“Quinn, hey,” I greet, stepping into the kitchen to see him sitting at the table with his laptop open before him. His lilac eyes go wide before he subtly shakes his head and I’m left biting back a laugh as I hear Mama Quinn’s voice sounding through the speaker.
“Oh, Quinn, baby, is that Sookie?” I hear her question excitedly just as Quinn is desperately motioning from under the table for me to keep back.
“Yeah, Ma, it’s Sookie, but we’ve gotta get going. She doesn’t have time to talk right now,” Quinn insists as I pour myself a steaming cup of coffee, knowing full well he’s already lost this particular argument.
“Jonathan Quinn, you put her on right now,” Mama Quinn bites back to earn a resigned sigh from her son. “Surely she can spare a moment to say hello to her future mother-in-law.” Yup; totally saw that one coming.
“Hey, Mama Quinn,” I greet, sidling up to Quinn to catch sight of two excited faces staring back at me from the glowing screen.
“Sookie!” Frannie cries out excitedly, waving at me as their mother sends me a warm smile.
“Hey, Frannie,” I greet just before Quinn’s sister is launching into yet another of her fantastical tales, talking a mile a minute as always to leave Quinn groaning softly against my shoulder as he tugs me into his lap. Frannie and I might be the same age, but she has this rather endearing child-like inquisitiveness about her that ensures there’s never a dull moment any time I get the chance to speak with her.
“Francis!” Mama Quinn finally cuts off her daughter’s rambling with a sharp look. “Sookie’s busy; we can’t be holding her up all day with your tall tales,” she chides before turning back to face Quinn and I with an apologetic smile. “Sorry, Dear, I just wanted to make sure everything was going alright. I’m still not sure I like the idea of you running around with those backwoods police officers. Law enforcement is no place for a sweet, pretty girl like you,” she insists for the hundredth time as I send her an indulgent smile whilst leaning back to rest my head on Quinn’s muscled shoulder.
“I know, but your son is here to look out for me, Mama Quinn. You know he’d never let anything bad happen to me,” I remind her, seeing her lips purse disapprovingly.
“Now, Ma, we talked about this,” Quinn reminds her. “And speaking of police work, we really do have to get going,” he insists, earning a drawn out sigh from his mother before she sends us a begrudging nod.
“Oh, alright, I won’t keep you kids up any longer; I know you’re busy,” she concedes. “But please do be careful. You know how I worry,” she adds to earn dual nods from the both of us.
“Sure thing, Mama Quinn. You stay outta trouble, ya hear?” I tease, finally earning a small smile before she and Frannie are waving their goodbyes. “Bye, guys! We’ll talk again soon, I promise!” I call out just before Quinn disables the call with a shake of his bald head.
“Sorry,” he whispers, pressing a kiss against my shoulder to earn a snort of amusement from me.
“You’ve got nothing to apologize for. Your mother and sister are sweethearts,” I insist, earning a quirked brow from my tiger before I lean closer to press a chaste kiss against his lips. “Now, where are Alcide and Calvin? We really do need to get going. Amelia said Bud’s got a case for us to look into,” I inform him, seeing him point a thumb towards the side door.
“They both felt like a run this morning,” he informs me and I nod knowingly, realizing they’re letting their inner beasts out for a bit of a stretch. Quinn glances up to the clock on the wall, tilting his bald head thoughtfully. “They should be back anytime now.”
“Good,” I answer, chugging back the rest of my coffee before hitting him with a rather apologetic gaze. “So, I meant to ask, how did the three of you hold up last night? Things got a bit more…intense than I thought they might,” I admit, seeing an amused smirk pull up the corner of his mouth.
“It was nothing the three of us couldn’t handle,” he answers back somewhat enigmatically just before the side door flies open behind us, by two other Weres bursting into the house together with matching, glowing grins.
“Damn, you missed one hell of a run, Quinn,” Alcide pants out, earning a fervent nod from Calvin. “Morning, Beautiful,” he then sends my way before he and my panther lean down to grant me affectionate kisses. My eyes go wide upon seeing the two of them promptly greet Quinn the exact same way, knowing my Weres are nowhere near as loving between one another as my Vampires, at least not in a physical sense.
“Like I said, it was nothing the three of us couldn’t handle,” Quinn reiterates, earning a rather dumbfounded nod from me. “Sook said Bud’s got a case for us, so you two had better get a move on,” he informs them for me, which is lucky, really, since I’m still reeling from this rather surprising revelation.
“Be back in two shakes,” Calvin calls out, sending me a wink before he and Alcide rush from the room together to leave me shaking my head once more.
“Wow,” I whisper absently, earning a low chuckle from my tiger. “And this just happened last night?” I question, feeling his massive shoulders shrug dismissively.
“What did you expect? You’re in heat, remember? It was bound to affect the rest of us as well,” he reasons and I find I can only nod, knowing he’s likely right about that before a small frown forms over my face. Quinn cocks a questioning brow at me as I feel his worry beginning to well between us.
“Hey, you know I’m more than fine with this,” I reassure him, all my men knowing I have a particular penchant for seeing them together. “But what about Calvin? He’s really okay with this?” I question softly, knowing just how conservative my panther is when it comes to bedroom antics.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s not like any of us planned on anything like this happening between us, it just sort of did,” he explains. “But he seems just fine, I mean, if he was bothered by it in any way, we’d know,” he reminds me and I’m finally breathing a bit easier upon feeling the truth of his words through our shared bonds.
It’s not long before Alcide and Calvin are joining the two of us once more and upon noting the complete normality of my Weres’ interactions, I crawl into the back of the SUV with a small smile, somehow knowing we’ll get through this shared stage just fine, just as we always have.
“Hey guys!” Amelia’s voice chirps the moment we step into the stationhouse together, gaining her friendly smiles all around. “You’re late,” she then directs at Sookie with a faux expression of admonishment, pointing an accusing finger at her friend’s chest.
“Sorry, that would be mine and Calvin’s fault,” I admit, the three of us drawing closer before dropping down to the chairs set up around Amelia and Sookie’s shared desk.
“And there’s something different about you…,” Amelia goes on to say, completely ignoring the rest of us as she sends inquisitive eyes over our princess. A sly smirk plays over Sookie’s lips just before Deputy Andy trudges over, his permanent, disapproving frown aimed right at Quinn and myself. According to Sookie, he’s never quite gotten over catching the three of us in that heated tryst a few years back.
“Ms. Brigant,” Andy starts, hitting our Princess with a steady glare. “If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times; the stationhouse is not an acceptable place to bring your…boyfriends,” he insists, earning eye rolls from both Sookie and Amelia as Quinn, Calvin and I are left having to bite back annoyed growls.
“Oh, please, Andy, you’re just jealous that these three were able to help Sook and I break open that case you’d been stuck on for…what was it? Five years?” Amelia taunts, earning an instant reddened face from the annoyed deputy.
“That’s Deputy Bellefleur to you, Missy, and I’m not jealous. That kinda talk is just…well, it’s absurd is what it is,” Andy insists, his face deepening several shades of red as the lot of us are left having to bite back our laughter.
“Ah, Ms. Brigant, good, you’re here,” Sheriff Dearborn’s voice sounds to leave us all turning our heads in time to see said man approaching, a good natured smile formed over his aging face. “And I see you brought back-up,” he adds, stepping closer to clap a friendly hand upon Calvin’s shoulder as he sends him an approving smile. “Good thing too; we’ve got a real doozy of a case for ya’ll,” he informs us to leave Andy sputtering as the rest of us fall into collective coughing fits in an attempt to hide our laughter.
“Of course, Sheriff, we’re just itching to help solve whatever you’ve got for us,” Sookie informs him with a sugary-sweet smile as I see Andy’s face turn, I swear to God, fucking purple in anger.
“Bud! You can’t be serious! You’re really gonna let this little charade of hers continue!?” he cries out, pointing an accusing finger at my princess to leave me having to fight back a sudden, overwhelming urge to bite the pudgy appendage clean off his hand. “There are rules, Bud! She can’t just go on parading her little band of lovesick puppy dogs through the station!”
At that, Quinn, Calvin and I are abruptly on our feet, low growls resonating from the three of us to make Andy’s eyes go wide with fear. Bud is quick to step between us, shaking his head with a disapproving frown.
“Now, Andy, we’ve talked about this,” Bud insists. “These are good boys and we’ve been lucky to have their input. Now you go on and apologize,” he adds to leave Bud sputtering once more as I can’t help but puff out my chest a bit, a rather cocky grin coming to my face as I see Quinn mirroring my actions beside me. “Well, go on,” Bud insists as I see Amelia and Sookie both press their hands over their mouths in an attempt to stifle their laughter.
Andy sends Bud pleading eyes, obviously not wanting to go along with his boss’ orders, but Bud only raises an expecting brow to finally earn a resigned sigh from his deputy.
“Fine. I’m sorry,” Andy mutters out, earning a deep sigh from the sheriff who sends the three of us an apologetic smile before promptly dismissing his pouting deputy.
“I’m real sorry about Andy,” Bud insists. “Some folks just aren’t real keen on change and my deputy just so happens to be one of ‘em,” he sighs out with a headshake.
“Don’t worry about it, Sheriff. We all know how Andy is by now. We’ll do our best to stay on his good side,” Calvin assures him with a friendly shoulder pat to earn a grateful nod from the aging sheriff.
“Thanks, Calvin,” Bud answers, the sheriff seeming to have found a kindred spirit of sorts in our panther. I suppose Calvin does fit that whole ‘good ol’ boy’ vibe that would appeal to the small-town sheriff. “Anyhow, did Ms. Broadway get a chance to fill ya’ll in on the case yet?”
“Not yet, Sheriff Dearborne,” Amelia answers with a small frown, her normally twinkling chestnut eyes suddenly dulling as she looks down to the manila folder lying upon the desk before her.
“Alright, I’ll leave you to it then,” he answers back, his voice falling a bit softer as he grants a soft pat to Amelia’s shoulder. “Ya’ll just let me know if there’s anything you need; anything at all,” he insists, earning light nods all around, our collective moods having fallen rather anxious on account of Bud and Amelia’s obvious apprehension.
“Is this it, Ames?” Sookie questions softly once Bud is making his way back towards his office. Amelia nods before sliding the folder across the desk and Calvin, Quinn and I all step closer to take a look over our princess’ shoulder as she displays the details of the case before us.
“So sad,” Amelia remarks as we’re left looking down to the crime scene photos of a young woman who unfortunately met a clearly premature and tragic end. “Her body’s already been moved to the morgue, but Sheriff Dearborne has asked for us go back to the crime scene; see if we can maybe find something the others missed,” she explains, sending Quinn, Calvin and I a knowing look.
This is where our particular expertise comes in handy, especially now that our already enhanced senses have been strengthened near tenfold on account of the Wild Magics binding us all. Not to say the human police can’t do their jobs, but the three of us have some pretty major advantages when it comes to sniffing out clues, pun not necessarily intended.
“Not a problem,” I answer, earning a grateful nod from Sookie’s witch partner.
“Hey, Ames, the coroner’s report states her lungs were full of water,” Sookie remarks then, gaining all our attentions as I see my mate’s golden head tilt thoughtfully. “Was she found by a lake or pond or something? I didn’t notice any water in the photos.”
“Uh, no,” Amelia answers, her voice falling soft as she sends a cautious glance over the station. “That’s what’s got everyone so stumped about this case. The body doesn’t appear to have been transported and there’s not a natural body of water for miles around. Hell, it hasn’t even rained in that area for over a week,” she informs us, earning collective frowns from the four of us. “You already know what I’m thinking, don’t you?” she whispers, earning grave nods all around.
“Water Fae,” Sookie mouths and just like that, the five of us have managed to narrow the pool of liable suspects drastically. Now all that’s left to find out is just which naughty little Faerie has managed to step into the wrong sleepy, bayou town.