Sookie pulled her lip between her teeth and stepped away from me when my phone began ringing, but I took her hand to pull her back.
I offered, “It’s only Pam,” just before answering the call. “Good evening, Pam.”
She started, “Are you in Bon Temps again?”
“Please tell me you aren’t buying those wretched little houses. It was one thing to consider it before, but now that Jason Stackhouse’s body was found, it’s not likely…”
I interrupted, “I found her.”
Pam sighed, “Shit… Where did that greasy fuck-stain bury the poor thing?”
Actual sympathy, Pam? Wow…
Sookie answered, “Mimosa Lake.”
Pam scoffed, “That seals it. That inbred twat dumped her just like her brother. I suppose now we just wait for him to show his face somewh-” There it was. She finally caught up. “That was Sookie, wasn’t it?”
“Yes it was… where are you?”
“Good. The inbred twat in question brought Sookie over and absconded to Washington with her… For now, the relevant part of an extremely long explanation is that Sookie managed to escape him…”
“Since there isn’t anything anyone can actually do to make him release her, you’re going to pick a fight so you have an excuse to end him.”
“That’s the working plan, yes… I’d prefer eqta’u, and perhaps some plating, but…”
Pam finished, “But we certainly don’t have anything against Sookie.”
Sookie shook her head. “What is that? Eqta’u?”
“Eqta’u is Arabic for cut or remove. It’s a literal punishment popularized in the Quran. Cutting off the hands of a thief… Plating is when a Vampire is submerged in saltwater with silver. An electrical current is added to make the silver adhere to the Vampire. That’s not from the Quran though.”
Sookie’s eyes bulged and her jaw dropped.
Too much, too soon.
Pam asked, “Did you break her, Eric?”
“I think I might have.”
Sookie shook her head. “So… you’d take his hands for stealing me from your Area?”
“I thought taking his hands would be symbolic of how he robbed you in a general sense.”
Sookie snorted, “If that’s the case, you should take his tongue for lying to me, his junk for getting me into bed with lies, and his fangs for bringing me over with more BS… yeah, the hands thing… Oh! You could take his feet for running like a chicken shit too.”
After the way she’d always been abhorred by Vampire discipline… I’d seen the look on her face when she witnessed Isabel and her pet’s passive punishment…
All I could do was stare.
Pam asked, “Sookie, did you break him?”
She giggled, “I think I might have… Maybe I’m bitter because everything is still fresh, but don’t let the Maker/child thing keep y’all from doing whatever. I’ve been staked, for God’s sake. I’ll manage… and it’ll probably be easier to deal with, knowing he’s getting some kind of comeuppance… If I had my way, he’d get romanced by a pack of wild horses… for my brother.”
Beautiful. The wicked little gleam in her eyes… just fucking beautiful.
Pam cooed, “Sookie, you’re giving me a boner.”
At least I wasn’t the only one.
“Don’t get your hopes up. I’m not about to change my name to Skeffington or anything… This is personal.”
Pam argued, “Can I have a boner just because you can associate Lord Skeffington and torture?”
Sookie closed her eyes and shook her head. “You’re funny… I didn’t know you’re funny.”
“Compton sucks the fun out of the air.”
Pam offered, “I couldn’t be with Eric and not have a sense of humor… so what are we doing tonight?”
When I heard a vehicle I pushed back the curtain on the window to see a truck… and the yard I expected to see when I arrived. Sookie’s lawn was overgrown. The driveway was hardly passable from the weeds that had taken root after months without traffic… and Sookie’s little car had saplings growing out from under the hood.
I’d managed to forget my reason for being in Bon Temps thanks to the bizarreness of rising in a different reality.
Sookie breathed, “That’s Sam.”
I nodded and offered, “Pam, why don’t you meet us in Bon Temps. We’re planning to go to Fangtasia, but we seem to have a problem with transportation. I’m hanging up now.”
Sookie sucked air past her teeth. “Why is he here?”
“He’s been looking for you. He contacted Herveaux. Herveaux contacted me, knowing you had my blood. I’m sure he’ll be quite surprised to see you. Now that your brother’s body has been identified, Merlotte called to ask me to try to enter your home to confirm you’re dead.”
She sighed, “This is going to be bad. You heard what the other Sookie said about him.”
She’d said, “Sam Merlotte’s fear of Vampires is in his DNA. His attraction to Me was solely based on Fae allure. Every thought he’s had about me has been hateful since I bonded with Eric.”
I nodded. “Every word of it, but he has been concerned.”
She nodded. “Yeah… Quick like a band-aid, I guess. I’m nervous as hell, so I’m just gonna follow your lead, K?”
If that continued, being compliant, she was going to break me.
Sam Merlotte was leaning against his truck, watching the end of the driveway for me, when I opened the front door.
He whipped around and as soon as he laid eyes on me, his posture sagged. “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit… I guess that’s it then, huh?”
I stepped out to the porch and shook my head. “Not necessarily. I have news about Sookie.”
He huffed, “Like where that asshole hid her body so her friends can have a service?”
“Bill Compton took advantage of Sookie’s invitation and drained her while she slept…”
“Why am I not surprised? I told her not to trust him.”
“Then he took her to ground. When she rose, he relocated to Washington and changed their names. Sookie accepted the circumstances because she was told the Queen had learned of her ability and was in the market for a telepathic pet.”
He looked like he was going to be ill. “Sookie’s a… a…”
“Sookie Stackhouse has been brought over. She’s a Vampire, yes.”
“How do you know? Did he bring her back when they heard about Jason?”
“She made her way home. She hadn’t been informed of Jason’s disappearance. She’s only just heard the news.”
Sookie stepped onto the porch behind me and gripped my shirt with both hands. She peeked around me and offered, “Bill said we’d come home eventually… He said it wouldn’t be long before there was a coup and it would be safe… it was lies, all lies. He did it because it made him nervous that the Sheriff paid so much attention to me. He did it just so he could control me.”
The Shifter shook his head and huffed, “I told ya, didn’t I? I told ya you couldn’t trust Vampires.”
Lovely. In exchange for the life she cherished, she was awarded with one greedy Maker and an I-told-you-so.
“I’m a Vampire now, Sam. You’ve known me for years. Are you going to go from looking high and low for me, to hating me?”
Honestly, for a fraction of a second, he looked like he’d say yes… it made me wonder about her ability now that she’d been brought over.
“Nawwwww Sookie. It’s gonna take some getting used to is all…” He rubbed his eyes for a moment before forcing a smile to joke, “I always need help on the night shift.”
She snorted, “Thanks, but I think I’m gonna apply at Fangtasia. Being away from my Maker, I kinda need supervision for a while…” Well put. “Who all’s at Merlotte’s?”
He shrugged, “The usual… Hoyt’s there, and Terry… They’re waiting for me to get back. They offered to help me clean out the house… well, you know… They’ll be happy to hear they’re off the hook though.”
Sookie gently tugged my shirt and asked, “Do you mind? Pam can pick us up there. If anyone’s going to be a good test, it’ll be Hoyt and Terry.”
“I don’t mind.”
She grinned. “Thank you… I’ll go grab my purse.”
“Expecting to need a tampon?”
She laughed as she walked into the house. “The BEST part of being a Vampire. Seriously.”
“You aren’t the only one with that opinion. Pam’s made a list of perks over the years…” Since the Shifter was gawking, I followed Sookie and left him in the yard. “Perhaps she’ll let you see it… The second item on her list is that she won’t reach ‘maximum density’ like her mother.”
Sookie snickered, “That is a good one,” and reached into her purse only to blurt, “Shit!” and yank her hand out again. She dropped her purse on the floor and clasped her hand between her knees. “Sonofa… mother…”
“An earring under your fingernail?”
She hissed and straightened to flap her hand in the air and hiss, “Old purse… silver charm bracelet… first kiss… never had the pleasure.”
I chuckled and took her hand, watching the burn on the back of her knuckles heal slowly. “Even though you just fed…”
She grimaced. “Too slow?”
I nodded and released her hand. “We’ll fix that.”
She smiled and grabbed the bottom of her purse to dump it onto her bed so the accident couldn’t happen again.
“You should probably pack a bag and stay in Shreveport for now. After you’re fed, I’ll make arrangements for your house to be light-proofed.”
She stopped working and took a deep breath that she blew out slowly. She finally sighed, “I think… as much as I love this house… I think I’m going to have to find somewhere else to stay. Between Dallas and Jackson, too many people know who I am. Maybe… you know with everything, I could offer the house to Hunter’s father. It’s a great house to grow up in. He’d be nearby so I could help him out with his gift… and the house would still be in the family. I doubt Remy would be cool with giving his kid to a Vampire even if I could take care of myself right now. Better that way anyhow… I can be the awesome aunt-type who can spoil the crap out of him and I don’t have to tell him no.”
How very pragmatic.
“Hunter mentioned his father is a construction worker. I’m sure I can arrange for him to find a local job. Pam and I have several houses you can choose from until you find something.”
She grinned and walked to her closet. “Thank you… So… do you need a Vampire waitress?”
“No. The job was beneath you when you were Human, Sookie. If you insist on working, I’m sure you and Pam can entertain each other at the door.”
She giggled, “Yeah!? That sounds like a lot of fun!”
“She’ll have to teach you how to hide that.”
“That girlishly adorable excitement. Giggling doesn’t exactly fit the image of Fangtasia.”
She shrugged. “That might take me a while… I’ve barely left the house in months. Bill wouldn’t let me work…”
“Have you given any thought to the clinics the other Us mentioned?”
“You think that’s a good idea? I mean, once Bill’s gone, I won’t have protection.”
“Bill wouldn’t have been taken seriously regardless… You’ll have my protection and Pam’s… One of us can travel with you if the need arises.”
She tilted her head to the side and stared at me for a moment before nodding. “I’ll think about it then. I should get back in practice first before I even think about it though. The most I’ve done in months is read Bill’s moods.”
“With your telepathy? Why not just monitor your connection to him?”
“To calibrate myself. I figured eventually I’d meet other Vampires and since I can’t read their minds, I should at least get a bead on their moods… I was bored and there have been a couple of times when I wanted to stake him just because I was sick to damn death of hearing him type.”
I chuckled, “And how accurate is your bead?”
“I could tell you were in a good mood earlier… when you were in your happy place. And the other Eric… just mentioning those scheming guys…”
“Appius and Halfdan.”
“Yeah them. Just saying their names pissed him off, same as Bill when he hears your name… You were impressed by the house, I think it was the house anyway, but then something pissed you off…”
“And you didn’t seem nearly as worried about the Berts as I was.”
“Yeah. I could tell they were okay. They weren’t even on alert… We were at the house before I knew why they were amused though. The skips are a spectator sport to them.”
“And your friend?”
She sighed, “Soon-to-be-estranged friend.”
“I guessed as much.”
“Yeah… He thought it would’ve been better if I was just dead… He doesn’t want to watch me turn into ‘one of those monsters’. That’ll probably be par for the course. I’m sure any of the keeping in touch my ‘friends’ do will be over the phone.”
“Had you come to terms with losing them yet?”
She sighed, “I want to say yes… I wanted to come to terms with the possibility, but I haven’t had any way to move on, nothing to distract me. I guess you could say I was at the point where I knew being a Vampire would scare everyone away, but I couldn’t shake hoping I was wrong… Does that make any sense?”
Like knowing my connection to Sookie had been severed, but hoping there was an alternative to the idea she was dead?
“It makes perfect sense. Some of them could surprise you, and you’ll make new friends.”
“I’m terrified of meeting Brandon.”
“You think he’d reject you for being a Vampire?”
“Not really… I’m more worried he could be hurt just for being related to me. I’m kind of a jinx. Even you got shot while I was around.”
“Yes, but Bill was there too. I’m almost positive that makes him the ‘jinx’ since you knew your grandmother and Jason for your whole life and nothing happened to them… I suggest calling him.”
I nodded. “Once you’re finished dancing in Bill’s puddle, of course… Is there something wrong with your closet?”
She’d been aimlessly pushing hangers back and forth since she opened it, and she’d yet to take anything out.
“I was just going to grab a handful of my old favorites, but they aren’t here…”
“Would you have taken them to Jackson?”
She turned to face me and nodded. “You know what… I think I did.”
“Alcide had your bag. He didn’t want to dispose of it. It’s at my house… You can have it back for a small price.”
She raised an eyebrow at me and put her hands on her hips. “What’s the price?”
“Promise not to tell Pam I kept it.” She’d made fun of Alcide for leaving it with me in the first place.
Sookie stared at me for a moment, looking like she was about to cry, before finally grabbing her purse and the bag provided by our hosts from the bed, and clearing her throat. “You got it… So, let’s get a move on then.”
A waitress named Arlene (with hair so red it looked like she used a grenadine rinse) was oblivious to the fact that Sookie had been brought over initially.
Terry, covered in a range of scars and reeking of pharmaceuticals, was quite happy about Sookie’s homecoming once he was sure he wasn’t hallucinating her again.
The third of Sookie’s friends to greet her was Hoyt… Hoyt grabbed her, taking her from the floor to hug her tightly enough to make her grunt… The close friend of her brother cried on her, sharing in Jason’s loss… When Arlene probed for answers about where Sookie had been and why, Hoyt told her to shut up because it didn’t matter where Sookie had been now that they knew she was ‘fine’.
Somehow Sookie managed to keep her fangs under control while her face was pressed against Hoyt’s neck.
Since Hoyt had only just set Sookie on the floor again, he was her focus when she explained she’d been brought over. While Arlene was frightened enough to back away until she bumped into the wall, Terry congratulated Sookie and mentioned a life without nightmares must be nice, and Hoyt asked what it was like.
Without going into specifics about how or why she was brought over, avoiding the unpleasantness of the circumstances, Sookie compared her first week to having a migraine.
She was extremely sensitive to any sensation…
The glare off of the heads of bald men made them look like they had halos… she could hear electricity droning in the walls… her heightened sense of smell made her wonder about her mailman’s digestive health… every particle of dirt under her feet felt like boulders…
I couldn’t have been more surprised when Merlotte asked Sookie if she still had her ‘thing’. He’d mentioned Sookie’s telepathy in mixed company and Sookie was completely unfazed by the question…
Merlotte was shocked to hear both her telepathy and her shields were stronger than they’d ever been.
For nearly half an hour, Sookie only really spoke to Hoyt while Arlene and the Shifter watched as though they were waiting for Sookie to bite someone…
When Hoyt left, Sookie told him to ask his mother if she’d want Adele’s silverware… he laughed, finding humor in why Sookie would want to be rid of the memento, until he was through the front door of the ‘restaurant’.
Sookie asked Merlotte if he’d mind if we waited for our ride in his office… I thought she was avoiding the dining room full of locals, but she sat at Sam’s desk and used the phone…
She proceeded to syphon every penny out of the six accounts she knew about and sent the funds to her account in Bon Temps. Bill changed his will when he checked in with the Sheriff in Seattle and she wasn’t listed as a beneficiary. She apologized for being ‘catty’, but… I was impressed. There wasn’t any reason why she shouldn’t have gotten something out of what he’d put her through. The few thousand dollars she pilfered was little more than a nest egg, but it would tide her over nicely until she began earning as a telepath.
The added bonus was that she was sure Bill would think it was my doing, a sad attempt to keep him from traveling to get Sookie back… because Bill Compton wasn’t just ‘shit his pants’ scared of me, he thought I was a mindless thug. Sookie bet me a ‘whole dollar’ she was right.
When I texted Pam to tell her Sookie and I were waiting at Merlotte’s, Sookie very ruefully apologized for keeping me from business… given that Bill hadn’t spent any time teaching Sookie anything else, her apology made me very seriously wonder if Bill had focused on putting her in her ‘place’.
Sookie was cheeky on a good night, flippant and argumentative at her worst…
Sookie was ballsy.
Six months ago, Sookie would have asked if she was keeping me from ‘Vampire shit’.
When Pam arrived, she practically kicked down the door to Merlotte’s office and stood in the doorway with her hands on her hips like some sort of superhero action figure.
“Even a broken clock is right twice a day… Bill Compton, douchebag at large, finally did something right. Sookie… You. Are. Breathtaking.”
Very well put.
Sookie giggled as she stood, “Nice to see you too, Pam… Can we catch up in the car? This place smells like a deep-fried porta-potty.”
Pam was relieved enough to relax her shoulders as she turned around to lead the way to the back door. “Oh, thank God… When Eric said you were here, I thought Fido hired you to be a fry-jockey again.”
Sookie rolled her eyes. “It wasn’t a bad job. Besides, someone has to wait tables.”
“Fine. Let one of the inbreeders do it. You shouldn’t have been wallowing in this cesspool… I have a news flash for you: what made you a freak to these sister-fuckers, made you a Supe, like it or not… and now that you’re a Vampire, you need to stop playing with your food.”
Sookie raised an eyebrow at Pam, but I offered, “Meanwhile, Pam argued to bring her maid when she was brought over… Pam, you keep too many pets to tell anyone to stop playing with their food.”
While Sookie giggled and slid onto the backseat of Pam’s sedan, Pam hissed at me. “They’re just pets…” When I raised an eyebrow at her, she backpedaled, mumbling, “I am friendly with them, in a manner of speaking.”
Sookie gave me a surprised look when I joined her on the back seat. I was curious about how much Sookie had been taught about stations. Unfortunately, my test was flawed. I couldn’t tell if Sookie was surprised I ignored the vacant seat in the front or if she thought I treated Pam like a chauffeur.
“Sookie’s friends have been searching for months. She was letting them know to stop looking.”
“How’d that go?”
Sookie sighed, “Sam’s skin crawled. Arlene wondered if inviting me in before I died meant I could still get into her house and decided she should move to be safe… Terry…” She giggled, “Terry was fine, but he second-guessed it at one point. Then he decided all the meds he’s on for PTSD would make his blood taste like ‘swamp ass’. Hoyt… Hoyt surprised me. The only thing that worried him was that his mother is going to flip out. He decided he didn’t care.”
Pam asked, “Can we take bets on how your Wolf will take the news?”
Sookie shrugged. “Probably the same as Sam.”
I argued, “I doubt that. I don’t think their personalities could be more different.” And the other Us praised him for being a loyal friend and an impressively menacing day-guard.
She sighed at her knees, “Yeah, but I’m the same. Either way, they’re both Weres, and I’m still Fae. I’m sure it’s been the allure thing all along.”
That wouldn’t explain why I was still attracted to her.
Pam whipped her head around (she was so surprised she looked like there was an invisible cock in her mouth), and in the process, nearly veered the car into a ditch. “You’re Fae!?”
Sookie nodded. “I got scratched at Josephine’s and King Edgington tasted it.”
Sookie conveniently left out the volumes of confirmation we’d received during our skip.
I offered, “Pam, if you think you can manage to keep your car on the road, we probably have time for the longer explanation.”
“The forty-five minutes is probably enough time? How complicated is it?”
Sookie offered, “Did you watch Quantum Leap?”
Pam raised an eyebrow and stared at her in the rearview mirror. “The doctor who bounced through the past fixing shit, right?”
That was more groundwork than I thought could be established with one sentence.
Sookie smiled. “Hunter told me Pam’s a fan of the show. Most of Us call it skipping because that’s what Gran called it. The Pams say ‘leap’ instead of skip because she watched the show.”
Pam sighed, “Congratulations. I couldn’t be more confused.”
I nodded towards Sookie, deferring to her since she knew about the show.
“I don’t know anything about the show. I might over-complicate the discussion.”
Her eyes bulged and she took a deep breath, forcing it out slowly.
“Okay… The premise of the show is that Sam Beckett steps into his quantum accelerator and ends up in the past to ‘right what once went wrong’. With me so far, Pam?”
“Dr. Ruth was my favorite episode. I’ve got that.”
“Take the timeline out.”
“Sam Beckett leaps around fixing things in his own time frame… Like instead of saving JFK, he’d save the ‘current’ president.”
“Right. Now, throw away the waiting room.”
“Sam Beckett… Leaps physically, not just his consciousness, but his whole body.”
Sookie nodded. “You’re getting it… and instead of Al being a hologram, Al’s actually his partner in crime.”
“I loved the episode when they did the role reversal. When Sam was the hologram… Okay. So now we’ve got Sam and Al leaping from place to place, fixing problems. Right?”
“Yeah… One last step. Replace Sam and Al with Eric and me.”
Done. And it would have taken me most of the ride back to Shreveport.
Sookie nodded again. “This morning, Eric died in Shreveport and I went to sleep in Lake Bosworth…”
Pam took a moment to coo, “It’s so cute when newborns still call it sleep.”
Sookie corrected, “I was a Faerie hybrid. I don’t die for the day. I still dream and everything, but I can’t go out, so it’s bittersweet… Anyway, Eric in Shreveport, me in Lake Bosworth… He was lucky enough to rise in the same house he died in, just a different version of it. I left my reality in Lake Bosworth… and I leapt all the way to my house in Bon Temps… Because I was a hybrid and Eric is a Vampire, we get to see other versions of reality.”
Pam snorted, “This is phenomenal. And what was going on in this other plane of existence?”
Sookie cringed in my direction, doubting herself.
I shook my head and explained, “I’m sure she thinks I had you explain to avoid being caught lying… Pam, in the other version of reality, the Berts were using Sookie’s house as a barracks because they’re the guards of King and Mrs. Northman…”
“Am I allowed to interject when I smell bullshit?”
“If it’s legitimate, yes.”
“Fine. How did you not notice you rose in someone else’s house? You moved, right? She just said you’d moved.”
“The other me kept the house as a safehouse. When they began living together, they used His other houses, primarily the lake house, for a few nights at a time until the new house was built because He’d just become King… I did notice a few things… I could have sworn I brought my laptop home with me, but when it wasn’t in my room, I assumed I left it at Fangtasia. And when I arrived at Sookie’s house in Bon Temps, I thought the house seemed lived in because the lawn was in pristine condition… Sookie assumed she’d been abducted because she rose in her old room, but the Berts had taken it over with a pair of king sized beds and a tank full of iguanas. It didn’t look anything like her old room.”
“I assume you flew from the wrong house in Shreveport to the wrong Bon Temps?”
“No. I drove, but I drove His Corvette. Hopefully mine is still in my garage.”
“Good answer. And how did we become King?”
“Sookie was traveling between Kingdoms as a professional telepath. The Queen named Him Lieutenant as a diplomatic shield… The ink was hardly dry on the new contracts before she was murdered.”
Pam scoffed, “Oh, that’s perfectly convenient, isn’t it? Threadgill’s been a threat for years and now…”
I corrected, “Not Threadgill. Hadley, the Queen’s youngest child. A tantrum of some kind.”
“Wow. You had to reach for that name. You’ve actually called her Hattie and Harley to her face.”
When I rolled my eyes, Sookie giggled, “Hadley Dellahoussaye just so happens to be my cousin…” Pam opened her mouth to argue, but Sookie continued, “Eric, we have the thumb drive thingies. I can’t really blame her for not buying it. I was there and it’s hard to swallow. Maybe… Pam should just see the pictures.”
“Fair enough… What type of place were you thinking about moving to? If we aren’t explaining to Pam, I could call my property manager…”
She gave me a smile that was entirely too sweet. “It doesn’t really matter. I spend most of my time reading in the tub or sleeping. Since I don’t die and I don’t do anything specific, I keep weird hours.”
The impossible… Sookie was being difficult, but it was because she was too accommodating. Her indifference wasn’t going to help me narrow down housing options… and I couldn’t stop picturing her in my tub.
“A moving company to spare you from packing the houses?”
She thought about it for a moment before shaking her head. “No, but thanks… Doing it myself is probably going to be the closest I get to closure…” Fuck. “Um… we probably only have about half an hour before Bill’s up… you know… it might be fun to… Nevermind.”
“I’ll let you know if I think it’s a bad idea or if you’re overstepping, Sookie. What might be fun?”
“Well, fun and… like a safety net… if he thinks the Queen sanctioned my abduction because of his program…”
“He’s less likely to contact her to tattle.”
“And it would look like you’re holding me hostage as a service to her, instead of playing keep-away… ‘Once the Queen has the database in her possession, I’ll release your child’… and kind of fitting now that we know that asshole staged the whole Jackson thing to begin with.”
“And given the nature of the abduction, he’s less likely to bring along sympathetic variables.”
Sookie shrugged. “I’m not sure that would be an issue regardless. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled another Vampire on him… so I don’t think he has many friends, let alone ones that would butt heads with you. The Sheriff wasn’t happy to see him come back to the Area either.”
It took a moment for me to decide which direction to go… that statement could have been picked apart in so many ways.
“It’s possible he was masking his scent… It’s not the friends you should watch out for, it’s the favors.”
“If he was masking his scent, he was doing a lousy job. No Weres. No Vampires. Just Humans. Blood and sex. Every night but Tuesday… Cheap Humans at that. Even as a Human, I could smell off-brand laundry detergent from a mile away. It’s one of the few generics I wouldn’t buy… He had a regular schedule. Friday and Saturday were random whatevers, but the other four women had him on a regular schedule.”
Not only had he brought her over to keep her from me, he’d been starving her… While she was left in solitude, he was feeding nightly and fucking everything along the Puget Sound.
And Sookie’s apathy on the matter only infuriated me that much more… She’d accepted being treated like a grass widow… when he’d taken everything from her.
“When he calls, play along. After months with Bill, I’m sure you’re a remarkable actress.”
I could tell Sookie was bothered. She anxiously studied the back of the seat in front of her, glancing in my direction a few times, sensing how much I wanted to pull Compton apart.
He didn’t want her. He just didn’t want to lose her to me… And he went as far as bringing her over to ‘win’, only to neglect his trophy.
Wondering why the fuck we hadn’t gotten a much earlier ‘intervention’ like our other Selves didn’t improve my mood either.
Even though Pam tried to pull me back into the conversation about skipping, Sookie did all of the talking while I fumed… I was pacifying myself with happy thoughts of pruning shears and Bill’s fingers.
I didn’t think I could possibly hate him more. He’d stolen the first interesting thing to cross my path in centuries… the skip only made it worse. Seeing a Sookie proud, devoted, at my side willingly… rather than begrudgingly accepting my help without another option.
Yes, I was embittered by being her last fucking resort.
Fuck him. Fuck him for being oblivious to what he had. Fuck him for looking at Sookie and seeing an accessory, something to be donned when it suited him. He should have seen her potential the moment she sassed me, sassed ME, while hoping for answers to help prove Jason’s innocence. He’d told her how old I am, and about ‘pecking order’. Then, if no other time, he should have realized how she stood out in a sea of fucking filth and retardation.
He was going to pay for ruining her… he was going to suffer as long as Sookie could stand it.
We were nearly at Fangtasia when Pam pulled into the quiet parking lot of a bank because my phone was ringing.
The 3-6-0 area code gave him away.
Once Pam killed the engine, I answered, “I was just thinking about you. Were your ears burning?”
He drawled, “How did you find us?”
“Magic… It’s a shame about the time difference. I’ve already had three hours with Sookie…” I reached over to put my hand over Sookie’s mouth and winked to cue her performance.
She wailed into my palm, “I’m sorry, Bill! I didn’t do anything!”
Bill growled, “How. Did. You. Find. Us!?”
“I told you, Bill, Magic… Faerie magic, to be specific. As it turns out, Faeries can quite easily find each other.”
“She’s a Vampire! Not a Faerie!”
Without warning, Sookie reached into her purse and removed a Merlotte’s napkin and held it to her chest… the napkin protected her hand from the silver charm bracelet as she screamed against my hand…
Horrified by seeing her in pain… Impressed at the lengths she was willing to go to… Reassured that she might be able to tolerate what I was going to do to Bill…
When I took her wrist to move the silver, she initially resisted.
Pam couldn’t do anything but gape from the front seat.
“What do you want?”
“Honestly, I’m perfectly content to keep Sookie, but I think the Queen would like the database you promised.”
“You abducted my child… Sookie is a hostage?”
“Awww, look at you. I had flash cards prepared and you don’t even need them.”
“Sookie is your hostage and the ransom is my program.”
“Very good. I’m sure Sophie-Anne will be expecting an apology of some sort for the six-month delay, but I’ll release Sookie once you settle the debt.”
“What if I said no?”
That fucking asshole. Refusing shouldn’t even have been an option.
“Do you think Sookie is the only way I can get to you? We’ve just been catching up…”
Sookie reached into her purse again and I couldn’t have been more grateful that she only removed a pen… She began scribbling on her hand… and as she did, I read…
“Navy blue pants… white dress shirt… shopping for airfare already, are we?” After a moment, Sookie wrote, “Just wave, asshole. You aren’t going to see who’s watching you.”
And she was cringing.
“How long do I have?”
“Three nights, but you’ll be watched closely…” When Sookie began writing again, I read, “Three fingers. Pinky, ring, and middle… Your webcam isn’t broadcasting… looking for bugs?”
If I wasn’t so curious about the development, I would have been having more fun.
Bill scoffed, “I understand! Where will I deliver it?”
“To the Queen in New Orleans.”
“And you’ll be there with Sookie.”
“No… you’re the only one who’d be that stupid, Bill. Goodnight.”
As soon as I ended the call, Pam announced, “My panties are ruined.”
I nodded. “Mine too. What the fuck was that?”
Sookie sighed, “Because being telepathic wasn’t bad enough, as a Vampire, I’m the perfect spy… Apparently, Vampire abilities aren’t preordained, just random. Sookie mentioned it to me, and she gave me a handful of tricks and tips they’ve learned from skipping… There are Sookies who end up being able to push, like an untraceable, long-term glamour… and Sookies who become empathic… We get like a bonus Faerie ability to go with the one we already had. Through leaps they know about someone who can… He can observe anything from where he is… He calls himself a geopathic… I didn’t realize I had it until Sookie had me try my options.”
Pam cooed, “Marry me, Sookie. On our honeymoon, we’ll travel the world finding the most fabulous couture…”
Sookie shook her head and giggled, “I can do that from home… Bill’s on the phone right now… Someone named Gwen… asshole’s speaking French like no one else in the world can… Eric’s a big meanie, Sophie-Anne’s a sneaky bitch, I’m stupid enough to get taken…” She paused to sniffle and her chin trembled as she finished, “He couldn’t care less about what happens to me at this point, but if he doesn’t cooperate, he’ll get silvered next.”
Pam growled, “Fuck him. Eric, can I keep her?”
I shook my head. “No. I believe I was next in line… Sookie, you already know he’s a bastard. This is just more proof.”
Pam offered, “Most men are horrible Makers.”
Thank you, Pam.
Sookie glanced at me before asking, “How’s that?”
“Societal influence from when they were Human. Most men didn’t do much to raise their children. They proudly paraded around their little fuck-trophies, ignoring their daughters once they had male heirs while their wives and mams and governesses and maids did all of the work. Poor men were just as bad because they didn’t have time to spend with their children since they worked sun-up to sun-down. Bachelors never cared for anyone. The most successful and protective Maker you’ll ever come across is a woman who was taken from her Human children.”
I nodded to agree. “We have friends who exemplify that. One has children over 500 who still call her ‘Mother’… My Maker also proves the point. Everything he taught me was for his benefit. He didn’t teach me to feed without killing until I’d almost exposed us and then he acted as though it was my fault.”
Pam offered, “On the other hand, men from certain societies where fathers have active hands in their children’s rearing… they tend to make splendiferous Makers.”
I snorted, “Splendiferous, Pam? Really?”
She shrugged. “It fits.”
“If you’re finished pimping me, we should go. Now that Sookie’s been silvered, she needs to feed more than she did before.”
She shrugged and turned around to start the engine. “I can pimp while I drive… When was the last time she fed though?”
“She had two pints earlier, during the skip, but she’s never fed. Bill told her she was too young for actual feedings.”
She scoffed and mumbled, “Stupid cunt… and of course he kept her away from other Vampires so she wouldn’t know better… and letting her ache… the cramps… heartless fucking prick… I’m going to make Christmas ornaments from his fangs… twat… I never liked him… ever… I wouldn’t let him pet-sit for my Versace and Armani… good thing Sookie ended his trifling whore Maker…”
“Give me a minute… Sack of shit… I can’t fucking… I can’t even… for the love of fucking God… leave it to him… Sookeh ez mahn… Sookeh ez mahn… Ass. Hole… Yes, yes of course, Sookie’s yours, you twat… fucking pity you don’t know how to take care of her… like… like… who takes something with as much potential as Sookie… and… nothing… like… like… like planting cabbage at Orapa…”
I chuckled and quietly explained to Sookie, “Orapa is the world’s largest diamond mine.”
Sookie whispered, “Thanks,” while Pam continued.
“Spineless… dickless… heartless… Who the fuck starves a newborn? Why fucking bother bringing her over if you’re just going to starve her? Why? And fuck you and your man-bangs… Did I say dickless?”
Sookie nodded and offered, “Yeah,” biting her lip to keep from laughing.
“That’s a new one.”
“That’s a repeat too. I think you covered it all.”
“Not even close… God help me, I actually believe the skipping thing… You could be using your ability to help people, like you saved Bruce’s ass, and Ferrell’s, and his… You actually used your ability to save his worthless ass… You could have been making a living as a telepath all along. You could have helped hundreds, if not thousands, giving yourself something to be proud of instead of insecure about…”
“Who said I was insecure?”
“Your brother. When you first disappeared, Eric went to your house to look for clues and I went to Jason’s… Anyway, you had limitless potential when you were still alive, but you were afraid of being exposed. Why? Because the good town-folk of Deliverance…”
Pam continued as though Sookie hadn’t corrected her, “Treated you like a freak… Then Bill comes along and tells you about monsters under your bed… Why? He wasn’t even putting you to any use. Why take you into seclusion? Sensory overload?”
“Hiding from the Queen because she was coming to get me. Maybe it was because I had a lot of Vampire blood before he brought me over, but I was okay after about a week. I would have been fine to stay in Bon Temps.”
“Then why the fuck…”
“Well, according to the conversation between Gwen and Bill, ‘this ruins everything’. She’s furious… She was going to… Sonofabitch…”
“Gwen was going to take me and the program to some King in Nevada in exchange for Area 5… That’s what Bill meant when he said there would be a coup and we’d be back in Louisiana soon enough. Bill was going to take me home, but only once you’re dead.”