I sat in the window seat petting Rosie and looking out at the gray winter sky. I was reading Middlemarch, because I'd promised Pam I'd read it. It was part of what I 'owed her for the stress my friendship had imposed upon her'. Basically, it was her favorite book and she was thrilled to have another victim to discuss it with, as Eric saw it. It was a really good book but quite long. I sighed and closed the book on my finger for a minute. I played with my hair trying to decide if the color was really back to the right shade of blonde. I guessed it was pretty close.
Today was Sunday and tomorrow, in spite of all the busy last minute planning going on, Amelia and I would be looking at office space for our business. We had formed a security consulting service in October. Wards, security installations for entry and egress, all the usual stuff. The need for better security for various supernatural groups was still a big issue, but even New Orleans human clientele were interested. We were already inundated with appointments and paid jobs. Some of it wasn't even just Louisiana business. Running things from Amelia's house wasn't giving us enough space. We were going to need a real office. Eric wanted us to use office space in the compound but I longed to be able to have an excuse to go outside during the day and I needed to be with some humming human minds. We had a list of properties to explore.
The inception of our business had been my completely revamping (and how I loved that pun) the security in Eric's compound. After the cool October evening on which Pam had pumped 15 rounds of silver bullets into three vampires from Area 2 who went after Stefan and Eric with silver knives while Andor was out of the room, I was really done with tolerating the laid back security attitude and told Eric and Bill off. Pam was relieved to have gotten rid of the last of Felipe's Area 2 crew as she had said they should have from the beginning. I shuddered to think of what might have happened if Pam hadn't been there. Stefan recovered slowly from the silver poisoning, although he was able to at least resume working after a week in darkness and an absolutely inordinate amount of fresh blood on the advice of Dr. Ludwig. His color was finally looking better, less gray. Eric was not seriously injured because Stefan had dodged in front of the blades. Eric and Markus had sliced up the three vampires with their swords, but I really thought that it was Pam's handiwork that did the three of them in, slowing them down appreciably the moment she saw them draw their knives. Following that night, Eric was more than willing to concede that an upgrade of the existing system was really needed. Within a week we had installed SecureScan imaging detectors that could even detect cell phones, let alone knives and other objects. I had the detectors running with a backup power source in case the electricity went out. All the locks on doors to the private areas of the Compound were changed to a system that scanned your entire hand and still required a passcode. I was still trying to decide whether retinal scans for very secure areas, like the bedrooms, were overkill and if they would work with vampire eyes. My source of information about the best systems was none other than Manny, who was happy to offer his expert advice or put me in touch with someone who could. Manny and I had also talked about the possibility of my doing consulting work for the FBI. But I was hesitant. I wasn't sure I wanted to be drawn back into any potentially dangerous situations. He mentioned the possibility of interviewing mobsters or kidnapping suspects. I told him I'd think about it. I didn't want to do anything that would upset Eric. Of course, I was working regularly for Eric, too. Sitting in on meetings with him or talking with people who worked around the compound during the day, keeping an eye on things.
In the meantime, Eric had shifted the room assignment of the private rooms neighboring his rooms on the library side and had the space completely renovated to provide a daytime area for me. By beginning of November I had a long bow window with a window seat, set in a spacious room, with a daybed, bookcases, a desk and my own bathroom and closet space. In an adjacent room, a small kitchen and dining area were set up, so that I could cook for myself. Ruben was politely relieved. I still slept in the bedroom with Eric, of course but it was easy to cross the dark library during the day and go sit on my side and work. Or I'd just go out of the compound entirely to meet with Amelia. Rosie had free rein throughout our rooms, which took up almost the entire west side of the building.
I sighed and picked up the engraved card that I was using to mark my place in Middlemarch. I was thinking a late afternoon nap was in order. It would be getting dark soon, anyway. I glanced at the card as I slipped it inside to mark my page. It had been altered with Eric's fancy script and my own handwriting.
The honor of your company is requested
at the marriage of
Miss Sookie "Sasha" Stackhouse
Mr. Eric Northman
Friday, December 25th 2009
At 9:00 pm
In New Orleans, Louisiana
Private transportation to a secured location to be provided
My name had been crossed out and replaced above it by the name 'Miss I'm Fine, Nothing Serious, Forget About It' in Eric's hand writing. In response I'd scratched out his full line and replaced it with 'Min Älskade, aka As You Wish, As Long As It's My Way'. Eric had recently been saying that our song at the reception was going to be Sinatra's "My Way". To which I replied that, clearly, he was marrying someone else, in which case I was going to be extremely offended. Eric enjoyed it when I called him my beloved in Swedish. As long as I wasn't arguing too much when I said it.
Eric liked the idea of marrying on Christmas day. Pam actually came up with the idea. Since I celebrated Christmas but he wasn't even a Christian, it made my holiday into our mutual day to celebrate something. He was going to be so shocked when he saw my dark red Vera Wang wedding dress instead of traditional white. Pam and Amelia, my bridesmaids, were sworn to secrecy. The lady who owned the bridal store was so scandalized it made me laugh. I was calling it my Scarlett O'Hara moment.
It was going to be an understated wedding. I didn't feel comfortable asking people to come to a lavish celebration given what was going on in Pakistan. The ongoing US involvement in the war against the Taliban was a serious and frightening one. It had made strange alliances between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan and the US, and strife with India and Russia. I had been steadily contributing to non-governmental aid organizations- those providing medical care like Doctors Without Borders, and to groups building schools and clinics in Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan like the Central Asia Institute. Really, I couldn't see spending a fortune on a one time event when that same money could vaccinate several villages or build an entire school and buy every child textbooks. But it still had to be fancy enough to suit Eric, though. Vampires really love pomp and spectacle.
I closed my book on the invitation, kissed a purring Rosie and walked back across to the bedroom. I brushed my teeth and brushed my hair. After undressing, I climbed up into the big bed and snuggled up to my vampire. I sighed happily as I wrapped my arm around his waist and closed my eyes, with my cheek on his cool shoulder.
I had to admit, sometimes it's really a good thing to be spectacularly wrong.