She wasn’t just with me…
I was wrapped around her…
Confusing… Not upsetting, just confusing…
“Oh, my god! You’re awake? Let me up!”
I rolled away from her and watched as she ran off the bed and into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her. Still very confused…
I watched the door, waiting for Sookie… realizing that the taste of her blood was still in my mouth…
The pillow was stained…
My blood and hers…
What the fuck?
I listened as she tended to her human needs… using the toilet, brushing her teeth, brushing her hair, using the sink.
When she finally came out, she eyed me steadily as she crossed the room to take my phone from the bed and put it on the charger… Then slid onto the bed next to me on her knees.
“If I touch you with silver while you’re dead would you react? Like move away?” Excuse me?
“What? I don’t know… I suppose… Why?”
“I couldn’t get you off of me… I’ve had to pee for hours, but I was pinned. You’re really heavy… dead weight.”
“…Yup. It snuck up on us…”
“Shit. I’m sorry.” She’d been trapped under a dead body for an entire day. There wasn’t much else I could say…
She shrugged. “I reached your phone… texted mine to let Gran know I was really tired and not to worry… then discovered that I suck at Texas Hold Em… but I like Sudoku. Then your battery died on me too.” She giggled and slapped my arm.
She was taking it astoundingly well…
I closed my eyes, struggling to remember something, anything…
She snuggled up to me, leg over mine, arm over my chest, giggling into my shoulder… “It’s a really good thing you weren’t on top. I’d have been a goner.”
“You’ve been thinking of jokes to make all day?”
“Not all day… I mostly slept… I spent some time trying to remember… You remember anything?”
“We were together… I was behind you… after that… it’s hazy.”
“It happened again… like the first time… you put your wrist to my mouth… bit my shoulder… and we… I don’t know what it’s like for you, but… it’s like we climb into each other… You died as soon as it was over… I was scared that something went wrong until I realized that… we kind of lost time… a couple of hours.”
It explains why sunrise managed to surprise me…
At least I hadn’t died in the middle of fucking her… She might not be as forgiving if that had been the case.
As it started to come back to me, I caught myself staring again.
“About an hour ago, my bladder got desperate… I started entertaining the idea of getting Jason to pull you back some… but that’s the last thing I needed… you died… as you were… I wasn’t about to have…”
“My fangs… they were still in you?”
She giggled, embarrassed to say anything. “Among other things.”
Oh fuck. “Sookie…”
She cut me off, giggling. “Hey, we could have bigger problems.”
“You’ve had plenty of time to ponder this.”
“Sure, but I could just be delirious from hunger. Gran fried chicken for dinner… The smell… Believe me when I say it’s a close race, but since I have to choose between food and you…”
Her stomach interrupted her by growling. “Sookie, go.”
She giggled again and stretched up to kiss me. “You’re a good sport. I’m sorry.”
I watched her bounce from the bed and to our closet…
And practically run to the dresser for underthings before she disappeared into the bathroom.
She hummed while she washed away her day…
…Of being trapped under the cold body of someone twice her size… unable to move much more than her arm… with my fangs still in her shoulder… and my cock… Oh Fuck…
Embarrassed… not a common occurrence for me in its own right, but I was… I was completely mortified.
I’d died ON her… IN her… without warning.
And then Sookie called me a ‘good sport’?
Restrained to that extent would be considered torture by most. And she’s humming? A happy little tune… feeling nothing but hunger and relief… no animosity or bitterness… no residual despair or panic…
She’s starving since she hasn’t eaten anything but a piece of cake in 24 hours and pleased to be mobile… moving freely… at last.
More than 14 hours….
And smiling when she came from the bathroom.
She sat on my leg, kissing me with her arms over my shoulders. “Uh… I’m pretty sure that we’re just hanging out around the house tonight, so dress comfy. K?”
I forced a smile. “Alright.”
“Bring the sheets down so I can run them through the wash?”
She kissed me again as she bounced from my lap…
She stood in the open door. “By the way… natural witches’ thoughts are tinted; slightly yellow… trained witches blend with normal humans though.” She winked and closed the door behind her.
I knew it was Pam when she knocked. Big shock… She barged in on my shower even though I didn’t answer her.
“Pam, if I wanted to talk about it, I might have invited you in.”
“Another ‘private’ matter? You didn’t fuck up with Sookie did you?”
“That would be private.”
“Then why… You feel… guilty.” An open container of pickles in her closest… the odor stuck to her clothing would fuck with her for weeks.
“When I tell you to mind your own business… stay out of it… it’s private… shut the fuck up… Why doesn’t that mean anything to you?”
“Because I’m a nosy twat, or so my maker tells me. What’s going on?”
“Sookie and I tend to… black out, loose time when we share blood… I died before we were done.”
“You’re acting like this over blue balls!?” She started laughing.
“Your maker is right! You ARE a twat! I’m acting like this because she only just now got out of bed… she was pinned all day!”
“Oh my… Is she alright? Oh shit! Eric…”
“Somehow… she is fine.”
“Fine? Like she won’t be eating her hair in a mental ward for too long?”
“Fine, like apologizing for being too famished to fuck first thing… Fine, like reminding me to bring the bloody bedding downstairs so she could wash it… Fine.”
I raised my eyebrows at her while I toweled off, waiting for her mouth to close and her eyes to go back to their normal size.
“Why didn’t she call for help?”
“Modesty… Who was going to answer her? Her brother, her grandmother… Paulette wouldn’t have dared…”
“I died… before we were done…” She gasped histrionically. “…She could reach my phone. She used the excuse of being exhausted so that Adele wouldn’t worry, occupied herself with the preloaded games and managed to figure out how to ID witches mentally.”
She betrayed herself with a confused smile. “So you’re beating yourself up about it because she’s taking it too well.”
“In a manner of speaking… She should have been panicked, terrified… I could have hurt her.”
“She seems to do well under stress.”
She rolled her eyes, huffing out an unnecessary breath and was lost in thought for a moment. “I was going to ask if she wanted to come to Hot Chocolate with me, but under the circumstances, she might not want to…”
“…Peruse aisles of things that would hold her down?” At least the thought occurred to her.
“Go ahead and invite her… Don’t fucking embarrass her.”
I shrugged, just hoping she’d leave me to get dressed eventually.
It seemed to work… she left quickly, not giving me the chance to change my mind.
I was pulling my shirt on, when Sookie came back.
Feeling satisfied and suspicious, chuckling as she went into the bathroom. “What the hell is Hot Chocolate and why does Pam want me to go with her.”
“She has an errand and thought you might want to get out.”
She took her tooth brush out of her mouth and leaned against the door frame. “Uh huh… What is Hot Chocolate?”
“It’s an adult novelty shop.”
She slapped her hand over her mouth. “Sex toys?”
I nodded. “One of her favorite stores.”
“Oh, hell! I don’t think I want to know that much about her!” Who does?
“I made her promise not to embarrass you.”
“You… That’s sweet, but…”
“It won’t hurt her feelings if you’re too modest to go.”
I waited, watching, being watched… while Sookie finished at the sink. Her look was unsure as she crossed the room to me, but she was in good spirits as she hugged her arms around me…
“You feel improved now that you’ve eaten.”
She giggled into my shoulder. “Soooooo much better… I ate nearly a whole chicken… and all the fixins.”
“Is Adele worried about you?”
“Not at all. I told her.”
“You told her?”
“Well, I left out the details, but I didn’t want her thinking I’m sick… She laughed at me.”
“She laughed at the idea of you being crushed into the bed all day?”
“No, she laughed when I told her that I thought about chewing your arm off when I smelled her chicken cooking.”
She was dealing with the situation better than I was. I stood there, surprised that she wasn’t upset by my arms being around her so soon.
“I’d better git… Pam and Hadley are pacing in the front hall. We’re stopping at Hadley’s apartment so they can grab dinner while we’re out.”
“That isn’t going to be awkward for you?”
She raised her eyebrows. “I guess we’ll find out.” She lifted to her toes to kiss my cheek and left me…
I was almost ashamed to join Adele downstairs…
I don’t hide.
That may very well be the only reason I left the solitude of our room.
I passed through the kitchen quickly, depositing the bedding in the garbage at the back door. There was no saving white silk from that much blood…
And returned to greet Adele and Jason. Two pieces of pie. One book. No surprise there.
“What are we reading tonight, Adele?”
“The Turn Of The Screw.” Gothic tale of a haunted house.
“Keeping a theme?”
“Well, we’ve yet to get you out for your ghost-walk and after all the time you’ve been staying with a vampire, you still haven’t read Count Saint-Germain.”
She chuckled. “What do I need that bum for when you already promised to… noooooo… He wasn’t?”
I smiled at her, proud that she’d taken the bait. “One identity. Several vampires. The actual man was a bit of a problem, running about and claiming to be immortal… he was ‘hushed’ as a defensive tactic.”
“Of course he was!” Her eyes were wide. Childlike, as though she were being told a fairy tale.
“There were a few of us though… who used him as an outlet for our boredom.”
She snickered. “Like Elvis sightings.”
I nodded. “Exactly.”
She stared at me, obviously pleased about her history lesson, but Jason was lost… curious as opposed to last night’s irate confusion. Manageable. “You killed a guy because he was pretending to be a vampire?”
“I wasn’t who killed him, but this took place more than 200 years ago. At the time even humans were eager to make sure their interests were secure. If he accidentally boasted to the wrong zealot, he might have been put into a position to reveal a true vampire… and expose us all.”
“So now that you’re out of the coffin and all… What do you and Pam do?”
“I’m the Sheriff of the Shreveport Area. I opened Fangtasia to make the job less of a hassle. It’s an outlet for the politics… The vampires of the area use it as a place to network and find a meal for the evening… The fangbangers have a designated place to congregate. There are other businesses and investments… but the bar is the storefront to my office.”
“Wow. So who’s taking care of the area while your gone?” The Easter Bunny. We’re old friends.
“From this far away?”
“If there is a problem, they all know how to contact me, as do the police. Bill Compton is the first vampire in my area to go against me in over 50 years…”
I was hit.
I didn’t feel it building.
I didn’t sense a slight feeling.
I had been mid-sentence and…
Alarm, panic, anger, aggression, urgency…
Not from just one of them… both.
Pam and Sookie were feeling identical emotions… and the only thing I was aware of aside from that was that I was afraid.
Actual fear… of my own.
…I’d felt them both enjoying their shopping. Sookie was feeling mischievous and somehow Pam had managed to be embarrassed by something. And only a few moments ago, I felt Pam’s anticipation as she closed the distance between her and her meal. It’s similar to a quickening. An exhilaration.
But the sudden chill of fear running through me had taken me so unexpectedly that the only real option was to concentrate on it… shushing Adele as politely as I could muster. Her concern was only based on the change in my demeanor…
There weren’t any answers for us though. The only thing to do was wait since panic wasn’t helpful. Wasn’t practical.
Wait for word.
Pam would know to contact me immediately even if I hadn’t had the opportunity to explain such things to Sookie.
Wait for word.
As I reached into my pocket, prepared to call and interrupt their encounter, I remembered that it was still in our room.
I tried to sound reassuring as I passed Adele’s hand to Jason. “My phone is still in our room. I’ll be right back.”
“Eric, tell me something. Anything.”
“All I can tell you is that Pam and Sookie are involved in some sort of argument or fight. They could be in a heated debate over the radio station for all I know.”
“Horse puckey… Thanks though… for trying.”
I actually found it in myself to smile at her and kiss her forehead before I raced up the stairs.
My phone was open. Thumb on the 3 to start dialing Pam’s number when my back seized…
A sudden rail of pain swept over me… from my ass to my shoulders, leaving me leaning… the wall was my only companion as I recognized a sudden numbness in my legs…
As though the fear of something happening to her wasn’t already enough, it was growing… the fear was growing, quickly becoming a grotesque darkness and beginning to eat away at what little fortitude I’d been faking.
I might have been able to make myself believe the pain I felt was Pam’s, but the lie wasn’t improving my status… if Pam were injured, she would heal faster, but Sookie would be unprotected.
The option of deluding myself was stolen when I felt a more familiar pain… simultaneously anesthetized and heightened… my abdomen seared… hot and heavy. Pam had been cut… burned… silver…
I gathered myself as quickly as I could, entering the kitchen only for a moment, passing through. “Adele, Pam has been injured. I’m leaving.”
I opened the doors to the terrace and took to the sky just hoping that I wasn’t too late.
There was no confusion…
Sookie and Pam were both pulling me from the same point. Beacons, of the same anger and confusion.
Pam’s fear was dwindling, but Sookie’s was building as though it had momentum…
And the smell of blood reached me before the ground met my feet.
Human and vampire.
When I reached the door to Hadley’s apartment, Sookie’s eyes shot up to meet mine.
She was slumped over, covered in blood, dragging a body across the floor. Hadley was feeding from another with a bloody path behind it.
Sookie’s eyes were nothing more than pools of tears as she croaked, “Help me. Pam’s hurt.”
I hadn’t even surveyed the rest of the scene to notice anything once I saw that Sookie was unharmed.
…Pam wasn’t in my line of sight, on the floor behind the couch.
I grabbed the arm of the body, saving Sookie from the haul. “What happened?”
Unanswered. I was left to look over Pam’s wound… a gruesome slash from one hip to the other… already healing… slowly…
“Eric, I’m sorry. Sookie tried to warn us. This is…”
“Feed first. Explain later.”
I glanced over to Hadley, concerned that the queen’s child might be ‘too’ injured… but she was well enough to be rising from her sprawl slowly.
And only a few moments later Pam gathered herself to start rising as soon as the body was drained. “Sookie?”
I gave her a nod, turning towards where I’d left her to find her… gone.
Leaving Pam and Hadley to go to the door, I peered out… she was standing in Sigebert’s shadow, poking his chest.
“CALL YOUR QUEEN! I NEED TO TALK TO HER!”
I put my hands on her shoulders, optimistic that she would calm herself, wishing I could do it for her. Hoping she’d live long enough that I might ever have the chance.
“Yes, you can. Who put those donors in the car?”
“Fine, ASSHOLE! When you get back to the queen, you let her know that someone put 2 ‘donors’ with silver knives and nets in the back of the car you delivered to her child. Good luck with explaining that Hadley and Pam were hurt in a kidnapping attempt that you slept through.”
She heaved out an exasperated groan that became a shriek. “Sigebert, if you aren’t going to be any more help than this, leave!”
I pulled at her shoulders, turning her to face me. “Sookie, calm down and tell me what happened.”
She started weeping again, taking a minute to gather herself. “We were early so I was helping them tidy up so that Gran could come see the apartment. They had just been let in when I came out of the laundry… They were spies from Arkansas. Hadley was supposed to be held as leverage until the queen reconsidered her withdrawal and then they could ‘have’ her.”
“They managed to become part of the donor pool?”
“He left them during one of his visits… like leaving a toothbrush behind… He’s got more.”
“Three I think. One of the Louisiana vampires is helping.”
She turned to sneer at Sigebert. “I have a name.”
Bert grabbed her arm and yanked her away from me and I had to force myself to remember that ‘mine’ doesn’t supersede treason. “Tell me.”
“Why should I? It’s not like you’re doing anything in exchange?”
“Take you to Andre.”
She started laughing as he jerked her to the car.
“Because you giant jackass! All I want is to talk to the damn queen! By taking me to Andre, you’re pretty much giving me what I want!”
He stopped moving mid-stride and flung her back towards me before he reached into his pocket to pull out a phone.
He mottled together 3 languages in the failed endeavor of confusing me… he’d basically reported that he couldn’t control Sookie and then threw the phone to her.
“Miss Stackhouse, am I to understand that you are refusing to cooperate?”
“Not at all. I think something might have been lost in translation… Andre, Waldo just helped get two Arkansas spies close enough to Hadley to hurt her.”
“Based on the humans’ thoughts, he’s being a bit of a crybaby about Hadley’s position on the totem.”
“Their plan, as you know it?”
“To take Hadley hostage in the hopes that the queen will resume plans to marry Arkansas. Hadley nearly lost her arm. Pam was practically disemboweled.”
“Were you injured?”
“No sir. I was thrown clear of the scuffle. They were armed with silver though.”
“Hadley and Miss Ravenscroft are healing?”
“Yes, sir. They fed from the attackers.”
“Is there anything else we need to be made aware of?”
“Yes, sir. I intend to visit you in a bit. There are more spies disguised as donors, Threadgill’s pets. If you keep them all there, I can listen and find them… I have a suggestion and a request.”
There was a pause. “Yes, Miss Stackhouse?”
“The suggestion is that you have your guards search the routes the donors are allowed to take for silver weapons. Cars, restrooms, common areas… I doubt these two were walking around armed.”
“And your request?”
“Could it be possible to send someone to tend to this mess? Hadley and Pam aren’t well enough.”
She giggled. “Yes, sir… but how good of a job do you think a queasy human can do?”
“Andre, how is she?”
“The queen is indisposed at the moment. She is very closely bonded to Hadley.”
“Awww. Should I send Pam and Hadley back with Sigebert so that they can feed… The faster Hadley heals…”
“Yes, Miss Stackhouse…. We’ll see you soon.”
She sauntered over to Sigebert with his phone held out to him… and when he snatched it from her hand, she kicked his shin.
Too cheeky for her own good.
I was ready to jump to her defense when he cracked a smile as he turned around. I had no idea what that meant… I’d never seen it before.
Sookie stood in the middle of Hadley’s living room surveying the carnage… mild by my standards, but since Dawn had been strangled, she’d most likely never seen anything like this.
A female in a yellow party dress, dark hair and eyes staring at the ceiling blankly.
A male in a dress shirt and slacks, a red and black cliché with light hair… face down with the grip of a silver knife sticking out of his back… the pool of blood next to him was Pam’s… he’d been the one she fed from.
As soon as Hadley and Pam took their leave, Sookie’s bloody hands pressed to her forehead, staining her hair… her faked smile melted away.
Her eyes began to fill again, the smell of her tears barely reached me over the heaviness of the blood in the air… She dropped her arms suddenly, marching over to the male body and yanking the knife from his back… then to the female bending to snap the silver necklace away from her throat… and moved to gather the other knife and nets… tossing it all to the couch.
I watched numbly on my part… Pam’s injury was improving quickly, but Sookie’s back was still in pain…
Her eyes were swollen as she looked up at me. “Am I done?”
At a loss, I simply nodded. I couldn’t imagine what she thought she needed to do… until she crashed into my chest… it was as though I felt her giving up…
Not resigning so much as… letting her guard down.
She was inconsolable, sobbing into my chest… I hated not knowing what to do for her, how to help her, why she was so distraught…
I would have done anything for a hint.
I had no hopes of tracking the race of emotions ripping through her… I was lost.
Until finally… “I’m not sure if I want to know if it gets easier or not.”
“It shouldn’t bother you to be in the same room with them… You sleep next to me.”
She managed to snort through her tears. “Yeah, but I didn’t kill you.”