Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
All mistakes are my own. Your feedback in the form of comments/reviews is incredibly valuable to the way I shape my stories. Sometimes, after reading your comments, I end up rewriting everything, and it always makes the story better. Thank you for contributing to the creative process. I couldn’t do this without you.
Sookie waited for Gran’s response, expecting some big revelation, but she just shrugged.
“What about him? You know all about your grandpa.”
Sookie sighed. “Hang on, I need to show you something.” She pushed away from the table and jogged to the car. With the folder in her hands, she ran back up the front steps and into the kitchen, where Gran was doing dishes. Sookie helped clean up the table and dry the pans, knowing she wouldn’t have Gran’s undivided attention until after the chores were done.
“What were you going to show me?” Gran asked, looking at the closed folder and taking her seat at the table again.
Sookie sat across from her and pulled out the oldest picture first.
Gran smiled. “I haven’t seen this picture in ages. We’d been married a week. Mitchell was so handsome.”
“He was,” Sookie agreed. Next, she showed the pictures of baby Linda and baby Corbett. “But this isn’t Mitchell, is it?”
Gran’s eyes darted to meet hers and then flicked away. “Of course it is! Who else would it be?”
“Gran, don’t lie to me,” Sookie warned. “I’ve been lied to my whole life and it needs to stop now. Who is it?”
“I had an affair,” Gran whispered.
“Gran!” Sookie’s mouth hung open. “After all the comments about me staying with Eric and you treating me like a child? How could you judge me?”
“I shouldn’t have. I’m so sorry, honey.” Gran’s eyes filled with tears. “I should’ve told you before, especially considering that you’re…” she trailed off.
“What?” Sookie asked.
“Special.” Gran tapped Sookie’s head.
Sookie had been open with her Gran about her telepathy after her parents died, mostly because she couldn’t keep it to herself. As a grieving kid, she didn’t have much control over herself. “Does he have something to do with that?” she asked, pointing to the glowing man.
Gran nodded and then stared out the front window. “His name is Fintan. He came from the woods one day while Mitchell was away for work. They could’ve been twins! At first I thought it was Mitchell. He said he’d been watching me.”
“From the woods?”
She shook her head. “He wasn’t from here. He’s a fairy.” She paused, letting that bit of information sink in. “He loved me, you know. And even though I loved Mitchell, I loved Fintan, too.”
“Did you know he was a fairy?” Sookie asked.
“Not at first. He knew me. Knew what I wanted most in life, and then he gave it to me.” Gran looked at Sookie, tears spilling down her cheeks. “I wanted children. Mitchell and I couldn’t so…”
“So you did cheat on Grandpa?” Hearing it from the source was harder to swallow than Sookie imagined.
“That’s not how it was. They were almost the same.”
“No they weren’t. Fintan may have masked his real appearance to make you think he was your husband, but you knew.”
Gran nodded. “He tricked me at first, but after a time I knew he was different. His feet were so tiny. That’s how I could tell them apart. Fintan never visited me while Mitchell was home. He knew when I’d be alone. I hated being alone. Fintan brought me so much joy. They both did. They were both such good fathers.”
“Why didn’t you tell me? After all this time?”
“How could I? A proper lady isn’t supposed to be unfaithful. People would talk!”
“You’re worried about your reputation?” Sookie said, slamming her fists onto the table. “I spent my entire childhood worried about being good enough to make you proud. Do you know how frustrating this is?”
“I’m so sorry,” Gran repeated. “I was wrong. So wrong.”
Sookie took a deep breath. “Who is Niall?” she asked.
Gran squinted. “How do you know about him?”
“His name keeps coming up. Vampires are leery of him. Who is he?”
“Your great-grandfather. Fintan’s father. He’s a prince in their world I guess. Fintan never told me more than that.”
“You’ve never met him?”
She shook her head, her soft gray hair floating around her face.
“What happened to Fintan?”
“He stopped coming one day.” Gran’s face sagged as a frown tugged her mouth down.
“So we’re all part fairy? Dad, aunt Linda, Jason, Hadley, and I?”
“Yes. Fintan was only half fairy.”
“Could he read minds, too?”
“No,” Gran started.”
“I thought you said he was the reason!”
“That was a gift from his friend, Desmond.” She shuddered. “When I was pregnant the first time, he made me drink a thimble-full of his blood, which he said would bestow a great gift upon my descendants.”
“Great gift?” Sookie scoffed. “Telepathy is awful.”
“I had no idea what it was. I only knew I couldn’t refuse.”
“So why can’t they read minds, too?”
“It has something to do with a spark. Fintan explained it to me once, that only a few fairy-human descendants carry the spark of magic. You have it. You’re special.”
“I know this is a lot to hear. I also know that I should’ve told you before. I should’ve been strong enough to admit that I’d done something wrong. But I wasn’t. I’m not. I like my life the way it is and you’ve had to pay the price for my silence. Can you ever forgive me?” she implored, holding Sookie’s hands in hers. “I am so sorry.”
“I love you, Gran. That’s all I can say right now. Forgiveness is going to take time.”
“I understand.” Gran pulled away from her and looked at the table. “Where did you get those pictures?”
“I was going to ask you the same question. I was given this folder by a vampire in New Orleans, but how did she get them?”
Gran spread them out in front of her. She pushed the old pictures aside and focused on the ones of her grandchildren. “These all have Hadley in them. Linda must’ve taken these pictures. When she died, I guess Hadley got them.” She frowned. “Why would Hadley give away pictures of her family to a vampire in New Orleans?”
“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.”
“I’m really sorry I didn’t tell you before,” Gran whispered. “But I’m not sorry for what I did, because it means I got your dad and Linda, and then you, Jason, and Hadley.”
“I just wish things had been different.” But as Sookie thought of that, there weren’t many alternatives. If Fintan hadn’t come into Gran’s life, Sookie wouldn’t exist. Being part fairy beat nonexistence. Even if she had known, would it have changed anything? She still wouldn’t have any way of dealing with her telepathy, but still … knowing there were others out there like her would’ve made her feel a lot better.
She decided that she was grateful to finally know the truth, no matter how strange it was. She yawned. “I’m so tired. It’s been a long night,” she said.
“Get some sleep. I’ll see you when you wake up.” Gran stood, took her apron off, and slipped into her garden boots. “I’ve got weeds to pull.”
Sookie hugged her and then walked down the hall, pausing briefly over her sleeping vampire. “Good night,” she whispered, and then she fell into her bed. The familiar mattress cradled her body and lulled her to sleep instantly.
* * * *
Sookie woke with a start as something clattered outside.
“Shh,” Gran said, her voice muted through the closed window, “you’ll wake your sister.”
Jason groaned. “I’m fine, Gran. Don’t worry about me. Just worry about whether this ladder falling on my head woke Sook up.”
When Sookie got outside, Jason was repositioning the ladder against the front of the house.
Gran clicked her tongue. “He woke you up, didn’t he? I’m really sorry,” she said, and she wasn’t talking about the racket.
Sookie sighed and then hugged her brother. “It’s okay.”
“Hi Sook, how’s life treating you?”
“Not bad,” she replied. She looked at Gran. I wonder if she’s told him about our past. “How about you, have you and Gran had any important conversations?”
He frowned. “We’ve been talking about the roof, if that’s what you mean. I gotta patch that piece. A storm is coming in tomorrow. Otherwise, I’m fair to middlin’.”
“It’s old and worn and not nearly as strong as everyone thinks it is,” Gran added, giving Sookie a meaningful look. She wasn’t talking about the roof that time either.
“It’s okay. Sometimes the roof breaks. Sometimes the roof needs to be forgiven for not being able to bear all that weight.”
Jason frowned. “We’re going to forgive the roof because it leaks? What are you two going on about?”
“Nothing. I’m going to hop in the shower, okay?” Sookie looked at Gran. “Can you hold the ladder?”
“I can handle it.” Gran smiled and shooed her inside.
Sookie showered and changed into her favorite sundress. While Jason and Gran worked outside, she went to the store to buy supplies for dinner. Luckily, she didn’t run into anyone she knew, because her stomach started growling half way to town. “I’m making dinner tonight,” she announced when she got back home. “Jason, are you staying?”
“Of course. I’d never turn down a meal!” he called out from his perch on the roof.
Sookie set to work in the kitchen, humming and cooking like she always did. The sun still streamed through the windows when she called them inside for dinner. She served the three of them and then sat down.
About halfway through the meal Eric made an appearance, startling everyone. How a man so big could move so silently was beyond Sookie’s comprehension. He glared at Jason, flashing his fangs. Jason wilted.
“Hi,” Sookie said, getting up from the table. “Did you sleep well?” She went to the fridge, pulled out a bottle of synthetic blood, and popped it in the microwave. Eric didn’t answer; he was too busy intimidating Jason. “Eric, this my brother, Jason.”
“Ni-ice to meet you, E-Eric,” Jason stuttered, not making eye contact.
Sookie stretched and kissed Eric on the cheek and whispered, “He’s okay.”
Eric’s fangs snapped back into hiding. “Nice to meet you.”
Sookie handed him the warmed bottle of blood and dusted his back off. “Would you like to join us?” She pointed to the empty chair next to her.
“I wouldn’t want to impose,” he said.
Gran, who had been oblivious to Eric’s scare tactics, waved his words away. “Please, sit with us.” She smiled when Eric joined them. “We were just talking about the roof. Jason’s been working on it all evening,” she said, filling him in.
“Are you a roofer?” Eric asked.
Jason shook his head. “No, sir. I work construction, so I know a little of this and that.” He looked like he might faint at any minute.
Sookie nudged Eric under the table and nodded her head at her brother.
Eric’s shoulders relaxed. “I’m sorry for frightening you. I only meant to keep your sister from harm, and I didn’t know you.”
Jason sighed. “It’s okay. Sook didn’t mention she had a new beau.” He scowled at her.
“You wouldn’t shut up about the tar paper. How was I supposed to get a word in edgewise?” she asked.
“I’m pretty sure you could’ve gotten it in somewhere.”
“Children,” Gran warned.
“Sorry, Gran,” Sookie and Jason chimed in unison.
“Sookie mentioned you live in New Orleans?” Gran asked, taking control of the conversation once more.
“Yes, ma’am. It is my primary residence.”
“Primary?” Sookie asked.
Eric nodded. “I also have a home in Oslo, my favorite place to winter.”
“I’ve never been to Norway,” Gran added.
“It’s lovely.” Eric’s eyes sparkled a little. “And you, Jason, do you live nearby?”
“Yep. A few miles away,” Jason said cautiously. “Speaking of, I should probably be heading home. Hoyt is coming over later to watch the game.” He stood and thanked Sookie for the meal then offered his hand to Eric. “It was real nice meeting … you.” He pulled his hand away when Eric made no effort to reciprocate the shake.
Eric drained his bottle and then stood, towering over Jason. “Likewise.”
Jason backed away slowly and then practically ran to his truck, slamming the front door behind him.
Eric sat back down and finally noticed Sookie staring at him with her mouth open. “What?”
“Do you have to be so … intimidating?” she asked.
“It’s in my nature,” he replied, smiling a dazzling smile.
“He’ll be fine,” Gran said before starting in on the dishes. “Thank you for dinner, Sookie. If you’ll excuse me, I need to fold laundry.”
Folding laundry meant her favorite T.V. show was about to come on and she just so happened to do laundry while it was on. After she left the room, Sookie whispered, “You were being a dick.”
He shrugged. “Maybe a little. You didn’t tell me your brother would be stopping by. What was I to think about a strange man dining with you?”
“You could just assume that he wasn’t about to kill me.”
“Because that’s been the case so often?” He laughed.
“Well, no. But… Okay. I see your point.” She brushed off a bit of dirt from his shoulder. “How did you sleep?”
“Like the dead,” he replied, winning a smile from her. “And you?”
“Likewise, but with breathing.”
“Thank you for dinner,” he said, holding the empty bottle up. “I should probably have another. Your brother smells like you.”
Sookie scoffed and hit his chest. “Are you saying I stink?”
“No.” He grabbed her hand and dragged it in front of his face, inhaling her scent. “I’m saying you both smell like fairies and it’s hard to resist.” He licked the sensitive skin on the inside of her wrist sending a shiver down her spine.
“Second bottle, coming up,” she said, pulling away from him. She didn’t mind a love bite, but the hungry look in his eye worried her a little.
“Did you get a chance to talk to your grandmother?” Eric asked when the microwave beeped thirty seconds later.
“Shh.” Sookie held her finger over her mouth and pointed to the next room where Gran sat watching T.V. She nodded to the back door. “Gran, Eric and I are going to go for a walk.”
“Okay, honey,” Gran called back. “Don’t forget to take a shawl, the skeeters are out.”
“Come on,” she said, pulling Eric toward the door. He downed the bottle in a few seconds and then put it on the counter.
Once they were a safe distance away from the house, she said, “Gran admitted to everything: the affair with Fintan, that he fathered her two children, and that he’s Niall’s son. Niall is a prince?”
Eric nodded. “Yes, he is very powerful.”
“She also told me where my telepathy comes from: a friend of Fintan’s. She drank his blood while she was pregnant.”
Eric’s eyes widened. “No wonder she’s so comfortable with a vampire in her house.”
They walked through the woods with flecks of moonlight lighting their way. She put her hand inside his and smiled. “I’m glad you came with me.”
“Me too.” He dragged her into his arms and then pushed her against a tree. “I like this dress,” he said, kissing along the thin straps leading to her breasts.
“I think you’re going to like what’s under it, too.” She grinned and tucked his hand between her legs. She had forgone undergarments in anticipation of their night together. He seemed to greatly appreciate that, kissing and licking her shoulders with more enthusiasm. She pushed her hand into the waistband of his pants and squeezed his cock.
“I want you. Now,” she said between gasps as he nuzzled her nipples through the thin material of her dress.
His groan turned into a growl and without warning he pulled away from her, whirled around, and turned his hands into claws, ready for a fight. Sookie’s lust haze finally lifted when she focused on someone walking toward them. A man dressed in white, with long, glossy blond hair.
“Northman,” he called out in his musical voice.
Eric relaxed immediately and bowed deeply. “Niall.”
Cock-blocked by great-grandpa. Not cool. Find out what happens in Relapse: Chapter 9