Bit of violence in this chapter – and if you’ve been following me – you know I like images for warnings. We’ll use the image below for violence:
Chapter 9 – Getting out of Dodge
After Sookie agreed to go, they spent the rest of the night planning. Eliane would shop the next day for Sookie’s trips. Sookie would travel with the summer clothes and the winter wear for Alaska would be shipped directly to one of Eric’s contacts in Anchorage. Since Eric didn’t know when they’d return, Sookie wanted a few items from her farmhouse. With some encouragement from Eric, she made a list of everything she wanted and gave it to him. Eric would handle it from there. Thalia arrived about an hour before sunrise and the two women made their plans to leave after some meetings the next night. Thalia did not discuss her itinerary for the next two days and that was by design. Eric was sure the Queen would ask about Sookie or have Bill ask on her behalf. He truly wouldn’t know where she was.
Unlike the morning before, Sookie didn’t argue about sleeping in the bed so Eric tucked her in with a chaste kiss and lounged on the other side of the bed with his laptop. Several tasks needed to be accomplished and he wanted to be finished before he rested for the day. The last hour before sunset that evening; he wanted that time exclusively for Sookie. His focus drifted to the woman on his right, watching her sleep was soothing and he couldn’t resist. However he would only allow himself until the count of thirty before returning to his work. The problem was he did this about every five minutes. With fifteen minutes to spare, he’d gotten all his tasks done. Pam was ready to join him in New Orleans at midnight; Barry had been officially hired and would meet with Pam to get started. Eliane had been extended an offer as Sookie’s assistant and an invitation to travel with them, though she would stay with Thalia so he could have privacy. So what did he do with his fifteen minutes? He turned to his side, stared at and sniffed his little obsession; amazed that she was here with him.
Sookie woke and instead of being upset at her position, she snuggled back into Eric. He was spooning her with one arm tucked around her waist. Even though he was dead for the day, she felt safe and protected. The night was going to be busy but right now, she was enjoying herself. It was 2:00 PM and she had a few hours before Eric would wake and another hour before Eliane would arrive with her clothes so snuggling seemed like the best option. Until Dallas, Sookie had never seen a vampire at rest; she didn’t even know where Bill rested in his house. Eric was so trusting, having her with him at his most vulnerable and it was a trust she would never betray. Eager to see his face, she spun around in his arm and leaned back a bit. He looked younger this way, likely his true human age. A thousand years of living changed his stance, his expression and his eyes – it would have to. Sometimes when it was just the two of them, his beautiful blue eyes would sparkle with joy, caring, and often mischief – that was the Eric she most enjoyed. With a touch to her lips, she realized how close they came to kissing last night. While she was sure it would have been enjoyable, it was probably too soon for any of that, so she was grateful (in hindsight) that Stan had interrupted them. Knowing how she felt though, she knew it wouldn’t be long before physical intimacy became part of their relationship.
After staring and thinking for a while, her bladder decided it was time to get up so she reluctantly untangled herself from Eric and started her day. Eliane would be there in about twenty minutes; enough time for a shower.
A few hours later, Sookie bid goodbye to Eliane so she could start her preparations for the trip and her move. Both were excited to be traveling together and surprised at how quickly Eric worked. The two women had really bonded and Sookie knew that even though Eliane would be joining them in the Bahamas in two weeks, she’d miss her new friend.
Sookie decided she wanted one last soak in the big tub so she was pruning nicely when Eric, his eyes full of mischief, came barging into the bathroom then faked surprise to see Sookie there. “Oh I’m sorry Sookie. I thought you were at dinner or something.”
“Uh huh.” She giggled at his ‘innocent face’, “Liar.”
“Why Sookie, I would never intentionally barge in on your bath time.” He even leaned over to take a peak and frowned. “What’s that?”
“This?” She pointed to her bikini. He nodded. “Insurance. You can’t be trusted.”
He gasped. “I’m hurt.”
“No you’re not. You’re guilty buddy.”
“Buddy?” He laughed out loud. “My Sookie, you do entertain me.”
“Good. We’ll be gone for a while so you need something to keep you distracted from getting into trouble.” She stood and rinsed with the shower head. “Now, be a gentleman and hand me a towel, please.”
“Yes Ma’am.” With the towel stretched out between his arms he approached her and she allowed him to envelope her. “Did you have dinner?”
“I did; well late lunch with Eliane.” With a turn of her head, she kissed his cheek as he started drying her back. “We’re both so excited about her move to Shreveport and traveling. Thank you. But why do I need an assistant?”
Almost like they didn’t notice, Eric continued to dry Sookie – while she still wore her bikini. “For the charity; I think you’ll be very busy, especially at startup.” She looked to protest and he stopped her. “I know you haven’t decided on a charity., but Sookie, I know you. You don’t have many trusted friends and you and Eliane really hit it off. Can’t I do something like this for you without having an argument?”
Eric braced himself for the reaction to the statement but she surprised him. “That’s sweet Eric. Yes, yes you can do something and not get an argument. But once I’m ready to start up, she’ll be paid through my organization.”
“Fair enough.” Since he could see an outfit hanging on the back of the bathroom door, he started to back out. “I’ll leave you to change here while I grab a shower in the other bathroom.”
“Is my outfit OK?”
“OK for what?”
“For interrogating the Weres that tried to abduct me.”
“Sookie.” His tone was cautious. “I wasn’t planning to have you there.”
“Look, I know they’re going to be hurt and I don’t want to see that. Before that though, I’m pretty sure I can help.”
“No arguments about my hurting them?” His face expressed the shock he felt. “Who are you and what have you done with my Sookie?”
“Your Sookie didn’t know a Queen was after her. Your Sookie didn’t know she’d been duped into falling in love and giving away her virginity. Your Sookie watched humans choose to hurt and kill someone very special simply because he was different. Your Sookie lost her innocence Eric. When we’re away and safe, I’ll mourn that Sookie and try to come to terms with my life. For now though, I’m not letting my naiveté get me killed or enslaved.”
He stood catching flies with his mouth open for a moment before he replied. “I’ll miss a bit of the innocent Sookie, but this Sookie is equipped to handle the supernatural world. Since we learned from Godric that you are part of that world, it’s better this way. I wish you could have learned everything without being hurt in the process.”
“Me too. So I’m going?”
“Yes. I’ll have Thalia take you from the building when I mete out the punishment.” She simply nodded as he left the room.
“Miss Stackhouse, I didn’t expect to see you here.” At the warehouse, they were greeted by the Dallas Packmaster, Neal.
“They were trying to abduct me; I wanted to be here.” She moved in the warehouse where the men were chained to two chairs. “I want to question them personally.”
Eric offered. “Sookie will start then we can finish after she leaves with Thalia.” He guided Sookie over to a chair that Thalia had already placed in front of the two Weres.
Sookie was ready to start but since there were several in the room who should not know of her telepathy, she waited for Eric to have them removed. Once they had privacy she began.
“Where in Mississippi are you from? What Pack?” She made some notes.
“Were you to take me to Lorena directly?” Their eyes grew wide and she turned to Eric. “They were to hold me here in Dallas until Bill could come retrieve me.” She sighed. “Since they didn’t call to confirm they had me, they’re both sure Bill will know they don’t have me.”
Eric interjected. “That’s probably correct.”
Sookie asked Eric, “Now what?”
Eric and the Packmaster guided her through some additional questions until they had the information they needed. Neal would call the Packmaster in Richland, Mississippi to discuss why his Weres would never return and Eric would take care of the Weres personally since he was responsible for Sookie’s protection. The men had agreed to make this a Were issue ‘on the books’, and to keep Sookie out of it.
He escorted Sookie to Thalia, kissed her forehead and said he would be done in a few minutes. “I’d like to take longer but we both need to leave tonight.”
“I’ll see you soon.”
The softness of Eric’s expression ended as soon as he looked away from Sookie. When he turned to face the Weres there was no doubt of the anger he was ready to unleash. Unfortunately he hadn’t traveled with his sword; he’d need to settle for ripping them apart. Knowing Sookie wouldn’t want to see him full of blood; he took off his clothes and approached the Weres. “I wish I could take my time with you but I can’t. My Queen has called me to New Orleans. I’ll rip a few bits off then take your heads.” He cocked his head to the side. “Does that sound like a good plan?” Since he didn’t expect an answer he simply began. As he ripped their arms off, he snarled at them, “You tried to touch my future lover.” Blood spurted from their shoulders where their arms had been attached and Eric could feel his excitement at the action taking over his body. Next, he ripped off their legs and explained, “You were planning to walk off with her, so I’ll take your legs.” They were both screaming now and it was gratifying to Eric. Standing in front of them, he grabbed one by the head and before yanking he offered, “You dared to even look at her. Know this: I am unforgiving. Sookie is under my protection and anyone who attempts to harm her will be killed.” The Were still alive screamed as his cohort’s head flew across the room. To Eric, the Were’s fear was satisfying, so he paused a moment to enjoy it before ripping the second head off. As happened frequently in battle, Eric was hard from the blood and activity and he needed to will that down or handle it before he saw Sookie. He stood for a moment trying to call back the beast that had risen inside him.
The Packmaster brought him out of his thoughts. “I’ll take care of the clean-up Eric. There’s a shower in the back.”
He emerged from the warehouse, still dripping from the shower and ran to the car with Sookie and Thalia. Sookie got out to greet him. “Where to now Eric?”
“Now Thalia takes you somewhere. For security purposes, even I don’t know where you’re going. I’ll see you in a few days.”
Her lower lip quivered. “Already? I thought we had the night.”
“I have to go to the palace. We talked about it.” He also knew he needed to get away from her right at this moment. His temporary calm from his shower (and hand) would only last a short while.
“It didn’t sink in I guess. Will something happen to you at the palace?” Nervously, she was wringing her hands. “I mean, Bill might accuse you of something.”
“He will, but you don’t belong to him, nor did you when I attacked him. The Queen has already approved my leave; this meeting is to review details for the next few months while Pam is taking my place.” With a hand on her face he told her, “I will be fine.” Then he smirked. “Maybe you should kiss me in case.”
“Ever the opportunist.” She looked around. “And the setting is so romantic, parking lot of a warehouse where you killed a couple of Weres.” She could see he was about to interrupt but she stopped him. “Of course, you did kill them for me; that is kinda romantic.” She moved towards him and he backed up.
“You’re right.” Scoffing, he continued. “I was looking for the opportunity and that’s not the same as the right time. Sookie, all your firsts with romance . . . . I wish they had been what you deserved. If we move forward, every first will be perfect and memorable, and this place,” he spread his arms out, “isn’t first real kiss worthy.” Not to mention the fact that it could put him over the edge again and scare Sookie. “Besides, once we have that first real kiss? There will be no going back for me.”
Suddenly, Sookie couldn’t wait to move forward. “Eric, y . . . “ She choked out a sob, “you are perfect. I can’t wait to get to the island and see where we go.” Her thumb brushed over his lips while he wiped away her tears. “A small peck then we’ll go, because you are right. Once we have that first kiss we’ll be something other than friends.”
His answer was the small peck and a hug before he flew away. He kept to himself that to him, they were already something other than friends. Time was something she needed though, so he’d let her lead.
Sookie stared as long as she could still see Eric then she turned to Thalia. “Ok, where are we going?”
“I’ll tell you in the car.”
“Are we driving?”
“Yes, over two nights, we’ll be making a stop later this morning.”
“Since I can see you aren’t feeling too much like sharing, I’ll relax and trust you.”
“Sookie, I want to be out of the area and in a new car before we talk too much.” She even patted Sookie’s hand. “It’s for security I assure you.”
About 3:00 AM that morning, Thalia pulled up a driveway in the middle of nowhere and announced, “We are here.”
“Yes, I saw that on the road signs, but what’s this house?”
“A safe house for us and a place for your doctor’s appointment with Ludwig.”
She groaned out, “My favorite person.”
“She’s an excellent healer; liking her isn’t a requirement for that.”
Sookie got out and waited for Thalia to turn on some outside lights before taking a step. It was a moonless night; she couldn’t see a thing. The house was a cabin in the woods and obviously cared for by someone. On the porch to the left of the door, there was a swing and a neat stack of firewood. On the right side were two wooden rocking chairs. From her angled view of the property, it looked like the back of the property dropped off a bit. The place was charming. “Who owns this house? Did you rent it?”
“It’s one of Eric’s homes. He owns them all over the world in case he has need.”
“Makes sense. When will the doctor arrive?”
Thalia checked her watch before answering. “Within the hour. Time to get a fire going.” Thalia nodded to the kitchen. “Why don’t you get a snack while I grab some logs?”
“Sure, thanks Thalia.”
In only a few minutes, Thalia had a fire burning and Sookie sat in front of it with a sandwich she made in the small kitchen. With her charge seeming pretty comfortable, Thalia decided to start a discussion. “Sookie.”
“It can be hard to trust after what you’ve been through.’ Sookie looked at her blankly. “I’m certain that Eric has informed you of my history.”
She nodded. “The abuse we suffered was different but I believe the effect can be the same.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m sure Bill would have been even more violent if we hadn’t gotten you away,” Sookie nodded while a tear escaped; she was sure Thalia was correct. “His emotional abuse by his blood manipulation was severe. It is this abuse that I want to discuss.”
“I’m not sure I’m ready . . .”
Thalia put up her hand, “I didn’t phrase that correctly. I am here for you if you ever wish to discuss it. Eric is as well, but he wanted you to have a female option. I know you and Eliane are getting along; she won’t understand the blood tie aspect though.”
“Thank you Thalia. Godric spoke of something similar – well kinda.”
“What do you mean?”
“When we spoke about breaking my tie with Bill, he offered his blood so that I would never have doubts about Eric.” She laughed to herself. “After only knowing me a short while, Godric guessed correctly; I would have always wondered.”
“This way you don’t need to worry. Your feelings for Eric are your own.”
“You say that like I already have them; feelings for Eric I mean.”
“Do you not?” Thalia asked with a twinkle in her eye. “It’s pretty plain to see you both care greatly for one another. Take the time you need to be sure.”
“Yes, I . . .”
“What in the hell are you doing in the woods in Arkansas?”
The tiny doctor was exactly as Sookie remembered: rude. “Dr. Ludwig, thank you for traveling to see me.”
“I’m not here for thanks; your Viking is paying extra for this. On your back on the couch; let’s get started.”
“I appreciate your skill as a healer; but there’s no reason to be rude. I’m suggesting you could say please.”
“I’ll consider that. Can we get started?”
“Yes Doctor.” Sookie moved into position and was surprised when the doctor started with questions. “You had a significant amount of Godric’s blood?” Sookie confirmed that. “Did you have injuries that his blood then healed?” Again she said yes, but Ludwig wanted to know more. “Can you describe them?”
“I’d guess I had some bruising on my face from being backhanded. I also hit my head when I was pushed down the stairs but when I woke from that, it was only my wrist that hurt a little.” She shrugged. “All in all it was just bruises and minor cuts I would say.”
“Was there anything else? Were you violated in any way?”
“One guy tried, but the pencil I jabbed in his eye stopped him long enough for me to get his junk with my knee. I tied him up.”
Ludwig had been checking over Sookie while she listened to her answers. At hearing Sookie’s reply, she stilled her movements and stared at the girl, impressed with her bravery. The staring went on so long, Sookie started to fidget. Finally Ludwig commented, “You surprise me. I knew you were something special when you were poisoned by the maenad and you fought so bravely against that pain; now I know for sure.”
“Do you know what I am?” Sookie knew Thalia had been told so she didn’t worry about having the conversation in front of her.
“Part fairy. Godric told me. Apparently, he could taste it.”
The doctor’s next question surprised Sookie. “How long did the Northman last in the sun after having your blood?” Sookie actually started to panic. “Sookie, I knew you were part fairy, it wasn’t hard to put it all together. I’m not going to tell anyone; your lineage falls into patient/client privilege.”
The memory of the day had Sookie shaking as she spoke. “We ran to the van right away, he didn’t even try to see how long he’d last. It was all a bit upsetting.”
“Ok then. I can see you’re still upset. We can talk more about your fairy stuff later.” She pulled a needle out of her bag. “I need to take some blood.”
Sookie put her arm out and answered, “I expected that.”
Ludwig took the blood sample quickly and started packing up. “I’ll get back to you with the results. I have a feeling that you’ll need something to help remove the silver. Let me see what ratio of silver to blood you have and I’ll put together a plan.”
“Thank you Doctor.”
She was ready to pop away when she recalled what the girl had said earlier. “You are welcome Sookie.”
“Sookie, I need to rest soon but let’s talk about tomorrow night.” Sookie nodded for Thalia to continue. “We’ll be driving for a while then will take a private flight to the Bahamas. A seaplane will take us to Eric’s island.”
“Thalia, I knew that was the general plan, what aren’t you telling me?”
“Eric wants you there but occasionally you’ll stay in the guest house with me. He needs that time to work through some things; including anger. It would be better if you were not with him then.”
“I can understand that.”
“If you need him, you only need to call for him and he’ll come, at night of course. He wanted me to ensure you knew that.”
“I’ll be fine with you. I’ll cry on your shoulder about Bill and you’ll badmouth him appropriately. That’s what girlfriends do over boys.”
“I’ll certainly badmouth Bill but if you try to paint my nails anything but black I’ll kick your ass.”
Sookie woke at about 1:00 PM the next afternoon and looked out the window. Thalia had given her a tour before they both went to bed and she knew there was a lower porch that looked out onto the lake behind the house. Remembering that, she knew exactly where she wanted to have her breakfast or lunch or whatever she was having now. They’d purchased a few items to get Sookie through the day so she quickly toasted a bagel, brewed coffee, and headed to the porch. The view, the sounds of nature, the soft ripples on the water from the breeze were all heavenly, a little chilly, but still heavenly.
Though she ate quickly, she stayed put thinking about the last few days. So much had happened in so little time, she hadn’t stopped to consider all the changes in her life. First, she wanted to beat herself for complaining before Bill that her life was boring. With a chuckle out loud, she corrected herself though. Yes, her life was scarier and she’d learned some hard truths but could she really go back? She shook her head at the answer; probably never. Bill was simultaneously the worst and best thing that had ever happened to her. At the moment, there was no need to dwell on the worst parts but when she broke it down she realized she never would have met Eric or Godric if she hadn’t met Bill. Who knows if she ever would have discovered she was a fairy? Eric, she noted, had made the correct comment about her learning process – she needed to learn but Lord it had hurt too much. What she wanted to do, move on and forget the bad was going to take time. Time she had now with Eric’s help and the ridiculously large bank account she now controlled. That reminded her that she needed to talk with Sam; he wasn’t going to be happy about her decision to quit.
Some clouds floated in covering the sun and taking the last of the warmth so she decided to shower and get ready for Thalia’s rising. Before going to rest that morning, Thalia had told her she wanted to hit the road as soon as the sun set.
Once back in the car for night two of the road trip, Sookie turned to Thalia and asked, “Why didn’t we fly? We’ve spent a ton of time on the road.”
“Do you not like my company?” Thalia even smiled as she delivered her joke. “Even though we don’t have the usual check in process for a private flight; the flight paths are still recorded. Eric and I decided not to take the risk.”
“Makes sense. We’re headed to Jackson?”
“Yes, I am personal friends with the King of Mississippi, Russell Edgington, so we have some protection, well mostly, privacy, as we take off from his compound.”
“Wow – he has an airfield on the property?”
“Yes. He’s over 3000 years old and has been in Mississippi since it became a state. He’s accumulated some wealth.”
“Will we meet him?”
“No. This was arranged with his approval, but he won’t be available tonight to meet.”
“Well, since I won’t get to talk to him, I’ll need to continue picking your brain.”
“Pick away.” Thalia then giggled. “Wait, I think you could use a good story about Eric.”
“Well, now you have my attention.”
“Early 1700’s, we were in England. It was before he made Pam. Anyway, I’ll find a drawn picture I have, but imagine Eric with a powdered wig, justaucorps, and breeches.”
Sookie started laughing at the image in her head. “You have to get me that drawing.” She laughed out loud again. “Hey, why did men wear those wigs anyway?”
“Baldness was rampant in Europe late in the 16th century so wigs became a necessity.”
“Baldness from what?”
“Syphilis was spreading but without antibiotics that meant among other things; patchy hair loss.”
“That’s why? You’re kidding.”
“I’m not, I promise. Do you want to hear more?” Sookie smiled and nodded at Thalia. “I want to hear more about why you saved a picture. I don’t imagine you as sentimental.”
“I’ve have two boxes, so far, covering my life. Things I knew I wanted. They’re locked away.” She thought for a moment then continued. “Maybe after your vacation with Eric we can take a girl trip and I’ll share my memorabilia with you.”
“I would be honored.”
Three hours later Sookie and Thalia were taking off for the Bahamas using Russell Edgington’s private plane. “Can I get you a drink Ma’am?”
“Gin and Tonic please.”
Sookie reclined her chair and thought that she could get used to a little pampering.
Eric landed at the New Orleans palace of Sophie-Anne LeClerq having flown directly there from Dallas. He didn’t always fly this far on his own steam, but after taking care of the two Weres, it was a good way to work off his bloodlust. Checking the time, he realized he could stop in the donor lounge for some blood as well. While he wanted to drink only from Sookie, her silver-tainted blood and the current state of their relationship would prevent that for a while. His need for blood was probably going to be a difficult discussion when they were together. At his age, he could go five to seven days between donors so going off their island for blood occasionally would be a necessity.
After greeting the guards outside, he was permitted in the donor area, made his selection and quickly swallowed a few mouthfuls. Pam arrived while he was there so they met outside the throne room and waited to be called.
Seeing Compton sitting smugly next to the Queen wasn’t a surprise at all. Eric expected the whiner to run to Sophie-Anne and complain about Dallas. He and Pam bowed at the Queen and Eric greeted her. “Your Majesty.”
“Eric, I’ve overturned Bill’s ejection from your area. He’s my appointed investigator and that overrides your authority on whether he can live in your area or not.”
Again, Eric expected this. “I understand your Majesty.”
“Now, before we cover what will happen while you are on leave, we have your punishment to discuss.”
“Punishment for what my Queen?” Again, he suspected this was in response to his beating of Bill, but he waited until the Queen offered her explanation before saying anything.
“You wounded my investigator and took his property.” She paused to hold up the paper in her hands. “According to this complaint, you punched him enough to practically liquefy his eye, broke his jaw, and injured his scrotum. For this attack, you’ll be subjected to a week of corporal punishment here then you may begin your leave. You’ll also need to return the girl to Bill.”
“My Queen, I clearly don’t understand. I am permitted to protect assets in my retinue, am I not?”
“Correct, but . . .”
Eric put his hand up. “With all due respect your Majesty, may I have the chance to clarify? I’m certain Bill has given you his version of events. I merely wish to check the facts.”
Sophie-Anne gave Bill a sideways glance that spoke volumes. Her guess was Bill had embellished, but it would come down to Eric and Bill’s versions. So she could turn this to her favor and obtain the telepath, she’d twist it towards Bill. She hoped her investigator hadn’t left anything out. With a sigh she exclaimed, “If you are unwilling to simply admit that your petty jealousy over a pet is what caused this and take your deserved punishment, I will indulge you to hear your story. Though honestly, at 1000 years old you’d think you’d be over playground arguments like this.” She sighed dramatically again. “Go on Northman.”
With difficulty, Eric refrained from rolling his eyes. “Thank you for the indulgence your Majesty. As I was saying, I protect those in my retinue and Ms. Stackhouse was in my retinue at the time of this incident. I’m certain Bill informed you of her talent so I ensured I secured her as quickly as possible. Since Ms. Stackhouse is quite naïve and ignorant of the supernatural world, I decided to take the process of securing her in stages. Before heading to Dallas, Ms. Stackhouse and I had – with Bill’s knowledge – a verbal work agreement. For her assistance in going into the Fellowship, she was being paid by me, the sum of $10,000. After she returned from being held and almost killed by the Fellowship of the Sun, I heard Bill strike her. I was within my rights to protect her while she was working for me.”
“If she did not have a vampire master I would agree – but you cannot protect a pet from a master’s punishment.”
“If Bill was in fact her master at that time, I would agree with you.”
Sophie-Anne’s eyes grew wide and she gave Bill a scathing look; a look that caused him to shrink back for the first time since Eric walked into the throne room. Eric kept his smirk to himself; Bill hadn’t told the Queen that his blood had been erased. With fury, Sophie-Anne turned back to Eric and ordered, “EXPLAIN!”
“In order to heal her from injuries sustained while being held by the Fellowship of the Sun, my maker, Godric, gave her blood. Her connection to Bill was gone via blood and she announced that she did not want to be owned by Bill. Bill even confirmed it when he said she belongs to no vampire.” He turned to look at Bill. “Isn’t that right, Bill?”
The Queen also turned to Bill. “Well?”
“I did not willingly give up my blood. Sookeeh is still mahen!”
“Enough Bill. Northman proved his point. No punishment will be issued against him as he was protecting a member of our retinue.” She smiled back at Eric quickly deciding on her next move. “So Eric, let’s get this Ms. Stackhouse here and put her under contract for the state.”
Eric didn’t miss the words ‘our’ and ‘state’ in her request and that would put her under Sophie-Anne’s ownership. He gave a rueful smile in return and countered, “My Queen, there is no need for that. I have already secured her via contract as part of my personal retinue. I have a copy of it here; Desmond has the original if you need it.” He removed the paper from his pocket. “This provides the details for making use of her talent. Since I am always to be with her when working, the earliest she will be available is after my leave.”
“Page 3. She is available for hire, but I must be with her. Well, that’s not entirely true, I can assign a designate, but at this time I choose not to.”
“Where is the telepath? I want her for testing and I want her to live here.”
“Your Majesty, this executed contract deems her as part of my personal retinue. She lives where I live; even if I leave the state.”
“I’m bringing this up to the Council. You will ensure I can contact you while you are gone. For now though, I want her tested and I’m delaying your leave until she is brought here for that.”
“I don’t know where she is.”
“You let her go?” The queen couldn’t hide her anger at the moment.
“Your majesty, the events in Dallas were disturbing. I have granted her leave since I knew I would be away myself. She has been given guards and left with one from Dallas. I don’t even know the destination.”
“The name of her guard?”
“Thalia.” Eric answered and the Queen knew she was screwed. Not even her older children could take down Thalia.
The Queen was quiet while she thought through his leave request and the other information. She wanted that telepath and she would find a way to have her. Perhaps when Eric’s leave was over he would return to find he was reassigned to New Orleans so the telepath would be as close as she wanted. The six months her Sheriff had requested was too long though, she’d cut that in half.
“You applied for a six month leave; I’m approving three months. If you do not return, I will hold Pamela here in silver until you do. Compton will serve as her second while you are out of the state. Now go!” She waved them away with her hand. “Ensure I have the plans for the next three months before you leave the palace.”
Though it galled him to say it, he bowed and thanked the Queen for his leave. The next two hours were painful as he had to sit with Bill who whined and disagreed with every plan they made for the next three months. His child would need a huge reward when this was all over since she was bearing the brunt of the work for him while he was gone. Bill deflected almost every task that could have been assigned to him as Pam’s temporary second. After trying to convince him twice, Eric and Pam gave up knowing his whining would extend the meeting time. Eric’s patience was almost at its end and Pam knew it. He simply had to get away and explode in solitude. A private plane was waiting for him in New Orleans that would get him to the Bahamas; he needed to get to the airfield. If he was still stuck in the palace at sunrise, he’d miss an entire day.
Pam worked hard to get through the plan feeling the anxiousness from Eric. She already knew she would be staying in the palace for the day; her concern was for her maker and well, anyone in the area if he didn’t get out of here. Finally, they agreed to every item that needed to be covered on the list. Eric didn’t even wait for the presentation to the Queen; he grabbed the bags Pam packed for him and headed to the airport. His alone time, his time with Sookie, and most importantly, his time to grieve were only a few hours away now.