I rose to the sound of hammering and immediately heard Sookie grumble, “Shit balls,” as the rate of the pounding increased.
The scurrying commotion downstairs was amusingly curious and I couldn’t help but be annoyed that I had to wait to search for the reason.
My texts from Pam had piled up the night before since business was the last thing on my mind when I laid to rest.
“I’ve arranged for delivery from the local bank. I’ll be in Bumfuck Temps to deliver tomorrow night. Why aren’t you just feeding from Sookie?” Bitch.
“Now that the news is out, your subjects are resurfacing. I enjoy being bowed to. Power looks stunning on me. Take your time jogging.” Conceited bitch.
“Halloran was giddy by the time I was done explaining the details of Jason Stackhouse’s trial. He left me to go directly to the jailhouse to meet with the angel.” Good girl.
“I did some research. Children are expensive. I found two wills in the pile of confirmed dead where everything was bequeathed to a child who also died, but did so without a will. Bruce should’ve already transferred that money to the Fund. $1.8M and change.” Very good girl.
“Boseman said that our houses in Greenwood are the most handicapable. He knows a contractor who can fit them with ramps and such if you want.”
“We need to do something about replacing Bobby. I don’t like not having a Day Guy. I missed an unmissable sale.” I had to laugh at her. I almost felt sorry for Bobby while he was still her fashion mule.
I replied to each one in turn so that she’d have answers waiting when she rose.
“See you then.”
“Are any of the resurfacing Vampires from the list of missing/dead? Be careful. My jog could become a marathon. I’m quite comfortable here.”
“Sookie spoke to the detective yesterday. There are more recent victims even though Stackhouse is incarcerated. Give him Coughlin’s contact information.”
“Inspired. Keep looking for other wills.”
“Have Boseman start the renovation on my house. The maimed Were has a child so he’ll need the bigger house.”
“I’m not sure I’ll be able to find a proper day guy in ‘Bumfuck Temps’. I’ll do what I can, brat.”
I’d gathered my things so that I could shower once the sun was fully set and as I waited, I heard Sookie begin slamming doors shut and start running up the stairs.
She was breathless by the time she reached the landing, slamming the door to the other room upstairs. “Hey!”
“Hello. Are you being chased?”
“Nonono… I just ran out of time.”
“What did you run out of time doing?”
“Open the door and find out.”
“Open the door?”
“Yeah. I slept great last night and my lump was in rare form… well, with a lack of worry on my plate, I got to think about something else for once. I had an idea. C’mon.”
As worried as she’d been about her makeshift light proofing being enough, I knew she wouldn’t invite me to step into the sunlit hallway, but I was still cautious as I pulled the door open. She was smiling from ear to ear with her eyes wide and her hands on her hips. Even though there were windows on either side of the front door, the light in the hall was only coming from the bulbs in the ceiling fixture.
“I didn’t get to the bathroom or the bedrooms, but the living room and kitchen are safe. I hate that you were stuck up here for an hour yesterday.”
I smiled at her. “What did you do?”
She lurched forward to grab my hand and tugged until I followed her down the stairs. The smells of sawdust and fresh paint were discernable, but Sookie’s sweat was like honey… “I was up early enough to run a couple errands… I went to the hardware store and bought a few things.”
The windows flanking the front door were blocking the sunlight in spite of the new stained glass, argyle pattern in blues and pinks that had taken the place of the simple, clear pane that had been there before.
“How did you block the sunlight?”
“You like it? I’m pretty proud of myself… There’s this stuff that you can use to make stained glass patterns on regular glass. I did that on the windows, right? And I had mirrors cut to fit in the frame of the windows. You have to wait until it’s completely dark to check it out, but it takes a minute from the outside to realize that there’s a mirror behind the ‘stained glass’. What you’re looking at there is, back to front- the actual ‘stained glass’ window, mirror facing out, plywood, mirror facing in, and a ‘stained glass’ panel. You have to look look to tell that the first floor is light tight.”
“Is it permanent?”
She shook her head. “Best part. It’s held in with magnetic stripping, like for a fridge door. It looks like part of the molding. The wood’s really old and brittle. I didn’t want to mess it up.”
Genius. Impressive. And unforgettably touching. “You did this by yourself?”
She nodded excitedly and started pulling me towards the kitchen. “You don’t grow up without a father and not learn how to pound a few nails… not when Gran refused to hire help. She always said, ‘if you don’t know how to do it, it’s time to learn’.”
The window over the kitchen sink had seemingly gotten the same treatment, but the large pane of glass in the back the door had been more obviously obscured. She’d placed a blackboard over it.
She nodded towards it. “That’s permanent, but I did the stained glass thing behind it so you still can’t tell from the outside. I never liked having that window there and I’m bad about losing lists… you might find partial ones all over the place. I was going to get a dry-erase board, but I thought the chalkboard fit into the old fashioned kitchen better.”
I nodded, agreeing despite my loss for words. So much thought had gone into what she’d done… so much work… for me.
She led me out of the kitchen, en route to the ‘pièce de résistance’.
The curtains in the living room had been taken down and she’d hung shutters over the three large windows in the room.
I hadn’t been able to think of much to say and didn’t want to seem ungrateful… that was the last thing I wanted, so I offered, “Do these appear to be stained glass from the yard as well?”
“Yep. They got the same window paint and all… The shutters used to hang outside. Me and Jason took them down a few years back when a hurricane broke a bunch. I’ll open them in a little bit, but everyone that you see has one under it. And there’s a piece of sheet metal sandwiched in between. I just scrubbed them down and painted them black so the weather stripping wouldn’t stand out. I even used the same hardware because… well, it had a pretty patina on them from being outside.”
“Thank you.” It was all I could think at the time. Over and over. Thankyouthankyouthankyou… She’d spent her day light-proofing her home…
She hadn’t hired someone to do it… not that she could afford it, but she’d painstakingly used her own hands to make her home more comfortable… for me.
Seeing it all, the trouble she went to, the steps she took…
It made the ideas I took to rest with me all the more painful. The fact that Sookie was completely realistic about the likelihood of us being able to be together made her gesture more touching. She’d put so much effort into something so temporary…
My chest was haunted with an agonizing ache. Walking away from Sookie wasn’t going to be possible.
I had to find a way to keep her.
I hadn’t realized that I was gaping at the sealed windows until Sookie stepped into my line of sight. “I’m not getting ahead of myself or anything, if that’s what you’re thinking. I know your vacation is going to end soon.”
“That’s not what I’m thinking.”
“If Gran could’ve, she’d have done every bit of it for Jan. I got most of the ideas from her head. She used to daydream about making it safe because she had an idea of how bad the other house was… the wealth of mice and all...”
I nodded, wishing I could remember more about the woman who’d been so kindhearted.
“If you’re trying to figure out how much it cost, stop. The money I used came straight out of the other Eric’s wallet.”
I shook my head. It had crossed my mind, but I didn’t want to insult her by putting a price on her kindness.
“Those other telepaths might be able to hear Vampires, but I’m lost… Eric, are you… Are you speechless?”
I nodded, slightly distracted by new information. “Are you going to make fun of me?”
She bit her lip and shook her head. “No… but I’m gonna cry…” She wrapped her arms around my ribs and tucked her head under my chin. She sniffled, “I’m glad you like it… as quiet as you were, I was starting to wonder.”
“I’ve told you how I feel about your tears, haven’t I?”
She choked out a giggle as she stepped back and wiped her face. “Suck it up. I’m allowed happy tears, especially since it’s been a while.”
“Then while you’re already leaking, I’ll tell you now… Pam relayed the message that the lawyer should’ve already met with your brother and is excited to take his case.”
She wiped her eyes and sniffled again. “Good thinking then… that would’ve gotten me going again.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “Is this what you did all day?”
She shook her head and took my hand, towing me back to the kitchen. “No sir. After some awesome sleep, I felt like making myself a proper breakfast for once. I ran to the hardware store and spent most of the day on the windows. I squeezed in some time in the sun while I waited for the paint and window tint to dry. Then I went to the garage to help Tray with the meeting.”
“How did that go?”
She gave a single nod and leaned over the table full of items that I’d overlooked while she was showing off her ingenuity. “Glad you asked. This pile is families with foster kids. They’re clipped together by household and the parents are on top. Their own kids’ info is written on the back of their aps, but the foster kids have their own forms… this pile is nothing but widows and widowers who need some debt relief. Tray wanted more specifics on how you want them helped because you said widows are included, but…”
“Anything they need, just like the orphans.”
She nodded and shifted that pile to rest on top of the others. “I figured if you had exceptions, you’d have already voiced them. Just making sure… This pile is folks who took in orphans, but didn’t want for anything. So the orphans’ info is there for the college trusts you mentioned… This is Keira and Chester’s info since you mentioned a special house…”
I nodded. “I have news on that too. The property manager should be starting renovations to make my house in Greenwood more accessible. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. There isn’t much lawn though because I had a pool installed.”
Sookie’s smile widened. “Keira will love it and the pool will give Chester a way to workout. He’s already getting hydro-therapy at the hospital.”
I nodded. “And the last pile?”
“That… is something special. Remember the widows I mentioned yesterday? Danielle and Stephanie?”
“Six children, including the three they reached out to.”
“That’s them. Tray and I told them about the house before the meeting. They had happy tears too. Lots of them. By the end of the meeting, they volunteered to take in 5 more kids, fixing the last of the temporary placement problems since everyone else had jumped on the bandwagon once they found out their housing and income woes went away because of the relief fund.”
“The two of them are caring for 11 children? They’re a bit outnumbered, aren’t they?”
She shook her head. “They met working at a day care. They know what they’re doing. Only one is an infant and a couple of the kids are tweens and really willing to help out just because they won’t be getting taken away from younger siblings to be raised in Human homes.”
“After one meeting, all of the children will be taken care of?”
She nodded. “Tray told me to tell you that he owes you a blow job and wants to know where to buy everything…” She leafed through a notebook and held it out to me. “Furniture, cars and clothes…”
“He has a lot to do. Maybe you could take care of that for him. And why do I care where he buys mattresses and school clothes?”
“He’d be better at it than I would. At least he knows how one should start and he thought you might be able to point him in the direction of some Vampire owned businesses. You know, since you’re hooking up his Weres, he’d spread the wealth to your Vampires where he could. He got a list of sizes and he’s going shopping tomorrow.”
“Jeans aren’t that complicated.”
She laughed, “Would you focus!?”
“I am focused. You start by opening your mouth…”
“You don’t stop, do you?”
“No, you keep going until…”
The face she pulled was pained as she interrupted, “The bag has your thank you gift in it. Steph and Dani wanted to show their appreciation to the Vampire responsible for helping out. Steph dropped it off a little while ago. I’m going to get a shower…”
I let her get most of the way down the hall before I snuck up behind her and pulled her against me. I pushed my face against her neck to steal some of her before she could wash it away. “Would you like some help?”
She whimpered, “Sure… but Pam is all the way in Shreveport.”
“Yes it is.”
“What would she do if she came by and I laid a long tonguey kiss on her?” It would be a ‘goodbye kiss’. If Pam enjoyed it too much, I’d punish her by sending her to tend to something in a country that required her to wear a burqa.
“The better question is, what would I do?”
“Brat. Is this one of those, ‘I saw her first’ things?” Absolutely and I had a 3 month lead.
“Does it count that she saw me naked first?” No. Not funny.
“When did she see you naked?”
“When she took me to her place so that I’d have more than your underwear to wear…” She paused to start giggling, “She’ll be easy for me to shop for. She said my nipples were her favorite shade of pink.” Not fucking funny.
“You changed in front of her?”
She shrugged as much as my hold would allow. “When in Rome… I mean it’s not like she was shy. And… damn… maybe I should stop shopping with Weres. I guess shifting makes nudity a nonpoint.”
I growled against her neck. “Not. Funny.”
She giggled, “You don’t get to be such a turd. I mean, you turned me down last night. Pam didn’t insist on fucking me before she fed from me.” That wasn’t what I was waiting for… and… did she say Pam fed from her? NOT FUNNY.
I let her go to take a step away from her. “Excuse me?”
“Do Makers and children not, like… share?”
“Tell me that you’re joking.”
“I really want to know… I mean, you’re into women and Pam’s into women… soooo…”
“I don’t share.”
“So… would I already be Pam’s or something… does feeding from a person, like, I don’t know…”
“Oh. Ok.” She turned around and went into the bathroom while I was still too stunned to react…. But she started laughing as soon as the door was closed.
“What are you laughing about? I’m not amused.” Not in the least.
She was close to hysterics by the time the door opened and she came out to the hall. She was shaking her head with tears in her eyes, “I’m sorry. That wasn’t fair… mean even.”
“You were teasing me?”
I might’ve thought that she felt guilty if she wasn’t still laughing when she cringed. “I’m sorry.”
“Pam didn’t feed from you?”
“Of course not.”
“That was cruel.”
“It was easy… you’ve gotta loosen up. I mean, come on Eric… shopping with Weres? When have I had the spare time or cash to go a’viking at the mall?”
“She hasn’t seen you nude?”
“Oh, she saw enough when I was trying to change modestly… how the hell else would I know what her favorite shade of pink is… but at least Pam didn’t walk in on me in the tub.”
“This was payback?”
She nodded and patted my chest, still grinning mischievously. “For the tub thing yes… And I’m really sorry for pushing the joke with the feeding bit.”
I stared at her. It had been so long that I couldn’t remember since I’d fallen for a joke like the one she played. Pam certainly hadn’t ever managed… I was too impressed given that 3 minutes earlier I was ready to kill something. She hadn’t even lied to push me… her answers had only implied… I was impressed… proud of her wile.
I narrowed my eyes. “You’re going to pay for that.”
Sookie was already done with her shower and on her way down the hall when I came in from leaving Tina to play… After I’d remembering the small amount of my lost time, I was sure that Tina had just become accustomed to getting her mice early in the evening because I delivered them when I first came to visit.
I sat at the table in silence while I copied the information from the forms into an Excel document… Sookie moved around me warily… she was laying low.
I only spoke to her when she tried to take a basket of laundry out to the porch. I warned her, bitingly enough to be convincing, that her cat was eating dinner so she left the basket by the door.
Once I was done with my project, I walked past her without a word to go take my own shower and she whimpered when I closed the door behind me.
Giving Sookie the silent treatment had been more difficult than I thought… I chuckled through most of my shower and dragged it out so that she could be rankled by silence. She’d come in long enough to whisper repentantly, “Fresh towel.”
When I stepped out of the shower, I found a Ziploc bag marked ‘peace offering’ under my towel.
I knew what that shirt was.
The white undershirt she’d worn while she was at my house…
I knew what she’d done to it too.
I have no idea how long I stood there staring at the fucking bag like I was waiting for it to do a trick before I forced myself to wear the shirt I’d already chosen.
I couldn’t even let myself open it, take a test, a sample of the scent boasted about in the journals…
Wearing the shirt would’ve implied forgiveness and I ‘needed’ to continue Sookie’s silent treatment.
I also couldn’t be more relieved that I’d decided on instant Karma for Sookie. Judging by the distance, Pam was only a few minutes away…
1- Pam would arrive. 2- Pam and I would discuss business matters. 3- Pam would leave. 4- I’d get my payback. 5- I’d get my shirt. 6-Happy ending…
I could wait an hour.
I could try…
I left the bathroom (and the company of that promising shirt) when Pam finally knocked on the front door.
I moved past Sookie to beat her to the door and opened it myself. “Invite her in.”
Sookie gaped, her eyes never left the black T-shirt on my body. “I… I never uninvited her… Come on in, Pam.” I hated the defeated look on her face enough to almost talk myself into ruining my volley.
Pam gave a chilly nod in Sookie’s direction. “A pleasure to see you again, Sookie.”
I hadn’t waited for them to greet each other and went to the kitchen while Sookie was still offering a True Blood to Pam. Since Pam had just received several pints of fresh blood, she declined, but Sookie still followed Pam into the kitchen.
She reached into the refrigerator for a bottle of something called ‘Fuze’ and point to the large gift bag on the table to bring it to Pam’s attention. “Um… that’s a thank you gift from a couple of the girls in the pack. It’s meant for Eric, but since you’re getting the blame for the charity…”
“Wait. I’m getting blamed?”
I explained, “So that my guilt doesn’t come across as benevolence. Dawson knows I’m the one he should come to for anything, but the other Weres still think of me as an asshole. All the while, you look like the patron saint of Shreveport’s Weres.”
“This is because of my write-offs, isn’t it?”
“Your write-offs will help sell the story.”
She rolled her eyes at me. “Ok… Continue Sookie.”
Sookie cleared her throat, still not making eye contact with me. “Anyway… Since they think it was you, they had me ‘guess’ your size. They make clothes as a side-line.”
Pam raised an eyebrow and approached the bag carefully. She used the tip of her fingernail to pull the lip of the bag down as though she was expecting something to jump out of the bag…
What actually happened was that a handbag tumbled out onto the table.
Pam hummed appreciatively as she lifted it for inspection. It was black, silk from the look of it, with hot pink satin trim and stitching. Pam hadn’t needed to ‘try it on’ for me to know it was perfect for her.
Sookie grinned and waited patiently while Pam happily moved everything from her Mischka bag to her new one. Watching Pam only solidified my theory that the huge bags she carried were superfluous. No more than she’d been carrying, I could’ve fit it all in my pockets.
When Pam was done, Sookie reached into the gift bag to pull out a small black satin pouch tied with a ribbon. “They don’t do boxes because it keeps costs down.”
Pam’s eyes lit up as she eagerly yanked the ribbon away and her fangs ran out when she peeked inside. Histrionic brat. She was kicking off her frilly, feathered Mischka pumps before she pulled her new shoes out to slide the new ones on.
They would’ve looked like every other pair of ‘sky-high’ black peep-toes she owned if it weren’t for the hot pink satin ribbon at the ankles that she asked Sookie to tie for her.
As Pam paced the small kitchen, Sookie asked, “Do they fit? I had to guess.”
“They’re perfect… You said they do this as a side-business?”
Sookie nodded and left the room for a moment, returning with a garment bag from the coat closet. “They’ll be really excited that you like it. They were worried that you’d kinda be… blah. It’s not like I told them about you or anything.”
It pained Pam to not rip into the garment bag right away. She stared down the length of her nose at Sookie. “What. About. Me?”
“That you like clothes or you have a thing for pink. This is just what they could do to thank you. It’s not like you need anything from a couple of housewives.”
“I might NEED to see pictures of their other work. Do you have any idea how much I miss shopping?”
Sookie stepped back and held the garment bag up for Pam and as soon as Pam unzipped the bag, she gasped, as though it was necessary. “Eric! If I can’t bring Christian over, can I…”
“No. I told you, if you want to be a Maker, you can turn Carrot Top. You deserve to have the same pain in your ass that I’ve had.”
She hissed and removed the hanger from the bag… and had Sookie unzip the dress she was wearing.
Fucking brat. She’d always been horrible when it came to clothing. It was more than an addiction. It was as though she replaced her need for air with her need of having couture from head to toe… Stints in safe-houses with her had always been amusing. If I bothered to dress at all, I’d worn the simplest of clothing. She still wore clothing that suggested she was expecting high tea with a fucking queen.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed though. The dress was black silk with simple lines, but the inset of hot pink smocking across the bust echoed fashion from Pam’s lifetime… there was a high slit up the back of the tight skirt that revealed a panel of pink chiffon… and the suit jacket was lined with pink satin, but the only visible pink was on the buttons.
It was a beautiful suit. The ensemble was professional, yet feminine and I knew exactly what was coming before her mouth was open…
“I want a hundred.” Bingo.
Sookie grinned, but not as wide as I would’ve thought given how much money Pam’s obsession would earn for her friends. “I’ll call them if you want me too.”
Pam nodded, but I answered, “Pam and I have business to discuss. You should call them from another room.”
I watched her throat clench. She was close to tears when she left the kitchen.
Rather than whispering, I opted for Swedish. Not only would Pam be annoyed, but Sookie wouldn’t know about anything we were discussing. She’d think I was angry enough to keep secrets. “The cat is taken care of?”
“In place as ordered. Laying it on a little thick, aren’t we?”
“She had me convinced that you fed from her. What would I do to you if you did the same?”
“Who knows… but you wouldn’t feel so guilty about retaliating against me.”
“She… tried to apologize since I’ve talked to you.”
“Ah, yet you continue to torture her with your battle-face… nice to see the asshole in you hasn’t suffered. How’s the jogging coming along?”
“I’ve gotten a few moments back. Just enough to be left with more questions.”
“She’s sealed the house for you?”
I nodded. “She did it today.”
“She’s very sweet, your little southern delicacy. She’s heartbroken that you seem upset with her.” Pam paused as Sookie walked through the foyer to go outside with a bag of garbage and her phone to her ear. “Have you made any concrete plans?”
“No. I’m trying to think of a way to keep her. I’m worried that Mine or not, word about the telepath from my Area will still reach the Queen. Sookie’s been heavily involved with the Weres in the Area.”
“I have faith in you. You’re a devious prick. You’ll come up with something.”
“Aw, Pam. That’s sweet.”
“I try…” She smiled and spun on her heel. “Hey, did you see my new ensemble?”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her. “It’s fabulous. Are you thinking about sharing with the rest of the world?”
“I’m thinking I’ll propose modeling their wares for them so that they can start a proper website, then I can send my boutique friends to it. Sound plan?”
“Obviously, you’d see the first of their lines, but by and large it’s very generous of you.”
She shrugged. “Of course it is. I’m a giver.”
“And I’m so proud… So, business, yes? Did you hear from Halloran today?”
“He’s managed to set a meeting with the State’s Attorney. When I spoke to him he was planning to track down Coughlin. He’s appalled that Stackhouse doesn’t seem bright enough to help in his own defense. He isn’t giving lawyer answers either. Surprising.”
“You know, Vampire answers, but wrapped in cheap suits. He isn’t forcing insufferably neutral replies down my throat. He’s confident that Jason Stackhouse will be released. He’s imagining soon.”
“Good. And the house for Chester Stone?” Sookie came back into the house and seemingly went to the living room to sulk submissively.
“The contractor is meeting Boseman for an estimate in the morning. It’ll be done for pocket change. Low five figures… Why did you text about the returning Vampires?”
“Sookie has a theory that there are more survivors than you think. The Weres of Shreveport went into seclusion quickly. Most of them left for rural areas…”
“Hence her unprecedented circle of two-natured friends.”
“Exactly. She’s assuming that my disappearance might’ve sparked similar actions in the Vampire community. She’s hoping that they were smart like you were and…”
She rolled her eyes. “Smart my ass. Hiding was an act of desperation. If I hadn’t felt you so close, I’d have jumped town like a rat from a sinking ship. You were the only thing keeping me here. And yes, I’ve heard from 22 Vampires that I’d written off.”
“Yes… are the Weres Sookie’s only reason to suspect?”
“No… I still don’t remember taking Fangtasia. Sookie said the other Sookie…”
I huffed, “Sookie-with-potential mentioned that Uppity-Sookie surprised Hallow.”
Pam nodded. “You and I were positioned at the front door. The other Eric was with the Sookies at the back…”
“Tactical reasons to split up?”
“The Sookies were using him to focus their thoughts to try and identify how many were inside and what they were doing… Uppity Sookie was coaching because she has experience with Witches from working with Paulette and can identify blood-users telepathically. Our Sookie remained focused to make sure they weren’t alerted to our presence somehow and Uppity Sookie came closer to us once the fire started to let us know how many possible ‘screaming alphas’…”
“What the fuck is a screaming alpha?”
“Uppity Sookie taught me something. A ‘Class A’ fire is a fire with an organic core that leaves ashes. A is for Alpha… and they tend to scream and flail, don’t they… stop interrupting. We’re getting off topic… Uppity Sookie was on her way to us. She’d just whispered ’14’ when Hallow and her retarded brother circled around behind us. She moved in and stopped 10 feet behind them and whistled. When they turned to her, we grabbed them. Badda-bing Badda-boom. She dragged the Wiccunts…”
“You really love that word, don’t you?”
She cooed, “More than you know… Anyway, dead Witches blocked the front door and we joined the others in the back. A little fight and a lot of draining later. All done. Plague cured.”
I nodded. “My Sookie…”
Pam teased, “Already?” Yes.
“Shut up. My Sookie doesn’t think that Hallow was still draining Vampires for their blood. Hallow should’ve smelled the other Sookie before she was so close.”
“Ooooh. Fair point. Haven’t you found a smart one.”
“Smart, at the very least.”
“How many times have you watched the video?”
“I’ve lost count.”
“So you’ve memorized the part where I told you that you care for her.”
“It’s not true anymore. I’m pretty sure you love her now.”
I growled at her. “What’s your point?”
“Only to let you know what that is. I’m sure it feels alien to you.”
“And how would you know?”
She smiled and stretched to kiss my cheek. “Because I have you…” She stepped back to spin again. “Did you see my new ensemble?”
I chuckled and swatted her ass. “Go. Play Sheriff. Thank you for the delivery.”
She laughed on her way out, “Take care of my Armani. Call if you need anything. And make sure you tell those women that I’m going to make them millionairesses.”
I followed her outside so that I could look at the front windows. Sookie hadn’t been exaggerating. At first glance, the windows didn’t seem blocked. “Not alone, you won’t.”
She hissed as she slid into her car and left.
My first order of business was blood. Something had to be done about my cravings.
After two pints of mediocre donations that I didn’t bother warming, I started aligning my volley.
I resumed work at my laptop and called out to Sookie to ask Dawson’s email address.
Her posture when she entered the kitchen could only be described as ‘sagging’. “I wouldn’t know it. I don’t do a lot on a computer. You can call him though…”
As I assumed she would, she took Pam’s discarded dress and hung it, placing the abandoned bag and shoes in the bottom of the garment bag to be stored in the coat closet.
When she returned from the foyer, she grabbed the laundry basket to resume the chore…
And as soon as she stepped out, she gasped and dropped the basket. The bald cat waltzed into the house as though she owned it, licking her face after her meal while Sookie gaped at her.
I sat back, doing nothing more than inviting the cat onto my lap by showing her that it was empty.
She took the bait too eagerly.
I stared at Sookie, waiting for her reaction while I stroked the appallingly bald feline.
“I apologized for crossing a line I didn’t know about!”
I nodded. “You did.”
I grinned at her in spite of wanting to laugh. “What? Too much?”
She looked horrified, infuriated and close to tears. “Yeah! Yeah, it is too much…” She stomped over to snatch the cat out of my lap and cradle her protectively. She left the room and snarled, “Get your shit.” Uh oh.
She never turned around as she headed for the back of the house. “Don’t make me say ‘it’. Get your shit and move on.”