The nasty wench was horrified to realize she’d just threatened the life of a King’s child where he could hear her. She looked like she could swallow her tongue.
It was nice to see I’d made an impression during our brief encounter in Dmitri’s court.
Meanwhile Compton simply nodded at Sookie to identify himself.
Sookie couldn’t have been more amused, and she was hiding it better than I was. It had been so long since I witnessed a Vampire tantrum in person I’d almost forgotten how hilarious they were.
Sookie asked Compton, “Have you come to slap Mr. Stackhouse with a white glove and demand satisfaction or offer an apology for how you behaved?”
He only clenched his jaw as his Maker hissed, “He can’t speak! He was cursed to keep his mouth closed! I-”
Before she could continue, I moved to wrap my arm around the cunt’s head and put my hand over her mouth.
“If you insist upon embarrassing yourself by making demands, do so quietly…” She stared at me defiantly, so I began tightening my hold on her, squeezing her jaw together until she whimpered. “Are you beginning to realize I don’t need a spell to silence you?”
When I released her, she tried to hide that she was trembling.
Sookie asked, “I’ve met Mr. Compton, even if it was over the phone… Who are you?”
The bitch snarled, “Lorena. Lorena Ball.”
“Did your child explain that he molested Mr. Stackhouse, ignored the recipe he was given and presumptuously demanded to be loaned a Witch in spite of how simple the wards are? Did he bother to tell you he embarrassed himself, his Maker and his Sheriff with his behavior in the company of King Northman’s Lord High Steward? Did he bother explaining he was told not to return until he’d prepared a formal apology?”
“He will not be forced to answer to a Human.”
“No one said anything about answering to a Human. He was unprofessional and irrational after he was given what he asked for. Save some face, Lorena. Take the jackass home, change his diaper, and do something about teaching your child some manners… It’s not my brother’s fault you failed as a Maker.”
Lorena snarled, “Listen to me, you stupid little bitch…”
I grabbed her hair and shoved her face into the counter with enough force that when I released her, she bounced and stumbled backwards.
When she looked up at me, blood pouring from her mouth and nose, I shrugged and asked, “You were saying?”
She narrowed her eyes and taunted, “Attached are we?”
I nodded. “Apparently I’m more attached to Miss Stackhouse than you are to your head. Watch your tongue, whore.”
The only thing keeping me from telling Lorena that Sookie was Mine was Pam’s official protection. It wasn’t in anyone’s best interest for me to imply that Pam was only protecting my pet… Keeping a pet in Shreveport could suggest I was visiting frequently… I wanted Pam to move, but I didn’t to force a politically driven evacuation.
“I’m no whore…”
“Just because no one wants another ride doesn’t mean you wouldn’t spread your legs for pocket change. Weren’t you just leaving?”
Sookie snorted to interrupt the staring game between Lorena and me. “Before you lose your teeth, do you want to leave a message for Sheriff Ravenscroft?”
Lorena laughed nastily, “I’m not leaving here until I speak to Princess Pamela. You call her. You tell her I’m here. You tell her I’m demanding an apology for how her pet treated my child…”
Sookie corrected, “Business partner… Your child was owned by a Human who doesn’t have the advantage of being bonded to a Vampire. You must be so proud.”
Surprised. Not proud… It seemed as though Compton had led his Maker to believe he’d been surprised by the strength of a bonded pet… but since Lorena didn’t seem to know who Sookie was, it was possible they assumed Brandon was the ‘Mr. Stackhouse’ that completely belonged to Pam.
Lorena scoffed, “The man was rude…”
Sookie corrected, “Not only did I make it clear when I spoke to Mr. Compton and Sheriff Roth that he wouldn’t have access to Sheriff Ravenscroft, but Mr. Stackhouse reiterated that once Mr. Compton arrived and explained he was short on patience because I’d been nearly killed the night before.”
“My child was promised a tour and a lesson on how to ward individual rooms.”
“And he was given just that, in the company of another Vampire who witnessed your child’s impolite behavior and ridiculous demands. I’m sure he was disappointed to hear that we enjoy the full cooperation of our local pack and normally have several of its members staffed as security guards… but your Area is lacking in two-natured inhabitants. I’m sure your child was chagrinned to hear we have one very talented Witch on staff who provides the priceless service of authoring protective wards, like the ones that trapped him in his car and muted him… but your Sheriff has yet to find an active coven in her Area. If you took the time to contact Sheriff Davis, you would know he was given a walkthrough similar to the one your child received…”
Lorena hissed, “Was he given an audience with Princess Pamela?”
“Sheriff Ravenscroft met with Sheriff Davis, but he was an actual sheriff, not some putz who can’t keep his guests from being staked. The tour your child received was charity between underlings. I’m shocked that any of you expect Sheriff Ravenscroft to participate in your Darwinian downfall.”
That was probably the best point in favor of Pam staying out of the situation… If she’d participated in the tour or the spell recipe’s changing of hands, eventually Gwen Roth could discredit Pam for endorsing a faulty charm.
Sookie’s long-game was incredible.
Lorena stomped a step forward to lean over the counter. “Are you willing to die just to keep me from complaining to yo-”
Before Lorena could finish her threat, she lurched back…
Brandon had surprised her, but to be fair, the scene had attracted witnesses and extra traffic in the lobby… He slipped a bunch of fine silver chains around her neck and yanked her back, arching her back over the muzzle of his gun and ratcheting back the hammer slowly.
He chuckled, “Good thing I remembered my wooden bullets tonight. Brandon Stackhouse, co-owner here at The Palace.”
Poor Lorena… no one ever told her not to fuck with Faeries.
When Compton moved to assist his Maker, I blocked his path, quickly grabbing his arms to disjoint his shoulders… The way he screamed through his nose because he couldn’t open his mouth was hilarious.
Even better was the looks on their faces when they heard several other hammers cock back… casino security had descended on the lobby like a biblical plague.
Lorena scoffed, “Did someone trigger an alarm of some kind?”
Brandon chuckled, “One of our many guards recognized Billy the Kid from last night and announced a Code: Brown… That’s what we call it when pieces of shit like him walk through the front door.”
All I’d have to do would be to tell Miles and ‘Code: Brown’ would become a catchphrase at the estate. Who knew he’d actually get the souvenir he asked for?
Sookie cleared her throat, but there was still amusement in her voice. “In case you’re wondering, this is how Sheriff Ravenscroft rolls. She treats her serfs well, and we thank her by proving our loyalty…”
Lorena hissed, “She hides behind her staff.”
No. She had the support of her staff… there was a colossal difference.
Sookie snorted, “Spoken like someone who’s never felt loyal to anyone in their entire life… I can’t say I’m surprised though, since you killed your own Maker within ten years… Is that any way to thank the guy for sparing you from your pimp?”
Lorena gasped as though she’d been held underwater and shouted, “Where did you hear that!?”
Sookie giggled, “You’d be surprised what a person will say when they’re relocating to avoid you and your sister. Gossip is what happens when catty bitches try to run an Area like a high school lunch room… So, to be clear, ‘Lorena the Whore’ is requesting an audience with ‘Princess Pamela’ because ‘Oddjob’ had sand kicked in his eyes. Is the ‘stupid little bitch’ getting a grasp of the situation?”
“You’re just as bad as your Master… hiding behind your little mafia…”
“We call ourselves the Caddo Club unofficially…” A handful of the men in Palace blazers circling the lobby offered a chuckle. “Not only do we pay dues, but we know our fucking place…”
Sookie removed a new phone from the waist of her skirt and dialed, never breaking eye contact with Lorena while the phone rang.
Pam answered, “Back in the saddle, I hear.”
“And on a wild horse. Brandon debriefed you on his visit from Compton last night, right?”
“Poor Brandon. You should have seen the look on his face when I said he should have just staked Compton. He grabbed my protected pet and suggested Klaasje was just taking the tour as an excuse to paw at Brandon. Brandon had every right…”
“So how does the Sheriff feel about the fact that Compton brought his Mommy back with him tonight, and she’s demanding to speak to you?”
Pam was annoyed by being interrupted and indignant about being challenged. After a moment, she droned, “Bring them to my room,” even though she hadn’t calmed down.
Excuse me? With Olivia at home?
Sookie sighed, “Yes ma’am,” as though she was somehow upset with the order, but she was anything but… she was relieved.
Brandon chuckled in Lorena’s ear and uncocked his gun. “You shouldn’t feel like you won quite yet. If the Sheriff just wanted to talk, she’d do that in the lobby.”
He let her stand up enough for me to see the chains around her neck were part of a creative device… it seemed like several silver chains had been threaded through a black tube… Brandon offered the bridle to me and removed a pair of silver cuffs from his pocket to secure the bitch even more… Garden hose. The handle of the bridle was nothing more than garden hose. The chains were looped around the neck and given nothing more than a half-twist to tighten the chains around the Vampire’s neck. Such a simple invention.
Bill Compton actually backed away from Brandon’s second set of cuffs, so he laughed, “You can take the cuffs and bridle, or you can be dragged around by an anal hook in a silver hood. Up to you, baby.”
Fierce little asshole.
I was more than a little disappointed that Compton didn’t opt for the hook and hood. Something for the photo album.
Without a word, two of the guards accompanied Sookie, Brandon and me to the elevator to crowd seven bodies into one car… and the elevator stopped on the third floor instead of continuing to the penthouse.
The guards stayed behind, and Sookie invited the Vampires into the hall that reeked of magic… and then into room 307 specifically.
The first things to be noticed about the room was that the polished concrete floor was littered with silver confetti… and of course, the room reeked of death.
When Pam said ‘my room’, she’d meant her playroom.
Sookie waited to close the door behind us, revealing the backside of it and the knob had been silver leafed… as was the table in the far corner of the room and the door to the bathroom…
No other furnishings, just a collection of hooks suspended from the ceiling and anchors bolted to the floor… But there was a collection of small fans along the perimeter of the concrete cube.
The inner sanctum… a surgical suite that could make most of my friends jealous…
I followed Brandon’s lead, pulling a taut rubber strap from the ceiling down enough to loop the hook at the end through the handle of the bridle while Sookie disappeared into the bathroom, returning with a pair of hunting knives… She passed one to Brandon and began removing Lorena Ball and Bill Compton’s clothing and bagging it dispassionately even though they were beginning to struggle against their restraints more aggressively as they realized Lorena had overplayed her hand.
Sookie droned, “Don’t do that… King Northman is curious about Sheriff Ravenscroft’s techniques and if you keep it up, he’ll need to leave so we can turn on the fans.”
The silver leaf covering the floor.
Once the fans were turned on, a whirlwind would move the silver leafing around, sending it into the air to pelt the Vampires unfortunate enough to dangle from the hooks…
Pam had created a snow globe of agony.
Brandon snorted, “Fuck that… Eric, would you mind passing me one of the green cans from the bathroom counter?”
Compton grunted… I translated that to ‘oh fuck’.
There were three identical cans on the counter and one of them seemed to be nearly empty. “The one labeled ‘3M Super 90’?”
Brandon chuckled, “Yes sir… Remind me to tell you about the ‘Adhesives War’ later.”
That was definitely a story I’d need to hear.
I tossed the can to Brandon and, once Sookie backed away to search Compton and Ball’s clothing, they were sprayed from head to toe with glue. Brandon stepped back and began tossing coins at the prisoners to prove the hold of the glue…
$1.17 stuck to the useless assholes swinging from the ceiling.
Sookie smirked at me devilishly to let me know she could feel how impressed I was.
Sookie gave me a tour of the bathroom and all of the ‘toys’ stored within it…
Since they had inside information as to the date of the Revelation, they ‘bought silver like it was going out of style’ for months because they’d correctly anticipated the price of silver skyrocketing after the Revelation. There was a stockpile of silver leafing, dozens of little wooden hair sticks had been dipped in silver, silverware had been sharpened until it could be used surgically, and there was an assortment of silver plated bondage devices… The bridles had been Linda’s brainchild, but it was Julie who operated the silver-plating station in the butler’s pantry of the lake house.
Since we were waiting for Pam, Sookie led me to the door, inviting me into the hallway again… Brandon flipped a switch on the wall on his way out of the room and followed us to room 310 across the hall, on the east side of the building…
Another invitation to a room. Similar to the playroom, another concrete cube, but this one was stripped clean. The other noticeable difference was the large window…
In Pam’s playroom, the window was untreated, but the window in the empty room had been blacked out with paint… Sookie reminded me of Pam’s flair for the dramatic before explaining she’d taken her Freckle Box to a new level. Rooms were warded to keep their prisoners from reaching the perimeter, not that the room could be easily breached…
Thanks to Brandon, Jason and Sullivan’s ‘Think Tank of Evil’, Vampires required invitations into the hall from the elevator, then into a specific room, and then another to enter the hallway again…
Magical lobster traps redesigned for Vampires.
Instead of the tiny pinholes that allowed the sun to burn the inhabitant of a Freckle Box, the prisoner’s offense was scratched into the paint on the window. The severity of the offense dictated if and how much the prisoner would be fed, how much sunlight would be allowed into the room, and if they could keep any clothing for protection…
She literally burned her criminals for their crimes.
I was awestruck enough to take dozens of photos with my phone during my tour and I was looking forward to sharing with (if not boasting to) Gawain about Pam’s disciplinary and detention methods…
Sookie, Brandon and I were just stepping into the hallway when the elevator opened for Pam.
I almost laughed at her… she was wearing a vintage dress reminiscent of the 1930s. She’d been playing dress-up with Olivia.
She sighed, “Getting the grand tour?”
I nodded. “And I’m taking notes. Is the whole floor for business?”
She nodded her head towards room 301. “That’s my actual office. Jude’s is there…” She nodded towards 302. “They’re all warded so tightly the Watergate should take notes. There are a couple of suites for newborns at the end of the hall. They’re very comfortable, but I require confinement for a week to be sure they’re lucid enough to trust them in my Area.”
When we met at the door to the playroom, Brandon cracked the door, undamming a wailing shriek for mercy, and reached in just enough to flip the switch that apparently controlled the fans.
Brandon waited for a moment for the leafing to settle before opening the door and letting Pam lead us in… She cooed, “At least I can depend on my associates to be gracious hosts when I’m otherwise engaged. Sheriff Pamela Ravenscroft at your service… Have we met in person? You don’t look familiar.”
That might have had something to do with the fact that Ball and Compton looked like they were auditioning to play the role of the Tin Woodsman in a Wizard Of Oz remake.
Lorena choked, “Lorena Ball and, my child, Bill Compton…”
Pam nodded. “The last time we met was at the Queen’s summit regarding Blood Therapy. You openly refused to participate in Blood Therapy and tried to divide the Vampires of Louisiana on the issue. If Andre had a change of heart and retracted your eviction, I haven’t heard about it.”
Lorena groaned, “I knew we should have stayed in Washington… I’m here because your pet attacked my child last night.”
“Brandon defended himself against the advances and hostility of your child… I’ll go as far as saying your poor baby was bested by my pet, but that happens all the time…” She reached over and scratched behind Brandon’s ears and cooed, “Hims a vewy cwever boy… but Bill’s very lucky he hadn’t been so disrespectful towards Sookie or Jason Stackhouse.”
“Feeding them blood regularly, are you?”
Pam shook her head and droned, “Your child’s lucky to have returned to you last night. My staff, very generously, offered to assist him with his security failures and he was anything but polite.”
“He spoke to Sookie Stackhouse and she promised to provide a Witch to perform the wards…”
Pam chuckled, “She did no such thing… Do you think Miss Stackhouse would call anyone in Area 2 without recording the conversation? She offered a walkthrough of our security procedures, which Compton was given, and nothing more. It seems like your Sheriff’s IQ standards are much lower than mine if you’re stupid enough to think I’d believe that. Do you have any other lies you’d like to try to sell?”
“My child was cursed by your associates. Bill can’t open his mouth and that prick destroyed Bill’s phone…”
Brandon grumbled, “What was I thinking… taking the clown’s phone so he’d have to go home instead of texting a sob story to Mommy Deadest about how I picked on him?”
Pam rolled her eyes again. “I have security camera footage of the lobby, Lorena. Your child grabbed my business partner. Did you expect Mr. Stackhouse to allow his authority at the Palace be undermined by excusing such behavior? Your child was warned I’d expect an apology for his behav-”
“Fuck you! You pawned a Vampire off to Human underlings…”
“Because a Vampire isn’t necessary to teach a warding recipe. Are you prepared to make an apology?”
Lorena snarled, “No. I won’t apologize because you refuse to do your job.”
“My responsibilities are to my Maker, then to my Area. The clusterfuck that has become Area 2 is not my problem…” She held her hand out to Brandon and asked Lorena, “Do you have any last words or messages for an heir?”
As Brandon placed his gun in Pam’s palm, Lorena shouted, “HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY ENDING US FOR THIS!?”
“I’m doing Sheriff Roth the favor of ending the infantile idiot who caused an international incident last night. The impertinent little fuck-stain insulted the Lord High Steward of the Northern Empire. Do you even grasp the concept of a ‘Super Power’?”
Pam quickly lifted the gun and fired a shot, but the bullet entered Compton’s abdomen.
While Maker and child writhed in pain, Brandon sighed, “I thought we went through this. The rifling on the wooden bullets makes them drop faster…”
Pam nodded. “I know… I’m giving the cunt a chance to change her mind about apologizing.”
Lorena wailed, “Go fuck yourself! Hiding behind your Maker! You’re pathetic!”
Pam was pathetic? Pam? All it would have taken to spare her child’s life was an apology.
Killing the poor bastard was more compassionate than letting him continue with a Maker too selfish and proud to think of the hole in his gut.
And who the fuck was hiding behind their Maker? I’d hardly touched her.
“I don’t suppose it matters, but you know you’re being executed for showing your face in Louisiana…” Pam snorted, “Useless cunt,” and fired two shots…
The first one liquefied Bill Compton…
And the second one liquefied Lorena Ball…
And Brandon began singing, “When they found the matador and saw him dying… He’d never see tomorrow…”
Sookie and Pam joined him as though it was a custom, “Now they say that on the spot where he was lying… Still walks the proud El Toro.”
If ever a nickname suited Pam… El Toro.
Pam watched the empty bridles swing from the ceiling for a moment before inspecting her dress to confirm she hadn’t been stained. She nodded towards the debris on the floor and offered, “The best part of this, the setup, is that we just walk out…”
Sookie offered, “I’ll come back tomorrow, after the sun burns off the sludge to ash, and sweep… then they get a goldfish funeral. Flushhhhh.”
I pointed at nothing in particular, everything really, and offered, “I’m sending pictures to our friends. They’ll all want their own.”
Pam laughed, “I’ll franchise. I’ll draw out detailed plans and we’ll call their branches ‘Bitch Motels’. They check in, but they don’t check out…”
Camp, but fitting…
“What will you tell Sheriff Roth about her Deputies?”
“They came into my hotel shouting about magic spells, insulting me and my partners in the lobby in front of my serfs, my employees and dozens of Humans… I’m calling Sophie-Anne, which means I’ll end up talking to Andre, and explaining Lorena picked the wrong time to push boundaries.”
“Or you could say the cunt threatened your life, and if you hadn’t ended her, I would have.”
“I’ll use that as my ace in the hole then… So what are you up to that you’re in a suit?”
I couldn’t help myself.
I teased, “I’m playing dress-up…” She closed her eyes and pinched her face together, so I chuckled, “In an effort to win a bet, I’m Sookie’s shadow.”
She looked back and forth between us for a moment before sighing, “Olivia’s annoyed. She said she was distracted by the issue of her hair and forgot about the gifts she was promised.”
Sookie turned for the door and offered, “Then run upstairs… We’ll hit my room so she can play Hot & Cold with her ability to pick her presents.”
“She’s being greedy.” As soon as she finished, a grin pulled at the corners of her mouth.
Sookie cooed, “Awwwww, she’s already starting to adjust.”
Brandon snorted, “Or she wants to know what the fuck she’s getting from the guy who already gifted a Hummer tonight.”
“Sookie can hardly reach the pedals though… Do you think Olivia’s legs are long enough for a Mini Cooper?”
There was a split second when Pam actually thought I’d buy a car for a 7-year old, but as she led us the elevator, she tried to distract everyone from how annoyed she was at herself by asking what Klaasje was doing to entertain herself… as it turned out, she was at a blackjack table waiting for Brandon to finish the lesson they’d started.
Brandon broke ranks to return to the casino…
Then Sookie and I stopped at the eighth floor for Olivia’s gifts…
Sookie barely waited for me to close the door behind us before she breathed, “I can’t believe she thought you’d buy a car for a kid.”
“Neither can I, but it’s not as though either of us have any experience with children… I think Olivia needs a golf cart though.”
“Oh, absofuckinglutely… a lesson in ‘making an entrance’?”
“Perfect. No daughter of Pam’s should fall short in that department.”