Sookie stood on her porch and released a tidal wave of maniacal anger.
“You son of a bitch! I hate you and I don’t ever want to see you again! I’ve had it up to here with your vampire shit! I can’t take it anymore!”
Eric did his best to stay calm as he approached the steps. “Lover, is this a joke? I only asked you if you would like to go out dancing Friday night.”
“Why can’t it be during the day? Huh? Why?”
He looked as though all the confusion he’d felt in his thousand years was piled atop his face at that precise moment, en masse. “Sookie, the fact that I am a vampire notwithstanding, even humans don’t go out dancing during the day. What has gotten into you?”
He smirked at her at a most inopportune time, triggering the slamming of the door he’d bought himself.
He stood on the porch knocking gently at first, then pleading.
“Lover, please. I’m not asking to be invited in. I just want to talk to you.”
“No. You’ll talk, I’ll swoon! Then I’ll forget why I’m angry at you and then we’ll end up in bed again.”
“Not that I’d complain about that scenario, but I’d be thrilled if you simply told me what I’ve done to annoy you. I can’t begin to apologize if I’m unsure of where to start.”
The silence on the other side of the door was deafening. It was killing him. The combination of his hurt with her anger was just too much. This, he reminded himself, was why he’d avoided attachments for so long.
She’d tortured him with her quiet hostility for long enough that when she finally swung the door open, it startled him.
“I DON’T KNOW!”
“I don’t know, Eric! I don’t know why I’m so angry. I don’t know why you never do or say the right thing. I don’t know.”
“Sookie, I don’t know how much longer I can let this go on. We are both struggling to maintain our grip on sanity.”
“That’s the first rational thing you’ve said since I arrived.”
She seethed as she took the vase of lilies he’d sent her from the hall table and hurled them at his head. She wasn’t prepared for him to catch them and then hand the vase back to her.
Oddly, she smiled as she carefully placed them back in their place.
“Eric, what do you think we should do?”
“Perhaps we should call together our friends. Maybe they can help us sort things out.”
“Ok. Which ones?”
“Lover, I think we need all the help we can get.”
The parking lot at Fangtasia was not used to seeing such traffic on Monday nights. Unless Halloween fell on a Monday, the bar was usually as dead as its owner.
Tonight was special though. Tonight was the night Sookie and Eric might get the answers they’d been struggling to find on their own without luck.
As Pam stood at the door, welcoming attendees in a khaki Fendi strapless tea dress and red Prada pumps that matched the dress’s flowers, Sookie and Eric met in his office. They’d both worn their normal street clothes since tonight wasn’t about business.
They paced circles around each other, waiting for Pam to announce that everyone had arrived.
She’d been all too happy to accommodate, giving up her night off for ‘the cause’.
“It feels like forever.”
“I know, lover. Yet it’s only been a year and a half.”
“It’s been a miserable year and a half though.”
“It hasn’t been all bad.”
“You can’t use that line forever, Eric.”
“Actually, I can.”
Sookie risked a look and he was smirking again, so she quickly took the stapler from his desk and hurled it in Eric’s direction.
He, of course, caught it. “Why do you continue throwing things at me!?”
She huffed and the tears started flowing. “I don’t know!!!”
He tried to calm her, soothingly wrapping his arms around her. He shushed her and stroked her back.
After a few moments she took a violent step away from his embrace.
“You’re doing it again! You’re controlling me with the bond!”
“I am not! I was hugging my thorny, insufferably whiney, hot and cold running bonded in an attempt to settle her damn nerves! Stop blaming everything on the bond!”
“If I’m such a pain in your ass then why do you put up with me?… Hell, for that matter why do you keep coming back for more!”
“That is why we’re here! Admit that you know I don’t use the bond against you!”
“Or I will use it!”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean!?”
She was snarling at him and rapidly approaching intolerable range. “It’s starting to seem that you are daring me, Sookie.”
“What if I am? What would you do? You don’t ‘exactly love’ me so much, what would the big bad Viking vampire do to me?”
When Pam opened the door to Eric’s office, her head tilted to the side and a curious smile took over her once concerned face. Sookie was leaning over the front of Eric’s desk as he sat in his chair behind it sporting a wicked smirk.
Sookie’s elbows were locked in an attempt to hold her up. Sweat beaded on her forehead, panting, squirming, droning a low hum with her chin buried in her chest.
“Lust.” Proving all too easily that he very well could pacify Sookie through their bond. He didn’t have to touch her. All he had to do is direct what he felt for Sookie to her.
Pam laughed in her throat. “Ahh. Most everyone is here.”
Sookie lifted a hand from the desk with some struggle, holding up a single digit. “We need a minute, Pam.”
Eric laughed as he stood up. “No. We’re ready now.”
The bar was teaming when the trio emerged from the back hallway.
Eric took his usual commanding stance and began. “First of all, I’d like to thank…”
Sookie’s ponytail whipped him in the face when she turned her head to interrupt him. “Why do you get to do all the talking?”
Everyone in the audience rolled their eyes and made corresponding groans. Eric began laughing when Jason coughed ‘control freak’.
“Oh, that’s hilarious! So everyone showed up tonight to make fun of me!?”
Amelia made a very cautious approach, winking at Pam on her way. “Sook, we’re all here to put an end to this craziness. You kind of put yourself up for that. All Eric was doing was thanking us for coming to help.”
Sookie turned her head to look at Eric.
He shrugged with a grin. “All the help we can get. Remember?”
Sookie’s face was etched, confusion and worry, but she gave Eric a nod ‘allowing’ him to continue.
After Eric was done with the brief appreciation that was all but finished when Sookie interrupted him, Pam signaled to Clancy and Felicia.
They returned from the break room, pushing an occupied wheelchair only a moment later. Its passenger was putting up one hell of a fight against her restraints.
“Eric! What have you done?!”
The pudgy ‘invalid’ stopped her struggle for only a moment when she heard Eric’s name and then suddenly redoubled her efforts, nearly taking the chair over.
“Lover, I only did what needed to be done… Everyone, you’ll get your turn if you line up chronologically. Sam, you were the first character mentioned so you get to go first.”
Sookie watched in horror as Pam went over to Sam and handed him a fistful of bar darts and Eric went to remove the sack over the targets face.
The terrified redhead’s eyes were leaking and her snot had soaked the dirty bar rag used as her gag.
Pam mused, eyeballing the target as she issued the instructions. “We all get a little therapy out of this. We each get three darts. Some of us have a laundry list of complaints, but we’ll have to settle for our three biggest grievances…” She sneered and leaned over with a dart, using a tip to catch the mucousy bar rag so that she wouldn’t have to touch it.
“…No, you can’t sell any of your ‘darts’. Yes, you are allowed to repeat yourself if something is that important to you. Everyone understand?”
Sookie eyes were wide, truly frightened by the excited agreement from the crowd… the mob.
Sam’s stare was intense as he took his first aim…
“Hey Charlaine, remember me?”
“Of… of course I do… You’re the conflicted, but supportive best friend archetype.”
Sam didn’t hesitate. ‘Best friend’ earned her a dart in her leg. “Best friend, huh? Did you really have to make me a damn dog? Seriously? NINE god damn books and I turn into a lion for like five minutes and then I need a nap!…”
He threw another one hitting her in the side. “That is for only hooking me up with that psycho Tanya and…”
Another dart. “That one is for shooting my mom! I mean come on! You didn’t mention that I even have a family until You. Shot. My. Mom.”
Pam gave him a puzzled look. “She shot you.”
He shrugged. “It was a key plot point. I can’t begrudge her too much for having me laid up for a book. At least she wrote that Shifters heal fast.”
She smiled at him as he took his seat again and she pulled the darts out of the writer and handed them to Arlene.
She stood in front of her creator, chewing her bottom lip. “Uh, Pam…”
“Uh… You said we can do repeats, right. I mean if a Rene dart’s gonna get thrown, Sookie should get to throw that one… Jason too, for their Gran and all.”
Pam’s eyebrows went up, surprised that the waitress had thought about someone else. “Everyone can throw three ‘Rene darts’ if they want.”
Arlene smiled and started to nervously take aim. “Alright then, This one is for having me married ump’teen damn times! No wonder I don’t get a boyfriend worth a hoot for the other books! You coulda hooked me up with Sam as filler or something, but noooo! You’re too hell bent on making us lonely losers!”
Her second two darts were simply punctuated by ‘Rene’ and ‘Lanier’ before she happily returned to her seat next to Sam and giggled that Pam was right because she did feel better.
Pam rolled her eyes and called Bill up for his turn, but got a little kick out of Charlaine’s ninny as she removed another set of darts.
Bill toed the line, boring down on his author. His mouth gapped slightly as though he might say something several times, but he resisted. In a sudden, and impressive, display of marksmanship, Bill fired all three of his darts into the center of Charlaine’s chest and returned to his seat.
Pam ran her teeth over her lips as she shook away her baffle. “Bill, don’t you want to tell her why?”
He huffed, dramatically. “She knows what she did.”
“If you say so… Jason, get your pretty ass up here.”
Jason nearly leapt from his seat and snatched the darts from Pam’s hand like a child grabbing at a lollipop. “Only three, huh?”
Pam’s nose crinkled. “Sorry. Some of us have a curfew.”
He smiled at her. “Oh, right… well… there’s the one for Gran…” It hit her in her neck. “Ooh that’s fun… Ummmm… Oh yeah, there’s the one for having me get bitten, the book right after Alcide tells Sookie bitten Weres don’t last long…. Bitch! What is that shit? I had to look up ‘foreshadowing’! Now I’m scared to leave my fucking house!” The dart sunk deep into the other side of her neck, effectively looking like Frankenstein’s bolts and making Jason laugh. Pam joined him and they shared a look. “And I don’t care if this is stupid since you wrote me dumb as a fucking spent match… this one’s for making Pam be into girls! What a fucking waste!” The dart landed in the top of Charlaine’s knee, but it was lost on everyone since they were all laughing at Jason’s proclamation.
Pam wiggled the darts as she slowly removed them from the abused hostage offering a wink and promising that she’d have ‘plenty of fun’.
She stared a hole into the target until Eric had to press her to start.
Pam’s eyes rolled as she started, “A thesaurus…”
Eric started shaking his head. “A thesaurus? Pam… we need to move this along…”
She huffed back, “Eric… my ‘gauzy’ Fangtasia attire, ‘soccer mom’, Sam’s ‘halo of strawberry blond hair’… and come on, have you read the lemons she writes… Fan Fiction is far better. I’d think she never had an orgasm!”
Eric growled at her while the rest of the audience offered an agreeing shrug or nod. “Throw the damn dart.”
She nodded and shot a dart through the air, putting it directly in the center of her breast. Pam giggled. “Bartenders.”
Eric cut her off again. “I should have figured.”
“You’re damn right! While she wrote you flying back and forth to Sookie, I’m the one who had to hire replacements for the bartenders she kept slaughtering.” Pam tossed the second dart, putting it into CH’s other breast, artfully making the woman appear to be wearing deranged paisties. “And Rhodes.”
Eric shook his head again. “What about Rhodes? It was nearly the whole installment.”
“Me. I served almost no purpose. She should have left me here to tend to Fangtasia. My importance in that story lied in wearing a Genie costume and needing to be saved, getting my feet burned in the process.” After Pam’s third dart sunk into the back of the writer’s right hand, Pam jerked them out and handed them to Eric on her way back to join Jason…
She purred into his ear that she could be persuaded to enjoy men from time to time if he was ‘up for the task’.
Alcide scrutinized the gory darts as Eric took Pam’s post for her.
He growled in Eric’s general direction. “Do I have to throw them?”
Everyone groaned at him.
Eric rolled his eyes. “That’s why you didn’t end up with Sookie! You’re too nice! Even when you’re an asshole you make up for it a chapter later. Yes! You have to throw the damn darts. She had your father ripped to shreds…”
Alcide shook his head. “Plot point. Quinn’s introduction plus my reaction gave me depth.”
Eric rolled his eyes again. “She hid a body in your apartment.”
“Plot point. Hiding the body gave me the chance to bond with Sookie.”
“She raped Sookie in the trunk of a car.”
Alcide’s eye lit up. “That’s a good one. There wasn’t a good reason for that other than reproving that both our exes should have been killed.” He finally threw a dart, jabbing Charlaine in the belly and Bill tossed his shoe to hit Alcide in the back for suggesting his death.
The Packmaster stood, quietly waiting for Eric to remind him of something else.
“She laid a mile of groundwork for you to be ‘the one’ for Sookie and then yanked the rug out from under you.”
Alcide nodded and fired dart number two. “Good, good. Keep ‘em coming.”
Eric was quickly losing patience. “She killed Maria.”
“Why’d you have to bring that up? Can I throw one at you?”
“SHE WRITE’S ME!”
With a nod and a smile, Alcide tossed his last dart while maintaining level eye contact with Eric and left to take his seat again.
Eric was less than amused as he yanked the darts out of Charlaine to hand them to Quinn.
No one really paid attention as Quinn took his turn. Everyone forgot he was there as he whined about only getting to be with Sookie once.
Amelia announced that her darts were ‘combo shots’. Her bitterness lied in Charlaine’s housecleaning… She’d killed or impregnated (in some cases both) most of the characters that made it to the 9th book. Amelia sweetly used her third dart to remind Charlaine that Sookie has been through enough and deserves some ‘fluff’ in book 10, or else. The dart landed in Charlaine’s cheek.
All the while, Charlaine whimpered and whined as each dart dug into her. Every dart made her character feel so much better than the last…
Until Eric announced that it was Sookie’s turn.
“How many darts do I get?”
Eric waved his finger, urging her over to join him on the stage. He leaned over to whisper, “Lover, you don’t get any.”
“What? Why not?”
He smiled at her and placed a drum of salt in her hand. “Because you get to do to her, what she’s been doing to you… rub salt in each wound.”
She smiled up at him. “Don’t you want a turn?”
“I’m saving something for later.”
After Sookie said goodnight to the rest of the visitors, Bill had muttered something about a ‘team Bill’ ghostwriter, but Quinn had quickly reminded him that at least Bill had a ‘team’…
Sookie was feeling as though a weight had been lifted from her chest as she went to the restroom to clean the salt and blood from her hands, which Pam assured her was a ‘fabulous exfolliant’ with a wink.
Eric stooped down in front of the wheelchair with a less than friendly smile on his face, signaling to Amelia.
She quickly recited an incantation, releasing the ‘target’ from his false state. As Charlaine painfully became himself again, Eric’s fangs ran out.
“It’s a pleasure doing business with you, Preston.”
“You’re a sick mother fucker!”
“If you have a problem with that, you should take your complaints to Charlaine Harris since she gave you the ability to look like others, but this would probably be just as enjoyable if you’d have fucked any other vampire’s woman.”
Pam leaned into his ear. “Now scoot.”
Preston didn’t need to be told twice. He was gone as quickly as his punctured and burning legs could carry him.
Eric gave Pam and Amelia a moment to congratulate each other for their successful brainchild before bringing them back to reality.
“Alright ladies, now that everyone else has had their fun, shall we get started with the real party?”
They held hands as they ran towards the back of the bar, passing Sookie as they went. She was running one hand over the other, realizing how perfectly smooth they were. ‘Pam would know’, she supposed.
“Where are they going?”
“To get the guest of honor.”
She laughed slightly. “Like the last one wasn’t enough? Who could be better than Charlaine Harris?”
He smiled and pulled her to him for a kiss. “Alan Ball.”