It is nearly four in the morning and the last of the bar patrons have been kicked out. The employees work quickly and quietly to finish their tasks for the evening so they may escape the brooding gaze of the owner. He sits in his chair; his eyes unfocused but they miss nothing. The employees know that he will deal harshly with them if he feels they are not performing their jobs adequately; the smallest infraction could get you fired. His bullshit tolerance is nonexistent. More waitresses have left here crying before the end of their first shift than anyone can remember, and most waitresses do not make it more than a year. The only employee that does not fear the owners is the bar manager, but the other employees just think that is because she’s too stupid to know any better. After all, she’s somewhere in her fifties, but still dresses like a skank. Her body is emaciated and brittle; her over-bleached hair is streaked with different colors and hangs limply around her face. The only reason the other employees think she is still here is because of her unwavering loyalty to the owners.
The basement door flings open with a resounding bang, startling several of the waitresses that were refilling the cocktail napkin dispensers. There is one word to describe the second owner of the bar: bitch. She looks around the room with her lips pursed, looking to find fault with something. She smirks in contempt before ordering everyone out for the evening. The relieved employees gather their items and scurry out of the bar quickly.
“Another satisfied customer,” Pam smirks as she saunters towards the stage. Her hair hangs straight down with her bangs clipped back. She wears a black leather jacket over a shredded white and black spandex dress. She’s accessorized her outfit with strands of black and white pearls at her neck and wrists.
“Can you believe he wanted to pay me with a credit card?” She rolls her eyes as she stands at the edge of the stage with her hand on her hip. The smirk falls from her lips as she notices Eric’s lack of attention. He sits still as a statue on his throne, looking the same as he does every night. His hair is long again, creating a golden curtain around his face. His outfit is the usual combination of black pants, jacket, and shirt over his chiseled body. Every human that steps through the door of Fangtasia wants him, but few ever receive his attention. Eric always had a reputation as a badass Viking vampire, but in the last decade his reputation has only grown because of the indifference and downright hostility he shows the patrons. Very rarely does he satisfy his urges with any of the patrons. Even if he does give in to his baser desires, he treats them as nothing more than a means to an end. The joie de vivre that used to surround him is gone; the fire in his eyes has been snuffed out.
Pam plasters a fake smile on her face as she continues the one-sided conversation. “I was thinking . . . why don’t we get away from here for a while? I think we’ve squeezed every last red cent we can out of Louisiana. Let’s move somewhere more exciting. New York, London, hell we could even go back to Stockholm if you wanted. I think a change of scenery would do us good.”
“No.” His flat denial angers Pam and she opens her mouth to fight back, but the outer door opening draws her anger instead.
“We’re fucking closed!” Pam turns around with her fangs out and pauses when she sees the two creatures in front of her. “Well, well, well; look what the fang dragged in. I haven’t seen either of you in ten years. What the fuck do you want?” She looks with disgust at the outfits they are wearing. “We don’t do charity, so if you’re looking for money, you can get the fuck out.”
“We don’t want your fucking money,” Willa snaps with her fangs out. “Believe me, this is the last fucking place on earth I want to be in. Do you think I want to ask the two of you for anything?”
“Willa,” Jessica steps beside her friend and places a hand on her arm trying to pacify her. Willa snaps her fangs back in place and steps back, allowing Jessica to take the lead on this conversation.
Jessica turns her attention to Pam. She smiles slightly before speaking awkwardly, “It’s good to see you Pam.”
“Cut the crap Jessica,” Pam snaps. “Why are the two of you here?”
Jessica glances nervously at Eric; he still has yet to move from his throne. He looks like the vampire she met the night she rose a vampire; dark, mysterious, and dangerous. But there’s a cruelty and sadness about him that was never there before. “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea,” she mumbles and backs away.
“Jessica.” She stops her movement because of the commanding voice. Eric lifts his head slowly so he can look fully at the two young vampires in front of him. It is true; they have not seen each other in ten years. While he and Pam were building the New Blood Empire, Jessica and Willa had retreated to living quietly in Bon Temps. Eric knew that Jessica was residing in the home of her deceased maker with her human. Eric’s eyes slide to his youngest progeny, the one that wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. He couldn’t blame Willa for her anger. Eric knew he deserved every bit of Willa’s hatred. He had tried to make amends when he’d returned to Louisiana after setting up New Blood in Sweden. Eric had met Willa in Shreveport, offering her a portion of the company and the chance to be a maker to her as he should have been all along. Willa had flatly refused and demanded he not contact her again. She wanted nothing to do with Eric, just as he had wanted nothing to do with her after he had turned her.
Eric rose to his feet, slowly walking to his young progeny. “Willa,” he says with a sense of wonder and satisfaction in his voice. “I hope everything is well.”
“Do you think I’d be here if everything was alright?” Willa looks at her maker as if he is an idiot. “I’ve told you before; I don’t want anything to do with you.”
“Then why are you here?” Eric resumes his indifferent mask, dropping the small smile of pleasure that had graced his lips at seeing his progeny. Willa Burrell is one of the more recent mistakes Eric has made in his thousand plus years. Pam fails to realize how weary Eric really feels; his heart and mind are weighed down with his regrets. He is beginning to understand why Godric chose to meet the sun.
Willa stares at her maker defiantly. It’s Jessica that finally answers the question that lingers in the air.
“It’s Sookie; she’s missing.”
Eric feels a familiar squeezing in his chest, it is the same sensation he always feels when he thinks of the fairy he once loved. To this day, it still hurts to know that she had rejected him at every turn. He had not spoken with her the night he killed the Yakuza that had threatened her existence even though he knew she had been awakened by the sound of the Yakuza’s screams. She had remained in her house with the lights off, but Eric knew her eyes were watching. How he wanted to go to her, reassure her that she was safe, that he would always keep her safe. But he didn’t; he cleaned up his mess and drove away with the bodies. After that night, he and Pam were busy establishing their new business, but his thoughts often strayed to Sookie. Eric had insisted on returning to Shreveport even though New Blood was headquartered in Stockholm. As he argued with Pam, they already had Fangtasia in place; the basement would be the perfect place to keep Sarah Newlin and Ginger would care for their prisoner without asking any questions. To appease Pam, he agreed to let her turn Sarah Newlin into a blood whore, but he would not allow her to turn her into an actual whore. Pam may have no qualms about selling Sarah Newlin’s blood and body against her will, but he did. There was no honor in rape. Eric was many things, but he was not nor will he ever be a rapist.
But the unspoken reason for their return to Shreveport was Sookie. Eric hoped that with Bill Compton finally out of the picture, that Sookie would come to him. Eric’s pride and heart both hurt because Sookie never chose him first, but he wasn’t so proud that he wouldn’t take her any way he could get her. He would rather be second best in her heart than not have her at all. So he waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. He waited four fucking years and never heard a word from her so he took matters in his own hands. The last time he had approached her was six years ago on Thanksgiving night. Eric had been so nervous to approach Sookie. He had thought about dressing up in a suit and tie, but settled for his normal jeans, t-shirt, and leather jacket. While flying to the house on Hummingbird Lane, he thought of different ways to start the conversation with Sookie. He decided to be completely honest, laying his heart bare once and for all. Sookie needed to know everything he felt; needed to know that she was the only woman he ever loved. Eric wouldn’t lie, there had been women since Sookie, but none of them, not even Nora, had captured his heart the way the tiny fairy had.
Eric landed in the woods near the old farmhouse, confused by all the twinkling lights he saw in the yard. Tables were set up in the yard with lots of people milling about carrying platters of food and drinks as children ran around playing games. Eric watched with fascination as humans, vampires, and Weres took their places around the table, but where was his fairy? This was her home; he couldn’t imagine that she would leave it after all this time. The door to the house swung open and Eric felt the breath catch in his throat as he saw Sookie for the first time in four years. However, his joy turned to pure rage as he took in the pregnant state of her body. She walked among the assembled guests, chatting and laughing as she kept a protective hand on her stomach. In that moment, Eric truly hated Sookie as he watched her embrace a man who looked like a cross between Bill and Alcide. He ran away before he gave in to the urge to destroy everything in sight. Eric felt like such a fool; he had waited for something that would never happen. That night had shown him with absolute clarity that Sookie had never loved him, that he never crossed her thoughts. Eric had returned to Fangtasia that night and fucked his way through seven fangbangers, trying to erase the blonde telepath from his mind. From that night forward, Eric was once again the Viking vampire he had been before Sookie Stackhouse had walked into his bar all those years ago. He was cold, ruthless, and cared about no one save himself.
Pam’s fury brings Eric back to the present. “Excuse me, but what the fuck?!?!?! That fucking fairy twat has been nothing but a bad memory. She’s been gone from our lives for the last ten years, and I say good riddance. If she’s gotten herself in trouble again, it’s not our fucking problem!”
Willa rounds on Pam, her fangs out and her hands curled into claws. Before she can attack her vampire sister, Eric vamps in front of Willa. “Enough! Pam’s right. Sookie Stackhouse is no longer my concern. She made her choice years ago and it was not me. I am no longer willing to come running when she’s in need of my help.” Willa’s fangs retract as she stares at her maker with disgust. She turns on her heel and stomps out of the bar, slamming the door behind her.
Jessica is slower to make her exit. Something doesn’t sit right with her. She turns back to look at Eric who has not moved from the spot where he stood over Willa. He stares at her with cold, lifeless eyes, and Jessica shivers a bit in fear.
“You say Sookie didn’t choose you. So if you meant nothing to her, then why did she name her son Eric?”
Jessica drops that bombshell and slips out of the bar quietly. She and Willa have wasted enough time at Fangtasia. They need to find Sookie before it’s too late.
Eric stands rooted to the spot unable to believe exactly what it is he just heard. Why would Sookie have named her son after him? It made no sense. She hadn’t wanted him; she’d never contacted him after Bill met his True Death. He saw with his own eyes that she’d moved on to live the “normal” life she’d always wanted and lamented never having. Why?
“Fuck,” Pam breathes quietly behind him. He turns to stare at her with widened eyes. She decides to go on the offensive, trying to undo all the damage Jessica’s parting shot has created. “Are you really going to fall for that bullshit Eric? It’s just a trick to get you to go flying off in the night to once again risk your existence to save the undeserving bitch. If the fairy had really missed you all this time, don’t you think she would have tried to come see you? Written you a letter? Called you on the phone? Hell, she could have sent a singing telegram for all I care, but she didn’t. Never once did she make any attempt to contact you. So don’t you dare think about trying to save her ungrateful ass!”
Eric’s eyes narrow at his progeny. It isn’t the first time she has spoken out against Sookie, but she has only ever been this vehement when she has done something to call for his anger. Pam follows the sports mantra that the best defense is a good offense. “What did you do?” His voice is measured but Pam can tell that it is with great difficulty that he is controlling his emotions.
“I did what was best for you, for us,” Pam says softly. Eric is on her in an instant, slamming her body against the nearest wall as he squeezes her throat. Pam cries out in pain and blood tears form in the corner of her eyes.
“WHAT DID YOU DO?!?!?!?!”