Chapter 9 – The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

October 16, 2003

Shreveport, LA

“Sookie, are you ready to go shopping?” Pam called from the foyer.

Sookie had forgotten that Pam was coming back to go to Wal-Mart and was surprised to hear her calling. Still, she decided it was better than sitting in her room avoiding Eric until sunrise, so she called down to say she was coming. A quick adjustment to her pony tail and she was ready.

“Ok my precious, let’s get this over with. I want to be out of Wal-Mart quickly.”

“Do you have my purse Pam?”

“Why would I have your purse?”

“I thought you did something with my car and my purse was in it. I need it so I can pick up some things.”

“From Wal-Mart? What do you need?”

“Well, I only have these clothes and the outfit I had on yesterday. I’m gonna get mighty bored in the same outfit every other day.”

“I thought you were going shopping with Eric after I left?”

“We didn’t go.”

“Wait here, I need to speak to Eric.”

Upon walking into his office, Eric started talking without waiting for Pam to ask. “I don’t want to talk about it Pam. Just buy her what she wants.” She looked like she wanted to say something and he just turned and glared. “Don’t make me angrier than I already am.”

Deciding to be safe, she just spun on her heel and left.

“Sookie, your wallet was part of the accident scene I staged last night. I will get you some clothes to hold you over until you go shopping with Eric.”

They had left the house and were walking to the car when Sookie replied. “I’m not going shopping with him. He’s an asshole.”

“You need to be careful. I realize that he is permitting you to speak to him like that in the house, but you can’t be like that in front of other supes.”

“Yes, so I’ve been told. … Listen, can we just get going?”

“Certainly.”

To Pam, seeing her maker happy was very important, important enough to take the time to coach Sookie into at least trying with Eric.

“You know, he’s really not that bad. In fact, many women find him quite charming.”

“I’m sure you feel that way. I really have no reason to see him as anything but the monster who took advantage of my brother cause he was tasty; then took me instead. I lost my family, I lost my friends; I lost my life. I really don’t give a fuck if you think he’s not that bad. And if other women think he’s charming, he should go capture them and keep them in his house. He could probably find plenty that would be happy to be dressed like little dolls and taken off the shelf on some kind of rotation. I’m not one of them.”

“You know, Sookie, you appear to be this delicate southern flower, but at the same time you sure are callous.”

Sookie snorted, “I don’t think anyone’s compared me to a flower before.”

“A strong one though, tough. It wasn’t an insult.”

“I didn’t take it as such. I think some of the prettiest flowers are tough.”

“Oh, like that movie Steel Magnolias?”

“No, I meant literally, like a coneflower or dianthus, but you totally distracted me from the discussion about Eric, thank you.”

“Oh, that wasn’t my intent, but I’ll be quiet on the topic for now since we’re at the Wal-Mart.”

To be sure she and Sookie wouldn’t be recognized, Pam drove to a Wal-Mart outside Shreveport. Then being especially paranoid, she pulled out sunglasses for both her and Sookie.

“So what are you getting Pam?”

“Well, A LOT since Eric is footing the bill and he’s making me do this, I want to spend as much as possible.”

“Wait, I thought you were buying this stuff?”

Pam caught her mistake right away in saying that Eric was paying and not her. Realizing that she was about to see bitch Sookie again, she tried to soothe her. “I’ll pay for your stuff personally as I promised you; Eric will only pay for mine.”

Sookie squinted at her in doubt, but since she was a bit desperate for clothes she decided to just go with it. Selecting a cart from the front of the store, she and Pam headed to the ladies section. Pam just started adding one of everything she deemed to be ‘decent’ in her size to the cart. She stopped when she noticed Sookie hadn’t added anything. “Sweet cheeks, I want to be done quickly, start adding clothes.”

“I simply don’t need as much as you seem to need Pam. I’ll grab some sundresses and a few jeans and tees when we make our way over to that section.”

“Sookie, you need more than just a few dresses, jeans and tees. The Wal-Mart clothes won’t hold up to much washing. In fact, I’m just planning to throw this stuff out after I wear it once.”

“You will do no such thing! I’ll wash them and if you really don’t want to wear them again, I’ll donate them.”

“And how will you do that if you aren’t leaving the house.”

“Potts can drop them for me.”

“Got an answer for everything?”

“Not really, if I did, I wouldn’t be stuck in captivity.”

“Hmmm, we’re going to buy out this ladies department and then I’m taking you to an all night diner. I think you need something chocolate, I understand it helps with human female moods. So would an orgasm so I’m game for that as well.”

“No thanks Pam. You are a beautiful woman, but just not my type.”

“Pity.”

“Doesn’t matter anyway since I’ve been informed that I can never have sex with anyone but Eric. And since that’s not happening…..”

“Oh sweetie, you should reconsider. He could definitely cure your attitude.”

“Done talking about it Pam.”

They continued through the department, chatting only about some of the selections. Sookie tried to convince Pam to purchase a tee shirt that had a graphic of flowers, bees and butterflies on it. When Pam questioned the selection; Sookie said while giggling, “Well it’s pink, and I see a ton of pink in your cart.”

“Put it back Sookie, I can only hope my eyes will forget I ever saw it.”

Before they even made it to the department called lingerie, Sookie needed to grab a second cart. Pam scoffed at the selection and declared that the term lingerie was false advertising insisting that true lingerie NEVER came three-to-a-pack and sealed in plastic. Pam was ready to check out when Sookie reminded her that she needed to buy her bath products and make-up since Eric was not permitting her to return home. Pam replied, “I know Potts dropped off some products for you – good quality products, perhaps you would let me use your shower?”

“Not my house, not my call. If you want to use my shower, you only need to knock to ensure I’m not in there – otherwise, it’s all yours, well really Eric’s – but if you think he’s fine with that then go ahead. I personally would purchase the stuff so he at least doesn’t KNOW you aren’t planning some way to get out of using cheap products for the month.”

“You have good insight; let’s go find some bubble bath. Maybe you’ll allow me to wash your back?”

“I said you would need to KNOCK FIRST to be sure I’m NOT in the bathroom.”

“Prude.”

“And planning to stay that way.”

“You lie, I saw that little bikini you put in the cart.”

“You’re more than welcome to see it on me; come on out tomorrow while I’m bathing IN THE SUN.”

“You wound me Sookie.”

Though she protested all the way through check-out, Pam did manage to convince Sookie to get more than a few items. Now that she knew she could get Sookie to cave in, she was sure she could work her into designer clothes in a few weeks. ‘If I get her into La Perla once, she’ll never go back to scratchy panties.’

Pam didn’t wait long to start up again about Eric once they were in the car. “Well my little breather, shall we continue our discussion about Eric.”

“Not interested.”

“Ok, then tell me, why did you look longingly at the book section and not pick anything?”

“Because you left my purse in my car, as in MY money. Remember that part? Besides, there really wasn’t anything there to my liking.”

“Sookie, you don’t need your own money, you will never work again under Eric’s care, yo…”

Sookie cut her off before she said anything else. “Care? You say that I am under his care? … It’s captivity Pam. I don’t…”

“SOOKIE! Stop. I know you don’t want to talk about it but tough. If you were in captivity, you’d be in one of his cells. If you were in captivity, you wouldn’t be out enjoying my fabulous company. If you were in captivity, Eric would have let that Were rape you. I know it’s only your second day, but you need to start thinking in terms of moving on and changing your outlook. Forever is a pretty long time to keep yourself in that cell you have concocted in your head.” Sookie just stared at her, waiting for more, but Pam only added, “That’s it, I’m done for now. Let’s get you something sweet to eat.”

Once seated at the diner, Pam continued her questions. “So you rattled off some flower names earlier, is that an interest of yours?”

“Yeah. My Gran loves gardening; when I was little I would follow her around as she weeded, planted and fussed over her gardens. Gran knew everything from experience. I picked up some books to learn more.”

Pam noticed she brightened when she spoke about her Gran and her plants. Books and gardening seem to be of interest, and Pam was giddy to find things Sookie and Eric had in common. Her features remained steady though; she didn’t want Sookie to realize how excited she was about what she learned. ‘I’m going to have Bobby buy an assortment of books and magazines and leave them at the house. Once I see what she reads, that’ll narrow down her interests further. Meanwhile, I’ll get Potts to take her outside tomorrow to check out the gardens. I can bring this princess around; then Eric will owe me big.’

They sat quietly for a few moments while Sookie ate a huge piece of chocolate cake. When Pam noticed that Sookie was only left with her milk, she continued her questions. “You enjoyed that cake. I like that. So many female chewers starve themselves. Not you, you have great curves.”

“Glad you like the curves. I’ve decided to add to them in the hopes it will make me less attractive to Eric. So thanks for the dessert outing Pam. It’s just going to speed up the process.”

Pam laughed so loudly, the other diner patrons turned to look. She flashed them fangs until they looked away. “Sookie, you are priceless. I’m going to enjoy having you around. Now I know why you bought some of the pants with elastic and your dresses a size up, that’s why, right?”

She snickered, “Busted.”

Pam was again giddy knowing that Eric actually liked his woman with more flesh. Without realizing it, she was going to make herself even MORE irresistible to Eric but she had no plans to tell Sookie. In fact, she started thinking about the local chocolate and pastry shops she would now frequent so she could ‘help’ Sookie as much as possible.

Finally feeling it was time to sate her curiosity earlier, Pam delved into the thoughts she’d been having most of the evening. “Sookie, why do you actually talk to me? Why would you have been upset if Eric hurt me?”

“Why wouldn’t I talk to you?”

“Don’t you hate vampires?”

She gasped. “Not at all. Why would you even think that?”

“I guess I just assumed based on your feelings to Eric.”

“And that’s what they are – feelings about ERIC, mostly hate, loathing, you know. I don’t like some of the rules vampires have with regards to humans, but still that doesn’t make me hate all of you. Why would I hate all vampires because of Eric? That would be like hating all Baptists because Portia Bellefleur is nasty to me.”

“You are quite a puzzle Sookie Stackhouse. You know, most people would never think like that. I might actually find you tolerable for a human.”

“Wow, I’m overcome with emotion from your praise Pam.”

“Tell me more about this Portia? Should I visit her and make her pay for treating my favorite breather badly?”

“No Pam, she’s just looks down her nose at me. She always thought she was smarter than me, prettier. She’s not worth it.”

You may not think so Sookie, but I’m still going to investigate. I haven’t toyed with a human for a while. Maybe she needs some of my special attention. Yes, a project like this will help move past this Wal-Mart month quickly.’

“Sookie, you’ve proven yourself to be quite clever. I doubt this Portia could have found Eric’s warehouse. He’s dying to know how you found it.”

“He’s already dead so tough shit, I won’t tell him.”

Recognizing the beginning of bitchiness returning, she moved to something else. “You didn’t answer my other question yet. Why would you have been upset if Eric hurt me?”

“Not just you, but anybody. I don’t think anybody should be hurt. And God, especially over just not getting me a drink.”

“I can’t say I would ever want that kind of punishment, in fact, it’s been years since he had to reprimand me physically. You do need to understand though. The Supe world is very different. Physical punishment and often PUBLIC physical punishment is the norm. You will likely see it at some point, and you will need to deal with it. This is where you need to be the – what did you say – the coneflower and not the delicate orchid.” She paused while Sookie absorbed her words, then she added. “I can see your empathy is a significant part of you, but you need to shut that off sometimes.”

Sookie sat quietly while she finished her milk, thinking about what she learned tonight. Pam’s messaging, and the comments about public punishment jived with the chat she had with Eric about appearances. What she was learning is that Eric needed to appear in control of her, which pissed her off, but that was the essential message. It also seemed that they had other strict layers of hierarchy that needed to be observed. She recalled that Eric called them vampire management. “Pam, I appreciate your honesty. It’s clear I need to learn more, so maybe you can spend time going over stuff with me before you leave for Fangtasia tonight?”

“I would like to chat with you before I go to work, but I’m certain that Eric wants to go over vampire topics tonight and if you tell him what we discussed and that you have questions, he would be very happy to sit down with you.”

“Pam, I don’t wa…”

“I know you don’t want to talk to him, but Sookie he needs to be the one to educate you, as he is the one who will suffer if there is a misstep with you in public. He’s not trying to be an asshole about vampires; you need to know the details. Listen, please, take my suggestion and tell him you have questions, then let him actually educate you on the facts – without debating the facts. You might find you can get through a discussion without feeling like you could kill each other. Forever is a long time Sookie, I know I keep saying it, do you really want to fight with him until your old and gray?” She added with a sparkle in her eye. “Just so you know, I never say please to a human. It’s proof that you’re growing on me. I think you should thank me by letting me grope your breasts.”

“Thanks for saying ‘please’ but keep your hands to yourself.”

OOOoooOOOooo

Back at his house, Eric sat in his office for a few hours trying to figure out how the evening had gone so badly. True, he didn’t expect her to leap in his arms and declare love, but it seemed they couldn’t even stay in the same room together for more than a few minutes without some kind of explosion. He decided to go back to Fangtasia starting the next night and only spend a short bit of time with her before and after work for the next few weeks. His hope was that smaller doses of his charm would help her adjust.

His next planning included finding a resolution to the financial dilemma that Sookie mentioned with her Gran. He had no doubt she was telling the truth, and if Sookie only worried about her Gran, she would never be able to relax here. The problem was, getting her Gran money PLAUSIBLY. First he needed facts, so he sent instructions to his day man, Bobby, to investigate the extent of the financial obligations. He also needed to find information on the extended family, in case a will or something else could suddenly be found and given to Gran. When he first took Jason as a prisoner, Pam had investigated the immediate family and friends, but he needed to learn more now. Five days was the longest he was willing to wait for information, so he authorized Bobby to bring in additional discreet resources to aid in the research.

The sound of the garage opening signaled that Pam and Sookie were back, so he quickly finished his email and ran to meet them in the kitchen – he wanted to help with the bags; that was a gentlemanly thing to do – right? Laughter was coming in from the hallway and that surprised him. ‘Sookie and Pam are laughing? How can that be? Does she save all her bitchiness for me?

His suspicions were confirmed as they rounded the corner into the kitchen and a scowl immediately replaced the smile and giggles from Sookie. ‘Yep, she saves it for me.’ He took an unneeded breath and asked if he could help with the bags.

Sookie immediately replied, “I’m good,” and continued to her bedroom.

Dying to know what they were laughing about and really, everything they spoke about since they left, he turned to Pam. She quickly told him, “Jag fyller du i när vi går till vila.” (I’ll fill you in when we go to rest.)

“Vi har ungefär en timme innan gryningen, ska jag närma även henne att prata?” (We have about an hour before dawn, should I even approach her to talk?)

“Nej, det skulle vara en katastrof.” (No, it would be a disaster.) She paused then continued, “Jag kollar på henne i ett ögonblick.” (I’ll check on her in a moment.)

Eric nodded and stood still until Pam yelled. “I need help with MY bags, or were you only going to help Sookie?”

“Since when do you need help carrying bags from a shopping trip?”

“Since they say Wal-Mart on the outside and they hurt when my skin gets in contact with them.”

As instructed, he dumped all the bags in the laundry room outside the kitchen. “Not having this washed is not an excuse you can use for wearing other clothes. You better call the laundry service for a pickup today since they are not scheduled to be here until tomorrow.”

“Sookie’s going to do them for me.”

“She’s not your house servant Pam.”

“She offered since she’s doing her own. You can’t wear Wal-Mart clothing without washing it first. Do you know how many poor, dirty humans have touched these already?”

“Excuse me.” Sookie said as she approached them in the laundry room. “I need to get some started before I go to sleep.”

“Sookie,” Eric started, “just leave them all here. Pam will have the laundry service pick them up and return them before 4PM today. You aren’t here to do Pam’s laundry, and you don’t even need to do your own since I have a service.”

Sookie’s eyes were cold when she looked at him. “I already told you I don’t want anything from you so I don’t need your laundry service. It’s bad enough you purchase the food for the house, but I’ll just chalk that up to survival. So please, can I get in there to get started?”

Eric’s nostrils flared in anger but Pam put a hand on him and when he finally looked away from Sookie to her, she shook her head slightly.

Infuriating Eric even more, Sookie turned to Pam with a bright look on her face and asked. “What do you need done first? I don’t know how much of this I can get through today.”

“The lingerie.” She replied using her fingers to make quotation marks. They both giggled at Pam’s response making Eric even madder still.

Not wanting Eric to lash out, Pam grabbed his wrist and suggested to get to their resting place since dawn was approaching quickly. Once secure in his bedchambers, Eric asked to hear everything Pam and Sookie discussed. “First I want to understand why she’ll speak to you freely, smile and laugh with you when she won’t even make eye contact with me unless I force the issue.”

“You are her jailor Eric. She doesn’t place any of the blame for her situation on me, or even on the fact that you are a vampire. She just blames and hates YOU.”

“That doesn’t make any sense Pam. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad one of us can speak to her, but if I wasn’t a vampire she wouldn’t be here.”

“Sookie simply refuses to hate an entire group for the actions of one, and she won’t permit you to use the excuse that you are a vampire as the reason for all of this. She has some unique perspectives.”

“Speaking on unique – did you notice anything different about her?”

“You mean besides the double D cups, handle bar hips and dancer legs?”

“Yes, besides those things. Strange mannerisms or reactions?”

“Well, she did get a headache at Wal-Mart, but I can’t say that’s strange, Wal-Mart should give headaches to normal humans. What is it you’re looking for?”

“She blurted something out earlier that she claims was a guess, but her emotions registered panic when I asked her about it. If it was just a guess, why panic?”

“I think you should stop monitoring her emotions, you know, block them. She is going to be unstable for a while, and I can tell it’s already affecting you. Did you get the paperwork done on her?”

“Yes, Cataliades came shortly after Octavia left.”

“Good. Now, do you want to know what I found out about your little one or not?”

“Do tell, you only have about 20 minutes before you die for the day, the floor is yours.”

“She likes books, but did not allow me to buy one for her, well, she didn’t even ask. She likes to garden, and had even tried studying about gardening.”

“REALLY? Was she looking at trash novels or what?”

“We were at Wal-Mart Eric, do they carry anything but trash? Actually, she even said ‘there wasn’t anything there to my liking’. Wal-Mart doesn’t exactly carry Jane Eyre or Great Expectations, so I’m holding out hope for you. Besides, I can tell she is significantly smarter than her brother, she had to pick that up somewhere.”

“And the gardening, you said she studied it?”

“She learned from her Gran but she explained that she tried to supplement her hands on leaning with reading. I get the impression there was no extra money for anything more formal.”

“There certainly wasn’t. In one of her rants, she explained that her Gran’s Social Security Income won’t cover the household expenses, expenses that Sookie was covering with her waitress salary. Now she’s in a panic that Gran won’t be able to pay the bills, and Jason won’t help. I guess when her parents died they didn’t leave enough for Gran to raise the kids.”

“So, what are you going to do about it?”

“I’m trying to figure out something that is believable. Got any ideas?”

“Does Gran play the lottery?”

He smiled and commented, “that’s not a bad idea. You go glamour her when the timing is right – what’s the one going around now? I’ll find it, it came in the mail. I’ll get you the name then you’ll glamour her to enter, I’ll provide her with winnings…Pam. I believe that’s actually going to work.”

“You seem excited by the idea.”

“Yes, it’s one of your best.”

“Good enough that I don’t need to wear Wal-Mart clothes for the month?”

“Good enough that I’ll cut it back to 3 weeks.”

“I’ll take it.” She said, and died for the day.

Being so much older, Eric still had some time so he did some research and found the contest he wanted: Publisher’s Clearing House. After some research he discovered that the drawing was in January, so he would need to find ways to sneak help until then, but he could manage that. The grand prize was $5000 a week for life or lump sum and he decided a lump sum payout would be better. A few actors would be needed to award the prize on her doorstep, but that would be it. ‘Too easy!’

He got into bed to await death and both listened and felt for Sookie. Footsteps from her exploration could be heard as she moved from room to room. He could feel curiosity and exhaustion and he wondered why she just didn’t go to bed. Before he died, the last sounds he heard were of Sookie walking to the laundry room, and then the washer and drying being operated. He cursed her stubbornness knowing she had stayed up to wait for the cycle. ‘She better get to sleep soon, or I will impose a strict sleeping schedule. She can’t become too tired; it will only make her bitchier – if that is even possible.’

OOOoooOOOooo

Sookie had waited until the first load was ready for the dryer before going to bed. Since Potts was asleep and the vampires were now hiding from the big bad sun; she found she was enjoying the time to explore the house on her own. The dining room fascinated her. Before she moved in, Potts was the only person living here to eat food, yet the room was extravagantly furnished with a table, chairs, china and gold flatware to serve 16. She wanted to use his workout room to dance since the floor felt sturdy yet bouncy at the same time, but her legs were getting too tired. If she ignored all the weapons on the wall, she really thought she could enjoy herself in here, but now, the weapons just reminded her of the monster that was dead somewhere below her feet. Remembering how his mind felt, she started walking the house again, feeling for the bubble. In the formal living room, she felt two bubbles directly beneath her. Interesting, but nothing to be gained by discovering them. For all she knew, the downstairs could be the same footprint as the first floor and the entrance could be anywhere. Eventually, the buzzer for the washer went off, indicating the washer cycle was finished. She moved the lingerie to the dryer, started a load of darks, and headed to bed. ‘Day two of incarceration complete. Can’t wait for day three.‘ Sookie thought as she cried herself to sleep.

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6 thoughts on “Chapter 9 – The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

  1. Awww this Pam is so awesome… Eric is close to losing his shit with Sookie’s stubbornness… not that i blame her here… But yeah, fun for Eric is not…

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