Headnote: This is the second outtake for From the Inside Out. It is from Andy Bellefleur’s POV and should be read after chapter 15 of From the Inside Out; it begins in the afternoon of the day following that chapter.
There ain’t nothing in the whole wide world that could have prepared a man for what I was now dealing with! Four babies—uh toddlers—uh little girls—uh preteens!
Four girls that I hadn’t even known about until a very pregnant Maurella showed up—near-bursting.
No—scratch that! I had started to think that my first time in the woods with Maurella was just a dream until Judge Clements took Jason and me to that fairy club. When I’d seen her there, I was drawn to her like a moth to flame. And then—to be honest—after that night, I’d just wanted to try to forget about her.
Forget about what I’d done with her.
For some reason, being around her made me lose my ability to think—except with my “little Andy.” Needless to say, I’d left the fairy club feeling guilty. By then, I had Holly in my life—at least to a certain extent—and I wanted to make an honest to God try with her. More importantly, I didn’t want to do anything to make Holly unhappy.
Enter Maurella into my life a third time.
The way she’d chugged that salt!
I hadn’t been equipped to be a daddy four times over—to four girls, no less!
I mean—boys could be taught hunting and fishing! I didn’t have the foggiest idea what to teach little girls—except to never, ever date boys. Never!
I was just thankful to have Arlene around to help a bit. And Holly.
God bless her—or, uh, her goddess bless her—for not hitting me in the face and turning her back on me. I wouldn’t have blamed her.
I shook my head as I thought about Holly and me. Talk about bad timing! I’d gotten with Maurella when I’d thought that Holly and I wouldn’t be happening! But, then, being with Maurella had made me want Holly even more! And it had given me the confidence to go after her in earnest.
Sure—Holly was a little odd. She talked about goddesses; she rambled on about herbs and salt circles and all kinds of witchy things. But all that talk had just made me like her more. She was herself—unique! And she didn’t apologize to anyone for it. Seeing someone so damned comfortable with herself had made me want to be a better man!
And it wasn’t as if weirder stuff than Holly’s witchery didn’t thrive in Bon Temps! Strange, supernatural things were like a shit hill on a cattle farm in Bon Temps.
I still remember that she-devil who desecrated the Stackhouse’s property! She’d spun around in Adele Stackhouse’s weddin’ dress like the bride of Frankenstein. Yep—thinking about how that wild woman had made some kind of meat tree definitely made the bile rise in my throat. And that about Maryann herself? Well, she’d made everyone’s eyes go black! Including my own! And don’t even get me started on my memory of seeing Mike Spencer naked. I know I ain’t a ten or anything, but I don’t go flaunting my body around public either! And I certainly don’t do the Chicken Dance while naked!
I sighed as I parked in Sookie’s driveway. I suppose I didn’t have too much room to talk—not really. Holly’s kids had made sure that my assets—emphasis on the “ass”—were posted on Facebook for all to see.
I puffed up a bit as I got out of the car. At least my ass had gotten 67 “likes!” But the 4 “pokes” had been a little too much. I mean—I get that Lafayette was just kiddin’ and all—but he’s been having a little too much fun teasing me about “poking” my ass. I shuddered.
Anyway—despite that little hiccup with Holly’s kids posting pictures of my ass—she and I had been doin’ real good together for a while. And, though I knew it was quick, I’d already started thinking about things like moving in together or even getting her an engagement ring.
But then the salt-swiggin’ fairy had swept back into my life. And—by the end of the night—she’d had four babies! And—obviously—fairy women felt that their job was over once they—uh—went through labor.
Not that it seemed like “labor” to me. In fact, it sort of crushed my ego a little when I realized that Maurella was having a bigger orgasm from birthing the kids than she’d had from me putting them into her.
I pulled at my collar a little. Why’d they have to make the damned things so tight?
I checked my watch. Even though it was overcast enough to look almost like dusk, it was almost 3:00 p.m., and my official shift would be starting at 5:00 p.m. Hopefully by then, I’d have some help for my girls.
It’d been a little rainy for the last several days, so I made sure to wipe my boots carefully as I rang Sookie’s doorbell. Miss Adele might not be alive anymore, but I still thought of her as I wiped them a second time. She sure could light a boy up for bringing mud into her house!
I rubbed the back of my neck in memory.
After about a minute, I rang the doorbell again and knocked for good measure. Sookie’s car was where it usually was when she was home and there was even another car there too, some sort of expensive-looking foreign sedan. Knowing Sook, it was a vampire’s.
I heard a few hurried steps followed by a yelled-out, “Can you give me five minutes Andy?”
I frowned and looked around. Her voice made it sound as if she were speaking from her stairs, and I knew that she hadn’t looked out the windows in the living room to see that I was the one there. ‘Course I knew how she’d known it was me.
That thing she could do with her head.
That thing my girls could do too!
“Sure thing, Sookie. I’ll just wait on the porch!” I yelled out as I moved to sit on the porch swing. I suppose I could have just “thought” it at her.
I noticed that the swing didn’t creek like it used to and then took the time to notice all the updates to the house. I knew that they’d been done between the time Jason sold Sookie’s house and the time she got back from wherever she’d been for a year, but I didn’t know more than that. In fact, I wondered how she could still be living there—if truth be told. Was she renting?
I shrugged. I’d always thought that Sookie was a strange creature and—to my shame—I’d been scared enough of her that I’d had some unkind things to say about her at times. Because of this, I was nervous to talk to her, but I honestly didn’t know what else to do at the moment.
Sookie opened the door not five minutes later. Her eyes seemed a little weary, but she had a smile on her face.
AND a noticeable baby bump!
“What’s that?” I asked, though I knew it was a stupid question as soon as it left my lips.
Her smile didn’t drop. It widened. “My boys!” she enthused. “Come on in. I started some coffee, and I made banana bread yesterday.”
Involuntarily, my stomach growled. “Adele’s recipe?” I asked.
“Of course! With pecans too!”
I followed my stomach into the kitchen. For Miss Adele’s banana bread, I would have followed a lot longer. With each step I took, I appreciated the renovations to the inside of the house more and more.
“Your Gran woulda been real proud of how the house looks,” I said, after thanking Sookie for a cup of coffee and a large slice of banana bread. I took the chair she offered me and tucked in to the treat.
She sighed. “I think she would be,” she responded as she joined me with her own coffee and bread. “But I can’t take credit for the changes.” She looked a little sad for a moment, but also extremely grateful.
“I know it ain’t none of my business, but who did all the work on the house?”
“Eric,” she responded.
“That—uh—big blond vamp?”
“Yep. That’s him,” she returned even as she spooned five and then six teaspoons of sugar into her coffee. I loved my sweets, but that was taking things a little far. Then she spooned sugar onto her banana bread.
I shrugged. “Can I have that sugar after you’re done with it?” I asked. “I like a bit in my coffee these days.”
She chuckled and got up. “Oh—that’s not sugar.” She quickly grabbed a sugar dish from the counter and brought it to me.
“Salt!” I exclaimed with realization.
She nodded. “I know it’s weird, but I want it in everything—uh—because of the pregnancy.”
The sudden pregnancy—where there hadn’t been sign of it before.
My mind’s wheels clicked and locked.
“You’re a fairy!”
She sighed and nodded. “Part. You know about fairies? Jason tell you?” she asked, before shoveling in a bite.
I pulled at my collar and then just gave up and opened the first button of my shirt and loosened my tie.
“I—uh—met a fairy. That’s actually why I’m here. I didn’t know you were one, but I thought you could help me.”
“Oh?” she asked as she poured more salt onto her banana bread.
“Actually, Maurella—that’s the name of the fairy—and I had a short—uh—relationship.”
“But aren’t you with Holly?” she asked.
“Yes!” I said quickly. “Least I hope she still wants that. But Maurella—um—well I—uh—swore to protect her—swore on her ‘light’—or something like that. And the next thing I know she showed up . . . .”
Sookie interrupted. “She’s pregnant! I met her at the fairy club.”
“Uh, yeah. The fairy club,” I said. “She’s already had the kids though.”
“Kids?” Sookie asked.
“Four girls. And she left them with me and took off. I’ve tried goin’ to the field where that club is, but no one’s answering,” I shared. “And that’s why I need your help. You see—they’re like you.”
She tilted her head. “How?”
“They can read thoughts,” I answered. “And they’re havin’ problems stayin’ out of heads. Two of ’em are gettin’ headaches from it. I figured that—since you can read minds too—you could give them some advice. You know—pointers and such. And—now that I know you’re fairy too—well, I really think you could help. If you will.”
She bit her lip as if about to cry.
Oh, God! Please! I didn’t want to deal with pregnancy hormones or more female emotions!
“I know I ain’t always been as kind as I shoulda been,” I started before she could speak. “I remember how—right after I became a cop—you ‘thought’ to me once that I just had to ask if I ever wanted to use your special kind of ‘help.'”
“I made the same offer to Bud,” she sighed. “He never wanted my help either,” she added sadly.
“Well, he did turn out to be a sick motherfucker,” I said trying to chuckle a little. “But—uh—I ain’t got no good excuse.” I sighed. “Listen, you and me ain’t never been friends, but I could use your help. My girls could use your help.”
She reached out her hand and covered my own. “Of course, I’ll do what I can. And it might help for when my own boys are born.”
“They gonna grow fast too?” I asked.
Her lip quivered again.
Shit! That’s why she’d been upset!
My girls’ growing so quickly had freaked me out too, but I hadn’t thought about why I should be sad about what I was missing. I frowned.
“Yes. They’re gonna grow fast,” she whispered.
“You said boys earlier,” I tried to change the topic a little.
“Two,” she smiled a little. “How old are yours?”
“A little more than four days,” I answered.
“And?” she asked, holding her breath.
In turn, I took a long breath. “The first day, they were like newborns. The second, they were toddlers. The third, they looked like,” I paused, “they were seven or eight? Hard for me to tell—you know? Today, I’d say eleven or twelve.”
“And yours are half-Fae,” she mused and then looked at me with concern. “You know to keep them away from vampires—right?”
I frowned. “Maurella mentioned that there were things I needed to protect her from in the night. Was she talkin’ about vamps?”
Sookie nodded. “Yeah. At least to a certain extent. Vampires are attracted to fairies because our blood tastes good to them. I’m only an eighth fairy, and I still smell sweet to them, though they can control themselves around me.”
“But my girls . . . ,” I started fearfully.
“Can be kept indoors at night. And—uh—maybe they have powers they can use to protect themselves.”
“Powers?” I asked.
She reached out her hand and somehow produced a ball of light on her palm. “This can be used as a weapon.”
“Wow!” I said. “Can you teach my girls to do that?”
She shrugged. “I can try. And I know someone else who could help even more—my cousin, Claude.”
“Thank you,” I said sincerely and then looked at her hand. “Could you do that all your life?”
“Nope. For me, it came on when I needed to fight off the Maenad. But that was only after I had Eric’s blood. I think having it might have brought on my power, but I’m not sure, and I’m not as much fairy as your girls, so they might get it earlier than I did.”
“Hope so,” I mused.
Sookie smiled at me. “Well—let’s get going. My cousin Claude is at the fairy club, and I think he could give us both some advice. Last time I saw him I was still shocked about being pregnant by a vampire! So I didn’t think to ask him anything about how fast the kids would grow or when they’d stop growing like that.”
“Wait. A vampire is their daddy?” I asked with surprise. “I thought they couldn’t—um—do that.”
She giggled. “Usually not. But Eric,” she paused, “accepted my light.”
“Ah,” I nodded with understanding. “Say no more. I get it.”
“Let me just put on some warmer clothes and then we can go to the fairy club.”
I nodded and accepted another piece of banana bread and cup of coffee. When she returned, she was muttered about the fact that nothing fit anymore. But she had found something to wear—a pair of sweats that had probably belonged to Jason once upon a time, a large T-shirt, and a flannel quilted jacket that was clearly too big for her in every way except when it came to her belly.
All the way to my car, she continued to mutter questions about why her maternity clothes hadn’t arrived. I wasn’t about to risk saying the wrong thing—which I figured I would if I tried to make her feel better. Smartly, I kept my mouth shut.
I’d learned in my line of work that pregnant women were the last people in the world that I was willing to piss off. Their moods swung like a baseball bat, and I’d been hit one too many times.
We were mostly quiet on the short drive to the “fairy field”—as I called it in my head. Her hand lying over her belly, Sookie was likely thinking about her upcoming motherhood.
I was just grateful that she was helping me at all—given the fact that I’d not been kind to her at certain times in the past. I resolved to change my attitude and my behavior—and even see if she’d still be willing to use her “gift” to help with police investigations once in a while. It was amazing how fast being the daddy of four telepathic girls had given me an attitude adjustment regarding Sookie.
Of course, the fact that I’d needed one in the first place was a signal that I was just as much of an asshole when it came to Sookie as most others in town.
In truth, despite her “crazy” smile and her habit of looking at people like she “knew” their very souls, she was genuinely kind-natured, like Miss Adele. And, clearly, she was discreet. The many secrets that had made their way into her head over the years had stayed within her. Heck—I know that I had the occasional strange or downright un-Christian thought. I imagined that everyone did. In fact, even the week before, I’d found myself wondering how many times Jason Stackhouse must have been dropped onto his head as a baby. And—let’s face it—Jason’s my best friend! Sookie had been around when I’d had that thought, but she’d simply met it with the same “crazy” smile with which she met everything.
Now that I thought about it, I realized that Sookie’s odd smile was likely the direct result of whatever thoughts she was hearing at any given time. I could only imagine the nastiness in some people’s heads—and the judgment and fear in others. Indeed, I was guilty of that, too.
I thought about my girls and of the inevitability of their being harmed by people’s thoughts.
I think I might have growled out loud, given the fact that Sookie looked at me funny.
“You okay?” she asked, her concern clear. After everything, it was a wonder that she continued to be so caring.
“Yeah. Sure,” I responded.
She looked skeptical, but turned her focus away from me.
“Andy!” she yelled. “Stop!”
Having been startled, it took me a moment to hit the brakes—though I didn’t slam on them. Pregnant woman in the car and all! In fact, Sookie was probably feeling ill. Pregnant women did that—right? In the morning? And—though it wasn’t the morning for most people, given that it was after 3:00 p.m.—Sookie spent time with vamps, and it probably was morning for her.
“You okay?” I asked her before following her pointed finger to the cause of her outburst.
I had to squint to see it, but there seemed to be a body about forty feet from the road. The lump was near the tree line and in tall grass, so people would have needed to be looking closely to see it. Whether he or she was dead or just hurt—I didn’t have a clue.
I wondered how Sookie had seen the body, given that we’d been going pretty fast.
She answered my unspoken question. “I felt a weird ‘tap,'” she said, pointed to her head.
I grabbed the radio in the car. “Kenya,” I said as I pushed the button to call the station.
“Hey, Andy. I didn’t know you were on duty yet.”
“I’m not,” I said, “but I was driving down Old Winnfield Road. Sookie’s with me, and she spotted a body on the side of the road. We don’t know its condition yet, but I need you to send Kevin and an ambulance right away.”
“Sure thing, Andy,” Kenya said.
“Stay here,” I ordered Sookie, though her door was already opening as I opened mine.
“Alright, then stay behind me,” I amended gruffly even as I unsnapped the strap that secured my gun into its side holster. Thankfully, Sookie nodded in compliance and fell into step several feet behind me.
“You—uh—hear anyone?” I asked, even as I was looking around the area.
“Just you and him,” she said. “But I think he’s unconscious.”
“Him?” I asked since I wasn’t close enough to determine gender yet.
If he was unconscious, I wondered how she knew his gender. Did men and women “sound” different to her even when they weren’t thinking something specific? What about Lafayette? I mean—I liked the man. Don’t get me wrong. But he was a little—uh—flamboyant.
Sookie gasped from behind me.
“He ‘tap’ again?”
“Yeah,” she responded. “Maybe the tapping is him trying to wake up? He also ‘feels’ unique to me.”
“What do you mean—unique?” I asked.
“Like a fairy, but not,” she said.
“Maybe he’s part?” I speculated. “Like you and my girls?”
By this time we’d reached the man. He was lying on his back. Lucky for him, the cloud cover was dense; otherwise, he would have baked in the sun like a vampire! Well—maybe not quite that bad.
I quickly bent down to check his vitals and noticed quite a bit of bruising on his face. And then I noticed the bite marks; they looked like vampire to me. “Sookie?” I asked. “Look at these?”
She came closer and looked over my shoulder.
“Vampire?” I asked.
“Looks like it,” she said soberly.
The man groaned and stirred before opening his eyes. He closed them again quickly as if the gray sky were the brightest of lights. And then he moved his hand gingerly to his neck, cringing in pain as he touched the bite.
“There’s an ambulance on the way,” I said as his eyes opened again, this time more focused than before.
“Where am I?” he asked in a scratching voice.
“Near Bon Temps, Louisiana,” I responded as his eyes moved to take in Sookie.
Immediately, he focused on her intently. I guess I couldn’t blame him there. Her pretty face was much nicer than my ugly mug. Still, his gaze was a little too invasive—too interested—in my opinion.
“What’s your name?” I asked, trying to draw his attention back to me.
“Ben,” he said, still looking at Sookie. “Ben Flynn.” He smiled at her, seeming to have regained some of his energy. “You,” he said, “you saved me.”
“Huh?” Sookie asked.
“I felt your brain,” Ben sighed. “Everything was dark, but then I recognized the spark of your light as it went by. Thank you for stopping. Focusing on your mind—it helped me to wake up.” He shivered. “The vampire left me near dawn, but said he was coming back at nightfall. I don’t know if I would have been able to wake up on my own by then.”
“You’re a telepath too?” Sookie asked.
“Yes—and very enticing to vampires,” he added with a cringe, “just as I imagine you are.”
“Yeah,” Sookie admitted from behind me.
“I usually stay inside a human-owned home at night, but I was helping a friend in Shreveport. And I was found by a vampire.”
“And he just left you here?” I asked. I’ll admit it. I was skeptical. There was something in Ben Flynn’s eyes that didn’t seem quite right. And his gaze at Sookie was almost possessive; it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Maybe that was my “parental” instinct popping through though. After all, I’d been practicing it enough during the last week.
But this guy’s eyes were not to be trusted. I just knew it! Hell—the two eyes weren’t even quite the same color.
Ben nodded and answered my question, breaking my gaze from his one blue and one greenish eye. “Yes. The vampire took enough blood to incapacitate me. I think he was toying with me by leaving me here.”
I moved slightly. Though I could not block his eyes from Sookie’s, I felt better knowing that my body was positioned more between them.
For her part, Sookie seemed to be curious about the man. I suppose she didn’t meet many telepaths. “Do you know who did this to you?”
“I could describe him,” Ben said, “but I don’t know his name.”
He was trying to sit up again. That’s when he looked at me and smiled a little. “I am part fairy. We heal faster, and now that Sookie is here, her spark is feeding my own.”
“How do you know her name?” I asked.
“I told him, Andy,” Sookie said, putting her hand on my shoulder and squeezing a little. “Ben really is like me, and we were communicating telepathically for a minute. Sorry.”
“Hmm,” I sounded. Maybe that’s why he’d been looking at her like he had. Still—I wasn’t ready to trust all he said. “So—uh—can you describe the vamp—I mean vampire—who did this?”
Sookie squeezed my shoulder again, clearly pleased that I’d corrected my slight slur.
“He is tall—very tall. Maybe 6 feet, five inches?” he began. “And he’s blond. I think his accent is slightly Scandinavian. And he’s old. I know that much for sure. My light had little effect on him.”
Sookie squeezed yet again, but this time, it wasn’t out of gratitude or support. I think it was out of some kind of warning.
“When did you say you were attacked?” I asked.
“Last night—around 10:00 p.m.,” he returned. “I think I was drugged. I didn’t wake up till hours later, and I was here. And then the vampire started biting.”
Just then, we heard the ambulance sirens. I was glad. Ben was really beginning to creep me out. Though the part-fairy protested, I made sure that he understood that it was standard procedure that he be taken to the hospital for a check-up and a blood transfusion if needed. However, by the time the ambulance was ready to take off, he was well enough to walk on his own.
Due to using Sookie’s light thing—I guess. I hope he—at least—fucking asked first!
Ben looked over his shoulder longingly as he walked with the paramedics toward the ambulance.
“It was lovely meeting you Sookie Stackhouse. I hope I will see you again.”
“That’d be great!” Sookie said from next to me. I noticed that her “crazy” smile was in place and wondered what that could mean.
I didn’t need to wonder for long. As soon as I’d explained the details of the situation to Kevin, who showed up right as the ambulance was pulling away, I ushered Sookie back to my car.
“Sookie, I don’t think you should trust that guy,” I said gruffly.
“I know,” she said, shaking her head. “His head seemed very open to me, and he seemed honest, but my gut is literally telling me to never see him again! That he’s hiding something behind that victim façade,” she added.
Good for her gut.
“Andy,” she started. “I’m sorry, but would it be okay if I called Claude and we came over to your house later—maybe around 11:00 p.m. with Eric? I—uh—don’t want Eric to be alone in the house right now, and, as soon as the sun sets, I want to tell him that someone’s trying to accuse him of attacking them.”
“You don’t know of any other old tall blond vampires with a slight accent either, do you?” I asked with a sigh.
“Nope. But I do know where Eric was every second of last night,” she informed sincerely. “And we were even with Jason part of the night. If Ben was attacked by a vampire, it wasn’t Eric.” I believed her, so I told her so.
“That’s good enough for me,” I said.
She smiled at me and patted my hand. “I’m sure Eric will answer any questions you might have for him later. Meanwhile, if he does have a doppelganger out there attacking part-fairies, I’m sure he’ll find him. And—if Ben is trying to frame Eric for any wrongdoing—I intend to find out why.”
I ignored it. Pregnant lady and all.
“Eric will be okay?” I asked. “Coming to the house—being around my girls?”
“You’ll un-invite him if he isn’t,” she said quickly. “But Eric is mine. And he hasn’t been attracted to other fairies since I claimed him.”
She sounded downright scary and possessive. So I did what I had to do. I agreed with her.
“Sure thing, Sookie. We’ll be ready for your visit at 11:00 p.m.”
When I dropped her off, she literally ran into her house—likely to check on her vamp. I mean, “vampire.”
As for myself? I had to get to the station to fill out the paperwork and then check on the status of Ben Flynn. I also planned to do an extensive background check on him. Clearly, both a telepath’s instincts and my own gut were telling us that the part-fairy was “off.” And I—for one—didn’t like the thought of a questionable fairy sniffing around town when my own part-fairies daughters had just arrived.
I know I growled aloud at that thought—but I didn’t care!
It was a father’s prerogative—even a new one’s!
At the end of Hummingbird Lane, I made a right turn rather than a left one. Before I went to the station to learn more about Ben Flynn, I had just enough time to check on my girls, and that’s just what I planned to do!
A/N: I hope that you enjoyed this INNER-Lude! I have to say that during the final season, Andy was one of my favorite characters. And as soon as I decided to write these INNER-Ludes I knew I wanted to do one with Andy. It made sense since he had 4 fairy kids! That being said, it was challenging writing from his POV b/c it’s the first time I’ve attempted it. I hope I did him some justice. And, of course, another main narrative push in this chapter was to introduce Ben/Warlow. What do you think of him so far?
We’ll have more of From the Inside Out and be back w/ Eric’s POV next week.