As unpleasant as Pam had been before dawn, rising to feel her still at rest didn’t help. The calm only made me more anxious about what she’d begin feeling once she rose.
Her behavior hadn’t been rational to begin with… I doubted that would improve once I cornered her for answers.
My one chance for hints…
I was reaching for my phone to call Sookie as soon as I could move.
She answered with a giggle. “Calling me already? Do you have any idea how many guy-rules this breaks?”
I would have laughed under any other circumstance.
“I’m calling about Pam.”
“Oh, that’s a great excuse. What’s up?”
“When I returned to the hotel last night, she was waiting for me. She berated me for fucking you…”
“Did you tell her I fucked back? Wait… she wasn’t pissed. God knows you were otherwise distracted, but if she was pissed, she would have called back or Jason would have said something to me. We spent most of the day on the boat.”
“One would think, but she called me a stupid son of a bitch and suggested she’d already lost you.”
After a moment, Sookie huffed, “How fucking bizarre… Why don’t you go distract yourself with a shower and dinner. I’ll call you back once I talk to Jason.”
“I don’t think I want you to call my child’s pet to gossip about…”
“Telepath. I don’t have to give details to get the full story. I won’t if you don’t want me to, but it’s the express route to answers. He’s here, so I’ll know right away.”
I growled, out of sheer frustration. I’d only just unfucked a problem I didn’t realize we had… only to have another misunderstanding emerge…
I didn’t want to be that Maker. I didn’t want my visits to be unwelcome. I didn’t want an abyss between me and Pam…
Sookie drawled, “I’ll pool my resources and get right back to you, okay?”
At least my incompetence only had one witness thus far.
I was showering, perhaps only ten minutes had passed, when my phone began ringing.
I assumed Sookie was calling to tell me her brother hadn’t been of any help, but it was Klaasje.
She greeted stoically, “Good evening, Majesty.”
“I’m alone. Did the Kingdom fall to shit since I left?”
“No. Everything’s fine. Why do you ask?”
Because it seemed like everything wanted to deteriorate.
“No reason. Why did you call?”
“Feel free to laugh, but I’m accustomed enough to our nightly updates, that I missed doing it last night…”
I assumed as much. I usually did laugh, especially since she took note of the time change so she could call during ‘the dusk hour’ we shared… Not tonight.
She continued, “Small news items. Wouter convinced Nicolas. He finally accepted the blood-therapy initiative. Oh, and just last night, you received another papal letter about your codexes. He wants to send a negotiator.”
“Reply for me. Tell the Pontiff he can suck my pagan cock.”
“Do I have to?”
“Are you a coward?”
“Maybe. Dying didn’t erase everything. I’m superstitious enough…”
“Just barely superstitious enough to avoid telling the Pope to fuck off.”
“Yes. Just the Pope. If it was a Bishop, even a Cardinal…”
I snorted, “Alright. I’ll tell him myself then.”
“Thank you… Are you sure you’re alright? You sound off. Is your visit agreeable?”
“Agreeable enough. It’s good to see Pam again… I’ll have to tell you later about the strange company she’s keeping. Right now, I’m waiting for another call.”
“Oh! Alright. I’ll leave you to visit then. Give my regards.”
Once I ended the call, I stared at my phone and practically willed it to ring… But Sookie didn’t call back.
I mind-fucked myself until I thought I heard my phone ringing every time I stepped under the water again…
And I was reaching for the gris-gris bags so I could be waiting in Pam’s apartment when she rose before Sookie finally called me back.
“Was he uncooperative?”
“Ummm… you could say that.”
“What was that tone? You had no problem telling me that Pam and I had been miscommunicating for years. That tone doesn’t bode well.”
“Can you… When you spoke to Pam could you feel her mood?”
“No. I assumed it was a byproduct of her relationship to an empath. Was it not?”
“No. Jason can calm her down and rile her up, but he can’t even shade Pam’s moods from Hadley. They’ve experimented.”
“Perhaps she’s learned how to control our bond then. What did Jason say?”
“Um… Eric… Jason said that after I called, they were together until dawn.”
“Except for when she met me in the hallway.”
“No. They were actively fucking until dawn. Telepathically verified.”
“I know. I know so much I need brain-bleach.”
“Did your brother say or hint to anything else?”
“No. My brother… Eric… Jason took off after I asked about Pam. He was thinking Pam was going to be pissed if she had company and didn’t know about it.”
“Can he be glamoured? Why the fuck would he be oblivious to the fact that I’m here?”
Someone leaned on the horn of a car and Sookie sighed, “I don’t know, but I’m about five minutes from finding out. I’ll be right there. Will you wait for me or should I go straight to the penthouse?”
I didn’t hesitate. “I’ll wait for you. I can’t tell if you’re brother is lying and I’m beginning to question how well I know Pam.”
Sookie offered, “Don’t do that. We don’t know what the hell is going on… Are you going to get in the way when I whoop Pam’s ass for not being straight with me?”
“I don’t think I’ll interfere with that, no. I’m tempted myself.”
“Good. Three minutes. I can see the hotel. Don’t breathe when I get there. Bye.”
Jason was waiting when I opened the door. His arms were folded across his chest and his expression was close to a scowl.
“Mind if I come in?”
I stepped back as my invitation. “Your sister’s on her way here.”
He stomped past me as he grumbled, “Not worried about her right now. You shouldn’t be either. Don’t start up with her.”
“It’s bad enough that you turned on Pam, but she don’t deserve being replaced with Sook. You need to just go back to Eijsden and forget you met her.”
“I don’t think you know enough about me or your Master to offer any advice on the matter. Pam and I have resolved our problem. Everything is fine.”
At a minimum, he clearly hadn’t been told that Pam and I had a much needed discussion… I couldn’t help but be annoyed that fucking had taken priority over at least a brief synopsis.
He narrowed his eyes. “Fine? How the fuck did you manage that?”
“Sookie brought our… Why the fuck don’t you know? You were here, attached to Pam, all night. I’m sure you were given an explanation.”
“Are you really gonna start a Mexican standoff?”
“You’re telling me to stay away from Sookie, and that’s adorable by itself, but I’m not interested in playing games… Why don’t you tell me why I should stay away from your sister?”
“Just stay away from her. She ain’t nothin’ special. Just another girl. She’ll fuck with your head and distract you.”
“Right. Why isn’t Pam telling me this?”
“On account she’s still dead for the day.”
Brilliant. He acted as though I was the idiot for asking.
“This could have waited until she rose, I think. Do you interfere often or is this a special occasion?”
“I’m not interfering…”
“What would you call it?”
“Keeping Pam from getting’ more hurt. It’s bad enough you got that Klaasje broad as your gal Friday. You can’t go makin’ Sookie your child too…”
“Wait! Fucking your sister doesn’t mean I’m considering bringing her over. You have no clue what you’re talking about…”
Hearing the elevator door slide open was the only thing keeping me from glamouring Jason Stackhouse into a service closet until Pam could find him.
All I could do was hope Sookie was on the elevator instead of a random guest as I opened the door to my room again.
Sookie with a much deeper tan.
She warned again. “Don’t breathe… We don’t need that right now.”
“I spent the whole day in the sun and I haven’t showered yet. You think my scent is sweet already, well, combine it with sunlight and… I’ve been pinned enough to know a knee to your nuts won’t help me. Silver is the only thing that can snap you out of it. Worse than a cat with catnip. You need to stay focused for now.”
I growled… the temptation alone was distraction enough. “Thank you for the warning… Your brother was just telling me that you aren’t worth the trouble and you’ll probably bring about my death.”
She balked, jerking back her head with a disgusted look on her face. “My brother told you what?” She shook her head and squeezed past me to confront her brother and stopped dead in her tracks. “Who the hell do you think you are, Jason Stackhouse?”
He shook his head with his lip curled and spat. “I ain’t even talking to you. Stay out of this, selfish bitch.”
Jason Stackhouse’s popularity was skyrocketing by the second.
“You heard me. You’ll cut a throat to get what you want. You don’t think about anyone but yourself and you don’t care who gets hurt. It’s the Sookie Channel. All Sookie, all the time. Your whole family is sick of it.”
“What. The. Fuck. Are. You Talking. About!?”
Even I was anxious to hear an explanation to that… Sookie had gone out on a limb and meddled in Maker/child affairs and the only benefit to her was that Pam would be happier for her efforts. She’d angered her sisters with their safety in mind. She’d sacrificed her time off to plot against a potential threat to Vampires.
How the fuck Jason could issue such a blanket statement was beyond me.
Jason narrowed his eyes and hissed, “You’re going to steal Eric from Pam. You need to stop thinking about yourself for once and leave him alone.”
She snorted and turned to leave. “I’m deeply, head over heels, in fuck with Eric, but that’s a far cry from warding him into a room to use him as a sex slave…”
That wasn’t out of the question. I probably wouldn’t even put up a fight… and ‘head over heels in fuck’ was probably my new favorite expression.
Jason shouted, “Where the hell are you going?” but Sookie had just pressed the call button on the elevator.
“I’m going to wait for Pam to rise. I don’t know what the fuck crawled up your ass, but I’m going to find out.”
That sounded like a brilliant idea…
I followed Sookie, not caring enough to worry that Jason was still in my room, but he followed and grabbed Sookie’s arm.
“She’s already upset enough!”
She yanked her arm out of his hand and snarled, “Funny you should mention how she’s feeling since she’s still dead. Do you mind explaining that just a few minutes ago, you were confused as hell when I asked what was up? How about the fact that you were with Pam when we called her last night to ask if she minded if we hooked up? And then you were teasing me while we were out on the boat because Jessie and Josie blabbed about my ‘date’ to try to distract Daddy from what they pulled last night? How does that happen? Pam actually made a joke suggesting Eric and I fuck, then you joke around until Daddy needs a lobotomy… now I’m a selfish bitch… It’s like you’re two completely different people and Evil Jason’s about to get his ass kicked!”
When we stepped into the elevator, Jason followed and Sookie glared at the back of her brother’s head until the doors began to close… but instead of waiting, letting him share the car with us, she shoved him at the last second. He was too stunned to catch the door before it closed.
I chuckled, “This is absurd… Did you get any clues from him?”
She shook her head. “No. I don’t know what the hell is going on. His thoughts were just hateful… We… We were sitting on the deck, just… wait.”
“What did he smell like?”
I shrugged. “Pam.”
“You smelled him enough to know he smelled like Pam.”
“Because he should smell like me. He should smell like sunlight and Fae… He shouldn’t smell like just Pam.”
I would have noticed that difference.
“What was he wearing before?”
“T-shirt and jeans. It’s the day-off standard. I didn’t pay any attention to what color it was, but it’s not like he doesn’t have a handful of black T-shirts…”
“Are you seriously contending there is more than one Jason on the loose?”
She rolled her eyes and shook her head. “No. It’s crazy, but… unless he’s got some kind of multiple personality disorder… When he left the house, he was thinking about warning Pam, not confronting you. Now his thoughts are just nuts. No kidding, at the house, he thought about leaving Pam this morning. He still hadn’t caught his breath when she died. He napped on the boat… He just now thought about promising Pam they wouldn’t ‘go home’ until they fixed this.”
She shook her head. “I don’t know, but the weird part is they weren’t in their room upstairs. Their room is all pink. It’s like drowning in Pepto Bismol… I don’t know why, but they were in bed together in their old room, in the apartment on the third floor. It wasn’t ever stripped, but I can’t think of why they’d be there.”
What… the… fuck…
The elevator doors couldn’t possibly have opened soon enough.
Sookie hastily unlocked the door to Pam’s apartment and charged through the entrance, leading me directly to Pam’s room to stop at the door.
Jason was sitting on his knees in the middle of the bed, looming over Pam in a room so completely pink the wards on the apartment might not have been necessary.
He looked up and focused on his sister, “Hey Sook. Sorry I ran off like that, but… You think you can just chill out downstairs for a bit? I’ll come down in a few and…”
His posture, his tone… everything about the way he was speaking to her had changed in less than three minutes.
Sookie interrupted by shaking her head and arguing, “You just called me a selfish bitch, thought the world would be a better place if Eric killed me, and now you’re asking me to give you time? Fuck you. I want answers.”
“Killed you? I ain’t… Sook, I’m sorry for what I said, but I really need ya to back off, just this once. I just need a few minutes with Pam.”
She folded her arms and leaned against the door jamb. “Not budging.”
“Please Sook… I’m sorry. I need you…”
“Why the fuck would Pam have a shit-fit over Eric and me hooking up?”
He shrugged marginally. “She wants you and Alcide to hook up. Says y’all don’t have a real excuse not to-”
“STOP! Just now… You just thought Pam’s going to freak out because she didn’t want Eric to know. What the fuck, Jas!? Know what?”
He covered his face with his hands and rubbed as though he was trying to start a fire.
“Sook… get out of my head…”
“Fuck that. Reading your mind is the only thing keeping me from beating your ass for calling me a bitch.”
“Not that…” He shook his head and grumbled, “Get out of my head, this one… find the other Me. Find him and pull his ass up here.”
Sookie’s mouth fell open and she looked up at me, but I wasn’t any less shocked.
“To be clear, you want me to find your split personality for you?”
“No… Sook, there’s another me running around, stirring shit up. You’re prob’ly gonna find another Pam too… doubt she leapt back without him. It’s a long story and I’m not even gonna try to explain it without my Pam…” He looked at his watch and sighed, “We’ve got long enough to get rid of this smell… I’ma get a quick shower. You should too. This ain’t the time for Pam to be high.”
Before Sookie could argue, Jason moved quickly enough to surprise me. He’d clearly had more of Pam’s blood than a bond would have required.
He disappeared into what looked like a purple bathroom, and closed the door behind himself. He didn’t bother turning the light on… The water was started and then he started removing his clothing.
Sookie seemed frozen until I opened my mouth.
She raised her hand to stop me and shook her head as she breathed, “This is it. This was what she was afraid of. There’s no way he’s gonna let her keep me now. He’s gonna call her back. This is what I get for thinking everything would be fine. This is what I get for telling her this shit wouldn’t happen while he’s here. It ain’t fair. Of all the times for this to happen.”
“Of all the times for what to happen?”
She shook her head and backed into me before turning around and taking my hand to lead me to the other end of the hallway…
Past a large media room…
And a pair of spacious guest rooms…
Into a room that was just as large, but looked like a clothing boutique. The walls were lined with black cabinets with glass windows, holding thousands of garments, arranged by color… A long, wide counter ran the length of the room like an island in a kitchen. Drawers at the top meant for jewelry, shelves underneath lined with shoes.
It was no wonder why Pam loved Jason… he was obviously unable to control her.
Sookie snorted, “It’s more like he enables her.”
When I stopped suddenly, Sookie lurched back.
“What’s wrong? Other than the obvious?”
“You suggested Jason enables Pam.”
She shrugged. “Well yeah, I mean, you made it sound like she controls him. He’s not really a pet. She’s more like his if you want to get right down to it…” She yanked open one of the drawers to show a lavish array of black diamond jewelry, and another drawer full of pearls. “He spoils the hell out of her. At any given time, there’s a jeweler in the area making something for her. And he put up a huge fight about the apartment being too feminine, but once Pam ordered the stuff she wanted for their bedroom and the bathroom, he called the vendors and changed the colors to surprise her. Jas and Daddy built the closet too.”
Impressive, if not endearing, but… “I didn’t say anything. I only thought your brother can’t control her.”
She gasped, “No way! I heard you?”
She was genuinely surprised.
“That was the first time?”
She shrugged. “I think so… I mean, I could have sworn you said it aloud, so I guess it could have happened before and I just didn’t realize it.”
“You’ve been in the company of Vampires for several years and the first time you hear the thoughts of one just so happens to be while your brother supposedly has a doppelganger running amuck.”
Her eyes widened. “Fuck, Eric… Jason thought this is a Fae thing… How fucking crazy can things get with Faeries?”
“You don’t want to know, and I have a feeling I’m going to look back on tonight and remember being blissfully ignorant fondly… You didn’t seem to have a reaction to seeing your brother move so quickly. How long has he been able to do that?”
“Since a couple of months after they got together. It surprised all of us, but we assume it’s because he’s part Fae.”
“Or because he’s taking a substantial amount of blood from Pam. It’s possible he’s going mad… It’s possible that Pam’s outburst is related, or it could be separate. She mentioned that I’d become addicted to you.”
“Shit! She could be going mad and- No. If she was going batty, Jason wouldn’t be affected by that during the day while she’s dead… Fuck… Eric, they love each other so much and we could be looking for a way to break their bond, couldn’t we?”
I hoped not… not only would it mean I’d need to keep my distance from Sookie (and I wasn’t bored with her yet), but I detested the idea of denying Pam anything. She loved Jason enough to bond with him, to consider bringing him over…
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves… What did Jason mean when he said this wasn’t the time for Pam to be high? Is that related to the scent you warned me about or was he speaking in crazed fragments?”
She gnawed her lip while she considered her answer and finally huffed, “You’ll stay right there. Don’t move.”
“I’m not promising that.”
“Fine…” She pulled her shirt over her head and tossed it to me, walking away briskly and calling over her shoulder, “I’m getting in the shower.”
If it hadn’t been for how bizarre the night had been, and before sunset no less, I probably would have lifted Sookie’s shirt to my nose… but as it was, I was leery of everything.
I only sampled the air, not concentrating on her shirt… assuming the mysterious scent that had been mentioned was strong enough considering two people carried it…
But my hesitation didn’t last long.
The concentration of sunlight in her shirt was more intoxicating than I could have expected… her essence alone had been enough to make me willing to follow her as though I was on a leash.
I followed Sookie, pressing her shirt to my face like a breathing mask…
“How do you do this?”
She giggled and shook her head behind the glass door of the shower as she hurriedly shampooed her hair. “It just happens when we’re in the sun… Picture September in Las Vegas. I found out about Vampires a week before and still didn’t know about Faeries. I dozed off while sunbathing so I was running late, so I grabbed dinner at the casino while I listened to tables to find the best action. I got cornered in my booth by three Vampires who wanted to play.”
I want to play.
“You used silver to get away?”
“A Daemon was nearby and heard me asking them to leave me alone. Of course, he could smell it, but it wasn’t a thing for him. He helped me out.”
“That was very friendly of him.”
I was struggling to remain coherent, doing my best not to let on to how sedated and sated I was because of a ‘dirty’ T-shirt…
She answered, “I dated him for a couple of months. Learned a lot about Supes thanks to him, but he was pretty boring.”
“Unlike the pit fighter.”
“He was fun, but retarded. I swear, I have horrible luck…” She stretched her arm up to hold her hand over the glass partition and demanded, “Give it back.”
“You gave it to me.”
She giggled, “And I’m sure you’d win a game of ‘keep-away’, but you need to get your shit together. We have the Pam and Jason thing to deal with, remember?”
She was shaking her head when she stepped out of the shower, again, with her hand open and waiting for me to forfeit my prize. “Do you realize you look like Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet?”
She nodded and reached for the shirt. “That’s the problem. Give it here.”
She reached again. “How about you give it back and then I’ll give you another one tomorrow night.”
“No. I like this one.”
She grabbed a towel and wrapped it around herself and went to the linen closet…
She turned around with a clear plastic bag and held it open. “Save it for later then. Right now, you need to remember that you called me as soon as you rose because your child very cryptically admonished our activities, leading to a conversation where we learned that there is supposedly another Pam and Jason on the loose. C’mon, big guy, head in the game.”
“It will keep?”
She nodded and held the bag closer.
I growled as I dropped the shirt into the bag and while Sookie snapped the seal on the bag.
“There’s your pocket full of sunshine. You better now?”
I shook my head as I took it from her. “I miss it already.”
“It’s Vampire crack. It’s a thing for Weres too, but not as bad…”
“Fuck them. They get to smell sunshine.”
She nodded. “That’s our theory… We have to be careful to shower when we’ve been in the sun. Jason and Pam usually end up going nuts together when he smells like that. She gets high, he feels it, it spirals…”
I nodded. “Jealous.”
She giggled and slapped me. Hard enough to sting.
“What was that for!?” I didn’t realize until I was finished speaking, but I was whining.
“Sorry, but that never would have happened if you were with it. You would have caught my hand… You’re hard. Your fangs are down and we have doppelgangers to find.”
I only looked at the bag in my hand, but Sookie snatched it from me… She quickly braced her arm against my chest and held the shirt behind her to keep me from it.
“One shirt… One fucking shirt turns you into a pussy? Really?”
“I’m not being a pussy…” I grabbed her arm and pinned her against the wall, easily taking my prize. “I was enjoying myself and you…”
She mocked, “Took your candy away… boo hoo.”
“You need to watch yourself.”
“Why? Are you getting pissed?”
She smiled. “Thank God… Welcome back. I was tempted to lay out tomorrow just to see what you’d do to me. I was jealous of a damn shirt… Can we focus now?”
I shook my head. “Not now that I’m thinking of tying you to a bed, no.”
She took a deep breath and rolled her eyes. “Fuck you. Now I’m thinking…” She pushed against me and walked into the closet muttering to herself, “Focus. I need to focus…”
I followed and argued, “No. You need to get on your knees.”
She balked, but continued on her path towards a case of drawers to begin rifling for underthings. She mumbled, “Fuck me… never should have given him the shirt… now it’s all he’ll think about… fucking hell… we’ve got shit to do… settle down… deep breaths, Sookie. Deep breaths…”
I walked up behind her, taking her hips, pulling her against me…
She put her hands over mine and whimpered, “Stop.”
“You don’t sound very convincing.”
“Because you’re head over heels in fuck with me.”
She nodded. “Asshole… it’s hard enough to-”
“It’s as hard as it’s ever been.”
She growled, “Your child and my brother are more important than getting laid right now. We need to figure out what the fuck is going on.”
“And then you’ll fix the problem you created.”
She moved her hips from side to side, rubbing against my cock, pushing me dangerously close to ignoring everything else… for hours.
She leaned over to step into her panties without answering me, pulling them up under her towel… and did the same with a pair of jeans…
She remained silent as she tossed her towel to the side to pull another shirt over her head…
Sookie’s silence was annoying as a minimum.
She finally turned around and explained, “There are imposters in this building trying to convince you that you shouldn’t fuck me.”
“They aren’t here now.”
“No. They’re on the third floor.”
“You found them?”
“Yeah… and Evil Jason is very seriously considering paying someone to have me kidnapped just to keep us from fucking.”
I shook my head. “That doesn’t make any sense. If the world were going to end because we fucked, it most certainly would have happened last night.”
When I leaned towards her, she pulled back. “Stop… we need to get to the bottom of this.”
“You didn’t answer me before… We’ll deal with the imposters and then…”
“Then we’ll try to end the world.”