Chapter 30 – The Best Game the Fairies Play

I felt the bed rise as Eric left it to go to his cubby hole.  I had been drifting in and out of sleep, worried about him.  I wasn’t worried that he would hurt me or take advantage of me.  I was worried about his predicament.  I took my vows seriously since I’d married him a little over two months before.  This was the “sickness” part I’d been fretting about.  Eric was sick, and there was no question in my mind that I would stick with him to see this through, whatever the outcome.

Thinking that he’d gone to hide from the sun, I opened my eyes, only to be startled by his blue eyes level with mine.  He was squatting beside my side of the bed.  Regular Eric knew to make noise around me, so as not to startle me.  This Eric didn’t know to do that.

“I scared you,” he said, cocking his head a little to the side.

“I thought you were inside your hiding place instead of here.  You didn’t scare me so much as surprised me,” I said, trying to take some of his worry away.

He brushed a finger over my cheek.  “I just wanted to say good night.  I thought you might be awake.”

I smiled.  Despite everything, I could still see his essence, what had made me fall in love with him to begin with.  He’d been the one to tuck me in the night my Gran died, and that night he’d made a gesture not unlike this one, caressing my face.  “Thank you, Eric.  Good night to you too.”

He lingered for a moment and I reached for his face too, putting my hand on his cheek.  “You will be fine again, I promise,” I said.

“Do you love me, Sookie?” he asked in the quietest voice.  He wasn’t sure what my answer would be, and even his feelings pointed to apprehension.

I didn’t see any reason not to tell him the truth.  “Yes, honey, I love you very much.”

“How long have we been married?”

“A little over two months,” I answered and watched as he spied the ring on his finger.

“Will you be there when I awake?” he asked, lifting his gaze back to me, unsure.

“I promise I will be there,” I said, watching as his eyes grew heavy.  Daylight was just minutes away.  He took my hand, still on his cheek, and kissed my fingers.  He gave me one more soft look, and left.

I brought the same fingers he’d kissed to my lips.  I felt like a sap, wanting to kiss him like a teenager with a crush.  There went my husband, the man that made love to me every night because he was in love with me and me with him, but now it was a one-way thing.  He didn’t know me, so he wasn’t in love with me.  There was a lot of lust and a desire to keep me safe when he learned I was his wife.  Nothing else.  I felt empty and defeated.  I hoped the witch Octavia could undo what had been done.

I got up and closed the curtains.  I was tired, and I really needed to sleep if I was to spend almost a whole night with Eric.  It was not that he couldn’t be left alone, but I would feel guilty.  I wanted to spend as long as I could awake with him.

With a new determination, I snuggled back into the warm bed and fell asleep.  I woke up again at a little after noon, to the sounds of… wood being chopped?  I frowned and listened for a long time, unwilling to leave the warmth of my soft bed.

The sound stopped for a long moment, and I heard a key at the front door.  It was Jason, I realized.  I made a superhuman effort and got up, got cleaned up, and headed out to see what he’d been up to.  He was probably hungry, too, and I knew I should eat something.

“Hey, sis!  I figured your hours were all discombobulated,” Jason said, stacking wood next to my fireplace.

“Yeah… Thanks for getting the wood for me,” I said.  Discombobulated didn’t even begin to cover what I felt at seeing such a gesture from him.  I hadn’t even asked.

Jason shrugged.  “You’ll need it.  They’re calling for snow tonight, not a lot, but it’s gonna be really cold.”

“How cold?” I asked.  It was usually in the fifties.

“They’re saying tonight into the morning it’s going down to twenty one degrees, and tomorrow it’s not getting any hotter than thirty five.”  He was just a regular Weather Channel junkie.

I shivered, even as warmly clad as I was in my sweatshirt and pants.  “Do you want lunch?  I don’t know what I have, but I’m sure I can find something.”

“Sure,” he said immediately.  Of course, I thought.  “I’m going to finish stacking the wood.”

Far be it for me to look a gift horse in the mouth, but Jason was acting mighty strange.  I would have to drill him during lunch.  It was obvious something had made him a thoughtful brother.  I knew he had it in him, of course.  I was nevertheless amazed when I could see the care in him.

I was able to put together some spaghetti with homemade sauce, which took me all of twenty minutes to make.  Jason and I tucked in.  I was incredibly hungry, and that was the only reason that I polished everything off my plate with amazing speed and gusto.  Later I felt sick to my stomach, but decided to ignore it.  It was only stress.

“You’re not yourself today.  Are you okay?” Jason eyed me carefully.

“I’m fine.  What about you?  How was your New Year’s?” I said, quickly dismissing his worry.  The less he knew the safer he’d be.

“I spent it at Merlotte’s and met the most amazing girl.  She’s from Hot Shot, but you’d never know it.  Her name is Crystal and she’s just… We have a date tonight, if you can believe that,” he said.

I was floored.  “No, I barely can.  Um… Jason…?”

“Yes?”

I was going to say something about how the people from Hot Shot were “other,” I just didn’t know what kind, and had to stop myself.  Jason only knew about vampires, nothing else.  I hadn’t even told him he was part fairy, like me.  I would have to phrase my concern delicately.  “You know I have nothing against the people from Hot Shot, but…”

“But what?”

“You know how three years ago we didn’t know that vampires were real?”

“Yes.”

“Don’t you wonder if there are other legends that are real?  Other things that we don’t know about,” I hinted.

“Are you saying Crystal is a vampire?” he asked giving me a look that said I was the one who was nuts.

“No, definitely not.  People from Hot Shot are not vampires,” I said with finality.

“What are they?”

“I don’t know, but I can guess.  Let’s just say that I can’t read their minds the way I can read human minds.”

Jason cringed.  He didn’t like it when I reminded him of what I could do.  He composed himself.  “What is your guess?”

I took a deep breath and braced myself.  I needed to look into his mind to gauge how much of a blow this would be.  I took the quickest of peeks.  He didn’t seem completely attached to Crystal yet.  If he had been I would have softened the blow, but since I didn’t want him getting involved with any kind of supe… call me selfish.

“I’ve met werewolves, and their brains are almost as hazy as the brains of the people from Hot Shot.  I don’t think they’re werewolves, though.  I do know that whatever they are, they’re dangerous,” I finished.  Hopefully he’d take me seriously.  At the very least I could feel the fear rolling off him.

“Shit!”  He paused.  “You know, Sookie, I should have stopped you from dating Eric.  He’s dangerous too.”

Jason had a point.  “I never said he wasn’t.  But he wouldn’t hurt me and he’s incredibly powerful, so he can keep me safe from others.  I’m also not telling you what to do, only giving you information so you’re not taken by surprise.  At least I knew exactly what Eric was before becoming involved with him.”

This conversation was going nowhere fast.  I wasn’t sure if Jason understood the enormity of what I was telling him.  He was saved by my doorbell.

It was Claudine.  I was so surprised that I let her in the house without even thinking about it.  “I heard what happened last night,” she said without preamble, right after kissing and hugging me.

“Come in.  My brother is here and he doesn’t know,” I said in a hushed voice.

“I understand.  Introduce me?” she said as a question.

I wasn’t planning on not introducing her, so to me it was a strange request, but I led the way back to the kitchen where Jason was cleaning his plate at the sink.  He seemed dazed.

“Jason,” I got his attention.  He turned and his eyes almost popped out when he took in Claudine.  To be sure, she looked as incredible as ever, and that day she was wearing white leggings with a long winter white fluffy sweater that accentuated every curve.  “Jason,” I said again, and he snapped out of it, “This is my friend Claudine.  Claudine this is my brother Jason.

Jason walked like the man who owned that kitchen and offered his hand to Claudine.  They were about the same height.  I felt a tickle of energy, as if I was about to get a shock from static electricity.  Jason jumped.

“I just remembered I have to finish something at home.  I’ll bring you the shotgun tonight, Sookie,” Jason said, and left swiftly.

“What was that?” I asked astonished.  “Did you glamour my brother?”

“Not exactly.  I helped him remember.  And I planted the suggestion that maybe you should have some weapon with you,” she looked horribly worried.  I was very concerned that her usual smile had disappeared.

“Can I offer you something to eat or drink?  I just made spaghetti,” I offered.  I hated having company go without, even if said company was in severe need to talk, not to eat or drink.

“In a minute, Sookie.  Sit, come,” she waited until I sat across from her and spoke again.  “I heard about the witch that was killed at Fangtasia last night.  That Hallow woman is very powerful and she’s too close to you for our comfort.”

“Who are you talking about?” I asked.

“I’m talking about Hallow, the witch that asked Eric for protection money,” she said, as if talking to a two year old.

I rolled my eyes.  “No, Claudine.  You said ‘our comfort.’  What are you talking about?  And who?”

Claudine blanched.  She’d put her foot in her mouth.  She looked down at her hands on the table, but seemed to gather her courage and looked back at me.  “You do have family in Fairy, and they worry about you.  I’m here to keep an eye on you as best I can.”

My brain froze, as it had the tendency to do when confronted with too much information.   I shook my head to try to restart it, stood up and started pacing.  A family in Fairy could mean so many things: my real parents, grandparents, siblings.  Was Jason really my brother?  He must have been, we looked very much alike… same nose, same eyes.

“I was sent by your great-grandfather.  We live for a very long time,” she explained.  “But that’s neither here nor there.  Right now I have to come up with a way to keep you hidden from Hallow.”

“Hidden?” I asked, effectively coming out of the fog.  “Is that woman looking for me?”

Claudine shrugged.  “I know she’s looking for Eric, and he’s your mate.  She could try to get to him through you.”  She scrunched up her face, thinking.  “The brooch, do you still have it?”

“What brooch?” I asked.  There was only one that I owned, but I wanted to make sure she was talking about the same one.  How did she know about it, anyway?  Had she seen it that day at the cemetery?

“The one that used to belong to your grandmother.  It’s a fairy piece.  Bring it, I’ll show you.”

“Wait!  How do you know?” I demanded.

She arched an eyebrow.  “Sookie, I saw it in your hand when I found you in the cemetery.  It didn’t use to belong to your grandmother.  That piece was stolen and given to her as a gift.  But I’m not about to take it back, not when it belongs to you anyway.”

“You’re being very cryptic,” I pointed out.

“Oy!  Go get the brooch!” she said, startling me.  I’d never seen her mad.  I did as I was told and put the brooch in her hand.  She closed her hand around it and mumbled something.  A light came out of her hand, enveloping her whole arm and part of the table in it.  The light receded slowly and she opened her hand, handing me back the piece of jewelry.  “Wear this always, even if you just put it on your underwear.  Take it with you when you bathe and when you sleep.  It will make you invisible to Hallow’s charms.”

“What about Eric?” I asked.

“I’m hoping the other witch, Octavia, can help with that.  I can’t manipulate his magic, being natural enemies and all, but the witch can.  Put the brooch on,” she ordered, since I was still holding on to it.

Again I obeyed, but then turned to her, my heart beating fast with anger.  “Spill,” I commanded.

“Fine, but only because I have to.  Your great-grandfather asked me to keep an eye on you.  I’m working to become an angel, so watching over you is the perfect assignment, other than my duty as your cousin.”

“You’re my cousin?” I interrupted.

“First cousin once removed.  Your great-grandfather is my grandfather.  As for your origins… are you sure you want to hear the story?” she asked, eyeing me carefully.  She was the second one to do that today.

“Might as well.  I’d hate to find out any other way,” I answered.

Claudine gave me a sad smile.  “I understand,” she took a deep breath.  “Your great-grandfather, Niall, had two children with a human woman.  Their names are Fintan and Dermot.  They’re half fairy, half human.  Fintan fell in love with… your grandmother, and your grandmother had two children by him, your father Corbett and your aunt Linda.  Then your dad had you and Jason.  So, for all intents and purposes you’re one eighth fairy.”

I could feel it all crashing around me.  “What?”  It was all I could say, and even that came out strangled.

“I’m sorry,” she said and put her hand on mine.

“I’m not a Stackhouse,” I whispered.  She shook her head.  “Gran cheated?”  Claudine nodded.

“Your last name, by all rights, should be Brigant.  Although you’ve chosen a mate, so now it’s Northman, right?”  She paused, still sensing my shock.  “The man you call your grandfather couldn’t have children.  He was a good man and brought up Adele’s children as his own.”

I remembered my Grandpa Stackhouse, always a gentle soul.  He hadn’t minded my freaky quirk either.  He’d read stories to all three of us grandkids, and he’d been an ace at making corn bread.  I was just a little girl, but my opinion of him couldn’t have been far off.  He’d been good to us, therefore he’d been good.

I shook myself.  Wallowing in the past was useless.  Now I knew the truth, and eventually I would internalize it.  Right now I had other fish to fry.

“How did you learn about Hallow?” I asked.

“She’s boastful.  She invited Claudette to a meeting, thinking she was a witch.  When Eric did not appear beside her, she vowed to find him and enlisted the help of all present.  Claudette vaguely remembered that you were mated to Eric, so she told me as soon as she got home.  I’ve been in Fairy all morning trying to figure out the best way to fix this, but for now the brooch is the best thing for protection,” she explained.

Something else was prickling at my understanding.  “You keep saying I’m mated to Eric, and I can understand that easily enough, but not your choice of words.”

Claudine smiled.  “That’s easy.  We fairies pick a mate with whom to procreate.  Once that’s done, and the kids are grown, we move on.  It’s a type of magic that bonds us to the parent of our child.  Of course, in your case you’re bonded with Eric’s magic as well, but don’t be fooled: you chose him too.”

My head started hurting.  I put my cheek on the cold table, knowing that it wouldn’t help.  “So let me get this straight: my grandmother cheated on my grandfather with a half-fairy man and that’s how I come to have my fairy ancestry.  You were sent by my family to keep an eye on me.  Now Hallow is trying to get to Eric through me, so you have to protect me.  That’s not counting the fact that I’m not only a freak who can read minds, but I also went ahead and chose Eric as the future father of the children I’ll never have.  Have I gotten all the finer points?”

I couldn’t see Claudine’s face, and she couldn’t see mine, so she laid her cheek on the table to look me in the eye.  “Yes, that’s most of it.”  She was smiling.  “It was actually a good thing you felt like speaking to your grandmother that day at the cemetery.  None of us knew how close you’d come to danger until Fintan heard you.”

“Fintan?” I asked.  There had been too much information.  I didn’t know who she was talking about.

“Your grandfather,” she supplied helpfully.

Realization hit me like a sack of potatoes.  “He was there,” I said, wide-eyed, remembering the beautiful man who I’d thought looked like a vampire.  “But he looks so young.”

“I told you we live for a long time.  That applies to half-fairies too.”  Claudine took a deep breath, looking contrite.  “I’m really sorry to have put all this on you.  It’s been an eventful few months, huh?”

I nodded.  All this had started when my dumb cousin had opened her mouth to speak about me, to boast, even.  And here was my other cousin, way more extraordinary than me by many leaps and bounds.  Thank goodness Hadley didn’t know about Claudine, huh?  I raised my head from the table, since that hadn’t helped my headache.  Claudine imitated my movement and we both sat in silence for a moment.

“Is Eric alright?  Did any part of the other spell take hold?” she asked.

I nodded, dejected.  “He lost all his memory before Octavia could send him home.”

“He was supposed to be transported to Hallow’s side instead,” she said in a quiet voice.

I felt cold but started sweating, and felt like I would throw up everything I’d had for lunch.  I took very deep breaths, counting to five on the inhale, five on the exhale, to keep the nausea at bay.  “Why?” I asked, though I wasn’t expecting Claudine to have a ready answer.

She answered anyway.  “My best guess is that since Eric is a very old and very powerful vampire, once Hallow talked him into giving her all his wealth, she’d drain him dry.  If she didn’t sell his blood – which I’m sure is highly profitable – then she would use it to increase her own power.”

The memory of what I’d seen in the Rattrays’ minds, the drained vampires, crashed into me and I felt like I was sinking in my chair.  She read my mind and cringed.  “That’s not your memory,” she pointed out.

“Of course not.  I could never do that,” I said, defensive.

“That’s not what I meant.  You seem to be seeing it as if you were the one who’d done it.  It must have affected you a lot,” she mused, studying me.  I was showing her other things that had affected me, and I didn’t care if she’d gleaned them from my mind before.

“I’m strong enough, Claudine.  I’ll do what I have to do to get Eric better, but I’m scared that Hallow will just keep trying to get him, or any of countless other people who I care about.  At least two of Eric’s people are actually more powerful than Eric.”  I put on my big girl britches.  The time for the pity party was over.  “Who is this Hallow, what is she doing here, and how do I stop her?”

Claudine smiled in an almost evil way.  “Tell me she hurt you,” she prompted.

I thought about it.  Hallow had hurt the most important person in my life, therefore she’d hurt me by proxy.  “Hallow hurt me.”

Her evil grin widened.  She almost looked deranged, but I liked it.  Suddenly she let me into her mind, and I saw visions of her and her siblings in battle.  She was holding on to the severed head of what looked to be a goblin, laughing her head off when the goblin stuck his tongue out.  She was a warrior; my whole family was.

“Then it seems to me that we need to address this threat,” she concluded.

“Good,” I said, infusing my tone with venom.

Fucking Hallow!  She wanted to mess with me, fine.  Now that I knew my powerful family had my back, I’d give Hallow a rude awakening.  Bitch.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

I sat on the bed of the spare bedroom, waiting patiently for Eric to come out of his cubby hole.  The witch Octavia had called and said she was on her way with her assistant, and I had no doubt that Pam would come as soon as she woke up for the night.  At some point I was also expecting Jason to drop off his shotgun.  I was having a full house tonight, so as soon as Claudine left, I set to clean house.  I had a new sense of purpose.  I had tied my life to Eric’s to save myself from servitude to a vampire queen.  All my life I’d been made to witness other people’s perversities inside their brains.  I’d just been told that the person who I thought was above reproach had actually cheated on her husband, enough times to become pregnant twice.  And NOW the best thing I’ve ever had in my life had been taken away by a Were witch doped up on vampire blood.  Yeah… NO.  I was done.  I had new tools at my disposal, namely a family full of super creatures, and I was going to use them.

The door to the cubby hole opened, and Eric emerged slowly, sniffing the air like a cat and making no noise.  He moved his gaze to me and smiled.  I thought my heart might melt.

“Sookie, your house smells delicious,” he said.  No “good evening,” no “how was your day.”  I’d have to school him in the fine art of being Eric.

“Thank you.  I have clean clothes here for you.  We’re having company soon, and I know you like to shower right after waking,” I said, standing up and handing him the clothes… or trying to, rather, because he didn’t want to take the bundle.

“It smells…” he closed his eyes and the tips of his fangs ran out, “like fairy.”  His voice was dreamy, and when he looked at me again, his eyes were too.

“My cousin Claudine stopped by.  She’s a fairy.  I’ll air the house if you can’t control yourself,” I said in a stern voice.  I’d taken a shower, but I guessed the scent lingered inside the house.

Eric eyed me hungrily… he actually was hungry.  He’d have to settle for a True Blood, ‘cause he wasn’t having any of my blood anytime soon.  “Go shower quickly, please.”

“Yes, wife,” he said, smirking and taking the clothes.  He didn’t move from his spot, and waited until I walked away to follow behind me.  Yep!  There was the lust.  He was probably staring at my butt.  He was welcomed to look, but not to touch.  On the other hand, his feelings were not as jumbled as the night before.  Perhaps his mind had healed a bit while he slept.

I led him to the bathroom, where I turned the shower on for him.  I wasn’t sure how much memory of the simple things he had retained, and I didn’t want him to burn himself with hot water.  Sure, he’d heal, but why hurt him?  By the time I turned around to leave him, he was standing in front of me, naked.  His gracious plenty was beckoning.

I shut my eyes tight.  I could not, would not give in to my baser instincts for a romp in the sack, not even with the body of my husband.  “Eric, the same rule still applies now as it did last night.  I will not have sex with you.”

“Sookie, you hurt me with your assumption.  It’s true that I would like nothing more than to take you and fuck you.  Can you blame me?  But I shall honor your wishes, my beautiful wife.  I know you will yield to me, eventually,” he said with a confident smirk.

I opened my eyes.  I was beyond angry, and my voice came out hot and menacing.  “You and I don’t fuck.  You and I have never fucked.  And don’t you DARE use that word in front of me ever again, Eric Northman!”  I pushed my way out of the bathroom, after seeing his smirk disappear into a frown.

I went to the kitchen.  I needed something to calm me down.  Tea would have to do, since I barely ever had alcohol in the house… though I could have used a stiff drink or two.  I’d never been that cross with Eric before and I felt guilty.  After all, he wasn’t himself.  I was going to have to be more patient.  The guilt I felt doubled when he walked into the kitchen, looking confused with messy wet hair.  Oh, God!  I shouldn’t have yelled at him…

“Eric, please sit down,” I said in a much softer tone, pointing to the chair at the head of the table.  He obeyed and I went to get him a blood.  I left him drinking it while I fetched the hairbrush we always shared and a hair band.

“I’m going to fix your hair, is that okay?” I asked, standing behind him.  He nodded, and I proceeded to work out the knots.  It was nice to do this for him.  I could pretend everything was normal.

“I thought you were angry with me,” he said.  I felt his confusion.

I took a moment to get over my guilt enough to speak.  “I was angry because of the way you spoke to me, but I’m not angry anymore.”

“I hurt you again,” he said.  “I don’t know how to be around you.”

I took a deep breath, trying to stop the tears that were threatening to spill again.  “Don’t worry, you will learn.  I didn’t mean to be so cross with you and I’m sorry.”

His hair was up and his neck was bare.  Did I dare?  Before I could talk myself out of it I bent and planted a lingering kiss on his soft skin, taking in his sweet scent before pulling away.  I felt his confusion settle as I walked away to put the brush back in the bathroom.  When I returned to the kitchen he turned in his seat to look at me.

“May I kiss you too?” he asked, still sitting and looking at me expectantly.

I got close enough to him, not quite thinking about anything but the fact that I wanted him to kiss me, and being driven by something bigger than myself.  He stood up and took my hands in his.  I looked up, expecting him to kiss my lips, but he bent to kiss my neck instead, in the same way I’d kissed his.  I got goose bumps and felt my body tremble.  I almost gave in, almost, but was saved by the doorbell.  I closed my eyes and scanned the minds behind the door.  One mind was serene, and the other was a very loud broadcaster who was wondering what kind of silly woman had married a vampire.

“Come on.  The witches are here,” I said.

Eric didn’t budge.  “Are those the ones who hurt me?”  He looked scared, but was feeling angry.

“No.  It’s Octavia and her assistant.  Octavia sent you home so you couldn’t be transported to Hallow with no memory,” I said.  There was so much I had to tell the black woman, I was almost hopping at Eric’s hesitation.

“And you trust them?” he asked.

“I have no reason not to.  Eric,” I took a deep breath.  He didn’t know of my quirk.  “I can read human minds.  I can see if someone has any intention of harming me or you.”

“Are you psychic or telepathic?” he asked.  I had an odd feeling of déjà vu.

“Telepathic,” I answered.  “Now come, they’re waiting.”

I opened the door for Octavia and her assistant, and got to see the old witch clearly for the first time.  She was as tall as me, in her early fifties, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at her porcelain coffee-with-cream skin.  Only her cropped short hair gave her away with tiny bits of gray peppering the black.  Her assistant was no older than me, but looked like a Real Housewife, with designer jeans, a fancy jacket and boots, and her black hair expertly cut into a shiny bob.  She looked like the quintessential snow bunny.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if she was married to a sugar daddy… Look who’s talking, I chastised myself.

I showed them in and quickly offered them something to drink before we started the introductions.

“I am Octavia, and this is my assistant Amelia.  Nice to meet you properly,” she extended her hand to me and to Eric.

“I am Sookie, Eric’s wife,” I said, not feeling the need to introduce him.  If they didn’t know who he was by now…  “I have some information that can help you,” I said immediately.

We all took our seats.  I decided not to wait for Pam.  She’d find out everything eventually.  I needed the witches to get on with it as soon as possible.  Eric sat half hidden behind me, just like he had the night before.  The witches took the side chairs.

How to tell them the story without giving away too much?  Oh, screw it!  They wouldn’t know who I was talking about.  “My cousin, a fairy, was invited to Hallow’s place last night.  Hallow thought she was a witch.  Apparently Hallow’s curse was to erase Eric’s memories and transport him to Hallow’s side, presumably to steal his money and drain him dry,” I said.  Eric stiffened beside me and held my hand tighter.  He was all kinds of angry.  “You stopped half the curse by sending him here,” I told Octavia.

“Thank the goddess it’s something simple!  I was hoping she wouldn’t be too smart with her spells.  I’m sure the witch’s brain isn’t all there, hopped up on vampire blood as it is,” Octavia said.  Her thoughts weren’t as clear as her assistant Amelia’s, but she was radiating relief.

“So you can reverse the curse?” I asked, not allowing myself to become too excited.  It couldn’t be this simple.

“I can, but we have to wait until the fourth, when the moon is new, for my spell to work.  That’s when Hallow’s power will be at its weakest, since she’s a Were,” the witch explained.

Pam arrived then.  She was talking football with my brother, who had arrived at the same time.  They came inside laughing with each other.  I whispered to Eric that the man was my brother Jason, and that they knew each other.

“Sis!” Jason set the gun down against the wall.  Sometimes he surprised me by how smart he could be.  He hadn’t put the shotgun away in the closet so that nobody present would know where I kept it.  I’d read that right off his brain before I reinforced my shields against him and Amelia, who was holding one of the loudest mental conversations I’d ever heard.  Holy God!  The woman had a ready opinion about everything!

“Thanks, Jason.  Can I talk to you for a second?” I asked, getting up.  Eric let go of my hand reluctantly and let Pam sit beside him.  I tugged Jason to the kitchen while Octavia filled Pam in on the plan.

“What’s up?” he asked, worried.

“There are really bad people looking for Eric, and nobody can know that he’s with me.  So if you hear anything you need to tell me right away, and if anybody asks, not matter who it is, you tell them you don’t know anything.  It’s as much for your safety as for his,” I said in a low voice.

Jason frowned.  “I’ll do it, Sookie, but you have me plenty worried.  First the shotgun, now this?  Are you going to be safe here?”

“I am,” I said, then changed the subject.  “How about you?  Are you going out with the girl from Hot Shot?”

“I canceled, but you need to give me the phone number of that friend of yours.  She was smokin’ hot!”

And your cousin

, I said to myself.  “Alright, I will, but not right now.  I need to get back there,” I said, pointing to the living room.

Jason left through the back door, sensing I was not all there and needed my space.  When I returned to the living room I found the witches beating my curtains with leafy sticks.  I raised an eyebrow at Pam and she shrugged.  I sat next to Eric, and he immediately put his arm around me and brought me close.  He was feeling less angry and more uneasy, and his confusion had returned as well.  I patted his knee to try to comfort him.

The witches went all around the house, beating my curtains and chanting something, while Pam, Eric and I sat patiently.

“They’re putting a charm on the house to make it invisible to magic, they said,” Pam explained.  It sounded like what Claudine had done to my brooch, which was now attached to my panties to keep the silver away from the vampires.  “Why does your house smell of fairy?” Pam asked.

“My friend Claudine was here.  It turns out she’s my cousin.  It’s a long story.  Her sister Claudette was the one who Hallow invited to her little party last night.  That’s how I found out the exact nature of the spell,” I explained, watching as Pam’s eyes got wider and wider.

“When Octavia told us you knew someone who had been there, I didn’t for a minute fathom it had been a fairy relation,” she said, her face settling back to her usual blank expression.  “You’re going to have to tell me the long story soon.”

“I will, I’ll tell you both everything later.”

Everybody left, eventually, and I was left alone in a freezing house with my poor memory-deprived husband.  Three days.  In three days I would have him back to normal.  How long does it take to have your heart broken completely?  I figured it was way less than three days.

Next Chapter

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