Just A Little Bit
“Hey Eric, I know I’m taking the Chicken-Shit Highway on this, but um… I think it’s probably better that we just keep our distance from one another. I had a lot of fun with you and all, but I can’t help but think that other version of things was just having fun too. I guess everything snowballed and it’s pretty fucking scary that somehow I managed to hurt my family without realizing it. So yeah… It was great to meet you, but I’m sure you can understand why my family comes first. Take care.”
The voicemail message I rose to the night after Pam and Jason’s leap was disappointing to say the least. Yes, my extracurricular activities during my visit had been canceled, but that wasn’t it. Sookie sounded shaken, clearly more upset by what she learned than anyone else involved in the fiasco. I did, from time to time during the rest of my visit, wonder if it was just the idea of causing a rift in her family or if she’d been frightened away by the idea of being brought over.
Not that it mattered. We had our fun… I would have enjoyed more, but it wasn’t as though I would search her out to make an appeal and she didn’t return to the hotel for the rest of my visit.
Given that Pam and Jason accepted my invitation to visit The Netherlands, I only stayed long enough to place my surplus of houses on the market… but I was in Louisiana to see the reports of Steven Newlin and Gabe Henry, ‘two deacons from Dallas’s New Life Fellowship’, accidentally detonating a bomb meant for a medical research facility. Most of the Stackhouses and several members of Jack and Alcide’s pack watched the network coverage in the bar downstairs. They made jokes condemning the rainy weather because they were suddenly in the mood for a barbeque.
Klaasje positioned herself as a blockade between me and as much of the business of the pending Revelation as she possibly could… She gladly made the sacrifice for the two weeks Pam and Jason stayed with me in Eijsden. She stayed at the house, putting herself in a position to establish a friendly relationship with Pam, but spent most of her time sequestered in my office while she tended to the business of scheduling the first month of donors and the pending annual fair she organized.
It was a good visit… Other than a ‘field trip’ to Antwerp for diamond shopping (where Jason spoiled Pam just as much as I did), we stayed in Eijsden. Hearing she was visiting drew out several old friends and I was just as surprised as Gawain was when Pam wasn’t girlishly excited when he arrived.
Other than enjoying some much needed time with Pam, I had the opportunity to get to know Jason. It quickly realized the thickness of his drawl undermined his actual intelligence. Once I stopped thinking of Hee Haw, I realized he was quite sharp even though he made no secret of not having a lot of ‘book sense’. His sense of humor made him pleasant company. Not only was it fun to have someone to tease Pam with, but he wasn’t the type to be insulted once the tables were turned.
In the hours Jason spent waiting for Pam to rise, he easily made friends with my house-staff, my Witch and every fucking guard on the property. He occupied himself by going shopping, buying more for Pam than the family he was supposedly buying souvenirs for… Most impressively he didn’t need to be asked to give Pam and me some time alone. He went out to a local pub with at least one of his many new friends for a while every night but one.
Jason Stackhouse would socialize until just before sunset, then he would go to the room he shared with Pam to shower and be waiting when she rose. Every fucking night. I listened. I could hear the jeering he tolerated when he left a football game with the guards. I could hear the way he would end his business and personal calls. He’d unapologetically explain that he had ‘somewhere better to be’ whenever anyone tried to delay him.
He was completely in love with Pam and he knew her almost as well as I did, perhaps in spite of that fact.
And instead of basking in the fact she was adored, she loved him back…
She loved him so much I couldn’t bring myself to tease her for it. I was too preoccupied by how happy I was for her.
Their visit was almost over… He’d sped to the house as though he was being chased and stomped through the house cursing to himself about being turned around on unfamiliar roads and went directly to shower. His aggravated mood even reached me… But when I was finished with my own shower, I noticed the void. Not only was Jason and his harried mood gone, but my sense of Pam had disappeared with him. The guards didn’t see anyone enter or exit the house. Jason had been in bed with Pam long enough to leave his warmth behind on the bedding… Klaasje and I paced for half an hour, completely confused as to where they were and how they left because she’d been working in her room and hadn’t heard them leave… Just as the sun set, as Klaasje and I left my room to search the car he’d been driving, we heard Pam ask if he was ‘alright seeing her like that’… he breathed that ‘she’s fuckin’ beautiful’ and explained that he felt like it had been months since he’d seen his sister.
It wasn’t as though I’d forgotten, but in my experience leaping meant having extra Pams and Jasons to contend with. It hadn’t occurred to me what happened when they visited another version.
They leapt, visiting the version I’d been ‘fortunate’ enough to meet, discovering that their theory about Sookie’s estrangement had been spot on… Sookie and Eric had been enjoying her working vacations, but in the process had discovered one of my Lords had another agenda. Eric ended Bethany, but an unforeseen loose end had waited very patiently to act… Shortly before Sookie was to leave Eijsden, she left the house with Bastiaan to buy some last minute souvenirs for her family and was attacked. She’d been followed. Bastiaan was killed protecting her but she was on life-support when Eric rose that night and his excuse to bring her over hinged on the fact that she’d made the enemy by helping him.
When she rose, her telepathy pained her to the point that the thoughts of the Eijsden staff drove her mad until Eric made arrangements to take her into seclusion. To make matters worse, she couldn’t stand to feed from donors because touching them intensified her already maddening ability. She asked Eric not to say anything to her family because she didn’t want them to worry and sent a vague email about enjoying herself too much to return. It was only a matter of nights before she was accosted by emails from her loved ones about her ‘selfish’ behavior. It was all very misunderstood. Sookie thought she was sparing her family from worrying, but after a month of seclusion she returned to an email account full of angry rants. Her Maker closed her email account when she became suicidal.
During the leap, Jason called his mother to explain, pretending to be his counterpart… and then he called Evil Jason, promising to shoot him in his face eventually if he caused any further upset for the family.
When Pam and Jason returned to their own reality, Vampire Sookie was on her way to reconnecting with her family… Mystery solved. Crisis managed.
That was the only night Jason didn’t ‘stretch his legs’. He took a bottle of absinthe he’d bought for Jude to the den and called Sookie. He spent the evening drinking alone while Pam and I discussed how to deal with Bethany and Francois… Jason wasn’t politely avoiding my political dealings. Jason wasn’t in shock after seeing his sister as a Vampire. He put himself at the far corner of the castle in an effort to not affect anyone else. The poor bastard was still reeling from the other Sookie’s pain.
Other than how odd it felt to expose my fangs and bite into my wrist to heal the fresh incision from a liver transplant in the company of a completely Human news crew, the Revelation was completely painless. Of course, practically everyone in Europe locked themselves in their homes for the first week unless they needed to go to a hospital, but the ones who needed medical attention quickly began spreading word about blood therapy.
Worrying about the reaction in the States needled me to no end. Pam promised to call me hourly with updates even if there was nothing to report. I needed the peace of mind, since the time difference meant the States would be informed while I was dead for the day.
When Pam died in her time zone, Jason took over the task… Hourly calls from one or the other for a week, reporting little more than a few protesters at the hotel and the reunion Patsy enjoyed with her children and grandchildren, encouraging Bubba to consider his own. The reaction in the States wasn’t quiet because Americans decided to be surprisingly open-minded. After multiple attempts to contact the Sheriff for a quote, one reporter’s call was intercepted by Brandon, who offered an anonymous tip. The next night when Sophie-Anne rose, the majority of protestors and reporters in her Queendom were on her steps instead, and they were demanding to know why American Vampires weren’t participating in Europe’s blood therapy treatment. For the next month, Klaasje was in the States with the Surgeon General explaining the minutia and America quickly adopted the initiative.
My nights quickly went back to normal in the following months. Boredom set in again in what seemed like a blink…
And worse… After such a pleasant visit with Pam, I only missed her more.
Since I’d already sold all of my houses in Louisiana, I was struggling to think of a reason to return for a visit. I spent a few nights teetering between the least pathetic of my options.
Purchasing my own Viper and having it shipped to Europe. Because I needed another car.
Touring Six Flags because after another year of arguing with carnival workers during the Children’s Village Fair, Klaasje suggested it might be easier to open a permanent theme park and donate its profits. Because Europe needed another amusement park.
I finally decided to visit without a reason (Pam would see through one like she always had) and began making the usual arrangements, but the excuse I needed landed in my lap…
With Pam’s birthday only a couple of weeks away, he wanted to know if I’d be interested in helping him plan a surprise for her.
The only difficulty I had was not sounding too eager.