"Sookie," Bill said warningly, "this isBubba." "Bubba," I repeated, not quite trusting my ears. "Yep, Bubba," the vampire said cheerfully, goodwill radiating from his fearsome smile. "That's me. Pleased to meetcha."
I shook hands with him, making myself smile back. Good God Almighty, I never thought I'd be shaking hands with Him. But he'd sure changed for the worse.
"Bubba, would you mind waiting here on the porch? Let me explain our arrangement to Sookie."
"That's all right with me," Bubba said casually. He settled on the swing, as happy and brainless as a clam.
We went into the living room, but not before I'd noticed that when Bubba had made his appearance, much of the night noise—bugs, frogs—had simply stopped. "I had hoped to explain this to you before Bubba got here," Bill whispered. "But I couldn't."
I said, "Is that who I think it is?"
"Yes. So now you know at least some of the sighting stories are true. Butdon't call him by his name.
Call him Bubba! Something went wrong when he came over—from human to vampire—maybe it was all the chemicals in his blood." "But he was really dead, wasn't he?" "Not... quite. One of us was a morgue attendant and a big fan, and he could detect the tiny spark still left, so he brought him over, in a hurried manner." "Brought him over?"
"Made him vampire," Bill explained. "But that was a mistake.
He's never been the same from what my friends tell me. He's as smart as a tree trunk, so to make a living he does odd jobs for the rest of us. We can't have him out in public, you can see that."
I nodded, my mouth hanging open. Of course not. "Geez," I murmured, stunned at the royalty in my yard.
"So remember how stupid he is, and how impulsive ... don't spend time alone with him, and don't ever call him anything but Bubba. Also, he likes pets, as he told you, and a diet of their blood hasn't made him any the more reliable. Now, as to why I brought him here ..."
I stood with my arms across my chest, waiting for Bill's explanation with some interest.
"Sweetheart, I have to go out of town for a while," Bill said.