October 16, 2003
Potts stood outside Sookie’s door for a few moments debating about whether to go in and comfort her. She had heard her crying for about 30 minutes now, and knowing how long Sookie had been up, she was sure she was exhausted, but she also knew she needed to take the time to process all the changes.
The details of how Sookie had come to live here, she didn’t know yet. Eric sometimes talked to her, sometimes not. Right now, he seemed both extremely grumpy and unwilling to share so her preservation instincts kicked in and she didn’t push for information. Several new emails arrived for her overnight, so she caught up while she waited another few minutes to decide what to do about Sookie. By the time she read her emails and made her to do list, the crying had stopped, so she quietly left the hallway to start her day.
She moved to the laundry room. She had heard the arguing over the laundry service (thank gods as a part Daemon she didn’t need that much sleep). Surely Sookie wouldn’t be upset if she did a few loads. She laughed at the stack of clothing from Wal-Mart and tried to imagine Pam shopping with a cart walking through the store. After her workout and breakfast she moved around another load of laundry, knowing Sookie had nothing but the clothes on her back when she arrived; she wanted to have it done for her when she woke.
Since the rest of her to-do list would be dealt with later when Bobby arrived from his errands, she went to the study to start her homework from her night class. The time passed quickly between her school work and finishing the laundry and soon Bobby was ringing the door bell then kicking the door forcefully since it was taking a moment for Potts to make it there. She checked the time, 3PM, he was supposed to have been here and gone hours ago, now she was concerned that he was going to wake Sookie with all that pounding. Furious at his noise making, she whipped open the door and shushed him to be quiet.
“Don’t shush me, it’s not like they can hear me, they’re dead for the day.”
“You idiot, you know Eric has a houseguest, a human houseguest and she’s still sleeping.”
“Are you going to help me with these bags and boxes or not?”
“Not. You can just put them on the kitchen table.”
He piled some grocery bags and boxes from ‘The Shreveport Sweetshoppe’ and turned to go back out. “I have a load of books next, can you wait by the door to open it, so I don’t need to make any noise and wake the princess?”
“You will not make more noise. Have some respect.”
“Not my problem if she sleeps the day away. Must be nice to just eat food the Master provides, wear the designer clothes he pays for and sleep all day instead of working.
She scowled at him for his comment, but agreed to hold the door open, certain he would only make more noise than before if she didn’t.
Once back in, Potts was floored by the number of bags coming in from Barnes and Noble. “What’s all this?”
“This is all orders from Pam for the new slave they brought home.”
“Don’t call her that.”
“That’s what she is, a fuck and feed.”
“Bobby, you don’t know what you are talking about, trust me. You don’t want Eric hearing you referring to her like that.”
“What do you mean, fuck and feed?” Sookie surprised both of them by joining the conversation.
“That’s what you are you slut. Did you think you were going to play house with the vampire and have a happily ever after?”
Sookie didn’t know who this man was, and while she wasn’t expecting the happily ever after, he didn’t need to know that. He seemed so angry at her yet she didn’t understand what she had done to him. She dipped into his head and was surprised and upset at what she heard. This man was thinking about her and how he was mad she had secured some place in Eric’s life. He was furious that now he had extra errands all because of her. He was jealous of her because he was still Eric’s gofer during the day and she was here, living the good life. He saw her as a stupid hick that had left her Gran without the means to fend for herself; all so she could live in luxury at Eric’s house. ‘How the hell does he know about Gran? Maybe he was the one Eric sent to retrieve the letter she left for Gran when she went after Jason.’ Scared that she would hear something that could cause her to reveal her telepathy, she stopped listening on purpose. It would be hard to shut him out, but she didn’t want to dig anymore.
Ignoring this person, she turned to Potts. “Thank you for taking care of the laundry. You really didn’t need to do that. I set the alarm to finish before Pam rose.”
“It was my pleasure Sookie. I know how hard adjusting has been for you.”
Bobby interjected. “ADJUSTING? To what, having anything you want? Eating pastries all day?”
That was it! “YOU LISTEN TO ME YOU FUCKTARD! You don’t know anything about my situation. So I’ll thank you to keep your errand running, pansy ass opin…
Potts’ phone rang interrupting Sookie’s verbal ass-kicking.
It was Eric. “What is going on up there? All I hear is yelling and Sookie is extremely upset.”
“Bobby is here and he insulted Sookie; she’s been putting him in his place, quite nicely if I do say so.”
“Give the phone to Bobby.”
She got Bobby’s attention, told him it was Eric and handed the phone to him.
Bobby paled when he realized that Eric was awake and may have heard the argument, but he took the phone. “Master.” Bobby said into the phone while he glared at Potts. Sookie just rolled her eyes at the kiss ass.
“I arrived a short while ago with the purchases I made at Pam’s request for Miss Stackhouse. Since the packages were heavy, I needed to knock on the door to get Potts’ attention. Potts asked me what the purchases were for and when I explained they were for your new slave, she informed me not to call Sookie that, and I may have said that it was my impression that she was a slave, here only for fuck and feed. Then she began insulting me.”
Eric knew better than to believe the idiot’s story but he’d been using the fact that Bobby wanted to be turned to his advantage. He knew at the least he could trust Bobby with the knowledge of his hiding places and finances, and that kind of trust didn’t come easy. He would need to smooth over this disagreement and keep an eye on Bobby.
“Bobby, listen carefully. My relationship with Miss Stackhouse is none of your concern. You will be asked to take care of errands on her behalf, and you will follow them. You won’t talk to her except to ask if she needs anything or to clarify a request. When you do need to talk to her, you will be polite and respectful. You will not talk ABOUT her to other people. Am I clear?”
He wanted to talk to Sookie next to ensure she was doing OK after the fight he heard, but he knew she wouldn’t listen and likely would hang up on him.
“Bobby, give the phone to Potts.”
To Potts he ordered’ “Get rid of Bobby and see if you can calm Sookie down. I can’t come up for almost an hour and a half.”
“I’ll do my best.” She answered and ended the call; then she turned to Bobby and simply said. “Get out.”
“What? I just explained…”
“You don’t live here, we do and I’m telling you to get out.”
They both watched him leave then Potts pulled Sookie into the kitchen. “Sookie, why would Pam have all these pastries delivered?”
“She knows I like sweets. I say we put these groceries away and then have them for well, whatever the hell meal I’m eating now.”
With the groceries put away, Potts grabbed a gallon of milk, cups, plates and forks. “Where shall we start?”
“The box on the top, I have no idea what’s in here. While we eat, you can tell me who that jerk was.”
“Only if we can come up with ways to torment him together.”
“Sounds good, I need a hobby.”
Up again much earlier than normal and again due to an extreme spike in Sookie’s mood, Eric left the bed to shower. He knew he needed to go over human and vampire titles and protocols, but he really didn’t have it in him to just fight again – and he was sure that’s what would happen – another fight. He checked in with Sookie’s mood and found contentment and some amusement. He was thankful that Potts was there to run interference. ‘Fucking Bobby. I may have to reconsider his worth, he could probably be replaced by a Were, but I need to do it carefully. If he behaves I suppose I can keep him. I just can’t have Sookie being upset by others when I’m having such a difficult time just getting her to talk to me.‘
After showering and dressing, he was working on some reports for the Queen when he felt pain in his bond with Sookie; he pinpointed it to his hand. Stopping to examine it he noted she felt a bit of panic as the pain subsided and shortly after she was calm. Still stuck in his daychamber and knowing Sookie had calmed down, he moved onto business.
Bobby had some initial reports on the financial situation with Sookie and her Gran. Apparently, the farmhouse had been paid off about 20 years ago, but when Sookie’s parents died and she and Jason moved in, Adele Stackhouse had no choice but to remortgage. Per Bobby’s notes, she tried to sell off several acres instead, but there was no interest at the time – it remained available for sale and his buying it could help out immediately, but not in the long term. The mortgage was for more than the price the land would fetch. He would need to press on with Pam’s idea of winning the lottery.
It was easy to see where Sookie learned about sacrifice. Adele had been enjoying retirement when she took Jason and Sookie in, and then she was back out in the workforce trying to repay the mortgage she needed to simply clothe and feed them. It was foolish; she knew she could never repay the mortgage unless she planned to sell everything once the grandchildren were grown. The damage was done, however, and he would need to arrange for one of his holding companies to purchase the property to help ‘Gran’ until she won the lottery.
An hour later, after the sun had set, Eric left Pam to get ready for the night while he went up, hopefully to talk with Sookie. Announcing a meeting with classmates, Potts left for the evening. Eric went in search of Sookie, but was stopped when he saw Pam heading upstairs in one of his shirts. “What are you doing?”
“My clothes and stuff from Wal-Mart didn’t make it down to your resting place last night. I’m getting ready upstairs since my stuff wound up in Sookie’s room.”
He felt a bit of deceit coming through the bond. He normally did not scrutinize Pam’s emotions, but the past few days had him on edge. “What are you not telling me?”
Knowing she was busted, she confessed. “I was planning to use Sookie’s shower since you had the better shampoo and body wash purchased for her.”
“At least you answered honestly. Get your Wal-Mart products and shower downstairs. I’ll be checking the scent, brat.”
Once the Pam issue was settled, he returned to searching for Sookie. He was pleased to find her walking the perimeter of the property with the two witches who had worked on the ward. From his back patio he could see that while they were testing the ward, she was also smiling and laughing with the women. Deciding to leave her be, he went to his office to pack for Fangtasia. A knock on his door a short while later stopped him. It was Sookie?
“Octavia and her assistant are outside; they want to check in with you before they leave.”
“Any problems with the wards?” As soon as the question left his lips, he knew it was wrong to have asked Sookie. He braced himself. She did not disappoint.
“No Master, there is no fucking way I can get out without Potts, well I could get out but I can’t imagine the pain since just touching perimeter of the ward was excruciating. I guess we can check the perimeter with Pam and even you since someday you might lower yourself to take a Wal-Mart clothed country hick across the perimeter.”
“Like you’d even lower YOURSELF to go anywhere with me anyway.” He bit out; then remembered he promised NOT to engage in the fighting with her. Here they were, less than 5 minutes into seeing each other and she had dragged him down.
She stared at him for a moment, but kept her mouth shut and eventually asked. “Should I tell Octavia to leave, or will you be seeing her off.”
“I’ll walk out with you.”
“Wonderful.” She spat out.
“Sookie, remember to mind your words and tone when we are outside and in front of other supes.”
“Stop with the Master shit.”
“I don’t see you as worthy for me to call you by your name. As far as I’m concerned, Master suits you for our relationship.” Sookie could see he physically reacted when she made her statement, but she couldn’t really understand whether he was mad or something else from those words. He seemed to like others calling him Master and even insisted she do it in front of people. ‘He can fuck himself if now he’s upset I’m calling him that.’
Sookie’s words stopped Eric short. Normally he took pride in people and vampires referring to him as Master, well those that had the appropriate place in his life – not fangbangers like Bambi, but after only knowing her for 48 hours, the idea that Sookie thought so little of him to not call him by name was jarring. Even more upsetting, he couldn’t figure out why her statement bothered him. ‘I need to speak to Godric. If having a woman in my life is this distracting, it could actually be dangerous. These reactions can’t be healthy for a vampire. Maybe if I put it that way, he’ll see she needs to go.’
He reached the witches waiting outside. “Octavia.” He greeted her coolly. “I understand the ward is working?”
“Yes, though we wanted to test with you and Pam before we left. Is that possible?”
Eric looked at his watch and Octavia clarified. “We don’t need to walk the perimeter; we just want to be sure Sookie can leave with you – just a quick walk across the driveway at the ward’s location will do.”
He grabbed Sookie’s wrist and walked her across the perimeter. Once on the other side, he looked at her expectantly. “Did you feel anything?”
“No Master, it works. When we tested before, if I even approached it without holding onto Potts I felt it.”
Pleased that she was following protocol he wanted to praise her but knew that could backfire and then have her acting out forcing him to punish her. He simply walked back across the ward with her then called to Pam.
The front door was cracked open about 5 minutes later and she called to Eric. “I’m not done getting ready, I can’t come out there.”
He chuckled to himself then ordered her. “Come out NOW!”
Pam was always dressed perfectly, hair coiffed and make up painted on as if she were an artist. When she walked out, she was wearing Wal-Mart sweats, sporting wet hair and no make-up. Eric wanted to laugh out loud, but he decided she was already embarrassed enough. He would explain that he forced her out as punishment for trying to use Sookie’s shower. “Pam, walk Sookie across the ward.”
As they walked down the drive, Pam asked Sookie if she felt ok.
“Just a headache Pam. Thanks for asking, I mean that. Oh and thanks for the pastries. I had them for lunch.”
“My pleasure Sookie. You’re my favorite breather you know.”
“You just want to get into my pants.”
“Well, there is that too.”
“PAMELA!” Eric yelled since he heard the entire conversation. “Du kommer inte att ha Sookie på det sättet.” (You will not have Sookie that way.) She nodded in understanding and finished the rest of the walk in silence.
The test with Pam worked and they returned back to the small group at the front of the house. “Is there anything else you need Eric?” Pam asked her maker.
“No, you may go. We are leaving for Fangtasia in 20 minutes. Be ready.”
“Octavia, I need to check one more thing.” She nodded for him to continue. Knowing Sookie wasn’t going to like it, he put up a finger to Octavia, indicating that he needed her to wait a moment; then pulled Sookie aside to whisper what he wanted. “Sookie, I need you to remain calm and not lash out at me in front of the witches and the Weres that are walking the property. I’m going to ask something that WILL upset you but I need you to keep yourself controlled. Can you do that?”
“Yes, Master.” His nostrils flared at her words, but he noted she said it without any snarkiness as they were close to others.
Returning to where Octavia was standing, he made his request. “I need to be sure that Sookie cannot get through the ward unescorted.” He felt Sookie flinch and some panic through the bond, but she remained quiet.
“Mr. Northman,” Octavia started. “It’s very painful for her. She even has burns from our prior test.”
“Burns?” Then he remembered the pain he felt before and he turned to Sookie. “Let me see your hand.”
Octavia continued. “You can check with Potts; that occurred when she touched the ward perimeter without an escort. My assistant, Tracy, reduced the pain with some remedies we had in the car, but the burn still remains. I know you have a right to test the ward, but …”
He interrupted her. “I don’t need the test, thank you for pointing this out. Your earlier test will suffice. Honestly, I had no idea the ward would be this strong.” He was still holding Sookie’s hand, staring down at the burn. The wounded area, covering most of the palm and the undersides of her fingers, was red, inflamed and dotted with blisters. It looked painful and he grimaced when he thought he had almost subjected her to it again. Quietly he said to Sookie, “we’ll take care of this in the house after the witches leave.”
Sookie was confused; angry at first that he wanted her to touch the ward again and then thankful that he listened to Octavia. Now he was looking at her hand with, was that remorse? She couldn’t keep up with this man. Instead of questioning him further about ‘taking care of this’, she simply nodded.
A short while later, Sookie was with Eric in his den. “Sookie, I’m very sorry you were hurt that badly from the ward. I truly had no idea it would be that strong. Please let me heal it.”
“I don’t know why, but I believe you that you didn’t know about the ward and the burns it could give. Having said that, I’m not sure I want any more of your blood though.”
‘Was this progress? Could she actually be calming down?’ He thought to himself, but rather than gloating about it, he continued to explain the healing he wanted to do. “I can rub some blood on your burn and it will heal. Applying it topically won’t have the same side effects, well, the side effects could occur but to a much lesser degree. Can we do that now?”
“This won’t make me closer to being turned will it? I mean, I had your blood the other morning, and now you want me to have it again.”
“No Sookie. You need to be nearly drained then fed a vampire’s blood to be turned. Just taking a little does not turn you.”
“Why didn’t I have the high or the addiction that V addicts have?”
“The blood you had was directly from the source. V-users take blood that has been packaged well after it has been drained from the vampire. The time difference affects the blood and changes it into the drug known as V.”
She held out her hand. “Okay, heal me. Lord knows I can’t cook with my hand like this, and tomorrow I’m the cook for lunch.”
Eric pricked his tongue on his fang and started to lick her hand. It hurt at first until the healing kicked in after only a few seconds. By the time he was done spreading it around, she was completely healed. He continued to lick her palm to clean all the blood. Sookie looked up and him and she recognized the look; it was the same look he had right before he kissed her in the cell, and yep, here come his lips to hers.
She struggled for a few seconds, but he persisted and finally she relaxed into the kiss. It was a short kiss and when she pulled away, her hand swung back and she slapped him across the face. “You said it would be my choice, you jerk!”
Eric laughed. “That wasn’t sex Sookie, it was a kiss, I just couldn’t help myself.”
“Don’t do it again. You have plenty of other willing women that you can kiss.”
Eric heard her words, but he could also feel and smell her arousal from the kiss. Knowing it would just make her madder, he kept that information to himself. “I don’t know if I can commit to that Sookie, I enjoy your kisses too much. Besides, I don’t kiss all those fangbangers, they are truly just fucks. Kissing is too personal for those whores.” He turned serious. “Just be sure you NEVER hit me like that in public. I would be forced to punish you publicly if you did.”
“I’m never leaving the house, remember?”
“We’ll see about that.”
“AHEM.” Came from the threshold of the den. “If you too are quite finished, I’m ready to leave, but I need to speak to Sookie for a moment first.”
Eric nodded and Pam walked in, her hands full of bags from Barnes and Noble. “Sookie, I took the liberty of getting you a selection of books.”
“Pam, I’m not going to spend your money.”
“Sookie, we are leaving for Fangtasia now, Potts is out, it’s too dark to garden and you told me last night you don’t watch that much TV. What do you think you’re going to do while we are gone?”
She hadn’t thought of that. She was already well rested and the only thing she had planned was cooking dinner. “I’ll pick a book for tonight, but perhaps someone can go to the library for me tomorrow? I normally don’t buy all my books, I borrow them.”
“You read books touched and possibly sneezed on by all those other humans?”
“Pam, we’ve been through this. I’ve never had money to throw around like y’all do.”
“And you’ll be finished a book by tomorrow? So I guess it’s a good thing I had Bobby purchase some Harlequin Romances.”
“EWWW! No way.”
“Sookie, are you a picky reader?”
“Discerning.” Eric chuckled at Sookie’s answer, giving away his eavesdropping even though he appeared to be reading his blackberry.
Pam turned to look at Eric, giving him a warning look that he ignored, but she turned to Sookie to see if she could convince her to accept the books. “Look Sookie, I need to get to Fangtasia, but it would make life easier if you would go through these books. Figure out what you want to read and what you will never read; then we’ll have Bobby take care of the returns tomorrow. This way you’ll have several books for the next few days, you’ll put Bobby out and you’ll make me happy. Can we do it my way, and argue again about this later?”
She huffed but agreed.
“Thank you crumb cake. I’ll see you later.”
“Thank you for the books Pam.”
“Sookie,” Eric started, “You and I still have some important information to cover, Pam and I will be home at about 3AM.”
“Is there a problem?”
“Nothing Master. I just don’t have the energy to have one of our conversations, but I know we need to talk, so I’ll rest up.”
He nodded and left with Pam.
Though she wanted to start on the books, Sookie’s stomach demanded that she make dinner first. All the fixin’s for her favorite comfort food were in the kitchen so she set out to make her Gran’s fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans. ‘I’ll make extra for leftovers, something tells me I’m going to need comfort food, besides I’ll put on the pounds all the faster.’ She started singing to herself as she cooked and soon, she had dinner ready. When she sat at the table, ready to eat, she realized she was eating alone and it would be the first of many meals she would eat alone. Before she took the first bite, she was lost in a crying fit.
At Fangtasia, Eric was walking onto the main floor enjoying Sookie’s relaxed mood. He intended to thank Pam for the book idea AND for talking Sookie into at least reviewing them. The usual pathetic fangbangers immediately approached him and he scowled. Unfortunately, that only got them more excited. Blackberry in hand, he settled into his seat and began reviewing some of his other business email correspondence. It was a decent set-up he decided. He could sit and enthrall the vermin as Pam called it, and get work done for Norse Enterprises, all the while looking for a feed and fuck. His last thoughts stopped him as he wondered AGAIN why Bobby felt he could label anyone that Eric chose to live in his house as a feed and fuck. The whores at Fangtasia who threw themselves at any vampire were the feed and fucks, not his Sookie. His problem was figuring out how to assure her of that fact. Going over vampire protocol was his first step: He planned to explain slaves, pets and companions. Godric was right, she was not a pet and he hoped Sookie would understand the difference. ‘But this is Sookie, she’ll just be pissed and go off yelling at me before we’re done. I think I’ll wait until very close to dawn to start the conversation so I don’t have to hear her for too long. Yes, that’s the plan; I’ll take a fangbanger downstairs at closing and enjoy her for a few hours. That’ll take the edge off.‘ As he finalized his plan, he felt a sudden change in Sookie’s mood, she was sad – no more than that, she was distraught. He called to see if Potts was home but got no answer. “I’ll wait this out, she’ll calm down.’ When fifteen minutes had passed with no change from Sookie, he called for Pam. “I’m leaving; you can drive home after closing.”
“You haven’t fed yet.”
“I’m aware. I had Sookie’s blood the night of her break-in; I’ll be fine for a few days.”
“Eric, you might be ‘fine’ in terms of food, but you’re already on edge, you need to take care of that.”
“She’s distraught Pam, I need to go home. Potts is not answering her phone, and I WON’T have one of the male guards go into the house.”
“Potts is on a date, you won’t get her.” She grabbed his wrist as he headed towards the door. “I’m serious Eric, please let me get someone for a quickie.”
“Very well. Hurry.”
Pam returned with a short brunette and practically threw her at Eric. She licked her lips and sauntered the last few steps towards him. She attempted to reach up to his face and he shook his head; then spun his finger in a circle, indicating that she should turn around. She complied and he bent her over the desk, flipped her skirt, ripped off her underwear and then plunged. He didn’t bother with any niceties and he didn’t attempt to hold on for long, he was a vampire in a hurry. Just before he came, he reached over her bent form and bit. Disgusting moaning type noises, something like a pig, came from her mouth and he finished quickly. Turning to Pam, who was waiting for him to finish, he asked her if she wanted any. She nodded in reply and Eric was out the door and in the air.
When he landed outside his front door, he could hear the sobbing from inside the house. He hated crying, but given what he’d been feeling from Sookie, he was concerned for her health at this point. Her head was down on the kitchen table with a plate of untouched food pushed away when he found her in the kitchen. Instinctively, he reached for her and was surprised she didn’t fight it. Recalling how Jason calmed her the other day, he shushed her while walking over to the couch and sat with her on his lap. Once settled on the couch he noticed she was red and blotchy, her eyes were screwed tight, but still leaking tears and her breath was shaky. ‘I really want to let her go. She’s never going to trust me let alone love me as my maker thinks. Having her here is a distraction that could get me killed.’ He continued to think of arguments for his maker while he rubbed her back. She started to calm, but was still crying softly. They stayed that way until he heard Potts return from her date. She made eye contact with him, but he just shook his head. Taking the hint, Potts left the area.
In a shaky voice, Sookie finally spoke. “You’re smelling me again, aren’t you?”
He chuckled and replied. “Busted. I can’t help it, you smell so sweet. …. Sookie, what has you so upset tonight?”
“Is that why you’re home?”
He nodded his head. “I could feel your despair and when it didn’t let up after a while, I thought I’d better get home to check on you.” He tilted her chin up. “So what happened?”
“I, um, I really don’t.”
“Sookie, please don’t say you don’t want to talk about it. How can I help if I don’t know?”
“You can’t HELP anyway.” She moved to get off his lap but now he held her there tightly. “You can’t help because I’m all alone here. Potts is gone most of the time I’m awake. You go to work, and well, spending time with you hasn’t been the greatest anyway.” She wiggled again, trying to get out of his grip and this time he acquiesced. “Thanks for coming home, but you should get back to work, it’s not that late.”
“Pam’s got Fangtasia, I’m staying. Why don’t we watch a movie?”
“I don’t know. I mean, I appreciate that you came, but really it doesn’t change anything between us. I mean, you’re still, well you, and I’m still your prisoner. I really just, I don’t know what I want.”
“You should at least eat. It doesn’t look you had anything, did you?”
“No, it was when I sat down to eat that I was overwhelmed with loneliness. I do need to clean the kitchen though.”
“How about you eat at the kitchen counter while I clean the kitchen?”
“Do you even know how to do dishes?”
“I’m wounded Sookie. I am a vampire of many talents.”
“Man.” She corrected and when he looked puzzled, she reminded him. “We established this before; you’re a man.”
“Fine, I’m a man of many talents. Will you eat while I clean?”
“I think I will, it’ll be dinner and a show.” Eric smiled. ‘Is this progress? Maybe there is something here. I’ll give it another week then call Godric.’
Keeping his promise, Eric packed away the extra food, cleaned the pots and loaded the dishwasher while Sookie ate. He kept the conversation light, knowing that anything too deep would just cause crying or fighting. Eric guided the conversation to the movies he owned to see if he could convince Sookie to watch a movie as he asked earlier. Relieved to see her cleared plate he tried again. “How about that movie?”
“I really think I’d like to go to bed early. The crying jag took a lot of out me, and honestly, I’d rather be up earlier in the day so I can enjoy your pool. I mean, if it’s OK to go outside?”
He was quite disappointed that she wanted to go to bed but he smiled at Sookie to reassure her. “Sure Sookie. You can use anything on the grounds.”
“That’s great.” She smiled. “I won’t swim; I just want to soak up the sun. Oh, and I know we were supposed to talk, can we do that tomorrow?”
“Why don’t we back off on the education? You can just focus on adjusting to living here.”
“That’ll work, yeah, that’s probably a good idea.” She started to walk away but stopped. “Look, I appreciate that you came back, but I don’t want you to think this changes anything. You’re still my jailor and I’m your prisoner. I can’t really wrap my head around anything more than that between us.”
He said nothing as she walked away. To add to his deflated mood, Pam called.
“The shifter is here demanding to see you.”
“He can go to hell.”
“He can cause problems. If your sweetheart is better, you might want to come here and discuss ‘things’.
“On my way.”
Eric flew back to the bar and found the shifter waiting in the parking lot. “Shifter, is my bar not good enough for you?”
“Too many vampires, and since you threatened my life, I couldn’t take the chance.”
“Are you sitting in a silver lined car?”
“You know that would impact me as well as you, just not as much. No, I just liked the ability to drive away.”
“You demanded to see me?”
“Jason’s back, but not Sookie.”
“I told you to stay out of this, if you don’t….”
“Yeah, yeah, you’ll kill me. I came to tell YOU that I have written what I know into several notes and placed them in my safety deposit box. If I die, authorities and packs know to come see you about my death AND Sookie.”
“The same packs that include Weres that are employed by me, a large number of them, that’s the pack?”
“You think I would be worried about Hotshot?”
“Look Sheriff.” He spit out. “I don’t know what you’re planning, but Sookie is sweet, innocent, and needed by her Gran.”
“You don’t ‘look Sheriff’ me. I already know those things. She won’t be killed; she’ll be treated well in fact, her and her Gran. This is vampire business, if Sookie returns, Jason will be taken.”
“Shit, he did something punishable by death, didn’t he?” He only nodded his head in reply. “Why the swap then?”
“I’ll have Sookie call you to discuss it. Will that get you to back down?”
“I won’t promise that until I talk to her.”
“I’ll kill you if you do anything stupid, and being a hero is stupid so we are clear.”
“When can I expect the call?”
“Tomorrow evening, about 7PM.”
Sam pulled out of the parking lot and headed back to Bon Temps.
The next evening, Pam had Sookie call Sam since Eric was keeping his distance for now. Sookie was surprised by Pam’s request.
“You want me to call Sam? Why don’t you just glamour him?”
Eric and Pam had discussed the need to tell Sookie he was a shifter, and as such, he could not be glamoured. “Sookie, Eric told you about Weres and shifters?” Sookie knew partly what was coming but she nodded yes to move the conversation forward. “Sam is a shifter he can’t be glamoured.”
“What? What kind?”
“He’s a shifter in general; he can morph into any kind of animal.”
Sookie decided she should react to this, even though she’d already figured part of it out. “All those years and I never knew? I thought we were friends?”
“He loves you, you know.”
Sookie did know. Several other waitresses told her often. “I knew that.”
“Why did you never date?”
“He’s my boss and my friend. I simply never thought of him that way.”
Pam purred. “Sookie, are you really a lesbian?”
“No Pam, stop trying. Can we make this phone call?”
“Yes, but I will be right here, and you will be on speaker phone.”
Sookie rang up Sam and he answered right away. Before he could spit out Merlotte’s she yelled into the phone. “Sam, it’s Sookie!”
“Sookie.” He blew out his breath in relief. “It’s good to hear your voice. How are you?”
“I’m fine. Really I am.”
“Are you in a jail? Are you eating, getting out?”
“Look Sam, I know you’re concerned, you need to realize I am here in place of Jason willingly, though you can spit in his beer from now ’til eternity cause of it.” She looked at Pam and she nodded to continue as they discussed. “Sam, Jason kidnapped and drained a vampire with Amy. Then Amy staked the vampire. He could’ve been killed, but they did a life for a life thing.”
“But why you Chere?”
“I’m getting there, and you can’t discuss this.” She paused to take a breath. “Dawn is pregnant, it’s Jasons.”
‘FUCK, Sookie’s empathy flared, she did do this willingly,’ he thought. “That’s why you and Dawn worked together to find him?”
“Yeah, I couldn’t figure that part out. Geez Sookie, you were in between a rock and a hard place.”
“I know, but there was no way I was gonna have Jason miss out on the baby. That’s where he is needed and I really am fine. I’m in a nice house and I have company. I spent the day by the pool”
“Eric is good company?”
“I have a friend during the day, and I really enjoy Pam, she’s another vampire.” Pam smiled at her friend. “Sam, promise me you won’t do anything. If I leave, Jason is dead.”
“I got that.”
“And, Jason’s so damn selfish; I need to ask you something else.”
“Can you check on Gran, help her out if she needs it, please?”
“I’ve been doing that.”
Sookie started crying. “I… Thanks Sam. I just thanks. I’m gonna hang up.”
“Stay safe Sookie.”
After the call ended, Pam started to speak, but Sookie just ran out of the room. Pam followed. At the door to Sookie’s bedroom she spoke to her. “Crumbcake, can I come in?”
“No, please leave me be. I did what you and MASTER asked.” She said master with a bite.
“He doesn’t need you to call him that.”
“He doesn’t deserve his name from me.”
“I’m going to Fangtasia, if you need me, I’ll come back, just call.”
“Thanks Pam, at least I didn’t lie about having a friend and I appreciate that.”
Pam turned to leave thinking about how slight a chance Eric really had to befriend his little prisoner.