Chapter 16: Sympathy For the Devil

In my 1,000 years I’d experienced more than my fair share of tribulations and pain. I’d survived several very unpleasant forms of torture, many of them at the hands of my maker. I’d regenerated limbs, which is a sort of pain I couldn’t describe even if I wanted to attempt to recall it. My maker, in a fit of rage, had pulled my fangs once. That was more about humiliation than it was the pain, although the pain wasn’t fun by any means.

However, this was the first time in my 1,000 years I was experiencing a headache. As soon as Sookie mentioned the name Mark Stonebrook, I knew she was on to something. Although how she’d been able to make the connection, I didn’t know until after I dismissed the vampires. Bill hung back, giving her disbelieving stares, just begging for me to intervene. I knew better. As much I would have loved nothing more than to rip his arm so I could jab out his eyes with his own fingers, I would sit back and let him dig his own hole. He was quite good at it.

“What makes you think it’s him, Sookie?” I asked her once the crowd had thinned a bit.

She looked around nervously and said, “I’d rather not say in a room full of vampires, if you don’t mind.”

“Then let’s go back to my office,” I suggested and stood up.

Sookie stood as well. She let me take her hand and we walked off the dais together. As predicted, Bill foolishly stepped in front of the hallway door. He had what he probably thought was an intimidating sneer on his face. It might have been to a newborn, or maybe even one of those tiny human boys who goes camping in the woods. What are they called? Cub Scouts, I think. Yes, perhaps he was intimidating to a Cub Scout. Not to me, and based on the determination in Sookie’s blood, I’d say he wasn’t very scary to her either.

“Hello, Bill,” Sookie spoke first since it seemed Bill was content to just stare.

“Sookie,” Bill’s eyes shifted to me, his fangs just barely visible when he spoke. “How long have you been his?”

“That’s not really any of your business, Bill,” I expected to hear her say something about not belonging to anyone, but instead she played her part as the dutiful pet rather well and said, “All you need to know is that I am. Now if you’ll excuse us-” Sookie stepped forward, but Bill only got right in her face.

My fangs lowered faster than a fangbanger’s panties when I glamoured them. Did he really think he had a chance of laying a hand on her without losing it?

“I suggest you back down, Mr. Compton.” I said in a threatening tone.

Bill glared at me but stepped back. Good boy.

“Bill, this doesn’t need to be dramatic. You and I are over. You made that clear to me before the start of the new year. I’ve moved on. I don’t need your permission, or approval, to be with someone else, especially Eric. You cheated on me and that wasn’t even the worst of what you did, so don’t you dare start making a case for how Eric’s only using me!” Sookie let him have it with both barrels, and I was proud of her for it.

Bill had the good sense to look chastised, but it was all an act. I could see certain tells in his body language that he wasn’t nearly as remorseful as he wanted her to think he was. Yet, I felt Sookie soften emotionally. Her passion and sympathy were dangerous traits in a world like mine. Vampires would happily play on her kindness and use it against her. I definitely had my work cut out for me where Sookie was concerned.

We made it to my office without further argument or delay. Sookie sat in the chair across from my desk and proceeded to tell me why Mark Stonebrook’s name came to mind. “I saw his face in Mary Elizabeth’s mind.”

This was new. She could read vampire minds? Since when?

“I wasn’t aware you read vampires, Sookie,” I narrowed my eyes just a bit.

“Usually I can’t. Maybe she was projecting, I don’t know.” Sookie shrugged, obviously upset by this turn of events.

“Can you read my mind?” I asked her, and started to think of something very specific I’d rather be doing with on my desk.

“No,” Sookie sighed, but I sensed that wasn’t entirely true. I arched an eyebrow and she glared it me. “I can’t!”

I knew she was lying to me, although I wasn’t sure why. “Sookie, I can feel your blood. You’re hiding something.”

“I can’t read your mind, Eric! I get flashes sometimes, but that’s it. It’s just a picture like I got with Mary Elizabeth, but I don’t know what you’re thinking right now.” Sookie confessed.

Just to satisfy my own curiosity, and maybe for my own amusement, I pushed an image at her. I very clearly pictured her straddling my lap up on my throne, riding me fast and hard with her head thrown back in ecstasy. Her eyes widened and she turned bright red.

“Never gonna happen, Northman!” She folded her arms stubbornly over her chest.

Well, this was going to be fun.

“Don’t do that. I don’t want to be in your head. It’s bad enough you can feel me all the time.” Sookie pouted.

“Sookie, being able to feel you is a great advantage for many reasons, primarily because it gives me the ability to locate you should we become separated.” I reminded her.

“And what if I don’t want to be found, huh? I’m a big girl, you know. I don’t need a babysitter.”

“You have a habit of dashing into dangerous situations without thinking of the consequences, Sookie. Given that we seem to have a problem with people going missing from this area, it might be to your advantage that I can track you.” I pointed out, which took some of the wind from her sails.

Sookie had daggers in her eyes. Whether she was mad in general or mad that I was right, I didn’t know. More than likely it was a blend of the two. While I didn’t particularly want to argue with her, I will admit there was a certain charge I got from it. It was quite enjoyable to listen to her heartbeat elevate and her breathing quicken. Her skin would flush just the littlest bit and I would be able to see her pulse dance in her slender neck. Best of all, I felt the fire in her blood when she got what she would probably call ‘uppity’ over a situation.

“Your theory about Mark Stonebrook, I’m afraid, might very well be correct. He’s a werewolf. I smelled a Were on your property. I should have Pam out to your house to see if she can smell him still,” I told Sookie.

“Scents linger that long?” Sookie’s eyes widened.

“Scents can linger for weeks or months,” I reached into my pocket and typed out a quick text message to Pam, telling her to make her way out to Sookie’s house. “I think it would be wise if you didn’t remain in your home until we sort this out.”

Sookie sputtered and there was a sharp spike of frustration and indignation in her blood. Before she even opened her mouth to argue, I had a pretty good idea of what she was going to say. “I’m not gonna hide, Eric. I have a life, and I’m getting real tired of people pushing me around and making choices for me. I’m a grown woman.”

I took an unnecessary deep breath and pinched the bridge of my nose.

“And if you’re taken, what then? You know a fraction of what Mark Stonebrook is capable of. Believe me when I tell you that your independent streak pales in comparison to his need for revenge if he’s the one responsible,” I warned Sookie.

“Did it ever occur to you that you could set up a trap on my property if that’s true?” Sookie folded her arms over her chest.

She had a point, as much as I hated to admit it, but I wasn’t particularly comfortable with using her as bait. Not until she had a better understanding of just how dangerous it all was. I knew Sookie wasn’t as weak or defenseless as she might appear. She definitely had a way of thinking outside the box and could be quite crafty when she wanted to. There were times when she thought so much like a vampire that I found it curious she was so against being one of us.

“I think I’m gonna go home.” Sookie stood up suddenly.

I didn’t want her to leave but her mood suggested it was probably the best thing for both of us. “I’ll walk you out.”

I was on my feet and had her coat in my hands, held out for her to slide her arms into before she could take more than a step toward the rack in the corner. The smell of her perfume filled me as I slid the coat on her. She buttoned up and reached for her purse. I didn’t want her to leave.

I opened the door for her and watched as she walked toward the back door of the bar. I followed behind her, trying to think of something to say that would get her to stay, even if it was just for a few more minutes. I couldn’t ever recall being so desperate for someone’s company before. Even when she infuriated me with her stubbornness, I didn’t want her to leave.

We walked silently from the bar but stopped dead in our tracks when a beautiful brunette woman appeared. The smell of fairy hit me almost immediately and my fangs ran out. I wanted the fairy. I started to advance, but Sookie stepped in front of me.

“Hold on there, handsome, you’re not my type,” the fairy said in a bubbly voice that didn’t stop me from taking another step toward her.

“She’s a friend, not food,” Sookie said sharply, trying to push me back the step I’d advanced.

“I want her,” I hissed without thinking about it.

“Claudine, you might want to make this quick,” Sookie grunted when she shoved against me again.

The smell of fairy was intoxicating, and having Sookie’s body pressed against mine wasn’t helping matters any either. In those moments I wanted to drain the fairy, then do unspeakable things to Sookie. I hissed when Sookie continued to push against me.

“I just came to warn you there’s been someone prowling around your property and a trap’s been set. Do not go home, Sookie. It’s not safe there,” Claudine said in an urgent tone of voice.

“Who’s been prowling around my property?” Sookie asked while I took another step closer to Claudine. “Eric, would you get a hold of yourself? You can’t have her!”

I growled at Sookie. I could have just pushed through her if I wanted to and we all knew it, but there was nothing to stop the fairy from simply popping out of the way before I caught her. Fairies were very hard to catch, and since Claudine had come with a warning, I fought the urge to attack and drain her right where she stood.

“I don’t know who. All I know is that it isn’t safe. You’ll be safer with tall, blond and deadly over there until all this blows over,” Claudine advised. If it wouldn’t have been so tempting to sink my fangs into her jugular when I did so, I would have hugged her.

Sookie wasn’t happy with what Claudine was telling her, but there was no way I would let her go home after that. If she wasn’t safe in Bon Temps, that meant she was staying with me. Before Sookie could get a word in edgewise, Claudine disappeared, leaving me alone with Sookie in a dark alley with the smell of fairy lingering in the air.

I rubbed up against Sookie, the desire for sex and blood flooding me completely with Sookie’s scent mingling with the fairy. She pushed against me, trying to get free from my arms that had suddenly wrapped tightly around her, holding her close to me. I nuzzled against her neck, breathing her in and feeling her quickened pulse jumping against my lips.

Frustration. Fear. Lust. It was all in her blood, swirling, pumping hard and fast through her veins. Her warmth was almost as intoxicating as the scent of fairy. In a flash I had her up against the rough brick wall of the bar. My hands were firm and possessive on her perfectly rounded hips and my lips crashed down on hers, eager to taste her on my tongue. She squirmed against me, pushing against my chest. One of my fangs nicked her lip, and the taste of her blood sent a tremor of happy through me. I wanted more.

“Eric, stop!” Sookie managed to break away. The fear in her blood had spiked up, and it was enough to break the haze I was in.

I stepped away from her quickly, but it did little to get the scent of fairy out of my lungs. We needed to get out of the alley, and fast. “My apologies, dear one, but you smelled too delicious to resist.”

“I’m not getting anywhere near you until you get yourself together.” Sookie stayed pressed against the wall. “You might want to call Pam and warn her about the trap.”

Right. If nothing else, it would distract me. I pulled my phone from my pocket and dialed Pam’s number. I relayed the warning to her, and the only response I got was disappointment that she’d missed a chance at catching a fairy for her own purposes.

“I’ll report back when I’ve been to Sookie’s,” Pam promised before hanging up.

“If you can safely get into Sookie’s home, pack some of her clothing. She won’t be home for a few days,” I told Pam. Sookie’s mouth opened to argue, but quickly shut.

“Tell her to grab one of my uniforms,” Sookie grumbled.

I wanted to tell her there was no way she was going back to Bon Temps when I couldn’t be with her, but I didn’t get the chance. Pam told me she heard what Sookie said, then muttered something about how stubborn Sookie was.

“It’s like she wants to get killed, Eric,” Pam sounded as fatigued as I felt in that moment.

“I’ll discuss it with her. You know where to bring her things when you’re finished.” I didn’t want to give the location we would be heading in case the phone was bugged.

“I do. I’ll be quick,” Pam promised, and then she was gone.

“I don’t see why I can’t just stay with my brother,” Sookie huffed when I hung up.

“Because your brother isn’t in a position to adequately defend you. I have to speak with Alcide anyway. I’ll see if there’s anyone in his pack willing to take on a bodyguarding job,” I said as I started toward the car. I knew Sookie was gearing up to argue with me, so I said, “You heard what Claudine said. You, yourself, suspect that Mark Stonebrook is the one who has been staking out your property. Not only is he magically inclined, he’s also a werewolf that drinks vampire blood. Dangerous doesn’t begin to describe what he is. I am not leaving you unguarded in Bon Temps. You’re too important, Sookie. Now you can either come with me voluntarily and we can discuss strategy, or I can take you against your will and treat you like a prisoner. It’s your decision, but I can’t let you go back to Bon Temps alone.”

Sookie glared at me, mulling over her choices before she finally huffed and began to stomp toward the car. “Fine. I’ll go with you, but you better not keep any secrets from me. Whatever Pam finds at my house, I want to know about it.”

“Deal,” I promised her, and opened the passenger side door for her.

“What about my car?” she arched an eyebrow at me.

“Until I can find someone to be with you, I think it would be wise for you to stay put,” I told her.

“So miss more work, right? You know, it’s lucky for me Sam is a shifter, or I’d be fired by now.” Sookie shook her head and fell into the car as gracefully as she could with the skirt she was wearing.

I closed the car door, took one last deep breath of the fairy scented air, and got in the driver’s side.

o.O.o.O.o

The temptation to lock Sookie in my daytime resting place with me was strong. I knew it was too risky to let her stay in another of my safe-houses that were scattered throughout the city, but locking her up with me while I was dead for the day was hazardous to my own health. There was only one house I owned in Shreveport that was registered in the name of Eric Northman. It was a decoy, set with light timers and there was even a second red Corvette in the garage.

They had identical license plates and I’d even had the identification numbers tampered with so they would match. I switched out which one I was driving one week to the next to make sure they were both in perfect working order and the mileage was believable to anyone who might check. I swept them regularly for tracking devices, explosives and bugs to make sure they were clean.

There wasn’t a single inch of the decoy house that wasn’t monitored by cameras. So far no one had attempted to break in, but it was only a matter of time before someone tried it. I’d chosen the house because it was flashy and probably what anyone who was stupid enough to try and break into a vampire’s home would think was normal.

Never mind that when I was a human, nearly a dozen people had lived in a single room smaller than Sookie’s kitchen. While it was true I had managed to save a great many things over the course of my lifetime, I didn’t keep many of them in my home. Most of them were locked up in temperature controlled underground storage units maintained by a team of vampires.

In my decoy house were a bunch of knock offs of antiques and artifacts. The trained eye would know they were fake, but to the average human, it would be impossible to tell. My decoy home was a museum, a shrine to my long life. My real home was far less cluttered and much more modern. I’d lived through the past. I saw no reason to keep reminders of it everywhere I looked.

There were a few choice pieces I kept with me, but they were few. I enjoyed books a great deal, and kept them in my day chamber. I rarely had time to read, but on the occasions that I did, it was nice to have them close by. I had books in all different languages and wondered what Sookie would think if she saw the collection.

“Where are we going?” Sookie asked me as I drove along.

“To my home, of course,” I kept my eyes on the road.

Sookie said nothing else. Part of the reason I left her car at the bar was because it would throw off anyone who was looking for her. I also didn’t want her to disappear in the middle of the day. Before I went to rest, I’d email Bobby to set up a meeting with Alcide the following night.

I pulled into the driveway of a modest ranch house, located at the end of a cul-de-sac on the west side of Shreveport in the Western Hills subdivision near Cross Lake. The house was built back in the mid-seventies. The exterior had cream color bricks, deep green shutters and a covered front porch with a pair of wicker chairs in front of the big bay window that looked into the living room.

The house was located in a woodsy area, and around back was a covered cement deck, as well as a wooden patio further out into the lawn. There was a swing there, and various plants and flowers were potted and surrounding the deck. Large trees dotted the property and the smell of the lake hung in the air. The grass was a decrepit shade of golden-brown. Winter had long since chased away the lush green it usually is in the summertime.

I added on a detached garage when I bought the property at a bargain price back in the early nineties. I’d also done some rather extensive remodeling to the home, outfitting it as a suitable dwelling for a vampire. A basement wasn’t an option due to the water tables in Louisiana, but it was easy enough to make one of the two master suites light tight and very difficult to enter without the right security codes.

“This is your house?” Sookie asked in a surprised voice.

“Yes, it is.” I smiled at her as I killed the engine. I wanted her to like it, and something in the way her eyes lit up told me she did. I hoped she would want to spend more time there, and not just because her life was in danger.

“I’m surprised,” Sookie admitted, not that she needed to. “I would have expected something bigger.”

I smirked and said, “Most humans do. This is just one of several houses I own in this area, but it is only this house in which I rest for the day. I have never brought anyone other than Pam here.”

“You don’t do a lot of entertaining?” Sookie asked incredulously.

“That’s what the bar is for,” I wiggled my eyebrows at her, then sped around to her side of the car to help her out.

“So you never bring your … I mean you don’t have … meals here?” Sookie asked as we walked toward the house.

“As you know, vampires are very particular about with whom they share knowledge of their resting place with. And since they are merely meals, as you put it, no, I didn’t bring them here. If they managed to hold my attention for longer than that, I might have taken them to a different safe-house, but I always left before sunrise,” I explained to her.

I knew hearing these sorts of details made her uncomfortable. I wasn’t ashamed of my behavior, but I saw no reason to rub her face in it either. I certainly didn’t want to hear the details of her sex life where Bill was concerned. He grated on my nerves enough already.

I led her into the house through the back door. The kitchen was normal, although the appliances were probably very outdated. I’d replaced the refrigerator a few years ago and there was a microwave on the counter. The stove was electric and hadn’t been used since I bought the house. I saw no reason to replace it since it had never been needed. There were other smaller appliances I knew were on Sookie’s counters in her home that I didn’t have.

I had no need for a coffee maker, toaster or standing mixer. The faucets and sink had been replaced about two years ago when I had to have my plumbing fixed. A pipe had burst in one of the bathrooms, so to save myself the trouble of having to call the plumbers out a second time, I had the entire house refinished.

I didn’t have a dining room since there was a table in the kitchen, not that I required a table to drink from a bottle. I had dishes in my cabinets, if for no other reason than to give the appearance of a normal person living in the home. For that reason alone, I also had cookware stashed away, along with little kitchen accessories a person would need for cooking and baking.

My home was decorated in a style that would more than likely disappoint most humans who saw it. They would be expecting it to look like Fangtasia, no doubt, with blood red or black walls and Gothic furniture. My home looks nothing like my business. In fact, the bar is decorated to play to the stereotype, and the humans eat it up. While red is absolutely my favorite color, particularly on the stunning blonde that was following me through the house, I didn’t feel the need to surround myself in it everywhere I went.

The walls in my living room, for example, were painted a shade of green that was a bit darker than summer grass. The furniture is made of heavy mahogany wood. There is thick, plush carpet on the floor. I have big screen TVs mounted to the wall, and state of the art gadgets everywhere. A large rack was full of DVDs beside the entertainment center where my Blu-Ray player, DVD player and iPod dock were located.

Sookie ran her fingers over the DVDs, reading their titles. There were quite a few in different languages, which earned me a quirked and curious eyebrow from her.

“How many languages do you speak?” she asked while perusing the titles.

“More than a dozen,” I said with a smile. “A few of them are dead now. Believe it or not, English has been the hardest to learn.”

“Really?” She was fascinated with the notion, but then it was her first language. After a moment’s thought she said, “Yeah, I suppose I can see why it would be hard since a single word can mean different things depending on the context and pronunciation.”

“Precisely,” I nodded.

“What’s the first language you learned?” Sookie asked.

“As a human, I spoke what is now called Old Norse. After I was made vampire, my maker taught me his native language, Messapian, which was spoken by his tribe in the southeastern part of Italy before the Romans came.”

“Wow,” Sookie marveled. “You know, it’s a shame you never met my Gran. She woulda had a field day with you.” Sookie snorted as she straightened up.

“How so?”

“Gran had a great appreciation for history. She was always telling me I couldn’t know where I was going until I knew where I’d been,” Sookie informed me.

I nodded and said, “Messapian is a dead language. It hasn’t been spoken since before the birth of Christ.”

Stunned would be too simple a word to describe the look on Sookie’s face. She was quiet after that, lost in her own thoughts while I showed her from room to room. The house had four bedrooms in total, but I used one of them as an office. The master suite that wasn’t used as my daytime resting place looked like the average bedroom. I’d even hung clothes in the closet to give it the appearance of a room that was lived in regularly.

I had a guest room closer to my chamber I kept mostly for Pam, on the chance her own home became compromised and she needed a safe place to go. She preferred to nest, which was something I’d lost the desire for after I released her. It was nice to have my own space. Pam kept some of her things in my house, but it was things she might not trust the humans of her nestmates not to touch.

Most humans weren’t foolish enough to steal from a vampire, but it happened. The closet in her bedroom was stacked, floor to ceiling, with box after box of shoes. I’m not even sure if she wore most of them. She collected them the way some humans collected stamps or rocks. She just liked having them For some strange reason, they gave her a sense of security. I never asked why that was.

“So, I guess that just leaves your room,” Sookie said nervously.

“Yes,” I opened the door of what appeared to be a walk-in linen closet in the hallway.

“You sleep in a closet?” Sookie arched her eyebrow.

“Hardly,” I laughed, and tripped the release for the pocket door to open.

“My stars!” Sookie jumped when the wall shifted. “How did you do that?”

“I don’t suppose you would believe it if I said it was magic?” I teased, and she shook her head. “There’s a trip for it right under here.” I took her hand and let it run under one of the shelves. “Feel that?”

“Yes,” she nodded.

“When that trigger is released, the wall shifts and there is a small vestibule that leads into my chamber. There is this little bit of dead space to make sure I don’t accidentally get a dose of sunlight. In here, there is a code that must be entered in order to gain access to my chamber. This door is lined with cement, silver and steel to keep out various unwanted supernaturals, should they manage to trigger the outer door. If the proper code is not entered, this alarm is wired to the same account as the one I own for Fangtasia. An alert would sound there that I have been compromised. Whomever is on staff would notify my dayman. He has a list of people to contact in such an instance, but so far, I haven’t had any trouble. I’ll write down the code for you so you can get in and out,” I told her.

“I need a code to get out?” Sookie quirked her eyebrow again.

“Oh, yes, and it’s different from the code to get in.”

“That’s confusing. What happens if I mix them up?”

“If you’re already in my chamber, you’d be stuck there until sundown, and then you’ll just have to face me when I rise,” I gave her a lusty stare that made it feel as though her blood was tingling in her veins.

Sookie cleared her throat and asked, “If I were to get trapped on the other side?”

“The person sent to remove you would not be kind.” I didn’t want to tell her just yet about demons and what the various breeds were capable of. Her eyes widened enough as it was. “The combination of numbers are quite different, Sookie. You’ll get used to them.”

“And just how long are you planning to keep me here?” She asked rather indignantly while I entered the code to get us into my chamber.

“Until the threat is gone and it is safe for you to return home,” I said as the door opened. I stood in her way and said, “But I do hope you’ll come again because you enjoy it.”

The double entendre didn’t escape her, but the smile she fought so hard definitely did.

“We’ll see,” she said in a very non-committal way.

“Indeed,” I smirked, then stepped out of the way so she could walk into the room.

The bedroom was painted a deep shade of navy. It was, perhaps, the most sentimentally designed room in the house. The color reminded me of the North Sea. Whether it was day or night, it always seemed to be the same deep shade of blue. The furniture in the room was made of the same heavy wood used in the rest of the house. It was all especially made for me, and I’d had it for more than two centuries. The bedding was a deep slate color with square two inch ribbon of crimson that framed the mattress perfectly. Matching pillowcases covered the large pillows, and there were smaller crimson pillows on top.

Sookie moved around the room, appraising things as she went. She stopped when she reached a horn that was mounted on a perch I had made for it many, many years before. She leaned down to look at it before glancing over her shoulder at me.

“How old is this?” She asked curiously.

“Nearly as old as I am.” I confessed. “It wasn’t mine as a human, but I found it buried in the woods nearly a century after I was turned when I was on the coast of Iceland.”

I waited to hear a joke about those ridiculous helmets with horns on them, but Sookie merely nodded. She looked like she wanted to touch the item, but was afraid to do so. I picked it up and present it to her. She wiped her hands on her skirt- like she was afraid she might ruin the ancient artifact- before taking it gently from me. Her touch was feather light as she held the item up at eye level.

She studied it closely before smiling at me. “It’s beautiful. What was this used for?”

“Drinking,” I recalled easily with a smile on my face.

“What did you drink then?” Sookie asked while handing back the horn.

“Ale and mead were common. Ale was especially important during festivals.”

“Fascinating,” Sookie whispered, her eyes focused on the horn once again.

I felt her curiosity. She wanted to know more, but reserved her words. I would tell her just about anything she wanted to know. All she need do was ask. I didn’t see a reason to keep secrets from her where my past was concerned, and I certainly had plenty of stories to tell that would keep her entertained well into the time she would reach old age.

I pushed away thoughts of her humanity and how someday, sooner than I would want, she would leave the world. I didn’t like to think about a world that didn’t include her. I wasn’t sure how she had come to mean as much to me as she did, but it happened. She lived in me now, just as I lived in her. When she left the world, a part of me would go with her.

“Eric?” Her voice was soft, but it jarred me from my thoughts. “Where did you go?” She laughed quietly when I snapped out of my little trance.

The buzzing in my pocket prevented me from answering her, and instead, I apologized and took the call I knew had to be Pam’s. “What did you find?” I asked.

“The scent is familiar,” Pam sneered in an angry tone. “I should have killed him when I had the chance.”

“We’ll find him, Pam. I’ll make a call to Petri.”

“Already done. Additionally, Sookie’s back door has been wired with explosives.” Pam told me, which made my blood boil. Had Sookie gone home, she would have been blown sky high. “Her front door was clear, suggesting someone has been watching her for a while. I did detect traces of the Were inside the house while I was getting her things. I’ll be stopping at a grocery store, since I assume she will require food shortly.”

Pam was always reliable and definitely irreplaceable. It was times like those when she made her whining over stained shoes worth it.

“Good work, Pam,” Not that she needed my praise, but I knew she enjoyed receiving it and she had certainly earned it. “I’ll look and see who we have in the area that is capable of dismantling the devices before I go to rest.”

“Perhaps I should speak with Sookie and see what she needs from the store?” Pam suggested.

“Hold on,” I handed my phone to Sookie. “Pam wants to speak to you. Sookie startled, but quickly took the phone.

While the only two women in my life who actually mattered made up a grocery list, I went to my office to retrieve my laptop. Bobby was going to be a very busy man the next day.

 

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