“Miss Stackhouse, please allow me to present my associate Barry Horowitz,” Godric says by way of introduction. Barry moves over to the couch where Sookie had extended her hand in greeting. Instead of shaking it as is the usual custom, he turns her hand so the he can press a light kiss against the back of it, a gesture from years gone by. The action makes Sookie giggle and blush slightly, but I can tell from her emotions that she likes the attention from Barry. I don’t like this, not one iota.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Horowitz,” Sookie says graciously and gestures for him to have a seat.
“Thank you, but the pleasure is all mine. And I insist you call me Barry,” he says with a shy smile. I want to knock the expression off his face; he won’t seem so attractive to her if he’s covered in blood and bruised from my fists connecting with his face.
“Well then I insist that you call me Sookie,” she says with a smile as bright as the sun. I growl low in my throat at both her words and smile. I’ve come to associate that smile as the one she gives to me; it isn’t forced like the smile she gives to most people when she’s trying to cover up the fact she’s heard something unpleasant from people’s thoughts. The smile I think of as mine is completely at ease, making her natural beauty radiant. Her eyes are soft when she smiles like this instead of hard when she smiles to cover her ability. She’s not supposed to be sharing this smile with anyone else; it’s mine just as she is mine!
Godric and Sookie both look at me with concern having heard my growl. “Eric, are you OK?” Sookie looks displeased by my reaction. Well that makes two of us sweetheart; I’m certainly not happy with your reaction either.
Godric begins speaking to me in the language of my human days. “Eric, there is nothing to worry about. He is a trusted associate; he is related to Mr. Cataliades. We have nothing to fear,” Godric admonishes me. Through our bond I feel him sending me calm and reassurance, but I don’t want to feel calm. I want to pick up Sookie and fly her away from this room. Coming to Dallas suddenly feels more dangerous than staying in Louisiana would have been.
The trustworthiness of Godric’s associate is not what I have issue with. What I have an issue with is that Barry finds Sookie as attractive as she finds him. Is this what Sookie felt like when she saw me having sex with the fangbanger? Did she feel hot and cold at the same time? Did it feel as if something inside of her shattered? I know that I had reconciled myself to the idea that she should settle down with a nice man who could give her the family she wants, but I didn’t think it would be this soon! I thought I’d have years to adjust to the idea, not days.
Rather than answer Sookie’s question, I turn my back on the other occupants of the room and stand by the window looking out at the vast emptiness that seems to stretch before me. The conversation resumes behind me in hushed tones but I don’t offer any contributions. What is there to say? I’m a thousand-year old vampire, admired the world over for my fairness unless you cross me, then I am completely ruthless. My physical appearance is greatly admired and makes me highly sought after by both men and women. Thousands want to be with me and just as many want to be me. And yet, here I am jealous of a Dae hybrid, a fraction of my age because he has a fucking pulse!
The door closing behind me has me whirling around. Godric is standing by the door but Sookie and Barry are gone.
“Where is she?” If Sookie has left with a virtual stranger without her guards, she will learn how vicious I can be when I rip him apart for daring to touch what is mine. She won’t like that reaction, but she’ll get over it.
“Miss Stackhouse has retired for the evening and Barry needed to leave because he is supposed to be meeting with Reverend Newlin tomorrow to go over the church’s budget for the upcoming year. You would know this if you had been paying attention to the conversation instead of sulking like a petulant child,” Godric says reproachfully. His expression is also one of disappointment. Normally it would bother me that my maker is displeased with me, but I have more pressing matters to deal with.
“If you will excuse me, Godric, I need to speak with Sookie,” I say as I walk towards the door to leave the suite.
“You will sit down and leave Miss Stackhouse be for the night,” he commands. “She is weary and in no condition to deal with your childish antics tonight.”
“You dare interfere in my relationship with my pet?” I stare at my maker with narrowed eyes. Shock and anger war inside me at his blatant use of his maker’s power over me to compel me to stay inside this hotel room. He has not used a maker’s command on me in a long time. The last time he had commanded me was in Tripoli the night he told me to take Nora and flee while he led our attackers in a different direction. Nora and I had both wanted to defy the command, but Godric had put so much force behind the command that even the slightest thought of rebellion was incredibly painful. His command this evening feels exactly the same. For the first time since being a newborn, I resent the power my maker has over me and wish he had released me.
“Is that how you see her, Eric? A pet? I am disappointed in you my child,” Godric says in a hushed tone and his childlike face is marred with a frown. “Even after only a short time in her presence, I know she is something extraordinary. You do her and yourself a disservice if you pigeonhole her in such a way.
“How should I refer to her, Godric?”
“If you have to ask me that, then you do not deserve her,” he says sadly before rising from his seat. He walks towards me, placing his hand on my shoulder. “Good night, my child. I expect to see all of you tomorrow evening at my compound. I have arranged for dinner and a tour of Dealey Plaza for the ladies. You are more than welcome to join us or you can seek your own pleasures tomorrow evening while I entertain the ladies; the choice is yours.”
My maker leaves me alone in my suite, more confused than ever.
My foul mood continues when I rise the next evening. I had come to no resolution the previous night on what to do about Sookie and her newfound fascination with Barry. A ridiculous name if I ever heard one; it makes me think of fruit. Come to think of it, he did seem effeminate last night in his mannerisms; perhaps he’s fruity. He definitely doesn’t have the masculine appeal that I have. What does Sookie see in him? Perhaps it’s because he is also a telepath. She’s never met another one like her, so this could just be a novelty that will wear off when she gets to know him better.
Not that I want her to get to know him better.
To pass the time, I checked my email. I see no update from my child in regards to the ongoing investigation. I did not expect her to crack the case in one evening, but I expected to be kept abreast of the ongoings in my area. She knows what my expectations are, and thus far, Pam is not meeting them. She can kiss the new spring collection goodbye when Fashion Week rolls around.
My email keeps me occupied for nearly an hour; pointless messages I’m copied on that have little to no relevance to me other than the original email. Policy changes coming down from the AVL that we need to abide by, and of course, it sparks an instant outcry from the vampire community. Do I miss the days of old where I could do whatever the fuck I wanted? Abso-fucking-lutely. Do I miss the days of having to live in the shadows, hiding my existence from the majority of the world? Hell no. The pointless sniveling of vampires that are not on board with the current policy of mainstreaming bores me. Do you have any idea how hard it is to stay inconspicuous when you are over six feet tall? It’s far easier for me to be out in the open now; I merely have to be more creative when it comes to hiding the dead bodies.
A soft knock at my door saves me from flinging my laptop against a wall because a stupid vampire from the Dakota Kingdom wants to know if the AVL is going to provide food stamps to vampires that cannot afford to buy synthetic blood substitutes. If I didn’t have obligations here, I would fly to the Dakotas to stake this waste of fangs myself. Food stamps for vampires?!?!?! What’s next, welfare?
Opening the door reveals a bright-eyed and fresh-faced Sookie standing in the hallway. She’s wearing a yellow and white polka dot sundress with little cut outs on the side that shows a glimpse of her smooth, tanned flesh. Her hair is completely straight and a portion of it is pulled away from her face. Those long, tan legs of hers are in a pair of white sandals with a cork wedge that bring her closer to my chin. She’s also wearing the barest traces of makeup, but there is a light covering on her lips because I can see them shimmer when her lips curve in a smile for me.
“Hey there. Are you coming with us? The car’s downstairs waiting for us. Godric and Barry are meeting us for dinner. Gran is so excited. She’s been compiling a list of questions to ask Godric,” she says with a laugh.
“Barry is joining us this evening?”
“Yeah, he called earlier and asked if he could join us. Gran wants to meet him and I want to spend more time getting to know him. He’s the first person like me I’ve ever met,” she says with a sigh and then a dreamy smile lights up her face. The blood tie feels like it has thousands of tiny butterflies in it; Sookie feels buoyant and excited.
She is enchanted with the idea of Barry.
Pam has a sick fascination with watching daytime talk shows. Two of her favorites are Jerry Springer and Maury Povich. She’s forced me to watch the shows many times. She cackles uncontrollably when the women swear that the guy they are with is the father of the baby only to learn he is not the father. The wasted hours I have spent watching those shows have taught me one valuable lesson in how to handle a situation like this.
Ah hell no!!!!!!
All I’m missing in this moment are fake acrylic nails to gouge out Barry’s eyes and hair extensions to fling over my shoulders.
“We can go just as soon as you change,” I tell her coldly.
“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” She looks down at her outfit in confusion. “I have a white sweater to wear in the restaurant if I get cold. Godric said to dress comfortably. I always wear summer dresses and these shoes are like walking on air.”
“That dress is indecent. The way you present yourself to the world reflects back on me, and the image you are presenting to the world is not one I want associated with me,” I tell her coolly.
“Excuse me?” Her hands ball into fists and settle on her hips. She steps forward so that we are toe to toe. “My dress is indecent? How I dress reflects poorly on you?!?! Have you seen the fucking trash that throws themselves at you night after night at Fangtasia? Doesn’t that garbage reflect poorly on you? It hangs on you like a cheap suit,” she says scathingly.
“I think you forget your place, little girl,” I say with my fangs out. “You are the pet; I am the master. You do as I say!”
Sookie takes a step back and stares at me with a look of horror on her face. My fangs snap back in place as I realize the words that have slipped out of my mouth; careless words that have done irrevocable harm to whatever relationship I had with the fairy hybrid in front of me.
“Fuck,” I mutter in a harsh outburst. “Sookie, I -”
“If you’ll excuse me, Master, I don’t want to make the others late for dinner. I will tell Godric you were detained by business,” Sookie says as she begins retreating down the hallway. Every step back makes the chasm between us grow larger. Tears shine brightly in her eyes but her pride will not let them fall. My eyes plead with her to stay, but I do not say another word or move towards her. Sookie raises her chin, holding her head high, before retreating to the safety of her suite. Mustapha and Thalia, no doubt having heard our raised voices, stand on either side of the door of her suite. Mustapha actually opens the door for her so she can slip inside.
“Smooth, Northman. It’s easy to see why you’re so popular with the ladies,” Thalia says derisively.
I growl at her, reminding her that I am her superior. She merely pushes off from the wall she rests against and goes to the elevator, waiting for the others to come out of their suite.
“It isn’t my place,” Mustapha begins only to be cut off.
“Then muzzle it, Wolf; I don’t need your interjections,” I seethe as I stare at the door waiting for Sookie to come out again.
“If you don’t want to dig the hole any deeper, I’d suggest going back into your room. Anything you have to say now isn’t going to be well received,” Mustapha says despite my warnings.
If I am the one in charge, why is it no one respects my authority?
“I am not paying you to offer advice; I’m paying you to guard what is mine!” I stress the last word so that both Thalia and Mustapha will remember they are not to interfere in my relationship with all the Stackhouses. However, I see the wisdom in the Were’s words. Sookie is not in the right frame of mind to hear my apology, and she deserves my absolute sincerity when I deliver it. If she were to lash out at me again (which I deserve), her temper may spark mine leading to an escalation of an already bad situation.
Thalia glares at me from her perch by the elevator, but says nothing. Mustapha frowns at my words but says nothing as the door to the suite he guards opens and out steps the elder Stackhouse. She gives me a polite smile and tells me she’s sorry I won’t be joining them this evening. As she has done every night since learning of this trip, she thanks me for bringing them to Dallas and the opportunity to meet my maker. Adele asks again if it’s alright for her to ask Godric his perspective on events throughout history. While I reassure her that Godric will be more than happy to answer any questions she has, the door to the suite opens once again and Sookie strolls out. She walks directly to the elevator, not bothering to glance in my direction. Her back is straight as a rod, and her head held imperiously high as she faces forward. A small smile tugs at my lips when I see she refused to change her dress, though she wears the sweater she had said she would bring with her. Gods, but I admire her spirit! She’d tell Loki himself to fuck off if she thought he was being an ass.
“Adele, you should go. You don’t want to keep Godric waiting. Please convey my apologies to him, but I have other matters I need to attend to.” Namely finding a donor or two to relieve my frustrations. Nothing clears the mind as well as an orgasm.
“Alright. You stay out of trouble,” she says with a wink and a smile before she ambles down the hallway. Mustapha actually offers her his arm in support and she thanks him. Thalia and Sookie are inside the elevator, waiting for the last of their party to join them. Sookie’s eyes flash with her fury, and I try in some small way to let her know I am sorry for my earlier words and actions.
“You look beautiful, Sookie,” I say sincerely.
She raises an eyebrow in response, but remains silent. Right before the doors slide closed, I hear her mutter, “Bite me.”
Four hours later after I had dinner and dessert courtesy of the hotel’s room service menu, I am scrolling through my emails again. Still no update from Pamela, which infuriates me. Our bond tells me that she is slightly annoyed. That can mean anything; a chipped nail, someone smells of tuna, paperwork, or her meal didn’t satisfy her. Annoyance is Pam’s normal emotional state so that is no help at all.
Grabbing my phone from where it had charged, I dial the number for my progeny. If she knows what’s good for her, she will pick up quickly. If she let’s it go to voice mail because she’s in the middle of her dinner break, there will be severe consequences.
After three rings, Pam’s annoyed voice comes through the speaker. “I’m in the middle of something. I’ll have to call you back.”
“Your midnight snack can wait,” I tell her harshly. “Why have you not updated me on the status of the murder investigation? You were instructed to have a report for me each day. You sent nothing for yesterday and today you have been silent. You disappoint me Pamela.”
“Get over yourself, Eric. Go fuck your fairy; you’ll be in a better mood,” Pam retorts with snark.
My eyes narrow and my fangs snap down. It is bad enough I have my maker talking in riddles when it comes to Sookie; I do not need my progeny’s disrespect to add to it. If she thought her Twilight punishment was degrading, I wonder what she will say when it comes to her fairy-inspired torture. Halloween is coming after all.
“You will do well to remember who is the maker in this relationship. Do not defy me,” I snarl through clenched teeth.
“Calm your tits, Master,” Pam says though her tone is somewhat respectful. “I haven’t emailed you because I’ve been busy. I had to go to ground instead of resting in one of my homes. As soon as I rose, Dawson and I were right back at it.”
“What is it?” Pam doesn’t sleep in the ground unless there are no other options.
“There’s been another murder.”