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Chapter 10: The Devil at the Door, or Maybe it’s John Wayne

Sitting all alone in Gran’s old rocking chair in the corner of my living room, I tried to digest everything that Eric had told me the night before. I couldn’t believe everything that he had told me, and I also couldn’t believe that after he told me his story, I rescinded his invitation to my home.

He looked as if I had plunged a stake right into his heart.

That was twelve hours ago. It was early morning now, and not counting the few limited episodes of shuteye I caught while sitting in this rocking chair, I was up almost all night long thinking about everything Eric had told me.

That stupid sonofabitch had been using me. He had been using me for a long time, and he admitted it to me last night.

It seems that Eric knew a little known secret regarding people who were part fae and part human. He had known of this little known secret for a long time—or so he had said. He insisted he found it out by accident, but he knew about it before he met me. That bit of postscript made all the difference in the world. If he had discovered it after he met me, or after we fell in love, or whatever it was that we were in, I would have reacted differently. I wouldn’t have jumped to the conclusion that he was using me.

But he told me he found this out many years ago, and from Larkin Talkington himself, and long before he even knew there was a Sookie Stackhouse. He said that only my Great grandfather, his son Fintan, Larkin Talkington, and my cousin Hadley knew of this secret, besides him and, of course, now me.

Eric claimed he found out by accident, yeah right, like I said, I find that hard to believe. Nothing about Eric Northman is accidental.

Here’s the big secret. It seems my blood, taken in large quantities, and frequently, can act as a ‘daylight’ deterrent. No joke. And no one seems to know why. My great-grandfather had his chemists working on why this was, what special ingredient in our blood made it so that vampires could withstand sunlight after ingesting it, and he was trying to reproduce it, so that he could make a fortune, but he was never able to do so, and now that he was back in his world, the project was abandoned.

It also seems that Larkin knew of this, because he’s a paid ‘donor’ of sorts to a very select, very limited, handful of vampires. He ‘sold’ his part human/part fae blood to several key clientele and he wanted to make sure he kept the exclusive to this little side business all to himself, which meant no sharing with cousin Sookie, at least that was what Eric assumed. He thought Larkin was a threat to me, because he didn’t want me to try to bust his monopoly. This man owns Boardwalk and Park Place and he has a hotel on both, and he doesn’t want me to pass go or to collect my 200 dollars.

In other words, Eric felt Larkin wanted to get rid of me, because I was competition and apparently, Larkin thought Eric was a threat to me, although I have no idea why.

Hadley knew of this, because Larkin tested his blood on her first, and when it appeared to work, the former Queen of Louisiana was one of his first clients.

Eric told me if other vampires knew of this, I would be kidnapped, and I would be forced to give my blood to who knows whom. He said that was why I was being watched so closely, because he was afraid that Larkin would tell somebody about me (meaning some vampire), and that would be that. He said that Jason wasn’t a threat, because of his exposure to ‘were’, so it was only me. Great. Here I was, being all special again, and it was nothing but a pain in the ass.

Eric also told me that he and Larkin had a long standing history, but he wouldn’t elaborate because—get this: he said it wasn’t my business.

And that was when I said, “You know what, I’m not going to be your personal daylight saver anymore, buster. I’m tired of being used. I’m tired of you keeping things from me. I just plain, plum, tired. I rescind your invitation.”

He moaned and shouted at me. He shouted at me! Then he remained outside until the sun came up and then he left. I almost laughed, because I thought the sun was his friend now, but I watched as he got in his corvette and drove away, right before the sun rose completely in the sky.

Eric was using me. Just like Bill used me. Just like everyone used me. I was so sick of being used. I knew Eric loved me, but damnit, he should have told me about my freaky blood. Someone should have told me.

What else did my blood do for him?

I was too tired to think on it. I stood up and was on my way to the kitchen to get some breakfast and coffee when wouldn’t you know it, my doorbell rang. I was so not in the mood for a visitor, friend or foe.

I went to the door and low and behold it was the devil in the flesh, my new buddy, Larkin. He smiled at me, “May we speak this morning, and not with a door between us? I trust Eric told you everything.”

‘Not everything,’ I mused. I really didn’t see the harm now. I should, but I didn’t. Maybe because I was so damn tired, physically, emotionally, and mentally, so I opened the door.

“Listen, Eric told me about our freaky blood, but that’s all, and I’m super tired, and I really don’t feel like getting into anything, but I assure you, the daylight blood market is all yours. I won’t quash any of your business. I don’t care to, okay?”

“You’re no real threat, anyhow,” he snorted with a lazy grin. He motioned with his hand toward the door. I moved aside and let him step over the threshold. I stood and waited for him to explain. He didn’t disappoint. “My blood is strong than your. It’s not as diluted. Pure fairy blood only serves to drive vampires insane. Human blood sustains them, as you know. My unique mixture, and yours to a lesser degree, does so much more. I asked Eric last night if I might come back today to speak more with you, and he gave his permission, by the way.”

I shook my head, made a little ‘huh’ noise in the back of my throat, and said bitingly, “Well, isn’t that just grand. How big of Eric to give his permission for someone to come calling.” I walked toward the living room again and sat back in the rocker. He moved to sit across the living room on the sofa.

“Listen, Sookie, I admit that I really am slightly worried that you might become greedy, and you might have grand designs to be my competition, and I have to stress to you why that would be a bad idea. First, it would be detrimental to your health and welfare.”

“So much for the warm family fuzzies and the no threatening thing, right?” I barked.

“I am no threat, cousin dear, but many, many vampires out there would be very interested in what you have to offer. I’m sure they are anyway, even without the knowledge of the specialty of your blood,” he stated. “My understanding is that your gift of telepathy makes them covet you, and of course, your great beauty.”

I rolled my eyes and leaned forward in the seat. “What about you?” I asked. “Aren’t they a threat to you?”

He shook his head and said, “Not in the least. No one really knows that the blood comes solely from me. The few clients I have, and they are very few, very powerful, and very secretive, are under the impression that I add a certain ingredient to my blood. They know the blood is mine, that it’s mostly fairy, part human, but they are under the falsehood, the fallacy, that there’s a chemical of some sort added to it. I’ve been very careful. Also, our blood only works on extremely old vampires. A younger vampire could ingest it and still burn at first dawn.”

“What do these vampires get out of ingesting your blood, if they have to keep it a secret? They can’t very well go around town, walking in sunshine, or go sunbathing, or the such, because it would be found out,” I pondered aloud.

“That’s true,” he returned. “But they can perhaps go out on a private patio, and wake up while the sun is still out once in a while. After living hundreds of years in darkness, such little things can mean a lot.”

“Is it permanent? The effects?” I asked.

“No, they have to continue to ingest it, hence, my livelihood is secure, dear Sookie,” he said with another smile.

“So Eric has to keep ingesting my blood,” I asserted, more to myself, than to him. I stood up and crossed over to the window. I looked out. I wondered if Eric was awake right now. I had so many questions. I felt he was near. I think that made me happy, but at the moment, I wasn’t sure.

I turned to Larkin and said, “Eric said he found this out by accident, but that he knew of it before he met me.”

Larkin looked thoughtful, and then he said, “That’s his story to tell, but I will confirm that he knew about me for many, many years. He knew about me longer than you’ve been alive, but that doesn’t mean he knew you had fae blood when he first met you. I don’t believe he knew that for certain until Niall confirmed it to him, when Niall sought him out to meet you.”

“Why are you taking up for him? Why are you defending him? You don’t act as if you like him,” I observed.

He laughed. “Am I defending him? Am I taking up for him? Believe me, I hate Eric Northman with a passion, and I have a very strong reason to, and that my dear, is my story, and it will remain as such. If he wants to share with you, he can. Why isn’t he here, by the way?”

“Because she rescinded my invitation,” Eric shouted from the doorway. The front door was still open from where I let Larkin in, and I think I kept it open secretly hoping that Eric might come.

Larkin got up from the couch and went to the foyer. I was too tired, so I stayed by the window and looked out at Eric’s red corvette.

“Eric, how nice to see you. So she rescinded your invitation, yet she invited me in, how interesting,” Larkin said. I rushed to the foyer when I heard Larkin laughing. He leaned lazily against the wall and looked out at Eric, who still seemed menacing outside the doorway. “Aren’t you afraid of someone seeing you out and about? They will surely know something is remiss … a vampire out in the sun, in full daylight.”

Eric grinned, but unlike Larkin’s grin, which seemed teasing, Eric’s seemed foreboding. He continued to grin when he answered. “I would rather think it is you that is afraid for me to be seen, Larkin. You do not want you little enterprise to be discovered.”

“And you don’t want your little medicinal plaything discovered,” Larkin came back with, pointing over his shoulder at me.

“Hey!” I growled.

“Oh, do not be offended, Sookie dear,” Larkin said. “That is how he sees you, not I?”

“Yet you are the one that put her down in such a degrading manner, not I, true?’ Eric asked. He looked at me distress pulling at his lips. “My lover, if you would invite me in, I would be happy to tear off one of his arms and stuff it down his throat. I am sure it would keep him quiet for a few moments, and it might be highly entertaining to you and me.”

“Come in, Eric, but no blood shed before noon,” I said with a sigh. He stepped in slowly, circling Larkin as he came in the foyer. He stared down at the man, because Eric was so much taller. I observed them both thoughtfully and made several comparisons as I did.

First, yes, both were extremely handsome. Eric was handsome in a romantic novel sort of way. He was every woman’s fantasy. Larkin was handsome in a movie star, pretty boy, sort of way. Here was my comparison, and it’s only mine, but Eric was rather like Viggo Mortensen from Lord of the Rings, and Larkin was like Brad Pitt … two yummy men, but completely different polarities.

Larkin reminded me a bit a Johnny Depp, too, in the fact that he was incredibly sexy, but more than a little strange, (I’m talking about his movie parts, not the man in general), and Eric, my handsome Viking, reminded me of John Wayne. I know, I know, no one else will see it, but it makes sense to me, and that’s all that matters.

Eric was taller, by perhaps six inches. His hair was lighter. His eyes bluer. Larkin’s hair was more the colour of wheat, with light brown undertones. His eyes were a striking green. His eyes seemed to smile even when his mouth wasn’t smiling. Eric’s eyes seemed to always know what I was thinking.

Larkin’s grin seemed forced and strained. Eric’s seemed ominous. They continued to merely stare and grin at each other. They continued to size each other up. They continued to compete silently with each other, and I had enough of it. Finally, when I was done with my analysis and comparisons, and I couldn’t think of any other movie stars to compare them to, I said, “Oh come on, into the kitchen you two.” Geesh, men were so weird sometimes, whether they’re fairies, vampires, or humans.

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