Ethereal Redemption Chapter 68

A/N Okay so I really hate time jumps in stories but I felt like I needed the time jump between the last chapter and this one. If I’d carried on the next day I would have just dragged it out and it would have been lame. So, here we are two weeks after the last chapter ended! There will be plenty of flashbacks in this chapter to the three-week time jump and everything that happened in it, and all of those will be in italics! 

Ohhh and bit of a laugh finding bridesmaid dresses…one of my old friends from school is a model in New York now, and she was modelling a few of the dresses I looked at in Saks! Small world eh!?

ENJOY!

betad_midnightopheliac


SOOKIE’S POV
It’s the blue in his eyes that helps me see the future
Fingerprints that leave me covered for days, yeah, hey, yeah
Now I don’t have any first degree but I know, what he does to me
No need to work it out, it’s so familiar, ooh, ooh, ooh
And my heart won’t beat again if I can’t feel him in my veins
No need to question, I already know
It’s in his DNA and he just takes my breath away
I feel it every day, and that’s what makes a man
Not hard to understand, perfect in every way
I see it in his face, nothing more to say
It’s in his DNA
~  DNA, Little Mix

Three weeks. It had been three weeks since Ata and I had killed our enemies and returned to Caesar’s Palace. It had been three weeks since we’d been tattooed in celebration. It had been two weeks since Ata had been in for her surgery to remove her brand and today was the day of Ata’s wedding.

We’d decided that Ata and Godric would marry first, and celebrate their coronation the night after in a joint ceremony with Pam and Ari. With the king and queen of Faery sworn in, and the king and queen of Nevada sworn in too, we would then move the party back to Louisiana where I was to marry Eric and we were to have our own coronation. After that it was to Mississippi for Khai and Isabel’s coronation. Riei would become Ari and Pam’s second-in-command, while Oeri would be the second for Eric and I. Khai and Isabel agreed that they would look over the existing sheriff’s in Mississippi and then decide who would be their second. Egor would take off for New York to attend a high-profile debate while Eric and I went away on our honeymoon. I had no idea where he was taking me, and every time I tried to ask he would start humming Old Norse songs in his head and make a zipping motion across his lips. Ata and Godric would be away on their honeymoon at the same time, and I’d helped Godric plan their getaway. I had no doubt that my cousin would have an incredible time.

Bubba had made the trip to Los Angeles to stay with Edgar until Ata and Godric’s wedding, where he would sing Ata up the aisle. Edgar had rang several times over the past few weeks to check up on us, to make sure we were both okay and had everything we needed. He was a sweet man and it was easy to see why his subjects loved him. Isabel had decided to stay with us for the past three weeks and had filed her resignation from her post as Sheriff in Dallas.

Dallas

It was 1pm and Ata and I were flaked out on sun loungers beside the Apollo pool, soaking up the sunshine. With a smile I remembered starting my wedding planning with my family.

I couldn’t believe Eric had agreed to marry me in my own back garden. Gran had always taken pride in her garden, and Eric had taken such good care of it while I’d been away in Faery. I knew Reverend Daniels at the church in Bon Temps would probably scowl at the thought of marrying Eric and I in the presence of God, so together we decided to call in a Reverend from Shreveport to perform the ceremony at my home – our home. I was unsure as to what I wanted my wedding to be like. As a child I’d never fantasised about getting married, with my gift it had never been a possibility. I’d never allowed myself the chance to imagine what it could ever look like.

Bon Temps Church

Rubbing my tattoo gently I caught Eric grinning down at it via his reflection in the mirror opposite the bed. After I told him about the meaning behind it he’d kissed me stupid and then scooped me up, throwing me down on the bed before he’d clambered up behind me and had his way with me for hours. I could feel the light marks on my hips from his vice-like grip, but I strangely liked the marks he’d left behind. We were now lounging together on the bed. Eric’s legs were parted and I was placed between them, my back to his chest and his arms around my middle. The sheets were pulled up around us. He’d grabbed a notepad and pen and I was currently scribbling down our wedding plans. Eric’s chin came to rest on my right shoulder. “Will you let me organise our venue, please? You have enough to worry about with your dress, flowers, gift list, and the food for your human friends.” Eric dropped a kiss to my neck and I sighed happily at the feel of his cool lips against my warm skin. A part of me wanted to protest and decorate our back garden myself, but Eric had nothing to do in regards to planning, and he was trying to lighten my workload. It was his wedding too and he deserved to have a say in the matter.

Smiling I scribbled on the paper ‘Venue – Eric.’ Eric’s happiness through our bond made me glad he was working on our back garden. I had plenty of other things scribbled down – dresses, bridesmaids, flowers, invites, rings, gift list, hair, make-up, and a photographer. We’d decided together to have a purple colour scheme, to honour both of our royal heritages.

Purple

“Would you like to hire a wedding planner, lover?” Eric asked me gently as we both took in the long list. I appreciated his concern, his need to lighten my load. I was selfish though. I wanted to do all of this myself because I’d believed so long ago that I would never get to marry. Besides, I had Ata on hand should anything get out of control. She was slowly returning to her previous self now that she had a date set for the removal of her brand.

A knock at the door alerted me to visitors. “It’s unlocked.” I called out, continuing to scribble on the paper in my hand. I’d decided against a maid of honour because I hadn’t been able to choose between Ata and Tara. Instead I’d decided to have four bridesmaids – Tara, Ata, Lafayette, and Pam. The door creaked open and Ata was soon on our bed with her legs crossed beneath her, grinning happily. In her hands she held several pieces of card. Godric joined her moments later, perching at the end of the bed.

Looking away from the paper in my hand I grinned at my cousin. Her smile was infectious. “We need to pick invites!” Ata declared, shoving the cards in her hands into my own. “We need to choose dates too!” Ata was positively thrumming with energy. I could feel Eric’s amusement at Ata’s excitement.

Smiling indulgently at my cousin I shuffled the invitation cards into one hand. “I think you should get your wedding first, Ata. You’ve waited long enough.” I reached out, placing a hand on top of Ata’s. My cousin’s teeth sank into her lower lip.

“Are you sure?” Ata glanced between Eric and I. I could feel Eric’s agreement through our bond. Both of us nodded and Ata let out a girly squeal. “Well it’s a good thing I had the invitation people print samples with our names on then!” Ata gestured to the pile in my hand. There were six invitation types in total, two of each. One had ‘Sookie Stackhouse & Eric Northman’ written on a post-it note attached on them, while the other pile had ‘Ata Caesar & Godric Nervii’ on the post-it note attached to them. Ata’s organisation skills were incredible. Splitting the pile I handed Ata back her set.

“What date do you want?” I asked, rifling through the invites. My bond with Eric was alive. With certain invites I could feel his dislike, but others he liked immensely.

“Well it’s already nearing the end of November. I could go for Christmas if you want a New Year wedding? I understand that New Year is when people usually turn over a new leaf.” Ata looked between us. “It’ll be the start of your lives as husband and wife, as the rulers of Louisiana and without the threat of William or any other older monarch, such as Russell, after you both.” Ata put the suggestion towards us. Godric had shifted, coming to sit properly on the bed beside Ata, one of his hands on her knee, his thumb stroking her exposed skin. The Nevada heat meant that those of us that had the unfortunate need to sweat had donned as little clothing as possible.

The time of year didn’t bother me too much. All I cared about was marrying Eric. Turning my head to look up at my Viking I watched as a myriad of emotions crossed his features and our bond. “I like New Year. I like the symbolism of it too.” He agreed, glancing down to me.

“I concur.” I whispered, earning myself a tender kiss.

Turning to look at Godric, Ata smiled. “December 24th?”

Godric’s indulgent smile pretty much matched my earlier one. “Whenever you want to get married is fine by me, my darling. I care not for the date so long as you walk down the aisle towards me.”

My bond with Ata flourished, her happiness like a pulsing being within her. “December 31st for yours then, cousin?” Ata’s eyes swung to me and she grinned like the Cheshire cat. I didn’t have to be a telepath to read her mind. Kissing your love at midnight on New Years Eve was supposed to be good luck, and if we timed our wedding ceremony correctly the Reverend would say ‘You may now kiss the bride’ at 11:59pm, meaning my first kiss as Eric’s wife would be at midnight. My cousin was crafty!

“That would make me very happy.” Eric’s arm tightened around me before he gently pried the invites from my hand, holding them before us as he started to go through them. The first invite was white, embossed on the front with beautiful swirls and held together by a brown ribbon. The feelings from our bond told me Eric liked it. It opened with two flaps on each side that reminded me of the cupboards back home in my kitchen in Bon Temps. Of course my cupboards weren’t so fancy and most certainly were not embossed! Inside, once the flaps were opened, the words inviting our guests to our wedding were printed inside.

Sookie and Eric Wedding Invite 1

“Mr. Eric Northman & Miss Susanna Stackhouse hereby cordially invites you to join them in celebrating their union as husband and wife, under the watchful gaze of their Gods, both old and new, on _________ at ___pm.
Their union will take place at _____________________________________________________.
Followed by a reception, including a sit-down meal, at _________________________________.

 Please refer to menu included and state your meal choices when you RSVP.

 Please RSVP by December 19th
Phone: +1 702-753-7780
Email: aseti-nekht@caesarspalace.com
Postal: A Seti-Nekht, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, United States”

I read the invitation aloud and smiled. Blanks were left so that Eric and I could fill in the details we wanted before the invite would be returned to the professional printers for completely printed copies to be made and distributed. We still had to create a guest list too. I figured my list would be pretty short considering I only really knew the residents of Bon Temps. Eric would no doubt have countless important vampires and other Supes to invite. I would leave the list in his capable hands. We’d have to come up with a few menu ideas too, both blood and human food, to satisfy all of the guests.

The second invite was also white, but this time it held a beautiful light brown sketch of a flower on the left hand side, taking up half of the invite. The right hand side of the invite contained the same wording from the first invite. There was a second little card attached behind it containing the RSVP response that could be posted back.

Eric and Sookie Wedding Invite 2

The third invite was, once again, white. It was A5 size and portrait. Along the right of the invite was a beautiful black swirling floral design. The rest of the invite was taken up with the text in a pretty black font.

Eric and Sookie Wedding Invite 3

The fourth invite was gold, a border around 1cm in from the edge of the card all the way around. The font was black and embossed into the thick card. I felt Eric’s approval of this invite just as strongly as I felt his approval of the first one.

Sookie and Eric Wedding Invite 4

The fifth invite was gold but far more ornate than the previous one. Shaped as a perfect square there was a thin border around the edge of the card before a thicker border appeared, decorated in a beautiful silver pattern. Moving towards the centre of the invite there was another border, just as thin as the first one. Inside all of the borders finally sat the words of the invitation, framed above by a sparkling silver gemstone and golden ribbon. It was beautiful but far too fancy for my liking. It was something I could see Ata having, not me. Eric’s feelings through our bond only confirmed that he too liked the invite, but didn’t think it suited us.

Eric and Sookie Wedding Invite 5

The final invite was white and fairly simple. I loved it the moment I clapped eyes on it. The front contained a bow of white silk and inside of the bow was a square of card, lifted up and framed with a piece of silver card. Inside the square was ‘S’ and ‘E’ perfectly intertwined. Opening it up like a card the inside contained hand written calligraphy style writing outlining the information for the wedding. Once again there was another little card for people to RSVP with, and this one was framed with the same silver card that was used on the front of the invite. I fell in love with the invite and could feel how much Eric liked it to, and since Eric was so in tune with my emotions we silently agreed upon it. The sight of our initials intertwined was what had sold it for me.

Eric and Sookie Wedding Invite 6

“This one.” Eric announced to Ata and Godric, plucking the final invite we had looked at out of the pile. Grabbing her version of it Ata tore hers in half with a smile.

“We can’t match now, can we?” She teased with a wink.

“If you could both compile a list of guests Ata and I will send the list to the invitation printers.” Godric explained to us. Eric nodded and I let him have the reigns.

“Why is the email address for Ari?” I asked now that Eric and I had looked them all over and chosen, noting that it was Ari’s email listed as the RSVP address.

“I figured that you’d still be here by the RSVP date, but if not Ari will still take care of everything for you from a distance. I don’t want you stressed.” Ata shrugged her slender shoulders, offering Eric and I a smile.

“Thank you, both of you.” Eric’s voice was soft, filled with sincerity.

“It is the least we can do for you both.” Godric spoke up, his spare hand moving to give Eric’s arm around Sookie a gentle squeeze.

“Does this mean we get to assign someone to plan your wedding?” Eric arched an eyebrow. I could feel his mischief. It was light-hearted though.

Eric's Wink

Ata’s eyes widened and she vehemently shook her head. “No way. I love you, my son, but you’d assign someone like Pam to organise it, and I refuse to wear a poufy meringue up the aisle! She’d make me wear pastels, dear God! She’d put lilies in the bridal bouquets as a joke, they’re funeral flowers!” I couldn’t help but burst out laughing, and Eric and Godric were quick behind me. The three of us were doubled over on the bed, laughing at Ata’s expression and her feelings of pure horror. Blood tracks were running down Eric and Godric’s faces as they laughed. Salt tears were running down my own cheeks. Ata still looked horrified as she tried to process what Eric had just suggested. “PASTELS!”

Ata

I chuckled to myself, slowly shaking my head against the sun lounger I was hogging. Ata and Godric had chosen the fancy golden invites with the gemstone and gold bow, just like Eric and I had predicted. They’d gone all out and chosen the matching place names for the reception, the matching bags to put wedding favours in and had even picked the matching Order of Service list. Eric and I had silently agreed that Godric was indulging Ata; letting her have whatever the hell she wanted so long as it made her happy. It didn’t hurt that they had changed their wedding invite. Theirs had read:

“Mr. Godric Caesar-Nervii & Mrs. Ata Caesar-Nervii hereby cordially invites you to join them in celebrating their union as husband and wife via human custom under the watchful gaze of their Gods, both old and new, on December 24th 2009 at 10pm.
Their union will take place at Juno Garden @ Caesar’s Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, United States.
Followed by a reception, including a sit-down meal, at The Colosseum @ Caesar’s Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, United States.

Please refer to menu included and state your meal choices when you RSVP.

Please RSVP by December 15th 2009.
Phone: +1 702-753-7780
Email: aseti-nekht@caesarspalace.com
Postal: A Seti-Nekht, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, United States”

Ata and Godrics Wedding Invite

I’d worked alongside Ari for some of the prep work. Though he loved his mother dearly and had spent 2000 years by her side he was still male, and she was female. I helped him wherever I could. I’d convinced him to get a white satin aisle runner and for the aisle to be lit by hundreds of candles. I’d even sweet-talked him into having 25 beautiful white doves released when they finally said ‘I do.’ Ari had applied for, and been granted, their marriage license last week.

Khai and Riei had assigned the entire guest list their rooms for the night of the wedding, or for the night before if they were coming from afar. Caesar’s was slowly filling up again now that all of the threats had been dealt with. There were people from all over the world coming to see Ata and Godric get married.

The morning after we had sat together as a family and picked our invites, times and locations, Eric and Godric had begged us to let them test out the day-walking theory. Ata and I had been nervous, worried something could happen to our bonded’s if it turned out they couldn’t day-walk.

“I want to test out day-walking.” Eric decided aloud as I put down the piece of paper I’d been writing on down. Ata and Godric were still in the room with us and had been helping us come up with ideas. Ata had her own sheet of paper, filled with her scribbles and ideas. We’d be going dress shopping in two nights time.

“Absolutely not.” I decided, turning my head to look over my shoulder at Eric. Eric’s whole body stiffened as I declared that he wouldn’t be venturing out to test the theory. Ha! Take that Mr. High-Handed! You sure can dish it out but you can’t take it!

Eric with Sookie's keys

“Sookie- ” Eric started, but I cut him off immediately by holding up one of my hands.

“How do you think it would make me feel if you start to burn? How on earth would I be able to drag your sorry ass all the way back here to ensure you don’t fry up like bacon? Not to mention the fact we are in a public place and anyone could see you outside.” I threw down some of my reasons, knowing my fiancé was logical and would no doubt see merit in my thoughts.

With a very human like sigh Eric’s shoulders dropped. “I know, min kära. I have spent 1000 years in darkness though. I would at least like to try. I promise you that the moment I feel even the slightest bit of discomfort we will retreat back indoors.” He vowed, even going so far as hold up his fingers in the Scouts Honour symbol. Yeah, ‘cause my 1000-year-old Viking vampire Sheriff was a Boy Scout…

Scouts Honor

Seeking council from Ata I turned to look at her just as she finished her private mental conversation with Godric. Blue eyes swung around to find mine and my cousin nibbled the inside of her lip. “I’m not too keen on the idea either, but I do think it needs to be tested. I can have my staff shut down The Venus Pool for the day. There are huge beds for us all to relax on and we have cabana style huts that are shaded, so if Godric or Eric start to feel the heat or the pull of the sun then they can disappear in there and they’ll be okay. There are trees and big pillars around the pool to stop prying eyes.” Ata suggested. I scowled at her for not being entirely on my side, but at least she had come up with ways to reduce my fears.

Sookie

Glancing to the clock I noted we had half an hour until sunrise. With a sigh I nodded, caving in to what Eric and Godric so clearly wanted. If he burned up like a fritter though I would pull the plug immediately and demand that he return inside. I would even go so far as to close our bond until he complied. As I gave my nod of approval I felt Eric’s happiness and glee, and that was all it took for me to remember that this was a big deal for him. 1000 years of darkness and I might be able to give him the sun forever.

Pulling her cell phone from her pocket, Ata called down to reception. I could only hear her side of the conversation but from what I gathered she was having The Venus Pool shut down for the whole day for us, was having multiple bags of blood brought to us which we could take out with us should our vampires feel the need to consume more than we could give, and Ata was even having them leave some human food there along with an army of pool toys. Ending her call Ata slipped her phone back into her pocket, sinking back into Godric’s embrace. I could feel his happiness and glee through our connection too. “I thought that perhaps Jason and Hunter would like to join us for the day.” Ata explained. Jason and Hunter had completely slipped my mind and I not only felt like a terrible sister, but a terrible mom too. I’d been so wrapped up in the events of the past few days and my impending nuptials that I’d pretty much left Hunter and Jason to their own devices.

Sensing my inner turmoil Eric pushed calm through our bond, along with love and reassurance. “They understand, min kära.” He answered my thoughts. I was still getting used to the fact we could now all hear one another.

“May we leave now, my darling? I want to watch as the sun rises.” Godric spoke lowly in Ata’s ear, but not quietly enough for his words to be private. Ata’s eyes found mine in a silent question and I pushed my agreement through our connection, marvelling at how strong it now was. Turning her head up to Godric, Ata nodded once. Her prize was a kiss that, though far from chaste, was full of such innocent joy.

Rising from the bed, Ata all but dragged Godric out of the room, being sure to take all of her notes with her. “Five minutes and we’ll head down guys!” She was sure to exclaim as the pair of them left our room, closing the door behind us to give us some privacy.

Eric was first to break the silence. “I know you are still unsure about this, min kära. I promise you that I will seek shelter should I start to feel the effects of the sun.” He promised me again. Knowing that he would keep his word, as he always had, I nodded once. Gathering together all of our wedding planning I couldn’t help but smile down at the invite. “I cannot wait until you are Mrs. Northman.” Eric’s voice was low and soft in my ear, and his lips connected with the soft spot just below my earlobe. A shudder ran through my body at the contact. I was like a finely tuned violin around Eric, and he knew exactly what strings to play.

Throwing on a little red bikini that had mysteriously appeared in my wardrobe, courtesy of Pam no doubt, I threw a white slip over the top. The fabric was see-through so offered little to no protection from the sun, but it was enough coverage that Eric wouldn’t go all caveman on me when we walked through the lobby and the rest of the hotel to the pool. Slipping on a pair of flip-flops I grabbed the beach bag Ata had let me borrow before we had been taken by Felipe and his bloodline. I almost felt a little sad that our perfect little bubble had been ruptured, but there were no more threats left to us anymore. Our perfect little bubble was back. Slipping on the pair of Chanel’s Ata had let me borrow I entered our bedroom in time to see Eric shimmying into a tight pair of red Speedo’s. I didn’t even bother trying to cover up the lust that was no doubt washing through our bond. Nor did I bother to try and cover up how dry my throat had just become. The man was Adonis, and he was all mine.

Red Ruffled Bikini

Eric’s chuckle broke me out of my lust and possessiveness. “Feeling territorial?” He teased, turning to look at me now he had hidden his beautiful butt and his gracious plenty away in the red material. Well, it was hidden to the best of its ability. My Viking was all in proportion, and the Speedo’s did leave very little to the imagination…

I ignored his barb about feeling territorial. He knew from our bond that I was feeling mighty possessive and the smugness radiating from him only confirmed it. He liked that I was feeling possessive of him and going all cavewoman. The tables had turned and now I was going to be fighting women off of my man. I managed to persuade Eric into putting on a pair of loose shorts for the journey down to the pool though, much to his amusement. I didn’t want anyone ogling what’s mine. Eric chuckled, naturally, when I told him that.

Ata, Godric, Hunter and Jason were waiting for us in the living room as we entered. The rest of our nest was nowhere to be seen and I could only guess they were making preparations for their rapidly changing lives. The moment Hunter saw us he bounced over. Eric was down on his knees, arms wide open, accepting Hunter’s tight embrace. Scooping him up, Eric snuggled our son, dropping a kiss to his forehead before offering him over to me. Eric took my beach bag from me as I held Hunter against my hip, securing an arm around him before I let my free hand playfully bop him on the nose. “Hello little man! How are you this evening?” I asked, bouncing him a little. Hunter grinned, wrapping his little legs around me as tightly as he could.

“I’m good Mommy. Uncle Jason and I went to Auntie Ata’s library and Uncle Jason read me a story. I even managed to read a chapter back to him!” He was so proud of his accomplishment, and it warmed me. I knew how difficult it was for a telepath to get a decent education. School had been a nightmare for me. Even though Hunter was a few years behind academically I had no worries. Eric and I would get him a private tutor on the side of his schoolwork to help him catch-up.

Library

“You were real good too Hunt!” Jason praised him, giving Hunter’s hair a quick ruffle before he kissed my temple. “I was starting to think you was ignoring me, Sook.” He teased. I didn’t like it though. I hadn’t been ignoring him, I’d just been so busy lately that I’d not had much time to spend with him or Hunter. I felt my lower lip wobbling but was powerless to stop it. “Ahh hell no Sooks! No tears! I can’ deal with cryin’ women!” Jason was panicking a little as I used my free arm to pull him to me, crushing him in a hug.

“I’m so sorry Jase. So much has happened and I’ve been so wrapped up in my own little bubble that I didn’t have time to spend with you.” I apologised for being such a shitty sister.

“Hey now!” Jason admonished, wrapping his arms around both Hunter and I easily. “A lot has happened to ya Sook. Hunt and I don’t blame ya one little bit. We’s know you’ve been busy and wrapped up in whatever the hell it is ya’ll do.” He pulled back and gestured between Eric, Godric, Ata, and I. “You’re my sister Sook, my only sister. I ain’t going anywhere.” He offered me a bright, brilliant smile. I could feel Eric’s pride through our bond. I’d always know Eric and Jason had never seen eye-to-eye, but just knowing that Eric was proud of Jason for growing up a little and realising there was more to life than chasing tail was enjoy to cease my wobbly lip.

Sookie and Jason

“Come, cousins.” Ata gently interrupted us, placing one hand on Jason and the other on me. “We need to be in one of the cabins and settled just before sunrise.” Her tone was soft as she took charge, leading our rag-tag group into the elevator. The ride down was quiet, and Hunter took the opportunity to scramble across me and back into Eric’s arms. My Viking held Hunter to his chest easily with one arm, allowing our son to tuck his head in under his fathers chin. Eric’s free hand found mine just as the elevator hit the ground floor. Stepping out we moved as a unit. Godric had taken Ata’s hand in the elevator and, sensing Jason was feeling left out, Ata threaded her free arm through his, linking them together. Jason’s mind rang out with happiness that he too was being included.

It was still dark when we left the hotel, entering the pool areas. There were no customers down in the pools as most of them didn’t open until around 9am. Ata navigated us through the pools, weaving between monuments and statues until we reached the entrance to The Venus Pool. At the entrance stood four members of staff, hands clasped behind their backs. They allowed us all to pass without any trouble and from a quick dip in their minds I found that they were glamoured, probably by Ari, into forgetting the fact they had just seen Eric and Godric out just before sunrise.

The pool was beautiful, with crystal clear water. It wasn’t a huge pool, but it was perfect for our needs. Along one side of the pool was a row of cabana style huts, all of which could be closed up to offer total privacy. Lining either side of the pool were 16 or so double bed sized loungers. They had white bottoms and orange mattresses, and on them sat white and orange pillows, along with yellow and white striped towels. Huge orange umbrellas covered some of the loungers, enabling users to seek some shelter from the sweltering sunshine should they so wish. Single loungers were used at both curved ends of the pool, and there were around 20 of those in total. They weren’t as luxurious as the beds though. I spotted a bracket shaped sofa on either side of the pool too, right in the middle. It was orange, of course, with a white coffee table.

Venus Pool

Venus Pool

Venus Pool

Venus Pool

Jason gawked at our surroundings. Hunter peeked out from under Eric’s chin to get a better look at where we were. Due to it still being dark the area was lit with strip lights and ambient lighting. There were spotlights in the pool, highlighting the rich blue colour, and the bar area at the far end of the pool was illuminated with red and orange strip lights, reminding me of sunrise. I could see the sky starting to lighten so I hurried our pace.

Ata lead us to a cabana and Eric let go of my hand long enough to place my beach bag down. Inside the cabana was two double loungers, a mini fridge with a glass door – allowing me to see the blood, water, and fruit stored in it – and there was even a boom box hooked up to an iPod and some sunscreen left out. A batch of fresh towels sat on every lounger.

With a flourish Ata removed her flimsy white slip, revealing her matching white bikini. With her blonde hair, blue eye, ample chest and trim figure she looked like she should have been a member of the Swedish Bikini Team. “I’ve only just realised that this isn’t exactly the best place for you both to see the sunrise.” Ata mused, turning to look at us all. “Hold hands.” She ordered, throwing a few towels over her shoulder so she had her hands free.

I was still holding Eric’s so I offered my free hand to Jason. He took it and in turn offered his free hand to Godric. Godric held on to Ata and we were soon in a chain. Noting what my cousin was doing I decided to help her. With a pop and the wormhole feeling I was growing accustomed to, I helped Ata pop our group up onto the roof of Caesar’s Palace. The roof was a decent size with a raised edge around it. “This is quicker than walking, otherwise we would have had to deal with 42 locked doors and 32 key cards just to get past. There is no real way to get on the roof here without security letting you up. It’s not something I have the keys to, Ari has them all, and the fewer people who know about this…” She let go of Godric and gestured between him and Eric, “the better.”

Glancing over the edge I spotted a platform lower down, but it mainly housed metal pipes and steelwork. It looked like the ventilation system for the hotel. Most of Caesar’s Palace’s roof was made to look like a steeple, like a temple, so for us to be on a flat piece of roof was rare. There was a ladder that led down to the lower level but I wasn’t feeling too keen on using it. The view from where we were stood was incredible. I could see Harrah’s – another hotel and casino on the strip. I could see Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, Bellagio, Paris The Eiffel, and Flamingo Hotel and Casino. The whole strip could be seen from the roof, and though the lights were starting to go out for the day and the sky was starting to become lighter, I couldn’t help but see how beautiful the city really was.

Vegas at Night

Turning back to our group I noticed the towels were now spread out and that Jason and Hunter had occupied two. Ata was stood beside me, Godric behind her and Eric behind me. Smiling up at him I felt his excitement vibrate through our bond. Up on tiptoes I gave him a soft kiss as Ata gave one to Godric before my cousin and I both turned to face the rising sun. Our bonded’s stood behind us, wrapping their arms around us, holding us close to their chests as they waited for their first true sunrise in their entire un-dead lives. Yes Eric had played in the sun for a day, but he hadn’t had any idea as to his identity then. Now, with all of his memories in tact, he was going to see the sunrise and remember it.

The sky started to turn orange, the black fading to purple before it shifted to a golden colour. The city came alive beneath us as the lights started going out and the cars started their journeys. Slowly the black receded from the skyline and was overtaken by light purple. The orange glow grew brighter and I could feel Eric’s cool breath on my neck. The anticipation was making him breathe, and the rise and fall of his chest against my back was comforting. Placing my hands over his I threaded our fingers together. It took only another five minutes before the purple disappeared completely and the golden rays of the sun dominated the sky. As the sun rose, its rays peeked over everything around us, falling onto the rooftop and bathing us in its light. I heard both Eric and Godric inhale sharply and I took to monitoring my bond with Eric. I was 100% sure Ata was monitoring hers with Godric with equal enthusiasm. My bond with Eric exploded and waves and waves of joy and excitement took over my body. I could feel his glee, his happiness, the comfort he took, the excitement he felt, the warmth from the suns warm rays as it seeped into his pale and cool skin, warming him up. There was no burning though, no discomfort. We wouldn’t be in the clear for another few hours, given that Eric had a lot of my blood in his system, but so far everything was perfect.

Vegas at Dawn

I heard what sounded like a sob rack through Eric’s body and seconds later I felt a drop of moisture on my shoulder. Glancing to the spot I felt the dampness I watched as a single red tear tried to roll down my body. Sweeping it up with my thumb I popped it into my mouth, cleaning off my finger before I turned in Eric’s arms to look up into his electric blue eyes in the sunlight. I was lost in my own little world with Eric, only noting that Ata had since turned to Godric and the pair of them were now locked in an embrace, foreheads pressed together, eyes wide open as they took in the sight of one another in the sunlight. Godric’s blood tracks down his cheeks matched Eric’s, and he spoke lowly to Ata in hurried Ancient Egyptian with a vibrant smile.

My attention was solely on my Viking though, who looked so glorious in the daylight that for a moment, albeit brief, I completely forgot he was a vampire. Eric’s large arms tightened around me as his lips sought out mine in a fierce kiss. Bringing my hands up to either side of his face I held his head in place, smothering him in kisses as he pulled back. Kissing and licking away the blood on his cheeks I smiled up at him. The sunlight bounced off of his bright blue eyes, making them shine. His golden hair looked rich and vibrant, just how I had imagined it to look when he had been human. Apart from the fact that his skin was pale, and the red around his eyes and nails still existed, he could have passed for human. He was glorious in the moonlight, but he was breathtaking in the sunshine.

“Tack, min kära! Du har gett mig solljus, dagtid, värmen och skönheten i världen! Jag har ingen möjlighet att någonsin betala dig för detta, men jag lovar att spendera varje välsignad dag du har gett mig, och alla mina nätter, visar er min kärlek och tacksamhet. Du är ett mirakel, mitt mirakel. Jag älskar dig, och jag kommer att göra för all evighet, min älskade.” (Thank you, my dear! You have given me the sunlight, daytime, warmth and beauty of the world! I have no way to ever pay you for this, but I promise to spend every blessed day you have given me, and all of my nights, showing you my love and gratitude. You are a miracle, my miracle. I love you, and I will do for all eternity, my love.) Eric spoke with such reverence, his eyes never leaving mine. Of course my newfound knowledge of the languages he spoke, thanks to being able to hear the translation in his mind, meant that I understood him perfectly. I’d noticed that whenever he was overcome with emotion, Eric would slip back into his native tongue.

“You don’t have to repay me for this, Eric. Seeing you in the sunshine is enough payment for me.” I reached up, sweeping away his bangs. “I love you too.” I whispered. Eric’s lips crushed against mine, his tongue parting the seams of my lips in a battle for dominance. I let him have it. There was little I could deny him. Breaking apart Eric lifted his head, looking across to Godric and Ata, both of whom were looking up at the sunlit sky.

Sookie's First Declaration of Love to Eric

“2000 years of darkness, and now I have the sunshine.” Godric spoke with reverence, glancing from Ata to Eric. They looked like a right pair – ghostly pale with faint traces of bloody tracks down their cheeks.

“Daddy!” Hunter squealed from his towel, running and launching himself at Eric. My Viking captured him easily, swinging him up into the sky before he caught him and brought him down to his chest. “Play in the pool with me, Daddy?” Hunter begged, bouncing happily. A broad grin crossed Eric’s features and with a push on the balls of his feet he was up in the air, flying down the side of the building in a blur towards the pool. My fiancé and son hit the water together, dipping below the surface before they came back up again. Eric’s booming laughter filled the air with Hunter’s splutter of surprise. I couldn’t stop my own laugh at their childlike antics.

“No, no you don’t!” Ata squealed from beside me as she started to dart around the roof. It was only seconds later that Godric caught her, scooping her up bridal style before he too pushed himself from the roof, flying down to the pool, dropping them both in. Ata squealed loudly and I shook my head with a smile.

“Come on Jase.” I scooped up the towels, holding my hand out to my brother. With a grin he took it and I popped us down to the poolside. Jason’s reflexes were super sharp because as soon as we landed he gave me a hefty shove, pushing me clean into the pool. The dry towels landed on the side but I landed in the water. Spluttering as I came up for air I scowled at a howling Jason. Arms around my waist stopped my scowl and I screamed in delight as I was hoisted clear out of the water. Kicking my legs before me I threw my head back, laughing loudly as Eric dropped me again, plunging me below the waters surface.

Ata and Godric were helping Hunter onto an inflatable stingray as Jason dived into the pool. The ray looked like Mr. Ray, from Finding Nemo. I had to laugh; there was no other suitable response.

Mr. Ray

We’d spent all day by the pool. Godric and Eric hadn’t felt a moment of pain, there had been no smoke and there had been no lethargic feelings. To make sure we’d spent the next day out at Heritage Park, opposite Las Vegas Baseball Stadium. Eric had played football with Hunter and Jason all day while Ata and Godric had gone tree climbing. It was something they had apparently done a lot of when they had both been human. I’d topped up my tan, watching my little family have fun together. We’d regrouped for lunch, munching on Flo’s home-baked cookies and downing bottles of water to cool us down from the Nevada heat. Giving my family the sunlight was worth every moment of pain I had felt in Felipe’s basement. It was worth everything I had suffered over the years because of Supes. Seeing Eric kicking a football around with Hunter and letting our little boy steal the ball from him, made it all worth it.

Heritage Park

Tipping my head to the side I took in Ata flaked out on the sun lounger beside me. She was topping up her slight tan in preparation for this evening. Even though Godric and Eric were able to be up in the day their wedding was due to start at 11pm. Their important guests, along with family and close friends, would all be present in the church for the ceremony. The reception would start at 12:30pm, with all the other guests present then. It was timed so Ata and Godric would get to say their ‘I do’s’ at midnight – the start of Christmas morning. Christmas shopping should have been a sport in itself. We’d ventured out two days after Ata’s surgery. Pam had turned into a monster. I could only feel sorry for Ari. If she were like this for Christmas then she would most certainly be a Bridezilla!

“You got your shopping list, Sook?” Ata called out to me from across the living room, picking up her new Prada purse from the dining table. Godric had bought it for her after her surgery, stating that a brave woman needed a new designer purse. If that were the case then I should have been given a closet full of designer purses by now considering all the danger I had been in and survived!

Isabel and Pam were stood beside the elevator waiting for us to join them. Pam was tapping her foot impatiently while she checked out her freshly painted nails for what had to be the 100th time. We’d decided to make our Christmas shopping trip a girls-only event. The men had gone shopping last night and had waited until Ata and I were asleep to wrap and hide our presents. Eric had even gone so far as to command Pam not to ask about her present or try to find it. Apparently she was a devil for doing so. Eric told us all the story of how he had bought her a beautiful diamond necklace for her first Christmas as his Childe and she had gone and found it the night after he bought it because she was so darn impatient. Of course it was at that point Jason chimed in and explained how I would always know what his presents were, ‘cause Momma and Daddy’s minds were easy to read, and I’d spend hours tormenting him about the fact I knew and he didn’t. Eric had just loved that damn story.

I scampered to the elevator as Ata strolled over, the heels of her Jimmy Choo’s clicking gracefully where as mine clacked with my movement. Ata pressed the button to open the elevator. Pam scowled at the clicking of my shoes and I could see her wince with every clack. She’d decided that my wardrobe had needed a major overhaul and, armed with all of my measurements and Eric’s Amex, she’d gone out and replaced everything apart from my new little red and white dress that she had bought me to replace my old one. While I’d initially pitched a fit over the idea of wearing clothing that was worth more than my annual wage at Merlotte’s, Eric pointed out I was to be a Queen, I was to stand beside him. A Queen wouldn’t be caught dead, or alive in my case, in anything less than designer. I’d conceded after a bit of grumbling. I was getting better at accepting gifts! I justified the purchases anyway with how they would make Eric look. He had to look to be keeping me well – as if I needed a man to keep me anyway – so that no other supernatural creature would challenge him for me. If I looked like a monster diva in designer most supernatural creatures would back the fuck up. Those were Pam’s words and not mine, obviously.

The foyer was awash with people. The rooms that weren’t reserved for Ata’s wedding were all full. Many people were coming to Vegas for Christmas and since Caesar’s Palace had undergone a major cosmetic overhaul after the bomb, many people had decided to check it out. The casino was back and fully functioning also, making up for the money Ata had lost.

Piling into the limo, the four of us allowed Ata’s chauffeur to drive us to Fashion Show Mall. Eric had given me his Amex to use when buying presents for the rest of our family from the pair of us, but I’d put my foot down and told him I would be using my own money to buy him his present. It wasn’t right for him to pay for his own present. The ride to the mall was quiet, with each of us going over our lists. Isabel and Pam had written theirs down, even though they had an incredible memory, so that they could cross items off the list as they bought them and therefore give us a proper estimate as to how much longer we would have to be shopping.

I sighed, shaking my head in the sunlight. Pam had been a monster and it ended up getting to the point where Ata and I had split up from Pam and Isabel, allowing our two vampiress companions to go off and shop together. Ata was serious about her shopping, but she took her time and perused rails, much like I did. Pam went in, grabbed what she wanted, berated staff and then ended up being distracted by something shiny and usually, around three hours later, she walked out with most of the store. Eric had pampered her way too much. I felt a twinge of sadness as I realised that Eric could spoil Pam but he would never get to spoil a little girl – our little girl. He had Hunter to spoil now, but I had a feeling that little boy enjoyed shopping just as much as Eric did. We’d spent hours in the shopping mall, roaming the stores until it closed at 4am. Ata and I had split for half an hour in order to buy presents for one another. When we’d reunited with Pam and Isabel, who had both been just as ladled down with bags as Ata and I, we’d headed back to Caesar’s Palace. Pam and Isabel had fallen into their day rest upon our return, but with Eric and Godric free to explore the day from now on we paired off and wrapped presents, wrote cards and tied hundreds of bows on boxes and gifts. Ata and I had exchanged gifts so Eric and I wrapped up her present for Godric, and Ata and Godric wrapped up my present for Eric. It stopped our men from finding out what we had bought them.

Wrapping Paper

Ata and I had gone dress shopping together for our weddings two days after our Christmas shopping trip. We’d decided to go in the day so that Pam and Isabel wouldn’t be there to pester us. Of course there was always the fear of Eric or Godric pitching up unannounced and seeing us in our dresses, but we made them swear they wouldn’t come anywhere near us unless they felt that we were in danger. Ata and I had shored up our mental shields to ensure that neither of our men would get any mental images from us for the whole day.

The heat in Nevada was unbearable. I was used to sweaty Louisiana with the bayous, but the desert in Nevada ensured the sun was scorching. It was 11am and I padded into Ata and Godric’s room. Running my tongue over my teeth I could still taste the mint of my toothpaste. For someone whose teeth would never rot, Eric was very strict with his brushing routine. Entering Atas’ room, I found Godric flaked in bed still without his shirt on. He had his laptop out and websites showing cake designs were splashed across the screen. There was a list on the bed too, filled with names and colour coded. It was sweet to see him getting involved, especially with something like cake, which he would never get to taste. I’d dressed in a cute, white cotton dress. It fell to mid-thigh. The fabric was plain white until it reached the tops of my thighs and then it turned lacy, with small holes and patterns to let air circulate. There was a band of fabric creating a high waist, and the neckline was scooped. There was no cleavage on show but the dress was still adorable. I’d teamed it with a pair of Jimmy Choo India mirrored-leather sandals – one of Pam’s purchases. I’d placed my purse and drivers license in a small, white leather handbag that was slung lazily over my shoulder. The Chanel’s from Ata were perched on my head, ready to shield my eyes as soon as we left the hotel.

Sookie's Dress

Sookie's Shoes

“Good morning Godric.” I greeted my soon to be father-in-law cheerfully.

Looking up from his laptop Godric offered me a warm smile. “Good morning Sookie.” He greeted just as happily before he started tapping away quickly on his laptop.

“Just a minute!” Ata called out from her wardrobe. Smiling I followed her voice. I hadn’t really spent much time in Ata’s space, but I could see how beautiful the room was and how personal she had made it compared to other rooms. I noticed the huge mirror in her wardrobe that covered the entire height of the wall and I wandered over to it. Ata was still flitting around the room, pulling on her shoes and grabbing her handbag.

All around the edges of the mirror were photos of Ata and our family. There was one of Ari with spiked up hair and nerd-style glasses, dressed in a bowtie and tweed. There was another of Ari with shorter hair, dressed in a deep red jumper, flaked in a leather chair. There was even one of Ata and Ari together, sharing a cuddle.

Ari

Ari

Moving to another part of the mirror I spotted a photograph of Oeri, matching Ari with spiked hair and nerd-style glasses, though he was dressed in a smart black shirt and blazer.

Oeri

There was another of Agmund, dressed in a blue shirt and jeans. His shirt was unbuttoned, revealing his toned body and he had donned a pair of red sunglasses as a prop. His arms were up, crossed at the wrist, and a pendant necklace hung around his neck. There was another of Agmund and Egor together; both dressed in tuxedos. Just one glance at the pair of them and it was painfully obvious that not only were they brothers, but that they were Scandinavian.

Agmund

There was a photo of Riei, his bangs spiked up, his head facing a little sideways so his strong jawline was visible. He was dressed in a deep blue Ralph Lauren shirt – I could tell thanks to the pink horse and polo rider. There was an image of Egor, shirtless save for a black coat thrown over his shoulders. His eyes were focused forward and his blonde hair was a sexy mess. He had a light dusting of facial hair.

Riei

Finally there was an image of Khai, dressed in a black shirt and dark blue blazer. His long black hair, reaching his shoulders, was perfectly coifed. A slight smirk could be seen on his lips, highlighting the scar on his cheek that looked like a dimple.

Khai

Seeing all of Ata’s children together in one place, photographed in such flattering ways, made me smile. Ata had truly picked beautiful and loyal children. A copy of the photo of Ata and I in Egypt was up on the mirror too, along with photos of Eric and Ata, Eric and I, Godric and Eric, and Godric and I. The main photo was of Ata and Godric. Pictures of Ata were dotted about too. Lifting my left hand I trailed it over the images of Ata. They were beautiful. There was one of her in a black leotard, pressed against glass, her hair loose and wild. She looked liked a dancer.

Ata

There was another of her leaning over a vanity table, racks of clothes behind her, dressed in a showgirl costume and headdress. I could only guess this photo had been taken downstairs in an employee dressing room.

Ata

There was a vintage looking headshot of Ata, where her hair was pulled back into a beehive and then a fishtail braid. Her eyes were smoky and her lips plump and pink. Based on my limited knowledge I placed the image as having been taken in the 19oo’s.

Ata

There was another of Ata in a black blazer, looking directly into the camera with her hair in loose waves, there was one more of Ata dressed in a black tank, drenched in sunlight with loose wavy hair and a pendant around her neck, inscribed with an ‘A.’

Ata

Ata

My favourite two however were the largest of the bunch. One was shot in black and white and had been taken in Ata’s office. Ata was in the bottom left of the image, dressed in a pretty jacket and jeans, her hair pulled back from her face. Her eyes were closed and a large smile decorated her face. She looked mid-laughter and it was beautiful. Behind her were the doors to the rest of the hotel, locking her office away from the world, and across the floor were smatterings of moonlight coming in from the Venetian blinds.

Ata

My other favourite was another black and white shot of Ata. Her hands were clinging to a piece of fabric, covering her semi-nude form while she gazed out of a window, seemingly lost in thought. Ata’s hair was once again in its natural blonde waves and yet she seemed pensive, lost in her own world, away with her thoughts. The snapshot gave more questions than answers.

Ata

Ata’s dainty hand on my shoulder broke me out of my snooping. She was dressed in a pretty white and blue dress with an elasticated waist, showing off her hourglass figure. The plunging V neckline showed off a little bit of cleavage and one of Ata’s beautiful diamond necklaces. Her hair was down and curled, as it would be on her wedding day, and on her feet she wore a pair of simple white Kurt Geiger sandals. Her matching white handbag and Chanel’s were her only other accessories.

Ata's Dress

Ata's Shoes

“Come on, we have wedding dresses to try!” Ata’s excitement was contagious and she took my hand, leading me out of her wardrobe. Moving to Godric she placed a tender kiss to his lips, which he happily returned before he went back to work picking cakes and writing an invite list. “We’ll be back before dark.” Ata declared to Godric before she shooed me from the room, leading me out of the penthouse and around to her carport. “I figured we could drive today, rather than take a chauffeur  We can go wherever we want and spend however long we like there.” She explained, clicking her keys so her car bleeped.


ATA’S POV
Something happened to my heart the day that I met you
Something that I never felt before
You are always on my mind, no matter what I do
And every day it seems I want you more
My love is warmer than the warmest sunshine, softer than a sigh
My love is deeper than the deepest ocean, wider than the sky
My love is brighter than the brightest star, that shines every night above
And there is nothing in this world that can ever change my love
Once I thought that love was meant for anyone else but me
Once I thought you’d never come my way
Now it only goes to show how wrong we all can be
For now I get to tell you everyday
~ My Love, Petula Clark

I was catching up on the sunshine before my wedding, hoping to deepen my tan even by a shade. I’d never tanned before, until Pam had gone out and bought me these pills that boosted melanin levels that would help with my skin pigmentation. I’d taken The Venus Pool again for our private tanning session and had left my shields down. There were people nearby in the other pools but they were far away enough that their mental chatter was a little quieter. Capturing Sookie’s thoughts I smiled against the material of my lounger, given that I was laying facedown to tan my smooth back. My surgery had been scary, and if it hadn’t of been for Godric holding my hand the whole time I would have probably freaked and popped away.

I woke to cool hands on my cheeks, and cool lips against my own. Returning the gentle kiss I cracked my eyes open, letting them adjust to the darkness for a moment before my vampire came into sight. “Good evening, my darling.” Godric’s smooth greeting was like music to my ears. “It’s the night of your surgery.” He offered gently, stroking my cheekbones. I felt a flop in my stomach at that notion. I’d slept for most of the day so that I would be abiding by the surgery rules not to eat or drink anything beforehand. Feeling my nervousness my bonded pushed his love and reassurance through our connection. “I will be there with you the whole time, my darling. Don’t worry.” He whispered softly, leaning in to give me a lingering kiss. He pulled back though just as I felt the dampness start between my thighs. It was the first time since receiving my brand that I’d felt in any way shape or form in the mood. My brand would soon be gone, and the knowledge was helping me feel more like my normal self.  A knowing smile crossed his lips as I pouted. “I promise that as soon as you are feeling better I will ravage you all night and all day. Maybe even in the sunshine.” A mischievous grin crossed my beloved’s lips and I flushed at the mental images coming from him. His fingers ghosted over my neck and collarbone before he plucked my bottom lip out from between my teeth.

“Lets get this over with.” I sighed, stretching like a cat. Godric sighed, nodding in agreement. Hauling myself out of bed I pulled on a pair of pretty panties and matching bra. Grabbing a pair of Godric’s soft cotton pants and an oversized shirt of Ari’s, I pulled my hair up into a scruffy bun. I cared for my appearance yes, but I was about to go under the knife. Beauty was the least of my worries. Godric changed into a pair of soft, dark khaki pants and a white shirt. The fairly flimsy fabric of his shirt meant that the ink covering his body was faintly visible. My mouth went dry at the sight.

Godric’s chuckle, and his arms wrapping around my frame, broke me out of my lusty daydream. His lips roughly claimed mine before he pulled back slowly. “I’m pleased to see you returning to your former self, my little kitten. I’ve missed you.” His hands rubbed my lower back, his cool skin reassuring me. My shoulders dropped as I lent into his embrace, resting my head against his silent chest. The actions in Felipe’s basement had caused all of our nest pain. Sookie was slowly coming back to herself. She’d spoken to me about her panic attack, about how Eric had reassured her. I was glad he was taking care of her. I was aware that every now and then she was worried, and that she’d had one or two more panic attacks, but Eric was always so gentle with her. I knew my own attack had impacted my relationship with Godric.

“I’m sorry I’ve not been myself. I’ve missed you too.” I murmured against his chest, dropping a kiss to the smooth skin there. Feeling cheeky I also licked the blue ink around his neck. His grunt, and his hips thrusting up against my centre  drew a whimper from me.

Pulling myself away I smoothed out my clothes, trying to stop myself from appearing so flustered. With a chuckle Godric led me from our wardrobe, grabbing up his wallet and the information pack on my surgery. We left our room together and our whole nest was gathered in the living room. “See you on the other side Cuz!” Jason cheerfully wished me good luck. I accepted cuddles from everyone in the room, including the usually cold Pam. Leaving the penthouse I took a deep breath as we descended in the elevator. Godric gave the hand he was holding a squeeze, and his action eased my tension a little. He would be by my side through the whole ordeal.

Together Godric and I headed outside, grabbing one of the waiting taxis, which quickly took us to the hospital. There was little traffic on our route, even though the hospitals of Las Vegas were usually quite busy at night given how drunk/high/injured the tourists usually ended up getting here. Well, that was from what I’d witnessed first hand and watched in that movie – The Hangover – that Ari had rented one night. We’d allowed them to film in the hotel and even up on the roof which was a no go area for nearly everyone, and Ari had been keen to see the finished product.

The Hangover

The taxi dropped us off outside of UMC Hospital and Godric paid the taxi driver, taking my hand while he tucked the folder of information under his free arm. We entered the hospital slowly. I wasn’t aware I was walking slower than usual until Godric had to give me a gentle tug forward. I was nervous. This was only the eighth time I’d been for an operation in 2000 years. The Fae didn’t get sick, as it simply wasn’t in our nature. Being 1/3 fae kept most illnesses at bay, though there were times when that annoying 2/3 human side would rear its ugly head and strike me down with God knows what nasty virus. The few illnesses I’d had ended up stumping Oeri to the point where I’d had no choice but to go to a human doctor and have surgery. Of course surgery had come a long way since my last doctors trip 175 years ago.

Hospital

Stopping before the reception desk I placed my hand on the counter. “My name’s Ata Caesar-Nervii, I’m booked in a for a skin graft operation this evening.” I meekly told the woman behind the counter. Her eyes lifted from her computer screen and a warm smile settled onto her lips.

“Dr. Bray told me to send you right on down to surgery upon arrival. If you take the stairs and go down three floors, turn right on the corridor and take the seventh door on your left you’ll find her there with the forms you need to fill in and the anaesthesia team.” The receptionist smiled at me. Thanking her softly I followed her directions, still moving slowly.

“It’s alright, my darling. I will be here the whole time. I will not leave your side.” Godric’s gentle reassurances were heart breaking. I needed to do this. I needed to be rid of the mark on my back, to get back to myself again.

That little niggling of doubt, the 2/3 that made me human, was showing its ugly face again. “What if there’s a complication?” I asked timidly as we reached three floors down. The operating theatres were on the lowest level – level -3 – so that patients wouldn’t accidentally stumble across them and witness anything gross.

“Then I will glamour the staff and give you my blood.” His answer was quick and curt. His tone softened though with his next sentence. “I will not let anything happen to you, little kitten.” He brought our joined hands to his lips. He kissed the back of my hand before he slowly them fall. We’d stopped before the seventh door on the left and I turned to look at my bonded, at my companion, my lover.

“Thank you for this.” I murmured, pressing a dainty kiss to his lips before I pulled back, knocking on the door. Georgie opened it with a smile, gesturing for us to come in. I noted there were two other women in the reasonably large room. Both offered me smiles, their minds screaming a little in fear and surprise at the fact a vampire was with me, before they returned to preparing their machines and needles for whatever they would do to me. Taking a seat opposite Georgie I took a deep breath. Georgie offered me a smile, taking my free hand.

Georgie

“I promise you everything will be okay Ata.” She reassured me, her mind also informing me that she was 100% sure everything would go okay. Georgie slid me some papers and asked me to fill them in. They were the standard pre-operation questions, which asked my name, date of birth (I lied a little. I didn’t need the truth being documented…), my height, weight, pre-existing medical conditions (of which there were none, unless being fae counted), recent alcohol and medication intake (of which there were also none, unless 2000-year-old vampire blood counted) and also my allergies. I listed lemons and iron for the last one. Georgie would understand.

The last part contained payment information for the operation and as I went to write the name and contact information for the medical team that supplied those on my payroll with insurance I found the pen snatched from my hand by my bonded. With a flourish he scribbled away, handing the form back for me to finally sign. My eyes dropped to the page as I took in his writing. Godric had scribbled down the information for his Amex. “Non opus reddere amet. Medicinae assecurationis habeo.” (You do not need to pay a lot. I have medical insurance) I turned to Godric, capturing his pale blue eyes.

“Volo reddere.” (I want to pay) His voice was soft, his tone gentle, and his eyes were begging me to let him pay. He said he wanted to, and though it would cost a lot I had no doubt he could afford it 1000 times over. I could feel how much he wanted to do this for me though, how much he needed to. Swallowing my pride I nodded, pushing my gratitude through our connection. I felt his love cocoon me like a plush blanket on a cold winters night.

Signing the bottom of the form I handed it back to Georgie. Quickly glancing over it she told he anaesthesia nurses about my allergies before she turned back to me. “Jaylee and Hanna will be the nurses putting you to sleep. Once you’ve changed into your operating gown,” Georgie patted a bundle of clothes on the desk, “they’re going to insert a needle into your vein in the crook of your arm to give you fluids. We’re going to be giving you saline and dextrose, which is a salt and sugar solution.” I silently thanked Georgie for explaining everything. I had a feeling this wasn’t standard procedure and that she was telling me absolutely everything because we were friends. “We’re going to be giving you a general anaesthetic  which means a total loss of consciousness. Patients usually lose the ability to maintain their breathing and require assistance, so we’re going to place a tube into your mouth which will protect your airway, control ventilation and prevent aspiration of mucous or stomach contents. The tube will be placed through the vocal cords into the trachea.” Her words caused me to whimper quietly. The sound was untraceable to human ears but Godric heard it loud and clear. His hand tightened around mine and his love washed over me in bucketful’s.

“A general anaesthetic provides a loss of pain, amnesia, and relaxation of muscles” Georgie’s eyes captured mine and she raised a hand to her temple. Picking up on her request I dipped into her mind. “Godric will barely be able to feel you through your bond. To him it may feel like you are dying and he may become impulsive and wish to see you, or he may be distraught and start tearing things apart. It’s for this reason I’m going to let him into the operating theatre for the entire time of your surgery, so long as he doesn’t get in the way of the surgeons. He will be able to hold your hand and hear the faint pulse of your heart.” Georgie chatted away to me mentally, busying herself with papers to make it less obvious that we were communicating in such a manner. I’d shared my telepathy with the girlfriends of the other Sheriff’s, knowing they would simply glamour them into forgetting if they ever broke up. With Godric holding my hand he was able to hear everything Georgie had just told me.

“Thank you.” He offered quietly, his eyes softening. I could feel how touched he was at what Georgie was offering us. Shock and surprise painted her features for a moment before she schooled them. She was aware of our bond because she shared one with Aurel. With a small nod Georgie moved on, as if our little conversation hadn’t just happened.

Godric

“Here are your surgery clothes. You can change behind the curtain there.” She pointed to a curtain that hid half of the room as she handed me a pile of clothes. Godric even got a set of scrubs. I had to stop myself from laughing. If only I’d bought my camera phone with me! Nodding my thanks I stood, swaying a little on me feet. Godric’s hand landed on my elbow though and he gently helped me steady myself before he walked with me behind the curtain. We changed together in silence, allowing ourselves to openly admire one another as we stripped and changed. There was no lust or passion as we admired one another this time, there was just love and care.

Folding our clothes up we left the safety of the curtain, handing our belongings over to Georgie. She locked them up in a small cupboard, handing Godric the key. He slipped it into the pocket of his surgical gown. Glancing down at my patient’s gown I ruefully smiled. “Green was never my colour.” I commented, trying to be lighthearted as I took in the monstrosity they had me in. It had tapes at the back that were knotted together, courtesy of my vampire, and they would be undone in surgery to allow the doctors access to my brand and my inner thigh. My comment had the desired effect and Godric, Georgie, Jaylee and Hanna chuckled.

Godric’s hands found mine again as I was led over to Jaylee and Hanna. The nurses helped me up onto the bed on wheels they had in the room. Sitting on the edge I could feel my nerves starting to bubble to the surface. Calmness seeped into me though, and not just from Godric. I could feel it from all my children, but especially from Eric. I had to stop myself from sobbing at how touched I felt by his silent action. Closing my eyes I composed myself as Hanna slipped the needle into my arm that would help keep me hydrated. “If you could swing your legs up onto the bed, Mrs. Caesar- Nervii, and get comfortable, then we’ll put you to sleep.” Hanna’s voice made me open my eyes and I nodded, feeling a little more centred. Godric’s hand never left mine as I arranged myself onto the bed as asked.

“I promise you, by the time you get to five you’ll be asleep.” Jaylee reassured me as she fitted a mask over my mouth and nose. “One…” She started counting softly to encourage me.

Mask

“Two…” Godric’s thoughts were fading away and I tipped my head a little, the mask staying on as I gazed into his pale blue eyes. “Three…” I spoke quietly with him. My vision was really hazy now. “Four…” We spoke together. True to Jaylee’s words, I never reached five. Holding onto Godric’s hand the lights went out, and nobody was home.

A bleeping noise broke through the darkness, my peace shattered. My eyelids felt heavy and, cracking them open a little, I was almost blinded by the bright lights of the recovery room. A cool hand in my warm one made me want to sob with relief. Godric hadn’t left my side. “I’m still here, my love.” His soft voice gave me something to focus on other than the beeping noise. My head lolled sideways and I forced my eyes open again. I still felt a little dizzy, and somewhat nauseous. I’d heard that some people felt scared and confused, but I felt neither. My bonded was by my side.

“…” I opened my mouth to speak but the words died in my throat. It felt so sore and scratchy. A straw appeared in my mouth and I sucked on it, taking in the water my husband had given me. When he removed the bottle I cleared my throat gently, aware that it still hurt a little. “D-Did it work?” I rasped, finding the pale blue eyes of the man I was in love with.

Godric

“Yes, my sweet. It’s all gone. It’s all over.” His free hand, now having placed the cup of water back on the side, came up to push my bangs from my face. I offered a small smile to my vampire, feeling too tired for more. “Sleep, my beloved. I’ll still be here when you wake.” He gave my hand a gentle squeeze as he reached for the call button for the nurses. I gave into his command immediately, letting sleep take me again.

I woke feeling much better, and opening my eyes I found out why. My vampire was still holding my hand but this time there was a needle and tube running from the crook of his arm into the crook of mine. I didn’t feel as groggy or as weak as before. “Welcome back Ata.” I turned my head the other way, smiling at Georgie. “Your surgery went without a single problem. The skin from your inner thigh was a perfect match and your body accepted it without complaint. I asked Godric to give you some of his blood just to help remove any lingering discomfort and to reduce your side effects.” She explained, picking up my chart from the end of the bed. Scribbling something down on the page she smiled at the pair of us. “As soon as you feel strong enough to stand and move around then you are free to head home. I trust you’ll be in good care there?” She glanced from me to Godric and then back again.

“I won’t leave her side.” Godric vowed, giving the tube between us a gentle squeeze to encourage the blood flow further. Georgie, satisfied with the answer, wished me a speedy recovery before she left the room. “How do you feel, my dove?” My husband stroked my cheek as I turned back to look at him.

“So much better, especially with your blood. I don’t think I need any more though. Keep some for yourself. I wouldn’t want to drain you.” I teased, poking my tongue out playfully as I wiggled the needle out of my arm, pulling it clean out before he could argue.

Dropping fang, Godric made a show of biting as I poked my tongue out. I smiled as I recalled our childhood. Every time I’d poked my tongue out at him he’d told me that one day he would bite it. “You can have as much of my blood as you like, my love. What is mine is yours. All I wish for is that you are well.” He informed me, hissing slightly through his fangs. I grinned at his hiss because it was rather cute.

Godric

“Oh I’m sure I’ll be well, what with my very own doctor on hand.” I batted my eyelashes, feeling a little bolder as I raised my hand, caressing Godric’s face. He lent into my palm, his eyes clouding with lust, matching the feelings coming through our bond. I couldn’t imagine the pain he must have gone through when I had been in my medically induced coma, hardly being able to feel me anymore. His love washed through our connection and I basked in its warmth.

My bonded had taken care of me for days, tending to my every need. I’d felt much better by the second day but he still insisted on taking care of me. Everyone in our nest came and looked after me, but Godric was the one doing most of the work. We planned our wedding from our bed, curled up together. My inner thigh took longer to heal than my back, even with regular infusions of Godric’s blood, due to the multiple layers of skin that had been taken. We’d spent many night’s spooned together, Godric’s lips dropping kisses all over my fresh, new skin. I’d eventually come over my shyness of sexual contact. Without Felipe’s brand I felt like myself again. It also made it painfully obvious to me that the mark hadn’t bothered my husband at all, and that I had simply overreacted. I felt a little ashamed about it whenever I thought back to it, but at the time I had been so worried and upset, suffering from things I’d never thought I would. It surprised me that he even wanted to have sex with me again given how quickly I had shut it down for the past few days.

The feel of soft, cool lips woke me. Wet kisses were being peppered down my neck. Feeling my husband’s cool frame behind me I sighed happily. Rolling over I landed on my back, not even flinching when my shoulder blade hit the bed. I no longer felt any pain thanks to my husband’s generous blood donations. In one fluid movement he was over me, knees either side of mine, holding my legs together. One of his hands went to the nape of my neck, his fingers roughly grabbing my hair. His lips descended on mine softly, a stark contrast to the rough hold he had on my hair. His free hand was supporting him, keeping his weight off of my body.

“You taste incredible, my beloved.” He growled against my lips. His tongue swept against my lips before he pulled back. Fangs dropping with a snick he took to my jawbone and neck, nipping enough to bring a light trace of blood to the surface before he licked it away. Working his way down my body he kissed my collarbones, putting his fangs away with another snick. Using his blunt teeth he nibbled on my collarbones before he laved my skin with his tongue. Reaching my breasts he used the hand supporting him to grasp one globe in his rough hand. His vampiric sense of balance meant he didn’t need to support himself anymore. My nails grasped onto his back, scratching along his marble flesh. The scent of his blood hit the air and pushed him into frenzy. One of his knees went between mine, pushing them open. His fingers tweaked my hardened nipples and I couldn’t stop myself from moaning.

His fingers left my breasts, replaced by his tongue and lips as he licked and sucked my hardened, rosy pebbles. His fingers disappeared between my thighs and I cried out as his cool fingers rubbed my warmed centre  Tipping my head back I exposed more of my neck, which my bonded took full advantage of. I could feel his love through our bond, his happiness that I was finally comfortable enough to be intimate with him and, of course, his fierce possessiveness. “I want you so bad” I breathed, closing my eyes in ecstasy as two of his fingers dipped inside of me.

“Look at me, my beloved.” His voice rasped against my eardrum. Opening my eyes I captured his pale blue eyes as he pulled back. His fingers moved in and out of me, working slow and steady. Twisting his wrist every time he pulled his fingers out, he rubbed against the sensitive spot inside of me. Crying out as his fingers rubbed inside of me, I maintained eye contact. Quickening his pace his fingers moved in and out at near vampire speed. The coil in my lower abdomen started to build. “Spread your legs wide for me, my sweet darling.” Obliging I parted my legs further, throwing my head back as his fingers reached deeper inside of me. It only took three more deep pumps before I felt the coil inside of me snap. Screaming out I sucked in as much air as possible, my chest heaving. My shoulders sagged as aftershocks ran through my body, jolting against my husband’s fingers. Tipping my head forward I opened my eyes, finding the pale blue ones of the man I was so desperately in love with.

“It drives me crazy when you look at me that way.” He rasped with his eyes hooded with lust. Using my hands I traced down his beautiful body, stopping where his hips met the tops of his legs.

Taking him in my left hand I stroked him slowly. My right hand traced the beautiful marble muscles of his abs. With a grunt and spasm of his hips, my husband thrusted into my hand. “I want you.” I told him, using my other hand to remove his fingers from inside of me. I whimpered at the loss but moaned moments later as my bonded raised his fingers to his mouth, sucking my essence off of his fingers. The sight of him groaning around his fingers, sucking my taste down, had my libido on the increase once again.

After several strokes of his already hard member, I lined him up to my entrance. With shallow thrusts he pushed into me, continuing until he was buried to the hilt. Though it hadn’t been long since we had last joined together in such a way I squirmed in discomfort for a moment. My vampire gave me a minute to adjust to his size before he pulled nearly all the way out, leaving just the tip of him inside of me, before he pushed all the way back in. Rolling my hips we quickly found a rhythm that worked for both of us, falling perfectly into sync. Godric’s lips captured mine in a tender kiss as his hips rolled against mine.

Strong arms locked around me as Godric rolled us, placing me on top of him. His hands landed gently on my hips, though not to guide me. Godric simply wanted more skin contact. Finding his eyes in the darkened room I placed my hands on either side of his head, leaning forward as I moved up and down his member, rising and falling, twisting my hips and grinding down on his pubic bone. The position gave him access to my breasts, which he smothered in kisses, licks and sucks. With his fangs down, thanks to our lust, he used what little restraint he had left to ensure he didn’t draw blood before the right moment. One of his hands left my hips, instead rubbing at the little bundle of nerves at the apex of my legs.

The friction started up the coil inside of me once again and I threw my head back, panting as I rode him. Growls and grunts slipped from between his roughly parted lips every time I sank back down onto him.

In a blur of grunts, growls, pants, whimpers and mewls I finally felt the ever growing coil inside of me snap, quite suddenly, throwing me into my release. Howling out as the pleasure crashed over my body, engulfing me and sweeping me away, I barely registered Godric’s sharp thrusts before he too spilled into me. My clenching inner walls had pulled his release from him with little to no warning. Roaring as he emptied into me he pitched forward, my back hitting the soft sheets as I continued to spasm with aftershocks. His weight rested above me as his fangs sank into my breast.

Bringing a shaking hand to the nape of my husband’s neck I stroked the short hairs there, panting to get my breath back as he fed deeply. I encouraged him, keeping his head to my breast and fuelling his desire through our bond. His love and contentment were perfect post-coital emotions. Giving him a minute or two to feed, I finally let go of his head. Licking the puncture wounds, Godric pricked his tongue, laving his blood onto the fang marks to heal them, but not before he dropped a kiss to my hardened nipple, sucking it for a brief second before his lips reclaimed mine in a tender kiss.

Resting my forehead against his own I closed my eyes, feeling him doing the same as his eyelashes fluttered against my cheeks. “I love you, my beautiful bonded.” He murmured, letting his fingers ghost over my slightly damp skin.

“I love you, so, so much.” I caught my breath, reaching up to run my fingers through his short hair. “I’m so sorry I was so pathetic. I can’t believe I thought that you wouldn’t want me anymore.” I apologised  opening my eyes. Godric mimicked my actions, allowing me to see the beautiful eyes that had ensnared me for over 2000 years.

“It’s okay, my kitten. You were hurting. I would never leave you though, I love you too much.” He assured me, dropping lots of little kisses all over me. I squealed as he continued to pepper me in kisses, laughing happily as he growled playfully, licking the end of my nose.

He and I had slipped back into our usual routine now that I was over my fears and no longer wore Felipe’s brand. Our sexual life had picked by up again and he woke me every day with some sort of intimacy. It was comforting to know we’d slipped back into our usual routine. Turning over on the sun bed I allowed the rays of sunshine to bathe my skin. I went without my bikini top and had donned the smallest pair of bikini bottoms I could find. I wanted whatever tan I could get to have the least amount of tan lines possible. Of course I hadn’t told my vampire I was sunbathing without a top on. He’d have pitched a fit. I needed this tan though. The underwear and dress I’d picked out for my wedding showed a fair bit of flesh.

Sliding into my car, Sookie hopped in the other side. “You excited?” She asked me with a grin. Truth told I was equal parts excited and nervous. Excited because I was finally marrying the love of my life and nervous because I wanted everything to go perfectly.

“I’m excited and nervous. I’ve been waiting for this day for 2000 years.” I told Sookie with complete honesty as I started up the engine of my 1964 Aston Martin DB5. Seeing my cousins’ fascination with my vehicle I grinned at her. “I spent some time in England, and I met Mr. Ian Fleming. He wroteseveral books about this super spy called James Bond who worked for MI6. James Bond’s favourite car was an Aston Martin DB5. I bought one when we there and had it transported over here when we moved. I fell in love the moment I saw this car” I gave the steering wheel a quick pet as we pulled out onto the Strip.

 1964 Aston Martin DB5

Sookie reached for the radio, tuning it in before she turned the volume up. I had the windows down and the AC on to keep us cool in the Nevada hear. The opening chords of one of my favourite songs started up. I couldn’t help but sing along. “You gotta help me out, it’s all a blur last night. We need a taxi ‘cause you’re hung-over and I’m broke!”

“I lost my fake ID but you lost the motel key. Spare me your freakin’ dirty looks now don’t blame me. You want to cash out and get the hell out of town!” Sookie sang the next few lines of the song, my laughter in the background.

“Don’t be a baby, remember what you told me. Shut up and put your money where your mouth is, that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas. Get up and shake the glitter off your clothes now, that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas!” We broke out into a duet before the giggles took us over. Laughing happily I pulled us into the car park of one of the bridal boutiques I’d picked out.

“You ready?” I grinned, turning off the ignition, which ended the radio. Grabbing my purse from Sookie’s footwell, my cousin nodded happily, grabbing her own bag. Together we left the car, locking it behind us before we linked arms. “You’re going to be trying on dresses today also, Sook. We’ll have a wedding dress day! We can go and look at bridesmaid dresses later on in the week.” I grinned at my cousin, who paled at the knowledge that she would be trying on dresses too. I could tell Sookie was freaking out about the fact that she didn’t have enough in her bank account for a wedding dress, especially not one from the high-end boutiques I was taking us too.

“But…” Sookie started to protest.

I came to a halt, grabbing both of her hands and holding them tightly. “Sook, your dress will be a gift from Godric and I. He and I decided last night that we wanted to get you something and this is what we came up with.”

I could tell she was tempted to protest, tempted to tell me she would just buy a cheaper dress from somewhere else, but as her expression changed I heard her mentally reminder herself that she was turning over a new leaf. She was starting to accept gifts, and what Godric and I were offering her would be something that she would remember for the rest of her life. “Thank you, Ata.” She finally offered with a warm smile, giving my hands a gentle squeeze. A grin broke out on my face as she accepted my gift. Dropping one of her hands I kept ahold of the other, using it to lead her into the boutique.

A pretty little brunette greeted us with a broad smile. “Hello ladies, my name is Ashley. What can I do for you today?” She asked, looking between us. I hadn’t told Sookie, but the boutiques we were going into only ever allowed two clients in at a time, in order to make the experience personal and perfect. As we were buying dresses separately we were the two clients.

Shop Assistant

“My name is Ata Caesar and this is my cousin, Sookie Stackhouse.” I introduced us, using my maiden name around the human girl. “We have a booking.” I informed the girl. With a grin and a nod she led us over to the back of the store. Pulling a white curtain behind us we entered a room that was fit for a princess. The walls were wallpapered with ornate grey and gold swirls; the carpet was plush and cream underfoot. To the left of the room, beneath the huge, curtained window which the sun was pouring in from, there was a delicate cream sofa. Opposite was a rail of dresses, already pre-picked for Sookie and I in our sizes. When I’d booked the appointments for the day I’d had to give them our sizes so they could prepare for us. At the far end of the room hung a golden, curved rail. Thick cream drapes were attached to it, ready to be pulled together to create a dressing room. A vintage full-length mirror was attached to the wall in the dressing room and there was a smaller, oval mirror resting just outside of the changing room, along with a vintage cream chair. The chandelier that hung from the ceiling was turned off, but the sunlight captured the glass drops and shattered the light around the room. It was beautiful.

Bridal Store

Sookie gasped at my side and I simply smiled. Most boutiques had rooms like this for their more affluent cliental, and Sookie was not used to that. She would be soon though. As Queen of Louisiana she would be expected to shop in boutique stores, and all of them that were supernatural owned would do anything and everything to accommodate her.

We both took a seat on the couch. “Can I get you ladies anything, some champagne, vitamin water, or freshly squeezed orange juice?” Ashley offered us.

“Water for me, thank you.” I requested, knowing that I was driving.

“Could I get some orange juice please?” Sookie piped up. Ashley nodded and disappeared for only a moment, returning with a glass of orange juice for Sookie and a glass of orange flavoured Vitamin Water for me. She placed our glasses down on the little vintage white table beside the couch.

Vitamin Water

“Now then ladies. My colleagues and I have pulled aside our best dresses in your sizes for you to try on. Who would like to go first?” Ashley looked between us, holding her hands together before her, a smile painted on her lips. I took a quick peak in her mind and was pleased to see that she was genuinely pleased to be helping us. She also thought that if we bought from her, and she managed to name drop to her manager, she might get a little bonus in her paycheque.

“You go first Sook.” I knew my cousin was nervous, so getting her dress search over and done with first, and quickly, would help ease her. Shooting me a grateful grin my cousin rose to her feet. Ashley plucked the first dress from the rail, taking it to the dressing room where she hung it up before she swept her hands in a motion to encourage Sookie to enter.

My cousin stepped in shyly and soon the white drapes concealed her from view. Ashley simply stood outside, waiting should Sookie need her help. There were a few copies of Vogue on the table beside me and I picked one up, flicking through the pages. Ashley disappeared into the dressing room for a moment or two.

It only took a few moments before Sook stepped out. Lowering my copy of Vogue I couldn’t help but sigh happily at the sight of my cousin in a wedding dress. “It’s beautiful, Sook.” I told her honestly. The dress was made of tulle and taffeta and was strapless. The taffeta body was fitted, almost like a corset, and was laced up at the back. The entire thing was creamy coloured. At Sookie’s hips it flared out into three layers of tulle until the dress hit the floor. There was a cute bow made of silk attached to the left hand side of her dress, right at her hips. The train wasn’t too long however it swept across the floor elegantly as Sookie came to a stop before me. Her lower lip was between her teeth so I could tell she was nervous.

Sookie Dress 1 Front

Sookie Dress 1 Back

Putting down the magazine I stood, walking all around Sook before I came back into her line of sight. I took in the fact there was a built in bra and that the fabric seemed to hug Sookie in all the right ways. “How do you feel?” I asked the million dollar question as Sookie turned to face the changing room, enabling her to see the full length of the dress in the mirror.

There was silence for a few minutes as Sookie took in her appearance, shifting this way and that to look at herself at different angles. “Of course on the day you’ll have the matching shoes, tiara, and veil.” Ashley offered. Sook nodded her thanks before she turned back to look at herself.

“It’s pretty.” She commented after a moment.

“But?” I prodded, knowing it was coming.

“It’s not the one.” She stated sadly, running her hands down the ruffled layers of fabric. “I think I’ll know the moment I find the one.” She turned to look at me before she glanced to Ashley. “Sorry.” Her shoulders sagged.

Ashley’s smile never left her lips though. “That’s okay! It’s the first one you’ve tried, none of us were expecting you to love it.” She shrugged her slender shoulders before she scooped up another dress from the rail, hanging it up in the dressing room. “I’ll unlace you.” She offered kindly as Sookie stepped back into the dressing room, the drapes pulled around her once again.

Returning to my magazine I managed to read an interview with Beyoncé before Sookie emerged once again. This time her dress was less poufy and instead it clung to her figure almost all the way down to the floor. The dress was strapless and corset style until it reached Sookie’s waist, at which point it flared into soft satin, flowing down and over her curves to the floor. There was a ruckled edge of the fabric than ran from her waist down to the floor. It looked like the dress had been tied together, similar to a sarong. A beautiful silk and satin flower was placed over the area where the ruckled fabric met the bottom of the corset top. The trail was longer than the first one though it was still acceptable.

Sookie Dress 2 Front

Sookie Dress 2 Back

“What do you think?” Sookie asked me, smoothing the front of the fabric as she gave me a slow twirl.

I pursed my lips together. Yes it was beautiful, but to me it just wasn’t Sookie. Though my opinion carried some weight, as Sookie’s would do with mine, it was ultimately her choice. “I like it but…”

“It’s not me.” Sookie finished off my sentence, nodding her head. “I agree. It’s beautiful, but it’s not for me.” She declared. I could feel her slowly starting to get disheartened. It made me sad that it was only the second dress and she was feeling like giving up. It was uncommon for a woman to find her dream dress in the first bridal boutique she visited.

As Sookie trudged back into the dressing room, Ashley caught my eyes. Lifting up another dress she winked at me. “Trust me.” She mouthed before she disappeared behind the drapes, helping Sookie change.

Deciding to put my faith in the shop assistant, as this was her job after all, I picked up Vogue once again. Sookie took longer in the changing room this time, and I started to worry for her. Before my worry could snowball however, she stepped out. My breath hitched as I took in the dress Ashley had picked out for her. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. “This one.” Sookie stated, complete conviction in her voice. I could feel how deeply in love she had already fallen. Nodding my head dumbly I put the magazine down, working on autopilot. Standing I took Sookie’s hands, leading her to the centre of the room. Making a slow circle of her I took in the dress at every angle.

“This one.” I agreed quietly, finally looking at my cousin to see unshed tears in her eyes. Usually the bride’s mother went with her to pick her dress, but Sookie’s mom wasn’t here for this special moment. I was standing in for Michelle Stackhouse, and I was honoured  “You look like a fae princess, a true queen.” I told her softly. The comment went right over Ashley’s head, but it caused big, fat tears to roll down Sookie’s slightly pink cheeks. Her smile was threatening to split her face.

Her dress was beautiful. Made of tulle and satin it was pure white. The body was corset style, zipping up the back. It was strapless with a sweetheart neckline, plunging just low enough that I had no doubt in my mind that my son would be salivating at the alter. When the bodice stopped at her hips the fabric flared out softly, the tulle hitting the floor. A silk under slip ensured that no one would be able to see Sookie’s bridal lingerie while she stood at the alter, and the chapel train fanned out behind her with every step. Across the bodice was an intricate design of hand-stitched leaves and flowers, swirling up from her left hip to the tip of her sweetheart neckline, where the design stemmed out to both cups of the dress. The design swept around the back too, cocooning the zipper and bringing attention down to Sookie’s behind.

Sookie Dress 3

Sookie Dress 3

Sookie Dress 3

“I’d like this one, please.” Sookie’s voice was hoarse as she captured my eyes. Smiling at my cousin I had to blink away my own tears.

“You look beautiful, Sook.” I told her softly as Ashley approached us slowly, holding out a delicate veil. Using the attached clip, which sparkled in the sunlight still streaming through the window due to the diamonds across it, I placed the veil securely in Sookie’s hair. The veil was made up of two tiers, the shorter of the two being the one that would fall across her face. The longer tier reached the floor, sweeping with her dress, however it was covered in hundreds of champagne coloured lace butterflies. It was a beautiful nod to our ethereal nature. “We’ll get you a Tiffany & Co. tiara. Diamonds are a girls best friend after all.” I teased lightly as I let the shorter tier fall over her face. Stepping back I let Sookie turn to the mirror to look at herself. Her breath hitched as she took in her almost complete ensemble. Leaning over I pressed a kiss to Sookie’s temple through her veil. “He won’t know what hit him.” I teased, smiling at my cousin in the mirror. Tears were still rolling down her cheeks as she swept the veil back. Careful not to damage her dress, Sookie drew me into her arms, encasing me in a cuddle that I happily returned.

Sookie's Veil

“Thank you.” Her voice was soft and quiet, and if there had been anyone else in the room I wouldn’t have heard it. Smiling, I pulled back.

“You deserve it Sook.” I gave her hands a gentle squeeze. “Go and change.” I told her quietly, giving her a small tug towards the dressing room. As Sookie disappeared to change, with Ashley’s help, I grabbed my purse. Ashley emerged a moment later with Sookie’s dress on a hanger and in a garment bag, her veil now in a box, cocooned in soft tissue paper.

“We can hold Miss Stackhouse’s dress until the day before her wedding and deliver it then if you would like?” Ashley offered. I contemplated it for a moment but figured it would be better coming back with us. I could lock it in our huge safe in my office, the one which Eric and Godric didn’t have the combination too. A quick Maker’s command would ensure none of my boys would say anything or go rummaging. I trusted them, but if they were to think of it or let something slip accidentally it would ruin everything.

“We’ll take it with us today, thank you.” I handed over my card, letting Ashley punch in all the necessary keys on her cash register before I popped in the pin for my card. The sale went through and Ashley left the dress hanging behind the counter, the veil box next to it. Tucking my card away Sookie appeared at my side, taking one of my hands.

“Thank you cousin.” She returned my earlier temple kiss. “Now it’s your turn.” She beamed, divesting me of my purse before she started to lead me to the dressing room. I stopped us at the little table though, taking a few sips of my Vitamin Water, and Sookie of her orange juice, before I carried on into the changing area. Sookie took a seat on the couch, picking up my discarded copy of Vogue as Ashley came in with the first dress, pulling the drapes shut.

Removing my clothes I left on my bra and panties, knowing the bra would have to go once the dress was on. The dress Ashley helped me into was lace, sleeveless like Sookie’s with a sweetheart neckline too. It was ivory in colour, as white would have been comical on someone 2000 years old, who clearly wasn’t innocent anymore. The dress laced up at the back and showed off my new, smooth skin. The bodice was fitted to my waist where it flared out a considerable amount. Underneath the lace, to preserve my modesty, was a silk under slip. A sash that wrapped around my waist, and an elegant silk flower sitting on the fabric complimented the chapel train. The sash came together in the middle of my back and tied in a giant bow, the two ends cascading down to meet my train on the floor. It was beautiful but, as Sookie had said before, it wasn’t the one. It was most certainly something I could see myself wearing, but I didn’t feel special and excited in it, I didn’t feel like I was starting a new chapter in my life.

Ata Dress 1

Ata Dress 1

Stepping out of the dressing room, Sookie rose to her feet and took in the dress, glancing over it, walking around and inspecting it. “It’s pretty, Ata. I like the lace.” She commented softly. It didn’t take a genius to work out that she didn’t love it either.

“But no.” We both said at the same time, laughing quietly at how predictable we were. The more time we spent together the more in-tune we became with one another.

“It’s beautiful, but I don’t feel like it’s the one.” I clarified for Ashley, who simply nodded and smiled. She helped me back into the changing room, bringing another gown with her.

“Has your fiancé got his suit yet?” She made small talk as she helped me out of the lace dress.

“I don’t know, we decided what needed to be done and we split the tasks. I have no idea what my cake will even look like!” I shook my head, smiling at the thought of my 2000-year-old vampire, who’d never tasted cake before, being made to order one for our wedding, which would feed over 200 people.

“You’re considerate, and brave, for giving him tasks! I get so many women in here who want complete control over everything that their poor fiancés simply turn up on the wedding day and have no idea what they’re doing, and then feel bad for not helping out.” Ashley shook her head sadly as she did up the hooks on the back of the dress she had just put on me.

“My fiancé would growl and throw a fit if I left him out. We’re very much a team.” I gushed, enjoying talking openly about him with someone. There was no need to mention he was a vampire though, even though Ashley’s memories and thoughts told me she had no problem with vampires.

“Teams make the best couples.” She offered me a wink in the mirror as she finished fitting me into my dress. I smiled at her reflection before I looked down at the dress. 2000 years of hearing peoples thoughts meant my poker face had been perfected. The dress was a white, fluffy nightmare. How the hell Ashley thought I would look good in it was beyond me. It was strapless with a dainty neckline, only showing off a sliver of cleavage. The bodice was tight to my waist and covered in diamante style gems. Organza was placed over the satin fabric of the bodice and the diamantes had been weaved into it. What I hated the most though was the huge, garish diamanté embellishment at the front, right below the dip of the fabric above my bosom. A teardrop shaped gem sat in the middle and three other teardrop shaped gems stemmed off of it sideways on each side. Smaller teardrops adorned the bottom and top of the centre teardrop and surrounding the smaller ones were three yellow/orange diamante drops. I hated to be snobbish but it looked somewhat cheap in my opinion. From the waist the fabric fell down to the floor in what had to be easily 10 layers of tulle ruffles. It was as white as snow and though the built in bra was useful, the whole thing looked terrible on me. I felt awkward in it and the bottom of the dress didn’t flow like I wanted it to when I swished from side to side.

Ata Dress 2

Ata Dress 2

Ata Dress 2

I decided to show Sookie anyway, as she had shown me every dress she’d tried on. Emerging from the dressing room I watched as Sookie’s smile fell into a grim line. She pepped up though, forcing a smile as Ashley stepped out behind me. “It’s very pretty.” She lied with ease, as only a telepath could.

“I think there are too many ruffles though. My fiancé would get in a fluster trying to find my garter belt.” I commented. I didn’t want to criticise the dress too much, and though I loved Godric dearly it was easier to criticise him and get away with it. Ashley turned a light shade of pink at the mention of a garter belt. The younger generations of today were adorable.

“I don’t think it’s right for me.” I broke the news softly. It might be perfect for someone else, but not me. Sookie agreed with a bob of her head and made an ‘mhmm’ noise. Ashley grabbed the last dress on the rail and gestured for me to enter the dressing room. She removed the dress and put on the other one quickly. This one was white with silver accents. It had dainty cap sleeves, made of lace, which were narrow at the top of the fitted bodice, before the lace flared out over my shoulder, tapering down again to connect to the back of the dress. The fabric was rucked over the hip and an embellished horsehair bow introduced a soft, oversized organza ruffle that floated down the side skirt The scoop neckline at the front, and the corset closure at the back, were decorated with Swarovski crystals in an elegant, twirling floral pattern.

Ata Dress 3

Ata Dress 3

Stepping out I noticed how Sookie grinned when she saw the dress. Standing, she took a walk around me, looking at it from all angles. “It’s gorgeous, Ata.” She commented thoughtfully, gently playing with the bow at my hip.

“I like it.” I told her honestly, smoothing the fabric down.

“But you don’t love it.” Sookie added. I nodded sadly. It was gorgeous and I wanted it, but it wasn’t beautiful. I didn’t feel beautiful in it.

“It’s alright Miss Caesar.” Ashley consoled me. I was feeling a little down. I was aware this was the first store we had entered and therefore I wasn’t expecting to find my dress right away, but Sookie had found hers and I wanted mine.

Trudging back to the dressing room I changed out of the dress, letting Ashley take it away to put back on the rail. Pulling my day clothes back on I drew back the drapes, tucking them in place before I picked up my handbag from the sofa. Picking up my Vitamin Water I finished it off, not wanting to waste any, and noticed that Sookie had finished her orange juice.

Collecting Sookie’s dress and veil we thanked Ashley for all of her help, and I slipped her a $300 tip. It wasn’t customary to tip in the bridal stores as their wages were usually very good, but she had found my cousin her perfect dress and that was worth of a reward. Ashley’s smile nearly split her face.

With Sookie’s dress and veil placed in the back of the car, spread out over the back seats so they wouldn’t crease, we pulled back onto the main road. “I’m thinking we head to Fashion Show Mall, so we can get you some shoes and a tiara.” I decided to focus on Sookie. I could call in numerous favours with plenty of fashion designers over the next few weeks if needs be.

Sookie shot me a sad smile, but I could tell her sadness was for me. I was a little sad that I didn’t have my dress, but I would find something. Driving along the road Sookie turned the radio back up to lighten the mood. “I’ve been angry and sad about things that you do. I can’t count all the times that I’ve told you we’re through. And when you go, when you slam the door, I think you know that you won’t be away too long!” Sookie sang, picking up the song halfway through.

Laughing, I picked up where she let off. “You know that I’m not that strong. Just one look and I can hear a bell ring. One more look and I forget everything, w-o-o-o-oh”

“Mamma mia, here I go again! My my, how can I resist ya? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I’ve missed ya! Yes, I’ve been brokenhearted, blue since the day we parted. Why, why did I ever let you go? Mamma mia, even if I say, bye bye, leave me now or never, mamma mia, it’s a game we play. Bye bye doesn’t mean forever! Mamma mia, here I go again. My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I’ve missed you. Yes, I’ve been brokenhearted, blue since the day we parted. Why, why did I ever let you go? Mamma mia, now I really know, my my, I could never let you go!” We sang together at the top of our lungs. As we finished singing I took to tapping the steering wheel in time with the piano music, as Sookie rocked out on an air guitar. Chuckling, I pulled us into the car park of Fashion Show Mall. Parking up the radio turned off as I removed the key from the ignition. Sookie pouted as the music cut out.

“Be sure to tell Eric you like Abba.” I teased with a wink, knowing they shared a heritage.

Sookie and I had spent hours in Fashion Show Mall, picking out a tiara, items for the wedding gift list and even bridesmaid dresses. We’d picked a Tiffany & Co. tiara, as my cousin would only have the best. It was a simple bridal tiara, nothing over the top.  There was a narrow band of small diamonds, larger diamonds above it, and then another narrow band of a small diamonds. From there two rows of diamonds – one small row and one medium row – weaved together, crisscrossing. In the centre of the tiara sat a larger diamond, and from the top of it two swirls, a teardrop diamond between the swirls. It was beautiful but simple, so as not to detract from Sookie’s dress and veil.

Sookie's Tiara

Sookie had picked out bridesmaid dresses too, from Saks. She and Eric had decided on a purple theme for their wedding, so the dresses were purple. They were A-Line dresses and made of chiffon, in order to help us all cool down in the warm Louisiana weather. The dress fell to the floor and had a cute sweetheart neckline to it. The empire waistline would showcase all of the bridesmaid’s curves, and the ruffled sash across the waistline added a touch of extra detail. The dress had cap sleeves that joined to the back of the dress. The fabric from the cap sleeves crossed in the middle of the back and then carried on to join the sash at the waistline, creating an ‘X’ across the wearers back. The excess fabric was then tied in a pretty knot at the base of the spin and the spare fabric fell down to around mid-thigh. As I was to be one of the bridesmaids Sookie had insisted on me trying on all the dresses. She’d picked out a lovely purple pantsuit for Lafayette, knowing that her flamboyant friend would probably draw a line at wearing a dress.

Bridal Dress Front

Bridesmaid Dress Back

Sookie had gone through her list of items to place on the wedding registry, compiling an electronic list of everything she and Eric would need wherever they decided to live. It had been an emotional few minutes for Sookie when we had started to pick out items for the list. The realisation that as queen, and with Eric as king, they would no longer be able to live in her Gran’s home full-time had hit her hard, so much so that I’d phoned Eric and made him soothe her so we could get through the rest of the day. He’d told her they would keep her Gran’s home so that they would be able to return to it whenever they could get away for a few days. Sookie hadn’t wanted it to remain empty though, so I offered them the idea of letting Oeri live in the house. He was to be there second and would need somewhere to live, and they would no doubt set up home in Shreveport. New Orleans was too cliché for Eric’s liking.  With Oeri in Bon Temps he would be close enough should he ever be needed, but far away enough to have his own space and would also be able to keep Sookie’s ancestral home in working order. When Sookie regained ownership of it then she would invite Oeri and our family in. Due to her being unable to be glamoured Oeri would be safe from other vampires. There was the issue of Were’s and other magical creatures, but a few security upgrades and wards from Amelia and the house would be fine. Sookie had brightened considerably after my suggestion. I was yet to run it past my son, but I knew he would accept. He wouldn’t accept because I told him too, but because he wanted to. Though my boy was 2000 years old he was a gentle soul when family was concerned.

It’d been as we were about to leave Saks that I froze. Turning to look at the bridal dresses on show I was drawn to one.

“Ata!” Sookie called out as I dropped her hand, taking the twenty steps over to the bridal area quickly. I could hear Sookie behind me, her shoes tapping away at the polished floor, but I couldn’t for the life of me take my eyes off of the dress.

“I want it.” I declared, almost sounding like a petulant child. I would have kicked myself had I not been so focused on the dress on the mannequin.

“I’m sorry Miss, that dress is our only one and is for display.” The store assistant, who was obviously new, nodded sadly from beside me.

Snapping my head in her direction I grabbed her attention, holding her eyes. “I will pay you $2,000 if you take the dress off the mannequin and let me try it on.” I bribed. I wasn’t above bribing, and I so desperately wanted to wear it! I felt a little guilty that I had used the woman’s financial woes, of which she seemed to have many, to my advantage. I didn’t give a fuck though. I wanted the dress.

Quickly, and quietly so as not to draw attention to us, the shop assistant removed the dress, sensing that I was being serious. As she handed it to me to try on, escorting me to the dressing room, I handed her a wad of cash. The curtains were pulled around me and immediately I started to undress.

“That was a little bit forceful, don’t you think cousin?” Sookie mentally scolded me from the other side of the curtain.

“Oh no, not at all.” I cooed loudly enough for Sookie to hear as I finally managed to get into the dress, zipping myself in. Stepping back I looked at my reflection and fell in love. “This is it.” I declared softly. Sookie, who’d been listening to me, threw the curtains open.

“Ata I-“ She started, but stopped the moment she captured my reflections. “Holy fuck…” She breathed, eyes wide as she took me in.

“It’s the one.” I ran my hands over the soft fabric, feeling the tears building up in my eyes. Sookie simply nodded beside me, silenced by my gown.

It was Vera Wang. I’d only glanced at the label in my hurry to get the dress on, but I was strangely satisfied to know I would be wearing her creation on my wedding day. She was known to make some of the most beautiful dresses in the world. The bodice was fitted; figure hugging, and the strapless sweetheart neckline would allow me to wear a necklace. Maybe I’d wear my sun necklace, to bring a piece of my people into the ceremony. The dress was cream, and around my waist there sat lace ruffles. These ruffled were attached to layers and layers of silk and satin, which brushed against my legs and were mixed with layers of tulle to fan out the bottom of my dress. It was a lot poofier than Sookie’s, but it was still beautiful. Coming from the lace ruffles around my waist was a line of lace, excess material fanned out to look like a trail of butterflies. It crossed my bodice and climbed up my left shoulder, disappearing behind me where it turned into a strong strap, clipping into the back of the dress. The butterflies gave it a delicate, yet ethereal quality. Giving a slow twirl I closed my eyes, opening them again to find my smiling reflection.

Ata's Wedding Dress

“It’s beautiful, Ata.” Sookie’s hand landed gently on my lace-free shoulder. Turning my head to look at my cousin I was quick to remove my Amex from my purse, which I’d discarded onto the floor, along with my clothes, in my hurry.

“Tell the sales girl to ring me up. I want it. If she complains, offer to give her another $2,000.” I instructed Sookie. Though she seemed shocked by the amount I was willing to spend she diligently followed my instructions, leaving me with my dress. For a minute I simply stood, staring at my reflection. It had been 2000 years since I had looked at myself in a wedding dress, and back then it had been something I’d wanted no part of. I would have been condemning myself to a life of loneliness and abuse. Now, when I ran my hands over the lace at my waist, all I felt was happiness and contentment.

A wave of curiosity hit me through my bond with my vampire and, grabbing my phone, I snapped a photo of the lace, silk and satin around my feet. I wasn’t going to give my bonded anything else. He would only get to see this little sneak peak. It was bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress before she walked down the aisle, after all. Sending it to him, I twirled once more, sighing happily. I no longer felt like the little girl that I had been 2000 years ago, staring at my empty face, wearing a dress I hated. I was a woman with 2000 years experience under her belt, who’d survived murder plots and terrorists, bombings and physical abuse. I’d survived betrayal and the loss of the few humans I had dared to become close. I was going to walk down the aisle towards the one man who made all of the pain and hurt worth it.

Before I even had time to react a sharp, stabbing pain in my head had me wheezing, falling to the side of the dressing room, where I spent a moment catching my breath. Images sped before my eyes. My subconscious bowing to Pallas’s, Pallas’s bowing to mine…I knew what I had to do.

Black Cat

The bleep of my phone captured my attention though, along with the pure joy from my bonded, tinged with some worry as to what had caused my quick burst of pain. Beautiful. I cannot wait to see you in it, my darling. What has happened? xx Keeping the information I had just learnt quiet, I fired back a quick message.

You’ll have to wait until our wedding day, my beloved. No peeking! Caught my hair in the zipper, ouchy! xxxx I lied, masking my feelings of guilt. I didn’t want to give my plans away though. Smiling, I placed my phone back in my bag before I navigated my way out of the layers of fabric. Finally free, I placed my dress back on the hanger the assistant had insisted it be hung on when she’d handed it to me. Pulling on my other clothes I threw my bag over my shoulder, picking up my dress before I left the changing room. Sookie was at the counter, my Amex in her hand. She offered it back to me when I arrived at her side.

“All done.” She smiled. The store assistant grinned widely. The $4,000 extra she had earned today would help her with her divorce and would no doubt help her gain custody of her daughter from her abusive ex-husband. At least my money would be doing some good. The store assistant took my dress from me, though I had to suppress my growl. She placed it in a garment bag before she folded it neatly into a huge purple box, tied with a pretty silver, silk ribbon. She offered me the box and I took it quickly, clutching it to me.

“Thank you for your assistance.” I remembered my manners as Sookie scooped up the boxes containing her bridesmaid dresses. The store assistant smiled and thanked us, wishing us a nice day as we left.

With our dresses tucked into the back of the car we had one more stop to make. Turning to Sookie I offered her a grin. “I need to see Amelia.”

My chat with Amelia had gone well, and she’d consulted her teacher, Octavia, who had been more than helpful. She’d helped Amelia gather the supplies she needed and had even helped her learn the correct spell and incantations. I’d spoken to her at the time about helping Ari heal. She’d given me a vial of cloudy liquid that I had taken home with me. Ari’s limbs were growing back quicker than usual thanks to nightly infusions of blood from all of the vampires in our nest, plus mine and Sookie’s. Sookie and I had even spent a few hours one night offering him our healing light. Ari had swallowed down Amelia’s potion the moment I’d given it to him and when he rose the next night he had his arm back. It had taken him a short while to get used to having his arm, and his hand, back again. His leg was nearly there. He was just missing his foot. I’d had a doctor create him a prosthetic one for the wedding, and to help him with his mobility. The whole nest had heard him letting his new hand get acquainted with Pam the night it had grown back. I’d cringed a little, hearing my boy during his most intimate moments, but as only a woman of the Brigant line could, I powered on.

Fake Foot

Amelia had spent all day in the panic room working on my surprise, the main reason I had visited her. I’d banned my boys from entering and even changed the code so that neither Godric nor Eric would get to her. She’d greeted Godric cheerfully this morning and had even given him a sly wink. I’d frowned at her gesture, but my husband smiled innocently. I knew he wasn’t cheating, he wasn’t the sort, but I felt a little uneasy none-the-less. Amelia was mentally humming Mary Had A Little Lamb over and over again in order to put me off. What did my bonded have planned?

Stretching like a cat in the sunshine I was relieved my hangover had finally given up. Pam had decided that a joint hen party was in order. She hadn’t quite understood what hens had to do with it but had planned one anyway; going off of the information Dear Abby had given out. She’d called all of the girlfriends of the other Sheriff’s of Nevada who I was the closest to, including Georgie. Pam had even flown in Tara and Lafayette for Sookie. Hunter had been shocked when he’d met the flamboyantly dressed Lafayette. I’d been shocked too, but years of perfecting my poker face had paid off. Lafayette and Hunter had soon taken to one another like ducks to water though, and right now I could pick up their mental signatures over in one of the other pools, playing in the sunshine and sipping drinks mixed by one of my barladies. I was an equal rights employer of course. Oh I still had my fair share of Speedo clad lifeguards and barmen on call, but they were just a little bit of eye-candy.

Pam had gone all out for our hen party. She’d researched the clubs in Vegas, phoning them all up to book their VIP tables for a few hours. Our night out turned into a bit of a club crawl. We’d started the night at Chateau Nightclub & Gardens, which was located at Paris Las Vegas. The club spanned more than 45,000 square feet and was sprawled across two stories. It featured three separate nightlife experiences – the high-energy nightclub, the strip-side Chateau Terrace, and the blossoming Chateau Gardens. Most of our time had been spent in the main nightclub, where we’d been placed in the VIP seating, surrounding the centralised dance floor, showcasing the vaulted ceilings, state-of-the art lighting and sound systems, ornate chandeliers and the DJ booth, all centred above a 10-foot-tall marble mantel fireplace. It had been incredible. The other ladies, and Sookie, hadn’t needed much alcohol in order to let go of their inhibitions, but Pam and I kept tabs to ensure there was no throwing up going on, or passing out. Pam doubled all of my drinks, wanting to get me drunk. 2000 years worth of exposure to alcohol made me harder to get drunk. I’d decided Pam had been in need of a thank you, so I regularly spiked her blood drinks with my own blood, only suppressing the toxicity a little. It was enough to give her what was probably her first buzz since she’d been turned.

Chateau Nightclub & Gardens

From there our limo had taken us to Hyde at the Bellagio. Pam had gotten us the best package. We’d been sat in the VIP section once again, received two bottles of Absolut vodka, which Sookie had damn near died laughing about – once again finding a Swedish reference hilarious – received another bottle of champagne, a cluster of gourmet custom cupcakes which all had our faces on, and we even had a professional group photograph. Sookie and I had even been given little gift bags, as we were the brides. Pam had clearly told them we were marrying vampires, as the gift bags didn’t contain the usual candy thongs and bras. Instead they contained personalised lip balms, which were blood flavored, which made Sookie and I laugh at the absurdity, along with furry handcuffs that had a silver core. The silver would restrain our vampires but not hurt them. Sookie wiggled her eyebrows as she unwrapped them, and I knew Eric would be tied down on their wedding night. Heart compact mirrors, penis shaped whistles and Tiffany & Co. charm bracelets were also in the bags, along with Love Hearts candy for Sookie and I to eat. We shared the candy with the other girls, already having a ton of candy, along with an array of other wonderful and wacky gifts, from our friends as our bridal shower presents.

Hyde at the Bellagio

Love Heart Candy

Isabel had joined us on the outing too, and I’d even slipped her some of my blood on the quiet. She was good for my son, had stood beside Godric for centuries, and she took care of Sookie like a daughter. She had my vote. She’d bought along her camera and was sharing photograph duties with Pam. Both of them enjoyed taking group shots of us all, selfies with each of us, and even photos of the Las Vegas skyline as we rode the glass elevators up to the clubs.

From Hyde, Pam took us to the Rio hotel where we had VIP seats to the Chippendales strip show. Living in Vegas meant I’d seen a lot of stripping, but Sookie wasn’t used to it, so her blush and flustered embarrassment was hilarious after we’d all gone through several bottles of vodka and champagne between us. We’d been sat right at the front for the show and had been given champagne, vodka, and tequila non-stop. The penis whistles even made an appearance mid-way through the show. Nearing the end however, Sookie and I were picked up and carried onto the stage by two of the beautiful men. Laughing and squealing the whole way up to the stage we’d had sexual acts acted out with us in an array of positions, been given lap dances by nearly all of the men and we’d groped far more bums than we could remember. Pam had caught the whole thing on tape, and she loved playing it back to us the night after, when we were still begging everyone to stay quiet and popping Advil like they were Smarties because our hangovers were savage.

Chippendales strip show

It had been so fucking worth it.

“Come on Ata, time for you to get ready.” Sookie broke me out of my reminiscing. Turning to look at her I nodded, suddenly feeling nervous. Calm washed over me from my bonded but it was tinged with his own nervousness. It was 3pm. My wedding would start at 10pm. I’d yet to eat and shower and start dressing though. Toni would be arriving at 7:30pm to take care of my hair and make-up, and he would be flying out to Louisiana and Mississippi with us for both Eric and Sookie, and Isabel and Khai’s weddings. He was going to be on hand for all of our coronations too. Pam had gone overboard planning her coronation, as it would also double as her pledging to Ari. My eldest boy had caved to her every whim, wanting her to have whatever she wanted so long as she didn’t pitch a fit and remained happy. My poor boy had no idea what to do when Pam turned into Bridezilla.

Covering myself up I grabbed my beach bag, stuffing my belongings into it. “Onwards to the future?” Sookie asked as she gathered up her own things, offering her spare hand out to me when she was done.

Nodding, I took her hand in my own. “Onwards.”


A/N coming up, Godric, Ata and Pam’s POV’s, maybe Ari too, along with Ata’s wedding and a bunch of surprises! I left this chapter here because I want the focus of the next one solely on their wedding, the surprises, and then the joint coronations with Pam and Ari.

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13 thoughts on “Ethereal Redemption Chapter 68

  1. Love catching up and all the pictures –they make the story…..more…….
    Can’t wait for all the new stuff after you’re finished brining over the rest of the story you had originally posted at FFN…..
    Pat

  2. Yes! Finally caught up to where I had left off on FF! Love love LOVE that now I’ll have your visualization for some of the things as well! Your story is the only one left that i am continuing to read regarding True Blood. I’m SO sad that this is the last season and only 10 eps. I’m not trying to forget these beloved characters but it makes it easier if I’m not going OBSESSIVE like I used to with reading and making vids. So I chose yours! I love it and it would be terrible if this ended so soon! Love your work!

  3. Great chapter and I enjoyed the way you chose use flash backs as a way of moving the story forward allowing a bit of a time jump . Looking forward to the wedding and hopefully some interactions with Lafayette .

  4. Great chapter. Loved the wedding ideas and the boys getting to swim in the sunshine too. I Love LALA. Wonder what Amelia is cooking up for Godric?

  5. So, I’m all caught up on here, and I loved every bit of it!!! Can’t wait for the weddings and coronations!!! I’m a greedy little update whore so I’ll leave it at this, gimme gimme gimme!!!! More please!!!!!!

  6. so I just got done reading the whole thing for the first time…can I say that this is an AWESOME story!!! Love the pics, they add great definition to it! the whole plot to this story and the details, and thought process to of the characters is AMAZING!!!……oan I was so sad that Agmund and Oscar died, loved the deaths of the terrible four…..love how Eric and Pam have evolved and let their their human emotions come out but still retaining their vamp edge

  7. Brilliant, struggled putting the thing down to sleep and eat, loved the effect the photos added to the whole thing, but now need the next chapter 😊

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