I found Gran pretty much the same way as yesterday, behind the stove making breakfast.
“Good morning, Sookie dear.”
“Good morning, Gran. Did… Do you know how I ended up in my bed? I mean, were you awake when…”
“Was I awake when Eric brought you home, sleeping like a log?”
I nodded as I took a sip of my coffee.
“Yes, I was. And I had a pleasant chat with Eric afterward. He told me you are going car shopping today, so I called Jasonearlier and asked him to take you to Shreveport.”
“Oh, gosh… I have to get use to it; my vampire and my Gran are BFF!”
I blushed. “Well, he did tell his staff that I was his, it is only right to say he is mine.”
“Eat before it gets cold.”
Before I even took a bit of the delicious breakfast, my cell phone started ringing. I excused myself and went to answer in the living room.
“Sookie? It’s Patricia.”
“Hi, Mrs. Kennedy!”
Patricia Kennedy had been our neighbor in Boston for like forever. She and her husband Alfred were living in the brownstones next to us and she used to babysat both Jason and I after our mother’s death.
“I’m so sorry to call you this early… I’m not even sure what time it is in Louisiana.”
“No problem, Mrs. Kennedy. There’s only a one hour difference. Is there a problem? The house didn’t burned down to theground, I hope!”
“No, of course not! It’s just that… The day you left for Louisiana, somebody showed up at your house. He said his name was Thomas Krasiki and that he was an old friend of the family… I was surprised he didn’t know about Corbett’s and that you had moved to Louisiana to live with your Grandmother… Well, I thought it was a little weird and it’s been killing me for the past two days.”
I thanked Mrs. Kennedy before going back to the kitchen.
“Gran, do we know any Thomas Krasiki?”
“Krasiki, you said? No, I don’t think so. Why?”
“Mrs. Kennedy, our neighbor in Boston, called to tell me some guy went to the brownstones looking for us. But I’m not familiar with the name.”
“Maybe he was a University friend of your dad.”
I finished my breakfast and went upstairs to grab a shower. I was walking down the stairs when I ‘felt’ the truck from the furniture store coming down the driveway. I had completely forgotten about the delivery.
Luckily the delivery men took pity of two helpless women and took down my old furniture before putting the new one. In theend, all Gran and I had to do was stripped the old bed of its sheets. I would make a stop in Shreveport to get some King Size bedding. I gave the three guys a big tip and send them on their way. Looking at the old Grandfather clock I realized how late it was. As if on cue, Jason pulled in, wearing his day off attire, i.e. a pair of washed up jeans, a Harvard Law School T-Shirt and – guess what – a Harvard baseball cap.
“Ready to go car shopping, Sook?”
I grabbed my purse and we were on our way. Even though I grew up with a father with a love for car restoration, a brother who got a hard on whenever he saw a 4×4 and a vampire with an addiction to fast cars, I knew nothing about it. Having Jason with me sure helped a lot. We quickly established that a girly car wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted a stylish car – Audi werevery stylish indeed, a comfortable interior, with lots of trunk load and with a good gas mileage. After a quick test drive I settled on a Daytona Grey Pearl Q7 full equip with a hefty price tag of $81,795 before taxes!
“You are lucky, Miss Stackhouse, we do have this car on stock in the color of your choice. The only thing is that it has the DVD player option that you didn’t ask for… So the price will be a little…”
“I’ll take it! What, I’m not the one paying for the car! My employer is paying for it and he said that money wasn’t an issue…”
“Employer my ass! More like sugar daddy. Really, what must she do to get an $80,000 car…”
My ‘Crazy Sookie’ smile was back. Jason must have felt my discomfort at the man thoughts ’cause he quickly took over.
“You know what, Sook, I saw a Saab dealership not too far from here. I’m pretty sure Mr. Northman would be quite touch if you got a Swedish car instead…”
“You think? It will probably cost a little more, think he will mind?”
“Of course not! Especially if it’s a Swedish car.”
The car salesman started to sweat profusely.
“Mr. Northman, you said? As in Eric Northman? The vampire businessman?”
I nodded. “Yes, we’re his lawyers. Since I had to relocate, he’s offering to pay for my car.”
“Shit… If she tells the vamp I refused to sell her a car… I can’t take the risk of angering such a powerful…”
“You know what, I’m putting the DVD system for nothing! You take it as it is and…”
“At the same price? The $81,795 before taxes price you gave us?”
“Yes! Same price! And I’m adding 2 more years to the after-sales maintenance contract!”
I looked at Jason before nodding. And that’s how I left the Shreveport Audi dealership with my brand new SUV and 7 years of auto maintenance. After a long stop at Bath, Bed and Beyond, we were hitting the roads towards Bon Temps. Since the catering option was sparse, we ended up in Merlotte’s again. And unlike the day before, this time the parking lot was filled with cars.
“We can go somewhere else, if you want, Sook. I know this great Sushi place near…”
“It’s okay, Jase. I better get used to them, you know. And I came yesterday and met the flamboyant Lafayette Reynolds.”
“I told you he was as gay as a fairy!”
We were seated in Dawn’s section this time, Arlene Fowler being nowhere in sight. We quickly ordered, while poor Dawn tried her best to get Jason’s attention by twirling strands of her hair and biting her lower lips.
“Does she know what subtlety is?” I asked, after she brought our drinks.
“I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even how who to spell it” answered my brother, taking a sip of his beer.
“What? I know this type of girl, Sook. Brainless, pretty stupid and the only way they can attract someone is by using their arts and allurements.”
I nearly choked on my Sweet tea.
“Jason Stackhouse quoting Jane Austen? Wow!”
“What?! I did take an English Literature class during my freshman year!”
“And the fact that Pride & Prejudice is a certain blond vampire’s secret favourite novel has nothing to do with it?”
“Don’t you dare bring my rela… my whatever-it-is I have with Pam into this! You got your own thing with Eric, anyway.”
I was probably blushing by then.
“The difference between Eric and me and you and Pam is that we never did anything! Nada! He gave me his blood when I was a child! That’s it. Of course there’s a deep connection between us, but nothing more. I don’t have hot sex with him behindeverybody’s back!”
“Stay out of my head, for God’s sake!”
We were now whisper-shouting.
“How the hell do you want me to stay out of your head when you’re broadcasting your thoughts so loud! They’re so loud they’re destroying my walls! But wait a minute, I thought Pam was in her lesbian phase?”
“She is… But three years ago, she wasn’t in it yet. It’s been over for a while, but we’re still… you know… whenever we need someone to scratch an itch…”
I lowered my voice even more. “Have you… Have you had her blood?”
He nodded. “Once. Remember my car accident, you know, just after I moved to Shreveport. That’s how I was able to bounce back quickly even though my car was totaled.”
“And you’ve experimented the… the dreams?”
He grinned. “Yeah! And they were pretty hot! What about you? I know you were a kid when you had Eric’s…”
“Well, they were totally innocent when I was younger, like walking through the meadows in Öland in the daytime… But they turned… well, you-know-what, when I was probably 16.”
He frowned. “You’re still having dreams? And you haven’t had his blood since you were 8? That’s crazy shit!”
“Must be the potentness of his blood… Pam is barely 150 and he’s a thousand years old.”
We were interrupted by the arrival of Hoyt Fortenberry and another man.
“Hey Mr. Stackhouse, Miss Stackhouse…”
“Please, Hoyt! Mr. Stackhouse was my father. You can call me Jason! My Gran and your Mama have known each other long enough so you don’t have to call me Mister. Same goes for Sookie…”
The tall man blushed. “Speaking of Mama, I wanted to apologize for the other night. She was way out of line, making those comments ’bout you. She’s just…”
“She’s always making comment ’bout Adele Stackhouse… ‘Bout her new Caddy, the crew working on her house, that big blond guy who comes for Sunday dinner… She’s jealous… Wished she had a son who was a big shot lawyer too… As if I’d be happy… I’m happy working the road crew…”
“It’s nothing, Hoyt” I said, trying to soothe him. “Gran tells me you’re working on the road crew, right?”
He smiled. “Yeah. René here works with me.”
The other man smiled. “René Lenier” he said with an awfully thick Cajun accent. “Your Gran babysit my girl Arlene’s kids.”
“Nice to meet you.”
Not really, there was something creepy about the guy. Maybe it was the accent?
“We gonna let you enjoy your dinner” said Hoyt. “See you another time!”
I watched them leave for the pool table, frowning.
“You understood a word that René guy said?” asked Jason. “Cause I didn’t! And I took French as a second language in school!”
We were interrupted by his cell phone.
“That’s the Compton’s estate lawyer! I’ve been trying to buy old Jessie Compton house for Eric. Would you mind if…”
“No, go ahead!”
He answered the call before stepping outside for some privacy. I looked around the bar, lowering my shields before putting them back up. Dawn came back with our order, setting the plates in front of me. When she didn’t leave right away, I looked up to her.
“Can I do something for you?”
“I saw you last night. At Fangtasia.”
“Yeah, I was there for a business meeting with my client.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t look like a business meeting to me… You looked quite cozy with him. Mixing business with pleasure, weren’t you?”
I let out a gasp. “Eric Northman is my client. I’m his lawyer.”
“No shame in admitting you’re doing the boss, sweetheart.”
I grabbed her wrist and looked deeply in her eyes. “I am not ‘doing’ my boss, you dumb ass bitch. I don’t need to sleep with a man to get him to pay attention to me. Unlike some other girls, I’m not throwing myself at him and that’s what he likes about me.”
I let go of her just in time for Jason to come back to our booth.
“A problem, Sook?”
“I was just telling Dawn that we’ll need Mayo for our fries.”
The waitress took a deep breath before leaving us.
“So… Your call? Did you seal the deal?”
He sighed. “No… You’ll never guess. They found an heir, but when I say ‘heir’ it’s more like an ancestor. Seems like old Compton’s great-grand-something is a vampire. He’s claiming the house under the VRA… I’ll have to talk to Eric about it. Unless you’d prefer…”
“No, it’s your project. I still have to work on getting Merlotte to agree to sell his land…”
“If you want to talk to him, I saw him go through the employee entrance.”
I thanked him and went toward Sam Merlotte’s office. The door was ajar and I knocked.
“Come on in, Dawn…”
“It’s not Dawn, Shifter” I answered, closing the door behind me.
The look on his face was priceless. Some sort of fear mixed with shame.
“I was waiting for your call, Shifter. You’ve been ignoring me. It’s very bad to make a girl wait on you.”
He gulped. “I… I haven’t had time to…”
“There’s a limit to my patience… I’m willing to offer you $100,000 more for the land. You’ll never be able to get that much money for this property.”
“What the hell does your ‘client’ wants to do with it?”
“My client is quite the philanthropist. Don’t worry, he’s not going to build a new restaurant or a mega complex next to your fine establishment. I’m giving you another 24 hours. After that I’m bringing out the heavy artillery. And you won’t like it.”
I could feel his fear when I left. I was having too much fun with him.
Jason and I finished our meal and I drove back to the farmhouse. It was getting late and Jason had a lot to do in the morning so he went directly back to his place in Shreveport. Gran was sitting on the porch, reading a book.
“That’s one nice car you’ve got, my Sookie.”
“Thanks, Gran! I think so too.”
I frowned when I felt a void coming from the cemetery.
“Gran, were you waiting for some visit? Like the kind that doesn’t go out during the daytime?”
“No… Eric and Pam are coming the night after tomorrow and Bubba is in the North. You know how he hates being in the South so near to his week.”
Yeah, Bubba never stayed in the South, especially Tennessee, from mid-July to late August, not that I was blaming him. We only had to wait a couple of seconds before a man, not very tall, with dark brown hair, man bang and sideburns, appeared at the bottom of the steps. He was dressed in a polo and khaki pants with awful loafer.
“Good evening” he said in a familiar Southern accent.
“I thought I would introduce myself” he said. “My name is Bill Compton, I just took possession of the Compton estate across the cemetery.”
Gran was still silent.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Compton. I’m Sookie Stackhouse and this is my Grandmother, Mrs. Adele Stackhouse.”
“Nice to meet you… I’m very sorry for the lateness of my call. I can’t really go out in the daytime…”
“Don’t worry, young man, we’re pretty used to late night caller” explained Gran.
It was always weird, hearing Gran call vampires young when most of them were probably way older than her.
“What my Grandmother is trying to say, Mr. Compton, is that we are used to vampires.”
He took a step toward us and inhaled deeply. A weird look appeared on his face and I could tell he could smell the vampire scents lingering around us and the house.
“I didn’t think people in my hometown would be so accepting of people with my… condition” he added.
“The Stackhouses are not common, Mr. Compton.”
We were nothing but common. Gran’s best friends were a 2000 years old former Gaul slave, a thousand years Viking, a former San Francisco Madam and the King of Rock N’ Roll.
“Did you need something?” I asked. “I’m pretty sure you’re not here to ask for a cup of sugar…”
He smiled and it creeped me out.
“Yes, in fact there’s something you can help me with.”
Gran took this as her cue to leave, saying she was going to bed. I was now alone with the Vampire Bill… What kind of name was that? Vampire Bill? I was so used to the awesomeness that was my three clients that I found this bland vampire… well pretty bland.
“My house needs some much needed improvement, but I haven’t been back to Bon Temps since… well since before… before I caught the virus.”
Oh my God! He was giving me the ‘mainstreaming’ explanation of vampirism. As if it was a virus that you caught and kept you from aging, forced you to drink blood and gave you an allergy to the sun!
“I was hoping you’d be willing to help me find someone who might help me with the works that needs to be done. Electrician, plumber, carpenter…”
“I’m pretty new to the area, you see. But I’ll ask my Gran. She might know someone who’d be able to help you. She did have some renovation done on the house recently. How about I meet you tomorrow night, let’s say 9PM? I have to conduct some business at this Bar in town, Merlotte’s.”
He took my hand in his and softly kissed my knuckles. He kept holding it and looked me in the eyes.
“What are you?”
Oh my God. Was he trying to glamour me?
“I’m a lawyer. From Boston.”
“A lawyer… Would you be willing to work for me?”
“Unfortunately for you, I’ll have to decline. I’m on a retainer for a big corporation. But I’m still willing to help you. Let’s meet tomorrow.”
He agreed and, after a goodnight, left across the cemetery. I searched my purse for my cell and sent a text to Eric.
A vampire named Bill Compton moved across the cemetery.
Tried to glamour me.
Should I be worry?
He quickly answered.
Just be careful.
I’ll come see you tomorrow night.
PS Can’t wait to see your new ride.
I smiled. Tomorrow couldn’t come sooner.