A/N Sook reverts back to her Southern twang around Jason, but with Eric/Ata/Godric etc she irons it out ’cause they’re all European (okay Egypt isn’t in Europe, but it’s close enough!) Also, I’m not a Southerner, I’m a Northerner, so I have no clue how a Southerner would talk or how to translate that onto page, sorry!
When you step it up I’m 20 levels up, I took the escalator, elevator to the top
How you like me? Yeah, yeah, yeah, you gotta like me, ay, ay, ay
Oh, you know we rock we control the block
Whatever’s going down, ladies take the biggest cut
We bring the party, yeah, yeah, yeah, we bought the party, ay, ay, ay
You go hard, yes, you do, but when I go it’s a magic show
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, I get it when I want it and I get it right
Hey, hey, all the ladies tell the fellas we can do what they can do
We can do it even better in broken heels
~ Broken Heels, Alexandra Burke
The room was pitch black when I woke, but I expected it to be. After Godric and Ata had retired for the evening; Eric and I had done the same thing. I’d told him of everything that Niall had informed Ata and I of, skipping over the reasons why we needed to create the blood bond though. I already knew what my secret was, and I was not going to tell Eric about Uncle Bartlett. Bill had taken care of him, even though it was uncalled for, as he hadn’t bothered me ever since Gran had chased him away. I didn’t want Eric to think any differently about me. I didn’t want him to be disgusted with me and leave me. I don’t know what it was that compelled me to tell Bill about Uncle Bartlett, but I guessed it had something to do with the copious amounts of his blood that was in my system, compelling me to tell him my deepest, darkest secrets and fears. It was the one part of me that I wished to lock away and forget about forever, and if I could have been glamoured then I would have asked Bill to remove the memory long ago. That was the downside of being a telepath – all of the malicious thoughts.
Rolling over, my eyes fell onto the sleeping form of my vampire, lost in his day-rest. His bangs were in front of his face, all ruffled from our brief romp just before the sun had risen, and his eyelids hid his cerulean orbs from the world. Smoothing my fingers over his flawless cheeks, I lent forward, pressing a lingering kiss to his plump lips. “I love you, you big Viking.” I teased lightly, knowing he wouldn’t hear me anyway. Nuzzling my nose against his own, I inhaled his scent. Every person, be them human, vampire, Were or whatever else, all smelt like something. Everyone had a personal smell, and Eric smelt like the ocean in winter. Giving him one final kiss, I pulled myself out of bed, padding to the bathroom where I took care of my human needs.
Making my way to the wardrobe I pulled on a fresh bra and panties, donning one of Eric’s shirts and a pair of sweatpants. Tying my hair up I went to apply some makeup but found, upon looking in the mirror, that my skin was flawless. I wouldn’t need makeup for a good few days. I wasn’t sure if that was down to the fairy blood or the vampire blood in my system, but I was grateful either way. I could feel Niall’s blood in me, mixing with my own, fuelling my energy and my spark. I felt stronger and a little more powerful, and I hoped we would be training again today. I had a feeling I would be able to knock over more of the wooden and metal crates than before.
Emerging from the bedroom and into the windowless corridor, I could hear the sound of a child laughing; mixed with Ata’s laughter, and then I heard Jason’s voice. “Jason!” I exclaimed, dashing through the corridor and into the kitchen, where my brother and two cousins sat having breakfast.
Jason was up off of his feet, pulling me into his arms for a strong hug. “Sook! What the hell is going on? Some hot vampire chick came to my house last night and put me on a plane. I met Hunter and then we were met at the airport here by a group of vampires, who brought us all here. Ata won’t tell us nothing, says it’s your job.” He rambled on, pulling back to look at me properly.
“It’s a long story Jase, lets sit.” I sighed, moving over the kitchen counters. Flo had just finished plating up my food for me, and Ata had finished her. Rising to her feet she grabbed a spare chair to sit on, giving me the barstool. “Hey Hunt, you okay?” I asked the young brunette boy opposite me, aware that he could probably read all of our thoughts.
“Yes thank you Auntie Sookie. Auntie Ata told me where Uncle Jason and me are.” He responded politely, taking a small sip of the orange juice that was in a glass before him.
“I need to try and get the jinn into his mind today. He could hear my boys as they went to collect them from the airport in the early hours of this morning. I also have some information regarding Hadley, but I can’t say it out loud.” I felt Ata filling me in on her findings, throwing up shields to create a narrow passageway between our two minds so were the only ones who could be part of the conversation.
“Why on earth are we in Vegas, Sook? What’s going on?” Jason demanded as he sat himself back down on a barstool, looking between Ata and I with an expression of confusion. I could feel from Hunter’s mind that he was confused to, and a little scared.
“Russell Edgington is after Eric and I. As Ata is the only Fae member of our family in this realm we were sent here, to her, so that I could harness my powers and help Eric bring down Russell. Unfortunately he found us last night and he sent me photos of you and Hunter going about your day-to-day lives. I had Ata ask some of her vampire friends to bring you both here so we can keep you safe.” I explained, hoping my brother would understand why I plucked him out of Bon Temp, and why I plucked Hunter out of wherever he’d been living.
“Why is Russell after you both? Is that what you couldn’t tell me over the phone?” Jason continued to fire questions at me.
“Eric killed Russell’s vampire child, because Russell killed Eric’s human family. You know my blood is different right? I don’t have a blood type, and that’s because it has a tinge of Fae in it, and Fae blood allows vampires to walk in the daylight for a short while. Russell wants me for my blood, because he wants to walk in the sun, and also because I poured the remains of his vampire Childe down the drain at Fangtasia.” I confessed, giving my brother a sheepish grin.
He was up on his feet, pacing the room. “No fanger is getting my little sisters blood, especially so they can walk in the sun! I won’t allow it!”
“Jason!” I scolded; reminding him that Hunter was in the room. The young boy didn’t need to have any prejudice against vampires. It would be the only way forward for the vampires, for the new generation of humans, and Fae hybrids, to accept them.
“Apart from tall, blonde and dead. I can tell he loves ya sis, so that’s fine by me.” Jason corrected his little outburst, and I allowed myself a private smile at the fact that my brother had pretty much just given my relationship with Eric his blessing.
“We also have the slight problem of Felipe de Castro, and Bill.” I added, realising my brother needed to know the full extent of the danger we were all in.
“Who the hell is Felipe de Castro? And what has Bill gotta do with this?” Jason returned to his seat, firing more questions at me.
“Felipe de Castro is the vampire king of Nevada. Each state is given a vampire king or queen, who in turn splits their Kingdom, or Queendom, into areas. They then select trustworthy vampires to run said areas for them, and they’re known as sheriffs. Eric is the sheriff of Area 5 in Louisiana, and I am the sheriff of Area 36, which covers Las Vegas.” Ata explained as she took Hunter’s empty plate away, offering him a kind smile as she filled up his glass with orange juice again.
“But you ain’t no vampire, so how can you be a sheriff?” Jason frowned.
“Felipe is frightened of me, and the fact that the vampires who picked you and Hunter up from the airport last night are my four eldest Children. We are all over 2000 years old where as Felipe is only 800. Age gives us an advantage, makes us stronger, faster, better.” Ata continued. “Felipe is a problem because he wants me as his consort, but I am bound, and in love, with Godric. Felipe tried to poison me the other night and revive me with his blood, as vampire blood enables the vampire to feel, and track, the person who has drank it.” I could tell Ata was keeping the story PG for Hunter’s sake.
“But I took vampire blood. Shoot! Does that mean that the vampire whose blood I took could feel me and track me?” Jason paled.
“No Jase, the blood has to be taken directly from the vampire. If its been outside their body, for example kept in a vial, then it loses the magic that vampire blood naturally has, and therefore the vampire is unable to feel you or track you.” I chipped in, remembering that piece of information from a conversation I’d had with Bill back when we’d been together.
Jason sighed in relief, smiling a little as he realised he wasn’t in any danger of being tracked or having his feelings known, but then again Eddie was dead. I’d pulled that much from his mind. A truly dead vampire certainly wouldn’t be able to track or feel. “So, what about Bill?” he asked, moving along as he ruffled Hunter’s bangs. The young boy was sat silently, and I had my shields down to monitor Jason’s thoughts, and those of Flo who was washing up the dishes. I didn’t want Hunter to be exposed to any bad thoughts. Maybe I’d be able to go into his mind and create shields for him. I had no clue if that would work or not.
“Well we got this riddle from this mighty old vampiress who said that four people all of power are trying to part Eric and I, and Ata and Godric. Well we figured Russell and Felipe are two of them, and ever since I chose Eric over Bill, well I can’t see Bill taking that too well. It makes sense for him to be the third choice.” I shrugged, not really understanding how he could be a threat though. He didn’t really have that much power. Sure he was the king of Louisiana, but Bill was considerably younger in comparison to other monarchs.
“So whose the last person?” Jason flipped his hands, palms up, with a look of confusion as he awaited our answer.
“We don’t know.” Ata and I confessed at the exact same moment. Jason let out a long sigh, turning to Hunter who was starting to fidget.
“Women eh?” He shook his head, smiling. Hunter offered a smile in response, but I knew he didn’t really understand my brothers’ comment. He was only 6 after all.
“I need to train Sookie today. She needs to be able to use her powers a little more. You’re both welcome to join us. It might be useful if you get some combat skills, Jason. I’m sure Eric, or Godric, could teach you when they rise for the evening.” Ata suggested, and I could see Jase was thinking it over. He’d be a fool not to take the offer. Eric had been a Viking in his day so fighting was like second nature to him, and I had a feeling that Godric hadn’t survived for 2000 years by running away from fights.
“Hunter, you were able to hear the thoughts of the vampires that came to collect you and Uncle Jason from the airport last night yeah?” I asked gently, giving the boy a reassuring smile. He quietly nodded his head. “What did they sound like?” He paused for a moment, glancing nervously around the group before he looked back to me.
“I was trying not to listen to them. Momma said listening to people is very bad and that I need to stop right away in order to be a good boy, but their thoughts were so loud and all wiggly and I couldn’t shut them out.” His eyes welled up with tears, and I found myself having to push back my own. Hadley had told Hunter that he was bad for hearing people’s thoughts? First she told Sophie-Anne about me and then she made her own child feel like a freak? That didn’t sit well with me. I would teach Hunter how to shield properly, and I would shower him with love and affection in the meantime. He was scared and had been alone for his whole life with no one to talk to who would understand his difference. I found it curious how vampire thoughts were all wiggly to him, and that they were so loud, but I’d had years of experience with hearing peoples thoughts, so maybe my mind straightened their thoughts out and toned them down all of its own accord.
“You don’t want to hear their thoughts anymore? It’s okay if you do, ’cause Auntie Ata and I can help you with your shields, but we can help you if you don’t want to hear them too.” I offered, giving him the choice. Niall had taken the choice from me, and unfortunately having the ability to hear vampire thoughts would have saved me a whole boatload of grief, and Gran might not have even died.
“I don’t want to hear them anymore.” He confessed in a whisper, and if it weren’t for Eric’s blood in me, and my ability to hear Hunter’s thoughts, I would have missed his words.
“I can make it go away Hunter. I have a very special friend who will guard your mind from all their thoughts. You won’t have to listen to another vampire ever again if you don’t want to.” Ata stated, referring to the jinn that was locked away in the metal box in the safe.
“If he wants to hear them when his shields are better, in the future, is there any way we would be able to remove the jinn, given the fuss last time?” I mentally questioned Ata, using the narrow passageway we had created so Hunter couldn’t intrude on our conversation.
“Yes, we’ll have to pay the creature off but it can be done.” Ata soothed my worries. While it would be good for Hunter to be oblivious to vampire thoughts for a while, until his shields were strong and he could use them easily, it would be even more of an advantage for him to hear them in the future, if only to keep himself safe.
“I’d like that Aunt Ata, Aunt Sookie.” Hunter offered us a smile of relief, and I felt my shoulders slump with ease. I didn’t want to shelter him. I’d been sheltered and look where that had gotten me. At the same time though I didn’t want him to be constantly bombarded by thoughts when he was still trying to master his powers. Human thoughts were bad enough, the last thing he needed were the darker, malicious thoughts vampires sometimes had due to their natural instincts.
“Wait, ya’ll can hear vampire thoughts? How come Sook couldn’t? She told me they were just a big ol’ blank to her, that’s why she was drawn to Vampire Bill in the first place.” Jason looked between Ata and I, quirking an eyebrow in a move very similar to a certain blonde Viking asleep in my bed. I cringed though at the mention of Bill. Jason had been right when he’d warned me about him, but I’d been so wrapped up in it, feeling love for the first time, finally being with someone who didn’t see me as a freak or ‘Crazy Sookie’ that I hadn’t even noticed it. I didn’t regret my time with Bill, because it was my introduction into the vampire world, but at the same time everything was built on lies and his blood. I felt Ata squeeze my thigh under the table in a reassuring gesture, and gave her a mental smile of thanks.
“It seems one of our Fae relatives stopped her from being able to hear their thoughts, to protect her from them. I was born into a world where vampires were everywhere. All six of my children are vampires and of course Godric is too, I believe I was given the ability to hear them because I would be in constant contact with them, where as our relative believed Sookie wouldn’t be. I think Hunter was given the ability because he’s so young, and vampires have only recently come out of the coffin so to speak. He was given the ability so he could stay safe, he would be able to hear them coming, especially given Hadley’s ties to the vampire world. He has no need to worry about that now. He’s safe in our nest, and he needs to block them out in order to focus on keeping human thoughts out.” Ata explained softly to my brother, and to Hunter, whose young brain was trying to process everything.
“Momma is dead.” Hunter suddenly blurted out. “She got too close to that red-head vampire lady, and she killed her. She wanted to change momma but momma couldn’t be changed.” Hunter looked down to his hands, kicking his feet under the table.
“Hadley’s dead?” I whispered as the shock set it. I heard Ata sigh from beside me, nodding her head in confirmation as Jason’s face fell. “Who have you been living with, Hunter?” I asked quietly, scared of the answer.
“Some of momma’s friends. Daddy told them he doesn’t want me, but he told them not to tell me. He likes to forget that I can hear people.” He confessed with a shrug of his shoulders. My heart went out to the young boy, and I vowed then and there to talk to Eric at sunset. It wasn’t fair that he continued living with Hadley’s friends. He needed to be with someone who could help him, and Ata had way too much on her plate with her political position and business to take care of him properly and teach him everything about the Supe world, as there was no doubt about it that he was going to be dragged into it the older he became.
“It seems that, even without the essential spark, Sky Fae cannot be turned properly. She met the sun the day after she was made.” I heard my cousin explain in a soft whisper.
“Shit Sook, we’re all that’s left. You and me are the only Stackhouse’s. Hunter is the only Hale.” Jason murmured as he came to terms with it. I had come to terms with it long ago, back when we’d been in Dallas after the bombing of Godric’s nest, when neither of us had been able to sleep so we’d spent some sibling time together. It seemed that Jason had still been holding onto the thought that Hadley was alive, and at the time she had been, but she wasn’t anymore. I knew it was wrong but I pried into Hunter’s mind, and although he was upset over his momma’s passing he wasn’t that bothered by it. Hadley had abandoned him with friends and with Remy while she’d been busy with Sophie-Anne. He’d never really spent much time with his mother, and Hadley had always thought there was something wrong with him so she’d been careful to only see him when she’d been in good moods. Of course our little trip to the aquarium, when I had told her that Hunter was a telepath too, had done nothing to ease the boys self-esteem issues.
“I promise you now that my Children and I will do everything to keep all three of you safe.” Ata vowed to us, her gaze moving between Hunter, Jason and I. “Hunter, sweetheart, would you like me to stop the vampire thoughts for you right now?” Ata offered. I could hear, through the narrow mental channel we had going on, that it would easier for her to place the jinn in his mind during the day, so that when the vampires woke for the night he would only be met with silence, and that he wouldn’t feel any stress.
“Yes please Auntie Ata.” He replied quietly, and Ata slid from her chair, taking Hunter’s hand in her own as she offered him a reassuring smile.
“I’ll tell you what, my chef downstairs makes the most amazing chocolate cake you’ve ever tasted!” Ata exclaimed as she started to lead Hunter from the room, up the stairs to the training room, through the open bookshelf door.
“I’ll let you and Jase have some time alone, cousin. He needs to be informed about what’s going on. Tell him not to think about what you’re about to tell him when he’s around Hunter, the poor boy doesn’t need anymore frights.” Ata’s mental voice chattered to me as she climbed the stairs with Hunter, shutting the bookcase door behind them to prevent the sound of Jason and I talking from reaching them.
“That’s a pretty nifty thing dontcha think?” Jason grinned, pointing to the concealed entrance once it was shut.
“Yes it is.” I agreed softly, realising now that Jason, and most likely Hunter, would be dragged into my supernatural bullshit. Jason was silent, watching me, waiting for me to say something. “We’re in a dangerous place, Jase. Russell Edgington has a grudge against Eric and he wants me so he can walk in the sun. He’s a 3000-year-old psychotic vampire. He’s older than Eric and he’s even older than Godric. We were given this riddle by an ancient vampiress, who’s seen as the top vampire in their hierarchy, and we’ve solved most of it but it isn’t really helping much. The second night we were here the downstairs was bombed by a Were who was working, we think, for Russell or Felipe, maybe even both!” I sighed, rubbing at my eyes with balled up fists. Sometimes all I wanted was to go back to being ‘Crazy Sookie’ the Bon Temp barmaid. I could deal with rowdy and disrespectful rednecks better than I could vampires and their politics.
“Well why dontcha go and stake this Russell and Felipe in their day rests, problem solved!” Jason raised his hands, palms up, as if he’d just solved the hardest puzzle in the world. I loved my brother but sometimes I truly did want to put his head in a bucket and kick it around the yard.
“We don’t know where Russell is, Jason, and there is a little more to it than just staking them. The repercussions would be immense, trust me. I’ve been buried in this vampire bullhockey for years now. We know where Felipe is and we have Bubba and Oscar going in undercover for us this evening for a few nights, to try and find out as much as they can.” I explained.
“Bubba? I call Hoyt that.” Jason seemed to drift of into his own thoughts for a moment until I snapped my fingers in his face, pulling him back to reality. Gran would have probably told me off for such a rude gesture, but now wasn’t the time for dawdling.
“Well Bubba’s real name isn’t Bubba, it’s Elvis, but you have to call him Bubba or else he gets upset.” I knew there was no way I was going to get around telling him about Bubba. I figured it would be better to tell him now, during the day, than wait until the vampires rose for the night.
“He was named after ‘The King’ and he lives in Vegas? Too cool!” Jason grinned from ear to ear. We’d grown up listening to Elvis, so I couldn’t blame him.
“No Jason, he is ‘The King'” I corrected. My brothers’ eyes widened and his jaw dropped a little. Shaking his head he lent across the table, dropping his voice a few octaves.
“The Elvis was made inta a vampire?” He whispered in awe.
Sighing, I allowed myself a small smile at my brothers’ simple pleasure. “Yes, he was. He’s left that life behind though now, so he goes as Bubba. Don’t ask him to sing, or dance, and for the love of God don’t try and get him to say any of his famous lines.” I put down the ground rules. I didn’t have to be a telepath to know was Jason was thinking.
Slumping back into his chair, Jason ran a hand through his hair. “Well dress me up in a sundress and call me Cinderella! Elvis Presley was made in a vampire!” He whistled lowly, shaking his head. “Have you managed to get him to say any of his famous lines yet?” He suddenly gave a cheeky grin, leaning across the table once more.
Unable to help myself, I spilled. “He said ‘thank you, thank you very much’ the other night and I could only just hold onto my laugh!” I confessed, putting on my best Elvis voice. Jason broke into a fit of laughter and I found myself doing the same. It had been a long time since I’d simply laughed, even longer since I’d laughed over something so simple. With everything that I had been thrown into over the past few years I rarely had anything to laugh about. Slowly our laughter subsided and soon we were both smiling at one another. “I’ve missed you, Jase.” I whispered, taking his hand over the table.
“I’ve missed you too little sis, but you and I are here together now, an’ we gots Hunter and Ata too. All of our family is here, an’ you got Eric too.” He rubbed his thumb over the back of my hand in a comforting gesture. “You’re gonna get all the training you need to develop that spark of yours, even if I dunno what that means anyway, and then we’re all gonna bring down them fangers who are trying to hurt ya.”
“You don’t mind that I’m with Eric? I know you’re not a fan of vampires.” I dropped my gaze a little, remembering how he’d acted when he’d first learnt of my ‘relationship’ with Bill.
“Hey, Sook, don’t do that.” His free hand came up and he lifted my head so I was forced to look at him. “I know I ain’t always been a fan of the fang, but Eric seems like a real good guy. He takes care of ya, he really seems to love ya, plus he probably has lotsa money too so you wouldn’t have to work ever again, I know how difficult it is for ya to be around lotsa people what with hearin’ them all and stuff.” He shrugged.
“Jason, I’m not with Eric for his money,” I corrected him gently “and I wanna keep working, I like working. I could never sit at home all day and eat bonbons, waiting for Eric to rise for the night. You know that ain’t me.” I pointed out, making sure my brother understood.
“I know Sook, I wasn’t saying that you’re with him for his money, but it’s nice for ya not to have to worry about that kinda thing anymore. I know how much ya use to give Gran when you got your wages each week. Now you can start saving up for some stuff that you want.” Jason shrugged again, offering me a smile. “But if you’re happy with him then I’m happy for ya, but if he pulls a Bill on ya and breaks your heart I’ll stake him myself. Nobody hurts my baby sister.” His protective side showed itself and I rose from my seat, moving across to him before I pulled him into a hug.
Jason rose to his feet, scooping me up into a bear hug. Lost in my brothers embrace I took the time to forget about the fact Russell was after me, and that my life was on the line once again. “I don’t tell ya this much Sook, and perhaps I should, but I’m proud of ya. I know I may have been frightened of what you are when we were younger, but I guess, looking back, that I was just jealous, ’cause you got all the special.” His voice dropped the closer to the end of the sentence he got. My heart broke at my brothers’ words, how could he not think he was special? Yes he hadn’t been academically smart, and he was known around town for sleeping with nearly every woman who looked at him, but he was my brother. He was a track star and he had momma and daddy in him, and the tinge of Fae blood in his system.
“Oh Jason.” I pulled back a little to take his face in my hands. “You’re special too. Just because you can’t hear people’s thoughts or shoot light out of your fingers doesn’t make you any less special. You got momma and daddy in you and you’ve got Fae blood in you even without a spark, you’re loyal and you’ve always been good to me, you’ve always been good to everyone really. You’ve gone and got yourself on the police force Jase, you’re enforcing the law, putting bad people in jail. You can’t say you ain’t special.”
“Thanks Sook.” He pressed a family kiss to my forehead before we parted, taking our seats back at the kitchen counters.
The elevator dinged and, as all of the Were guards had been killed yesterday, I took up a defensive position almost immediately. It felt instinctual. A chubby looking man dressed like a chef entered the room, momentarily startled by the sight of Jason and I. In his hands he held a plate, on which sat a large chocolate cake. “Oh, je suis désolé mademoiselle!” He apologised, taking in my defensive posture. I relaxed as I found his thoughts pertaining to Ata’s request for chocolate cake. I remembered her telling Hunter that her chef downstairs made a really tasty chocolate cake. Although his words were in French, and so were some of his thoughts, he mainly thought in English and therefore I was able to understand him. I’d taken a few French classes while I’d been in school, purely because Miss Berry had thought in French and therefore I couldn’t hear any of her cruel comments about my classmates or I. “Miss Caesar requested a chocolate cake?” He questioned, taking a few steps towards Jason and I. Nodding my head I gestured to the kitchen counter, which he placed the cake down upon. ‘Enjoy your day mademoiselle, monsieur.” He said goodbye to Jason and I before he disappeared back into the elevator.
Turning to the cake, I caught sight of Jason salivating. He was practically drooling over it. If there was one thing my brother loved more than women, it was food. He reached a hand out towards the cake and in his mind I saw his intentions. Slapping his hand away, I scowled at him. “Don’t you dare stick your finger in the chocolate frosting Jason Stackhouse, that’s disgusting!” I reprimanded him. He turned his puppy dog eyes on me, making small whimpering sounds, and I found myself struggling to contain my smile and laugh.
It was then Ata returned, entering the room with Hunter holding her hand. “All done little man, you were really brave, so, I had my chef bring up some chocolate cake!” She let go of Hunter’s hand as he raced over, pulling himself up onto a chair, staring at the cake with the same expression that Jason had; like a man dying from lack of water in the desert, or should I say dessert? Haha. I schooled my features at my own little mental joke, but I could feel Ata’s mind prodding mine playfully. Clearly she’d heard me. “Now boys,” she grabbed four plates and a large knife, “how big a slice do you want?”
An hour and a whole cake later the four of us sat back in our chairs, groaning at the amount of food we had eaten. The cake had been so good and it had been damn near impossible to stop eating it. I’d over indulged, we all had. “I hate to say this, but I think we need to go and do some more training Sook.” Ata was first on her feet, picking up the empty plates, which she deposited in the sink for Flo to clear up later on. Nodding in agreement, I slipped from the barstool, Jason and Hunter following.
“Uncle Jason, Auntie Ata has this cool room upstairs and it’s really big and you can see all of Las Vegas!” Hunter grinned, his excitement contagious as he informed Jason of where we were going as our little group made its way up the stairs behind the bookcase. Entering the room, I was pleased to see that the few broken floor tiles from our training exercises had been replaced, and the Viking sized dent in the wall from where I’d thrown Eric had been fixed too, along with the other dents from the training session Ata had partaken in with her children.
Jason let out a low whistle as he took in the room, and then the view. “Damn, best seat in the house eh?” He smiled over his shoulder at Ata who simply chuckled before she moved to the storage cupboard pulling out a few benches. Dashing to her side I lifted one end while Ata took the other, and together we moved them to the wall made of mirrors.
“I’m gonna need you guys to sit on these benches while Sook and I train, I don’t want either of you to be caught off guard by stray powers.” Ata explained as we moved the last bench into position. Hunter and Jason took their places on the benches as Ata retrieved the wooden and metal crates that had survived our previous training sessions. I also noted there were a few more in the little store cupboard. “Ari replaced them.” She offered as explanation as she finished setting them up. “Okay guys,” she turned to Jason and Hunter, “try not to freak out about anything, keep calm and collected and enjoy the pretty light show.” She grinned, sounding like one of those cheesy airhostesses that always delivered the safety speech, the one about potentially dying or drowning should the plane suddenly fall from the sky, in a chirpy, cheerful tone. Jason and Hunter simply nodded, and Ata moved to her boom box in the corner of the room. Starting it up, I had no idea what song she was playing, and the moment the singer started singing I was at a loss. It was in a foreign language! The beat was incredible though, and I soon found myself tapping my foot to it. “Okay Sook, three wooden crates, all yours.” She gave a flourish of her hand towards the boxes.
Feeling confidant, and in the mood to show off a little, I raised my hands to the crates, focusing my Fae magic, concentrating on the center of the crates. Drawing my energy inwards, I pictured myself throwing it at the boxes, and sure enough white light burst out of my hands, hitting the crates right in the center. The pile toppled to the ground, a loud crashing sound ringing out as they splintered into numerous chunks. Now I could see why Ata would want us to train in the day! There was no way vampires could be around us with lots of flying splinters.
“Holy shit!” I heard Jason cuss as the light from my hands subsided. Turning to look at my brother and Hunter, I saw that both of them were looking at me with wide-eyes, but upon inspecting their minds I found that they weren’t horrified by my actions, or frightened by them. They were both surprised, and both of them were wondering if they could do something like that. I didn’t have the heart to tell Jason that he didn’t have the spark and therefore couldn’t, but Hunter would most likely be able to. Ata’s high-pitched squeal broke me out of my thoughts as she bounced on the spot, clapping her hands happily.
“Okay, onto metal!” She turned to face the metal boxes and I drew in a deep breath, raising my hands once more. I knew from experience that the metal containers were harder to topple, but the blast I’d sent to the wooden crates a moment ago had been much stronger than before. Focusing my mind, I pulled my Fae magic inwards once more; concentrating on one certain point of the metal crates that would more than likely help them topple. Pushing the power out in one hefty shove the white light flew from my hands, hitting the metal crates exactly where I’d wanted it. The crates started to tip, the top two wobbling with the intensity of my blast. I stood watching, holding my breath, but to my dismay they stopped wobbling and became still, still stacked on top of one another. Growling in frustration, my hands dropped my side.
“You can do it Aunt Sookie!” Hunter cheered me on from the sideline and I shot him a grin. Jason gave me thumbs up and, with the support of my brother, cousin and nephew I raised my hands and aimed at the metal crate stack once more. Drawing on my magic, I centred myself, flinging my light towards it. This time the crates tumbled to the ground, crashing against the wooden floor tiles. Squealing in surprise, both at the loud noise and the fact I had toppled them, I was unaware that Hunter had left his position on the bench until his arms were wrapped around my legs, holding me tightly. “You did it Aunt Sookie, I knew you could!” He beamed up at me. Laughing lightly, I scooped him up in my arms, holding him to my side. Jason was beside me a moment later as Ata started to clear away the wooden fragments and the toppled metal crates, a smile painted on her lips.
“Jeez Sook, I never knew you could do that! What else can you do?” He asked, awe evident in his voice. I bounced Hunter on my hip a little. I was well aware that he was 6 years old, and therefore a highly capable young boy who had been subjected to far more than any other 6 year old should have been, but I felt protective of him, like he was in need of someone to mother him and take proper care of him. Hadley had been on drugs when she’d been pregnant, or that was what her mind had told me anyway, so it was a miracle the little brunette boy on my hip hadn’t been born deformed. Of course to Hadley his telepathy was his deformity. It made my blood boil.
“I can shoot light that harms people, light that heals people, light that can change peoples emotions and I can infiltrate peoples dreams. There’s a bunch of other stuff but we haven’t practiced with that yet.” I explained as Hunter wiggled in my arms, so I willingly placed him down on the ground.
Jason was silent, and although I couldn’t hear his thoughts I could feel his mind working in overtime. “Sook, that’s incredible. Think of how well you’ll be able to defend yourself! Of course you first learnt to defend yourself because of me, when I taught you how to fire daddy’s shotgun” His smug smile appeared on his features, so I allowed him a moment of self-satisfaction. His teachings had been mighty useful over the years, especially with those of the supernatural community being naturally faster than me. A bullet was usually the only way to slow them down enough to either escape or come up with a plan of attack.
“We’re going to try and teleport now Sook.” Ata informed me, wandering over to join Jason, Hunter and I.
“You never said I’d be able to do that, can I do that?” I asked with a frown, recalling the conversation Ata and I had shared when we had been discussing powers over dinner with Godric and Eric the first night we had arrived.
“Usually the ability to teleport is reserved for those who are a third, or over, in terms of Fae blood, so that we can escape danger quickly. However, your spark is really strong for someone who is only an eighth, and you had a transfusion of Niall’s pure Fae blood last night, so I can only imagine what that will do for you. It’ll help to awaken other gifts.” Ata shrugged, ruffling Hunter’s bangs as he stood between us.
I was a little nervous about teleporting. It wasn’t like using my light, where the worst thing that could happen would be me blowing something up. I could end up anywhere in the world, and I might not even be whole! I had horrible visions of Mike TV from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Tara and I had rented it from Blockbuster in Shreveport one day when she’d broken up with her boyfriend in tenth grade, Mick Hansel, and we’d spent the day, and most of the night, eating ice cream and watching movies. Mike TV had tried to transport himself into the TV, and Mr. Wonka had told him it was lucky that all of his little particles had been transported with him, or else he could have lost a limb or something. As if sensing my apprehension, Jason placed a heavy and firm hand on my shoulder.
“It’ll be okay little sis, think of all the places you could pop to!” he grinned, as if going on vacation was one of my main priorities right now. A vacation would be nice though when all of this was over. Maybe Eric would take me back to his homeland. Deciding to get this over with, I gestured to the benches for Hunter and Jason to return to, and they did so without making a fuss. Ata held her hands out to me and I took them, locking our fingers together.
“Okay, now we’ll start with somewhere close, like the living room. All you have to do is picture where you want to go. You must have witnessed the location first, be it either in person or a photograph of it. You might want to keep a bunch of photos on you at all times, you can pull them from Google or whatever, so that you can reference them if you need to get away. I’ve personally always returned back to Egypt whenever I’ve needed to escape, and from there I pop myself home. If you’re with another Fae then they’ll be able to follow you for a brief period of time. Think of your popping as a wormhole, and the wormhole stays open for a few seconds once you’ve passed through it. Any Fae who’s stood next to you can jump through it and end up where you are. So your best bet is to find somewhere away from them, make sure you have a minute or so head start.” Ata explained, and I nodded to inform her that I understood. “You can pop alone or with others, even if they aren’t Fae, however you must be having some form of physical contact with them, be it holding hands or for them to be resting a hand on your shoulder etc. Popping is also instantaneous; there are no time jumps. You can pop to Faery too, but we won’t go into that for a while.” Ata gave a grim smile as memories of my time in Faery, where I was almost forced to eat the light fruit, played through my mind. I found myself also witnessing some of Ata’s time in Faery, though she was quick to block off all mental contact between us. Why didn’t she want me to see what had happened?
Shaking the thought, I nodded again for her to continue. “Okay, I want you to do as you did with the white light. You need to pull your magic into you and focus it, then, in order to pop; you need to distribute the magic around your system in order to ensure that all of you is teleported to your chosen location. Most people who end up suffering are stressed when they try to pop and don’t distribute their magic properly.” She gave my hands a squeeze, offering me a reassuring smile. “We’ll start with the living area. Close your eyes and picture it in your mind, think of the furniture layout, the smell, the colour of the walls, anything and everything.” She instructed me. Doing as I was told I closed my eyes, pulling the memory of the room to the forefront of my mind. I recalled the brown sofas, the cream carpet and walls, the little kitchen area in the corner, the position of the elevator in relation to everything else. “Now pull in your magic.” I heard Ata murmur quietly, and I followed her instructions, feeling my fae magic being pulled from my body to the middle of my chest. Focusing it, I kept the mental image of the living area fresh in my mind. “Now let it pulse through your whole body.” She whispered. Pushing my magic out around my system I felt a tingling sensation take over, along with a sharp tug before I felt myself being pulled. Gasping at the sensation my eyes flew open and I found myself standing in the middle of the living area, still holding onto Ata’s hands.
“I did it, I actually teleported.” I breathed a sigh of relief, grinning as I took in the room.
“With practice you’ll become quicker at it, but it’s incredible that you can pop from place to place! I’ll have to let Niall know of this development, it’s amazing! I will say now though that you won’t be able to pop in and out of a room that has a high concentration of iron in it, be it in the walls or actual iron bars on the floor of the room or whatnot. It’s the one downside to the gift, but thankfully few buildings are built with very high levels of iron these days.” She gave my hands another squeeze. “Can I ask you a question now we’re alone?” She shifted on her feet, and I could tell she was nervous about either asking, or my response, maybe even both.
“Sure.” I frowned, unsure what would cause my usually confident cousin to become shy and nervous.
“If you could go back and change it all, would you? Like, if you could go back and stop yourself from going out and ‘saving’ Bill, stop yourself from dealing with vampires altogether and live your life like you did before, would you?” Ata’s question caught me off guard, so I dropped her hands to allow myself a moment to think.
Pursing my lips together, I contemplated all the pros and cons. “Sometimes I think about what my life would be like if I hadn’t gone to Bill. Gran would probably still be alive, I’d have probably never ended up forever in the hospital, and I wouldn’t have been faery-napped and be wanted by a psycho 3000-year-old vampire. But then I think of the things I’ve gained; I met Eric, I now know that I’m a faery and I’m getting the training I need, I have a large family and I’ve saved a few lives. Sure I’ve killed some people, but they were bad people, and I’ve saved good people. I guess I just don’t know, Ata. Why do you ask?” I sighed, my mind now working over her question. It would have been nice to continue my existence without the interference of vampires, but I had a feeling anyway that even if I had ignored Bill he’d have found a way to get me, and I could be stuck as Sophie-Anne’s pet right now rather than Eric’s bonded.
“When I first found out what I was, and started to train up, I resented it. My long life meant I watched people around me grow old and I never aged a day, and while I love my Children I hate that I took their mortal lives from them, even if they say they did it willingly. I don’t know my answer to the question, which is why I asked you for your thoughts on it, to see if you could sway me. Seems both of us are unsure though.” She gave a small, humourless laugh before she took my hands again. “Come, pop us back. Your brother and Hunter are getting worried. I’m still so excited you can do this!” She squealed, but I could still see the sadness in her eyes, and I could see mine reflected back in them.
Taking a deep breath I closed my eyes, following the same steps as before, however this time I pictured the training room. The same tingling, tugging sensation took over and when I opened my eyes we were back upstairs.
“Heck Sook! Think you could take me to work and back every day?” My brother teased. Laughing, I shook my head, causing my brother to pout. A knock at the door captured my attention and Ata turned to face it.
“Come in!” She hollered over the sound of the foreign music. Flo wandered in, a smile on her lips.
“Miss Ata, Mr. Hanas is here for the outfit fittings.” She informed us all before she disappeared back down the stairs. Ata grinned happily, shutting off the music.
“Outfit fitting?” I questioned, realising Hunter and Jason were just as stumped as I was. Both boys removed themselves from the benches and Jason helped Ata return them to the store cupboard.
“The VRA passing is in two nights, we’re throwing a huge party here in the Colosseum for vampires and humans alike. The theme is Carnival meets Showcase. You and I are going as showgirls.” She clapped happily, taking my hand to drag me down the stairs. “We’ll continue with your training this evening when the vampires rise, you need to practice hitting moving targets.” I grabbed onto Hunter as we passed him, scooping him up. Jason followed us down the stairs. “I’ll take you to see the Colosseum we have here after the fitting. I gave Tycho your measurements and a few guidelines and he’s come up with something for you. He always creates all of my costumes and tailors my clothes for me if they aren’t already. I had Ari send him Pam and Isabel’s measurements too so that he could create them some costumes. Unfortunately I have nothing for the guys yet, but we’ll work on that this evening! We could even go shopping, I know this incredible little fancy dress store!” She babbled on as we entered the living area.
An elderly man was sat on one of the sofas, a medium sized rolling clothes rail was just to his side along with a female manikin. Seeing Ata he rose to his feet. “Miss Caesar!” The moment he spoke I recognised his accent, it was exactly the same as Talbot’s had been. Shuddering at the memory of Talbot, and pouring his remains down the sink at Fangtasia, Jason frowned in my direction, tipping his head to the side in a silent question. I shook my head, not wanting to discuss it, and double-checked that my shields were up. I didn’t want Hunter to witness my cruel act. “And who are these lovely people?” The elderly man, who Ata had called Tycho, turned to Jason, Hunter and I.
“My cousins Sookie and Jason Stackhouse, and my nephew, Hunter Savoy.” Ata introduced us all. I placed Hunter back down on the floor, but he clung to my leg, hiding behind it a little.
“Ah the little man is shy! There is nothing to be shy of young one, I have eight grandsons and they are all your age!” Tycho grinned at Hunter who offered him a nervous smile.
“It’s nice to meet you, I had no idea Ata would be dressing me up for this party.” I turned my accusing eyes to my cousin who simply shrugged, dancing off into the kitchen.
“Anyone want a drink?” She inquired, clearly at ease with the elderly gentleman. I knew it was wrong but I took a moment to dip into his mind, and I was pleased to find he was an honest and good man. He had been a tailor back in Greece but had immigrated to America in order to retire, however his medical bills had skyrocketed as he suffered from arthritis in his legs and chronic kidney disease, so he had been forced back into work. He enjoyed working for Ata though, as her wardrobe was extremely varied and forever updated, so he had a constant flow of work coming in. A quick peak in Ata’s mind told me that Tycho was unaware that he didn’t have any outstanding medical bills. Ata was paying for them all, and the money Tycho was sending to the hospital for his bills was actually going into a savings fund for him, so that when he properly retired he would have a nice nest egg. It was very much something my cousin would be a part of.
We all settled for glasses of water, so Ata returned with a tray of them. Distributing them between the five of us, she took a seat on the sofa. I picked the spot on her left, pulling Hunter up onto my lap, and Jason sat on her right. “I’ll show you the outfits I have for Miss Swynford de Beaufort and Miss Beaumont first, because I’m sure you ladies would like to try your own ones on.” He gave a kind smile, placing his glass down on a coaster on the coffee table. Slowly he rose to his feet, crossing to the clothes rail, from which he produced a blue clothes bag. Unzipping it, he removed the outfit from the confines of the bag, dressing the manikin for us. Once he’d finished, he stepped back to allow us time to look over the costume. “For Miss Beaumont. Mr. Ari said she was of Spanish origin, so I went with a matador theme.” He explained as Ata rose to her feet, moving over to the garment. She ran her fingers over the fabric, a gleeful smile on her lips.
“It’s beautiful Tycho.” She complimented, and I couldn’t help but agree. The pants and top were made of matching soft leather. The pants stopped at the knee, enabling Isabel to show off her legs and the dazzling heels she would no doubt be wearing. Damn vampires and their incredible sense of balance. Down the sides of the pants was a dark brown, embroidered strip of fabric, in order to hide the seams. The fabric was ornately embroidered with Spanish patterns. The top was form fitting and would hug Isabel’s curvaceous frame. The v-neck would show off her cleavage and a small section had been cut out from the bottom of the fabric, in order to reveal her flat stomach. The same embroidered fabric covered the top of the top, following the ‘V’ until they met in the middle, moving down the top in one solid strip. A red sash would be tied around her waist and the fabric matched that of the jacket, which was cropped with shoulder pads and adorned with more patterns native to her home country. It looked exactly like the jacket’s I’d seen matador’s wearing on the television.
“I have also created a red rose for Miss Beaumont to wear in her hair.” He added, removing the cute pin from his bag.
“What do you think Sook, Jason? You’ve both known her longer than me.” Ata asked Jason and I. Turning to my brother we both nodded.
“She’ll love it.” Jason agreed. “What do you think Hunt?” he turned his attention to the brunette boy on my lap.
“I like it, you should tell her to curl her hair and wear it in a loose side bun, like momma use to.” He suggested. Recalling how Hadley had worn her hair during our school years I smiled, realising that she had continued to wear it in the same fashion years after we graduated.
“What have you got for Pammy, Tycho?” Ata meandered back to the sofa, taking her seat once more. Tycho gave a devilish grin and divested the manikin of Isabel’s costume, hanging it back up. Taking out a bright pink garment bag, which had me rolling my eyes at how typically Pam it was, he removed her costume, dressing the manikin again.
It took everything in me not to laugh upon seeing it. It wasn’t bad, in fact it was brilliant, but it was something Pam would wear at Fangtasia, which would help to cement her vicious and dark attitude. “Mr. Ari mentioned she was a Victorian, so I tried to incorporate her history into the piece.” He informed us as Ata was once again up off of her feet, taking in the outfit. It was a mixture of black and grey fabric, a corset top tight enough that it was a good thing Pam had no need to breathe. The skirt was made up of layers of ruffles in a variety of black, grey and silver coloured fabric, which would be skimming her bottom it was that short. Around the cups of the corset were more ruffles, matching those of the skirt. A cobweb design was embroidered into the panel in the front of the corset that was sheer. A black piece of fabric went from one side of the corset to the other, around the back of the manikins’ neck. Looking at it closely I realized it looked very much like a vampire collar, the sort of ones that Dracula capes had. Tycho had placed black elbow length gloves onto the manikin, laced up with strips of black lace. He’d placed red cuffs around the manikins’ ankles, and had moved the colour up by placing a red choker around the manikins’ neck, complete with cross. “I was thinking Miss Swynford de Beaufort could wear fishnets and heels with it. I made her a small hat too.” He pulled a top hat from the bag he had removed Isabel’s rose from. The hat was black and rather small, with netting that would cover some of Pam’s face and would sit at an odd angle on her head. I loved it. It was the perfect combination of sexy and dangerous.
“I think it’s super cute.” Ata declared.
“I agree.” I concurred.
“It’s rather sexy, but will blonde and deadly wear it?” Jason questioned, images of Pam flashing through his mind. She’d carded him at the door when he’d gone to Fangtasia in search of ‘V’ and had subsequently met Amy Burley.
“Earth to Jason, it screams Pam. Besides, if Ari tells her to wear it she will, no questions asked.” Ata shrugged; turning back to stroke the soft ruffles of the fabric skirt.
“What’s going on with them?” I questioned, remembering how Pam was acting around Ari, her mental thoughts in regards to the Egyptian vampire and the way she seemed to always be holding his hand.
“I think she’s got a crush on my boy. I think my boy has a crush on her too.” I could see Ata trying not to laugh at the notion that her Childe seemed to have a thing for Eric’s. It was a good job that in the vampire world you weren’t biologically related as such, and that being in a relationship with your Grandsire’s bonded’s Childe was not frowned upon. It was reassuring to know though that our nest was closely tied together. Eric and I were bonded, Godric and Ata were bonded, and Pam was loyal to Eric while Ata’s boys were loyal to her. Isabel was loyal to Godric and Bubba and Oscar seemed loyal to Ata.
“Pam has a crush, on a male.” I tested the words out loud, laughing a moment later at the absurdity of it. I’d always known Pam was more a fan of females, given the way she used to leer at Yvette and I.
“Can I have a little top hat with my outfit Auntie Sookie?” Hunter turned on my lap to look at me, his wide chocolate eyes filled with hope. I’d only known Hunter a short while and yet I couldn’t deprive this boy of anything.
“If you want a little top hat then you shall have a little top hat.” I told him firmly. I was well aware of the outfits Ata had planned for the men, that was the benefit of being a telepath, but they weren’t exactly appropriate for one as young as Hunter.
“Would you like to see what I have for you, Miss Stackhouse? Miss Ata informed me that your partner likes the colour red.” Tycho turned to me, a smile on his lips as he pulled a red garment bag from the rail. Placing Hunter down on the couch, he shuffled over to Jason who threw an arm around him, holding him protectively. Jason wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, or the brightest crayon in the colouring box, but he would be a good daddy should he ever have children. Turning to Tycho, I nodded my head, taking the garment bag from him.
Disappearing into one of the windowless corridors, where I knew it would be safe to change, I opened the garment bag. Inside was a red and black boned, striped corset that would not only keep my girls in place, but give them a boost too, there was a matching red ruffle skirt, the edge of the ruffles trimmed with black, in the bag also. There was a pair of matching black stockings with red ruffles around the top and a black and red choker, which had black beads hanging from it. Looking over the costume I nibbled on my lower lip, contemplating just how revealing this outfit would be, and whether Eric would approve or not.
“Oh stuff it Stackhouse, he may be your boyfriend but he does not control what you wear!” I mentally scolded myself. Stripping down to my underwear I pulled on the stockings and the skirt first. Tying the choker around my neck I conducted a quick mental scan of the area. Everyone was back in the living room so I quickly removed my bra, grabbing the corset, which I zipped onto my torso, arranging the girls so they were sat comfortable within the fabric. My ample chest spilled over the top a little, but I was sure my Viking vampire would be more than happy with that. Taking a deep breath, I moved back into the living area, still unsure as to the shoes I would wear with this outfit. They’d have to be heels; there was no doubt about that. They would probably be red if Eric had anything to say about it. I remembered that Eric’s favourite colour was red, and that Ata had remembered in order to have my outfit made in a shade my vampire would appreciate. I smiled at the thought. Entering the living room, I opened out my arms. “What do you think?” I asked, nibbling on my bottom lip. I kept my mental shields up, unsure as to what I would hear.
“Oh Tycho you have outdone yourself.” Ata breathed, as she looked me over. The elderly gentleman dipped into his bag and produced a hair comb with two bright red feathers on. Moving towards me he parted my hair at the side, slipping the comb in so the red feathers would stand tall. They reminded me of the form the jinn had taken in my mind, Ma’at.
“Wowee Sook, you look like a showgirl alright! That vampire of yours will love it. Dontcha think the skirt is a little short though?” He commented as I twirled around on the spot.
“Aunt Sookie looks lovely, Uncle Jason. Shush.” Hunter reprimanded him, causing us all to laugh, even Tycho.
“Eric will be a fool if he doesn’t like you in that, but you must tell him to not get rippy with it!” Ata informed me, wandering over to double check the fabric, running her fingers over the silky material of the corset and the ruffles of the skirt. I flushed at the realisation that Ata was aware of how much Eric liked to rip my clothes off of me before sex. A knowing smile crossed her lips as I blushed.
“It’s okay. Like Maker, like Childe.” Ata whispered in my ear as she pretended to adjust the feathers in my hair.
“And of course, I would never forget you Miss Ata.” Tycho handed Ata a black garment bag, which she took with a huge grin, disappearing off into the other windowless corridor. I stood adjusting the skirt a little, worried about the length. “If it’s too short for you Miss Stackhouse I can adjust it?” The elderly gentleman offered kindly. Worrying that I had offended him, I shook my head adamantly.
“It’s perfect, honestly. My boyfriend will love it.” I offered him a kind smile, checking my reflection in the TV screen. Referring to Eric as my boyfriend rather than my bonded was a strange sensation, but I was unsure how wise it was to divulge the true nature of our relationship to a complete stranger.
Ata returned a moment later; her dress was black, studded with silver gems. The bottom was jagged, torn into strips. The middle section, between her legs, was longer than the sides, revealing her thighs. The top of the dress was fitted perfectly, boned like my corset to maintain its shape. The dress was strapless and a deep ‘V’ showed off all of Ata’s generous cleavage, but a panel of clear material had been used to ensure neither of the girls would pop out. On her wrists Ata wore white cuffs, similar to the ones on men’s shirts, and around her neck she wore a white collar and dickey bow. “Tycho, I don’t know how you do it, but I love it!” My cousin beamed at the elderly man, who was appreciating the dress on Ata in a critical manner. There was no leering or suggestiveness; he was simply admiring his work on her.
“You’re missing one thing.” He muttered, moving to his bag of goodies. From it he removed a top hat that was bigger than Pam’s, but not as huge as a standard one. It was black and glittery like Ata’s dress, and had a matching black feather on the back. Tycho placed it upon Ata’s head, adjusting it a little before he took a step back.
“Well?” Ata turned to Jason, Hunter and I. It had a very leading lady feel to it, with a tinge of Parisian sass. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of Godric clapping his eyes on her, I’d heard them converse in French numerous times, and France had been part of Gaul. Was that intentional?
Hunter nodded happily as he gestured to the cuffs and collar. “I like those, they look formal but your dress makes them playful.” He offered. I nodded in agreement with my little nephew.
“You need a ringmasters whip.” Jason suggested. Ata gasped, eyes widening.
“Oh my goodness, yes! I’ll send Riei to the costume store downtown this evening. Maybe if Felipe gets too close I can use it to batter him.” Ata rolled her eyes. Jason and I laughed, well aware of what had happened and what was happening, but of course little Hunter was unaware of our in-joke.
“Thank you so much for these Tycho.” Ata thanked the elderly gentleman, giving him a gentle hug.
“It’s no trouble Miss Ata, I’m just glad that you and Miss Stackhouse like them.” He glanced between Ata and I, giving the outfits the once over one final time.
“Thank you Mr. Hanas.” I remembered my manners, and Tycho’s surname. Gathering up his belongings, but leaving behind our costumes, Ata saw him to the elevator where she bid him farewell. When he was gone she removed her top hat, placing it on Hunter’s head, causing him to laugh.
“Am I a gentleman now?” he asked, sliding off of the sofa and onto his feet, where he padded over to the TV to check his reflection in the blank screen.
“You’re always a gentleman, little man.” Jason shot him a grin.
“Sookie, if we go and change now we can go and see the Colosseum before it gets dark? I want to show you all how incredible it is and show you what I hope to do with it.” Ata’s excitement was bubbling over and I looked to Hunter and Jason, who seemed eager to see this Colosseum. Nodding my head, I returned to the windowless corridor, changing back into my normal clothes. Ata had picked up Isabel and Pam’s clothing and I could only assume she would be looking after them until the female vampires rose for the night.
Shutting the bedroom door behind me, I changed out of my costume, grinning as I took in the colour and the fit of it. I would have to issue a no ripping decree to Eric. Burying my outfit in the back of the wardrobe so that Eric wouldn’t find it, I changed my outfit. Picking out a pair of denim shorts and a pink tank top, I added a pair of pink ballet flats. Returning to the bedroom I moved over to my Viking.
Sitting myself on the edge of the bed I pushed his fringe out of his eyes, stroking his cheeks. “I love you.” I reminded him, knowing he wouldn’t hear me. Leaning down I brushed my lips against his in a tender kiss before I pulled back, tucking the sheets around him. Trailing my fingers over his muscular back as I left, I ensured that the door was firmly shut behind me. I was unsure how the security system worked. I could enter any and all of the rooms no problem and didn’t have to enter security codes or fingerprints.
Pulling myself out of my thoughts as I entered the living area, I watched as Jason dressed Hunter in a small coat he’d brought with him. “We’ll go shopping and get you some more clothes Hunter.” I promised as he stretched his hand up to me. Taking it I held onto him tightly as Ata returned from her own room, dressed in a pair of black leggings, gladiator sandals, which I found highly amusing, and a shirt that was a little too big for her and clearly wasn’t a part of her wardrobe.
“To the Colosseum!” Ata pushed the elevator button, calling it up to us.
Oh, je suis désolé Mademoiselle! (French) = Oh, I’m sorry Miss!