Using the time until the sun sets, Eric leaves messages with Pam and Jessica apprising them of the attack on the farmhouse and Sookie’s abduction. He orders them to look after Sookie’s brother to make certain that he is not targeted. With those phone calls done, Eric has nothing left to do other than pace his daytime resting place. He analyzes his bond with Sookie for any further sign of distress, but it is blessedly silent. For the first time in his existence, Eric hates being a vampire. It prevents him from actively searching for his mate. Helplessness is not a feeling Eric is accustomed to, and he does not care for it.
If only Eric had a competent day person like Godric’s David, then he could also be in his travel coffin flying through the air to Jackson. But alas, he does not trust his day person. Eric’s day person, Bobby Burnham, is a self-important toad of a man. He is an arrogant prick to everyone except Eric and Pam. Bobby uses his association with vampires to make himself look more important than what he is. Eric knows that Bobby hopes to one day be turned. Bobby’s desire for immortality makes him a liability; Eric is not assured of Bobby’s absolute loyalty. If someone offers Bobby immortality in exchange for information about Eric or Pam, the Viking vampire knows that Bobby will give up all he knows in a second.
With one hour until sunset, Eric dresses so that he is completely covered by clothing with the exception of his face. He heats several bags of donor blood, and rapidly drinks them. With fifteen minutes until sunset, he exits his day chamber and takes off running. He runs in the shadows; he will not suffer a substantial amount of damage. When the sun is gone from the sky, Eric hurtles up in the atmosphere and flies as fast as possible to Jackson. His bond guides him to the location of his maker within an hour of taking to the sky. Eric lands silently in the shadows of the apartment building. Eric checks the vicinity for any threats, but finds none. He enters the parking garage which is underneath the apartment building. He finds his maker sitting in the security office along with a glamoured human.
“Master?” Eric knows Sookie is not in the building; he cannot pinpoint her location because of the haziness that is clouding their bond. What reason do they have to be here?
“I thought this would be as good a place to start as any. One of these apartments is the home of the Were Herveaux. I do not trust him. Something tells me that he has more of a role in this then what he led us to believe.” Godric says as he stares intently at the monitors showing the different camera locations in the apartment building and parking garage.
Godric and Eric watch the feeds for a few minutes; nothing is happening. Eric is out of patience when he hears the squeal of tires in the parking lot. Watching the monitors, Eric watches as an emaciated woman dressed in torn jeans and a ripped t-shirt runs towards the elevator. Godric and Eric search the monitors to find which floor she exits the elevator. The woman hurries off the elevator on the top floor, and pulls a key out of her pocket. She quickly unlocks a door and slides in apartment 5B.
Turning to the security guard under his glamour, Godric asks, “Which apartment is 5B?”
The glamoured guard answers, “Mr. Herveaux.”
Godric demands, “And who was the woman who entered the apartment?”
Debbie Pelt is a complicated woman. Despite that she is the one to always break things off with Alcide, she still loves him. Debbie sees herself being with Alcide for the rest of her life…but not now. She is still young; she wants to have fun. Alcide doesn’t know how to have fun; he is nothing but work and responsibilities. Even when they were kids, Alcide never cut loose like everyone else. He didn’t drink until he was twenty-one, he never did drugs; he never did anything that would really get him in trouble with his parents or the pack. Debbie felt like she was suffocating because their families expected them to get married as soon as they finished college and start making babies. Debbie wasn’t ready for that kind of life so she took off and disappeared. She left without a word to anyone.
Debbie returned to Jackson because she needed money. Her parents welcomed her with open arms; never questioned her disappearance or what she had done during the years she was gone. To her parents, she was their daughter and could do no wrong. It was from her mother that Debbie learned Alcide had dated Sookie for several years. Learning that Alcide had moved on and was serious about Sookie filled Debbie with both hurt and rage. Alcide was her wolf! How dare he move on with some tramp?!?!
Debbie set out to sabotage the relationship between Alcide and Sookie. To do that, she turned to her mother for help. She told her mother that she still loved Alcide, she was sorry for how she left, and she wanted him back so that they could start the family they were meant to have. Her mother fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Her mother spent a small fortune on a make-over for Debbie, turning her into the typical suburban housewife. She fucking hated it, but she knew this was what Alcide wanted.
It was so easy to slide back in Alcide’s life. She apologized to him for the way she acted and asked if they could be friends. She appeared concerned and sympathetic with his concerns about Sookie’s involvement with vampires. In truth, Debbie wanted to rip the bitch apart for touching what was hers. Debbie knew the attraction between herself and Alcide was still there. She just bided her time until she could take advantage of it; the first full moon of the spring. Debbie made sure that when the pack ran for the full moon she and Alcide got separated from everyone else. She knew the wolf in him wouldn’t be able to resist a bitch in heat. Their coupling that first time had been a true claiming of one’s mate; it was both primal and animalistic. Debbie reveled in Alcide’s dominance of her; she thought if he had been like that all the time she might never have gotten bored with him and left.
Debbie was surprised by how easy it was to convince Alcide to keep seeing her; she thought he was too morally upstanding to have an affair. She never pressured him to leave Sookie; Debbie wanted to spring that news on the blonde whore herself. But Debbie wanted it to be the most cruel and hurtful way possible. She thought about arranging to have pictures of herself and Alcide sent to Sookie; she thought about faking a pregnancy. Debbie was willing to do anything to destroy Sookie and her relationship with Alcide.
Imagine Debbie’s surprise and utter delight when Sookie walked in on her fucking Alcide. It couldn’t have gone better if Debbie planned it. Looking over her shoulder as she rode Alcide, she could see hurt, pain, and devastation on Sookie’s face. Debbie had been so turned on by destroying Sookie that she climaxed hard on top of Alcide. Sookie stormed out of the apartment; Alcide tried to follow but Debbie wouldn’t let him. They had fought viciously, but it resulted in them having angry sex.
Thus the pattern started for Debbie’s on-again, off-again relationship with Alcide. Whenever he tried to get too serious in their relationship, she ran. While he was single, she would flaunt other men in his face. But if he looked to be getting serious with a girl, Debbie turned up like a bad penny.
After the last break up with Alcide, Debbie fell in with Cooter’s gang of Weres. They were rough, dangerous, and lawless; the complete opposite of Alcide and everything he stood for. Initially, Debbie enjoyed the freedom of Cooter’s pack and she enjoyed sharing Cooter’s bed. He was a true Alpha, and he reveled in his role. A few weeks ago, Cooter was approached by a vampire with a business proposition. It was no secret to any of the Supes in Jackson that Cooter’s pack was willing to do anything; the more illicit the better. In lieu of cash payment, the vampire offered the one thing the Were pack desired the most…vampire blood. All of the members of Cooter’s pack were V addicts. For every job Cooter and his Weres did for Lorena, they were paid in blood.
The last job for Lorena was one that spoke to Debbie’s malicious heart; the abduction of Sookie Stackhouse. Debbie didn’t know what the blonde bimbo did to piss off Lorena, and she didn’t care. Debbie hated Sookie with an intensity that defied logic. She had no qualms with any of the plans involving Sookie; what she did have a problem with were Cooter’s plans to hurt Alcide.
It is with this in mind that drove Debbie to Alcide’s apartment. She still had a key to his place, so she let herself in. She searched the apartment for him, but he isn’t there. She paces the living room in agitation waiting for him. She doesn’t have a lot of time; she told Cooter she was going to the mall. Debbie hears a set of keys in the door and rushes forward.
Alcide’s massive frame fills the doorway. He stills as he steps in the apartment and growls. “What the fuck you doin’ here Debbie?”
“I’m here to save your fuckin’ life!”
“Liar! You’re a fuckin’ drug addict! You sold your soul for vampire blood! I saw you in the bar the other night…getting branded like a fucking cow!” Alcide snarls in Debbie’s face.
Debbie pales and begins to tremble. She places her hand over his heart, “I’m warnin’ you Alcide, if anyone finds out what you saw in the bar, they’ll kill you. They’re already coming after you. Do you want them to come after your family too?”
The door to the apartment flings open. An enraged Eric fills the doorway; his fangs extended, and his hands are gripping the door so hard that the wood splinters. He stares at Debbie with hatred burning in his eyes. “Invite me in, Dog!”
“Why should I?” Alcide grabs Debbie holding her back so she doesn’t do something stupid like attack an ancient vampire.
“Because she knows where Sookie is,” Eric hisses from the doorway.
Alcide’s eyes widen in horror as he realizes the implications of Eric’s words. Before Alcide can invite Eric in, Debbie elbows Alcide in the stomach followed by a kick towards his groin. Alcide falls to the floor curling in a ball and gasping for air. Debbie moves to the window trying to escape. She opens the window so she can jump out. Before she can shift, Godric hovers in the air outside the apartment, trapping her in the influence of his glamour.
Inside an ostentatiously decorated mansion in New Orléans, Sophie-Anne Leclerq, the vampire Queen of Louisiana, paces back and forth in agitation. Her heels click rapidly against the marble floors, her clothes float through the air as she moves, and her earrings swing back and forth like a clock’s pendulum.
“Why am I surrounded by idiots?” The question is asked of the room at large, but no one dares answer her. They all fear her wrath. “Why can’t anyone do anything I ask of them?” Sophie-Anne continues to pace agitatedly in front of the pool in her opulent cabana. The room looks like a Greek villa. Everything is in shades of gold and white; gold-colored walls with murals of the gods of the sea, a ceiling with lighting to mimic sunlight, ornate crystal chandeliers, and a rectangular pool with water as blue as the Caribbean.
“Compton is clearly incapable of fulfilling the small task I have given him. No one has seen or heard from him in weeks. Why can no one find him?” Sophie-Anne stops to glare at the vampires in the room, but they remain silent. She growls in aggravation and stops in front of her youngest child.
“Hadley darling, you want me to be happy don’t you?” Sophie-Anne purrs while caressing Hadley’s face lovingly. “So be a good girl and bring me your cousin, Sookie. Since I was forced to turn you because of that miscreant Compton, I haven’t had a decent meal,” Sophie-Anne pouts.
Hadley looks at her maker with wide eyes. She feels an overwhelming compulsion to give her maker anything she wants, but at the same time, she is jealous of the thought that Sophie-Anne will want Sookie the way she was once desired. Since being turned, Sophie-Anne has all but forgotten about Hadley’s existence. André has been the one to teach her the ways of being a vampire. Sophie-Anne only requests Hadley’s presence when she wants to fuck. But once Sophie-Anne orgasms, she leaves, often leaving Hadley unsatisfied.
“My Queen, I am not sure…” Hadley says softly before her voice cuts off. Sophie-Anne’s grip is vice-like around Hadley’s jaw, squeezing to the point that Hadley’s jawbone snaps. Hadley whimpers in pain, but cannot move from her maker’s grip.
“Silence! You will bring me the girl, or you will be punished. Do you want to be punished again? Did you like what Sigebert and Wybert did to you the last time you disobeyed me?” Sophie-Anne’s voice is full of venom as she looks down at Hadley. “You are a waste! I don’t know why I bothered turning you. You don’t deserve to be a vampire!” Sophie-Anne throws Hadley down to the ground and turns away from her in disgust to resume her pacing.
Blood tears fall from Hadley’s eyes as she listens to Sophie-Anne’s words and feels the pain in her face. She remembers exactly what the Berts were commanded to do the last time Hadley disobeyed her maker. It took her almost a week to recover from her injuries. Hadley tries to remain silent so as not to provoke Sophie-Anne further, but a sob escapes her mouth.
Sophie-Anne vamps back in front of Hadley with her fangs out, “GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!” Hadley runs out of the room without a backward glance. André and the Berts look at each other warily, but do not move. They all know that their maker has become unhinged within the last few months.
Sophie-Anne touches her hair to make sure none is out of place. She resumes her pacing before speaking again. “Northman blatantly disregards my orders. The pigs at the IRS are breathing down my neck, and I need money. He isn’t moving the product quickly enough for my needs. Lately, he has spent more time out of the state than in it! I knew I should have never given him the job as sheriff! I knew he wouldn’t accept my authority! This is all your fault!” Sophie-Anne angrily states as she jabs her blood-red fingernail in the chest of her eldest progeny. André does not move, but keeps his eyes lowered in deference to his Queen. He keeps his emotions carefully blank so she cannot detect his anger. André had warned his maker against giving Northman the sheriff’s position, but she would not listen to him. She said his presence in her state would strike fear in the hearts of her enemies. No one would dare cross her while the Viking was present. Of course, André knew it would only be a matter of time before his Queen crossed the Viking.
Sophie-Anne turns from André in disgust. She glances at Sigebert and Wybert, her personal guards. She briefly considers sending them after the Viking, but quickly dismisses the idea. If they were to fail in their mission, the Viking would know she is plotting against him. It is better to strike against him anonymously.
“I want Northman out of the picture. But we must exercise discretion. Bring me the witch. Let us see what she can do,” Sophie-Anne says to André. He bows towards her and vamps out of the room to do her bidding.
Lorena walks into the room where her progeny resides and studies him intently. She thought she would have broken him earlier than this. Oh, she had gotten all the information she wanted out of him, but his spirit was still intact. He is so weak now that it will not take much for her to end him if she wants to. But she doesn’t want that; this has never been about sending him to the True Death. This has been an exercise to teach Bill that he still needs his maker; he cannot survive alone in the world. She walks to the table he is strapped down on and finds him mumbling incoherently. Lorena smiles victoriously as she listens to the words coming from his mouth.
“William,” she whispers to him gently. His eyes crack open, but he gives no other acknowledgement of her presence; however fear overwhelms the maker/child bond. “Shhhh, don’t be afraid. I’m not here to hurt you,” she says as she runs a hand gently over his matted down hair.
“I have a gift for you, William. Here, drink. It’s a special blend just for you,” Lorena coos as William greedily sucks down the blood. “There’s plenty more where that came from,” she says as she grins evilly.