Sookie stretches like a cat as she slowly regains consciousness. A grin spreads across her face as she opens her eyes to see Eric lying next to her. He is perfectly still in his daytime rest. Sookie leans on her side, propping her head in her hand. This is the first time she has ever been able to look her fill at Eric without him noticing. His face looks more youthful in his rest and his perfect body rivals that of any statue. The sheet covering them clings to his hips. Sookie is tempted to lift the sheet so she can continue her visual exploration, but her human needs are making themselves known. With a sigh, she leans up to kiss Eric’s lips and then rolls out of bed.
After using the facilities and washing her hands, Sookie comes back in the bedroom looking for something to wear. Her dress from last night is not an option. She moves over to the dresser and opens one of the drawers. Inside she finds Eric’s tank tops. She slides one on her body; it will do until she can get back to her room. Giving her Viking one last lingering kiss, she grabs her shoes and ruined clothing and returns to her hotel room. Thankfully, she can tell Jason is still sleeping. She goes to her bedroom, dropping the ruined dress and shoes in the trash. Her next move is to the bathroom, where she turns the shower on. She strips off her borrowed shirt and stands under the shower spray, letting the hot water soothe her muscles. She hurries through her shower, and wraps a fluffy towel around her body and winds one around her hair.
Grabbing the moisturizer, Sookie begins rubbing lotion on her skin. She notices that her skin feels softer and that she does not have any cuts or bruises on her. Her tan even looks like it has taken on a darker sheen. As she puts moisturizer on her face, she finds that her complexion is clear and smooth. She pulls the towel off her hair; it is longer than it was yesterday. Using the blow dryer, she takes the time to straighten her hair. Once her hair is dry, she notices that her hair is both lighter and fuller.
She grins at her reflection. Vampires could make a killing opening up spas that would use their blood to rejuvenate people’s appearance. Hollywood would probably be the biggest client. She would have to remember to suggest that to Godric or Eric.
Sookie hears a phone ringing while in the bathroom. It must be Jason’s cell phone. Another perk of vampire blood is improved hearing. She moves into the closet to pick out an outfit for the day. She would like to spend some time with Godric and Isabel that doesn’t involve rescue attempts, explosions, or destruction. Dropping the towel on the closet floor, she grabs a matching set of undergarments. She quickly slides them in place, smiling as she thinks about how Eric will enjoy taking them off her later. She grabs a pair of dark blue jeans and puts them on.
“Sookie?” Jason’s voice calls her name quietly from her bedroom door.
“Just a minute,” she calls out while slipping her head through the opening of her pink tank top. She slides on a pair of matching pink flip-flops and walks out of the closet.
She finds Jason sitting on her bed. His shoulders are slumped and he is covering his face with his hands. She can’t make anything out in his thoughts; all she senses is sorrow. She moves quickly to the bed, sitting next to Jason and puts her hand on his shoulder. He pulls his face away from his hands. His eyes are red from the tears he is crying. He grabs her in a hug, squeezing her tightly to him. Sookie is finally able to make out one thought from Jason’s mind.
“No,” she whispers brokenly and begins sobbing against his shoulder.
Later that evening, Eric smiles as he comes back to life. His pleasure is short-lived when he realizes Sookie is not in the room with him. He probes their fledgling bond to find her, but he cannot feel her clearly. Eric picks up his cellphone to dial Sookie, but it goes straight to voice mail. Reaching for the phone on the nightstand, he dials the extension for her room, but there is no answer. He calls down to the concierge desk demanding answers.
“Good evening, Mr. Northman. How may I be of service this evening?”
“Do I have any messages this evening? Perhaps one from Miss Stackhouse,” Eric’s voice is harsh. He snarls in frustration as he waits impatiently for the overly cheerful human to answer him.
“I do not have any messages here, sir. However, Miss Stackhouse did check out of the hotel late this afternoon.”
“Do you know where she was going?” Why did she leave is all Eric can think about while the simple human on the other end of the phone takes their time answering.
“I do not know sir. I do know that she arranged for a car to take her and Mr. Stackhouse to the airport.” Eric slams down the phone while the irritating human continues speaking.
Eric vamps to the bathroom. He quickly showers, dries off, and then vamps to his closet to get dressed for the evening. He pauses because he can smell Sookie in here. He breathes her scent in and it soothes his frazzled state. He dresses quickly in jeans, a sweater, and boots. He is getting ready to leave his room when he feels his maker call through their bond. Godric’s call is urgent, so Eric does not delay in making his way to the penthouse.
Isabel is waiting at the door of the penthouse so that Eric can enter. Nothing seems amiss with Isabel, which gives Eric some comfort. If something was wrong with Sookie, Isabel would not be calm about it. Eric enters the suite and the smell of sex assaults his nose. He raises an eyebrow at Isabel as she walks past him, and she tries to ignore him but ends up smirking as she sits down on the couch. Eric is about to question her when the door of the bedroom opens and Godric walks out.
His maker is wearing a black suit, black shirt, and black tie, all he needs is a fedora to look like a mobster. Eric bows his head to his maker as a sign of respect. “Godric, you called me?”
“Yes my child. Are you feeling any effects from the silver bullets last night?” Godric gestures for Eric to sit.
“No. My little bullet sucker did the trick,” Eric says with a grin on his face. It quickly fades as he asks, “Where is Sookie? I do not feel her close by.”
Pain flashes across Godric’s face, and Eric stiffens in dread. “She has returned to Louisiana. She is needed in Bon Temps.” Godric reaches inside his suit jacket and pulls an envelope out of his pocket. “She left this with me earlier. It is for you.” Godric hands the envelope to Eric. Before Eric can open it, Godric continues speaking, “She said she was sorry to leave like she did, but they wanted to be on the first available flight back to Louisiana. I offered them the use of one of the private planes tonight if they would wait for the rest of us, but they were in a hurry to leave. Once you read the note, you will understand why.”
Eric tears the envelope and pulls out the short note from Sookie. He can smell saline on the paper which means she was crying as she wrote this. His eyes skim over of the few lines she had written and his eyes widen. He looks at his maker in horror. “How soon can we leave for Louisiana?”
“Go pack your things. We need to stop at Stan’s compound to let him know we are leaving. I do not wish to leave him with the burden of the fallout from the Fellowship and the bombing, but it cannot be helped. Sookie needs us with her.”
Bill’s eyes open slowly as he awakens for the evening. He wishes he was unconscious because the pain is excruciating. He has lost track of time since being abducted by his maker.
Why is she back in his life after all these years? She had released him decades ago. He knew it was not a decision she had wanted to make, but the alternative was that he would meet his True Death. He supposed he had Sophie-Anne to thank for Lorena’s reappearance in his life. Demanding restitution from his maker in addition to what he had to give was ludicrous. Sophie-Anne really was desperate for money if she was resorting to this tactic.
Bill had not learned much from Lorena during his recent stay with her. He does not know exactly where he is; he only knew that the car ride had lasted about three hours. Bill knew they could not still be in the state of Louisiana; Sophie-Anne had banished Lorena from the state years ago. The only possible options were Texas, Arkansas, or Mississippi.
The door to the room flings open and Lorena storms in. Bill knows she is enraged about something. He braces himself for the latest round of Lorena’s form of “tough love” as she calls it.
Lorena stalks to the table in the room and reaches for a pair of leather gloves. She slips the gloves on as she looks at Bill. He is staked out on the floor of her basement, silver chains securing him to the ground. His body is covered in cuts of varying sizes and depths from the silver daggers she had used on his skin. Lorena has not allowed him to feed, so he is not healing from the wounds she had inflicted.
Lorena kneels on the floor near Bill’s head. Her hands caress his face lovingly. “My dearest William, I was wrong to free you all those years ago. It seems that you were not ready to be on your own. You see, you now find yourself in a situation you cannot possibly hope to get out of.” She moves from her knees back to the table. She picks up a thin scalpel and turns to look at him.
“I was in Dallas the other night, and I met your Miss Stackhouse,” Lorena says contemptuously. “I don’t see what all the fuss is about; she’s not that attractive and she is quite rude. I saw no evidence of the special talents you claim she has. The only thing I found noteworthy is that she is protected by Godric. You really have bitten off more than you can chew.” She crosses to his body and begins slicing into cuts that have healed over, forcing them to bleed again. Bill cries out in pain as Lorena jabs the scalpel between two of his ribs and leaves it there.
“You see, my darling,” she continues as she selects a different tool from her table of torture devices, “you are going to need my help if you are going to procure that creature for Sophie-Anne. I am going to take great pleasure in watching that bloodbag bleed,” Lorena says as her fangs slide out.
Halfway around the world, an elderly woman sits by a window with her head resting against the glass. She cannot see what is through the window. She has not been able to see with her eyes in many centuries. She supposes that being blind is what makes her able to see the truth so clearly.
She hears the sound of footsteps in the hallway, and then a brief knock at the door before a woman enters. “Milady, it is time,” the woman says quietly.
The Ancient Pythoness turns her head towards her assistant and sighs sadly. “It is a shame that a time of great joy is tarnished with great sadness. I have envisioned this for many years; my eternal light bonding with my progeny’s progeny. It is supposed to be a happy time; the two lines of my family are finally joining as one.” The Ancient Pythoness rises to her feet and glides over to her assistant. She takes the assistant’s arm and they walk out of the villa to the waiting car.
Once settled in the car, the assistant turns to her employer, “Milady, I have verified that your flight will land in Louisiana with several hours to spare. I have arranged a car service to drive us the rest of our destination.”
The Ancient Pythoness waves off her assistant’s words. “There is no need for the car service. I have made my own arrangements for the last leg of my journey. And you will not be coming with me, my dear. I need you to stay in the hotel in New Orleans. It must look as if I am in the city on business. We must keep that gold-digging child of a queen distracted. I do not want her to cause any problems for my family in the next few days. They deserve to grieve in peace.”
“I am sorry for your loss, Ma’am,” the assistant says sincerely.
The Ancient Pythoness smiles sadly. “I am used to loss my dear child. It is the one thing that has been constant through the years.” She sighs as she stares off in to space and sighs. “Still, I shall miss her. Adele Stackhouse was one hell of a lady.”