My first taste of Eric really acting like a vampire came a week later. I had yet to hear from the fairies but that became the least of my worries when I got a phone call from Gran just before sunset.
“Hello,” I said when I picked up the call.
“Sookie, honey, I think there’s trouble,” Gran said quietly.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her, my dander immediately up.
“There’s a man that’s been watching the hotel all day. I told Hadley to stay away just in case. I’m not sure how long he’s been there, but he’s been watching since this morning,” Gran told me.
“What’s he look like?” I asked.
“Looks a bit like a roughneck,” Gran said. “He’s got dark hair, beady eyes and he’s about the same size as Eric. He’s got a dark beard and tattoos on his arms, I think.”
“Is he out in the open or is he sitting in a car?”
“He’s on a motorcycle,” she said.
The Rogues. That was the first thing that popped into my mind. Was it possible they’d tracked Hadley down?
“Gran, I want you to stay put. As soon as the sun sets Eric and I will come get you,” I promised her. “We’re in Shreveport so it might take us a while to get there, but we’re coming. You didn’t talk to the guy, did you?”
“No, of course not,” she said. “I haven’t left my room all day.”
I breathed a sigh of relief at that. I was glad Gran had remembered to call me if she was in trouble, and that she’d told Hadley to stay away. It’d be one thing if it was just Hadley on her own but she was carrying a baby. That baby didn’t deserve to die for the sins of its mother.
“Are you and Eric back together now?” Gran asked.
“I think it’s a bit more complicated than that, but we’re working on things,” I told her.
“Good,” she said. “He makes you happy.”
“Yes, he does,” I agreed. “I tried getting in touch with the fairies but so far no one’s come.”
“Someone will,” she said. “They always do, but it takes a while.”
‘A while’ was a vague term. For all I knew it could be another couple of years before someone showed up. I didn’t know if I could wait that long, not that I had much of a choice. My savings account was drying up fast and I still needed to get my car fixed.
“I really wish you would have just told me about this a long time ago, Gran,” I sighed. “I would have had more time to prepare for all of this.”
“I didn’t know what was going to happen. Niall couldn’t tell me what the gift was going to be and I didn’t want you spending all of your life waiting for something to strike. I wanted you to live in the moment.”
Gran was right, of course. If she had told me there was some sort of mystical gift coming my way thanks to honest to goodness fairies I would have thought it was time to start shopping for a home to put her in. Seeing as how I’d just passed my birthday a few months prior I would have had more than nine years of that dark cloud over my head.
“Why do you think I got this gift now, Gran?” I asked her. “What made me ready for it all of a sudden?”
“I couldn’t say for certain, sugar,” she said warmly. “But if Eric helps to block it out, maybe someone knew that would happen so the gift was delayed.”
That was a very logical point. Leave it to Gran to figure that out before me.
My research on Apollo had told me he was a god of prophecy so it was possible he had foreseen that my path was going to cross Eric’s. I blamed my inability to connect the dots on my focus being elsewhere. Not to mention, I wasn’t really sure I was the kind of girl that believed in soulmates or destiny. I had my romantic notions and I believed God had a plan for everyone but there was something almost Romeo and Juliet about buying into the notion that since the beginning of time it’s been determined Eric and I would meet.
If it was true that it was written in the stars that we were supposed to meet, then was it also decided if we would stay together? It was a little crazy to me that the fate of my relationship was in someone else’s hands. It was also something to think on later because the sun was just about gone and I needed to get off the phone so I could talk to Eric.
“You’re probably right, Gran,” I conceded. “But then you always are. Listen, the sun’s about set so I’m going to go wait for Eric. Stay put and we’ll be there as fast as we can.”
“I’ll be waiting,” she promised.
We got off the phone and I went upstairs where I sensed that black hole. I knew Eric would have no trouble locating me anywhere in the house and I wanted to make sure I was nowhere near a bed when he found me. More than one time that week he’d managed to sneak up on me right after sunset and while I definitely enjoyed the orgasms that followed there wasn’t time for that at the moment.
I made the mistake of letting myself get caught up looking at a painting on the wall, and the next thing I knew I had a horny, hungry vampire right behind me with his vice-like hands wrapped around my hips and his arousal pressing against my back.
“Good evening, Lover,” he purred in my ear.
“We have a problem,” I said, figuring it was best to nip all that lover talk in the bud before he could get too much more excited about it.
His grip loosened only a little before he asked, “What’s the problem?”
“Gran called. There’s a roughneck on a motorcycle watching the hotel. He’s been there all day,” I explained.
Eric growled behind me but released my hips.
“Gran said he’s got dark hair, tattoos and he’s about your size,” I said as I turned to face him. “I’m thinking it’s one of the Rogues.”
“You’re probably correct. Has he tried to make contact with your grandmother?”
“No, he’s stayed right there on his bike. When Gran noticed him there she called Hadley and told her to stay away from the hotel.”
“Good thinking,” he nodded. If he wasn’t naked he probably would have gotten on the phone and started making calls.
“I told Gran we would come for her,” I said.
“Of course. I’ll summon Pam and we’ll take the van,” he said.
“What do we do with the Rogue when we catch him?”
“We question him to see what he knows,” he said simply.
“And if he won’t talk?”
“Pam and I can be very convincing,” he said, and then reached out to touch my neck in the way he used to. “Plus we just happen to have a telepath with us. It seems your gift may come in handy here.”
“I’ll do what I can,” I promised.
It made me a little nervous to put my gift to use since I didn’t know how to control it, or really how to hone in what a person was thinking. So far everything was coming at me unfiltered in a blitzkrieg sort of way. One minute there was silence and as soon as I let go of Eric’s hand it all came rushing in. I really, really needed one of the fairies to contact me.
“Are you hungry?” I asked him.
“I am,” he said. “But I’ll save it. It may no longer be an issue by the time we finish with the Rogue.”
“Are you going to kill him?”
“Depends on what he knows,” Eric said casually. “We may be better served by not letting him get back to his pack.”
“Wouldn’t that raise some flags with them if one of their own goes missing?”
“Perhaps, but the local werewolves might enjoy having the Rogues come out of hiding.”
“So they can tear each other to shreds?”
“Some dogs just need to be put down,” he smirked.
“So that’s it? We just kill the guy?” That was a difficult notion to accept. My Christian values prickled at that. I’d been raised to turn the other cheek when someone did me wrong.
“When it comes down to him or me, I will choose me every time,” Eric said. “And you should feel the same. No life is worth more than your own.”
He had a point, but that didn’t mean I liked it.
“I’ll call Pam to get things started. You should go get dressed,” he said, and then kissed me quickly before disappearing in a blur of motion.
It was raining when Eric parked the van a quarter mile away from the hotel after passing by it once. The man on the motorcycle was still sitting there, eyes trained on the rooms in front of him. Gran’s room looked normal with the curtains drawn to keep passersby from peeking inside. I pulled my cell phone from my pocket to tell her we were there.
“Gran, we’re here. We parked away from the hotel so we don’t tip off the man out front. We saw him sitting there. Another woman will be with us. Her name is Pam,” I told her.
“I’ve packed up. I’m ready to go,” Gran said. “I’ll see you soon.”
I hung up the phone and a knock on Eric’s window announced Pam’s presence.
“I smell wet dog,” Pam said with distaste when he let the window down.
“We want to take him alive,” Eric said and then turned to me. “Your grandmother’s car is here, yes?”
“Yes,” I nodded.
“Then Pam will go with your grandmother and you will come with me,” Eric said.
“Don’t glamour her,” I said to Pam.
“I’ve already been given instructions,” Pam said with her fangs down and a twisted smile on her face.
At least she thought she was funny.
“Sookie, you’ll drive the van up to the hotel like you’re visiting. Pam and I take care of the Rogue,” he explained. “Once he’s secure Pam will come to the door and that will be your signal to move out. We’ll meet back here to transport the Rogue.”
Sounded simple enough but even I knew how one little kink in the wrench could really screw everything up. With the play called Pam stepped back to go take up her position.
“Are you ready for this?” Eric asked.
“For kidnapping someone? This is a first for me,” I smiled.
“You’ll do fine. Pam and I won’t be far away,” he promised.
“Thank you, Eric,” I said sincerely. I knew he know just how important Gran was to me but that didn’t mean he didn’t deserve to hear how appreciative I was of all he’d done, and all he was continuing to do for me.
He leaned over and kissed me hard, like a man going off to war. It took my breath away and I was pretty sure that if we didn’t already have things to do I would have gotten a heck of a lot more than a kiss. When he pulled back there was excitement in his eyes. The warrior in him must have been having quite a moment.
Eric got out of the van and I slid over to the driver’s seat to get the plan in motion. I pulled into the hotel like I belonged there and parked the van. It dawned on me that since I looked like Hadley there was the distinct possibility the Rogue might think he’d hit the jackpot. She and I weren’t identical, but we had the same curves, blonde hair, blue eyes and we were about the same height. Of course the big difference was that I wasn’t pregnant and it was quite obvious that Hadley was.
I knocked on Gran’s door and a few seconds later she opened up to let me in. As soon as I was inside I made sure to lock the door behind me.
“Where are Eric and Pam?” she asked.
“They’re handling the man outside.” I surveyed Gran’s piles of things that were ready to go. She’d been in the hotel for almost two weeks at that point.
I was still pissed off at Hadley for dragging Gran into all this mess. There was no reason why our grandmother should be caught up in all of this. Gran didn’t need to worry about werewolves trying to track her down to get to Hadley.
From there in the hotel room I tried to filter all the thoughts I was hearing so I was just focused on the man outside. I peeked just a little bit through the curtain to see what was going on. No doubt Eric and Pam would do their best to handle things quietly and with as much precision as possible. I wondered if werewolves could be glamoured. Eric had told me that Rogues were known vampire blood drinkers so I suspected the man on the motorcycle would be stronger than the average werewolf.
So far he was still sitting there so Eric and Pam must have been waiting for the right moment to make their move. Rain was coming down harder so maybe they were hoping for a little thunder to muffle any noise they might make.
“What will they do with that man once they’ve caught him?” Gran asked from behind me.
“Interrogate him to find out what he knows about Hadley. If he cooperates I think he’ll just be glamoured and turned over to some other folks that can… rehabilitate him.”
“And if he doesn’t cooperate?”
I looked over at Gran and my expression was enough to tell her what Plan B was. She nodded solemnly but didn’t didn’t need to say out loud what she was thinking.
Serves him right for goin’ after a pregnant woman.
“It wouldn’t bother you if Eric and Pam killed him?” I asked her.
“Sooner or later God’ll cut you down,” Gran said, once again quoting Johnny Cash. “Do unto others as you’d have done to you.”
That was the issue for me. This man, whoever he was, wouldn’t be the first man Eric killed. He was a vampire and therefore probably not as cute and cuddly with everyone as he was with me. I turned to look out the window again and the man wasn’t on his bike anymore. Eric and Pam worked like ninjas if they managed to get the man off his bike without a peep.
“They got him,” I said quietly. “Let’s get your things together.”
Gran was doing a sweep of the room to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything, or that she wasn’t leaving anything behind. A few minutes later there was a knock on the door. I peeked through the peephole to see a tattered, wet Pam standing on the other side.
I opened the door and did my best not to chuckle. Poor Pam looked like she’d been out playing in the mud which I was certain wasn’t something on her list of hobbies.
“Eric’s waiting for you,” she said.
“Pam, this is my grandmother, Adele Stackhouse. Gran, this is Eric’s progeny, Pam,” I introduced the two women.
“Hello, Pam,” Gran said politely.
“Mrs. Stackhouse,” Pam nodded just as politely. “I’ll be your escort back to Bon Temps. May I have your keys, please?”
Gran fished her car keys out of her purse and gave them over to Pam without an argument. “I mean no offense by this, Pam,” Gran said with an appraising look on her face, “But you look like a stiff breeze could blow you away.”
Pam grinned at the metaphor and said, “I assure you, Mrs. Stackhouse, you’re safe with me.”
“I’m sure I will be. Besides, we can girl talk about the tall one.”
Pam looked positively giddy at the prospect and said, “Yes, I have many stories to tell. Sookie, we’ll see you back in Bon Temps.”
I hugged Gran tightly and then looked to Pam.
“Take good care of my Gran,” I said.
“Even better than if she was my own grandmother,” she said.
I was glad to hear it since Pam had made it pretty clear her own family hadn’t meant much to her in her human life. I dug the keys for the van out of my pocket and ran across the parking lot so I could go meet up with Eric.