I could have just left. I should have just left. Instead I decided to fly up to Sookie’s bedroom window to see her reaction. Oh yes! She will be mine and soon. I managed to dodge out of the way before she saw me, there’s a fine line between seduction and stalking. I admire the driveway I bought her as I make my way back to my safe house, shit! I still haven’t called this Hallow character; I take out the card and dial the number
“This is Hallow.”
“Northman. What do you want to speak to me about?”
“I require” not request? Require? “A meeting with you. I have a proposition to ensure the survival of your business.”
“That sounds like a threat. I do not take threats lightly.”
“Take it whichever way you like vampire. I want a meeting, face to face, where I can outline my demands.”
“Saturday 10pm at Fangtasia.”
I end the call. I’ll need to speak to Pam more about this. I do not know who the hell this woman is but if she thinks it is fine to demand and threaten a 1,000 year old vampire she had better have great power either that or she is mad as a hatter and has a death wish.
Bored. I’ve been waiting in an empty room for a lifetime, okay really just 10 minutes but it feels like a lifetime. It’s a nice room, a little flashy, lots of gilded furniture and a pool in the middle. It smells of blood and sex so it must gets used a lot. The huge French doors at one end are opened and a female vampire struts towards me, followed by two male vampires and a human girl. She sits on a chaise longue and beckons me forwards
“So Jessica. You’re Bill’s child?”
“Delightful” she grins and wrinkles her nose “He’s gone on assignment to South America. Bill is loyal to me above all others, you should be too. I can be your best friend or your worst enemy – take your pick.”
“Uh” this bitch is scary, there’s no doubt that she’s the Queen “Friend.”
“Excellent. Now I understand you were punished by your Sherriff for … slipping up. Have you learned your lesson?”
“Yes.” I muttered under my breath about Sookie ratting me out.
“It was Miss Stackhouse who told him about your Trucker fetish?”
“No, she just told him about me coming home covered in blood.”
“You think that the Sherriff’s asset was wrong to report possible infractions in his area?”
“What? No! Well I thought she was my friend.”
“Vampires don’t have friends. We have minions and associates, children and pets.” When she said pets the blonde girl sat at her feet and smiled up lovingly “How were you punished?”
“Pam broke every bone in my body.”
“That’s all? They went easy on you. You will stay here for a few days, I want to ensure you know when to stop feeding, how to glamour and how not to get into a mess like that again.”
“Wow! That would be …”
“I’m not finished.” Cold, cold, eyes, I shut my trap. “In return for this kindness you will be my eyes and ears in Bon Temps. Allegedly, the Stackhouse girl has lost her mental gift. Whether it’s a ruse or real, I want to know if it makes a reappearance.”
“You want me to … spy … on her?”
“Yes! You will perhaps be more effective than Bill.” Huh? “She already knows you; you’re ‘friends’ to some extent…”
“Well … uh … not so much. I kinda ran off at the mouth the last time I seen her.”
“Well it’s not too much of a stretch to say I set you right and apologise for anything you said is it?”
“No, no ma’am. What was it you were saying about Bill?”
“I’ll explain later. Have you fed?”
“I had a Trueblood on the way here.”
“Ugh!” she snaps her fingers and a line of humans are led into the room. “Take your pick! After we eat we can play Yahtzee!”
I nod mutely. Yahtzee?
I don’t know if it’s her telepathy that makes her unable to be glamoured or something else, but everything would have been so much easier if glamouring were possible. Oh Bill, Bill, Bill, I could see from the look in his eyes that he was planning to try and weasel his way back into the Stackhouse girls good books. Idiot. I’ve been a vampire for a long, long time, but even I know that if you hurt a human woman the way he has there’s no coming back. And rightfully so. I think I’d have even less respect for her if she blindly took back a man who almost killed her in a jealous rage, I’ll be asking plenty of questions about Bill when I see her.
The fact that he mistreated Jessica would give them a common thing to bond over; she told me all about her broken neck. He’s hurt them both physically and human women love to yap and complain about ex-boyfriends however little they’ve done. Also if Bill isn’t around, Jessica may have a better chance of finding out what the Northman’s interest is in the little telepath. Yes, Jessica will be a better spy. Never send a boy to do a woman’s job.
Eric came back after only being gone for 2 hours and called me to his office. I cut a path through the dwindling crowd of drunken tourists and desperate fangbangers. I can feel that he’s pissed and I’m guessing that he’s called Hallow to set up the meeting.
“You didn’t take long, did she reject you again?”
“Not quite” he smirked “I didn’t want to speak to about that though. What exactly do you know about Hallow?”
“Well if you’d stuck around earlier then you’d already know …”
“Fine! Fine! She’s a Were and she’s a witch and she’s been very friendly with Yvetta.”
“Comforting her when you upset her kind of friendly. I think she’s been using Yvetta to get information on the club … and you.”
“She insists on only speaking with me. Face to face. I don’t trust witches and I trust Were’s even less than that. I’ve arranged for her to be here at 10pm on Saturday.”
“Do you think that’s wise?”
“It’s always wise to find out what someone wants before you kill them for asking for it. I want you to dig up whatever you can, if there’s anything to dig up. I doubt ‘Hallow’ is this woman’s real name, get as much as possible from Yvetta.” I nod and decide to broach the subject of our other visitor last night.
“Why was Andre here?”
“The Queen doesn’t believe that Sookie lost her telepathy. I’ll be taking her to New Orleans on Friday night to be … assessed.”
“How on earth will they assess whether someone can read thoughts or not?” He just looked at me; okay Pam question time is over. “Do you want something to eat? I can call Yvetta back here if you’d like?”
“Most definitely not. Are there any … blondes at the bar?”
I roll my eyes and point out the Pamela Anderson wannabee who’s been skulking around the vamps all night. She didn’t have any visible fang marks but that didn’t count for much. The look on Eric’s face told me she wasn’t the type of blonde he was looking for but he summoned her anyway. The sooner he fucks the telepath and gets it out of his system then better.
The more time I spent with Yvetta the more aware I became of how unhinged she was. She didn’t just love this vampire, she was obsessed with him. So much so that I had to reconsider which spell to cast. It was obvious from observing their behaviour and interactions at Fangtasia that her ‘affections’ weren’t returned. Northman played to his reputation, a cold vampire who could have any woman with a click of his fingers. Time to put that reputation to the test
The dancer still thinks I’ll be performing a love spell, the original magic I had in mind would have made him see no-one but the one who held his heart and forget about all others. There’s no way that would work now, I’d had my brother help me scour our spell book for the perfect thing. This was no easy feat; we had to look into the possible ramifications of every potion or incantation. If he wasn’t so damn popular with the ladies it would be easier.
“I told you not to call me that!”
“Fine. Are you sure messing with his memories is the way to go?”
“In the event he rejects my demands we need him pliable. We need someone who can control him. If he doesn’t really know who he is all we have to do is find him and he’ll give me anything I want.”
“What about ‘Heart’s Desire’?”
“He could end up anywhere in the world with that one. We need him local; we somehow need to use his power over women against him.”
“Do vampire’s dream?” Mark pointed out the curse to me. Interesting.
“I’m not sure. Find a test subject, we could twist it if need be but we’ll have to work fast.”
All day and night Thursday I was a mess. I was nervous about my summons from the Queen, and the thought of being alone in a car with Eric after last night didn’t do much to quell the butterflies either. Whether it was the kiss or his blood, my dreams were getting more vivid and detailed. When I woke up with a familiar throbbing in my private places I immediately headed for a cold shower. It didn’t work too well, it only made me think about the fact that the last week or so was possibly the longest I’d gone without sex since Bill took my virginity.
Sam was pissed off that I’d been called out of town by vampires again, but when I told him it was to prove I’d lost my mind reading so they could leave me the hell alone he calmed down a little. Tara was also not impressed with my trip, mostly because it was Eric who was taking me. She had tolerated Bill – just, but Eric she just didn’t have any time for.
Tara had noticed the amount of orders I was goofing up and my jumpy mood and had offered to keep me company after work. We got some take out and settled in front of the TV to watch a DVD she had brought over.
“Legally Blonde? Really Tara?”
“It’s fun, you don’t have to concentrate on the story and there’s no vampires in it.”
“I see your point.” Although with Tara now dating a vampire I was sure the subject would come up later, I decided to ask about it now rather than put it off “How are things with Franklin?”
“Good.” I could see her dark skinned cheeks colour a little.
“Have you … y’know.”
“Sookie I’m not a nun of course we’ve had sex!”
“Do you let him bite you? I can’t see any marks.”
“He bites but he said if he rubs blood in the wounds they won’t scar so I let him.” My eyes widen with the knowledge that Franklin has managed to get his blood in Tara’s system somehow.
“Did he tell you what the blood does?”
“Sure he told me all about it. Don’t you worry about me shug, I’m fine and we’ll not mention vampires or blood or any of that shit again for the rest of the night!”
I was surprised she was okay with all of the things vampire blood can do, and I wondered if Franklin had really told her everything or if he was like Bill and only told her certain things. I didn’t want to bring it up now and ruin our girlie night but I would definitely be keeping a closer eye on her. The food was gone, the movie was finished and I was dead beat.
“Well Tara, thanks for keeping me occupied but I should get some shut eye!”
“Sure, I don’t know how you can sleep on a mattress on the floor though!”
“My bed got built, no more catching ‘z’s’ on the floor for me!”
“Did Jason come and do that by his own self? I told him ta wait until Laffy could help ‘im!”
“Uh … no. Eric did it, last night when he came to tell me about going to New Orleans I got talking about how busy I’d been and he just … offered to build it for me.”
“Nothing to do with him getting in your bedroom huh?”
“It wasn’t like that Tara! Well he kissed me but then he ran off, that was the only thing that happened.”
“I asked Franklin if he’d heard of him. He says he’s mighty powerful round these parts so you just watch your back you hear?”
“I know Tara, I know. I just need to get through tomorrow night and then they’ll leave me alone for good.”
She nodded and kissed me on the forehead before taking her leave. I made my way upstairs, I had managed to switch to an afternoon shift to accommodate my trip and remembered Eric saying something about booking a hotel room in case we couldn’t make it back north before sunrise. I threw a few things in a bag, fingering the lingerie I had bought on a whim hoping to model it for Bill when we got back from Dallas.
Wait! What if he only booked one room? Sure I’d kind of shared a room with him in Jackson but I was injured and not exactly thinking clearly and I didn’t really sleep because I was hopped up on Eric’s blood. Did he expect me to share a bed with him? I had a brief notion to put the lingerie in my bag before shaking those thoughts right out of my head! Stupid sexy Viking, getting all touchy feely in my dreams! I wondered if he knew I was having the dreams, maybe he was actually influencing them? I stuffed the lingerie to the back of the drawer and closed it before I had any more unconscious packing ideas.
Contrary to popular belief, vampires fantasise as much as humans, perhaps more as our thought processes are more advanced. Fantasising about Sookie as I waited for sunrise had become somewhat of a hobby of mine since meeting her. It started simply enough, taking her in that virginal dress while Bill was forced to watch, licking the blood from her body after Longshadow was staked, fucking her on my throne in front of a full club but all that was before Dallas. Since I tricked her into sucking those bullets out the images have been … new, not based on events or places that I’m familiar with. I’m also a completely different vampire to what I usually show to Sookie; as if she’s uncovered a part of me I didn’t know was there.
I’m aware that these fantasies take place at a time when Sookie is asleep and when I check on her feelings they seem to match what I am feeling whether it’s lust, contentment, amusement. This is an odd development, I’ve never heard of anything like this happening when a vampire donates blood to a human. It’s common for the human to dream of the vampire but for some reason I cannot help but suspect that my fantasies and her dreams are joined somehow and since giving her so much blood in Jackson they have become more detailed, the feelings and sensations are sharper.
This wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t spend my entire day-death hard as stone resulting in great frustration upon waking. We have an entire car journey tomorrow night, a few hours just the two of us. Dreams are a common subject to converse on; I need to know how often she dreams of me and what those dreams are about before I consult my private library. I walk into Fangtasia and work on the books until Pam and Chow arrive, I can hear the human staff thumping around setting up the bar. My concentration is tested by clacking heels headed towards the office; I don’t even need to look up to know that it’s Yvetta
“I saw you leaving with that blonde bitch last night.”
“Who I spend time with is not your concern. We have been over this before.” I continue to work and ignore her presence, ten minutes later she is still standing in front of my desk. “You have customers to entertain Yvetta; I suggest you get to work. You are already walking on thin ice with your employment here.”
“You’re a pig!”
“Yes. I’ve heard that one before.”
She turns on her heel and makes the mistake of bumping against Pam on her way out, she’ll pay for that one later I’m sure.
“Eric you need to deal with her. Last night when I was … interviewing her about the witch she came across as being completely psychotic.”
“She’ll be fired once we work out what the witch is using her for. What did you find out?”
“Nothing much. Hallow is a ghost, no info whatsoever, she never lets her call on the same number twice, always meets her in abandoned buildings. All I managed to get was that somehow the witch was going to convince you to practically marry Yvetta in return for her giving Hallow some financial stats.”
“I see. We’ll just have to play it by ear on Saturday night then. Shall we enthral some vermin my child?”
“Only if I get to kick someone.” And that was the first and last time I smiled until I got to my light tight chamber and thought about Sookie.
I woke up hot and sweaty – again. My lips felt bruised as if all the kissing in my dream had actually happened. I decided to clean to try and take my mind off things, but by the time I had made and eaten breakfast, showered and dressed I only had an hour before I had to leave for work. Not nearly enough time to get into some serious mind blanking cleaning. I gave in, laid on the bed and tried to bring myself some relief. I failed miserably, the whole time I was thinking of Eric no matter how hard I tried not to.
By the time I got to Merlotte’s I was angry and frustrated, it showed in my attitude to the customers as my tips were practically non-existent. Sam and Tara put it down to my nerves about going to New Orleans. As I half placed/half threw Jason and Hoyt’s chicken wings on the table, Hoyt gently placed a hand on my arm
“Hey Sook, Jess called me last night. She said she’d been a bitch to you before she left, she feels real bad about it and she’s worried you won’t be her friend when she comes home.”
“It’s okay; I understand why she was upset. I feel kinda bad about it too. I guess we’ll just need to have a long chat when she comes back and take it from there.”
Hoyt smiled and nodded, it was quiet so I sat and passed some time with him and Jason then busied myself refilling the ketchup bottles and stocking all the tables with sugar sachets between seeing to my tables. The closer it got to my finishing time, the more nervous I got. By the time I was throwing my dirty apron on the laundry pile I’d dropped 2 pitchers of beer and had screamed when Maxine Fortenberry had called me over for a refill on her Mountain Dew.
I wasn’t sure when I’d get to eat next so I had a big dinner and paced until sunset. I had planned on napping but there was no way that would happen, not with the mood I was in.
I can feel Sookie’s anxiety before I hit the turn off for Bon Temps, if I can’t get her to calm down this could be very, very bad. I park at the front but go to the back door and knock politely. The door is wrenched open and Sookie is there smiling but her eyes show how nervous she really is. I ask for her bags and motion for her to follow me to the car; I throw the things in the trunk as she’s locking up noticing a brief glimpse of joy at our bags side by side ready for a trip. Perhaps when things have quietened I could convince her to come away with me for a few days.
I open the passenger door for her and watch her fumble with the seatbelt as I make my way around the car. Sitting in the enclosed space I notice she doesn’t smell like her sweet self – she smells of fear, that means the first thing I have to do before attempting to ask about dreams is try to put her at ease about what will happen at the Queens residence. I start the car and drive towards the interstate much faster than she is obviously used to
“Sookie, I know you’re nervous, will it help if I tell you what you can expect in New Orleans?”
“Yes! That would be very helpful because I’m not sure how they’re gonna do this … test or assessment or whatever. Are they gonna put probes in my ears or hook me up to wires?”
“No.” I don’t care if she’s looking like she wants to kill me – I laugh. “I’m not supposed to tell you this but you will be interviewed in a room full of humans. I imagine that they will be pets of the Queen and her entourage and they will be instructed to think they’re most dark and deviant thoughts.”
“Is that all? I mean since I had your blood my shields have been super strong so I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”
“Good. You will be asked questions too, they will try to unnerve you, make you slip up, lose concentration.”
“Okay, well I’ll do my best. Will you be there or will you be sent away somewhere?”
“I will ask to stay, as much as you dislike the term you are an asset of my area therefore I have every right to ensure your safety.” She nodded; her eyes seemed to have less fear in them but there was still some there “So have you noticed any other changes since you took my blood?”
“What do you mean? What do you know Eric? What aren’t you telling me?” She’s leaning across the seat in anger, which I didn’t expect.
“Calm down. As far as taking a vampires blood goes you know it all. Increased libido, nicer skin, hair, nails, I can feel what you feel, find you if you’re in trouble and your sexual attraction to me has been heightened.”
“Heightened? What about created out of nothing!”
“Not possible, there has to be something there to build on.” Oh that shut her up! “Anything I missed out?”
“What about the dreams?” Excellent, now I won’t have to work it into the conversation.
“Funny you should ask about them Sookie. Do you dream of me often?”
She scowls at me “You know how often! Don’t even try to tell me you’re not controlling them!”
This is something I’ve never been accused of before, it’s very amusing but Sookie doesn’t appreciate my light heartedness “Sookie, I can’t control your dreams. No-one can do that. From your reaction I can only assume that you are … unhappy with these dreams. Why don’t you tell me a little about them, they say that dreams can go far to identifying hidden sides of a person’s personality.”
“Well ‘they’ can say whatever the hell they like! The only thing that’s obvious from my dreams is the increased libido mojo your blood causes!”
“They are sexual dreams? All of them?”
“What? No! I’m not talking to you about this anymore!”
“So they aren’t always sexual? I’d like to hear about them …”
“Look we just talk okay!” she took a deep breath and rubbed her hands over her face “Sometimes – a lot of times, we just … talk.”
“Sookie, I will ask you this once and I expect the truth.” She looks scared again, I don’t want her to be scared, I just need answers “When we talk, are we in a bed with white sheets?”
“Yes. How did you know that if you aren’t … hey! Are you dreaming too?”
“Not entirely no. Vampires don’t dream but my imagination does tend to … keep me occupied before I rest. Why am I a big faker Sookie?”
“There’s love in you” it was barely whispered but I heard as loud as if she had screamed it in my ears. I knew she had the answers, far from my fantasies controlling her dreams it seemed her dreams were controlling my fantasies. What is she? The telepathy, the bravery and I might not have brought it up but the flashing white light that sent Lorena to her final death will be spoken of soon.
“We will speak more of this another time Sookie. Let’s just get through whatever the Queen has planned for you.” Her shocked expression reflected back from the dark windscreen, her hands frozen on her thighs. I reached over and placed my cold hand over her warm one. She looked at my fingers and turned her hand palm up, threading her digits through my own and whispered once more
“This is the beginning.”