I’d died at dawn with a grin on my face because Sookie had waited until the last minute to begin a tirade about the various Sookies who could enjoy My pool during the day while They were left to Their own devices. It wasn’t as much her complaint as it was the way she referred to her other selves as ‘stupid-Sapphire Sookie’, ‘stupid-Peridot Sookie’, ‘stupid-Sunflower Sookie’, ‘stupid-Peppermint Sookie’, ‘stupid-Opal Sookie and Her stupid-cute-Opal kids’… I was actually curious about how long she’d continued to grumble.
Sookie had my attention again as I came back to myself… rustling bedding and a quiet hum coming from the mattress on the floor…
After a few moments, she mumbled, “Sunset already?”
She’d already explained she could sense Vampires rise and be pulled to rest… but that didn’t make her sleepy greeting any less impressive.
“Not quite. I rise early because of my age.”
She hummed again as her bedding moved. “That’s nice… How early is it?”
“Only an hour or so… I’ll do nearly anything to know where Pam hid the scissors and her make-up.”
She snickered, “You’re bad.”
“Name your price. It’s a tradition. I always fill my idle time by fucking with her when we rest together. I noticed my office supplies were missing. She hid them from me.”
“Sorry. I didn’t paint her nails and curl her hair just so you could mess her up.”
I hadn’t given any thought to the scent of fingernail polish in the air… I’d assumed Sookie had painted her own nails. Pam had bought an assortment and Bobby brought a rainbow of cosmetics as well… My bathroom counter was covered with everything from shampoos and conditioners to eyelash curlers and a curling iron.
I took Pam’s wrist to lift her hand… perfectly painted with a deep shade of metallic purple.
I chuckled, “She was joking when she suggested it… What the fuck is in her hair?”
“I was bored. I ended up watching Quantum Leap on my laptop while I did my nails. Then I moved on to do hers… Those are socks. She’ll make fun of my redneck ways until she unrolls her hair.”
Yes, I glanced down to be sure my toenails hadn’t been painted. Pam had joked about that too.
“Did you not watch the videos of your family?”
She sighed, “Nope. I made the executive decision to avoid the possible smorgasbord of mixed feelings that could be waiting. Gran’s a wild card. She could have something to offer on the topic of Bill.”
She clicked her tongue a few times before speculating, “She could be very Gandhi about it. ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,’ or… she could whip out some Monte Cristo. ‘How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure.’ I guess it would depend on what kind of BS that Gran’s version of Bill pulled.”
“You’re afraid your grandmother’s suggestion could change your mind?”
After a moment, she offered, “No. Not really… I’m pretty sure she’d be fine with me getting some semblance of closure from this. We’re talking about a woman who essentially gift-wrapped Her brother so a You could kill Him. But as for me, I thought about it today. It was probably a little late since I asked you not to let me chicken out… and I’m aware this is going to sound corny, but I don’t want my life to read like a tragedy. I want it to be an adventure. I don’t want the last year to overshadow the first 25 or dictate the next hundred. I can’t let myself become stagnant and dwell on this. Even if I can’t bring myself to hurt him, I need to see him die, just so I can move on to the next chapter.”
“There isn’t a single corny thing about what you just said.”
“Impressive even… Where did Pam hide my party favors?”
She giggled, “Why ask me?”
“You know why… It’s only fair. You played makeover games with Pam.”
Sookie’s legs suddenly lifted at the foot of my bed and she wiggled her toes to show off the pink polish. “I played makeover games with me too… Don’t mess her up, please. I want to see if she likes it.”
“You’ve taken the fun out of the slumber party for me.”
She cooed, “I’m sorry… do you want a turn?”
Not how she meant it.
I took the pillow from under my head and lobbed it towards Sookie. “Pillow fight?”
She giggled, “You missed…” She tossed the pillow back… and it landed directly on my face.
I moved, flipping to my stomach at the other end of my bed so I could see her… rather than speak to the ceiling.
She was already facing me wrapped around a king sized pillow, grinning at me from just a few inches away with her hair wrapped around socks like Pam’s. Her new laptop was tucked under her neatly stacked bags, next to a mound of clothing from Pam and Bobby’s sprees.
“Your new ability?”
“Yeah. Kinda cool that I can use it to get a better perspective, huh?”
I nodded. “It would be cooler if you’d tell me where to find my Krazy Glue… You should play with the ability. Geopathy could prove to be immeasurably defensive for you.”
She frowned slightly. “Like knowing what rocks the rattlesnakes are under. That’s kind of nice… but I don’t know. It’s in my best interest to hide that I have it, but… I can’t help but want to… you know, find missing kids and whatnot.”
Of course she’d want to use her new ability altruistically.
“Then find missing kids, Sookie. Print the relevant information and send it anonymously to the relevant detectives.”
Her nose wrinkled when she smiled. “Yeah? You think I can do it without getting busted?”
“If anyone suspects you, you’ll know because they’ll contact you or follow you. Glamour them… Rule one of remaining anonymous- keep your tools separate from everything.”
“In your case, it would include your gloves, envelopes, paper and postage. Keep them away from everything else so you don’t accidentally touch them and leave your fingerprints behind. I suggest a kitchen cabinet because kitchen materials are usually non-porous. Use a printer because handwriting is like a fingerprint. Don’t lick the postage or envelope either.”
“Emails can be traced back to ISPs. Even if you email from somewhere with a public Wi-Fi signal, you can be followed and identified. Hypothetical scenario… You send the email from Starbucks. The detective receives the email complete with time-stamp and ISP. The security camera footage at Starbucks shows you leave at a specific time, and walk to your car in the parking lot. Most likely, you’ll give the camera a fabulous view of your license plate as you leave.”
She giggled, “It’s awesome and frightening that you know that…”
“Anonymous letter-writing is frightening?”
She narrowed her eyes and snorted, “Not that… You had to translate my specific application of your anonymous practices.”
How the fuck did Compton manage to fool her when she could read between the lines so easily?
“What was that? You were curious about something just now.”
“I’m not sure you would care to discuss it.”
“Ahhhh… Bill related crap, huh? Go ahead. I definitely don’t want to see him while I’m in a rainbows and unicorns type of mood.”
“Keep in mind that I don’t intend to insult you… I was only curious… You could tell that my anonymous practices hadn’t been benign, but Compton lied to you for months.”
She groaned into her pillow. “The short answer is that he didn’t share many facts, and personal opinions are biased. As long as he believed what he said about you, it wouldn’t have seemed untrue. When I first rose, he told me the whole lie in one fell swoop and there was a lot on his mind. Any time I tried to talk about it since then, he bellyached about having to make me to keep me safe and told me to drop it. He made me feel guilty for everything… Just so you know, until you pushed for details, I didn’t know what the hell you were feeling.”
“When I pushed for details when?”
“While I was pigging out on the Berts’ stash. You were waiting for answers I thought you already had.”
“I was as confused as I can ever remember.”
She frowned and nuzzled her pillow. “Bill doesn’t get confused… He just gets pissed. I know frustration, anger, disgust, apathy, arrogance…”
“I’m almost afraid to ask what could possibly disgust Compton.”
“Me… but that’s your fault, so that was awesome…”
How the fuck did Sookie disgust him? She was already better behaved than he was when I met him… and he was decades old.
She continued, “You know, since Pam’s dead and she can’t shut me up, you might want to know… Splendiferous… she used it as a cop-out. She was getting emotional. She has more faith in you than most Christians have in God.”
“It’s mutual. We’ve been together for a very long time… You just changed the subject intentionally, didn’t you?”
She nodded. “Yeah, ya caught me.”
“That means we’re back to the subject of my boredom.”
“I’ll paint your nails while you watch Quantum Leap.”
“I’d rather give Pam corn-rows again.”
She buried her face against her pillow and laughed, “That’s sooooo baaaad.”
“The braids aren’t difficult to do… unbraiding her hair is the chore. Last time, she snipped the braids off and let her hair regrow. She stayed in that night…”
Sookie snickered, “But she’s excited to mess with Bill so she won’t just stay put… Maybe you are evil.”
“Being evil is fun. You should try it.”
She raised an eyebrow and shook her head slowly. “Not gonna fall for it. Not helping you mess with her.”
“Could you be convinced?”
“You had… nevermind. No, I’m inconvincible.”
“What did I have?”
She squeezed her eyes closed.
She groaned. “Sookie isn’t here right now. Please leave a message. Beeeeep.”
“Soooooookie, what did I have?”
She scoffed and turned her head to hide in her pillow and mumble, “I was going to say… You had a better chance of convincing me to have sex at Russell Edgington’s.”
“And what were the odds of that?”
She curled away from me, laying on her side and covering her head with the pillow. “Slim to moot.”
“If memory serves, when Bubba arrived, you were close to cumming.”
She pulled the pillow away from her head to look over her shoulder, narrowing her eyes as she blew a raspberry. “See. Moot. Divine intervention.”
“More like grotesque intervention.”
She argued, “I think we already established that you made it really hard to remember I wasn’t raised like that.”
“Was the pun intended?”
She slapped her hand over her eyes and laughed through her nose. “No.”
“You said it yourself… we ‘almost’ fucked and then you thanked God for Bubba’s timing.”
She snickered, “I don’t remember that.”
She shrugged. “Oh well. It’s not like it matters anymore now.”
“What does that mean?”
Sookie was perfectly still for long enough that I got the distinct impression she’d reached a breaking point.
She finally hissed, “I’m… going… to… kill… him.”
I left my bed and sat on Sookie’s mattress, facing her. “More lies?”
“Do you think the sun’s still high enough to kill me?”
“What did he tell you?”
“Do you remember my bank account info? Could you just pay off the houses with the money… Give Jason’s house to Brandon because our father built it… Give Gran’s house to Hunter. K?”
When she moved towards the desk, I assumed to write the account numbers, I grabbed her wrist. “I know you’re exaggerating out of frustration, but I’m not even mildly amused, Sookie. What did he tell you?”
She whined, “More evidence of the bastard variety.”
Her shoulders sagged as she tilted her head towards the ceiling and I couldn’t tell if she was thinking or if she was avoiding looking at me.
She whispered, “I’ve been so miserably lonely… I didn’t need a babysitter or anything, but I considered myself lucky when he’d find me to let me know he was leaving the house… I counted. In the whole month of April, he spoke 318 words to me and that was because we actually argued about me feeding a stray cat… And… the last time he touched me was in the trunk of that car…”
“When he raped you to thank you for rescuing his pathetic ass from his Maker?”
I knew that wasn’t going to improve her mood, I hadn’t meant to say it… but… that daft prick had Sookie all to himself for months and… nothing?
I had a semi-private room with Sookie for ten minutes and I was hard.
He’d completely rejected her once he brought her over.
She whimpered, “Yeah… ‘Vampires aren’t attracted to other Vampires. It’s not natural’…”
Bullshit. He might not be attracted to other Vampires, but that was hardly a standard. If I had to make a guess as to the cause… I’d say it was because of his substantial airs of inferiority triggered impotence.
Her throat clenched while she was still staring at the ceiling. “I didn’t… during the skip, I didn’t think about the other Eric being excited to bring His Sookie over… I didn’t know how to take it when you kissed me… my head was still spinning… the skip, being home, everything… and then at Fangtasia…”
“You assumed I was hard because of the donors, yes?”
She collapsed to her knees and nodded, still refusing to look at me. “I’m such an idiot… I’m technically dead, so can I get a Darwin Award?”
“No, but we’ll be sure your Maker gets one… Sookie, you aren’t an idiot for trusting your Maker. If nothing else, he should have been truthful about your new state. Even my Maker did that much. You need to realize this could have been much worse…”
She snorted, “You’re going to give me a ‘bright side’?”
I nodded. “Since you seem to forget about the Sookie that Bill raped and tortured, yes… There are worse things than being in a holding pattern for a few months. If we’ve learned anything from last night’s skip, it’s that we can’t fix what’s already happened… Here. Now. You’ll be taken care of. You’ll be told the truth. You’ll be fed. You’ll be entertained. You’ll have company. You’ll have access to your family. You won’t be used as a pawn because I don’t have any grandiose ambitions… I. Won’t. Let. You. Flounder.”
“I want to believe you… but look at where trusting people got me.”
“Don’t do that to yourself. You’re entitled to be suspicious, but don’t question yourself after one ‘person’ betrayed you. Use your ability…”
“I am… you completely believe everything you’ve just said.”
“Not that one… Where is the bastard who took you for granted?”
She trembled as she whispered, “In a travel box.”
“Where are you safest?”
Her face was pained when she whispered, “Here.”
“If I give you any reason to question me, I expect you to say so. Don’t automatically default to any information Bill gave you.”
“Your body improved as soon as you fed from a live donor, proving you needed to feed all along. That monster in my bed had a constant boner last night because of the strides you’ve managed to make in spite of how neglected you’ve been. And this monster couldn’t care less if you have a pulse… saying I’m ‘attracted’ to you is an understatement, if not an injustice to how stunning you are, socked hair notwithstanding. In one night, Bill’s lies came undone. What about me, Sookie? Have I lied to you?”
She shook her head as she pulled the socks from her hair. “No.”
Since mentioning the socks were all I needed to do before Sookie was willing to remove them, I suggested, “Obstructing romper notwithstanding?”
She giggled bashfully while she ran her fingers through her bouncy curls. “Nice try.”
I moved, putting myself on my knees to loom over her. “Then I’ll rephrase. I want you…” I slipped my arm behind her back and pulled her to me. “Naked… under me… cumming… screaming my name… Was that a better try?”
Her fangs dropped as her back touched the mattress and her legs tightened around my sides.
She sighed, “What if I said no?”
“Then you say no, but why would you?”
“Because…” She whimpered when I moved against her. “Because… Jesus… I don’t know.”
“Because you think my offer to help you hinges on fucking you, yes?”
She gasped, “No! I… not like that… I…”
I shook my head to interrupt her unnecessary backpedaling. “Given what you’ve been through, that should have occurred to you… But for the record, saying no won’t change my offer to foster you. It won’t change how much I want you either. If you fucked me just because you want my help, I’d actually lose respect for you. If you don’t want to fuck me, then say no.”
She placed her hands on either side of my face and breathed, “Given what I’ve been through, do you have any idea what a turn on a little honesty is?”
I snorted, “As a matter of fact, I do…”
Before I could say anything else, she kissed me…
Lacing her fingers through my hair, whimpering, moving her hips against me…
It was all too encouraging.
Of course, she’d stop.
At least she was giggling. “Hold on… I know she’s dead… but… Pam.”
I growled, “We can’t ‘wake’ her.”
“We don’t have much time either. You said we need to…”
Last night, I told her we’d need to leave for Fangtasia as early as possible so we could feed in plenty of time to meet Bill’s plane.
Sunset was at 7:30… and it was already 7:00…
I wanted hours.
I growled again, reaching between her legs and pushing her romper to the side.
She whispered, “What’re you doing?”
“I’m going to make you cum so you don’t rip open your donors’ throats. You should be as calm as possible considering just being in the same room with them last night pushed you.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Is it really that clinical or is it an excuse to screw around for a while?”
“A while? How long do you think it’ll take?”
She snickered, “That’s what I love about you… You aren’t cocky at all.”
I chuckled, “That sounded like a dare.”
“Sure… whatever. It was a d-” Before she could finish, before I let myself laugh, I pushed my fingers into her…
Her back arched. Her toes curled. She stabbed her nails into my shoulders and bit her lip…
Every part of her little body was either clenching or twitching…
And the moaning started as soon as my thumb made contact with her clit.
I teased, “Sookie? Are you cumming already?”
She whined, “Oh my God… what are you doing?”
Bill Compton had been a complete waste of space if he was too clumsy to find a fucking G-spot. Even though she was more sensitive as a Vampire, she shouldn’t have had to ask.
“Accepting your challenge. How am I doing?”
She breathed a long sermon of, “OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod,” digging her heels into my legs to lift her ass…
Pulling her nails out of my shoulders to claw the sheets…
Trying to reach me for a kiss when she thought I was through with her…
That panicked look on her face when she realized I wasn’t going to stop…
It was almost as perfect as the way her eyelids fluttered when she came…
The way her jaw locked forward…
The way she pinched the tip of her tongue between her blunt teeth…
And the longer I pushed her, the more she smelled like herself. Not a Vampire. Sookie.
That scent that haunted me while she was gone.
And if I didn’t know better, I would have sworn her body was heating up.
Because I wasn’t already holding back, pacifying myself by making plans for later.
As soon as I pulled my fingers out of her, she grabbed my hand and laced her fingers with mine… as though holding my hand was an ironclad method of keeping me from going back for more, but it was still cute.
“I have another hand.”
She was actually gasping, trying to catch her breath when she reached for the other one… and she didn’t seem to be bothered by being pinned with her hands at her shoulders, with me on my knees between her thighs.
If she hadn’t trapped herself, I would have needed to think of a way to talk myself into leaving her.
The view was phenomenal.
She panted, “That was… Congrats. I’m relaxed.”
“Good… I’m looking forward to being rewarded for completing the challenge.”
Her eyebrow twitched. “I guess it’s a good thing Vampires don’t get tired, huh?”
I nodded slowly. “I have a lot of plans for you.”
“How about you? Do you have enough practice that you won’t hurt your donor?”
I nodded. “I’ll be fine… And I’ll already be near bloodlust when we meet Bill’s plane.”
“Was that a warning?”
I shook my head. “No. Just a fact… Now that you mention it though, I do remember how frightened you were after I staked Long Shadow.”
She looked away, rolling her eyes up before cringing. “I didn’t really know you then.”
“But you know me now?”
She shook her head slightly and clarified, “Not really… I know more about you and I’m starting to see more of the real you. I think the big difference is… I trust you now.”
Even if I could think of a reason why she’d trust anyone ever again, I wouldn’t have been able to think of a way to respond…
I was sure Sookie was learning the sensation of a Vampire’s mind feeling honored… surprised… awed…
The mantra that had been repeated several times in the journal… “Bring her to your side. Be patient. Don’t lie to her. She’ll be the best thing that ever happened to you.”
She should have been mine all along.
Sookie tilted her head to the side and opened her mouth to say something, but she was interrupted.
Pam flipped and appeared at the foot of the bed, blurting, “It’s about fucking time you two go for a belly ride! My empathetic blue balls kept flopping out of my panties.”