As Willa blurred around her bedroom collecting the things she wanted to take with her, she couldn’t help but overhear Sookie’s “conversation” with her unborn daughter, and she sighed with a sad smile. She’d wanted children herself once upon a time, but as she grew up and learned more about society and politics, the desire to bring a child into the world as it was grew less and less.
She now wondered if she hadn’t been a bit hasty in that decision, but knew it didn’t matter. The only “child” she could ever have now would be of the fully-grown adult variety and she honestly did not want that kind of responsibility any time soon.
As Sookie had put it, Willa was still learning “how to vampire”.
She laughed at her slightly maudlin self, and worked faster.
Once finished with her own packing, she entered the hall to go to Sookie’s room, and found Sevrin leaning back against a wall, his long leather-clad legs crossed before him and his hands folded across his flat stomach. He looked up when she plopped her stuffed carry-on bag on the floor near him.
With a grin she inclined her head toward the den. “Are they up to the mushy stuff again?”
He quirked an eyebrow, then shrugged. “Like that often, are they?”
Willa almost successfully hid a shiver as his eyes roamed her face and the tone of his voice seemed to slither down her spine.
With a wry smile both for the situation and in recognition of the signs of her budding infatuation, she willed herself to behave normally – tall, dark, and brooding would either like her for who she was, or he wouldn’t.
She nodded, and then became more serious. “Come on in,” she said as she moved toward the door to Sookie’s room. “I need to make sure that all her stuff has been packed, but we can talk while I get busy.”
Without waiting to see if he followed, she entered Sookie’s room and began gathering odds and ends.
She didn’t see the other brow quirk at her quietly commanding tone or the way gleaming black eyes appreciated the curves of her ass, but she did sense that he followed her, and smirked to herself.
“She and Eric were kept apart for years,” she emphasized, “and all because Pam was jealous of how Eric felt about Sookie. Now, Eric could have gone to Sookie any time he wanted to, but he didn’t think she wanted him. Sookie did try to approach him a couple of times at first, but Pam killed that. It’s weird, though. I don’t think Pam ever even had any true romantic interest in Eric, I mean, she likes women and all, so it doesn’t make any sense. But anyway, they have a lot of lost time to make up for now, so you might as well get used to all kissing and holding hands and hugging and ugh,” she ended with a grin and an eyeroll.
Sevrin smirked at both her description and her actions.
“Not a big fan of romance, huh?”
Willa blushed, and Sevrin took notice. For a human it would have been hardly visible, but for a vampire… He tucked away that knowledge, as well as how that uncontrollable reaction of hers seemed to warm him in some way, for future thought.
She paused near the dresser and thought for a moment.
“I am, actually.” She figured that she might as well own it. “Romance softens the hard edges of the world and helps fill an empty heart and make a house a home. It’s the perfect excuse that allows people who like and respect each other to be sweet and kind and gentle with each other. It lets people dream together. So, yeah, I do like romance, and I’m glad that those two have finally reconnected after all this time. And I think they’re permanent this time around, at least I hope so.”
Taken aback by Willa’s gentle yet unabashed bluntness, he knew he had more things to file away for that later contemplation. He knew he already somewhat liked the girl. Her courage had drawn his attention far quicker than any surface beauty ever would, and now her blatant honesty and pragmatic kindness added to that something extra about her.
He grunted in what Willa thought might be agreement.
The next few minutes passed in companionable silence as she made sure she had collected all of Sookie’s belongings, and when she finished, they left her room together. Sevrin found himself grabbing Willa’s bag from the hall when they neared it.
Eric shot him a bemused look upon their reentry into the den – thankfully the lovebirds had managed to come unstuck from each other by then – and he had to agree with Eric’s expression. As one of the top ten wealthiest vampires on the planet, the act of carrying someone else’s bags for them simply was not on his usual agenda…as if it would have been anyway. Just because he preferred a hands-on approach to running his combined silver mine/vampire prison system didn’t mean he wasn’t a lazy fucker.
He shrugged, then smirked back at Eric who had his own hands filled with what appeared to be small bags of food. Seems he wasn’t the only vamp on that list who knew how to help a lady out…
After tipping his head in sardonic acknowledgment, Eric turned to speak to his child, “Willa, grab all the bags you can and we’ll load up the vehicle.” After her nod, he faced Sevrin.
“You are free the rest of the night?” At the man’s nod, he continued. “Did you drive here?” His lips quirked when all he received in answer was yet another nod. “Good. I would appreciate it if you were to follow us to the house I have chosen. It’s not that far from here, but we’ll be going in a rather…circuitous route.”
Although the situation was of a more serious nature, just to amuse himself Sevrin nodded again.
Willa and Sookie both snickered at the walking mountain’s subtle antics, and the vampire in question hid his surprise well. He wasn’t sure if it was because of his forbidding appearance or his reputation, but most people didn’t catch his version of humor.
It soon became obvious that Sevrin was thinking about something as he boldly appraised the expressions on everyone’s face. Eventually he came to a conclusion and spoke to Eric, his accent heavy but his words well-chosen.
“I will help you with this. Something is not right here. Tonight after we have secured your woman in this safer place, I will see to Pamela. Find me a silver-lined cell where she will see no one but me.”
Eric nodded as he hid his relief. Sevrin would be a fierce comrade and while he could certainly manage without him, he wouldn’t pass up his highly unusual offer of assistance, either. “Fangtasia has alternate quarters that would be suitable for a longer stay.”
The black-haired mountain nodded again, then glanced darkly at the two smiling ladies and felt the need to announce to the room at large, “I do not do this out of the kindness of my heart.” He noted that Willa merely quirked a brow at his partial lie. “I am bored at home. Things should run as well without me as they do with me watching over them. They should, at any rate,” he finished with a glower.
To his shock and everlasting amazement, Sookie stepped right up to him and put her arms around his waist. It took him a moment to realize that she was hugging him, and a couple of seconds longer to remember that he was supposed to put his arms around her small frame, too. He did so awkwardly, but was afraid to squeeze her back, though, as he didn’t want to risk hurting her with his vastly superior strength. She might pop and that would not be good.
There was no way Eric could have missed the brief flash of shock on his old acquaintance’s face, and he had to smother a grin. Sevrin was someone he respected, certainly, and for the most part he got along well with the slightly younger but very powerful vampire, but they had never been close friends. Distance was a factor, but Sevrin, while proven trustworthy, wasn’t someone easy to know. Building friendships, much less maintaining them, was definitely not on his “to-do list” – he was a very confident, self-contained “vampire’s vampire” who made it obvious that he bluntly didn’t care about…much of anything, actually. Sookie’s voice brought the Viking’s attention back to the dark giant’s discomfiture.
“I really appreciate you helpin’ us out with all this, Sevrin. Thank you,” she said as she smiled broadly up into his slightly bemused face.
He gave her two hopefully-gentle thumps on her back as he wished she’d remove herself from his person. He supposed it was alright as hugs went, but enough was enough already, he thought with a slightly embarrassed clearing of his throat. Were all breeding females this emotional? Subconsciously he looked to Eric for help.
Eric smoothly drew Sookie into his arms as he, too, thanked Sevrin.
“Thank you. Ok,” he began after a last brief kiss to his Sookie, “Willa, it will take two trips, but let’s take these bags down as quickly as possible. . After that, Sookie, I’ll carry you down and put you in the vehicle, and Sevrin, can Willa ride with you as you follow us?”
Reverting back to his preferred ways, Sevrin simply nodded, and with good humor restored, he ignored the smile exchanged between the ladies.
Later, as he easily kept pace with Eric’s vehicle as they flew along, weaving in and out of traffic, taking side and back streets before emerging once again on more well-traveled thoroughfares, Sevrin pondered his actions as he kept an eye out for anyone following their progression.
He also wondered about himself and his big mouth since he really did not enjoy getting caught up in other people’s problems! Most people caused their own dramas and they were not his to solve, but this time around things seemed a little too “coincidental” for his liking. Life wasn’t fair, not by a long shot, but sometimes the odds did need evening out.
He was good at evening the odds.
And he’d always had a soft spot for breeding women.
And he’d never seen a vampire of any age blush, and especially not as prettily as the sweet-scented woman in the seat beside him.
**A/N: So, what did you think?**