It broke my heart to have to leave Eric dead for the day and go to Dallas. Even the thought that he would be joining us later tonight didn’t help. So once I was showered and dressed, I went down to the kitchen to feed Hunter some hot cereal before bringing him up to our bedroom. Hunter was an adventurous baby and the huge King size bed with his father ‘sleeping’ on it proved to be quite the playground for him while I went back to his nursery to pack some of his clothes.
When I came back to the bedroom, I melted at the view. Hunter had somehow crawled on top of Eric and was now lying on his unmoving chest, with his ear where his unbeating heart was. His eyes were closed and from what I got from his ‘thoughts’ he was quite happy in his vampire bubble. I grabbed both mine and Eric’s cell phones and snatched some pictures.
“Come on, sweet pea, Gran should get here shortly. You’ll see daddy soon…”
I picked up the baby, dropped a kiss on Eric’s lips, grabbed both mine and Hunter’s travelling bag and left. But my son… God it felt so good to call him my son. But my son didn’t seem to like the idea of being separated from his father.
“Oh… baby…” I said trying to sooth him.
We were halfway down the stairs, Hunter still crying, when the doorbell rang.
“Sookie, dear, are you ready?”
I sighed loudly. All I wanted was to curl up with Hunter next to Eric. Gran used her key and let herself in and smiled kindly.
“Oh, my poor little girl… Someone’s not happy at the idea of leaving daddy, am I right?”
I nodded. “I feel so helpless, Gran. His crying is breaking my heart. Maybe we should…”
“You will soon learn that you’ve got to be cruel to be kind, darling.”
She took Hunter in her arms and, in a way, took a huge weight off my shoulders. Hunter’s emotions were too much and I couldn’t keep my walls up when his distress at being separated from Eric was so strong.
“Why the big tears, my sweet little boy… You will see your daddy pretty soon.”
She got him to calm down so quickly, I was floored.
“I simply sent him images of Eric joining us in Dallas. You and Eric have to be careful, Sookie, or this little angel will be spoil rotten before you know it. Don’t worry, it’s normally the case with the first child. But when you and Eric have another…”
Gran suddenly stopped mid-sentence. Eric and I wouldn’t have any other children. An only child was what Hunter would be.
“Come, now, dear. That nice limo driver is waiting for us and I kind of feel bad for leaving poor Jessica alone in her traveling coffin.”
The driver took our bags and held the door opened for us. I was surprised to see Jessica’s travelling coffin lying on the limo floor.
“What? I couldn’t let the driver put her in the trunk!”
I said nothing and sat down, Hunter on my laps. The trip to the airport was a rather short one. The pilot, the same one who had flew Eric and I to New Orleans, was waiting on the tarmac.
“Good morning, Miss Stackhouse. The plane is ready for takeoff as soon as you wish.”
“Then let’s do it.”
Jessica’s coffin was loaded on and soon we were taking the sky. Gran grabbed a book out of her tote bag while I kept Hunter on my laps, letting him play with locks of my hair. But soon he got restless and wiggled his way off of me. I put him on the plane’s floor and soon he was trying to get up, holding on to my knees for stability. I held my breath as he tried to take a step… before swiftly falling down on his little butt.
His eyes filled with tears as I pick him up.
“A true Stackhouse, this little one” said Gran.
“Determined?” I asked.
“Yes. Let’s just hope that when he finally takes his first steps that his daddy will be there. Eric will hate himself if he missed such a milestone. I know that your grandfather hated it when he missed Linda’s first steps… But then, back in those days, we didn’t have all those phone cameras and whatnot.”
The rest of the flight went without a hitch. I was even able to nap for a little while. When I finally opened my eyes we were making our descent toward Big-D.
“Miss Stackhouse” said the stewardess as the plane taxied toward one of the hangar, “the pilot received words from the control tower that one car was already waiting for you at the hangar, but that a second one was coming as well…”
I frowned. Two cars? I knew Eric had arranged for one to take us to Hotel Carmilla, but why two? Did Godric’s seconds arranged for one and didn’t tell Eric?
When the plane finally came to a halt, I turned to Gran and handed her Hunter. For a moment I cursed my choice of outfit. The jeans, top and jacket less than the ridiculously high stiletto heel. As we walked down the stairs of the aircraft, I looked at my surrounding. A sleek limousine was already waiting, his driver, dressed in an ill-fitted suit, was patiently waiting with a sign reading Northman party, while a second one, one of those SUV-type limo was pulling in.
“Gran, I’m going to take care of that.”
“I sure hope you will, dear” she said, a smile on her face. “We sure won’t need a second car, even with our precious cargo.”
I lowered my shields and smiled at the first driver.
“Shit… Do I even have the right hangar? They said nothin’ ‘bout a woman, her baby and a grandma… Shit, Leon… Think! Think!”
Yes, think, Leon, I thought. The man was quite the broadcaster.
“There was supposed to be only one person… What am I goin’ to tell them all when I go back to the Fellowship empty handed…”
The Fellowship? Shit, he had been sent by the Fellowship of the Sun! Without even thinking I swiftly kicked him the groin, sending him to his knee before kicking him in the chest. As he lay with his back on the ground I put my foot to his throat. I turned around and looked at Gran, one hand to her mouth in shock.
“Dear, did you really have to do that?” she asked.
I sighed. “He was sent by the Fellowship of the Sun, Gran!”
The second driver finally pulled up and exited his car.
“Hello” I said. “You wouldn’t happen to have some rope and duck tape, would you?”
Luckily for us, the new driver, whose name was Fred, had all those in the back of his car. Five minutes later and Leon the weasel was tied as a sausage and stored in the back of his own limo trunk.
“What are we going to do with him, Sookie?” asked Gran as she settled herself in the limousine. “You’re not going to leave him in that trunk…”
“I gave my instruction to the pilot. He’ll take him out in an hour or two. Don’t worry…”
The rest of the drive was spent in silence… At least verbal silence. Gran’s thoughts were in overload. The emotions of the whole confrontation with the man sent by the Fellowship were too much for her.
Soon we were arriving at Hotel Carmilla and were checked in our suite. The luxury of it all gave Gran the vapour.
“Look at all this, Sookie!”
I smiled at her schoolgirl exuberance.
“The General Manager had to call the Ritz Carlton down the street since we didn’t have any crib…” said the bellman as I gave him a tip.
“Only $5 after I brought all their luggage and the freaking coffin? Those fangbangers really are a bunch of misers! As if her vamp doesn’t have money! He put her, her kid and her old lady in the Presidential Suite, for God’s sake!”
Did he just call me a fangbanger and a miser? That fucking little…
“Oh shit… Did I say that out loud? Come on, Barry, come up with something…”
Yeah, Barry, come up with something before I sucker punch you!
“Shit… Is she… You can read mind?”
Yeah and so can you apparently!
“I… I gotta go…”
“Wait a minute, Barry!”
But too late he was running toward the elevator whose door swiftly closed before I was even able to reach it. What the hell had just happened? I made my way back to the suite and closed the door behind me, sighing loudly.
“What’s the matter, dear?”
“I… I think I just met my first fellow telepath…”
“Really? And what was he thinking?” asked Gran with excitement.
I frowned trying to gather my thoughts. If Barry the Bellman was like me, then vampires were total voids to him, which made his choice of employment as a bellman in a vampire hotel quite smart.
“Sookie! What was he thinking?”
“What? Oh… That I was quite the miser for a fangbanger whose vamp put in the Presidential Suite… Here, give me Hunter. I’ll change his diaper and put him down for his nap.”
“Alright, dear. I’ll finish my book and watch over Jessica. Do you think we should take her out of her coffin since the suite has light tight shutters?”
“No, she’s a dead weight, Gran. Taking her out of the coffin will be practically impossible for us.”
“I guess you’ve experienced waking up pinned down by dead weight recently, am I right?”
I blushed before grabbing Hunter’s bag. The master bedroom of the suit held a giant King size bed and the little travelling crib. After a change of diaper, I tried to put Hunter in the crib, but the moment I put him down he started wailing, stretching his little arms toward me.
“Alright, sweet pea… But we won’t tell Gran, okay? She’s already worried we’re spoiling you too much.”
The sound of the shutters opening woke me up. I opened my eyes and smiled at Hunter. He was wide awake and had somehow grabbed what seems to be his favourite toy, a beige plush rabbit we had nicknamed Mr. Bunny.
“Hello, my beautiful son…”
Hunter answered me by starting to eat Mr. Bunny’s ear.
“Guess someone’s hungry, right? Come on, sweet pea… Let’s join Gran and Jess.”
We left the bedroom and were met by Gran and a still groggy Jessica. But no sooner did she saw Hunter that she vamped toward us, asking permission to hold Hunter.
“Hi little buddy!” she said kissing his chubby little cheek.
“Good evening to you too, Jessica.”
The young vampire bit her lower lip, looking embarrassed.
“Sorry… Good evening, Sookie.”
I smiled warmly. “No need to be sorry, Jess. I completely understand the attraction our little Hunter has.”
“I don’t know for you, young ladies, but this old woman is getting quite hungry… How about we go down to the hotel restaurant? According to the brochure, they cater to both humans and vampires.”
As we left the suite, I could sense that Jessica was a little worried.
“Is there a problem, Jessica?”
“I… I don’t want to sound picky, but… Normally when I wake up… I mean when I rise… I either have a bag of blood or Pam arrange for a donor…”
“Don’t you worry, sweetheart” said Gran, reassuring her. “The brochure said they had a selection of donors.”
The baby vamp’s eyes went wide.
“You mean, I can have a donor? I don’t have to drink a Tru Blood?”
“Of course you can! Pamela and Eric did show you how to feed from a donor, right? Then why shouldn’t you order a donor? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, young lady. The fact that you are now vampire doesn’t change it!”
I couldn’t help but smile at Gran’s thinking. It was so refreshing to see such an old woman having such liberal views on vampires and feeding. The elevator door finally opened on the ground floor. I could feel people staring at us.
“Is it me or are people…”
“Staring at us?” finished Gran. “Yes, they are, Sookie dear. I guess they don’t see a lot of bitty old women and tiny little babies around here.”
A hostess, a rather judgemental one according to her thoughts, seated us at one of the table near the bar before taking our order.
“Oh, would you be so kind to warm this bottle, please?” I asked, handing her one of Hunter’s bottle from his diapers bag.
She looked at the thing as if I was handing her poison.
“The restaurant policy doesn’t allow us to bring exterior food to the kitchen” was a rather rude answer.
“Yes, I understand, but do you happen to have maternal milk on your menu?”
She looked at me as if I had a second head growing.
“Of course not! We’re a vampire hotel, not a nursery!”
“Well then, take this bottle and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds.”
“Look, lady, I just told you no can do. Are you such a dumb blonde not to understand what no means?”
I was getting pretty pissed by the second. Thankfully, the baby in my arms was enough to get me calm.
“You know what, I think we’ll leave” said Gran, gathering Hunter’s bag and getting up. “Could you be nice enough to tell the front desk that the guests in the Presidential Suite are checking out early? If this hotel can’t accommodate us properly…”
“Shit… Did that old hag say Presidential Suite? Fuck, I’m in deep shit! They’re VIP… Some bigshot vamp from Louisiana… Fuck…”
“You know what, there will be no problem! If my manager asks any question it will be on me.”
And with that she took the bottle and disappeared, reappearing less than a minute later with the now heated bottle and two cocktails for Gran and I – on the house, of course, before reassuring us that our meals and Jessica’s donor should be there shortly.
“Wow, Gran, you were fabulous” said Jessica. “You really scared that waitress!”
“It wasn’t me who scared her, Jessica. What scared her was the idea of having to explain why guest checked out early because of her. Am I right, Sookie?”
I could only nod in agreement as I gave a very hungry Hunter his bottle. Soon our meals were brought, a chicken Caesar salad for me, a Shepherd’s Pie for Gran and a tall dark haired Goth-type young man for Jessica. The donor sat down next to the young vampire and softly asked her if she preferred going somewhere more private.
“No need for privacy, young man” explained Gran. “Do you hide in dark corner when you eat your dinner?”
I had to stifle a chuckle at the look the donor gave Gran.
He finally turned to Jessica, asking her if she preferred his median antebranchial vein or his jugular. I deducted that he must have been a Med School student for using such a term for the vein in his wrist. Jessica seemed a little troubled by his medical lingo.
“The wrist will be okay.”
Soon her fangs were down and she was ready to take her bite…
“Jessica! Stop right now!” said a voice behind us.