Pre Edit Count – 3,895 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Letters from the Sky by Civil Twilight.
The rest of the nest nods. Godric stands up after shifting Sookie into his arms. Eric stands beside him as Leigh shifts into her panther form. “We will see you all tomorrow. Be safe.”
With that they all leave the room.
Amelia sighs. When she see the rest of the nest looking at her, she tells them, “Sorry, but they are just… intense. I have never seen anything like it.” It was the best way she could put into words how she felt.
Thalia’s voice rings out, “Nor will you. Those three are completely original, and their destiny is also.”
Lafayette stretches out. “I don’t know about you f-people, but I’s be heading to bed. It sounds like we need to stay here until tomorrow evening, and I am not going to finds out what two already possessive vampires will be like when they are fully Bonded. Night.”
The rest agree and all head into bed, no idea of the plots and revenge that are being carried out that night.
Godric and Eric settle Sookie on their bed under the blankets. Godric kneels by her head, His hand still in hers, his thumb making soothing movements on her hand, his concern for her showing on his face, and asks, “Sookie, meine Liebe (my love), I know you are in pain. But Eric needs to hand out the phones tonight and I need to work just a little bit. If our Bonding is anything like last night, it will knock all of us out or at least make it where Eric and I will be unable to do anything but be by your side. Can you wait until then?” He waits for her answer, since as he has told both of them in the past, there is nothing more important that the two of them in his mind. If Sookie wishes to finish the Bonding tonight, the rest of the world can wait until tomorrow night.
Eric is on the other side of Sookie, softly moving her hair out of her face, as he too waits for her answer. The two vampires are worried; they have not had Sookie react to anyone like she has the witch. And the fact that they can feel her pain makes them aware of the severity of it.
Opening her eyes, Sookie sighs and looks up into their faces. “I’ll be fine. It’s like I told you the other day, so much in a little amount of time. There is also the fact that Bonding with you guys is messing with my shields as well as having Leigh with me. It will all work out once we are done Bonding since before my shields would get stronger when we would exchange blood. I just think Leigh is disrupting the balance and having Amelia around right this second is not helping. If it wasn’t for that combination I would be fine with one or the other.” She sends her confidence in this solution to them, hating that they are this worried about her.
Godric looks concerned as he asks her, “Do you want me to send her away?” Anything. He would do whatever it took to help her.
She looks up into her mate’s face, raising her hand to caress it. “No, Niall and Lafayette had their last practice session last week and reinforced the wards down here. As long as I can stay here, I should be ok. Do what you need to do.”
Godric and Eric look at each other, then nod. Eric bestows a kiss on Sookie’s forehead as he rises. “Leigh, please lie with your mistress while we wrap up the last of tonight’s business.” He looks around the room to make sure everything is ok.
Suddenly giggling, Sookie asks Eric, “Since when do you say please, Mr. Bad Ass Sherriff Vampire?”
Looking back down at her, he mischievously smiles at her, “When I want my mate to be happy. Otherwise other parts of me won’t be happy later tonight.” The last is said with his typical leer.
Godric laughs, “Eric, mein Sohn (my son), you have learned my lessons well.” Both Sookie and Eric laugh at his comment, both thrilled that he is becoming more open with them.
Leigh has by then appeared and is lying next to her mistress, her head on Sookie’s lap, obscuring it. “You two need to go on and do what you need to. I will lay with my mistress and she will see how much better I am at comforting her than her mates. But then, you are only males.” The last is said dismissively.
Sookie is laughing at them, and the three of them are satisfied. Eric gives a last look to his mates and her guardian then makes his way back upstairs, content that they will keep his heart well in their keeping.
Thalia greets him in Sookie’s room, where she will be resting while they will be here. The entire house is going into lockdown, the almost silent rattle of the shutters coming down in every window in the house, is very evident to Eric’s enhanced senses. Eric nods to her and she follows him as he makes his way downstairs.
When he enters the room he stops. Observing the nest, a small smile escapes him as he listens to Hoyt, Lala and Jason argue about some football game. He also watches as Adele and Tara sit side by side as Adele teaches Tara about knitting, something Tara has worked towards in her list of things to learn from Adele. Amelia is sitting there, watching enviously as Adele quietly teaches Tara how to do a C2 L.
Eric smiles since he recognized the stitch as something he had seen in the past. Pam knows how to knit, sometimes the long nights passed with nothing to do, so often these pastimes are still in use by vampires.
Moving into the center of the room, he clears his throat. The group looks up at him as he grins at them all.
Jason asks, “Is Sookie all right? I didn’t think you would be back up tonight.” His posture straightens out as he looks at his future brother in front of him.
“Sookie is fine. She told us being down there will help with her head, her shields are not stable with all the changes that have been going on. Sookie made it sound like she is not even bothering with them until we are done Bonding. Mentioned something about our blood makes them stronger.” Eric is watching Amelia as he talks. He is not sure what to make of her. Godric thinks highly of her, but obviously not as high as their mate since he was ready to dismiss her to make it easier on Sookie.
Amelia looks up at him and part of her blanches at the close study he is doing of her. But, striking out her chin and arching an eyebrow, she asks, “May I help you?” Nothing but to dive in, being any different would be against her nature.
Eric laughs. “No, little witch. I am sorry, even though you come with high regards from my maker, I am going to wait to form my own opinion. However, I do have to say you have balls.” He roguishly looks at her while mentally cataloging the distance between them and how fast he can move to kill her. All in the back in his head, while the front is worrying about his mate.
Laughing, the rest of the nest relaxes. Hoyt looks up at Eric, “So what are we going to do about this killer who is framing Jason?”
A growl escapes from Eric as his instincts scream, ‘Kill the one who threatens our nest, our mate!’
Lafayette, hearing the growl, guesses the meaning of it. “I think Eric wishes to tear out the throat of whomever it is.” He too would not be too adverse to getting his hands on the one who is setting up his little brother.
The rest of the nest agrees, most of them either having been in the supernatural world because of what they are, or because they have been a part of this nest. Godric and Eric didn’t want the cruelty of the Supernatural world to be too much of a shock to their Sookie, so they were very blunt about it all her life. This means the rest of the nest is very aware of how that world works and the knowledge of how much rougher it is than the normal world most humans live in.
Nodding, Thalia announces her presence by advising them, “This is his nest, and the person threatened his mate through her brother. Of course he is wanting to kill the being doing this. Especially now that the Marks are appearing and he is the process of bonding with his mates.” She states it so matter of factly that no one thinks to argue with her. It matches what they know and how Eric and Godric are both acting.
Shaking her head, Tara then looks at Eric, “Are you sure that there will be nothing wrong with you guys Bonding? I mean, all we have heard about is how you two have to be careful and that the Bonding was to wait until after the Mating.” Her arms are folded across her chest and she is doing everything but getting in his face, challenging him. But at the same time her head is tilted to the side, showing her neck to him. Tara has perfected the pose she is giving.
A shimmer in the room and Niall appears. He is grinning as he is wiping his hands as though he had just finished something. His eye are sparking with his mischievousness and his entire being looks like it could have been Puck from a Midsummer’s Night.
Shaking his head at the being in front of him, Eric comments, “Why do I think you have done something that will rile up Sookie?” His hand though wipes his brow, as though he is trying to hide the grin, his own love for Niall’s mischievousness.
Walking over and crashing on the opposite side of the couch from their new witch, Niall looks up at the Viking. “Because you know me so well?” His mask of innocence is just that, a mask, which most of the nest knows, all grinning at him as they wonder what exactly he has been up to.
Amelia, however, is confused; she saw the man fall against the couch beside her, but she felt nothing…
Niall looks around and when his eye light on her, they light up inside. “I see you have found the last one.” He knows all about the witch since he had been one of the ones to make sure she is trained right to be trusted to be in the nest with his Sookie.
Tara sighs and collapses in her chair, her fight gone. If Niall is happy to see the witch, then she truly is part of their nest. And probably not going to get an answer to her question. Eric has in the past used such distractions to get out answering questions he doesn’t want to answer.
Looking over at Tara, Adele frowns at her and tells her, “There is no reason to be throwing a fit, child. Now sit up like I taught you and be polite. Amelia is still a guest until Godric says otherwise.” She nods her head to what she had been saying. Just because her time is coming is no reason to let her grandchildren not use their manners as she had taught them all. Manners that can take them a long way in the supernatural world…
Niall looks over at Adele and his eyes soften for a second before looking at Tara. “Let me guess, too much magicky goobly gash?” He has a smirk on his face, knowing that it must be the reason Tara is all out of sorts. Either that or Pamela is being brought up. Or the last reason would be Sookie; the woman has always been slightly jealous of Godric and Eric’s place in Sookie’s heart. She resents anything that may hurt her sister or times when she feels as though everyone else is making decisions for Sookie.
Strangely she never seems to care if Hades or he makes the decisions for the nest or Sookie.
Laughing at how right on he is with her, Tara nods. “We all heard from Leigh tonight how she came about. Niall, you know I don’t do all that hogwash.” She stares him down daring him to make fun of her.
Which of course, Niall cannot resist doing so. Grinning, he tells her, “Yes, Tara. I have heard it all from you since I have known you. And remember what my response has always been?” This was asked with an eyebrow raised, challenging her back.
Rolling her eyes, she blandly repeats, “There is much more to this world than I will ever know and that I need to be ready for it.” She has heard it at least a hundred times, if not a thousand times.
Eric chuckles. “Well at least he hasn’t told you anything different. Imagine if you are Sookie.” He smirks as he says the last and as he feels through the bond that she is feeling better.
Jason laughs. “Niall would have made up something each time.” Jason has never connected with Niall the way Sookie has. Neither of them blames the other, Jason has remarked that Niall acts more like a father to Sookie. And then told Eric that he would have been a better father than their own. That day has stuck in Niall’s head as one he will treasure.
Getting his mind back on track, and thinking of the many more things he needs to be doing to make sure their mating will turn out for the best, Niall turns his attention back to Eric. Looking up at the tall blonde, he asks, “So what called me here? Luckily I had finished with the task at hand.” He smirks as he remembers the vampire he had been with. Yes, that meeting has gone quite well and he will be working on that tangle for a little bit.
Hoyt looks at him shyly. “I must have done that, Lord Niall. I was asking if it was really ok that Eric and Godric bond with Sookie now.” He is always in awe of Niall and Hades when they come. Even Godric has that same awe that Hoyt fights off most times since he knows Godric is weary of it. But real Gods and Fairy Princes? It is just like the stories his father used to read him before he left.
Rolling his eyes, Niall answers Hoyt, “Niall. Not Lord; never Lord for you. Hoyt, we have gone over this how many times? In fact,” He looks up as though calculating something, “I think we have had this talk every time we speak. But in answer to your question, yes, it is fine.” He settles back into the couch as he thinks of the way he can tell them.
Niall looks apologetic as he tells them all softly, “Hades and I had been trying to save the three some pain. Godric couldn’t be here for long periods of time and there is something called Bonding sickness. It is when those who are bonded are separated too long.”
He leans forward and rubs his face, then sighs. “What we should have known all this time is that this particular three do not play by the rules. It took Leigh, being a part of all of us, to put it together. Eric and Sookie would get grouchy if Godric was gone longer. And the two of them would have a need to see and be with each other more and more as he is gone. That is actually the bonding sickness. They have never taken it further, but it can get quite painful. But since there is no down side to it, I agree with them Bonding now. Hades does too, but he is taking care of other things at the moment.” He smiles crookedly. Both Hades and he have been running their asses off trying to marshall everything that the three will need, and that the two of them will need once they will be allowed to walk the Earthly Realm again. The chaos from them revealing themselves can be catastrophic if they do not prepare everyone for it. Plus they needed to find the other two.
Breaking into his thought, Amelia hesitantly asks, “Who are you?” She is confused, she feels as though she should know the man beside her, but she cannot place him. It’s more like a voice she heard…
Thalia laughs as she looks at Niall. “What a head trip for you, Niall. Someone who doesn’t know you.” She cannot stop the grin, since she knows Niall will have a harder time announcing himself than Hades will.
Rolling his eyes at the vampires, Niall turns to the last member of the nest. “I am Niall. I am what you would call a faerie.” He openly looks over the newest addition then purrs out, “If I could, I would greet as a gentleman should, but at this time I am not able to, please forgive me.”
Eric, by this time, had gone to the kitchen, grabbed the boxes there and then made his way back to the chair the three often claim. Thalia ghosts behind him. After Niall has answered Amelia he gives his own description, hiding the laugh at Niall’s acting.
“Amelia, this is Prince Niall of the Skye Faeries. He is also Sookie’s Great Grandfather.” His attention is on the phones, he hopes Amelia likes pink, since he ordered two of them.
“And for all intents and purposes her father figure.” Jason quickly inserts. He wants it to be known the person who has been her father, better than her actual father.
Niall glares at all of them then looks to Amelia. “Technically they are correct. Well, Sookie would probably argue Jason’s stance, but then she always does.” His eyes roll and he huffs. He settles back in the couch, watching Eric as he sorts the phones.
Lafayette laughs, “Boy ain’t that the truth.”
There hasn’t been an instance of Niall and Sookie not picking at each other during the time he has known them. But at the same time, Niall is the one who has taken on the job as her father when she needed one. And Lafayette knows he will do so in the future.
Adele sighs, thinking of the secrets she has kept in her long life, as she leans back in her chair. “Amelia, they are all correct. Niall is basically Sookie’s father. Now, Niall close your mouth. I only be admitting the truth. Deny me if I am wrong, but you have always been her father in all but name.” She admonishes the Prince of Faeries as his jaw drops open at her words.
Eric smiles. “He will never admit since he loves the banter between the two of them.” He grins at Niall as he grins back at Eric, knowing that when he is physically here, Sookie will love throwing things at him, to make up for all the times he teased her when they went through him.
“But why is there no weight to you?” Amelia asks. She is trying to make sense of the man in front of her and too many things were not adding up. And one of the major is the fact that there is no impression of him sitting in the chair, even though he is obviously sitting there, his body follows the couch, but the indentions on the couch do not follow his body.
Niall chuckles. “Noticed that did you? Too bad Sookie isn’t here, she would have thrown something at me by now.” Then his smile drops. “It’s because of the Earthly Realm Covenant. None of us can be on this realm except as this, a ghostly aspect. There are certain… times that we have been and could be solid, but that only comes once in a great amount of time and the rules for it are very… exact. There is also a painful side for us that makes us think twice about it. Hades did for Godric.” He realizes his slip, and hopes no one catches it. He must be really tired to make that type of mistake.
Eric straightens up as he starts to realize certain things. Niall quickly glares at him and after Eric holds his gaze, he narrows his eyes.
Adele is quickly realizing that Eric may have put something together that he shouldn’t have. She quickly intercedes, “Niall and Hades are both close to this nest, but they are closer to Godric, Eric and Sookie.” She is worried about what Eric has found out. There are too many secrets that could have been outed by that one little slip. Good thing Sookie was not here, she would have picked up on it and figured more out quicker than anyone else.
Amelia is looking back and forth between the two but before she says anything, Niall interrupts.
“Hoyt, does that answer your question?” His ice blue eyes are searing, but they are gentle as they look to Hoyt.
Hoyt turns red as he answers, “Yes, sir.”
Niall sighs then turns to Amelia. “After Eric says his piece, the two of us need to get together. You are what Sookie calls a broadcaster. Every thought in your head is yelling at her. If you are to be part of this nest, we can’t be having this. Even after I am done with you, you will still need to be careful, if you get excited about anything, Sookie will hear it loud and clear. Right now though, through no fault of your own, you are hurting her, and I, much less her mates, cannot allow that.” His face is set and there is no questioning him on this. He will not give. Never. Sookie was hurt once, and he will never allow it again as much as he can.
Relaxing in his seat, Eric tells Niall, “Thank you. Sookie is still in pain downstairs. Normally I can’t feel her, but then, we haven’t bonded nor had the Marks been forming, which I think is overriding them.” He lifts his eyebrow, showing he knows that Niall knows more than he is telling. Eric is just showing that he knows the difference.
Niall sits back as he nods. “You are correct. When you are completely Mated and Bonded, nothing will ever separate the three of you. But for now, do what you need to. I have plans that need to be kept abreast of right now.” He is trying to escape, knowing he messed up. He will need to tell Hades.
Looking at him, Eric thinks. He finally nods, turning his attention to the nest. He opens one of the boxes and tells them, “I have your new phones, per Godric’s request.” Earlier he had sorted them and Put them back in the boxes to keep it organized.
Sam, who has been sitting in a corner, his eyes constantly on the new witch, asks, “Are these going to be safer, Eric?” He hated the problems that the old ones had caused. He will have to live with the fact that Sookie was hurt when he could have prevented it if the phones had worked correctly.
Eric is resorting the phones into two piles. Three phones are in one, and the rest he starts handing out as the nest comes for them. When he has two pink ones left in his hands he looks up at Amelia and tells her, “One of these are yours, Witch.”
As she takes it from his hand, Eric answers Sam, “Godric had me get these special. I had to go through some friends to get them. One of them you guys will be meeting when we move. All of these are permanent throw aways. Their numbers will change each and every time we use them to outside people. But, if you call Godric, Sookie, or I, we will know who it is from. You will also reach the others in your contact lists. But the lists are frozen, with numbers to be added to the network in general. Do not use these phones for anything but contacting each other.” He meets every one of their eyes as he talks, making sure they understand the importance of this.
They all nod. Eric puts Pam’s phone to the side, Tara chuckling as she sees it is pink. “Pammy always gets her pink.”
Eric looks up at her and asks her, “Do you expect any different? She would just make me send it back if it isn’t what she wants.” His voice sounds exasperated, which is normal when dealing with his Child.
Hoyt teases Eric, “That’s because you spoil her too much.”
Niall laughs at this.
Eric lifts an eyebrow to him, “Like you are one to laugh, Niall. How much do you try to spoil Sookie?” He stares at him, totally ignoring how much Godric and he does that very same thing.
Niall grins at him, “All the time. But I never get to since you two bastards are always doing it. It’s only thanks to Adele that Sookie isn’t spoiled.” His mischievousness is back in his eyes.
The group laughs at this. Adele smiles as she tells them, “It isn’t just me. Sookie has kept herself from being too much like Pam.” She shakes her head as she remembers all the times she had heard Sookie arguing with Eric and Godric about spending money on her. They had all come to a mutual decision, which is basically the two can spoil her as much as she does them.
Tara is still chuckling, “She said it is because she needed to save Eric some money, somewhere, since Pam is set on maxing everything he has.” The rest are grinning as they remember the conversation and Pam’s reaction to it.
Eric leans back in his chair and looks up at Thalia, “See what I have to deal with?” He looks like he is being tortured, but the Greek vampires knows better.
Thalia chuckles back at him. “Obviously they were not there 18 years ago when you told Pam that she will have limits on her spending of your money.”
Niall laughs even harder. He finally tells him, “We heard it in every realm, that scream of outrage.”
Eric grins as he too remembers that day. It is only right, he had found his mate and while Pam is precious to him as his child, his mate is more. She is everything to him. He had made some changes to his life and one of them was making Pam start to fend for herself. Of course he has made sure that she is set for the rest of eternity as well as he can, but he is sure that once Sookie is turned, his attention will be taken up with her.
Like it wasn’t already.
Shaking his head, Eric tells them, “All your numbers will register with our phones as you, but besides the three of us, no one will know who is calling them in case your phones ever get taken.” Seeing Jason’s face, Eric shakes his head, “Jason, I do not know how the phones work. I use technology, I do not invent it. That is why I hire others to do so. But they do work and I expect you all to use them. I don’t need to tell you how important this is for us to have some form of communication. We have already seen what happens when those lines are interrupted.” With this he checks through his list to make sure he has not forgotten anything.
After thinking it through, Eric stands up, and looking at Niall, “May I have a couple of minutes to talk about something? I promise afterwards that you can do what you need with the Witch.” There is no give in his voice. He is suspecting something that he wishes to confirm since it may very well shake the foundations of his mate’s beliefs.
Niall looks up at him and sighs as he gets up. “I take it you won’t let it go until we talk?” At Eric’s look he waves towards the door. “Let’s go outside, I will guarantee no one will hear anything until we are through.”
At Eric’s nod, the two step outside. And nothing was heard from them outside. It was though they were in a different Realm.
The rest of the nest watch but quickly turn to their phones, knowing Eric, even though he says he does not invent it, he always has the best that technology has to offer. And it normally has fun games since Eric often uses his phones to distract him when he is bored.
Amelia is frowning at her new phone and only looks up as Sam sit next to her.
Sam is studying her. He will admit, it had made his hackles rise up to find out that she was hurting Sookie. But she is to be a new nest member, and they will need to start interacting with her, making her feel welcome. He finally asks her, “What’s wrong?”
She looks up at him. “Does he hate me? I mean he never calls me by name.” She cannot make sense of most of what is going on around her, but Eric’s non-use of her name bothered her.
Jason just laughs. He informs her, “Sam is shifter, Lafayette used to be Witch, but now is called whatever it is Eric feels like calling him at the time. Sometimes he just calls him hooker. I was dumbshit for a long while until I fixed my issues. And it goes on. No one is accepted by Eric for a long while or until you do something to make Sookie trust you. Eric’s life revolves around her.” His voice is matter of fact. That is just how they know Eric. And they know how his moods are per his names for them. If he flirts with Lala, then they all know he is in a great mood. If he calls them by their names, shit is getting real.
Amelia is confused. “But I thought he was mated to both of them.” Why would he only care about Sookie if he is mated to both Godric and Sookie? What made Sookie so important to both of them?
Hoyt chuckles as he takes this one. “He is. He will do anything for Godric and loves him. But Sookie. Sookie is unique and she is the heart of them both. There is no denying it, they both revolve around Sookie. But Eric is their soul, he is the one that balances them all out.” He tries to explain what is obvious to the rest of the nest. But he knows it will be hard since they watched it happen.
The nest laughs. Hoyt continues to explain to her, “He is the brains. But don’t think that is all he is. He loves Sookie with every fiber of his being just as Eric does. But, well with what happened in both his and Sookie’s past, well, he doesn’t show his affection to any but her or when he is with her. He is getting better at it. And while you think Eric and Sookie are the two who show all the feelings, don’t be fooled. Godric will sacrifice everything to keep them both safe. Everything he is, does or plans is revolving around those two.” At the end, Hoyt is getting exasperated, feeling as though he is not explaining it clearly enough. But how to explain Godric, Sookie and Eric to a stranger?
Seeing her confusion, Tara leans forward. “Let me explain it in a way that may make it easier. You know most vamps are rich right? Well the two vamps in this house are one of the richest on the planet. And every penny they have belongs to each of them. But while Godric invests separately for Eric and Sookie, making sure that if something unspeakable happens, they can go on the run and have money. Eric has done the same, but he also has a child he has a backup plan for. Now Pammy is spoiled, and there is no question in anyone’s mind including her own, her Maker has declared that she is to start planning for her own future. He secretly has accounts set up for her. But not much, enough to make sure she can set herself up. Sookie, however, all in all is set. And we are still not talking about any of the other two that pop in here all the time. I am sure Hades and Niall have stuff set up for the three also. But Godric?? He has it all planned out to the T. He has guaranteed that Sookie and Eric are set. He is also the one who made the decision on the phones and you will find he makes all the decisions for our nest. He is the alpha of them, and there is no question of that.” She nods her head as she is finished explaining it. To her it is simple. Godric is the alpha of the three of them, Sookie the Heart, and Eric the soul. Without the others, the other two would be stranded.
Amelia tries to make sense of it all. She finally asks, “So Godric is the planner?”
Lafeyette shakes his head, “No, that would be Eric. He be the strategic minded of the three of them. And he be really good at it. Godric is… powerful. That muther be the one that will protect the other two. Eric be’s the affectionate part of them, and Sookie, well that little girl is their goddamn heart. Godric needs the other two desperately. They need him too, but Godric is the calmest most collected fucker out of dem, unless they be in danger. There’s a reason for all this, but until you be formally part of the nest, I can’t be telling you.” His tries to keep his language as straight as he can, but there is no other way to explain in his book how those three work.
Adele sighs. “The three depend on each other in ways no normal mortal beings can ever understand. If you had been here that night when they all met her, you would understand better. Eric was up on the porch, protecting her and soothing her. Godric was the one who met with me and was the first line of defense for her and Eric. He had no question in his ability to protect them, giving them time to get away to join them at a later time.”
It was just that simple to her. That first meeting with the two vampires who would be her little girl’s world determined their dynamics and have continued to this very day.
Before she can say anything else, Eric is storming back through the house in a black and blonde blur and they can hear the door upstairs slam.
Niall comes inside, his face serious for one of the few times they could recall. He looks at Amelia, “Come Witch. I need to do what I can to help Sookie and then I need to talk to some people.”
Amelia looks back at the nest, but they were not looking at her, they were all looking at where Eric had disappeared to. Only then does Amelia realize Thalia is no longer in the room. She sighs and follows Niall outside.
Final count, 6,027 words.