About Me

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is an avid fan of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, so much so, that waiting for the next book was not an option! This Sookie Stackhouse Fanfiction fantasy picks up where CH's book 9 left off. Tune in weekly for the next installment of Back from the Dead. Disclaimer: J. Barrington does not own the characters of the Southern Vampire Series AKA Sookie Stackhouse Novels. All rights are reserved for Charlaine Harris.

Inconvenient Truths - XXIII & XXIV

Low rise pants need to be outlawed, I decided. The derriere that needed its own zip code, captivated the male bar patrons (and some female) like a Jedi mind trick.

“Good Lawd!” Catfish thought, dreamily. “Baby Got Back!” He slapped Hoyt a high five. Hoyt had a lot of nerve. Up until quite recently, his grandmamma had been the only one calling him baby. He had the audacity to look at someone other than his girlfriend, Holly like that. Yep, I went there. I’d had a heapin’ helping of Hater-ade that I took a swig of early and often and I didn’t care who knew about it. It was Holly’s day off and Hoyt was yipping it up with the boys at the bar. Jason had this sickening smile on his face. The expression combined excitement, amusement and bewilderment.

I shut my sixth sense down before the next “Dayum!” sent me screaming and running out into the parking lot. The object of their obsession was Brittany Grissom, Tonya’s younger sister and a new waitress at Merlottes.

She didn’t want anyone to know her real name, which was Beula, named for her great grandmother, Beula Mae Brownlow from down in the Delta. That fact jumped right out at me and supplied me with a much needed giggle. Her hair was fire engine red and she kept it slicked back in a phony ponytail. It reached down to her hips in a hypnotic sway that pulled attention downward and what lay beneath kept it there.

She was a college student at “Bama State!” she said with her cute little, over exaggerated, southern drawl. It was so bubbly that it made me want to puke. She had taken a semester off to earn some much needed cash. Her section in the bar was full every lunch hour with men who always wanted another glass of water, needed napkins or any excuse to watch her as she walked away.

Normally, Sam would insist that employees wear the black uniform pants but he, like all the other men in the bar, seemed to enjoy watching her backside as it appeared ready to pop out of the top of her pants with every step she took.

“Uniform!” I said, starring daggers at my boss who didn’t even look over to me while I spoke.

“They are.” Sam was in a booty trance and ignored my sullen tones. He was chewing on a toothpick and smiling, a lot. “Heh, heh, heh.”


“Uniform pants,” he said. “She just has a way of showing those pants who’s boss is all.” He absently wiped the top of the bar off and filled mugs without even looking at what he was doing. In no time, he had about twenty beers lined up in front of him that no one had ordered. I looked at him like the last hope of male decency had just poofed out of existence.

Seems that my favorite Collie let out one “Heh” too many and was sure to be spending this night in the dog house. His lady friend didn’t see the humor in his little analogy. If Patricia rolled her eyes any harder she’d go blind. She was a pretty as a picture, once she exorcised the Linda Blair demon. She’d moved to Shreveport just before the Were revelation and is now a part of the Longtooth Pack. Patricia was the Werewolf Alcide chose to prove to the world that werewolves existed, on live TV. She and Sam have been an item since then. I hear that Alcide is sweet on her, too.

I stopped by to the hatch to get the Burger LaFayette and fry basket for JB and fried pickles for Tara. Terry Bellefleur handed me the food hot off the griddle. His mind was mostly preoccupied with how his new dogs kept escaping from the yard. He held on to the baskets to get my full attention and when he had succeeded he actually smiled at me, which was an oddity on the usually quiet and intimidating Vietnam veteran’s scarred face. He placed the backside of his fingers under his chin and pushed upward. I nodded in receipt of the message and followed his advice, keeping my head up for a full ten minutes before my brooding weighed it down in no time flat.

“Cousin,” Claude said regally when he collided with me. He was also ogling the new hire and nearly mowed me down on the way to his seat. Brittany’s doe eyes widened as she got a load of the PHAT fairy too (Pretty Hot And Tempting). I didn’t have the heart to tell her that, although the breathtakingly beautiful Claude was amazed by her gravity defying jiggly parts, he batted for a different team. She would have to sport an Adam’s apple to be added to his player rotation.

I had said very little to Claude since he so rudely told me to “Get my ass out of the graveyard and go home!” a few nights past. I had gone there to sort out my problems by talking to my grandmother, who just to happen to rest in peace there in the Stackhouse family plot of Tall Pines Cemetery.

“Who knew time would go by so fast?” I’d said to him.

“You’ve been here for days, dear Cousin,” he said through gritted teeth.

“That’s cause you took so long to come and get me.” The logic behind my words didn't make a lick of sense. I suppose my lack of food and poor shelter had something to do with my mental state. “Claudine would have never let me sit in a cold, lonely cemetery. She would have got me out that night, taken me some place warm and told me everything would be alright.”

So there we sat, in the cemetery for a long while, with Claude looking nonplussed. I had apparently interrupted something because he only had on a short smoker’s jacket. It was Winter and got pretty cold in northern Louisiana, especially at night. The cold weather didn’t faze him, what to do with the troubled TP, did. I have to admit that taking me on was a handful and I understood his reservations. We needed to figure it out indoors since I only had on nylons, which were now nearly shredded, a pink fluffy bathrobe and hunting boots that Jason had given me for Christmas.

It was the last thing I was wearing the night I died. Well, I wished that I had died. I called on all the dead people I’d known to come and escort me through the pearly gates. This life was just too much for me and my last Supe excursion had pushed me right over the edge. I’d read a vampire’s mind, E…., his mind. The images would haunt me until the day I died. So now was as good a time as any, to die that is.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game. That was the honey covered propaganda that I had sold myself on to avoid the harsh reality of the oxymoronic living dead. Deception at the core, it doesn’t surprise me that I was deceived.

Holding the jeweled encrusted box that my fairy great grandfather, Niall gave me, I willed myself to leave this cold world behind me. I was resolved to behold the streets of gold that my grandmother promised was waiting for all God’s “chillin.” Even my grandmother didn’t answer my call and she loved me most. She would want me to be with her, I thought.

I finally resorted to crying out to my fairy Godmother, Claudine. She had died most recently. Maybe the Fae would accept me in the Summerland. That’s were the Fae go when they die. I am part Fae and hoped that she would answer me. Instead, I got her surly and very much alive twin brother, Claude, who is still on this side of reality.

While I sat before a newly filled grave that I had pretended contained my fairy godmother, Claude appeared as an apparition and I though my prayers were answered. I think that he was hoping to do a few scary woos and I would run away from the hallowed grounds screaming like a banshee. Before long he realized that he had to commit and solidified in his human form. The action reminded me of my fairy great grandfather, who was also Claude’s grandfather and a true Fairy Prince. Maybe Claude was the new head honcho on this side of the Fae realm, I wondered. He had to dim down the deity glare before I could look upon him and then there he was, a tawny, brawny vision of resplendent perfection that he just had to ruin by speaking.

“Dying is the one thing you will not be permitted to do,” was one of the many harsh things he said to me. “My sister died so that you could live and live you shall.” He extended a hand to me and I instinctively put mine in his. “And it won’t be groveling at the feet of the dead.”

Coddling was the last thing that Claude would ever be accused of but he could see that dropping me off at home would probably result in a return visit. So I hid out with the fairy. He actually let me sleep in Claudine’s old bed and it comforted me. It stilled smelled like her and soon the sleep that I had staved off for days pulled me into a welcoming embrace.

I had sweet dreams of spending time with my fairy godmother in a serene meadow. The colorful flowers, green foliage and blue cloudless sky were a feast for the eyes. It was very warm and we rested on chaises in skimpy bikinis under the shade of fragrant blossoming Magnolias. There was a brook nearby and the sound of the water soothed. I kept quiet and absorbed all of the wisdom that Claudine poured into me.

“The free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the
current ends and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage
 his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze and the trade winds soft through the sighing
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.”

I recognized the beautiful words of the Maya Angelou poem with the first line. My best friend, Tara had an ornately framed calligraphy print of it in her clothing shop, Tara’s Togs. “That’s so beautiful.” I told her trying to be polite. I really wanted to say “What in the Sam Hill is that supposed to mean to me.” I didn’t get why Claudine was saying it know. I wanted her to speak to me like she used to.

Am I the caged bird that longs to be freed? I wondered aloud. Different strokes for different folks? Was this about my abduction by the Fae and now I’m free? I’m thinking about this too hard.

By the time she recited “If” by Rudeyard Kipling, I recognized a common thread. I knew all the words like the back of my hand. My father had a book by this author and read it to Jason and me when we were children. It instilled in me a love for reading that I have till this very day. It was also some of my most precious memories of my father, who died when I was just a girl.

My fairy Godmother could no longer produce an original thought, which was probably a side effect of her being dead. She could, however, appear to me as I remember her and she could mirror back to me all that was stored and long forgotten in my memory banks. My loved one was only allowed to bring to my remembrance that which I already knew, of lessons learned in my walk of life.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

“By Marianne Williamson,” I told her as she finished. I’d memorized it for the church’s Sunday school class. The pastor told me it was one of his favorites. My disability kept me from reciting it publicly but I had high hopes and learned it just the same.

Hearing the recitations flow from her chiming voice was strange at first but did not detract from its majesty. The poems, quotes and anecdotes were showing me that tools forged from the fire of living were just what I needed to equip me for the journey ahead. My life lessons didn’t kill me, they made me stronger.

Of all the renewed hopes and dreams that were brought to the forefront of my mind, crippling depression was just a thought away. I never really expected the walk down memory lane would rejuvenate my lust for life with any decisiveness. Persuasion, however, is very powerful on the tongue of a Fae.

My mind is a slave to only me, I decided when I rose the next morning with a new determination. It will not be a graveyard of dreams lost but of dreams fulfilled. I am a survivor!

After breakfast, I took a tour of Claude’s place, which was a three bedroom ranch home in Monroe. Claude and Claudine’s triplet, Claudette’s old bedroom had been converted into a board room with a long shiny table and sleek high back chairs all around. Claude sat at the head of the table and the chair next to him was the only seat yet to be occupied. I tested the water by asking for a glass of lemonade. The unison shriek confirmed that all the bodies present were Fae. Lemon juice was fairy kryptonite.

I should have been afraid in a room full of them. I knew that my cousin would have to take a thunderbolt straight up the yoohoo if anything happened to the precious B.O.M.B. (Blood of My Blood), so I rested assured that no harm would come to me while in Claude’s care.

Claude didn’t acknowledge me when I took a seat at the lone chair by the smaller side table. It held water bottles, note pads and pens near the window. His final guest, however, did by lowering his head, kissing me full on the mouth, long and thorough. My toes curled and my face followed him as he pulled away with a mischievous grin.

“Preston,” I said in astonishment when he relinquished my tongue. I held my hand on my lips as if that would help me recover from the shock. Preston was a present that I had found under the mistletoe one Christmas. At the time he was gift wrapped as a Werewolf but deep inside (real deep) I felt that he was Fae. Like all Fae, he was tall dark and a hunk-a-hunk-a-burnin-love.

“The one and only,” he said haughtily as he sauntered across the room in a fluid motion. Just when I was about to feel special that he singled me out, Preston stopped, lowered his head and kissed Claude the same way. Making a noticeable entrance was the way of the Fae. Preston was good at it. They were all touchy feely beings, as well. All eyes were on him and he basked in the glory until Claude, after taking a moment to savor the flavor, called the meeting to order.

Part of the dialogue, I was able to understand but most was in an old language that I don’t believe has been penned in my world. Claude displayed maps, distributed signet rings and gave orders. By the end of the meeting, I concluded that I had witnessed the re-organization of the Fae that were left on this side after the portal was sealed by Niall. Judging by the pins and flags on the map, the participants of the meeting represented a few of the many that had decided to continue out their existence among humans. Maybe they would be the next Supe group to go public.

I looked around to commit the faces of this latest syndicate to memory as they all rose from their seats to adjourn the meeting with a toast to the renaissance. Preston was the right hand, I guessed from his position, and that meant that my cousin, Claude, was the new leader of the Fae. Cue the concerto soundtrack and we were a few cotton balls away from the next Coppola epic.

I didn’t know if all Fae could turn into Weres but I knew Preston could relate, so I mentioned Jason’s gift over lunch to him and Claude. Although Preston had never encountered a human being bestowed such a gift, he said that he would personally check my on my brother while he was near Bon Temps. “I own the Hooligans in Ruston,” Preston told me. “If you ever want a change of pace…” The last word trailed off as Claude’s expression burned a definite NO! to that.

The thought of taking Preston up on his offer put a jingle deep in the hull of this southern bell. It would certainly get me the hell outa Dodge and I seriously considered it for a moment. Someone had once pointed out my skedaddle modus operandi when the going got tough. Bon Temps was my home and I would not tuck tail and run.

Shortly thereafter, we were saying our goodbyes in the driveway of the quiet suburban street. Ralph, a Were friend of Preston’s, pulled up with my car. I looked down and noticed a bit of fairy magic had caused a major wardrobe malfunction. I was now dressed in black Dockers, black shoes and white long sleeve polo with the Merlottes logo on the breast.

“Wake up, Dorothy!” I said, clearly understanding the message “You’re back in Kansas.”

“Fly little birdie.” Claude shoed me along like a kindergartener on the first day of school. “If you need me, don’t call,” he said, half joking, I hoped. He waved a hand and he turned to go back in the house. He was proud that he had managed to bandage my mental wounds and set me on the right path.

I gathered up my courage and went to see my old boss. Sam welcomed me with open arms. I’ve been back working as a barmaid ever since. It was a good thing too cause my bank account was dwindling. It would keep my idle mind from being the devil’s workshop, my grandmother’s voice echoed in my head.

“Cousin . . . Cousin.” Claude’s voice pulled me back to the here and now. “Get your head out of the clouds.”

“Perhaps it’s you who needs to get your head out of Brittany’s”

“Hey!” he interrupted holding his hands up in surrender “I come in peace.” He helped me set a table, that we had jostled in our collision, back to rights. “Are you well?”

“You wouldn’t want me to think that the Fae Prince cares for moi?” I mocked. He blushed at being given a royal title.

“Grandfather has his ways of persuasion,” he said, dumping the decision to see about me on Niall.

“I’m doing tolerably well.” I slumped in an open booth in my section and he took a seat. He had a look of genuine concern on his face. I imagined that he was Claudine and he actually gave me a moment to enjoy it, when he realized she was really who I was seeing. I missed her so much. As usual, his voice stole the moment away too soon.

“Enough of that. I just wanted to make sure that you and the Shifter had gotten back into the swing of things.” He sounded dry and bored but his bulging eyes followed the swing of Ms. Bootylicious all the way to the hatch.

“Did you need anything else?” Saying that I was annoyed was an understatement. “I gotta get back to work.” I got up to leave since his mind was wondering elsewhere.

“Cousin, wait.” He reached out a hand and grabbed my arm. If you’ve ever been touched by a fairy, you know it. It kind of gives you this happy feeling and my impatience melted. “I just wanted you to know . . .” He paused mid sentence to rephrase. “I was instructed to assure you that you are not alone. I am to you, as my sister was.” He stood, bowed and then walked away.

“T-tell Niall that I said hey,” I was suddenly a little discombobulated. I wasn’t ready for him to leave just yet.

“Tell him yourself.” He looked past me and my eyes followed. On the table was a plain paper bag and inside my jewel encrusted box. I smiled in thanks and he nodded.

He paused again to appreciate the view and slid Brittany one of his business cards in a suave move that most didn’t notice. He leaned in to whisper in her ear. She was flattered that he offered her a job at Hooligans. I plucked right out of her mind no sooner than his words hit her ears. I can’t read fairy minds. She told him that she would be calling him as he walked out of the door. I’ll let the intended position of exotic dancer be a surprise.



A day in the life of a millionaire is just what the doctor ordered. Amelia, Jason, Seejay or (CJ), Sam, Tara, JB, Alcide and I jetted down south via the Carmichael express. The small private carrier landed in Miami and we arrived at Sun Life Stadium in a Hummer Limo just before kick-off of the XLIV Superbowl. The outing was a gift from Copley, who met us there. He wanted to show his appreciation for the special care shown to his daughter in her time of need and for the hospitality shown to CJ, he said.

I protested at first. Copley and CJ had done so much for me already. They made excuses to fill my house with everything Carmichael Enterprises had stock in; maid service, dishes, linen, rugs, paint, etc., CJ would say that he broke a dish, ruined a load of sheets in the laundry or spilled grape juice on the carpet so that the new items wouldn’t seem like charity. Not to mention the fact that he had this kind of nervous energy, like his sister, and couldn’t sit still when he was anxious, so he fixed things inside and outside the house.

Amelia insisted that we get a change of scenery and was glad that I relented. We viewed the game in the Hall of Champions Suites, where your every need is anticipated, or so the brochure read. We came into a large room that had food stations with private chefs preparing and serving about 100 people. There were large, flat-screen TVs wherever you turned. We followed our host to a private suite. It looked kind of like a modern living room with one end opening up to the live game. There were two rows of stadium seats that overlooked the playing field. CJ and Amelia behaved as if they had just returned home while everyone else stared in awe. Copley beamed with pride.

I was actually enjoying the “Stuporbowl” as I like to call it (for obvious reasons). Normally being in a large crowd is pure torture for a telepath. CJ placed a protective ward around my mind that muted incoming thoughts. He added another ward around his that played music all the time, since his thoughts could not be silenced. His thoughts had become intertwined with mine every since the channel was opened the night I read his mind. The music was calming to us both. I knew personally that it took great concentration to hold up the shields. It was like giving me a night off and I appreciated him for doing that.

Now, I could relax, let my hair down and party hearty. “Yeeeeaaaah baby!!!!!! Woooo!!” I’d never felt so free. For a stitch in time I pretended that I was normal, without any deficiencies. I dripped Saints paraphernalia and screamed to the top of my lungs along with hundreds of fans chanting the Saints’ rally cry: “Who dat, who dat, who dat say gonna beat dem Saints?” All of my woes had been successfully diverted and by half time my face ached from laughing.

“That’s true beauty.” CJ said when I collapsed in the stadium seat next to him. He had been staring at the side of my head for a long while before he spoke. I had black and gold pom poms holding my ponytails and metallic gold and black paint on my face. I looked to him inquisitively as the last giggles escaped me. “Your merry heart, it suits you.”

“It’s like good medicine!” I said, breathlessly. I jumped up and flung my hands in the air as the Wave rolled around to our section. I enjoyed the “Who” perched on CJ’s shoulders with a lighter burning in my hand. Those old guys could really put on a good show and the laser and fireworks display was spectacular.

I saw a few clusters of the undead. I had to see them to know that they were there since discerning the vamp void was currently disabled. I was certain that Felipe and his entourage was lurking somewhere. The vamps wouldn’t miss an opportunity to expose their new golden child to a worldwide audience. When they started flashing celebrity faces on the flat screen, I excused myself and went to the ladies room. The celebs were usually followed by the latest exotic thing, which was now, vamps and Weres. I could tell by the hush of the crowd that . . . he, whose name shall not be mentioned, was flashing those fearsome fangs for the Jumbotron. He’d always had that effect on people and vampires, alike. I had a good mind to abjure every last one of them. I see you no longer. I hunt with you not longer. I share flesh with you no longer.

We celebrated victory with Saints fans at the Carmichael’s VIP party and danced til the wee hours of the morning. It wasn’t until we were airborne that I reminisced about an unforgettable flight with . . . never mind. The crescent moon shone through the windows of the plane and I quietly sobbed into a tiny travel pillow. Amelia reached over and padded my hand while, as if on cue, CJ’s soft melody lilted from the seat behind us. The love, peace and comfort I felt helped me drift off to sleep.

Several weeks had passed since I had last seen . . . he who has no name. He had been near my home many times but could not control his thoughts enough to be in my presence, and dared not dawn my doorstep. I appreciated the time alone and made my way back into my old life. Sam was so happy to have me back at work. He was short staffed so I became busy very quickly. I worked the late shift almost every night. After running a few errands each day I would return home, change into my work clothes and meet the Carmichaels for my dinner break. That was my typical schedule. On occasion, Jason would join us.

Dinner at Merlotte’s had become the “New Tradition” as Amelia put it. It was her way of making sure that I didn’t spend my evenings pining over shoulda, coulda, wouldas. Amelia had some demons chasing her as well and CJ wasn’t buying the “all is well” act. Our dinner meetings would conclude with an embrace from Amelia and a kiss on the forehead from CJ.

I was happy for Amelia. She seemed to be doing much better, I thought. Her new tomcat, named for her lost love, seemed to comfort her but I knew that she was not out of the woods, just yet.  She and her brother were inseparable and I envied their closeness. The part I most loved was seeing Amelia put on a pedestal every day. Being told I was beautiful by someone who didn’t have and ulterior motive and hearing I love you, unconditionally was something I had never known.

“Hey lil’ sis, get me another beer!” is Jason’s idea of brotherly love. Jason had been more protective since my abduction and he did call to check on me more often than he used to. Maybe we would be close one day, too.

For Amelia, the sun rose and set on her big bro and she didn’t make a move without consulting him. I knew he was the crutch she needed. She was in a town with no relatives to speak of, and going through a rough patch in her life. Perhaps CJ was following their father’s instructions, but he doted on his little sister, bearing gifts whenever he saw her, something wrapped and pretty. He always had a little something for me too, so I wouldn’t feel left out. Thanks to CJ, we wouldn’t have to visit the library for a while and had new wardrobes of PJ’s, lounge wear and slippers, expensive stuff that I never would have bought on my own.

CJ was the total package . . . of trouble. He was all good on the outside; dependable, loving, good natured. All six feet of man ripped to perfection. (If what I saw in his mind was true to form. I saw all!) Corn bread fed and thick all over. I’ve always been partial to legs that bowed just a little, like he could ride a wild stallion into the dawn. It added a sexy swagger to his step.

I can’t imagine a warm blooded woman who couldn’t appreciate the visual buffet that he provided. Telepaths appreciated eye candy as well as the next person but my third eye was constantly searching for more than the obvious.

What I saw was pure unleashed power lurking beyond a fiery golden gaze that sent chills up my spine and made me want to run for cover. I thought of a gazelle circling a swamp full of gators during a drought. The animal instinctively chooses to quench the dying thirst even though it knows the predator is waiting just below the surface. My water, the thing that kept me lurking around danger is a chasm of knowledge behind the protective fortress of this sorcerer.

His enigmatic mind grows more alluring with each passing day. It has seen me. It knows me. It calls to me. I want to answer. I must know it. I need to see. Reading minds is what I do, it’s who I am. I’ve poked around many of minds. His poked back confirming that there is yet another life, and advanced life form, on my deserted isle.

After dinner, I said my goodbyes and headed for Sam’s office to put up my purse. In walks . . . Him! looking as good as ever. Blue eyes, clear as crystal scanned the room and made his way to my section and took a seat in an empty booth. He didn’t even notice baby-got-back, who just so happened to be swinging that thing in my section again and again.

CJ raised a quizzical brow before he and Amelia returned to their seats, deciding to stay a little longer. He knew that it was a vampire. The hopeless expression on my face confirmed that the vampire belonged to me. This was going to be a stressful night, I could tell. My stomach churned as I made my way to the back of the bar.

When I returned, he, who has no name, was still sitting in the same spot having vampire down-time. He had planned on being here a while. I warmed a bottle of TrueBlood in the microwave, inverted it a few times and took it over to him. He stared at me longingly, grabbed the bottled and downed the contents before I walked away. He did not utter a word. I helped Sam with stragglers at the bar and helped him clean the bar and delivered more TrueBlood to the vampire. At the end of the night, I joined him at his booth. CJ and Amelia watched closely. I was glad they stayed. I don’t ever remember being afraid of the vampire but tonight I was. I knew that he was still incensed.

He finally spoke, choosing his words carefully. “Sookie.” He put his head down, unable to make eye contact after he called my name. He was trying to hide his emotions and was guarding his thoughts as carefully as his words. “I apologize for coming to your place of work. Your house is warded with a new spell.” He paused. “A Sorcerer’s spell.” I caught CJ in my periphery who folded his arms with a proud smirk. “You must permit me to speak to you Sookie . . . to . . . to . . . let me explain.”

“I don’t know if we have anything to talk about. This is all just too much for me,” I told him. “I’m a simple girl in a simple town and all this Supe sh*t is making me crazy.” I was not prepared for this confrontation and my reaction showed it. My hands and voice shook with every word.

“Sookie I …” The vampire began and stopped mid sentence. I watched him for a bit, waiting for him to say, anything but he didn’t move. He was frozen like a porcelain statue, his face so white, eyes so blue, lips red and that vampire glow. I poked him. He felt like a stuffed doll. CJ approached, looking at the vampire as if he was ready to spit venom. He sang no song. He recited no spells. He only gazed and completely disabled one of the strongest and oldest beings I knew. I started to panic. It made me think of the witch war and how much damage they did. I realized that this magic was more powerful than all of the witches combined.

“I got you,” a light voice whispered, as CJ positioned himself in front of the booth were we sat. “You don’t have to listen to another one of his lies, Princess.” His voice was full of anger. “We could end this now and Fabio would be dust, before the bartender’s last call for alcohol.” Both of their eyes were on me. I felt like I was in a dream unable grasp the situation. I looked back and forth at both of them. CJ waved his hand slowly across the room and there was a sudden silence. Everyone was frozen in time except for me and CJ. A chair rose of its own volition, slammed against the floor and splintered. My whole body jolted on the impact but my eyes stayed on the vampire. I didn’t turn to see the makings of the perfect stake that hovered and pointed at a sole target.

“Wait. Wait. Please. I can’t do this.” Tears flowed. “I love him.”

“Illusions! Trust the master of illusions when I tell you that is all there is.” CJ hissed at me. “His blood in you loves him.” His eyes stared at the vampire, filled with a deep seated hatred that went far beyond this situation. “The moment this vamp dies you will feel relief and contempt, not remorse.” I believed CJ but the thought of losing him pained me more that I could bear. My heart ached seeing him so vulnerable. There was a poignant fragrance, distinctive to some deadly hocus pocus being conjured up that made me woozy with trepidation.

I turned on my friend like a rabid dog, which wasn’t too wise because he could take control of the situation at any time. He need only stop the music and my mind would be lost to him. Destroying freewill was not CJ’s way. That would be giving in to the sorcerer who was trying desperately to burst out and ride on the waves of raw emotion. He knew that if he let that devil ride, he’d certainly want to drive.

“Cut it out Copperfield!” I snapped through clenched teeth. “You re-animate him NOW! Remove your ward from my house. I need to resolve this myself. You have crossed the line CJ and I cannot have his death on my conscious.” CJ held his position for a long while, as if releasing him was the last thing he would do. The moment CJ turned away all activity returned to normal in the bar.

“He’s already dead!” CJ said from farther away. He was sitting next to Amelia again. I didn’t know how he got there so fast and my eyes were glued to him in amazement.

The vampire’s words startled me after his long silence. “Love you.” He was completing the sentence from before, oblivious to what had transpired. He wouldn’t have suspected anything if CJ hadn’t come over to introduce himself on the way out.

I hopped up and grinned nervously during the nail biting minutes. The vampire looked up. He was trying to place CJ’s face, I guess. CJ only looked at me. His pretty brown eyes were sorrowful.

He dissolved my shield just enough to allow his thoughts to penetrate without speaking aloud. “Tell me this is what you want.” My eyes answered in a pleading desperate glare.

“I’ll be okay,” I told CJ. He looked over to the vampire and I closed my eyes knowing that neither of them would back down. I heard Eric get up and I maneuvered my body between them. (Like that’s ever worked.) The vampire was standing very close to my back and was still trying to figure out who or what this CJ was. I guess CJ, who was all up in my face, was masking himself somehow. Masking was a good thing, considering the vampire’s history with witches. It could prove to be a truly volatile situation.

I was proud of the vampire who didn’t react at all. He reached down and pulled my hand up. Looking for my engagement ring, I knew. I guess he was going to wave it in CJ’s face or something. It wasn’t there.

“You’d better be.” CJ showed all thirty-two Chicklets before kissing me on the top of my head. I felt that weightlessness thingy and I actually blushed. I was also very relieved.

“Sookie.” The voice came from behind me. It was a quiet sound but I was startled and turned around quickly.

“Okay, give me a . . .” I paused and looked around. CJ had vanished and Amelia was scurrying out of the door. I looked around flustered for a moment. “I’ll get my purse.” I walked real slow as I mentally prepared myself for an interview with my vampire.

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