sight of her—and to appreciate the smiling faces of the others at the party.
Pam and Tara were dancing slowly together, seemingly lost in their own world. I couldn’t help but to be glad that Pam had found someone to love and hoped that she would have no problems with Tara being jealous of Willa.
Speaking of my soon-to-be “grandchild,” Willa seemed to have eyes only for Tray, and the two were dancing closer and closer together with each song. Meanwhile, Jessica and Ian seemed connected at the hip.
Once Sookie had begun a new dance with Jason, Claude came to my side.
“I hope you aren’t going to ask me to dance,” I said jokingly.
“I don’t want to risk my cousin’s wrath,” Claude said honestly. “I have a feeling that—if anyone else touches you tonight—he or she will end up a little fried.”
I chuckled. “And yet I have to endure her dancing with others,” I said with mock angst.
He shrugged. “Welcome to life with a nesting fairy,” he said with a wry smile.
“Oh—I’m already well aware,” I returned sarcastically.
We laughed together before turning our focus back to the dancers for a few moments.
“The dagger?” I finally asked.
“It’s been in my family—Sookie’s family—for a very long time,” he responded. “Such a blade is a part of Fae marriages too, and that dagger has been used to bind several unions over the years. It is said to bring about fertility,” he grinned.
“Too late,” I intoned.
He chuckled. “For this time. However, who knows? Perhaps Sookie and you will be able to create more children in the future.”
I closed my eyes and smiled. “I’d make an army with her—if she’d let me.”
He laughed heartily, drawing my wife’s attention. Her eyes lit up as she focused upon me.
“I think my cousin is ready to do some practicing in that regard,” Claude said knowingly, even as Sookie let go of her brother and reached a hand toward me. I was by her side in the next instant.
“Ready for the honeymoon?” she asked coyly, even as I felt a spike of lust from her through the bond.
“Yes,” I affirmed gruffly as I picked her up into my arms and flew us inside the house, not caring that our “family” was making catcalls at us.
Of course—true to form—Sookie was a bit embarrassed.
However, once we were in our room, my bride soon had no more energy for blushes as I proceeded to show her just how excited I was to be her husband.
I was glad that Sookie didn’t seem to recognize that several pairs of supernatural ears had been able to hear us as I elicited orgasm after orgasm from her until she was exhausted and asleep.
I smiled at her state, congratulating myself for pleasing both the human and the fairy sides of her. Her hair, long ago freed from its braid, was a rats’ nest, evidence of our exertions. Her limbs were almost haphazardly arranged, though one of her hands was placed directly over my un-beating heart as her head rested on my chest.
Yes—she’d been thoroughly “honey-mooned!”
Thoroughly made love to.
And thoroughly fucked.
I reached toward the nightstand and picked up my phone, even as I placed my free hand over Sookie’s belly.
I grinned as I felt another slight kick. And then another. I somehow knew that both of my boys were now saying hello to their daddy.
I rubbed over where they’d struck even as I dialed Brady’s number.
“Report,” I said quietly.
“You haven’t seen the news?” he asked.
“I’ve been otherwise occupied,” I responded with a smirk down at my bride.
He chuckled. “Speaking of your bonded, how is she?”
My smirk turned into a wide smile. “She is well. And she is my wife and pledged now, too.”
There was a moment of silence as Brady took in that new information.
I’m sure that he’d just become even more aware of Sookie’s importance to me.
“I will be at the address in Bon Temps, which you texted me, by tomorrow afternoon.”
“Thank you,” I said. “How about the other Were you vouched for? Has he agreed to work for me?”
“Yes. His name is Mustapha—by the way. And our packmaster gave us both permission to serve you—as long as you are willing to pay him the usual tribute for our service.”
“Of course,” I said. “And you and he will be generously compensated as well.”
“Oh—I know that,” he chuckled. “I’ve worked for you before.”
“Tray Dawson, the third member of the Were team, is with Sookie and me in Rhode Island. Any reservations I might have had about him have been put to rest,” I informed. “Though you will still be team leader, you should know that Tray now has my complete confidence as well.”
“Why? Did something happen?” Brady asked.
“Yeah. He has my wife’s stamp of approval,” I chuckled. “And that’s enough for me.”
“I cannot wait to know your Sookie better,” Brady said with a smile in his voice. “Anyone whose judgment you trust so fully must be special indeed.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “So—since I’ve not watched the news—what happened?”
“The charges went off exacted as planned.”
“The scientists?” I asked.
“All dead,” he confirmed. “And the buildings in the complex were all razed. Of course, the governor hasn’t publically admitted what the buildings were for, but that hasn’t stopped him from calling the act a terrorist one. However, because of Mustapha’s expertise, the explosions will likely be blamed on a very faulty and combustive boiler system. Why the governor didn’t invest in a new one is a mystery,” he intoned. “And you know how accidents are likely to occur in old warehouse districts like that.”
“Good work,” I complimented.
He continued, “People are already asking questions about just what the facility was for. And proof of the true nature of the Vamp Camp has been sent to the Guardian—though I’m saving the complete copy of Overlark’s hard-drive for you. Oh—and—if you approve—I will leak some choice tidbits to the Press tomorrow morning.”
“Perfect,” I said, no longer fully trusting Nora to enact all the plans we’d discussed several days before. If Nora followed the course we’d set up, she would give General Michaels the information about the Vamp Camp so that Burrell could be prosecuted by the Federal government. Of course, Michaels would also be suspicious that vampires were involved in the destruction of the Vamp Camp; however, nothing along those lines would ever be proven.
And, meanwhile, Burrell would—hopefully—go to prison for a long time. Because I planned to make sure that his many sins would be proven—with or without Nora’s help.
“I’ll see you and my new mistress tomorrow,” Brady said.
“We’ll be there around 3:00 a.m. Keep an eye on things until then.”
“Of course,” Brady said before hanging up.
I closed my eyes in relief. The Vamp Camp was no more. And Burrell’s science team had also been eliminated.
I quickly checked my email and grinned evilly.
Thalia had turned Sarah Newlin the night before and, apparently, Sarah had risen a very bothersome child. However, Thalia had commanded her to suck down her TrueBloods and remain still and silent.
I could only imagine how hungry Sarah still was. TrueBloods weren’t very filling, after all.
Especially not for newborns.
I took a moment to send Thalia a text to thank her for her service, and I immediately got one back reminding me that she would never be darkening the door of Fangtasia again.
“What’s funny?” Sookie asked groggily as she looked up at me with half-opened eyes.
“Thalia,” I said. “She’s having fun with her new child.”
Sookie sighed. “I hate thinkin’ it’s good that anyone died, but I hate Sarah Newlin.”
I chuckled. Apparently, a half-asleep Sookie was an uncharitable Sookie. “She’s not dead yet—at least not completely,” I intoned.
“What about everything else?” she asked.
“Everything went fine,” I assured her. “Brady and the other Were who will be guarding us, Mustapha, will be in Bon Temps by the time we get there tomorrow night,” I said.
“Okay,” she sighed before grabbing my hand that had been caressing her hair and putting it onto her tummy. She sighed contentedly. “They’re saying hello.”
I smiled widely. “I can feel them.”
“Not just there,” she said, kissing my chest. “In my head too.”
“They are communicating with you?” I asked in amazement. “In thoughts?”
“Little bursts. Like fireflies lighting up in the sky,” she smiled lazily.
I pulled her even closer and reveled as she snuggled into my arms. She fell back to sleep soon after, but I kept a hand placed firmly onto her belly as our sons moved and grew inside of my bonded.
A/N: Sorry…busy day…no time for a note, but I really hope that you enjoyed this chapter!
Until the next one,
Many thanks to Seph and Kleannhouse!!!