When something like a soul becomes initialised and folded up like paper dolls and little notes, you can’t expect a bit of hope
So while you’re outside looking in, describing what you see, remember what you’re staring at is me
Cause I’m looking at you through the glass, don’t know how much time has passed, all I know is that it feels like forever
When no one ever tells you that forever feels like home, sitting all alone inside your head
~ Through The Glass, Stone Sour
The sun dipped below the horizon and my eyelids snapped back. It took no time at all for me to adjust to the darkness. With my immortal state came the ability to see perfectly in the pitch black. Instinctively, I checked my bond with Eric to find him awake and rather amorous. Sookie was no doubt with him.
Rising from my bed I crossed to the bathroom, showering quickly before pulling on my outfit for the night, a pair of cream pants, a ruffled cotton shirt and my favourite pair of Steve Madden wedges. I finished off the look with a gold and diamond Cartier necklace. It had been another present from Eric. Feeling like my outfit was perfect I left my room, crossing the hallway and entering the main living space. I was greeted with the sight of all six of the vampires from the night before, plus the two female breathers. Egor and Agmund stood protectively in front of the elevator doors. Ari and Khai were on the floor in front of Sookie and Ata who occupied one sofa, deep in conversation, while Riei and Oeri were on the other sofa, also lost in conversation.
Sensing my approach, Riei looked up from his spot on the couch, shuffling to make some room for me. I granted him a small smile of thanks. Crossing the room, I gracefully slipped myself into the space between the two beautiful men, latching onto their conversation. “Dolce and Gabbana had their new line delivered this morning, our day man told me there were a few beautiful pieces. I might go and have a look, see if I can find myself something new to wear for the nights when I’m on the floor downstairs, not to mention they might have something for Ata,” Riei gushed, clearly in love with his fashion. I could relate to the ancient vampire. I, too, adored my fashion. Perhaps I would join him this evening, after all, Eric did say I could spend more money on his Amex…
Speaking of my Maker, he chose that moment to enter the room, his towering height making it impossible not to notice him. Looking in his direction, I gave a slight nod of acknowledgement, which he returned warmly before his attention shifted to Sookie, whom he gave a bright smile too. He crossed to her, dropping a tender kiss on the top of her head before moving toward the two Viking vampires guarding the entrance to the penthouse. Although I kept my expression blank, I was in a state of shock. Had Eric just been openly affectionate towards Sookie with six other vampires present? He treated her like his equal, not a pet. While I understood his words from last night, it was still a lot for me to take in. For over a thousand years he hadn’t formed a romantic attachment to anyone. Of course, over the years he’d had pets, but he had never treated them like his equal. The only truly affectionate attachments Eric had were to those in our bloodline – Godric and myself – and yet here he was fawning all over a human/faery hybrid. While there was no doubt he looked a lot happier it was still troubling and unsettling for me to see him showing such human emotions.
“Apparently, Chanel are releasing a new little black dress for the Christmas season. I say you see if you can order one for Ata as she’ll no doubt be invited to the ridiculous Christmas party at Felipe’s,” Oeri responded, both male vampires pausing for a moment, turning to look at me for my input.
Without missing a single beat, I responded. “Personally, I’m more of a Chanel girl. Dolce and Gabbana aren’t quite as prestigious as they used to be,” I stated, happy to have someone include me: both male vampires nodded in agreement. By now Eric was chatting avidly with the two other blondes, no doubt lost in memories of their human lives if his state of melancholy was anything to go by. Riei launched into the conversation once more and I kept up effortlessly, allowing my eyes to travel around the room. The group of male vampires and their human/faery charge had been far from what I had been expecting when I had landed in Vegas. Truth be told, I had no idea what I had been expecting, all I knew was that it wasn’t this. Not that the current situation wasn’t nice, clearly both my Maker and Grandsire were happy, and that was all that mattered, but it just felt so surreal.
As if on cue, Godric entered the room and made a beeline for Ata, perching himself on the arm of the sofa before listening in to the conversation. Thankfully, I was sitting in a position that allowed me to maintain the conversation with Riei and Oeri while also spying on my Grandsire and the woman he had been enamoured with in his human years. It annoyed me that he was going back to his human days, his soft and gentle nature, especially when he was one of the oldest vampires in America.
There was a brief conversation on the couch where my Grandsire sat, and soon Khai and Ari were up on their feet, giving an affectionate farewell to Ata and then a polite yet warm farewell to Sookie. They acknowledged Godric with a nod before disappearing from the room.
Ata rose to her feet and started in our direction. Usually, I found myself able to deal with my emotions, but I couldn’t contain my nervousness. This human/faery hybrid had taken me down last night with no effort, and she wielded some form of power over Godric. I was still planning on winning her over, yet I wasn’t exactly sure how. Perhaps I would be able to ask a few indirect questions to the two vampires sitting on either side of me later on. If I could find out the sort of things she liked, then I could try and sway her.
Ata stopped before us, her posture authoritative, yet dainty at the same time. “Riei, Oeri, why don’t you go shopping with Pamela tonight? I’m sure she’d love to see Vegas and experience our designer stores.” Ata’s focused shifted from her boys to me, and she gave a smile in my direction. I could of see the force behind it, years of living with the English upper class in my human years had taught me well, but at least she was at least trying to put on a polite front. Not wanting to kick up a fuss and start something at present, I offered her a forced smile in response. Smiling was so not my thing.
“What a wonderful idea, you really must try the new Prada dress, it would look wonderful with your hair colour!” Riei exclaimed happily, his excitement bubbling over. It was oddly infectious. In some sense, I believed I was being chased out of the building, but the sooner I could corner the two vampires the sooner I would be able to figure out what made the little woman before me tick. Then I could buy her something nice or, god forbid, perform a kind gesture, to make her like me. I had never once, not even in my human life, wanted someone to like me as much as I wanted the woman before me to do so. It wouldn’t hurt to be in the favour of my Grandsire’s mate, especially as I had heard through the grapevine that she was rather important in vampire politics here in Nevada. Dear Abby always said to make friends in high places.
Knowing that I was going to have to go, I rose to my feet, “Don’t stay out too late, we‘ll all need to come back together and discuss the information we gather from the wolf.” Ata informed the three of us before waving us off. As I was about to step into the elevator Eric stopped me, pulling his wallet from his pocket and handing me his Amex. “Treat yourself.” He offered me a smile, which I returned affectionately before he shooed me into the metal box. Ari and Khai emerged from one of the corridors, zipping over to join us in the elevator. The doors slid to a close and the five of us were surrounded by silence.
“Where’s your first stop of the night?” Khai asked, giving his appearance a once over in the mirror on the back of the elevator doors.
“I’m thinking Crystals first,” Riei responded before turning to address me, “they have Gucci, Vuitton, Tiffany, Cartier, Dior, Versace, Prada, Jimmy Choo etcetera,” he informed me and I could swear that he was practically bouncing on the spot. Never in my hundred plus years had I met such an easily excitable vampire, especially one who was over two thousand years old.
Ari was sorting his own appearance in the elevator mirrors and I admired the flexing of his muscles, his broad shoulders that tapered into his narrow waist and, of course, how delicious his ass looked in figure hugging jeans. Usually I liked women, but there was no denying the beauty of the vampire before me. Lifting my gaze from his ass, Ari caught my eyes in the mirror and the corner of his lips twitched upwards. Shit.
Ari gave a low chuckle, the sound strangely delightful. I had to bite the inside of my lip. As the elevator came to a stop on the ground floor, Khai and Ari exited at the same time, bidding us farewell. Left with Riei and Oeri, the three of us moved towards the front of the building and I took in the lobby. The large chunks of marble were missing; the smaller chunks had been swept away during the day. Cream tarpaulins were up on the ceiling, blending in with the remaining marble; to hide the huge holes where the ceiling had caved in. The water fountain had been repaired, though the statues that had stood in the middle were long gone. The check-in desks hadn’t been affected and they were still in one piece. A few people were milling around, checking in or going out for the night. At least there was still some business here.
Outside was a very different story, though; the porte-cochère had been removed completely since so much of it had fallen: There had been no hope of salvaging it. Shards of marble still littered the tarmac and more tarpaulin was strung up to capture any other small-to-medium sized shards that might fall. It looked rather bare outside, and far from the glamorous images that covered the glossy travel brochures and appeared on the television programs.
A black limo was parked out front, and without saying a word Oeri held the door open, gesturing for me to enter first. Accepting his gentlemanly gesture, I slipped into the leather-trimmed compartment, both my male vampire companions joining me after. Settling into their seats, Oeri pushed a small button on the inside of the door, “Crystals shopping mall, please,” he told the driver who responded by turning on the ignition and pulling away from the kerb.
“Did I spot your Maker handing you his Amex?” Oeri started up the conversation, a knowing twinkle in his emerald green eyes.
“Yes, he did, he’s told me to buy whatever takes my fancy,” I couldn’t keep the grin from my lips, now that I had gained his permission I would certainly treat myself.
“I think you need to try the Prada dress, with your figure it would be perfect for you! It’s skin-tight and is bright red in colour, it’ll really bring out your hair and eyes, not to mention it would be suitable for the bar you run with your Maker,” Riei complimented me, leaning over to gently take the ends of my hair in his hands as he examined the colour closely. “Golden beige in colouring, natural I assume?” he asked curiously.
“Yes, very well observed. How do you know so much about fashion?” I enquired as Oeri pulled his Blackberry from his pocket. I caught sight of him responding to emails through the reflection in the window so figured Riei would be my conversation partner for the time being.
“It was my job, in my human years, to dress Ata for all occasions when those outside the palace would see her. Upon gaining my immortality I continued to dress her. Thankfully she can pick her own outfits now. However, I buy bits and pieces for her every now and then. Over the years, I’ve kept up with all the fashion trends, educated myself in the ways of sewing and about the different cuts and fabrics. It’s a bit of a hobby,” he explained with a wistful smile. I allowed him a moment of reflection, knowing I too went off into my own world every now and then.
“He means it’s an obsession,” Oeri’s playful teasing broke the silence as he continued to type away on his phone. Riei regarded him for a moment, narrowing his eyes in his brother’s direction before his features softened and he turned back to me.
“What kind of things does Ata like to wear?” I went in for the kill, sensing this was an opportunity to delve for information.
“Anything sparkly and expensive. Riei has been indulging our Mistress for far too long.” Oeri interrupted, looking up from his Blackberry to smile warmly at Riei, whose face had morphed into a small pout.
“You indulge her too, we all do,” Riei shot back before turning his back on his brother, giving me his full attention.
“She loves dresses with empire waistlines, A-line skirts, tailored shirts, soft and silky materials, Louboutin shoes and Tiffany jewellery. Oh, and Harry Winston! But she won’t let us buy her Harry Winston, says the only Harry Winston she ever wants to own will be her engagement ring.” Riei scowled; clearly displeased with the fact he couldn’t buy his Mistress her favourite brand of jewellery. I filed the information away in my vault. Though I highly doubted that Godric would marry, if he did plan on doing so I could help him out. Then he’d probably buy me a pair of Manolo’s for my effort.
The car slowed to a stop, the driver was quick out of his seat and opened the door for us. Rather than offering his hand he stood still, acquainted with the vampire custom of limited physical contact. Riei and Oeri moved to allow me out first, following close behind me. Although a vampire myself, and therefore able to defend myself, I felt safe having the two ancient men with me. Edgington was out there somewhere and would no doubt jump at the opportunity to take me so he could draw out Eric.
Wandering into the shopping mall I relaxed. I was in my element. I took off in the direction of Fendi, the first store I could see. Power walking through the door I moved to a rail, grabbing several items in my size that caught my eye. The beauty of being a vampire was the speed that came with it: It enabled me to venture into more stores and therefore buy more. I left the boys bickering over a white belted dress and popped into the changing room. I always took my time with this part of the process; time to appreciate the fabrics and the cut, to appreciate the detail. After several minutes, I had my pile of clothing, which consisted of a pink knit cotton dress, a black bow detail skirt, a black figure-hugging knitted puff sleeve dress, a brown single-breasted fine check jacket and a heather moss green wool-cashmere ribbed knit cardigan.
Stepping out of the changing room I moved back to Riei and Oeri who had a few items themselves. I took in the white silk lined wool coat, the belted dress they had been bickering over earlier, a black double breasted trench coat and a pair of blue, yellow and red patent leather peep toe platforms. “Is there something you’re not telling me about, boys?” I teased, quirking a perfectly shaped eyebrow in their direction.
“What do you think of these shoes, Pam?” Riei inquired, totally ignoring my little jibe while Oeri rolled his eyes in response, moving to the men’s section of the store.
“They’re bright but quite interesting. They’d look good with a white dress as they’d add a splash of colour.” I critiqued, pursing my lips together.
“That works for me, we’ll take them,” Riei grinned, having wanted my opinion first.
Together we moved to the cash desk, paying for our items before leaving the store. Oeri met us outside. “I call Prada next, they have a jacket in there that would be perfect for the nights when we have to entertain the masses with our presence,” he informed us, rolling his eyes dramatically before the corner of his lips quirked upwards into a small smile. It seemed like we both detested being kind to the vermin, yet we did so anyway in order to please our Maker’s. Hm, could Ata truly be classed as their Maker given that she was fae? The vampires living under Ata’s roof were fond of humans if their interactions with Ata and Sookie were anything to go by. However, it was embedded in vampire nature to dislike breathers, to see them only as a food source and nothing more. That was why it was so rare for a vampire to tie themselves to a mortal.
The three of us sauntered into Prada and were pounced on by an assistant. Once again, we were off in our own directions, after Riei pointed me in the direction of the dress he had been harping on about. Picking up a few things we finally regrouped in front of the cash register. In my arms, I clutched a pair of beige vintage belted trousers, a cameo coloured tote bag, a pair of leather logo stirrup knee high boots, a mint and beige wool contrast piping cardigan and the dress Riei had suggested. At first, I had been sceptical of the garment, the colouring was bright and the fabric form-fitting. The moment I slipped the fabric over my head, however, I knew it was meant for me. The dress crisscrossed at the bust and waist to accentuate my slight hourglass shape, the cap sleeves framed the crisscross neckline and the strap across the back of my neck would hold the dress up. It was mid-thigh in length and the taping along the back zip elongated my figure. In short, it was amazing, and I was more than a little satisfied with it.
Riei had hold of a pink and black silk lace print A-line dress, a pair of patent almond toe court shoes, a faille silk A-line skirt in mint green and a black poplin bow back jacket. “Do you ever buy clothes for yourself?” I asked with a quirked eyebrow, taking note of the vast quantity of female clothing he had purchased.
“Oeri shops for us; I understand women’s fashion and he understands men’s.” The vampire grinned, handing over his card to the woman behind the counter. As if he had known he was being talked about, Oeri was back at our sides, his arms laden with clothing, all of which he dumped onto the counter after Riei and I had paid for our items.
“I picked you up a few new pairs of slacks, you’ve been abusing the ones you already have,” Oeri gave a cheeky grin to his brother, earning him a playful smack across the arm.
We moved on to Macy’s next, not really looking for anything in particular. However, once again, we ended up with armfuls of clothing. I would no doubt have to pay extra in order to get all of my new clothes back to Shreveport, but I was positive Eric wouldn’t mind paying, considering it was his idea to allow me to run wild with his Amex.
At the cash register Riei, Oeri and I regarded one another’s choices; Riei had collected quite a range of clothing for Ata. In his arms, he held a black A-line dress with chain link detail, a black backless beaded shoulder dress, a red ¾ length dress, a red and white ombré dress, a pair of black boot cut pants, a blue V-neck tunic, a red silk scoop neck tank top, a jacket and a cardigan.
Oeri, on the other hand, had stayed simple and bought several of each item in varying sizes. The men didn’t have to try too hard to look presentable. It was one of the things that had annoyed me during my human years, the need for a woman to look fantastic all the time, while the men could slouch around in hideous shirts and ill-fitting pants and still be treated better than their female counterparts. He held on to several pairs of black tailored flat front wool dress pants, several pairs of khaki coloured pleated dress pants, a few black custom-fit shirts, a few washed plaid blazers – the sight of which made me shudder, plaid wasn’t good on anyone – and a few pairs of washed out denim boot cut jeans. It seemed the males went for a more relaxed and casual stance with their clothing.
I’d flitted around the store, collecting items from every possible rail and gathered quite a selection myself. The cashier called me up and I placed my bounty on the countertop, watching as she swiped my items before placing them into bags. I’d chosen a black sleeveless zipper dress, a bright blue sleeveless zipper dress, a black single-button blazer, a pair of pink skinny jeans, a pink ruffle blouse, an ivory pencil skirt, a white lace & sateen blouse, and a beige drape-neck blouse.
With our purchases complete I still felt the need to buy something for my Grandsire’s mate. While a $35 sundress was perfect for Sookie I would need to think big for Ata. Sookie’s dress was more personal, something she could appreciate on an emotional level as it showed that I had been paying attention to her and knew the kind of things she liked. I knew nothing of Ata though, other than the fact her boys bought her shiny, sparkly, and expensive things. “Have you ever shopped in Cartier?” I inquired casually, pausing to look in the window.
“Yes, Ata sends us in here frequently for pieces to wear to functions,” Oeri replied with a shrug of his shoulders, giving the information willingly. I had the perfect idea for Ata’s present. Shooing away my male companions I ventured into the store, quickly making my purchase before stepping back out. “I have a feeling we should return now, Ata mentioned having things to discuss didn’t she?” I quizzed, calling upon my perfect memory to remind me of the conversation earlier in the evening. The fact I was running back to Caesar’s Palace to try and please a human/faery hybrid would have disgusted me yesterday, but the girl was a rather interesting character, so full of mystery and so guarded. Also, it was difficult to forget the amount of power she had wielded over me the night before, knocking me to the ground as if I were nothing more than a feather.
The trip back to Caesar’s Palace was peacefully quiet; I had always been a woman of few words so the silence suited me fine. However, it was apparent that Riei was used to talking for long periods of time as I caught him opening his mouth to say something several times before he’d close his mouth and frown. In the darkness the back of the limo offered, I took the time to properly survey the two fine men sitting with me. During their human years, they had worked hard and their bodies showed it, both muscular and strong, yet there was a soft edge to them. I assumed it was from the years in the presence of a woman: Ata had taken their hard edges and blurred them somewhat. It made the male vampires in Ata’s company an interesting bunch. They seemed to absorb one another’s best traits and fuel one another. It wasn’t hard to miss the mixed scents in both of my companions; their veins full of blood from Ata and one another. I had never heard of vampire siblings sharing blood frequently throughout their lives in order to maintain strong bonds. Usually, siblings cared for one another but never enough to stick together for long and to share everything with one another. That was saved for the Maker-Childe relationship.
I’d spent some time away from Eric. After seventy years together, he let me go so that I could see America, travel alone, and learn to fend for myself. Now, when I thought about it I supposed it was a similar gesture to that of humans when human parents would let their children go off at the age of eighteen or so into the big wide world, to experience everything themselves. I hadn’t gone very far, not wanting to stray from Eric too much in case I needed him or he needed me. I would forever be very independent but I had acknowledged a long time ago that a vampire would always be in need of their Maker. I had been in Minnesota when the Great Reveal was announced and Eric had called me back to him soon after, wanting me by his side in case the humans lashed out. He had also wanted me to help him run Fangtasia: I could never say no to him.
I was fond of the old man; there was no doubt about it. Fond seemed too little of a word, though. I couldn’t say I loved him, vampires could not love, but I cared for him a great deal more than I had anyone else, ever. I had lived in London with my parents during the Victorian era. My father had been a wealthy businessman and my mother his peerage wife. They’d groomed me to be a respectable young lady of society, which had bored me. I had spent most of my twenties breaking engagements and young men’s hearts, something I still found fun even now. I had developed a taste for females over the years though as men were far too fussy. When I had come across Eric in 1905, I was only too happy to take him up on his offer of immortality. He’d drained me and put me back into my bed: After my funeral he’d dug me up and together we’d left London, heading first to the north of England, and then travelling Europe until we eventually left for America, or the ‘New World’ as the older generation of vampires had called it. About ten years after my turning I had seen my parents through a windowpane in a small restaurant in Yorkshire. They had looked so happy together and for a moment I had felt bad about my choice of immortality, leaving them behind without me. The realisation that they would have been happy but I wouldn’t have been sobered me up.
Immortality was something I was fond of; it felt like I was made for it. With Eric by my side, it felt like home. In some ways, I had gained a new family the night Eric had turned me I had gained a father who cared for me properly, who watched out for me, ensured everything was fine with me and allowed me some sense of freedom. I had gained a grandfather in Godric, someone whom I could aspire to be like. He’d been magnificent then, not that he wasn’t now, but he’d been the ultimate predator, the perfect balance of viciousness and cunning. The only thing I’d been missing had been a motherly figure, but I’d never liked my human mother anyway. She may have carried me inside her body for nine months, gone through countless hours of labour to give birth to me, but then she’d handed me off to a nanny and left me be. All I could thank her for was my birth, as it ultimately had led to my re-birth.
Before I could lose myself in my memories, the limo pulled up outside Caesar’s Palace and the three of us exited the vehicle, clutching our purchases tightly in our hands. No one would dare steal from us, but this was Vegas. The elevator took us up to the penthouse and as the doors slid back I noted we were the last to return. Not that it bothered me; I was in no way embarrassed by our late arrival. Ari and Khai were sitting on the barstools in the kitchen area, scribbling away at notepads and chattering on their cell phones in languages I had no grasp of. Egor and Agmund had abandoned their usual place in front of the elevator doors and were, instead, sitting on the floor looking up at the huge flat screen TV, a controller of some sort for a human entertainment system in their hands. Glancing at the screen I took note of the racing game they seemed to be playing. Boys will be boys.
My Maker, Grandsire, Sookie and Ata sat together on the sofas, engrossed in conversation. Eric sat on one of the sofas, leaning back against the backrest casually, an arm flung over the armrest and the other wrapped around Sookie, who’d curled herself up into his side, an arm snaked around his waist and her head resting on his chest. It was oddly intimate. Godric occupied the other sofa and was sitting sideways with his legs stretched over the cushions and his back to the armrest, his arms wrapped around Ata’s waist. Ata sat in the gap between his legs, her back to his chest and her hands locked with his in front of her, her legs too were stretched out in front of her and she was the perfect height to fit snuggly under my Grandsire’s chin. I had never been one for romance or to seek simple comfort in the presence of another, my contact with humans had always been for a fuck and feed, but I felt a strange sensation of loneliness as I watched my two family members with their respective mates.
Deciding it was time to bite the proverbial bullet I took an unnecessary breath, “Sookie, can I speak to you for a moment, alone?” I asked gently, giving the young breather a small, and what I hoped was friendly, smile. Sookie seemed confused for a moment; however, she slowly extracted herself from Eric, who was looking at me curiously. I sent him a wave of reassurance through our bond and waited patiently for Sookie to join me. Risking a glance to my Grandsire and his mate I found Godric observing me with the same curious expression that Eric wore. Ata, however, had her eyes narrowed in my direction and the warning shining in her blue orbs was abundantly clear – fuck with my cousin, and I’ll stake you.
Usually, I would scoff at anyone attempting to threaten me in such a manner, but the older breather had some power I still wasn’t familiar with. Plus, she had six vampires under her command. I wasn’t about to fuck around and mess with her as much as I wanted to. I would just have to find someone else to torment mercilessly.
As Sookie approached me, her innocent look disappeared altogether, leaving me confused. “Why would I want to go into a room, alone, with a vampire who clearly dislikes me?” She asked, considering her safety in her response. I was disappointed that giving her my peace offering wasn’t going to be as easy as I had thought.
“I don’t not like you per sé…” I started, stumbling to find the right words for my feelings. Sookie snorted and the others in the room grinned, seeing through my words.
She shook her head, “I know that’s not it. You’re jealous. I’m making Eric, your Maker, feel things. Things that you haven’t felt from him before in all the years you’ve been together. I can understand that since you’ve had him to yourself for a long time now: It’s hard to share when you’re not used to it, but you might as well learn now. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here to stay. I’m in it for the long haul. Is any of this getting through to you?”
I don’t think I’d ever heard her be so wordy before. “What I can’t forget is yesterday,” she continued, taking me by surprise. Sookie usually tried to stay out of my way, and I, hers. I was surprised she understood me so well, though. I wasn’t hiding my feelings as well as I thought, otherwise she would have never caught on. Damn. Her final comment gave me pause. What had I done yesterday? I hadn’t threatened her, I hadn’t offered to pleasure her, or been lascivious towards her.
Sookie snorted inelegantly, “You don’t remember, do you?” I shook my head, confused even more. She took a few steps closer, seeming to grow a backbone. The feeling from her changed and became more threatening. I looked to my Maker for some assistance, but he was sitting there with his arms crossed, his long legs stretched out before him as his bonded approached me. He actually seemed to be amused?
It didn’t look like Godric or any of the other vampires would help either, since they were all sitting or standing, simply watching what was about to go down.
“If you EVER,” she poked her finger into my chest as she took another step closer, “mention my heritage,” she poked harder, “in public,” she was nose to nose with me now, “again, I WILL blast you to kingdom come with my faery light. Am I clear?”
I gulped; she was quite serious. And frightening. Who knew?
I shook my head, “but I…” I never got the chance to finish my sentence since I suddenly found myself flat on my ass on the floor. Eric was standing in front of Sookie protectively, and the other vampires and Ata were circling her, trying to not let me at her even though I hadn’t made a move towards her.
Sookie swatted Eric in the side and stepped around him. “She won’t hurt me, not here and now anyway. She doesn’t want to embarrass you, Eric, so she sure as the sun rises won’t do anything with you all present.” She pointed out. I raised my eyebrow at her.
“I don’t know who taught you how to be discrete or to think before you speak, ‘cause it sure wasn’t Eric. There were hundreds of people down there last night. You don’t know who could have been working for Russell, or even another vampire. What do you think would happen to Eric if something were to happen to me?” Sookie asked. My eyes grew wide, and I could feel them tearing up. I looked at Eric and he nodded his confirmation that he would follow her soon after if something were to happen to her.
I didn’t even bother trying to get up just yet. My chest still hurt from Sookie’s prodding, but it was my pride, more than anything, which was hurting. Twice, in as many nights, I had been taken down by a fucking human/faery hybrid! I must be losing my touch!
That didn’t really matter, though, since Sookie was right. I was careless last night. I did mention her heritage where anyone who cared to could hear. Just thinking about what would happen to Eric if something were to happen to Sookie…I shook my head to clear that image out of my brain.
I took a deep, very much unneeded breath to help steel my nerves; my pumps were suddenly more interesting than the people in the room with me, especially the faery and the vampire I wronged so badly. “I…I…” am I really about to do this? Am I going to apologise? To a breather? Damn it all to hell.
I took another breath, “I’m sorry Sookie, Master. I wasn’t thinking. You are right,” Sookie looked surprised. “I was careless last night; it won’t happen again.”
Before Sookie could blink I was enveloped in a hug. Why in the world was she hugging me? She knows vampires don’t like to be touched unless they initiate the contact!
“Thank you, Pam!” Sookie exclaimed. Why was she thanking me? I’m the one who apologised.
Oh, she was thanking me for the apology? How quaint. “You wanted to speak to me?” She continued. Was this faery bi-polar or something?
I nodded, “If you and my Master would allow,” I said as a way of continuing the apology without actually saying the words again.
Sookie nodded and moved away so I could get to my feet. I looked to Eric to make sure he would allow what I had in mind: He gave a barely imperceptible nod and sent a strong warning through our bond to behave or I would face the consequences. I led the way into the hallway, after retrieving my shopping bags, which subsequently led to the room I was staying in. With a flourish, I opened the door, placing my bags down on the floor in front of the wardrobe. Looking over my shoulder I caught sight of Sookie wavering in the doorway. “I won’t bite, I promise,” I teased and rolled my eyes, surreptitiously rubbing the spot on my chest where Sookie had prodded me. She needed to cut her damn nails
“It’s not that I’m worried about, I’d just rather not risk another rocket launcher being fired in my direction,” the blonde telepath shot back. She had a point. She took a final couple of strides into my room and shut the door behind her I composed myself for the coming conversation.
“I regret my actions, Sookie. They hurt both my Maker and you, and for that, I’m, sorry,” I forced another apology out of my mouth. Sorry flowed only slightly easier when it was aimed at Eric, but I had never felt the need to apologise to anyone else in my decades as an immortal. Of course, my sorry was still sincere, but my mouth refused to cooperate. Sookie quirked an eyebrow in a gesture that spoke volumes. She folded her arms over her ample chest and regarded me for a moment, a wary expression on her face and a distrusting gleam to her eyes. “I didn’t want Eric to die, Sookie,” I huffed, sitting myself down on the edge of the bed and patting the space next to me in a gesture distinctly human. I would try and get along with the blonde telepath, try and attempt to act a little human around her. “If you were in my position, what would you have done, knowing you were about to lose the one person in the world who meant the world to you, the one person in the world who protected you and loved you unconditionally, who saved you from a life of subservience and solitude?” I approached the topic from a different angle, wanting her to see it from my point of view.
There was silence for a moment as she thought over my words. Finally, her arms fell from her chest and she took up the spot next to me, pursing her lips together in contemplation. “I’d have tried to stop him too,” she finally answered, giving a nod of her head. “I’m not saying you went about it in a great way, though, Pam. If I had died I’d have come back and haunted your undead butt for the rest of your life, but I understand your need to protect him. I want to protect him too, but I get the feeling that most of the time he finds himself in difficult situations because of me.” She forced a small laugh, and I had to fight to suppress a smile. At least she could see that she was, in most cases, a danger magnet.
“When Eric was down on his knees waiting for Bill to shoot him, I was trying to come up with some form of plan, some way to get out of it. I was considering forming some sort of distraction for Marnie, though I was unsure what. I don’t want him to meet the true death because of me, Pam, but I don’t know how I can prevent him from ever doing so. I love him and I won’t let him go, but at the same time I know, by simply being with me, he’s putting himself, and subsequently you, in danger. I won’t apologise for the love I have for him Pam, but I’m sorry if he’s ever treated you badly because I’ve put him in a foul mood. You’re his kid and he loves you no matter what you do.” She spoke, her voice quiet but filled with emotion. Is a human girl worrying about my feelings? I was touched, and it was an odd feeling. She was so accepting of our kind, of all kinds, even when we had all given her reasons not to be so nice. Compton had lied to her and almost killed her several times, the faeries had stolen her away to their land for a year and the werewolf, Debbie, had come for her the night Eric had staked Talbot. For someone like myself, it was easy to accept and overcome anything and everything that was thrown my way, but for a human, with all of their emotions, it was much harder. I had to take my hat off to the girl; she was coping well so far.
Wanting affirmation, I asked the million-dollar question. “You really do love Eric, don’t you?”
“Yes, Pam, I do. I love all of him, not just the puppy dog version of him who stayed in my house for a week. As much of an ass as he can be, he’s wonderful all the same. I find myself constantly curious about him, and even though he’s annoyingly high-handed, I know he does it out of care and affection, and that’s why I’m no longer going to be a grumpy bitch about it. Underneath his Viking vampire Sheriff exterior I know there’s goodness in him. It’s like this little ball of light inside of him and I see it every time I look at him. Over the time I’ve known him, it’s become a little brighter, a little bigger, and I know that he’s a good man, an honest man. I hate to compare him to Bill because they are quite literally the antithesis of one another, but during the day I used to think of Bill as dead, but I think of Eric as simply sleeping. I know to you that might not mean a lot, but it does to me. Every opportunity that he got, Bill would sink his fangs in, and I don’t know if I should share this with you but, during Eric’s stay with me, his fangs never came out to ‘play’ unless I asked for it,” she explained, and I couldn’t help but watch in fascination as a light blush swept over her. Humans and their morals, it was cute.
“It was almost as if he were human. I would never wish him to be, don’t get me wrong! I love him for who and what he is and that will never change, but as a little girl I used to imagine having a lovely human husband, we’d live in a pretty house in the countryside with the white picket fence and have lots of cute little children. Of course, the moment ya’ll came out of the coffin and I met Bill, I threw that dream away. I guess a part of me still held on to it, though. I know I’m never going to have children, but that’s okay with me now. I don’t want to give my curse to someone else that would be cruel and unfair. I’ve accepted that a human man is never going to float my boat because I would be able to hear all of his thoughts all of the time, and being intimate with someone while they’re thinking that your thighs are a little bit flabby is not nice.” Sookie pulled a face. I had to clamp my lips shut to contain my smile and laughter. Lord help the man who would dare call any part of Sookie ‘flabby’, she was as slender yet had maintained those soft curves my Maker loved so very much.
“You know, I’ve kind of given up on my dream of a pretty house in the countryside, too,” she whispered, dropping her gaze from the wall she’d been staring at during her speech, down to her lap. It slowly started to click together in my mind. Sookie was like a tiny little boat in the Supe world, she had little-to-no idea about anything because Compton had sheltered her too much, and then suddenly she’d been thrown in the deep end and been forced to float, to fight for her life every single day. I wasn’t one to give out sympathy but I felt for the girl, she was only human after all. The chaos that had occurred for the past few years hadn’t done much to unsettle Eric and I, we still had our homes and our lives were still the same to some degree, we didn’t have to give up our hopes and wishes. Sookie had been forced to give it all up, though.
I’d heard from a few sources that her grandmother had been murdered because of her association with Compton, that her brother had ended up being raped and bitten by werepanthers, the faeries had wanted to use her as a broodmare and Russell wanted her as his chew toy, she’d nearly been raped in the Fellowship church and the dog, Debbie, had been less than happy with her regarding her friendship with Alcide. It was no surprise that she clung to the small bit of humanity she had left. She may believe that she’d given up on her dream of a husband, a country house, and children, but it was apparent to me that she still craved that. My Maker could give her a home in the country, heck he could even take her to Vermont and marry her, but he couldn’t give her children. Perhaps they could adopt one? Personally, I hated children, but if it had Eric as its father and Sookie as its mother then I would make an exception. Although I wasn’t fond of Eric being tied to a mortal, if she made him happy and he made her happy, then I was happy.
“I don’t even know why I’m telling you all of this, you probably don’t care anyway,” Sookie muttered angrily.
Deciding it was time to share, I opened up to my fellow blonde. “I was born in England, during the Victorian era. My father owned several businesses across London, and we had quite a bit of my money. My mother was a trophy wife, but she and my father loved one another anyway. They groomed me, from a very young age, into a respectable young lady of society. Let me tell you now, afternoon tea in London is not all it’s cracked up to be. I was bored and tired of the lifestyle, forced to be subservient to men, not allowed to work for my own money. I liked the independence of work; I still do, so I understand you there. I spent most of my twenties breaking engagements and young men’s hearts. It was cruel of me but it was the only way I felt I had power over the other gender. My mother wanted me to marry well and have children, live in a nice house with servants waiting on me hand and foot. You say you want the ‘American Dream’; I was set up to have something like that but didn’t want it. If I’d known you back then I would have suggested we swap lives.” I offered Sookie a small smile, taking in the curious expression and faint smile as she gave me her undivided attention. I had never shared my history with anyone other than Eric and it was rather liberating to speak openly.
“I met Eric one night in 1905. I’d been seeing my best friend’s cousin, Theodore, for quite some time and I so badly wanted to marry him. My parents didn’t approve, they stated he wasn’t of a high enough social class. It was ridiculous; they were stopping me from being with the one man I was truly in love with. My parents threatened to disown me if I went near him ever again. I would never have a penny from them and I would have to change my name, society would cast me out as a disgrace, and I would never marry well. I had to make a choice then, between my family and the love of my life, and it was the hardest decision I had ever had to make. But I was too scared to choose, Sookie. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone and I know you’re just like that too; you do everything for everyone else when they do nothing for you in return. It’s an endearing quality. I decided enough was enough, I didn’t want to fight and take sides, so Eric took me and drained me one night, putting me back in my bed and then after my funeral he dug me up. ” I sighed, recalling the night.
“We left London together, headed up towards the north of England, towards Yorkshire, and we stayed there for a while before travelling Europe and then making the journey over here to America. Ten years after my turning I spotted my parents through a windowpane in a small restaurant in Yorkshire. They looked so happy together and for a moment I felt bad about my choice of immortality, leaving them behind without me, leaving Theodore behind without me. It was the lesser evil, though, to just leave them be. I was too scared to choose, and although Eric is never scared of anything, I don’t want him to have to choose between us. I think he needs us both in his life. I can help him in the vampire world, and you can help him in the human one. He needs the balance we can both offer him. He’s become a better vampire with both of us around. So, I call a truce, Sookie Stackhouse. I don’t want us to bicker and fight and pull Eric in both directions,” I gave my opinion, watching Sookie carefully.
She too watched me for a moment, an unfathomable expression on her features and in her eyes. “Promise you’ll never fire a rocket launcher at me again?” She finally spoke.
“Only if you promise to never hurt Eric,” I responded, treading carefully. I didn’t want to imply that she would, but at the same time, Sookie needed to know I wouldn’t stand for her jerking him around. As much as I was growing to respect the young telepath I would still drain her dry if she ever seriously hurt Eric.
“Deal.” Sookie stuck out her hand towards me and for a moment I observed it, before cautiously placing my own in it, giving it a gentle shake. It wasn’t vampire custom to shake hands, too much physical contact, but I would bend the rules a little for my new breather companion.
“I bought you a present,” I declared, moving at a human pace to the gift bag containing Sookie’s new dress. Handing it to her she seemed stunned and her blue eyes widened in surprise.
“You didn’t have to, Pam,” she started to protest but I held my hand up for silence.
“Are you going to open it? I promise you it’s nothing nasty,” I vowed, raising my hand up in a gesture I’d been told the little human’s did when they were part of a Girl Scout troop.
“I thought we weren’t bound together by oestrogen or sisterhood or some shit like that?” Sookie sassed, a smile playing on her lips as she took in my hand gesture.
“I’m surprised you remember that,” I commented, letting my hand fall back to my side as Sookie started to peel the sticky tape off the gift bag in order to open it.
“I have a good memory, Pam,” she shot back, looking up at me before returning her attention to the gift bag. With one final tug, she opened it and delved her hand inside, pulling out the dress. She gasped as she caught sight of it.
“As do I,” I responded smugly, watching the pure surprise and joy as she took in the dress.
“This is exactly like the one I wore the first night I came to Fangtasia! My goodness. Thank you so much! That maenad destroyed my old one and I’ve been looking for a new one everywhere.” She grinned, climbing off the bed and yanking me into a hug. I stiffened in her arms, not entirely sure how to respond. I tried to remember how all the girls in the movies acted at this particular moment, and slowly wrapped my arms back around Sookie, patting her back a little awkwardly a few times until she pulled away. “I have something for you too, wait here!” She instructed, practically running from the room.
Curiosity overcame me and I frowned a little, though it was short-lived as Sookie quickly returned, a Nordstrom bag in her hands. “I got these for you last night while Eric and I were out shopping,” she explained shyly, holding the bag out to me. Pleasantly surprised at the name on the bag I took it from her and sat back on the bed. Sookie hovered in front of me, the door shut behind her.
Dipping my hand into the bag I removed the plain white shoebox, the words MANOLO BLAHNIK were printed in large font on the lid, and my eyes lit up. She’d bought me Manolo’s! Quickly, I had the lid off the box, pulling the shoes out to look at them. I gasped and grinned as the pink pumps came into my line of sight. They were made of leather, approximately 4″ high and were Mary Jane style. They were beautiful and would look perfect with some of the new clothes I’d bought, and with some of my existing clothes. Without even having to think about it I slipped my current shoes off, sliding the new ones on. They fit perfectly. Crossing the room, I admired them in the mirror. I couldn’t help but smile over my shoulder at Sookie, who looked a little nervous. “They’re beautiful Sookie, thank you,” I offered, crossing over to her and pulling her in for a hug similar to the one she had given me moments before, but this time there was no awkward pat on the back. I was expecting this.
“You really like them?” She asked me nervously as I pulled back.
“I love them. My Maker is lucky to have you,” I complimented as her face broke out into a large grin. Moving to my bed, she picked up her new dress, holding it against her frame. “Don’t think that means I’ll start calling you my sister or something, though, or mother for that matter!” I playfully wagged my finger at her.
Laughter tumbled from Sookie’s lips as she moved to the door, “Don’t worry, I wasn’t expecting that from you, daughter,” she grinned cheekily before disappearing down the corridor. “Eric, look what Pam bought me!” I heard her happy exclamation as she entered the living area. My bond with Eric was flooded with love and pride seconds later, and I couldn’t help but smile. Looking down at my new Manolo’s I felt like Sookie and I had reached an understanding this evening. We weren’t enemies; we had the same common goal, Eric’s happiness. I felt a little bad that Sookie had bought me shoes worth hundreds of dollars and I’d bought her a dress that cost less than $40, but that was Sookie all over. She preferred the simple things, the inexpensive yet meaningful things. I could have bought her diamonds and pearls, but that wasn’t who she was.
Feeling a sense of satisfaction overcome me, I tidied away my new purchases at vampire speed before stopping in front of the mirror once again to straighten out my clothes and admire my new shoes some more. “Yes, I think we’ll get along fine, my little telepathic friend.”