Worn out from her almost-all-night session of love-making with her husband―which actually extended well into the morning―Sookie didn’t awaken until about 4:00 p.m., which suited her just fine because it meant that her vampire would be up soon too. They’d had an early morning shower together, so she hurriedly rose and put on some jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt before she brushed her teeth and put her hair into a pony tail.
She picked up her dirty work pants and underwear from the night before and put them into the laundry basket—after having first taken out the piece of string from the pants pocket. She grinned and snuck quietly to her husband’s side; certainly, he seemed dead to the world, but she knew that he could feel her emotions and would be stirred by them, especially if he sensed that something was wrong. So she calmed herself and quickly measured his left ring finger with the string.
The kitten raised its head curiously and tried to bat the piece of alluring string.
Sookie chuckled, “Now don’t go telling on me, little one.” She used one hand to hold the correct place in the string and the other to pet the kitten’s head and scratch his ears until he collapsed once more against Eric.
Quickly, Sookie went to her old bedroom, where she knew there was a ruler, and measured the string. Just to be safe, she repeated her actions from before, once again measuring Eric’s finger with the string and once again measuring the string with the ruler. When she got the same figure the second time, she grinned again and felt pretty certain about the size. She continued the same steps with the thickest part of his knuckle, just in case she needed that information, and then put the ruler away—after swinging the string around for the kitten to play with properly for a few minutes, that is.
As wrong as it may have seemed at almost 4:15 in the afternoon, Sookie went to the kitchen to make some fresh coffee and was greeted by Jarod, who was making himself a sandwich.
“Want one?” the shifter asked.
“What kind?” Sookie returned.
“Sure,” she smiled as she put on the coffee. “What’d y’all do today?” Sookie asked.
Jarod smiled as he put mayonnaise on another piece of bread. “Well, I quizzed Miranda on a practice test for her bar exam.” He winked, “Don’t ask her about it though; there was one question she had no clue about, and she’s been pouring over the books since then. As you can imagine,” he paused, “she’s a bit of a perfectionist.”
Sookie chucked, grabbing a coffee cup. “I don’t doubt it.”
Jarod smiled proudly, “She’ll pass, of course. She’s the smartest person I know―well,” he qualified, “at least the smartest person with a so-called normal lifespan that I’ve known.” He grinned, “Don’t tell Miranda, but I’d say that Godric was even smarter, and Eric seems to know right from left as well.”
Sookie grinned. “Silly vampires and their silly time advantage.”
Jarod tilted his head, “Will you become one―you think?”
Sookie shrugged, “I don’t know. I sure as hell love one, but the thought of giving up the sun and food makes me sad.” She took a giant drink of her freshly brewed coffee to prove her point.
“I guess you’ll have to figure out if the thought of giving him up makes you even sadder,” Jarod said thoughtfully as he handed her a sandwich.
She smiled. “The thought of being five feet away from him makes me sad―to tell you the truth.”
Jarod chuckled, “Welcome to love.” He looked out the dining room window wistfully at his mate, who was sitting on the porch. “If she wouldn’t kill me for sure, I’d Velcro myself to Miranda.”
Sookie smiled and then took another sip of her coffee. “So―Bill will be here at 7:00 tonight. Is there a plan?”
Jarod laughed. “Of course, between Pam and Miranda, there always is, or haven’t you noticed?” He winked. “Pam is bringing Jessica at first dark, and since neither Tray nor Eric trusts Bill, several pack members are escorting them until they reach the property. Then the pack will take up positions on three sides of your property line―just in case.”
“Do you think Bill will try somethin’?”
“No,” Jarod answered, shaking his head. “To be honest, Bill seemed scared of you last night—a bit of a pussy, if you’ll excuse my French.” He grinned, “Miranda said you put on quite the light show, however, so I don’t blame him. And I doubt if Bill would risk starting a war with the Weres, especially since Eric and the Area 5 vampires wouldn’t support him. And it’s not like he can go to the Authority or the AVL.”
Sookie nodded in agreement. “There’s no way they would help him with Jessica after what she did. They’d probably order her death.”
Jarod nodded in agreement. “Jessica was reckless when she attacked the boy in public and stupid for attacking him at all. Since the episode with Russell Edgington, the AVL wants no controversies involving vampires whatsoever, and similar situations are being met with,” he stopped for a moment. “Well, let’s just say that many vampires who have committed similar crimes have simply disappeared.”
Sookie sighed, “Jessica, why were you so dumb?”
Jarod scoffed. “She was an idiot, but Bill was just as irresponsible. In my humble one, he’s got kangaroos loose in the top paddock.”
Sookie looked at him with confusion.
“Oh,” Jarod said with a laugh, “that just means that it seems like Bill Compton ain’t exactly the smartest vampire I’ve ever met. In his case, age doesn’t seem to have created many advantages.”
Jarod continued, “Anyway, his irresponsibility will prevent him from seeking help from the AVL—and especially the Authority. Bill would get into trouble for being such a shitty maker.” He took a drink of the coffee he’d poured for himself. “Before a vampire reaches five years―you know—his or her maker is held almost as responsible for the young one’s actions as he or she is.”
“Oh,” Sookie said, not having known that. “So—Bill could be punished too?”
Jarod nodded and said quietly, “If Eric had wanted, he could have had Bill under silver last night as well. Hell—most makers worth half their salt would have volunteered to take their child’s physical punishment in such a case.”
Sookie shook her head. “I didn’t know they could do that.”
“They can,” he answered simply. “And in my estimation, Bill bloody well should have done.”
“But Bill didn’t,” Sookie said, still shaking her head. “Poor Jessica.”
“Pam will set her right,” Jarod grinned. “Don’t tell anyone else, but she and Miranda have a wager about the girl.”
Sookie grunted, “That’s awful! They shouldn’t bet on a life like that.”
“Normally I would agree,” Jarod said, “but I think it will actually be good in this case. Pam has bet Miranda that she can keep Jessica from killing anyone or being killed for at least five years.”
Sookie chuckled, “And knowing Pam, she will put all of her energy into that goal, even if it’s only a two-dollar bet.”
Jarod nodded, “And between you and me, Miranda is not planning to antagonize the girl either. It is a bet she is willing to lose, as long as the girl doesn’t do anything too annoying.”
Sookie chuckled. “So what else has been goin’ on today? I feel like I’ve slept it away!”
“Well―the walls for Eric’s workspace are going up today, and the area for the guest house has been marked off and is being leveled. Thanks for that, by the way.”
Sookie brushed him off with a wave of her hand. “Listen, you don’t have to thank me for that. I should be thanking you and Miranda for giving up your lives and spending them all guarding me and Eric during the day.”
Jarod smiled, “Sookie, it’s my chosen profession, you know. And the old man is paying us very―very well.”
Sookie chuckled, “Still, you two feel more and more like family every day, and family doesn’t sleep in a hotel!”
Jarod smiled gratefully, “Sookie, I think I can speak for both Miranda and myself. We’re happy to be part of your mob.”
Sookie again tilted her head, “Mob?”
“Oh—that just means that we’re glad you accepted us into the family.”
Sookie smiled brightly. She took her coffee and sandwich in hand and went toward the back door so that she could see the progress being made on Eric’s workshop. She was pleased as she saw the workers had finished about half of the walls.”
“Afternoon, Miss Sta-,” Scott corrected himself, “Sookie.” The distinguished-looking Were smiled at her. “I’ve finished the final blueprints for the house renovations and the guesthouse for you and Mr. Northman to sign off on after sunset. The workshop space will be done day after tomorrow.”
Sookie smiled widely. “That’s great, Scott!” She took in the work and quickly scanned the thoughts of the workers. Finding nothing malicious, she took a huge bite of her sandwich and sat on the back steps, watching the workers as Scott rejoined them and picked back up his hammer and nails to work alongside them. Seeing that, Sookie liked the Were even more than she had before.
Finishing her sandwich, Sookie went back inside. She checked her email and found that she had been accepted by Bossier Parish Community College. She squealed excitedly. She had an appointment to take her placement tests during the first week of December.
She continued to smile widely as she went to the website where she intended to buy Eric’s ring. She already had the order set up with all her information saved. She added Eric’s finger measurement and knuckle size and then completed her order.
Still with a smile on her face and a spring in her step, Sookie went back upstairs after refilling her coffee. The kitten and her husband were exactly where she’d left them, curled up in bed and unmoving. Sookie chuckled and then went to grab her overnight bag from her old room. Eric and she planned to leave for Santa Fe right after the business with Bill was settled, and she was anxious to be underway.
Eric’s small plane was housed in a hangar at a private airfield right outside of Shreveport, and he planned to “fly” them to the airfield before flying them to Santa Fe so that Bill wouldn’t even know they were gone. They planned only to stay for the night and maybe one day, so Sookie packed only one change of clothes for herself and then threw in a change for Eric as well. She put the bag on the bathroom counter so that they could pack their toiletries later.