Oh man. You all are gonna be so upset with me for how this chapter ends, but I promise you it was necessary. It’s gonna turn into something beautiful next chapter, so stick with me on this and don’t sharpen your stakes yet!
FYI, I bring up my sponsorship of the blood idea in this chap which allows a vampire to replace another as a maker. A while ago, I got a PM from skarsnix asking me permission to borrow that idea and I’m cool with it. If you come across it in skarsnix’s story, no need to tell me because I already know.
Okay, I’ve just gotta say this- a lot of my readers are a little panicked and worried I won’t finish this story. I promise you I will. I hate it when I come across a story that gets me hooked and the writer just disappears, I won’t do that to you! I might not be able to publish everyday like I did in the past, but I will finish this. In fact, I’m even thinking seriously about a sequel.
Eric leans down and his lips graze your ear as he whispers, “Trust her, lover. She’ll finish it.”
Last but not least! Voting is now open for the New Blood Awards. Stop by and vote at youwantbloodawards. wordpress. com (without the spaces). I’ve been nominated for four awards and it is the first fanfic contest I’ve ever been nominated for, so if you like my story, vote for it! Voting is open until June 20th.
Disclaimer: True Blood and SVM are owned by Charlaine Harris, Alan Ball, and HBO. I own nothing. I just borrowed their art supplies and painted my own picture with them. So what if it’s of a certain sexy Viking in the moonlight?
When Sookie came back down, a nervous Jessica trailed behind her. Jessica bit her lip and looked about the dark basement before her eyes landed on Bill. Sensing her hesitation, Sookie waited for her a couple steps below her and slipped her hand in Jessica’s before walking the rest of the way down.
There wasn’t much we could do about Bill’s appearance, but we did manage to clean the blood up and removed his tattered shirt completely so Jessica wouldn’t see just how thoroughly her grandsire tore apart her maker’s chest. We placed a cloth over the torture tools to hide it from view and hoped to hell that would be enough.
Sookie noticed what we had done and caressed us with her blood for our efforts, which put us on the receiving end of an odd look from Bill and giggles from Jessica at the sound of our purrs. When they walked by us, Godric and I both put a hand on Jessica and gave her a gentle squeeze. She smiled warmly in thanks for the encouragement, but the smile quickly fell when Sookie brought her up to Bill.
I’d have to see about sharing some blood with Jessica. I really wanted to push strength and support at her in that moment. Sookie must’ve caught the direction of my thoughts because she looked back at me and sent me a kiss on the cheek through the tie and flushed me with gratitude. The ends of my lips kicked up when I felt it.
“Bill?” Jess tentatively asked.
Bill’s eyes shifted from person to person around the basement. Apparently, he thought he would have a moment alone with Jessica.
Not a chance in hell, Billy boy.
“Jessica, there is no time,” Bill began dramatically. Honestly, he really was a drama queen. Jess shot a nervous glance at Sookie. “Look at me,” he pleaded and her eyes lifted to his face, “as your maker, I release you.”
Sookie, Godric, and I all dropped fang. Every emotion in Sookie’s blood except fury and protectiveness suddenly tightened and faded away. I hadn’t even realized until that moment that her emotions hadn’t disappeared earlier. She hadn’t been predatory until Bill cut his ties with Jessica.
After Sookie had a chat with Bill earlier in the day, both sides of her nature must’ve completely dismissed him as a threat. Both the fairy and the vampire in her realized he no longer had a hold over her, that he couldn’t hurt her, so she hadn’t needed to become predatory. And that still held true, Bill didn’t have a hold on her anymore and nothing he said could hurt her, but he could hurt Jessica. Sookie wanted Jessica to be kin. She wanted to protect her, teach her, and take care of her. Ultimately, she wanted to be Jessica’s maker, and she wanted that at her most instinctive level. I didn’t know how the talk Godric had with Sookie about Jessica went, but I knew without a doubt that, somehow, Sookie would make sure Jessica was always protected and taken care of.
And Bill Compton had just hurt her potential progeny.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Jessica asked, bewildered. I could feel in my blood how very badly Sookie wanted to attack Bill in that moment, but the fairy side of her rose up and forced concern to override any other emotion and impulse she had.
“It means our ties are bro-“
“Jess,” Sookie cut in, speaking softly. Jessica proved who truly had her allegiance at that moment. She turned to Sookie without giving Bill a backward glance and looked at her questioningly. “Bill just cut his ties with you. It means you no longer have to obey his commands. It also means you won’t be able to feel him in the bond anymore. It’s still there, it’ll be there until one of you meets the true death, but it’s broken. Focus on your bond with Bill. You should be able to feel his life force and nothin’ more.”
Jessica closed her eyes and felt out her blood. We could all see it on her face when she came across the ragged and broken edges of their bond. Her features contorted in pain and a blood tear leaked down her cheek. Sookie scooped it up and popped it in her mouth before saying, “I know it hurts now, but the pain will lessen in time. If you join our bloodline, the torn pieces will fade away and it’ll stop hurtin’ that much sooner.”
For vampires who actually had good makers, the breaking of the bond was not a relief. It was the most severe and hurtful punishment a maker could inflict on a child. Jessica hadn’t had a good maker, but she hadn’t hated Bill either so what Bill had just done wounded her.
A broken sob escaped Jessica and Sookie wrapped her arms around her.
“There’s somethin’ wrong with you, Bill Compton. You didn’t need to do that. We just told you Jess was thinkin’ about joinin’ our bloodline. Your bond would’ve faded away painlessly during the ceremony. You didn’t need to hurt her,” Sookie said harshly in that calm tone of hers. Bill looked away from them, wincing at the sound of Jessica’s sobs.
What Sookie said was true. There was no reason for Bill to release Jessica and every single one of us felt our protective instincts rise to the fore when he did. We already thought of Jessica as part of our bloodline and it was not easy watching Bill treat her like that.
“Why, Bill?” Jessica asked, “Why release me?”
Bill was hanging on to his own sanity by a thread. He’d been through too much in too short a time to think completely rationally, so it didn’t surprise me when he snapped and raised his voice at her, “I can’t take care of you!” He immediately brought it down a level when Sookie growled warningly at him. “I can’t protect you!” His voice cracked a little when he added, “I’m no good for you!”
I seriously doubted Bill Compton was truly good for anybody.
“Take care of me?!” Jessica asked incredulously. “When have you ever truly taken care of me? You pawned me off on Eric and Pam right after I rose! You didn’t even teach me how to feed. I drained someone, Bill!” Bill flinched and brought his eyes back to hers to give her a mournful look. I felt Sookie push her calm and strength and once again I wished I could emotionally support her too. “I was hungry and I was sad and it was an accident but I didn’t know how to control myself because you never taught me! Why didn’t you teach me, Bill?”
When he didn’t answer her and just dropped his eyes to the floor, she turned to Sookie and said in a broken voice, “I don’t want to be alone anymore.”
Her eyes blurred with tears and she whimpered. I felt a pang in my chest at the sight and wasn’t surprised when I felt Godric’s own yearning to comfort her through our bond as well. Somehow, the little redhead had come to mean something to all of us in just a couple of nights. Like Sookie promised, we would take care of her. She’d never have to be alone again.
“Then you won’t be,” Sookie said in a hushed tone. She lifted her hands to cup her face and wiped away the tears that spilled out. I had an idea of where Sookie was going with this and quickly tugged on our tie twice, then replayed a recent memory of a conversation I had with Pam last night. I talked to her about the possibility of Sookie taking over as sponsor and maker for Jessica and Pam supported it. Sookie pushed me thankfulness while keeping her focus on Jessica. “I’ve talked to Godric, Jess, and he will let me be your maker, should you accept me. I would like nothin’ more than for you to become my progeny.”
Bill hissed while Jessica’s shoulders dropped, like a ton of bricks had slid right off her with that statement. She wrapped her arms around Sookie, who immediately returned the embrace, and cried into her shoulder. Finally, she nodded and Sookie’s blood began to radiate joy and possessiveness. Godric and I showered her in pride.
Bill let out a ferocious growl with Jessica’s agreement and Godric laughed disbelievingly. I leaned up against one of the cement pillars in the basement and shook my head at him, “You don’t get a say anymore, Bill. You renounced all ties and responsibility for Jessica when you released her. She is free to make her own decisions. If she wishes to join our bloodline, we are more than happy to have her. Your loss.”
His eyes flitted from person to person again and landed back on Jessica in panic. Bill obviously hadn’t thought through releasing Jessica and desperately didn’t want her joining my bloodline, especially as Sookie’s progeny. It was obvious he felt like Sookie was taking something from him, even though he had just discarded Jessica. He didn’t want her, but he didn’t want Sookie to have her.
“Jessica, no,” he pleaded. “You don’t want to do that, sweetheart. Don’t put yourself under her control-“
“Have you said everythin’ you needed to, Jess?” Sookie interrupted, talking right over him. She wasn’t about to let Bill manipulate or hurt her anymore. Jessica pulled back and glanced at Bill before turning to Sookie with a nod. A strangled noise escaped Bill’s throat at the sight.
“Goodbye, Bill,” Jessica whispered and let Sookie lead her out of the basement. The sound of music poured in for a second when they opened the door, informing us all that the club had opened. I watched the two of them walk up the stairs and out the door with a satisfied smile.
A blade then whizzed past me and Bill let out a blood curdling scream. I looked at him and couldn’t keep myself from laughing when I realized Godric had thrown a silver knife right at his dick. Godric chuckled and remarked, “Bulls-eye.”
I cleared my throat unnecessarily, “Uh, Godric? Sookie said when we play vampire darts the goal was not to actually hit him.”
“Oh,” he replied and his face fell, “but where’s the fun in that?”
I shepherded Jessica straight into the bathroom once we were out of the basement. Luckily, the club was just beginning to fill up, so nobody was inside it. I locked the door, wet a couple paper towels with water from the sink, and turned to Jessica to clean the remaining blood from her face.
“I want to do the ceremony, Sookie. I want to be your progeny as soon as possible,” Jessica whispered while I wiped her cheeks.
“You don’t wanna wait and see how I do as your sponsor first, Jess?” I asked. Honestly, I was a hundred percent confident in my decision to become her maker, but I didn’t want her to rush into anything just because Bill released her. She felt my concern and grabbed my hand to still it, silently asking me to concentrate on her and not on cleaning her up.
“This isn’t because of Bill, Sookie. I,” she paused to swallow, “I feel like you’re meant to be my maker. I’ve felt a connection to you since the night I met you. It felt even stronger the night I found out you were vampire and I feel pulled to you somehow. I want to deepen our connection and I want to do it soon,” she said and pushed me confidence, letting me know how strongly she felt about her decision.
I nodded, realizing she was likely feeling the effects of the pull Godric had taught me about. It wasn’t a magnetic thing since we were both vampires, but it was just as compelling. I started cleaning up her face again, shrugged, and said, “Well, then we’ll do it tomorrow night. Before dawn. That sound good to you?” She gave me a brilliant smile that I returned and nodded while pushing me gratefulness, relief, and happiness. “Tomorrow, bring your stuff with you to the club. You’ll be movin’ into the farmhouse with me and Godric, okay?”
Jessica would be living with me from tomorrow on. I knew Pam had taught her to feed, but Jessica was still extremely young and had a lot to learn before she would be okay living on her own. Bill hadn’t taught her anything about bonds and the blood, so it was likely he hadn’t taught her about vampire gifts, tested her strengths, or told her anything about our laws and vampire etiquette either. I was still learning to fight and we hadn’t tested me for all my gifts, but I knew more than Jessica did and I had an idea of where to start with her training. I wanted to keep her as close as possible while she learned and I wanted her to feel like she had a strong foundation to build on. Living with me would be the first step towards feeling that support.
“Okay, Sookie. How do we do it?” she asked.
“Well, I’m gonna have to drain you, just like Bill did,” I began, pushing her calm when she began to feel anxious. I wasn’t surprised with her reaction, her turning had been very violent. “Godric will bury us and we’ll spend one day in the ground. You’re already vampire, so it’ll take less time for the blood to work its magic. When we rise, I’ll cut our palms and we’ll complete the transition and seal the connection with a blood oath.”
“You’ll be buried with me?”
I nodded and explained, “Yes. Being buried with your progeny helps strengthen the bond. We should have a pretty strong bond since we already shared blood.”
I took the bloodied napkins into a bathroom stall and quickly flushed them, hoping to avoid anybody getting their hands on Jessica’s blood.
“Have you talked to Pam about this, Sookie?” Jess asked as I walked back out.
I shook my head, “No, but Eric did. He saw the possibility of me becomin’ your maker before I did. I thought I was too young, but Godric and I talked ’bout it and I realized that my age, or yours, doesn’t matter, not really. At my most instinctive, I offered to teach you, protect you, and take care of you, all of which a maker does for her progeny.” I pushed a silky tendril of hair behind her ear as I said this.
“What’s going to happen to Bill, Sookie?” she asked quietly. I could tell from her thoughts she was torn about Bill. Part of her was angry with him, both for his treatment of her and for what he had done to me, but another, smaller part still yearned to be accepted by him and she didn’t want him to die.
“I don’t know, Jess. It’s up to the Magister and the Authority,” I answered her truthfully. When she winced, I added, “Bill has some connections, so I can’t say for sure what will happen to him, but you need to be prepared for the worst. Sellin’ the blood is one of the worst crimes he could’ve committed.”
Trepidation swelled within the tie and I flooded her with strength. It’d be interesting to see how she felt about him once it was my blood flowing through her veins and not Bill’s. He’d broken the bond, but his blood still influenced her simply because it was his.
“The Magister is stoppin’ by sometime tonight,” I warned her. “Do you have plans? It might be good for you to take a night for yourself.”
“Actually, I was hoping I could go to Bon Temps and see Hoyt,” she said while blushing in the blood and looking down at her hands. “I haven’t really seen him since everything happened and I moved out of Bill’s. I just need to talk to him, you know?”
I pushed her understanding and she gave me a small smile. I didn’t tell her not to speak about draining the trucker with him. After a quick search through her memories, I knew Eric had finally spoken with her about it and explained to her that normally she would be looking at punishment for killing someone, but since Bill hadn’t taught her to feed, this time she wouldn’t be. He warned her against telling anyone about it though. If the public found out, it would take a lot of work to cover it up again and Eric would have no choice but to punish her for it.
I did wonder how everything with Hoyt would pan out. Now that she was being trained, she was working on her control and learning to temper her urges with donor blood, so I kept my fingers crossed and hoped things would get better between them. From what I picked up from her memories, Bill sent Jessica home with Hoyt after I died and went straight to New Orleans. Mrs. Fortenberry, Hoyt’s mother, had been under the influence of the maenad when they got to Bon Temps and Jess lost control and bit her. Jessica called Bill afterwards and Bill had her join him at the queen’s compound. She hadn’t spoken much to Hoyt in the last two weeks, but it was still weighing heavily on her mind.
“Go. Have fun. I’ll let Pam know where you went and tell her what you decided about the sponsorship. Be back at the cabin before dawn and call me if you need anything. You know your way back to Pam and Eric’s?”
She nodded and I sensed excitement from her with my blood, “Yeah. Pam’s letting me use one of their cars tonight. I told her I might head to Bon Temps.”
Someone knocked on the door then and we headed back out to the bar. With a final wave, she walked off towards the exit and I headed back to the office, where I could feel Pam. I figured she was probably working on making copies of the evidence I gathered from Russell’s and sorting through it all.
I knocked on the door and tugged on my tie with Pam for permission to enter. She quickly tugged back, so I slipped in and shut the door behind me. Pam was sitting behind Eric’s desk in a black, dominatrix dress and Chanel boots with heels that stopped at her thighs. A laptop was set up in front of her and the USB drives and cloner I used were spread out next to it.
“Auntie,” Pam quipped in greeting. She pulled her eyes up from the computer in front of her and added, “I didn’t realize you became a secret agent when waitressing didn’t work out for you.”
“It’s a gift,” I deadpanned.
“Ah, the joys of rising early,” she joked while I settled myself in one of the chairs in front of Eric’s desk.
“Jessica just left. She’s going to Bon Temps. Eric talked to you about me becomin’ her maker, right?” I asked.
“He did and, surprisingly, I agree with him. I see a connection there and I don’t have that with our little firefly. You’re telling me this because you talked to her about it?” she guessed.
I nodded, “She wants to do it. I think we’ll complete the ceremony tomorrow before dawn, so she’ll be movin’ in with me and Godric after tonight.”
“And then there were two,” she sighed, thinking about how empty the cabin would feel again without all of us in it. I hadn’t realized how much Pam had really enjoyed having us all there. She gathered herself mentally and ran her eyes over my outfit. “I have to admit, Sookie. I love that outfit. I’m starting to think being turned transformed your fashion sense too.”
I laughed and admitted, “Actually, my wardrobe’s pretty limited. I was expectin’ to have more once I came home, but since the maenad hosted an orgy there… Well, I need to go shoppin’ and I finally have the money to buy things not sold at Walmart. I was wonderin’ if you’d like to go with me one night?”
Surprise ignited in her veins quickly followed by excitement and we made plans to hit up some boutiques after everything with Russell and the Authority was taken care of. Pam pulled out Eric’s laptop while we talked and set it up for me so I could help her go through everything and make copies of what was important in order to cut her workload in half. We finished with it all after a half hour and just shot the breeze and talked about the last three days for the next hour. I asked if Alcide got a copy of the videos of the blood pack and she told me they left a copy out on the bar for him. It was gone by the time Godric and I rose, so he must’ve seen it. Talking about it reminded me I needed to speak with Sam and Lafayette about Alcide’s plan to keep an eye out for trouble. I also sent Jason a text while we caught up letting him know I’d gotten back safely and was currently in Shreveport. I even got back a night earlier than I told Tara I would.
The door opened while we were talking and Godric and Eric joined us, both looking freshly showered. That confused me a little since I was told there were no showers at Fangtasia when Longshadow exploded all over me. Out of curiosity, I asked, “Where’d you clean up at? I thought you said there were no showers here. I had to wear Longshadow’s remains home.”
Godric cocked an eyebrow at Eric, who was studiously avoiding my gaze. I then turned to look at Pam just to find her staring at her laptop, also refusing to look at me. On top of that, I felt the Oh shit! moment in their blood.
“You didn’t…” I trailed off when I realized, yes, they did. They made me walk around covered in blood for their own amusement.
Eric’s lips twitched, Godric laughed, and Pam tried to explain, “You just looked so good, Sookie. And you smelled delicious.”
I used my blood to smack them both on the back of the head. Eric ducked, again, and Pam rubbed hers with a pout, “I see what you mean, Eric. It does sting when she does that.”
“It’s supposed to,” I mumbled. “It’s called negative reinforcement.” That was the last straw for Eric and he burst out in laughter.
Godric sat himself down in the chair next to mine while the laughter died off and gave me a warm smile. Pam stood up to give Eric his desk back and leaned up against the wall by the door.
“I put a call into the Magister,” Eric began as he sat down, “and he’ll be stopping by to retrieve Compton within the hour.”
“And he’ll make us close the club again. Do you realize how much we’ve lost this week?” Pam asked with a hand on her hip.
Exasperation flared in her blood when Eric just dismissed it with a wave. His eyebrows shot up when he felt it and he turned to her and said, “We’re also meeting with Russell Edgington this week, Pam, so don’t be surprised if we lose even more.”
The name of the 3,000 year old monarch quickly helped Pam reprioritize and she bowed her head.
“When would you like that meeting to be, min son?” Godric asked. We were instructed by Russell to make it soon. It seemed he had a timeline when it came to conquering us all.
“We need permission from the Authority first,” I reminded them. “How soon do you think the Magister could get us in contact with the Authority?”
Godric and Eric exchanged a calculating glance before Godric replied, “I would think they’d respond quickly. They’ll wish to speak with us tomorrow night, no later.”
And it didn’t hurt that Nora was one of the chancellors.
Eric sat back, stroked his lower lip while he thought, and finally said, “Tell him two nights from now. If the Authority wants us to push it back a night, we’ll tell him I was summoned to New Orleans at the last minute. Since Pam’s so worried about profits,” Pam rolled her eyes, “ask him to come after we close. Let him know the staff leaves around 2:30 a.m., so he should come around 3:00 if he wants complete privacy.”
That would work. Russell would think Eric was keeping to his normal business hours in order to avoid unnecessary attention. The late hour would mean Russell would have to go to ground somewhere in Louisiana, so Talbot and his wolves wouldn’t expect him to return until the next night. Godric glanced at me to make sure I agreed, I did tend to think of things that just didn’t occur to either of them, and I gave him a nod.
“Fangtasia’s closed tomorrow night. We typically have a meeting with the area vampires on Mondays,” Eric explained for our benefit. He then turned to Pam and asked, “Is there anything important or can we put it off until next Monday?”
She whipped her phone out at vamp speed and hummed as she checked her schedule, “Nothing important. I think they’re all very aware the Magister is in town, so they’ve been on their best behavior.”
“That’s a first,” Eric muttered. His lips twitched when all three of us flooded him with mirth. “Was there anything in the evidence Sookie gathered that we didn’t expect, Pam?”
She cocked an eyebrow as she put her phone away and said, “Well, we did find his plans to conquer every vampire kingdom in order to establish his own Authority and his connections to the Sanguinista movement, but there really weren’t too many names there that would surprise you. Sookie and I made copies and they’re already in the safe.”
Godric and I hadn’t told him yet what we discovered when I dug through Russell’s thoughts, so this was news to him. Surprise skipped through his veins and he threw me a questioning look. I nodded, confirming for him that I picked it up from Russell himself. His eyebrows rose and he said, “I’m sure the Authority will just love that.”
“I wouldn’t give the Magister the evidence on the Sanguinistas, I’d hold onto it until you speak with the Authority,” I advised. When they shot me looks of confusion, I explained, “There may be Sanguinistas workin’ within the Authority who could destroy the evidence before we meet with them and warn the other Sanguinista contacts.”
That would be bad. Very, very bad. Godric and I moved to the area to hopefully avoid becoming targets. It would really suck to have completed the Magister’s test just to become the main target of every Sanguinista in the country.
I seriously hoped to avoid that.
All three of them pushed me pride. While I purred, Eric shook his head and remarked, “Always thinking outside the box, Sookie. All right, we’ll hold off on mentioning the Sanguinistas until tomorrow night.” He looked between the three of us when he then asked, “Anything else we need to talk about?”
Did we just have a family meeting?
“Sookie and I need to speak with you about something, Eric,” Godric stated. Pam pouted, but left to go check IDs at the door anyway when Eric gave her a stern look. After the door closed behind her, Godric explained, “Sookie and I have been discussing telling Pamela everything. Her instincts say to trust her.” Eric cocked an eyebrow at me. When I pushed him confidence, he broke out in a grin. “I think you should explain it to her since you can gauge her reaction better. I’d feel more at ease if you would command her not to tell anyone just in case.”
Eric nodded, “It’d be best if I told her in private.”
Godric looked at me and asked, “Have you fed?”
By myself? No. Seriously?
My blood obviously answered for me because Godric chuckled and turned back to Eric, “I’ll take Sookie hunting while you tell Pam.”
“But,” Eric immediately protested and pointed out, “the basement’s occupied.” We could feel how much he wanted to be there when I fed and I had to shield my amusement from him.
Godric narrowed our bond, threw up a blood shield, and pushed me mischief wrapped in mirth while he replied to Eric with a comically innocent expression on his face, “So it is. I guess we’ll just have to dine out. She could always use more experience tracking.”
Eric liked that idea even less, which just heightened Godric’s amusement. He hadn’t seen me track yet and wanted to hunt with me. I blanketed our tie in reassurance, because Eric could honestly hunt with me any night, and he relaxed. He muttered something about interfering makers that had the glee in Godric’s blood shooting up like a geyser before reluctantly asking, “Can you send Pam back on your way out?”
I caressed him with my blood as we filed out the door, giggling at the sound of his purr. We vamped over to the entrance, sending cheers through the crowd, and told Pam Eric needed to see her. As we walked away from the bar, Godric turned to me and gave me instructions, “I want you to find women for us to feed on tonight. You were able to stop yourself in Jackson because your feed was male and touched you. Let’s see if you can pull back by yourself when you feed on a female.”
I nodded and we disappeared into the night, cloaking ourselves in the shadows as we took to the streets of the city.
We returned to Fangtasia a half hour later, both of us looking rosy from feeding. I had no problems pulling back from my feed, much to my relief and Godric’s pleasure. As we approached the door, Godric told me he was going to make a call in Eric’s office, to Russell I assumed, and took off at vamp speed. After he vanished, Pam appeared before me faster than I could blink and dragged me off into the shadows of the parking lot.
“Pam? What’re y-“
“Shut it, princess,” she hissed.
I kept my lips zipped while she pulled me into the far corner of the parking lot, worried my instincts about her had been wrong. While Godric and I were hunting, I’d kept a mental eye on our tie and felt her emotions as Eric let her in on my secret. She went through shock several times, then felt jealousy, irritation, understanding, and finally ended with feeling affection. I had assumed everything had turned out okay, but you know what they say about assuming.
Before I decided to officially declare myself an ass, I figured I should try searching her blood for answers first. I spread my blood out along our connection and dug into her as she ushered me away. Unfortunately, Pam was keeping her emotions shielded and I hadn’t yet figured out how to break through them like Godric could.
Well, the blood shields, anyway. He couldn’t get past my mental shields.
Just as we came to a stop, my annoyance and worry hit a new peak and I shot light through our tie in agitation. It burned right through her shield and she jumped and spun around to give me a look of disbelief. I ignored the incredulity pulsing through her veins and sent my blood out to analyze how she felt about my spark. Surprisingly, she wasn’t pissed. I could feel she had been at first, but then she must’ve realized that I was trusting her with my life by letting Eric tell her anything and though she was still feeling a little jealous, it was mainly just an irritation now and she was actually feeling extremely affectionate and tender towards me.
I scrunched up my face in incomprehension and pushed her my confusion. Pam had her hands on her hips with an eyebrow raised at me and when she felt the emotion I pushed her, she doubled over laughing.
Which just left me even more bewildered.
She gasped in a breath she didn’t need and pointed at me as she laughed out, “Your face!” She inhaled again and calmed down a bit to say, “Oh that was just too good.” I sent her a push that told her she’d look incredible bedazzled in silver and growled while flushing her with exasperation when she just answered me with mirth. When Pam finally settled down, she grabbed my shoulders and pushed me gratitude while explaining, “I just wanted to say thank you, Sookie. Thank you for trusting me.”
Well, okay then.
Even though she had just tried to make me the first vampire to ever have a heart attack, I gave her a brilliant smile and answered her with the same push she sent me the night we shared blood, family. Pam smiled back and understanding rose in the tie. She then looped an arm through mine and led me back out of the parking lot. I stroked her into purring as we walked, earning her weird looks and giggles from the people in line. Not one to like being seen as anything other than badass, she quickly patched up the blow to her rep by dropping fang and snarling at them all. They took an instinctive step back and I laughed.
It was amazing what I found funny now. Her snarling used to annoy the shit out of me when I was human.
With a final nod, Pam resumed her position at the door and I slipped inside. The bar was now fully packed and the scent of sweat and rushing blood was intoxicating. I watched the crowd bump and sway for a moment, reveling in the scents before I started scanning the club for Eric. The floor vibrated beneath my feet with the beat of the bass and the lights had been turned down low, giving the whole place a darker, more predatory feel. It was easy to believe that vampires were watching from the shadows and that more sinister vibe thrilled the humans in the crowd, spiking the anxiety in their blood and making everything that much sweeter.
I caught sight of Eric at the same time he caught sight of me. He wasn’t sitting on his throne or at his reserved booth, but standing near the edge of the room talking to a vampire like he’d been caught in between his office and the dais on the way back out. He smiled at me and tugged on our tie, beckoning me closer. I started lazily weaving my way through the mass of gyrating hips and pressed bodies, keeping eye contact with him as I moved.
At least until I saw the model-like dancer on the stripper pole gracefully jump down from her stage and make her way towards him from the corner of my eye.
She was gorgeous. Her skin was a beautiful bronze, her legs went on for days, and her hair was sun-kissed. I could almost smell the sunlight clinging to her skin from across the room. I realized instantly she had thought Eric was smiling at her and found myself amused, for a moment. All it took was one very vivid image from her mind of Eric banging her brains out in the basement to suck all the entertainment out of the misunderstanding.
I really shouldn’t have looked any deeper, but I couldn’t help myself. Call it residual insecurity from my human days.
I was not happy with what I learned. Her name was Yvetta and she was not the typical fuck and feed. She was a repeat. I didn’t know Eric was even capable of staying interested in one woman long enough to spend multiple days enjoying her. For some reason, I had assumed he was a one and done type of vampire. With me being his exception.
I guess that made me an ass after all.
I’d have to get it tattooed on my face right beneath the one that read idiot.
What really disturbed me though wasn’t the fact that Eric had slept with and fed from her. Unfortunately, Eric had probably done that with over half the women currently in the bar. No, what disturbed me was how often he had enjoyed her and the fact that I couldn’t find an end to their ongoing tryst anywhere in her memories. I couldn’t tell exactly when he had last sampled this particular flavor of tramp, but it had been recent.
Recent as in the last few days.
I slapped a mental shield over the jealousy and hurt rising in my blood but made no effort to hide the possessiveness and fury that rose with it. Eric’s brows furrowed when he sensed my mood, but I couldn’t say I was surprised to feel his blood cry out, “Oh shit!” when Yvetta stepped into his line of sight.
Maybe we’d get matching tattoos.
I would pay the artist extra to add hole onto his.
The thing was, I might’ve been experiencing residual insecurity from my human days, but I wasn’t human anymore. The vampire in me, the predator, wouldn’t allow me to walk away from someone about to encroach on my territory. Eric had agreed to my claim, he was mine. The fairy in me was even worse and I had to physically force myself to keep reabsorbing my light so I didn’t light her ass up in middle of the club.
Thankfully, I already had a unique glow, so nobody supernatural would notice anything unusual and the club was too dark at the moment for the average human to notice.
I moved faster than most vampires in the state when I planted myself at Eric’s side, surprising not only the vampire talking to him, but every vampire in the bar. Eric immediately wrapped an arm around my waist and tucked me into his side. I could feel his unease through the tie, but I didn’t reassure him. I didn’t even look up at him. Instead, I kept my eyes trained on Yvetta, becoming more predatory with every step she took. She hesitated when Eric pulled me in close to him, yet quickly regained her confidence with a flick of her hair and pushed forward anyway.
When she came within touching distance, intending to sidle up next to my Viking, I didn’t even think about what I was doing and started glamouring her on reflex.
I eased into her mind like she was a well-worn glove and seductively said, “Stop.” Incredulity, lust, and amusement briefly surpassed Eric’s unease. His anxiety made a swift return when I took a small step forward, coming toe to toe with her, and warned her with a voice that dripped sex, “He is not yours, Yvetta.” Completely under my control, she nodded slowly, though her mind spun with confusion.
“Sookie-” Eric started but I quickly cut him off, keeping Yvetta under my control as I spoke.
“She’s a gold digger, Eric. She floats from area to area searchin’ for powerful vampires in hopes one will claim her and then plans to drain said vampire dry,” I giggled at the pun, “Figuratively speaking. I met her once when I was human and read her mind,” I lied, but Eric understood. He knew I scooped it from her mind just a second ago. “I hadn’t realized she’d moved into this area.” When I felt acceptance join the storm of other emotions brewing in the tie, I finished my glamour, “Yvetta, you’ve realized it’s too risky tryin’ to manipulate vampires and are gonna stop with your get rich scheme. Any vampires you were targetin’ before, you’ll stay far away from startin’ now.”
Which meant Eric, obviously.
“Of course,” she agreed with a vacant expression on her face. Her voice was musical but heavily accented. I blanketed the club with my mind and zeroed in on Pam’s thoughts, since she at least thought in English, and learned Yvetta was Estonian.
I also learned that apparently she and Eric didn’t mind sharing occasionally.
I’d never wished someone could glamour a memory away from me before that moment.
Slowly, I reeled my influence back in and raised my shields. Yvetta’s eyes became more focused and her features more animated as she regained control. She looked around in confusion for a moment before apologizing to Eric for taking a break without permission and returned to her stripper pole. I cast my own eyes around the room and realized I’d once again drawn the attention of every vampire in the club. Apparently, staking a claim on their sheriff and protecting his financial assets, and those of every other vampire in the area, earned me a modicum of respect and they each gave me a nod when my eyes met theirs. I nodded in return.
When I finally returned my attention to Eric, it was only to realize our maker had joined us. Confusingly, he pushed me both mirth and concern. I sent him an emotional eye-roll and he got the message. I was not going to talk about this with him, either of them, and Godric understood me perfectly.
Eric, on the other hand, opened his mouth to either tease me about my possessive behavior or ask me why I was still pissed. He never got a chance to put his Swedish thought into English words though because the Magister’s guards were surrounding the building at that precise moment. I tugged on Godric and Eric twice in warning before doing my push and pull, yin and yang thing and connected my mind to Eric’s, Godric’s, and Pam’s. I startled poor Pam by including her without warning, but she quickly caught on when I thought at them, The Magister is here.
I was never more grateful in my life to be trapped by vampires. I definitely wasn’t prepared to talk about what just happened and wasn’t even sure where Eric and I stood after everything I had just discovered. If ever I needed a moment to think, this was it.