AN: This is the continuation of Be Careful What You Wish For.
Pam rises for the evening and, as usual, searches for the bond with her maker. Since Eric left for Oklahoma, he shut down the bond that tied them together. The only thing Pam can tell is that her beloved maker still lives. It is a small comfort given that any contact with him means his True Death.
“Fucking Appius,” Pam curses as she does every night that she is separated from her maker. It had been a small comfort to have Karin close by for the past year, but as soon as her vampire sister’s year of guard duty was up, she disappeared in the dead of night without a word of farewell. Karin was never one to show emotion, something Pam greatly admired since she despised emotional outbursts.
But dammit! Eric, Karin, and Pam are the only ones left of their vampire line! It would have been nice for the two women to stick together while their maker is forced to serve out the sentence Appius condemned him to. Of course, Karin never stays in one area too long. She’s lived as a nomad far too long to ever put down roots. Part of Pam envies Karin’s ability to leave the area. There are too many reminders of how Pam’s life used to be. She’s never been one to let memories haunt her, but there are far too many ghosts hanging around Area Five. Everywhere Pam turns is a reminder of how good things used to be. Not just memories of her maker, but of all those that have been lost in the last decade. Pam has been around for nearly three centuries, but these last ten years in Louisiana have definitely been the bloodiest Pam has ever experienced in terms of loss of vampires.
Breathers she doesn’t care about so much though there have been exceptions; two in recent years as a matter of fact.
Her beloved Miriam…every night Pam regrets bitterly that she didn’t defy Victor Madden’s decree and turned the woman she loved. If only she had acted sooner. If only there had been more time.
As for the second breather, well, that’s a bit more complicated. Pam both liked and loathed Sookie Stackhouse. Pam came to appreciate Sookie over the years, but she also hated the way the breather undermined her maker. And the reasons are pretty obvious why Pam loathes the blonde telepath. If only Sookie had used the Cluviel dor to help save Eric, then Pam’s maker would still be in Area Five. Still close by for her to tease and near enough for her to lean on when she needed to borrow his strength. If only Sookie Stackhouse had realized that Eric wanted to share everything he had with her, that he had never treated her like an asset or a fangbanger. Maybe then Sookie and Eric would be living the happily ever after that was at the end of every fairytale.
‘If only’ can eat away at a person’s soul and drive you to the brink of madness. A lesser being would seek a way to end his or her suffering.
Pam chooses to make others suffer for her. After all, she would rather inflict pain on others then feel it herself. Being the Sheriff of Area Five gives her plenty of opportunities to do that. When Eric vacated the position to her, there were plenty that thought they could do whatever they wanted; that the Alice in Wonderland looking vampire wouldn’t be able to keep them under control. Those fools quickly found themselves in the basement of Fangtasia, guests of the new dungeon Pam had installed to her specifications. Leave it to Pam to have silver tools with diamond-encrusted handles in her torture chambers.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend after all.
“Oh for fuck’s sake! Snap out of it,” Pam snarls at herself. She hates moping, despises it really.
“I’m being no better than Wee Willy Billy always bitching about his ‘lost hu-man-a-tee’ or losing precious ‘Sookeh’!”
Pam’s eyes drift to the postcard she tucked in the corner of her mirror. She doesn’t know why she kept it; it’s not like she needed a piece of paper to remind her what today is. Her vampiric gift is an eidetic memory, so once she hears or reads something, she never forgets it. Perhaps it is because it is the only picture she has of her former friend the telepath.
Pam glares at the postcard, seething with rage over her impotence to change the hand that she has been dealt. Using vampiric speed, she punches the mirror where the picture of Sookie and Sam on the save the date card hangs. The action does nothing to the picture, but it does shatter the glass.
“Seven years’ bad luck…more like two hundred,” Pam scoffs as a bloody tear makes its way down her cheek.
Pam parks the red Corvette in the reserved parking spot at Fangtasia. Pam refuses to admit she drives the vehicle because it makes her feel closer to her maker; she insists it is better for business. The vermin want to see vampires as dangerous and mysterious. A minivan doesn’t scream dangerous or mysterious; it screams soccer mom.
Pam gracefully exits the vehicle and begins smoothing the wrinkles in her dress. She will admit to one perk of Eric no longer being the one in charge of Fangtasia; she no longer has to dress in those campy clothes. Oh the other vampires that work in Fangtasia still have to play up the vampire stereotype, but since she is the sole owner of the bar now, she can wear whatever the fuck she wants! Tonight though, Pam is channeling her best Holly Golightly impression with a black sheathe dress, gloves, string of pearls, oversized black hat, and oversized black sunglasses. The vampiress had greatly admired the style of Audrey Hepburn, going so far as to bid on several of the dresses the famed actress and humanitarian had worn in some of her most iconic roles. The dresses are housed in Pam’s prized collection, along with other iconic dresses from both cinema and history, in Pam’s English country estate. Even though Pam had embraced her vampire life, she had jumped at the chance to buy her human family’s ancestral estate when it had been up for auction after the conclusion of World War II. All vampires clung to something from their days as a human whether they liked to admit it or not.
While Pam finishes straightening her appearance, she uses her vampire senses to assess her surroundings, trying to get a feel for what she’ll be having for dinner. She doesn’t have high expectations given Fangtasia’s usual clientele, but the complete lack of options has her annoyed with her staff.
“Where the fuck is everyone? We should have opened an hour ago. I’ll drain Chelsea if she forgot to unlock the doors again. And I thought Ginger was bad,” Pam’s voice trails off as she stomps her way inside the silent bar. Pam tenses as she opens the door to the building and smells the slight scent of singed flesh. To humans, the smell is undetectable; to any Supe it lets them know that a demon is around. Not just any demon, but a fire demon.
And Pam knows only two members of the fire Dae.
Hope bubbles up inside Pamela for the first time since Eric left for Oklahoma. She hasn’t spoken with the demon lawyer or his niece in years. The arrangement was that Cataliades or Diantha would only come to Pam if there was word from Eric. The marriage contract had not prohibited Eric from continuing his association with his lawyer, and anything spoken between the two of them falls under attorney/client privilege. However, Eric still has to be careful; no one can know Eric communicates with his children through his lawyer. It will mean his True Death if he is caught.
“Ah, Miss Ravenscroft. A pleasure to see you again,” Desmond says as he rises from the booth where he had been seated. He bows towards the vampire, knowing that tonight is the start of a turning of the tides. The bad luck that has plagued all of them for too long is nearing its end and the future is looking bright for all of them once again.
Well, as bright as the future can look for a vampire.
“Mr. Cataliades,” Pam replies coolly as she inclines her head towards the lawyer. She doesn’t understand what is going on, especially since she can now detect another scent in the bar, one she hasn’t smelt in the bar since the night Eric was forced to break the pledging with his fairy.
“I come bearing gifts, my dear. I hope you don’t mind.” Desmond gestures towards the entrance as it opens. Diantha walks in wearing something that must have come from the closet of Rainbow Bright. Pam cocks an eyebrow as she hears the unmistakable sound of crinoline and the swish of fabric as a second person walks through the door. The muscles in Pam’s jaw clench as she watches Sookie shuffle awkwardly through the bar wearing her wedding dress.
“Funny, I don’t remember putting backstabbing, traitorous, ungrateful bitch on my Christmas wish list,” Pam deadpans as she glares at Sookie. Seeing her former friend hurts more than Pam ever thought it would. When Sookie turned her back on Eric, she also turned her back on Pam. Oh they had continued to talk for a time, but it was never the same; never face to face, only by phone or email. There was a distance between them that neither ever acknowledged, and that distance only grew the more Sookie became involved with the Shifter. Pam hadn’t heard from Sookie in months when the save the date announcement had shown up in her mailbox.
Desmond and Diantha bristle at Pam’s tone, but Sookie simply laughs. It’s an honest laugh, one of genuine amusement. The sound startles Sookie when she realizes that she hasn’t felt this carefree in a long time.
To be honest, she’s never felt like this. Despite the dire situation she finds herself in (again), Sookie feels happier than ever before in her life. For the first time, she feels free.
“I’ve missed you, too, Pam,” Sookie finally responds with a warm smile on her face.
“I haven’t missed you at all,” Pam retorts in a hostile tone. She cocks an eyebrow in disgust at Sookie’s choice of attire. “Is it Halloween? Did Compton make you dress up in one of the hoop skirts his wife used to wear? No, wait; I’ve got it! It’s April Fool’s Day and this is your idea of a joke. Joke’s on you honey, because that dress is beyond hideous.”
“I can assure you, Miss Ravenscroft, this is no joke,” Desmond states gravely. “Miss Stackhouse is here seeking your protection as the Sheriff of Area Five.”
“And what could you possibly need protection from? Did the dog give you fleas?” Pam rips off her sunglasses and storms towards Sookie. Part of her wants to hug her friend but she’s far too furious with her.
Desmond opens his mouth to intercede, but Sookie holds up her hand to stop him. Sookie looks at Pam, a sad smile on her face as her eyes begin to water. “I deserve that, Desmond. I deserve every ounce of anger she has and then some. I was an awful human being. I was selfish and stupid. Pam was my friend and I turned my back on her.”
Sookie turns her head to speak directly to Pam, drawing in a deep breath before she starts. “I’m sorry, Pam. I’m sorry that I let everything spiral out of control, that I didn’t save Eric when I had the chance, and that I’m the reason you’re without your maker for the next two centuries.”
Pam’s face is as still as a statue as she stares in silence at the golden-haired telepath. The only sign she heard any of Sookie’s speech is the solitaire blood drop forming in the corner of her eye. Sookie closes the gap between her and her friend, wrapping her arms around the immobile vampire and squeezing as tight as she can. “I’m sorry that I gave up on you. Pam, you were my friend and I abandoned you. I of all people know better than to do that. Please forgive me.”
Pam stands immobile while Sookie wraps her arms around her. She looks towards the two demons in the room for guidance on what to do, but they are only smiling at her encouragingly.
“Ohgoonanddoitalready.Youknowyouwanttohugher, thatyou’vemissedher,” Diantha utters in her hurried way of speaking as she files her nails with a file she has produced from inside the folds of her skirt. Pam spares a second to wonder where the part demon manages to always find clothes that are in the most garish colors possible. What makes the color palette even worse is the fact Diantha always manages to wear patterns that clash with each other. It is truly a horrible sight.
Pam is brought out of her fashion police commentary by Sookie’s whispered words. “We’re gonna get him back, Pam. We’re gonna bring Eric home to us.”
A shuddering breath passes through Pam’s lips before she wraps her arms tightly around her returned friend. “Well it’s about time you pulled your head out of your ass and got with the program!”
That same evening . . .
The Queen of Oklahoma stares at the paper in her hands, not quite believing the message that has been delivered to her by her assistant. The message is from one of her spies within the King of Nevada’s court. Although Freyda and Felipe have worked as allies and continue to do so, she has no illusions that Felipe is loyal to her. Freyda knows that Felipe will turn on her the moment he finds someone else that has something he wants. However, most of the other monarchs in the United States want nothing to do with Felipe. In fact, many would be all too happy to see him and his cape fall on a stake.
Freyda can admit she wouldn’t mind seeing the Latino vampire skewered on a bamboo stick.
Of course, if Felipe meets the True Death, Freyda knows she won’t be far behind.
With de Castro out of the picture, any leverage Freyda has over her husband will be gone. The only thing that keeps Eric Northman in check is the potential threat Felipe poses to his youngest progeny and the telepath.
Freyda’s lips curl in disgust with the thought. Sookie Stackhouse, famed telepath and if the reports are true, fairy princess. She’d seen the blonde telepath with her own eyes, assessed the only adversary standing in the way of Freyda getting what she wanted. And Freyda wanted Eric Northman.
She still wants Eric Northman, and though she may have him thanks to their vampire marriage and the contract, he is further away from her now, more than ever.
And it’s all thanks to Sookie Stackhouse.
The woman who disappeared earlier today.
On her wedding day.
The same day that Fangtasia burned to the ground thanks to a freak explosion. Fortunately according to authorities, no one was inside, so there were no injuries; however no one has been able to find the owner, Pamela Ravenscroft.
It’s all too suspicious in Freyda’s opinion. It screams of having the Viking’s fingers all over it. Freyda would bet her fangs that Eric has orchestrated all of this, but she cannot figure out how. Last evening, Eric had been by her side while she attended to state matters. The only time Eric had not been by her side was when they had retired to their separate rooms to die for the day. There is no way Eric could have arranged this while in his room. She has him under constant surveillance; cameras in his rooms, bugs on his telephones, and his room is randomly searched every day to make certain that he is abiding by the terms of their marriage contract. Every piece of mail that comes to him is first read by Freyda, even if it is something as mundane as a credit card statement.
Dogs have a longer leash than Eric Northman does as Consort to the Queen of Oklahoma.
Freyda knows Eric would like nothing more than to see her finally dead. Of course, his hands are tied when it comes to the matter of Freyda’s final death. If Eric is found to have aided in planning or executing the attack that ends Freyda’s vampire existence, then Eric will be sentenced to the True Death for committing treason. Most vampire contracts have similar wording; it’s to prevent the respective partners from turning on each other and committing regicide. However, no one has ever enforced the repercussions for such actions. It was usually up to the Supernatural Council to enforce the punishments, but other than a monetary fine paid to the Council, nothing was ever done. If Eric violated the terms of their wedding agreement, it wouldn’t be the Council enforcing his punishment.
It would be Appius’ cohorts, vampires as old as or older than the former Legionnaire had been. Vampires that Eric Northman had been all too familiar with though the only sign he had recognized them had been the tightening of his jaw.
For a vampire that prides himself on his control, that single action had been worth a thousand words. Freyda could only imagine the things those vampires, along with Appius, had done to her husband. Freyda doesn’t want to bring those vampires to her kingdom; in fact, every one of them terrifies her, but she’ll use them if she had to. As long as Eric remained a good boy, there would be no need for him to become reacquainted with Appius’ cronies.
The question is has he been a good boy?
Freyda knows confronting Eric about the telepath’s disappearance will not yield results. All he will do is raise his eyebrow at her before making some retort in his most condescending tone. Eric hasn’t blatantly disrespected her, but he dances along the edge.
Freyda stares at the wedding portrait she’d had commissioned to commemorate her wedding day. Eric looks absolutely stunning in his tuxedo, Adonis personified. However, there is no life in his eyes, no joy in his countenance.
“What are you up to my husband? What do you hope to achieve by having the telepath and your child disappear? If you think you will be getting out of your contract to join them, you have another thing coming,” Freyda vows venomously.
Ten years later
“For our anniversary this year, I have something special planned husband of mine,” Freyda simpers sweetly to Eric as they walk towards the throne room.
It is the anniversary of their wedding, the one night a year that Eric is required to consummate his union with his wife. Eric always enjoyed sex, that is, he enjoys sex when he is free to choose his own partner. He does not enjoy the sexual slavery he is forced to endure once a year thanks to the detested marriage contract. However, sex is an act of physical stimulation, so it is possible to achieve orgasm even when one does not consent to the sexual act.
Appius and his cronies repeatedly taught Eric that lesson over the years. Freyda too has tried her damnedest to make him orgasm during their annual consummation. The only times she’s been successful is when she brings additional bedfellows to play with them.
Eric rolls his eyes hearing Freyda’s tone. How is it that she hasn’t gotten a clue that he detests her? That he will never love her? The only being that he loved disappeared over ten years ago along with his youngest progeny.
Cataliades had carried out Eric’s instructions to the letter, resulting in both Sookie and Pam disappearing from Louisiana, and Eric hoped, from the United States. The country wasn’t safe for them as long as Felipe de Castro and Freyda were among the undead. However, arranging for Sookie and Pam to disappear had been the last time Eric had seen the demon lawyer or his niece. They too had disappeared from the country. Cataliades had turned all of his clients over to another lawyer within the supernatural law firm where he worked. There had been neither hide nor hair seen of Desmond or Diantha. Rumor had it that they had returned to the demon realm to deal with family business.
Eric couldn’t fault the two demons for leaving this realm. If their involvement in his plans ever came to light, it would have signed their death warrants. Freyda and Felipe would have gone after both demons. Of course with Desmond and Diantha disappearing, it left Eric with even fewer allies. Unfortunately, the allies that he does have left in this realm cannot help him without declaring war on Nevada, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. It would be a costly endeavor both financially and politically. However, a war of that magnitude cannot be kept hidden from humans, especially since someone had written a tell all blog (which was turned into a book) five years ago exposing the ins and outs of vampire infrastructure. Given the details of the book, especially the chapter devoted solely to the takeover of Louisiana, Eric suspected the book had been penned by Pam, but there were details in the book that Pam would not have been privy too because she wasn’t a monarch. Although, Russell or Maude could have told her the information, thinking it would be funny to stir the pot and cause controversy.
Freyda pauses at the doors leading to the throne room, turning around so that her back is pressed against the double doors. For the evening, she insisted on wearing a floor-length red sequined one shoulder dress. Red is Eric’s favorite color after all, so she tries to wear it as often as possible. She’d insisted that Eric match, so she’d ordered his tailor to make a new black pinstripe suit, black dress shirt, and red tie. Eric had rolled his eyes when he’d seen the outfit laid out for him by his valet; it looked like he was a fucking gangster. And red used to be his favorite color; it hasn’t looked as vibrant to him since he had left Louisiana.
“I’m quite sure you will like the surprise I have planned for you this year,” Freyda simpers sweetly. Her lips curve in what she thinks is a playful, sexy smirk. To Eric, it looks like the bleached ass of a beaver.
Eric fights the urge to roll his eyes and vomit. However, he maintains his stoic expression and replies in a bored tone. “Whatever you have planned, My Queen, I’m sure will be more than sufficient.”
Freyda’s expression hardens and she pushes away from the doors. “You won’t be so blasé when you see your present.” She spins around and throws the doors open with a bang. Freyda vamps inside the room, heading straight for her throne where she sits regally. Eric strolls casually through the open doors, not caring that every eye in the throne room is on him. He’s gotten used to it in his millennium on earth. However his calm facade is shattered before he is even halfway in the room.
Curtsying in front of Freyda’s throne, pledging her loyalty to the Queen of Oklahoma is his youngest progeny, Pamela.
Elation and fear fill Eric at the same time. He’s felt alone for so long; seeing her here fills him with hope. However, what is she doing here? This violates the terms of his contract with Oklahoma. Is this Freyda’s latest ploy to break him? Have his beloved progeny within arm’s reach every day but not let him speak to her for the next one hundred and ninety or so years? That’s a move out of Appius’ playbook. The only thing Eric cannot figure out is how Pam ended up here. She’d gotten away free and clear, so how is it she is now here in the snake pit? Pledging her loyalty to Freyda no less! And what happened to Sookie? Eric scans the room rapidly, looking for the familiar blonde head of his beloved fairy, but he does not see her. Eric is left with far more questions than answers.
Even though his first instinct is to go to his child and protect her, Eric strolls nonchalantly towards the throne once Pamela had returned to an upright position among the others in the room. “My Queen?”
Freyda smiles down at him from her throne. “Don’t you like your present, my husband? I thought you would be thrilled to see your child again.”
“My Queen, you honor me with your generosity,” Eric begins carefully as his eyes dart back and forth between Pam and Freyda. He is on the lookout for a trap or any sign of malicious intent towards his child.
Freyda laughs, a tinkling sound that to Eric sounds like shattered glass hitting the floor in a thousand pieces. “Relax, Eric. I promise you I have no tricks up my sleeves. Your Pam is here at my request. I thought you would enjoy having your youngest close by.”
Still seeing Eric’s hesitation, Freyda rises from her throne and glides towards him. “I know you are thinking about the contract.” She gestures towards a door which opens instantly. Two men and a woman walk through the door. The woman is unknown to Eric, but both men Eric recognizes. One is the Queen’s attorney; the other is his attorney.
Two beings that have been missing for years suddenly reappearing again in Oklahoma cannot be a coincidence. If Freyda thinks she has orchestrated this, she is sadly mistaken. It seems as if Pam and Desmond have something hidden up their proverbial sleeves. The only question is what it can be. Eric is most curious to find out.
“Have you enjoyed the party, my husband?” Freyda is pleased with herself. For the first time since they have been married, she has seen a genuine smile on Eric’s face. Of course he has smiled over the years, but it’s always been fake. There has been no true enjoyment in his eyes. Tonight though his aqua blue eyes radiated joy.
That joy dims as Eric realizes what those words mean. It is time for the annual consummation. If he weren’t so pissed off, he would admire Freyda’s cunning. She’d employed one of the basic tenants of psychological warfare, and Eric had fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. However, his wife isn’t going to benefit from his happiness over his reunion with his progeny.
“It was better than I could have imagined,” Eric replies honestly though his tone holds no emotion.
Freyda’s eyes narrow at his less than enthusiastic response. She’d hoped that by bringing his youngest progeny here, allowing her to reside in the state, would lift Eric’s spirits. She’d hoped that it would make him happy and accepting of his position in life. Freyda had hoped that Eric would open up and begin to show her affection.
Why can’t he ever do as she wants?!?!
“Come,” she snaps. “It’s time for us to consummate our marriage.”
Eric fights the shudder of revulsion and manages to nod his head in agreement. The sooner he gets it over with, the better. Thankfully, the contract only stipulates an annual consummation; it could have specified the number of orgasms or the types of sexual acts to be performed. At least the vague wording of the contract gives him the leeway to make the act of sex as short as possible. However, Eric has learned that if he doesn’t properly satisfy his wife, she will make him pay for it. Now he must worry about her taking her pettiness out on Pam.
Whatever could his child have been thinking to come here?
“Your Majesty,” Pam says while curtseying low to the ground. “Forgive me for interrupting, but I was hoping that perhaps you would grant me the boon of joining you and my maker this evening as you celebrate the anniversary of your marriage. It would be a truly great honor if you give me the privilege of servicing both you and my master.”
Again, Eric cannot help but wonder what Pam is up to. Even as a newborn she’d never been so subservient! And it has been decades since the last time they had engaged in sex with each other.
Freyda is torn. On one hand, she wants Eric all to herself because she knows this is the only time every year she gets to enjoy her husband’s body. She curses herself for not demanding that more intercourse with Eric be included in the contract. How could she have known that he would follow the contract to the letter, never deviating an inch from the terms within the document?!?!
On the other hand, Pam is a beautiful woman, and Freyda has heard that her skills in the bedroom are nearly as good as her maker’s. It seems when Eric decided to teach Pam how to succeed as a vampire, he showed her not only how to survive but how to live life to the fullest. Plus, if Eric sees that Freyda is willing to share him with his progeny on the one night a year that is supposed to be hers, then maybe he will begin to soften his stance on being so distant with her. She knows he isn’t happy that he was forced to agree to the contract, but she hasn’t been a cruel mistress. She’s given him the freedom to do as he wishes as long as he resides in her state and sees to it that her kingdom is secure. Of course, there were some growing pains the first year as Eric learned to accept his role as Consort to the Queen of Oklahoma, but those are in the past. Everything is running very smoothly now, so there is no reason for this distance between them.
While Freyda contemplates the request from Eric’s progeny, Pam decides to sweeten the pot. She gestures with her hand towards a statuesque brunette and her companion. “I’d also like to bring my two pets if it pleases, Your Majesty. Both are quite skilled in the bedroom and their blood is simply divine; AB negative with a hint of fairy,” Pam offers as she licks her lips hungrily.
Freyda’s eyes widen and she salivates at the thought. Part Fae. She knew such creatures existed but she’d never had the pleasure of experiencing one herself in all her years as a vampire. The one time she had come close to biting a Fae hybrid, she’d had her invitation rescinded.
She isn’t going to ruin her anniversary by thinking about Sookie Stackhouse!
“I’ve never tasted Fae before,” Freyda whispers as she watches the pair of hybrids move toward her. Its hypnotic watching them move together. They move with more grace than a human, and they practically ooze sexuality as they weave their way towards her. Freyda didn’t notice it before but their scent is the most delicious thing she’s ever breathed in. It tantalizes her nose, makes her fangs elongate, and hunger fiercer than any she had felt as a newborn burns her throat.
“Tonight’s your chance, my Queen. Unfortunately, Lilah and Jude are only available for this evening. Tomorrow they must leave for Europe,” Pam explains with a tinge of sorrow.
“You allow your pets to leave your side?”
Pam smiles indulgently. “Of course; they’re designers for two of my favorite designers. Lilah works for Chanel; Jude works for Dolce and Gabbana. I will have access to both collections before they are made available to the public.”
The male, Jude, moves to the queen while the woman, Lilah, moves towards the consort. Eric watches the woman closely. She is lovely, but he has seen thousands of beautiful women over the years. Yes, she smells more delicious than your average human since she is part Fae, but her scent tickles at memories from years ago, ones that haunt Eric on a daily basis. He can smell her essence despite the smell of magic that clings heavily to her. He is completely confused. How is it this woman in front of him can smell like Sookie? She looks nothing like his lover, his bonded, and his pledged. He knows that all the ties that bound them together were severed, but nothing will ever make him stop thinking about her in such terms. The woman in front of him is tall and slender whereas his Sookie is shorter and has an hourglass figure. His Sookie is sunlight personified while the woman before him is dark and mysterious. Yet they have the same eyes. The warm blue eyes of the woman standing in front of him shine with love, the same eyes that Sookie looked at him with when he was in his memory-less state.
How is that possible?
“Hello, Lover,” she mouths to him as her lips curve in a beautiful smile.
Eric’s lips part on a gasp. He doesn’t know how this is possible, but the woman in front of him is his beloved Sookie.
“Freyda,” the woman that does not look like his Sookie but is his Sookie says imperiously.
Freyda stops her advance on Jude. She turns slowly to stare wide-eyed at the fairy halfling. How dare she address her so impertinently?!?!?! Freyda vows to make the fairy hybrid suffer this night before she drains every delicious ounce of blood from her body.
“What did you call me? How dare you address me like that! I am a queen and deserved to be treated with respect!” Freyda’s voice is shrill as she advances on the female fairy hybrid.
“Respect is earned,” the woman known as Lilah replies coldly. She walks closer to Freyda, standing in front of the outraged vampire, showing no fear. “And you have done nothing to earn anyone’s respect. All you’ve done is earn my apathy.”
“And all you’ve done is earned yourself a death sentence,” Freyda hisses.
The female fairy hybrid shrugs nonchalantly before smiling engagingly. “Wouldn’t be the first time, and I doubt it’ll be the last. It’s your chances of surviving tonight you should be worried about.”
The mortal’s lack of concern makes Freyda momentarily pause. How can she be so nonchalant about the danger she is in? “Are you threatening me?”
“Not at all; merely stating a fact. I should have threatened you the night I rescinded your invitation from my home.” The woman known as Lilah had spoken with a smooth, cultured voice with a hint of a British accent. However, her final sentence is uttered with the sweet lilting Southern drawl of the only woman that Eric loves and Freyda loathes more than any other.
“This is not possible,” Freyda says eyeing the body in front of her. This can’t be her nemesis! She’s had people scouring the Earth for years looking for Sookie Stackhouse. No one had found a trace of her once she’d left Bon Temps. The only reason Freyda had found Pam was because Desmond Cataliades had arranged the contact. Freyda now sees how Pam and the demon lawyer were part of the planning for this evening. They will pay for their part in this deception.
But first, Freyda will dispose of the fly that’s been in her ointment for over a decade. And like all bugs, you smash them.
“I should have killed you that night,” Freyda hisses. “I’d have saved everyone a lot of trouble if I had. No matter, it’ll be infinitely more satisfying to kill you now in front of my husband. Maybe then I’ll finally be free of you!” Freyda moves to strike, but she is unable, frozen in place like a statue.
“What have you done to me? Let me go! I am the Queen of Oklahoma! This is treason! Eric, my husband, you can’t allow this to happen! It will mean the True Death for you and your progeny! You will be hunted! There’s no place on this planet where you will be able to hide!”
“Who says they will need to hide? In fact, they’ll be doing us a service.”
Freyda’s eyes search frantically for the source of the newest voice in the room. The aged body of The Ancient Pythoness walks through the room with her handmaidens by her side. Freyda has only seen the famed seer once, though Freyda had extended many invitations to visit her kingdom. The Oracle of Delphi has rebuffed every invitation to visit the state until tonight.
“You and de Castro have upset the balance of our existence. Every path forward I have seen leads to nothing but destruction for us all. I should have intervened years ago, but I foolishly decided not to act,” The Ancient Pythoness intones gravely as she looks apologetically at Eric. Her expression of sorrow hardens as she once again stares at the imprisoned monarch. “The Council, once hearing about the future scenarios I have seen, agreed that both you and de Castro must be removed for the greater good. The other members of The Council are dealing with de Castro and his minions in Nevada, Louisiana, and Arkansas. I wanted the pleasure of dispatching you.”
“No! You can’t do this!” Freyda screams as she realizes how perilous the situation is.
“Oh, but I can, and I will,” The Ancient Pythoness says with relish. “Oh but if you think any of Appius’ cronies will come for The Norse Man, don’t. I have taken care of them, too.” The Ancient Pythoness smiles with genuine pleasure.
“On behalf of The Supernatural Council, I sentence you, Freyda, Queen of Oklahoma, to the True Death.” Freyda’s scream cannot drown out the words of The Ancient Pythoness, nor is it enough to stop the stake the one known as Jude shoves through Freyda’s non-beating heart.
The scheming Queen of Oklahoma, the vampire responsible for Eric’s imprisonment, the female that stood between Eric and those he cared about most, is reduced to nothing but a pile of red and black bubbling sludge on the throne room floor.
Eric stares in fascination at the remains of his deceased wife. He’s seen what a vampire looks like after receiving the True Death; there’s never any variation among the remains unless the vampire was burned. A foul stench wafts up from the remains that no cleaner can ever completely remove. Eric’s never cared about watching another vampire meet his or her end. When Appius met his True Death, Eric had conflicting feelings of elation and horror, which created a numbness inside him. However, staring at Freyda’s remains was quite possibly the most sublime moment of his existence, and all he smelled was sunshine.
“As for you three,” The Ancient Pythoness says turning her unseeing eyes unerringly towards Eric, Sookie, and Pam. “I suggest you leave before I make the announcement about the change in government. Unless of course, you would like to be King of Oklahoma,” she says with a smirk towards Eric.
“I have no wish to stay in this state,” Eric hastily replies. “And I have never wanted to be king.”
“You may change your mind one day,” the seer answers cryptically. “Very well. Miss Stackhouse and Miss Ravenscroft you know what needs to be done now.”
Pam speeds out of the room, leaving Sookie to follow with Eric. She reaches for his hand, but Eric gestures for her to wait. He moves closer to the most revered being among the supernaturals, dropping to his knee and bowing his head in a sign of gratitude and humility.
“My lady, I do not know . . .” Eric’s voice is thick with emotion as he wrestles with all the feelings inside him. To say he is grateful to The Ancient Pythoness’ intervention is an understatement. He is beyond words; there is no way Eric will ever be able to repay the ancient vampire for what she has done.
In a rare moment of kindness, The Ancient Pythoness glides forward, lifting Eric’s face with her wrinkled hands. She smiles softly at him. “I know. Now go.”
Eric rises and moves to Sookie quickly. He takes her hand and they run from the room, Sookie’s giggling echoing down the hall as they move farther away.
“You’ll find a way to repay me one day, Viking. I’ve seen it,” the old woman says softly with another smile.
“How did you do all of this?” Eric looks back and forth between his progeny and the woman he loves nestled against his side as they wait for the airplane to take off. He’s still adjusting to the drastic change in Sookie’s appearance. For too long he’s wished to have Sookie’s curvaceous body pressed against his. He’s dreamed of running his fingers through her long blonde hair while she sleeps. To see all the changes to her is surprising, but she still fits perfectly against his side.
“It was Pythia,” Sookie answers quickly.
“Pythia?” Eric has never heard anyone address The Ancient Pythoness so informally.
“Yes. She found us shortly after we left Shreveport. We’ve been staying on her island ever since,” Pam explains nonchalantly.
Pam raises an eyebrow. “Would you have argued with her? She said we should go with her, so we did.”
“And she was the one that suggested I change my look,” Sookie continues. “She said I was too recognizable and suggested I make a change. With the help of a witch, this is what we came up with,” she ends with a shrug.
“Is this permanent?” Eric twirls a lock of Sookie’s hair around his finger.
“Why? Don’t you like it?” Sookie pouts playfully as she sits up beside Eric.
“Lover, you are beautiful as you know, but it isn’t your looks I fell in love with,” Eric answers honestly as he lightly kisses her lips.
Sookie murmurs happily as her lips touch those of the vampire she loves. It’s been a long road leading to this moment, and there were days when she didn’t think her happily ever after would be possible. However, she can’t help thinking of the words included in Claudine’s letter that helped start her on this journey.
Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.