So, this chapter is what happens when Mags steps away from the keyboard and says – I have to let it go. I’m sure there may be a character here or there that you’re wondering about, but the story spanned so much time, I could probably take a year to write up the final chapter to cover everyone.
Thank you all for the comments and likes along the way!
Glimpses 17 – Beauty and the Vampire Beast – The End!
You can refer to the family tree HERE
“ERIC!” Sookie screamed from her bedroom. “I need you!” When she didn’t hear a response right away, she added, “NOW!”
In his office, Eric heard the request and planned to run to her, he needed a moment to finish his email first. He knew once he got to Sookie he wouldn’t be leaving the bedroom for hours.
Standing next to Eric, his granddaughter Claudine, Moyra’s daughter, so helpfully offered, “Pop-pop, Mom-mom is calling for you.”
“I know Claudine. Go and tell her I need a moment. I don’t want to yell that lo…”
Before he finished, Sookie bellowed again, “ERIC! I’m hot.” Claudine ran off to update her Mom-mom so she’d stop yelling.
Cory, Hoyt’s son and his current assistant, couldn’t hold in his laughter. “You better get going Eric. It’s only going to get worse the more you make her wait.”
“One more sentence Cory.” He typed as he spoke then hit the send button with flourish. “And finished. I’ll see you tomorrow. Sookie will need me…”
“I know, all your staff is aware. We won’t disturb you. Go take care of her now.”
Eric vamped to the master bedroom and found Sookie pulling off her clothes. “Oh! Thank God! Strip and get over here.”
Knowing what she needed, Eric complied and pulled the covers down on the bed and placed Sookie in the middle. Then, as she liked, he wrapped his body around hers. She gave out a sigh of relief. “That’s better.” As was the pattern, Sookie started crying after the initial discomfort of her hot body temperature was reduced.
Eric had been struggling with the changes to Sookie’s body. Not that he was upset at her, rather, he was concerned for her. She was fighting the reality of menopause. At eighty, it was high time for her body to change. She’d beaten back time for many years and reality was hitting hard. “Sookie, can we please discuss this again? Why can’t we invite Dr. Ludwig for a medical opinion?”
“I’m afraid she’s going to tell me this in menopause.”
He refrained from looking at her as if she was crazy; it wouldn’t help. Rather than being crazy, he knew she was in denial and he knew why. Years ago, at Frannie’s wedding, they spoke about putting the Duggar family to shame. With twelve children, they’d given it a good effort. Sookie though, wasn’t ready to give in. She’d enjoyed babies and toddlers for years, as he had. The difference was, while he would have welcomed another child, Sookie was desperate for more. They’d spoken about trying for a baby nine months earlier but after three failed insemination attempts, they stopped to take a break. It was during the break when hot flashes and changes to her cycle began. “Sookie.” With his hand gently on her chin, he turned her face to his and begged, “Please? I hate seeing you physically uncomfortable and suffering mentally. Not knowing for sure is killing you.”
“I’m not ready to be done.” She clung to Eric like she was drowning. “We shouldn’t have spaced them out by so many years. I could’ve enjoyed…”
He pulled her up so they were facing each other on the bed. Finally, something clicked with Eric and he knew it was time to stop all this and bring in Ludwig. “SOOKIE! Stop analyzing a decision that’s over and done. We chose to space them out so we could enjoy each baby, or twins as it turned out, to their fullest. We had years of cuddling, first steps, first words, and poopy diapers. Because the Council was running smoothly, we were able to dote on each child. It was a plan that worked,” He pointed his finger into her chest, “And you know it.”
Sookie rejected his words. “But if I had given birth more often, maybe I wouldn’t be changing so early now.”
His eyebrows rose into his hairline. “Early? Sookie, you’re eighty! You’ve beaten the clock to death.” Not waiting for her acquiescence, he pulled his phone out and called Ludwig. The doctor had been part of their lives for decades, rejoiced at every birth, and cried with Sookie when they didn’t succeed. It was right for her to be part of this phase of their lives.
“Northman, finally got her to agree to see me, yes?”
“No, but I can’t wait for her agreement any longer. We need you; I’m making this decision for her.”
Ludwig sighed. “I’m on my way.”
Sookie reacted as he expected and started snarling at him. She’d get over it. When the doctor was led into the bedroom, Sookie growled and threw a box of tissues from the night stand at her. Ludwig’s eyebrows rose but she said nothing. Instead, she used the bench at the end of the bed to place her doctor’s bag and started rifling through it. She came out with a syringe. “I’m taking some blood to run tests, I’ll do a physical examination, then we’ll head down the hall for an ultrasound.”
Eric could feel Sookie prepare for a fight and instead of reacting with anger, he begged, “Please my love, we need to know what’s going on for certain.”
It was her husband’s pitiful face that had her giving up her arm for the blood draw.
An hour later, they sat together to discuss Ludwig’s diagnosis. As Eric suspected, as he’d known, Sookie had started menopause. Eric watched Sookie as the doctor spoke to them about the results and what she could expect during menopause. When she didn’t react with tears, he realized she’d also known the truth all along, though she didn’t admit it. He wasn’t angry, he was concerned for her and helping her through it. “Min älskade, what do you want to do?”
“Do?” She looked confused until she realized that the Dr. Ludwig had been talking to her. “I’m sorry Amy, I zoned out.”
“I was saying, that since you seem to be suffering through the change, and I know you had been remaining human was so you could have more children…” When Sookie said nothing, the doctor continued. “I know it’s none of my business about your turning, but…” The doctor sighed. “My best guess is, with menopause, you’re going to age faster, eve with Eric’s blood.” She put her hands up.” I’ll stay out of it.”
“Amy! You’ve been aware of our plans and have been monitoring my aging for the purpose of gaging when I should be turned. You haven’t mis stepped. I’m… I need to talk it through with Eric.” The tears Eric had expected before fell. “I wanted another baby. Menopause kills that dream.”
Ludwig’s eyebrows raised comically, and she shouted, “Not necessarily!”
“What do you mean?”
“We have your eggs frozen. We still have the fairy created sperm with your giant’s DNA. We just need surrogates.”
Sookie’s face brightened. “You’ve given me hope Amy. Thank you.”
She touched Sookie’s arm and offered a gentle squeeze, “I’ll see myself out.”
Eric pulled Sookie onto his lap. “What are you thinking my love?”
“I’m thinking I need to have my hair color touched up, my nails done, waxing…”
Her answer had confused him; he’d been expecting a long debate over next steps. “What are you saying?”
“That it’s high time I joined you. Amy’s comments about aging faster concern me. It’s not the best time for Poppy, but I don’t want to start looking even that much older than you. ” She cocked her head to the side. “Don’t you agree?”
Responding with a smile so wide, Sookie thought his face was going to split apart. His emotions were a direct reflection of that smile; the joy she felt through the bond was close to suffocating her; to give him his moment, she said nothing. “I’ll get the turning coffin out of storage.”
She giggled. “That thing is like the cradle other families pass down. Only we use it for death…”
“It’s not death min älskade.”
“No. No it isn’t.” She quoted her Gran from years before. “It’s transformation, like a butterfly.”
“Well, my beautiful butterfly… hmmm, I guess for the moment, you’re the caterpillar.” His face screwed up in confusion. “I’m not going to try to fix that statement.” He took an unneeded breath. “What do you want to do now my beautiful wife?”
“I need to tell the kids, starting with Poppy. She’s the youngest. It will impact her most.”
“It’s only three days.”
“And the year to wait until Claudine fixes me from the sun.”
Eric’s head shook before she’d even finished her statement. “You’re not holding yourself to that rule.”
“I made the rule when the triplets were turned. They needed to appreciate the healing; to do that, they needed to die for the day.”
“I’m overriding the rule for you and Poppy is reason enough. At six, she still needs you during the day.”
“I’ll think about it.” She stood to gather some clothes. “I’m going to Gran’s room. Can you find Poppy and send her there?” Eric nodded and headed out.
Sookie got dressed and made her way to the room Gran occupied during her last years with the family. Sookie used the room to hold all the family photo and memorabilia albums she’d made over the years. While the bed was gone, and the room’s purpose had changed, it was still called Gran’s room. Sookie seated herself in the large rocking chair and pulled an album from the bookshelf. It was one of their earliest ones. Moyra was ten and the trips were nine. It was the last year they had Gran and Sookie shed a few tears at that realization.
A quiet voice called to her from the doorway, “Mommy?”
“Poppy, come in baby girl.” Sookie put her arms out and Poppy threw herself into her mother’s embrace. Like Moyra and Rosalie, Poppy was a healer with a strong fairy spark; unlike the other healers, Poppy was also telepathic, making her mature beyond her six years. Claudine had identified the healing ability before Poppy’s first birthday and had assigned a coach/guard right away. The girl was an angel, just like Moyra, and people smiled simply from being in her presence.
“Daddy said you needed to talk to me.”
“Mommy, why were you sad when I walked in?”
“I was looking at the last photo album when Gran was still alive.”
“Sorry.” Poppy reached up and squeezed Sookie. The embrace lasted several minutes and Sookie soaked up the love and affection like a sponge. Poppy leaned back and gave her mommy a concerned look and asked, “Better?”
“Yes, but you didn’t need to do that.” She kissed Poppy on the nose and added. “Thank you baby.”
“Can you show me the album without being sad now?”
Sookie nodded and opened the book. Describing what they were both seeing, Sookie was lost in her memories and Poppy was absorbing every word like a sponge. They giggled when Sookie told her the story of the triplets and how they’d changed the pools PH level that year and tried to liberate frogs from the lab on the property. They smiled at the pictures of Frannie’s baby, Quinn, taking his first steps. They sniffled at the pictures from Christmas as Gran handed the saved wood from the prior year to Eric so he could start the fire under the new Yule log. “That was her last Yule Log.”
Concerned, Poppy looked into her mother’s eyes. “Do I need to hug you again?”
“No. Well, I mean you can always hug me, but I don’t need a healing hug right now.”
Hoping to help her mother’s mood, Poppy asked more about the frog incident. “Mommy, you thought the frog thing was funny, didn’t you?”
“Kind of…” Sookie explained that the triplets were trying to liberate the frogs, so she couldn’t get angry over the stunt. To this day, Sookie couldn’t figure out why they didn’t release the frogs in the creek; the triplets went to extra trouble trying to change the pool water.
She pulled open the book in the middle; the page near the frog incident, showing that the family did release the frogs after all. Sookie paused on the page and tapped her finger for a moment before smiling and telling Poppy, “You know, there’s another story here.”
“Another Trip story?”
Sookie nodded, “Yep. There aren’t pictures of the incident, but it has to do with the goats,” She pointed to a picture on the page, “With Moyra’s goats and those little scalawags.”
Poppy giggled. “What did they do?” Poppy’s face was lit up, waiting to hear the story. She loved to hear about the antics of her triplet siblings. “The three of them thought it would be funny to free the goats.” Sookie chuckled at the memory. “They devised a plan to distract the guards, Moyra, and the other staff. Pammers had Addie pretend to fall off one of the horses in the corral. Once she had captured the attention of the adults in the area, Jarl and Pammers opened the gate to the goat’s yard then ran behind the goats to scare them out.”
Poppy was bouncing in her excitement. “How many? How did you catch them?” Her voice lowered conspiratorially. “What did you do to them after?”
Sookie’s eyes sparkled; she’d hated their antics when they happened, but looking back, she couldn’t help but enjoy telling the stories. “There were a dozen goats. Capturing them involved lots of running around, some crying on Moyra’s part, and finally, having Daddy gather them by using his super speed. At that point, they’d thrown the estate into chaos because your father had been at a meeting in Shreveport when they first got loose. Most of our vampire guards were down for the day; we had to wait for your father.”
“I bet he was mad.”
“Oh yes. The triplets had to clean out the barn for a month. Because Daddy didn’t feel that the barn cleaning was enough punishment, they had to scoop out the goat pen too.”
Poppy shook her head; she’d never been in trouble, so she didn’t get the whole concept of misbehaving. “Why did they do it?”
“Same reason they do everything; to see if they can get away with it; to watch the reactions of everyone around them.” She shrugged and put the album down to pull out one from two years earlier. In the spring of that year, Sookie added pictures of Frannie’s wedding even though they had an album dedicated to the event. Poppy spent time looking at each picture commenting on the dresses and flowers. Poppy was, like her older sisters Moyra and Adrianna, a girly girl.
When they got to the summer, there was a picture of Moyra and the trips standing outside a grocery store. Poppy put her hands on her hips. “I’ve never been to a grocery store. Why did they go? Did all my other brothers and sister get to go grocery shopping?”
“No, and that day,” She pointed to the picture, “Is the reason why.”
Poppy started giggling before she asked, “What did the scalawags do?”
Sookie giggled with her daughter and answered, “I took them because, like you, they’d never been grocery shopping. I felt like they needed to do something like a family without guards and help would do. At the store, we had guards staying somewhat close, but not hovering since I wanted them to experience it as best they could.” She took a breath, “Anyway, Moyra knocked into a display of salad dressings in bottles and was crying about it. She was saying sorry and I oopsied repeatedly.” Poppy giggled, she’d heard about Moyra calling everything oopsie, and had recently adopted the phrase for her own mistakes. The broken bottles made a mess, so I was focused on that clean-up, as were some of our guards. I swear, we’d only been turned away for a moment when I heard one of the guards start laughing. Reluctantly, I turned back. Pammers, Addie, and Jarl were racing around the produce area…” She paused, “Licking everything they could.”
“Ewww.” Poppy’s face screwed up in disgust. “Did the store wash everything?”
“No. Well, technically, consumers, I mean the people buying the fruit and vegetables should wash everything when they get it home, but I wound up buying the store out of produce, arranging for an emergency restocking, and we never set foot in that store again.”
“Are there lots of fruits and vegies in a store?” Sookie nodded. “What did you do with it?”
“I had it delivered to the local food pantry for distribution. I also sent Pammers, Addie, and Jarl to the pantry to wash each piece. Their guards went for protection, but they weren’t to touch anything.” She paused and added, “Since I was the one in the store with them, I also went to supervise their punishment while Daddy took the well-behaved children out for a day in the park.”
“What else did those three do?” Poppy asked, eager for another story.
Sookie shook her head. “Nothing else big that year.” Sookie returned that book to the shelf. “Maybe another year?”
Poppy’s head nodded wildly, and she gave a suggestion, “The weddings, can we look at my sisters’ wedding albums?”
As they’d already looked at some of Frannie’s pictures, they started with Moyra and Jack Herveaux’s album. They spoke about the wedding and Moyra’s move to Arkansas. “Daddy still misses her, doesn’t he?” Poppy didn’t ask out of jealousy or anger, it was concern for her father. She knew, she often felt, his longing for Moyra and Desmond, his two children not living on the property. With Moyra, it was especially so. Because she was a smart girl, she also knew it was a twinge of fear for Moyra that gave him the pangs of pain on occasion; Desmond had been turned, was living with his bonded mate, Christian, and under Pam’s protection in Shreveport. She’d moved there after taking over as Queen to reduce the traffic on the Bon Temps property. Moyra was human; a fragile human.
“He does miss her, baby, at least we see her and the kids twice a month at minimum. He likes that everyone else is living here.”
“Even if that was a fight with Uncle Russell when Rosalie married his son, Benjamin?”
Sookie laughed, remembering the ‘battle royale’ that occurred when Benjamin asked for Rosalie’s hand. The two kids had gone to school together and fell in love instantly. “Russell and your father fought, and Benjamin stepped in with the final word. He knew Rosalie didn’t want to leave home.”
“And we see Russell every other month now, I bet it’ll be more when their baby is born.”
“I think Russell will move in for a while when that happens.” Sookie closed the book from Moyra’s wedding and asked about the next album.”
They moved onto Adrianna and Khaldun’s wedding, and Sookie knew what was coming; Poppy hooted when she saw the pictures of Sookie. At the time, she’d been eight months pregnant with twins and therefore, huge. Wanting only one child at a time, they’d worked closely with their fertility doctors, to observe the eggs dropped before insemination. When two dropped, they went ahead and risked twins in the event both eggs were fertilized. Twins, they discovered, were a nonissue when you had Pammers, Addie, and Jarl as comparison.
Adrianna’s wedding had been in New Orleans in what had been Sophie-Anne’s court, though Sookie had redecorated and removed all the garish decorations, making it a lovely ballroom. Khaldun requested the location since he had also committed to Bon Temps as their home and his parents were still living at the former compound when they married. It was a gesture of respect to his mother. When Adrianna was expecting her first baby, Rasul and Cynthia had moved north, where Rasul now served as the Sheriff for Area 5, and Cynthia was adjusting to life as a vampire. As they’d married into the family, Claudine had granted them the gift of sunlight; just as she had with Russell and his husband Bart. Sookie chuckled and thought that at the rate they were going, the entire US monarchy would be day walkers. From her side, Poppy chuckled as well, she’d heard the comment from her mother’s thoughts.
After oohing and ahhing over Adrianna’s wedding, it had been the most elaborate of the girls, they moved onto the wedding album for Rosalie. Sookie knew Poppy wasn’t interested in Hunter’s combination Bond, Pledge, and Wedding ceremony as it was without any pomp and circumstance; the same was true with Desmond’s pledge ceremony to Christian. Though Pam tried to have Christian create an elaborate event, he put his foot down. Amelia was on Christian’s side, so plain old ceremony is what they had.
The two went through several more albums; Sookie reminiscing and Poppy absorbing stories about her family. Sookie shared the joy of seeing her children grow and give her the gift of grandchildren; nine and counting so far.
Pictures of Pam’s coronation prompted Poppy to ask why Daddy didn’t want to be King any longer. Sookie explained that enjoying his children and grandchildren was his priority. Remaining head of the US Supernatural Council, overseeing his businesses, and assisting Pam as needed, had been more than enough work for him.
Several more Triplet stories were shared, and they laughed together. They spoke about how the triplets were finally tamed by being turned. After the teleporting and near-death incident, they were reformed for the most part. While they didn’t misbehave, as much, they still didn’t have the ambition to be more than vampires. Ironically, it was vampirism, and the maker’s call, that started their new outlook on being responsible adults. It only took one incident, one time where Eric delivered a not-so-gentle call for disobedience. Sookie had been present through the call and though it was hard to watch, it was necessary. The three were now productive members in Eric’s retinue for the council, and the family’s businesses. While Sookie spoke with pride about the triplets and their work, Poppy didn’t need to know the details about maker’s calls at her age, so she kept that information under a tight shield as they spoke.
There was one thing related to vampires that her daughter did need to know now. Since they’d been going through albums for a while, Sookie knew it was time to tell Poppy her news. “I need to tell you something.”
“I’m going to be turned into a vampire sometime very soon. Probably a few days.”
“Okay? That’s all, you’re okay with that?”
She shrugged. “I know you had that planned. Daddy’s a vampire, why should that be a problem?”
“It’s not baby, it’s not.”
Poppy was quiet for a moment and Sookie left her to her thoughts. Finally, the little girl asked, “But I won’t ever be a vampire, right?”
“No baby. Because of your healing abilities, you’re like Moyra and Rosalie.” Sookie paused, saying a mental thank you to her cousin Claudine. “Aunt Claudine extends your sister’s and their husband’s lives, with Fairy magic.”
That confirmation rolled around Poppy’s head for a few minutes before she asked another question. “Mommy, what about having more babies? I know you and Daddy were trying.”
“Doctor Ludwig thinks we can do something to have more children, but after sitting with you and looking over my long and fruitful life together, I’m not sure I need that. I think I’ll dote on my grandchildren when I need a baby fix.” She grabbed the little girl and squeezed her, “And I still have you, I’ll cuddle you every day.”
Poppy beamed at her Mommy and they both heard Eric enter the room. “How about me? Can I cuddle with my Poppy?”
“Forever Daddy.” He moved into the room, lifted Sookie and Poppy together and then placed them on his lap when he took over the rocking chair. He’d had it made to accommodate his need to hold his wife and kids at the same time. “Daddy?”
“Will it hurt when you turn Mommy?”
“No. She’ll go to sleep.” He paused to help her understand since her face was creased in confusion. He used Hunter and Desmond as examples since Poppy would remember when her brothers were turned. “Remember Hunter and Desmond were changed, and they said it didn’t hurt.”
“But Hunter’s wife, Indira changed him and Aunt Pam changed Desmond shortly after she changed Christian. Are you sure you can be gentle too?”
He held his laughter at his inquisitive child. “I can, ask Frannie. I turned her.”
Before the suggestion was fully out of Eric’s mouth, she hopped off his lap, kissed her Mommy and Daddy, and skipped out to find her oldest sister. When she was out of earshot, Sookie and Eric started laughing. “She’s as sweet as they come, but she has no problem asking or saying what’s on her mind.”
Eric nuzzled Sookie’s neck. “She reminds me of someone else I know. Someone else I love.”
“You my beautiful wife, my forever companion, my soon-to-be-vampire child.”
She scowled, “I don’t like the reference to me as your vampire child, even if that’s correct. It’ll be weird with all the kids to say that.”
He nodded, “Fair enough. You’ll be my wife and vampire mate.”
“Thank you.” She responded then asked, “When do you want to do this?”
He shook his head. “The when is for you to decide.”
Using her hand, she ticked off what she wanted to accomplish before the turning. “Like I started to plan before, I want my nails done, waxing, a perfect trim for my hair, and a final meal of my favorites.”
“That’s all? I mean, we can have all that done in a day or two.”
She nodded her head. “I don’t want to wait. I’ll work myself into too much worry.”
Eric was taken aback. All their conversations about her turning had been positive; she’d never expressed worry. “Are you scared? We already know you’ll keep your telepathy. What has you worried?”
She sighed and snuggled into her husband. “The usual; the small fear that it won’t work; concern that I might not like it or transition easily.” She took his face in her hands. “I’m not changing my mind, I want to join you. At the same time, I don’t want to drag it out and let the small worries take over.”
“But two days?”
“Let’s get it done then.”
The next two days were a whirlwind of activity for the family and friends. Eric coordinated everything his wife wanted done and planned a not-so-secret celebration for when she rose. Sookie would look back on the time fondly forever; her husband had turned her scary transformation into something exciting. Some moments of concern would pop in, but her already turned children; Frannie, Hunter, the trips, and Desmond were right with her, calming her down.
The day before her turning, Sookie was at the spa having her beauty needs addressed, leaving Eric home to prepare.
He pulled the double sized coffin out from storage and placed it in the original underground master suite of their home, Sharanya. They’d be secure for the three nights with the usual staff of guards roaming the grounds, but as with all other turnings, the family created a schedule to hold vigil beside the coffin. For Sookie’s turning, they had several people planning to sit by the coffin at once to accommodate everyone’s desire to do so. That thought warmed his heart as he ran his hands over the wood he’d carved and sanded to smooth when the first of his human children, Addie, had been turned years before. As Sookie had joked, it was like the family cradle, and had been pulled out for all turnings. His excitement grew for its current purpose, or rather person. While he loved all his children deeply, and he’d enjoyed rising with those turned as vampires; this transformation was the one that gave him indescribable joy and relief. He’d never doubted Sookie when she committed to being changed, but the fear of her fragility had stayed with him through the years. At times when she was in danger, the fear would pound in his head telling him to change her right then. Other times, the fear would be a soft breeze, a realization that, if he breathed, it would cause his breath to hitch. Now, that lingering fear would be gone. Now, Sookie would be stronger, now disease couldn’t touch her, now… now they could start forever.
He couldn’t wait.
A few days later when Sookie rose, Eric steadied her privately in their bedroom, dressed her for the surprise party, helped her through her first meal with several willing donors, and carried her to the large ballroom they’d added to the house to accommodate family gatherings. There, her family and friends cheered, happy they’d have their mother, grandmother, and friend with them forever. She looked over the room. Her twelve children, their partners, and nine grandchildren were there. Jason and his wife, still young(ish) and healthy from vampire blood, and undecided on vampirism, stood with their children. Happy for his sister her brother wiped the tears from his cheeks; tears of joy.
What she and Eric had built was light years away from their deleterious beginning. Having moved past all the original toxicity years ago, Sookie looked back at their first year, the months once they’d become friends, with fondness. Several times a year, she and Eric would sneak out for a long weekend at their first Shreveport home. They’d enjoyed campouts, her private cottage, and the original chamber where they’d first made love often. To them, it was important to keep that connection from their roots. Sookie couldn’t help but be thankful for Eric, even if their meeting wasn’t ideal. Their ending was worth that horrible beginning.
Suddenly, she had an idea. She looked at Eric with blood red tears in her eyes and said, “I need to add a sequel to my book The Fairy’s Tale.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s missing the rest of our story; the full ending, not the one from years ago.”
He shook his head. “Ending?” He paused and kissed her. “Min älskade, this is just the beginning.”