After vaguely discussing his business with the Viking and his child, Lex excused himself to let his pet’s mother rest. Although her external injuries had healed and her blood volume was up thanks to her daughter’s donation, Mrs. Brennan still had been nearly drained and needed to recuperate. He turned off the lights as he exited and closed the door behind him.
There were just over two hours until sunrise. If Addie was rested enough, that was more than enough time for an abbreviated playdate. Silently, he entered the guest room that she’d claimed and slipped into bed next to her. Even though he no longer had the barely restrained urge to attack and drain her when her mask was down and she was defenseless, he was certain that he’d never take her scent for granted. Apples, pomegranates, and the sharp bite of cinnamon, fermented in the arid North African sun and sweetened with the honey of bees fed exclusively on roses and lilies. The finest nectar that even the gods hadn’t been able to refuse. For two thousand years, he’d thought the delicacy lost. He hadn’t counted on being approached by a fairy hybrid that not only smelled like his favorite ancient indulgence, but tasted like pure, effervescent decadence.
His pet moaned, shifted in her sleep, and restlessly flung one of her legs over both of his. Her unique fairy perfume mixed with that of her dream-state arousal made his fangs throb. Lex reached under the sheet to tickle her through her satin panties. His touch was gentle enough to keep her from waking, yet aggressive enough to enflame her subconscious.
He used her open-mouthed panting to press a less-than-chaste kiss to her lips, sweeping his tongue against hers to steal a taste. The ancient vampire had yet to find a part of his pet that didn’t make his mouth water. As he nipped at her lips, he felt her consciousness slowly start to return through his tie to her. Soon enough, she was purposefully responding to his touches, moaning into his mouth as his fingers continued their quest. Her fingers nested in his raven curls, pulling him closer, as her hips ground against his hand, anxiously racing for the release that had started building in her dream.
Despite the physical relationship becoming more intimate with her vampire, the dreams continued. Addie now had actual experiences to combine with her active and creative imagination. More often than not, the poor girl would wake, fevered and teetering on the edge of orgasm, only to discover it was late morning. She would have to either wait in aching frustration for sundown or settle for less-than-satisfactory relief from her own fingers. Neither option was especially gratifying and she was overjoyed that Lex had decided to wake her with pleasure before going down for the day.
More than an hour later, Addie fell to Lex’s side, a sweaty, boneless puddle of bliss. He smirked down at her. “Would you consider that an adequate good-night, love?” he asked smugly.
The girl’s breathless chuckle was evidence of her exhaustion. “Yeah. Sure. Adequate. Pfft.” She rolled her eyes at the cocky prince. “Like you don’t know that you consistently blow my mind. So adequate that I’m really glad Momma’s knocked out right now. Neither she nor I want her able to accurately describe how you make me scream.”
Lex grinned and rolled over so that he hovered over his hybrid, straddling her hips. He stared down at her with eyes like liquid midnight. “You graduate in three days. What are your plans for after you receive your diploma?”
Addie stretched out with her hands over her head. “At some point I have to go home, at least for a little while. I plan on keeping my apartment for the foreseeable future, so I have to get my stuff moved back over there and do maintenance stuff like the lease and some cleaning. Law School starts in August, so I have to prepare for that, get started on reading lists and stuff. And I want to do something special with Momma… treat her to a trip just for us. Hmm… the spa thing wouldn’t work for her with all the touching involved… Maybe shopping in New Orleans…”
The former prince looked down at his fairy stretched out under him like a playground of carnal delights and had to force himself to focus on her words. “And what of our arrangement? Am I to subsist on bagged blood and masturbation whilst you traipse around the South? Now that I’ve served my purpose, you’ll flitter off into the sunrise, only to reappear when you need a favor?”
His tone was stern, but not angry. Addie still narrowed her eyes. “Contrary to what you believe, I don’t need you. I like spending time with you, both in and out of bed. I like talking with you because you have the most interesting life I could ever hope to hear about first hand. You’re a good man, a great leader, and an amazing lover, but you’re not necessary for me to live my life. I don’t expect you to need me either. I know you have other options.” Not wanting to have this conversation in such a suggestive position, she sighed and wriggled out from under him. “If you want to go back to dining from donors and fucking barely-legal party-girls, I’m not stopping you. You won’t have access to my blood or body if you go back, but that’s life. Everything has some give and take; it’s up to you to decide what you want more.”
Lex huffed and flipped onto his back. “I’m not used to this, you know? I’m used to being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I’ve glamoured princesses and priestesses to give me whatever I desired. Heiresses, starlets, and royals were mine to command. What gives you, little fairy, the balls to think you can make demands of me?”
The girl turned on her side, propping herself up on an elbow to look down at the scowling vampire. “Who’s making demands? I’m giving you a choice. Either you want me or you don’t. It’s really very simple. If you can’t handle less-than-adequate substitutions during my brief absence, so be it. At your age, I know you don’t need to feed every night. I also know that three weeks of celibacy, while certainly not fun, will definitely not kill you. Surely at some point in your more-than-two-thousand years, booty calls were in short supply. You just don’t like that you can’t glamour me to be at your beck and call.”
The sheriff growled and refused to look at his pet. “You agreed to be mine.”
Addie’s brow furrowed. “I did,” she concurred. “I agreed that no one would be in my bed but you. I agreed that no one but you would have my blood willingly. I agreed to your protection. But I never consented to stop living my life for you. After graduation, I have to go with Momma back to Louisiana. I have to check in with my family. I have to place flowers at the graves of those that passed before I was born and at Daddy’s favorite spot in the woods. And I have to spend some time with my mother. No one is more important to me than her, not even you. In the three weeks I’ll be in Louisiana, I certainly don’t plan on offering sex or blood to anyone. Is self-deprivation so bad when you think of how it will be when I get back? Twenty-one days of anticipation? Twenty-one nights of dreams that leave me aroused and shaking?”
She leaned closer to him so her lips brushed the outer shell of his ear. “Three lonely weeks where my only source of relief will be my fingers and imagination. Such poor substitutes for your hands and cock.” She was shocking herself with the ease she was whispering words that normally made her stutter and blush. “No comparison for your voice telling me all the dirty things you want to do to me in that panty-wetting accent of yours. Nothing as good as your lips on my neck… your tongue teasing my nipples… your fangs scraping over my clit as you eat me…”
Her hot breath combined with the imagery she provoked had him hard again. Even though sunrise was less than twenty minutes away, Lex had to have her again. With supernatural grace, he flipped so he was hovering over his fairy once again. “This discussion isn’t over, love. We still have much to talk about, preferably with open minds and many hours before dawn. But for now, I intend for both of us to go to rest with satisfied smiles on our faces. Hands and knees, mia fata.”
This position was a favorite of both of them. He could smell that she was wet and ready for him with his gifted nose. After she scrambled to move as ordered, he ran his palms over the taut curve of her rump and down her spine before sweeping them down her sides and gripping her hips. Without a word, he lined himself up and thrust in hard and deep, making her mewl. She arched her back and attempted to keep up with his strokes, wanting every inch of him, but his hold on her kept him in control. One part of Lex’s mind tracked the sunrise and he sped up, his hips slapping Addie’s ass, making the cheeks flush. He slipped one hand under her and manipulated her pearl, refusing to let her go unsatisfied. Loudly gasping, her back bowed and the vampire felt her silken walls ripple and tighten around him. With a roar to the ancient gods of his childhood, he found his own release and not a moment too soon.
With hasty words of good morning, the ancient vampire used his speed to get into his secure, light-tight chamber before the weak, early morning rays could breach his window. When the sun broke over the horizon, his naked form collapsed into lifelessness for the day.
After half a night and half a day of rest, Sookie woke up feeling better than she thought she should. A tentative touch to her neck told her that not only was her wound completely healed, but the absence of scarring and residual pain hinted at the use of vampire blood. When she stood, she was surprised by her strength and lack of dizziness.
The woman was positively dazzled by the lavish en suite for her guest room. She decided to treat herself to a soothing soak with lavender and honeysuckle scented oils. After she was finally thoroughly clean, she wrapped herself in a velour robe that hung on the back of the bathroom door and went in search of her daughter.
At the end of a darkened hall was a door with several security safeguards. Sookie knew that had to be the sheriff’s day-chamber and doubted her daughter would be in there while the vampire was vulnerable. She cracked open a door on her left and her eyes widened in surprise. In the center was a hedonistically large bed – easily big enough to host a small orgy – decorated with satiny cords or silk scarves tied at each corner post and at various intervals along the head- and foot-boards. On the wall was a massive television above an impressive case of what appeared to be pornographic movies, both human and vampire genres. She had no desire to search the various cases and closets in the room and backed into the hall. Not wanting to imagine her daughter in such a place, she hurriedly closed the door behind her.
The other unlocked doors opened to other guest rooms similar to the one she slept in. One door to the left of the sheriff’s chamber was resolutely locked, not that she tried too hard to open it. When she opened the door on the right, she found her quarry.
In another ridiculously large bed, covered to the waist in a lilac and mint green paisley comforter, lay her daughter. She was on her stomach, her bare back exposed, her pale locks in disheveled streamers against the silk-covered pillows. Despite her child looking completely debauched, her cocoa eyes were focused on a single thing. In dark purple script, just below her hairline on the back of her neck were the words “The natural sequel to an unnatural beginning”. Sookie gently ran a finger over the quote that apparently meant enough to her daughter to have it etched into her skin permanently.
“Mmm… hey! Good morning!” Addie smiled lazily and rolled to her back before stretching her arms over her head.
“Good afternoon,” Sookie replied with a grin, reaching down and nonchalantly pulling the duvet higher to cover her daughter’s bare breasts.
The girl looked down and blushed. “Yeah. Afternoon. How are you feeling?”
Shrugging her shoulders, the woman said, “Never better. No scarring, no weakness, no aches. Did the sheriff use his blood for the healing?”
Addie frowned. “No… between when you were brought here and when you woke up, he never left my side.” She closed her eyes to think back to the previous night. “Fucking Northman…” she snarled.
Sookie nodded. “I figured it would be him. Can I just mention how refreshing it is to meet a female that A) isn’t completely enamored by Eric Northman and B) he hasn’t tried to charm her simply for the challenge of changing her opinion?”
The girl rolled her eyes. “Momma, he’s an ass. How could someone as smart as you fall for someone like that?”
“Everyone changes over time. When I met Eric, he was… scary. He couldn’t understand why Bill wanted a human. Then he helped save my life when I was attacked by a maenad and protected me from the shrapnel off a suicide bomber in Texas.” She huffed a bitter chuckle before continuing. “I was so mad at him for tricking me into swallowing his blood… but you already know all this, don’t you?” Sookie glared at her daughter with a raised eyebrow.
Addie had the good grace to appear embarrassed for snooping, but said, “You never told me not to. You became so withdrawn after Daddy died. I started reading hoping I would find a way to make you feel better. Instead I found these stories like what you used to tell me at bedtime but… more. The way you wrote… Momma, those stories had everything! Comedy and drama, action and horror, mystery and romance. Heroes and villains, damsels and kings… I could feel how you felt as you remembered and wrote each chapter. As much as I know you loved Daddy… when I thought about what I wanted for myself, I wanted someone who felt about me the way that The Sheriff felt about his Princess.”
Sookie didn’t know what to say to that. She didn’t think she had idealized any part of her past, but she must have if that relationship was what her daughter wanted. Not the courtly, gentlemanly first love with a side shot of danger that she had with Bill. Not the relatively normal, comfortable love that was her relationship with Alcide. Not even the hard-earned, abiding love and marriage with Caelum. No, her daughter chose to put her conflicted, twisted, antagonistic relationship with the Viking vampire on a pedestal as her romantic ideal.
“Momma, you know as well as I do that I’m going to have to be with a supe. I want someone who will stand up to me, challenge me, fight with me so we can make-up… and I’m never going to get that with a normal human. Fairies have that whole ‘I’m glorious, worship me’ thing, which I know is why you’ve never given Parker a second look. Weres and shifters are too damn possessive… I feel like one of them would pee on my leg if the barista at Starbucks smiled too big or gave me a free shot. But vampires… they can’t glamour me and my fairy skill doesn’t work on them… but I’m starting the see that they might be even more possessive than Weres.”
Sookie looked at her daughter, concerned, and the younger woman sighed. “Lex’s not happy about the three weeks I plan to spend in Louisiana. He doesn’t seem to get that I need to be home for a little while. Catch up with Adalyn, Keith, and Willa… leave flowers for Daddy and Gran… see Uncle Jase and the girls. I also want to spend some alone time with you. I was thinking maybe shopping and touristy stuff in New Orleans?” Addie asked, looking up at her mother hopefully.
“We have a few days to think about it,” Sookie said before standing. “Clean up and get dressed. We’ll go out for a late lunch and move my car.”
Addie nodded and rose, wrapped in the bed sheet. “But we need to get back by dusk. Lex is sentencing your attacker tonight at first dark.”
“He knows who it is?”
The taller blonde shrugged. “I guess so. I heard him making the arrangements. I’m assuming Northman will appear as a witness since he’s the one who rescued you.”
Sookie scowled at her daughter. “I’d think you’d be more grateful and respectful toward the man who saved your mother’s life.”
“I’ll never be able to thank him enough for that! It’s just that he and that awful child of his are thoroughly unpleasant. And that means… Oh! That asshole is the same one that abandoned Willa! How…”
She had no choice but to interrupt what was sure to be a vitriolic rant by her daughter. “Shower. Clothes. Food. We’ll discuss whatever you want at lunch. Even with all you think you know, surely some of it’s wrong and you’re bound to have questions. I’ll do my best to answer them all, but it’s a one-time offer.”
“Fine, fine. I’m up and moving. Give me half an hour. There’s a great international café a few blocks away that has a little of everything. Even picky me likes the place,” Addie said with a grin.
With a nod of agreement, Sookie left the room to dress in clothes borrowed from her daughter. The jeans were too long and the top was too baggy, but they were clean, intact, and not blood-stained. They would do until Sookie was able to collect her own garments.