Chapter 26 – Grown

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She took him hard and fast in the elevator. She’d fed without hesitation as naturally as if she’d been doing it from her first rising. He could feel her other needs, even if she didn’t show any sign, but once the doors shut behind them, she’d pulled the button to stop the car. The alarm sounded but no one checked on them. Eric knew the camera told the guards all they needed to know. He did his best to respect his mate’s dignity, shielding her body from the lens. It was night. The guards would be vampire. They would make sure no copies were made.

He’d hoped for an encore once they reached their suite, but as soon as the elevator started moving again, Eric knew it wasn’t to be. Sookie’s restlessness made being close to her feel as if he was holding a live wire. “What time?” she asked as the doors opened.

She’d had to wait until he’d retrieved his phone. “Three hours,” he told her. “Maybe four. The manifest is posted, but there’s no update from the tower.”

Sookie flashed past him into the bathroom on her way to the shower. “I’m thinking the guest suites on the fourth floor,” she said aloud. “There’s two bedrooms and full bathrooms. That way they can have some living space to themselves.”

‘Thalia said Brigid smells uncomfortably Fae,” Eric told her as he stepped in to share her shower.

“How bad can it be?” and Sookie frowned. “If there’s folks after them, the best place for Rick and Brigid is here! Fae chasing them. Vampires chasing us,” and Sookie grinned. “Seems like old times!”

“I like you like this,” and Eric dropped fang.

His sassy mate spun around, cupping her soapy breasts, pushing them together. “Like this?” she teased, dropping fang herself, but in the next instant she’d rinsed and pushed past him, grabbing the towel, heading back to their bedroom. “Or like this? Giving you every reason to chase me?” she called.

“You offering?” Eric replied, but he didn’t bother. Sookie thoughts were already on the next task. She was happy. He could feel her well enough.

He wasn’t surprised to find she’d already left their bedroom when he emerged. He could hear her in their sitting area. She was speaking with housekeeping, talking menus. “Oh, and will you ask Amy Ludwig to stop by tonight? I want them both checked out.”

Eric checked his phone again. “Meet me downstairs,” he told Sookie. In past Eric would have canceled meetings, preferring to bury himself in his wife, but things felt different. He now found work took precedence over play and, for once, it didn’t worry him. He realized his kingdom mattered in a way beyond the loyalties of vassals and the satisfaction of acquiring.

Sookie gave him a quick nod, shifting away to concentrate on the job at hand. Eric texted first Pam and then Karin. As the doors opened, a guard intercepted him. “Hunter Savoy is in your office. He is most anxious to speak with you…” and the guard glanced into the elevator, “and the Queen.”

“She will join me shortly,” Eric replied, and then he saw it. The guard’s expression changed just a bit. He stood taller, almost at attention. Instead of following closely, the guard allowed space to form between them, a mark of respect, and Eric’s chin lifted a touch higher.

Hunter was pacing in the office. “Finally!” he said by way of greeting. “Look, can we get this show on the road? I’ve been cooling my heels all day.”

“I realize coming with your Aunt to the Palace was not your first choice,” Eric answered.

“Where is Aunt Sookie?” Hunter demanded, looking toward the door.

Instead of answering Hunter’s question, Eric checked his phone for Pam’s reply. “I asked that the Were you questioned last night be sent here.” Eric flashed his progeny’s text. “Pam tells me he was driven down today. Have you seen him yet?”

“No,” and Hunter shook his head. “No, no one’s telling me anything.” Heidi’s scent was strong and Eric automatically assessed the young man’s state. The agitation was a clear sign, but there were others. Hunter’s eyes had that slight shine and his skin glowed.

“You are close to turning.” Eric watched Hunter pause in his pacing. “Is this something you wish?”

Hunter looked angry, but then he looked frightened. He refused to make eye contact, his jaw working before he asked, “How close?”

Eric’s instincts tingled. “I think in view of everything that’s happening, it would be best if you chose to remain here with us for a while,” he told Hunter. “Turning should be a conscious choice. You are a member of my family. I forbid an accidental turning.”

“Whoa!” and Hunter held up both hands. “Who said anything about accidental turning! Look, Heidi and I… well, we’ll be more careful, okay?”

“I will make it a command. You will remain here,” Eric decided.

Sookie chose that moment to arrive, and Hunter turned on her. “You can’t just order me! I’m a grown man…”

“What’s going on?” Sookie asked Eric.

“I’ve decided Hunter should remain in New Orleans for a period of time. Look at him, Lover, and recognize the signs. He has had a great deal of vampire blood. It’s possible he’s addicted. Certainly, Heidi can freely monitor him through such a tie. See the way his fingers move? He is close to turning. It could happen any time.”

“You want to become a vampire?” Sookie asked Hunter.

“I don’t know!” Hunter exclaimed. “Maybe? I…”

“Well, if you don’t know, then I think your Uncle Eric is right and you should stay right here!” Sookie’s tone sounded like a pronouncement as well. From Eric’s perspective, it was, but Hunter had other ideas.

“You can’t order me!” he protested. “For all you’re kin, this is my life, my decision.”

“A decision that’s being influenced!” Sookie pointed out. “Hunter, I can tell you for a fact, nothing is more powerful than vampire blood. You’ll find everything colored by who’s giving It to you. There are whole parts of my life where I look back and know the decisions I made were because Bill Compton wanted me to act that way, not because I was making those decisions on my own. You being this close to turning, and not doing it intentionally? Sweetie, that’s a warning sign!” Hunter’s mouth opened, but Sookie held up her hand. “Eric’s right about this. Now, I’ll grant you, he can’t force you to stay here, but he can banish Heidi from his kingdom and the kingdoms of our allies. Is that what you want?”

“I can’t believe you’d do this!” Hunter’s jaw tightened, his eyes flashed. “This is because you want to use me!”

Sookie sighed. “You know it’s no such thing!” She waited and after a bit, Hunter’s eyes dropped.

“You’re right. I know you’re not like that,” he confessed. “I don’t know. It’s just…”

“You love Heidi, I know,” and Sookie laid her hand on his arm. “I’m sure she loves you, too, which is why she wouldn’t want you to be hurt or forced into something you didn’t wish.” Sookie waited for Hunter to meet her eyes. “Right? She’ll understand when you tell her you need to spend some time away to let the effects of your blood-sharing wear off. Isn’t that what people who care about each other do?”

Hunter was nodding, so Eric signaled for the Were to be brought in. “We have several hours before we need to be at the airport,” he interrupted. “Perhaps we should use this time wisely.”

“Are you ready?” Sookie asked Hunter. Eric thought such pandering unnecessary, but it seemed to pacify the young human. Sookie flashed her mate a look and he could hear her using one of her sayings. ‘Sugar catches more flies than vinegar.’

“You sure you’re up for this, Auntie?” Hunter asked in return. “You sure you don’t want to head over to the airport to wait?”

“There is nothing to be gained by doing that!” Eric couldn’t understand why Hunter would suggest it. His eyes narrowed, wondering if Hunter was seeking to distract them further, but Sookie interpreted the younger man’s words differently,

“You know you’re welcome to join us when we go. I’m sure Rick and Brigid would be happy to see another friendly face.” Sookie laughed self-consciously, signaling Rick’s first words with his Mother might not be entirely kind.

“No,” and Hunter shook his head. “It’s okay. You should see them first. I’ll wait here.”

“Then it’s settled,” and Sookie turned as the door opened, admitting the guards and their prisoner. Sookie seemed satisfied, but Eric’s instincts were tingling.

“Watch the time!” Sookie cautioned Eric as the guards pushed their prisoner into a chair, checking his bonds, and then retreating to stand along the wall.

“What are we doing with him tonight?” Hunter asked.

“I want you to show me what you did last night,” and Eric walked to the far end of the room to stand near the guards. From here, he could watch, yet not be a distraction. Sookie nodded, then closed her eyes. Hunter stared at the Were. He didn’t close them, although his eyes became less focused. “Can you hear me?” Eric asked. Sookie didn’t respond, so Eric used their bond. “Can you hear me?” he asked again.

“Yes,” Sookie answered aloud.

“Describe what you see.” They established that the library that represented the Were’s thoughts looked much as it had the previous night. The bookcase where the glamour was placed was also identical. Books were back in the exact position they’d been found before. Hunter was still able to read the blank pages. Everything was identical until they were asked to return. Where Sookie hadn’t been able to see the exit before, now she could.

“It’s like now that I know what to look for, I can see it,” she said once they’d returned.

“You said you wanted us to see if we could plant an idea?” Hunter asked.

“No,” and Eric smiled. “No, that’s enough for tonight, Hunter. We have to pick up your cousins from the airport and there are some contracts I need to review with your Aunt.”

“Well, if that’s all,” and Hunter started for the door.

“I’d like you to plan to stay in the Palace for the week,” Eric said quickly, “Maybe longer. This skill is unknown to us. We need to understand what it means and your help will be invaluable.” Eric laid his hand on Hunter’s arm to get his attention. “I’d also like you to keep this between ourselves. Don’t tell anyone about this until we understand it more.”

“Really?” Hunter didn’t bother hiding his feelings. “I mean, I have a life,” and then he sighed. “Yeah, sure, I get it. Vampire secrets and all.” He waited for Eric to drop his hand before he smiled. “You must be pretty excited, Rick and Brigid returning tonight and all. Don’t worry, I won’t cause trouble.” No sooner was Hunter out the door than Eric had his phone out.

“What was all that all about?” Sookie asked.

“I’m having him watched,” Eric answered. When Sookie huffed, he finished his messages and gave her his attention. “Think, Lover. He’s being heavily influenced by vampire blood. We have a spy.”

“Hunter would never…” Sookie exclaimed.

“I agree. He wouldn’t, but others would.” Eric waited for the idea to sink in. “Did he ask where he’d stay? No. He was anxious to get away from us.”

Sookie glanced at the Were who still sat, glassy-eyed, in the room. “I hope you’re wrong,” she sniffed while gesturing toward the Were, “Well, what do you want to do with him?”

“I want you to try and remove the glamour you found,” Eric replied. When Sookie’s eyes widened, Eric added, “And I want you to see if you can plant your own idea.”

“I don’t know.” Sookie was biting her lip, her arms crossed. She stared at the Were again. “The blank books were there, but how would I remove glamour?”

“Take one of those books with you when we leave?” Eric suggested.

Sookie stared at her mate. “Sounds pretty straightforward, but if this doesn’t work, we might actually hurt him. You know what happens when folks get glamoured too often. They just seem…”

“Slow,” Eric finished.

“Damaged,” Sookie echoed.

“I’ll compensate his Packmaster,” Eric shrugged.

“Do we know if he has a family?” Sookie asked.

Eric felt his temper flare, but when his mate’s chin lifted, he tamped it down. “I will find out,” he assured her, “but this is pointless speculation. It’s just as likely removing the glamour will put him back to rights.”

Sookie nodded. Eric could see she wanted to believe him. “I guess,” she conceded, then turning toward their prisoner, said, “I’m going in.”

Eric monitored Sookie through their bond. Without Hunter, the connection felt muted, as if she had traveled a great distance instead of standing right beside him. Five minutes passed. Fifteen, and suddenly, Sookie blinked and looked right at him.

“Well?” she asked.

“Do you have any sense of which part of the glamour you took?” Eric couldn’t help himself. He folded her into his arms. She was his and he sensed danger in what they were doing. ‘Kingdom,’ he reminded himself, thinking of Sookie, but also of those who would follow.

She grinned, his wonderful wife. “I took them all!”

They turned to find the Were staring at them. He wasn’t trying to rise, but he looked fully aware. “Where am I?” he asked.

“New Orleans,” Eric answered, pushing the button to signal their guards. “Do you know who I am?”

“The North Man,” the Were nodded, “and his Queen.” The guards entered and the Were’s expression changed. “What did I do? Are you going to kill me?”

“Should I?” and Eric waited.

The Were glanced around. While he was processing, Sookie struck. “Maybe you should tell us about Bernard.”

The Were hadn’t been prepared to hear the name and he looked guilty. Realizing he’d been caught, he decided against pretending. “Fine, I know Bernard. He doesn’t like you folks much.”

“He’s been using his glamour against me,” Eric stated. “Turning people in this state into spies, using them to collect information.”

“He’s smart about it, too,” the Were confirmed. “Even when another vampire removes it, the glamour returns. Never seen anything like it.”

“The blank books,” Sookie whispered.

“Why are you helping him?” Eric asked the Were.

“Money!” the Were answered all too quickly. “He’s paying, a lot,” The Were glanced away, “and I know him. Used to be we Weres along the border spent a lot of time in Jackson, hanging with the Pack there. Bernard and I used to see each other at the King’s place, you know, Club Dead.”

“I know the place,” Eric nodded.

“He says the two of you got cozy once,” He said it with a leer, but after glancing at Sookie, colored and looked at the guard instead.

“Glamour him,” Eric ordered. The Were expected it and he didn’t resist. Once he was glassy-eyed again, Eric turned back to Sookie. “Do you feel up to trying something else?”

“What did you have in mind?” Sookie was starting to look stressed. His first instinct was to suggest they delay, but instead he decided to leave this decision up to her.

“I’d like you to try and plant your own thought, not as glamour from the outside, but as glamour from within. See if the books you took are back. The more we can understand about your gift, the better.” As he knew she would, Sookie agreed. He’d never been prouder. His mate lifted her chin and stepped forward.

The bond felt as it had before without Hunter, muted, but Eric still felt her moving within the Were’s mind. This time she was faster, barely ‘gone’ ten minutes. “The blank books were missing,” she said, shaking herself. “I think I did it. I figured if taking a book removed the glamour, it would work the same for new ideas. I found a book toward the back and wrote in it. I told him he likes to wear pink.”

Eric grinned. “Wake him,” he commanded the guard.

When the Were glanced around, himself again, Sookie handed him a glass of water. “So, tell me, what’s your favorite color?”

“Blue,” their prisoner said quickly, but then his eyes rounded, “but I like to wear pink.”

“An interesting choice,” and Eric nodded to the guards. “I’d like to keep our guest a few days. See that he has a comfortable room.” The guard hesitated, and Eric added, “Not too special.”

“How special will it be?” Sookie asked after they’d left.

“He deserves our dungeons,” Eric replied, “but he isn’t going there. I’d imagine they’ll lock him into staff quarters or one of the smaller guest rooms. Someplace without windows.” He pulled out his phone and read a message. “I am afraid Hunter will be joining him in a locked room.”

“What are you talking about?” Sookie asked, but Eric’s fingers were flying. His daughter answered on the first ring. “Pam? It’s her. Don’t let her slip through your fingers. If she manages to get away, it will be difficult to catch her.”

“What’s going on?” Sookie asked, but then Eric could see she’d figured it out. “Heidi? She’s the spy?”

“Probably,” Eric nodded. “Hunter called her as soon as he left us. She knew what to ask and he told her everything.”

“It could be she cares about him,” Sookie suggested, making excuses. “I ask you about your day when we’re apart.” When Eric didn’t say anything, Sookie protested, “You can’t suspect Hunter! If he meant to betray us, we’d know!”

“No, I don’t suspect him. I think Hunter’s under Heidi’s influence.” Eric waited. In past, Sookie would have sided with her family, regardless of the evidence, but again, she didn’t disappoint.

“I hate the idea of locking him up, but I agree. Best to be safe,” and then, “Oh, poor Hunter!”

“He’ll be uncomfortable for a while, but he’ll recover in time. The blood will wear off and he will return to himself.” Eric leaned toward her, “As you did, Lover. Do you remember?”

“I’m ashamed when I think about it,” and then his Sookie grinned, “except for the part about you, of course. After all, Bill Compton wasn’t the only one feeding me his blood, was he?”

“I never manipulated you!” Eric protested.

“Oh?” and Sookie poked him, “What about those dreams after Dallas?”

“That wasn’t manipulation! I was making you promises,” and Eric gathered her close, kissing her upturned lips. “You may have benefited, but I was the one who was dreaming,” he purred.

“And has it been a good dream?” his wife asked.

“The best,” he assured her.

Sookie glanced toward the door, “Hunter will be mad at us. I just hope he forgives us in time. I hate that we have to do this, but I do understand.”

The airport in New Orleans was located less than fifteen minutes from the Palace. Of course, Sookie and Eric didn’t go to the terminal the City’s thousands of visitors used. Instead, they drove down side streets until they pulled into the open door of the high building that housed Anubis Airlines. “They’re on final approach,” the vampire in charge told them. There were workers standing outside near the runways, lights in hand, prepared to direct the plane from England into the building once it taxied over.

“Do you think he’s grown taller?” Sookie was staring across the airfield, watching the larger jets lumbering past.

“He’s only been gone two months, Älskade,” Eric chuckled.

“It seems so much longer,” and she slipped her hand into his, “A lifetime.”

“They’ve landed,” the vampire said, pressing his headset closer to her ear. Eric felt Sookie’s anxiety ratchet.

He pushed calm her way, but it seemed a drop in the ocean. She was wringing her hands. “You are making me nervous, Lover,” he scolded. Sookie glanced at him, mouthing ‘sorry,’ but in another instant was staring out into the night again, her nerves dancing.

A private plane headed their way, but then rolled past them toward another hangar. Long moments passed before the sharp nose of a small, black jet turned toward them. The workers on the tarmac swung into action, pulling blocks into place and waving their lights. Sookie covered her ears, the whine of the engine almost painful. They stepped back, prepared for the plane to pull directly into the building, but instead, the plane stopped outside well short of the building and powered down. Eric glanced toward the vampire in charge. She was talking on her headset. After another exchange she nodded and approached them. “Majesty, Thalia has asked you join them on the plane.”

“Both of us?” Sookie asked.

The vampire didn’t answer. Eric knew the request had been meant for him alone, but he also knew this was a battle not worth fighting. “I’m sure Thalia meant both of us, my Queen,” and taking Sookie’s hand, they walked toward the plane together. The stairs lowered and Thalia herself came out to meet them.

“You need to be prepared,” she said as she bowed. “The smell is pronounced. It has been difficult for me. For one who is young,” and Thalia’s eyes swung toward Sookie, “it may be overwhelming. You must, of course, judge for yourself.”

“What smell?” Sookie asked, already heading for the stairs. She wasn’t two steps up before her fangs descended and her mouth fell open. “Oh!”

Eric rushed to stand behind her, his hand on her shoulder, ready to pull her back. “Open your mouth and blow the air out, Sookie. Don’t inhale! I know it’s instinct, but it will make it easier. Give yourself a minute.”

“I want… I want…” she gasped.

“I know, Lover,” and Eric wrapped his arms around her just in case. “This is how you have smelled to me so many times,” he purred in her ear. “I wanted to feed and fuck and rub myself all over you…”

“Until I was dead,” Sookie said, her voice tight.

“I love you. I could never kill you. You love Rick and you have pledged your protection to Brigid. You could never kill them.” Eric waited, allowing that sink in before he acknowledged, “The smell of Fae can be overwhelming to our kind.”

They stood on the stairs for another moment before Sookie squared her shoulders a little and said, “I’ve got this. I’m fine.”

“I’m here,” Eric assured her, “I won’t let you do something you’ll regret later. You can trust me,” and together, they walked on to the small plane.

Rick was standing in the aisle as they came into the cabin. He took a step toward them, and then stopped. “Mom?”

Rick did look taller, but maybe it was because his jeans were hanging from his hips. Their son looked older, too, a gold beard and mustache covering much of his lower face. His hair wasn’t exactly clean but it still shone as it curled over his collar. He turned from them to glance at the woman behind him. Their hands were linked, and Eric could see his son drew strength from his mate, just as Eric drew strength from his Queen. “Are you okay?” Rick asked his Mother.

“I should be asking you that,” Sookie replied, her voice tight. She was struggling not to breath, but with each passing minute, she was becoming more comfortable, fighting her instincts. She took a step forward, halted, and then another. Eric felt the moment she relaxed, and he released her so she could fold their son in her arms.

“Son,” Eric said as their eyes met over Sookie’s head. Then Eric’s eyes moved further back to the other blond on the plane. Brigid was thin, too. Her hair was bright, almost glowing, but her eyes were sunken in her face, a classic Mother’s mask. It had been a long time since Eric had seen a pregnant woman up close. In Brigid’s face he saw his own mother’s as she carried her last child and he saw Aude’s as she sheltered another of his children within her body. “Brigid,” and he bowed his head. That caused his son to half-turn, breaking Sookie’s grip. Rick looped his arm around his woman, drawing her closer and smiling just for her. ‘Family,’ Eric thought. “Daughter,” he greeted her.

Brigid’s eyes were his. He could have glamoured her, but he didn’t. “Are you well?” he asked instead.

“Tired,” she sighed. “Good.”

“You must be exhausted!” Sookie was struggling, her emotions a roil, but she was doing well. Rick was watching her closely, which wasn’t helping, but his mate kept her emotions level.

“Perhaps we should sit down?” Eric suggested. “Do you wish to eat?” he asked Brigid. “We may be here for some time. There will still be food in the galley.”

She told them she was fine, but Rick stood, walking past Brigid toward the back of the plane. “I made arrangements for you to stay with us in New Orleans,” Sookie said when the silence became awkward. “Now I’m thinking it’s not such a good idea.”

“Thalia said we’d be vampire chum,” Brigid looked almost apologetic. “I don’t really understand it.”

“It’s your biology,” Eric told her. “It’s nothing you’ve done.”

“It does change things,” and Sookie looked his way. “Of course, they can’t stay in the Palace.”

Rick returned with a tray. He held out warmed blood for his Mother and Eric and a salad plate with cookies for Brigid. He sat down on the long banquette, making Brigid move a little further away.

“Thalia says Brigid’s Fae,” and he glanced at Brigid. “I know you are, too, Mom, but Thalia says you aren’t related. Still, what I don’t understand is how you can both be Fae and none of us knew about Brigid.”

“I have a theory, but there is much to be said. This is not be the place,” Eric interrupted. “We need to get off this plane, somewhere not so confined.”

“Hadley’s apartment,” Sookie suggested.

“A good choice,” and Eric pulled out his phone. “The car is pulling closer. Thalia can drive. I’ll have Maxwell reach out to the local Packmaster. You’ll need protection…” Rick started, but then he settled back.

“There are so many vampires in New Orleans.” Sookie was feeling stressed again, so Eric pulled her closer.

“It would make sense to have Rick and Brigid outside the City,” he agreed.

“We could stay with Karin and Peter,” Rick suggested.

“Too many people in Lafayette,” and Eric dismissed the idea. “College campuses are a nightmare for security. Visitors are expected.”

“Not like Chester,” and Rick sighed. “Something about a small town where everyone knows everyone.”

“It would have been the best option,” Sookie agreed. “But Bon Temps may be the next best place. Jason’s there. I know he’ll look out for you. It’s a small town, like Chester. Everyone knows everyone. Any strangers would be noticed.” Eric could see the wheels in Sookie’s head were turning. “We had the house retrofitted. It can be entirely locked down if it came to that.”

“Bon Temps is not such a small town anymore,” Eric pointed out.

“Mustapha is there. And Rubio. They’ll keep an eye out, too,” Sookie persisted.

“We don’t need to make a decision about this tonight,” Eric growled.

“You shouldn’t be making this decision at all!” Rick interrupted. “This is our decision! Brigid’s and mine. We’ll talk about it tonight and let you know what we decide.” His jaw was set in that expression Eric recognized all too well. “For now, let’s just get to the apartment. Brigid’s tired.”

“Oh!” and Sookie pulled out her phone. “You’re right. I guess we were being pretty high-handed. But since I’m making confessions, I should tell you I already made arrangements for Amy Ludwig to swing by and take a look at Brigid.”

“Figured Thalia would tell you about us,” and Rick sighed, before answering the unasked question, “Unexpecting wasn’t expected, but you should know we’re both pretty happy about it.”

“Who’s Amy Ludwig?” Brigid poked Rick, pulling his attention back. Eric could see his son’s woman did look wrung out, her fingers pale and fragile.

“A doctor,” Rick told her. “I think it’s a good idea, Brig.”

“Mothers need vitamins,” Sookie added. “Amy will be able to tell you how you’re doing and if everything’s okay, you know, with the baby and all.”

“And she’ll lick your hand!” Rick chuckled. “Can’t tell you why she does it. Gross as all get out, but I trust her. She knows about things.”

“Bon Temps still works under the blessing of the Fae,” Eric growled to Sookie.

“The blessing of my family, not hers!” Sookie snapped back, her jaw jutting at the same angle her son used only a moment ago.

“You’re ready?” Rick asked Brigid. When she nodded, he turned to Sookie. “You should probably step out first.”

When they exited, the car was waiting only steps away on the tarmac. The Anubis employees were clustered inside the building, waiting to bring the airplane inside once they’d gone. “They’ll want to fumigate,” Thalia growled.

“They employ Weres. A good cleaning will take care of it,” Eric assured her. Sookie slid into the back, but Eric turned to watch his son come down the stairs first, then turn to take Brigid’s hand. She was wrapped in a coat, but the swell was visible.

As they approached the car, Eric stepped forward, holding out his hand in the universal gesture humans understood. “May I?”

Brigid showed no fear, but she held Rick’s hand tight as Eric laid his large hand over her belly. There was nothing to feel, not yet, but the hardness was there. After a moment, he stepped back, letting Rick and Brigid slide into the car. Eric took the seat next to Thalia. He could feel his mate’s curiosity. She had watched him, but he couldn’t explain why he did it. What Eric Northman did know was he felt compelled to acknowledge this child and the woman who carried it.

18 thoughts on “Chapter 26 – Grown

  1. Heidi, what a shame, especially since Hunter loves her..although Sookie’s analogy to how she acted when she was chock full of Bill’s blood would seem to explain his feelings for her. It’s going to be quite interesting to learn what vampire has such a refined and unique ability to glamour. And I love your approach to this season, reducing the frenzy so you can enjoy the beauty is something we should all strive for.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. well, that is the question. Does he love her or is it just vampire blood? Hunter isn’t having an easy time of it,and look for him to accept his Aunt’s explanation of why he feels the way he does.
      The glamour business is dangerous, but turn-about…


  2. I’m going to reserve judgment about whether this answers all the spy questions. It does seem that something not quite right is going on with Heidi, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is innocent of wrong doing. I’m so intrigued by this story and can’t wait for more.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Oh dear, poor Thalia having to smell Fae the whole way home. I think Sookie handled this well for now. The scent that is. Typical parents deciding where the kids are going to be staying. LOL.
    So Heidi the spy or one of the many spies. Yep, Hunter is going to be so hurt. Or maybe not…When her blood finely leaves him, he’ll be thinking with his mind again. Will Sookie get a chance to see if she can glamour a vampire? That’s a tough one to try out. I just love this story !

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have this image in my head of Thalia growling the whole way back – all eight hours of it! But, then again, she is old enough to have held her breath for years, if needed. I don’t think there’s much Thalia hasn’t tried. You don’t get that good at everything by not trying!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, that answered some questions but just brought more to light, lol
    Glad the kids are back, bummed about Hunter and Heidi, wondering what Ludwig will say.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Does anyone else scan to the bottom of page first thing? So glad no one died yet. Worried to death about why Sookie dreamed of Rick screaming in Bon Temps. What will happen to Brigid and Rick? Are they safe? How will Jason protect them?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I am also trying for a stress free holiday. I’ve made some gifts and plan to send cards this week. I want to go to Christmas concerts and community events. Spent a wonderful day making Christmas wreaths with old friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m always well ahead of the holidays when they roll around. I’ve crocheted several scarves and wraps for my daughter’s family. I’m going to send some smaller dish “scrubbies” I crocheted with cards. I’ll start addressing cards today. With all the kids and grandkids older, they all get gift cards to their favorite stores/restuarants. Saves a lot on shipping 🙂
    Now to the story –I do suspect Heidi may be a spy, but she as indebted to Eric for trying to help her with her son while he was alive. I wonder –Heidi is a superior tracker –does that mean she’s a superior tracker “internally” such as the use of placing and detecting glamor/ I guess we soon find out who Russell’s puppets are soon.
    Ah…..can’t wait for Ludwig’s assessment of the baby –what a mix! human/fae/vampire and human/fae and ?? First things first, though. Protect the growing family and find out who wants Eric, Sookie and Rick finally dead, besides Russell…… Vamp heads will explode when they hear about maybe, another possible Damphir?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Smart woman! I’ve found that even though I finished… guess what? I went out and spent some more. So, I guess my next challenge is learning to live by the list!
      Ah, the mystery of Heidi. As you might imagine, Eric is having the same thoughts. He is rarely wrong about loyalty, so having this person betray him won’t sit well.
      As for the baby – one thing Amy Ludwig is pretty good about is keeping her mouth closed. Not like an impending baby is something that will stay secret for long. And then, there’s Rick and Brigid themselves. They’ve stepped through the looking glass into Supe world, whether they meant to or not. Lots of rules to follow and new things to consider.


  8. So the spy is Heidi!?
    I still think it’s somebody else….
    I’m so happy Sookie didn’t lose control.
    Can’t wait for Dr.Ludwig to show up….she is going to love this!
    I already put up my Christmas decorations….🎄
    My kid and I have lots of fun !

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There is something about the holiday season. It just makes me happy! Glad it’s the same for you.
      Does Doctor Ludwig love anything? I don’t think she’s happy unless she’s complaining – do you? And, as for Heidi… well, guess that will be part of the story.

      Liked by 1 person

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