Sam was able to confirm for me that he did smell someone unfamiliar when he was at the house earlier. That wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was finding out that the person he smelled was completely human. We barely had time to digest that information before Agent Weiss came inside to introduce herself to Eric and get him caught up on the investigation so far. It didn’t take too long since there wasn’t a whole lot to report.
A rush had been put on the fingerprints that had been taken from the house when the CSI team came through. Eric’s fingerprints were already on file because of the paperwork he had to file after vampires came out of the coffin. It was going to take a while for the DNA hits to come back. I learned that it didn’t happen as quickly in real life as it did on TV where it seemed they were able to extract and analyze blood within an hour or two.
“I can have the blood made first priority at a reputable firm,” Eric told Agent Weiss. “There’s no need for the samples to sit in a backlog that will take months for it to be processed.”
“Mr. Northman, there are procedures—”
“Fuck your procedures, Agent Weiss. My daughter is missing. I don’t give a fuck about your procedures!” Eric barked, and I reached for his arm, even though I felt the exact same way.
To Agent Weiss’ credit, she didn’t back down and cower in front of Eric. That being said my husband wasn’t dicking around, and did what all vampires do when they want to get their way… he glamoured her.
“You will have the blood samples taken to a private lab for analysis,” he told her once he had her under his influence. “They will work expediently and have the analysis for you in days instead of months. Understand?”
Agent Weiss nodded and then Eric released her from his will. She shook her head for a moment and then excused herself to go have the CSI team pull the samples so they could be rushed to the lab Eric was referring to. Normally I hated it when Eric glamoured people like that, but in this case, I agreed. It was selfish of me but I didn’t care. I was going along with it for Sadie. Whatever would bring my daughter home faster was alright by me.
A knock at the front door got my attention and pulled me in that direction. There was a perimeter set up around the house so anyone thinking they might just drop in was going to have to go through a check-in with the agents posted at the driveway. I opened the front door to find Karin standing there.
“Hello, Sookie,” she said with as friendly a smile as she could muster.
“Karin, please come in,” I said, and took a step back to let her into the house. She had been to the house before, but hadn’t been invited inside. When she would come to check on Gran she always stayed hidden in the trees.
Karin walked in and announced that Palomino had been able to pick up Sadie’s scent but lost it after she reached the highway. That was disappointing. If they reached I-20, it meant they could be headed anywhere since it was the main highway that ran through the northern part of Louisiana.
Agent Lattesta, with his infinitely good timing, came into the house with Agent Weiss in tow and a smirk on his face. That is, until he spotted Eric.
Just seeing the little shit got my blood up and Eric definitely took notice. I hadn’t had the opportunity to fill him in on the things I had seen and heard in the agent’s head, and it was probably best for Lattesta’s safety that I didn’t.
“Mr. Northman, this is Agent Tom Lattesta,” Agent Weiss said.
Agent Lattesta made the mistake of offering his hand and a part of me hoped Eric took it… and never gave it back.
Instead, my husband just stared at the appendage like it was dipped in poison.
“Vampires don’t shake hands,” I smugly informed Agent Lattesta, who gave me the equivalent of a bitchy school girl look.
What a tool.
Vampires are too good to shake hands. What a bunch of undead assholes. I bet this poor girl’s father had her taken and drained her dry.
I didn’t even have time to think before I launched myself at Lattesta.
“Sookie!” Eric reached for me to pull me back, but I knew he felt my outrage at Lattesta’s thoughts.
“He thinks you drained our daughter!” I screeched, prepared to throw one hell of a punch.
Only I was the least of Lattesta’s concerns when Eric set me off to the side one second and was on him the next. With his large hand on Lattesta’s throat, Eric shoved the agent up against the wall with his fangs bared and his temper quickly hitting its limit. Eric would tolerate a lot of things, but someone suggesting that he used his baby for feedings was another story.
Lattesta probably should have screamed if Eric wasn’t holding his throat so tightly. As it was, the agent was lucky if he could breathe.
“Not once in her short life have I so much as bared my fangs at my daughter. I do not feed from her. She’s a child and I would kill any vampire that even thought of feeding from her. I would rather meet the sun than harm my own child,” Eric said and I knew he meant it.
“Eric,” Karin said, and attempted to pull her maker back. “He’s a stupid human.”
Lattesta didn’t like being called stupid but I couldn’t think of a better word to define him that could be used in polite company.
I didn’t care for anyone prejudiced against vampires (or anyone, for that matter), but I was especially unhappy about having someone so bigoted working on my daughter’s case. Agent Weiss didn’t look too happy with the turn of events either, as was evidenced by the fact that she’d drawn her weapon and had it aimed at Eric.
“Let him go, Mr. Northman,” she ordered.
Eric kept his hand on Lattesta’s throat and looked at Agent Weiss.
“Unless those bullets are wooden, you might want to holster that before I have my child remove it from you,” Eric warned her.
“Eric,” I hissed. “Let that fool go. Agent Weiss, I think it would be wise if Agent Lattesta was assigned elsewhere so this doesn’t happen again.”
Agent Weiss put down her weapon and Eric released Lattesta, who fell to the floor in a gasping heap to try and replenish the lack of oxygen in his lungs. Eric returned to my side with Karin close by. It would be difficult for her to reel in her maker if the need arose, but I felt a little bit better about having her nearby. She was obviously the more levelheaded of the two vampires in the room. Not that I blamed Eric one bit for losing his temper, but he was going to have to keep it in check around the FBI agents.
“The press is on its way,” Agent Weiss informed us. “We’re staging an area outside the house to hold the conference and we’ll be making a public appeal for Sadie’s return. If you need to get yourselves straightened up, I recommend you do so now. Tom, let’s give the Northmans some space.”
Lattesta hauled himself off the floor, glaring at Eric the whole time. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. If he thought he was going to intimidate Eric, he was wasting his time.
Both Karin and Eric looked toward the front door at the same time, obviously hearing something I couldn’t.
“Rasul and the Weres are here,” Karin said.
“Go get them started on a search,” Eric told her, and Karin left without hesitation.
They all knew Sadie’s scent since they were around her all the time. I felt a greater sense of relief with our own security team in the area to search for her. My faith in the FBI was getting lower and lower with every passing second. I honestly had little to no hope that this press conference was going to yield us any leads that were worth spit.
“Eric, I know this is all very stressful, but you can’t attack—”
“Don’t,” he cut me off in an angry tone. “Do not lecture me about my temper when I had to pull you back first.”
I sighed and turned to go upstairs. I was exhausted already. The ups and downs of the day, the adrenaline rushes and crashes…it was all getting to me. I wanted to fall into bed and sleep, and yet I was afraid to. I was afraid that my mind would play out the awful things I had seen in Lattesta’s head. I didn’t want to dream of my baby being raped, beaten, tortured and eventually murdered by some sick bastard of a person.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the overwhelming sadness I felt coming from Eric when we reached the bedroom. He closed the door behind us and for the second time since he had arrived, he lost himself to his own guilt and disappointment. I cried right along with him, and the tough as nails vampire that hated it when I cried, wept in my arms for the loss of our child and the uncertainty of whether or not we would ever get her back alive and in one piece.
“This isn’t your fault, Eric,” I told him when his guilt became prevalent in the bond. If it was anyone’s fault, it was mine. I shouldn’t have let Quinn go like I did. I should have been more vigilant instead of being the naïve dunderhead that presumed bad things could never happen in Bon Temps just because the worst thing to happen so far was the death of my own parents after a flash flood.
I tilted my head up to give him a kiss. I intended for it to be innocent and reassuring, but Eric had other things in mind. There was a sudden rush of… I don’t even know what emotion in the bond, but it replaced the sadness and guilt I was feeling from him. I guess you could call it lust, but if felt more like need. One minute I was against the wall, kissing my husband and the next I was under him on the bed with my pants off and his jeans open.
It wasn’t romantic and it wasn’t very sweet or gentle, but it felt damn good when he thrust into me all at once. His hand covered my mouth to keep me quiet and my nails dug into his back. I moaned against his hand as his hips slammed against mine over and over.
It wasn’t the first time we’d had sex like that. Sometimes it was the only way we could release the tension we were feeling. Maybe it was inappropriate or an unorthodox way of dealing with our problems, but it was what worked for us.
With every deep thrust inside me, I felt the emotional pressure lessen and the physical pressure building up to a release that made me scream silently. Eric didn’t bite me but I was sure the scratching I had been doing made him bleed. His heavy body went limp on mine, and for a few minutes we just lay there panting and trying to get ourselves together again.
“I should try to contact Niall,” I said when Eric rolled over.
“That would be a good idea,” he agreed. “It’s possible one of his enemies has her.”
“Maybe, but Sam said he smelled a human. I’m hoping they can do magic to locate her.”
“I suppose they might have that ability,” Eric tucked himself away in his pants, and I stood up to fix my own clothing. “I’ve already contacted my spies in Arkansas and Nevada to see if they’ve heard anything. This could all be a big distraction to stage a takeover. Arkansas was furious when I got the throne before he could.”
“He wouldn’t have gotten it anyway. Andre would have killed him first,” I sighed. “And you’re older than him, aren’t you?”
“By four hundred years, give or take,” Eric said.
“Then he’s biting off more than he can chew.”
There was a knock on the door, followed by Karin’s voice saying, “Master, the FBI is waiting for you.”
“Thank you, Karin,” Eric responded.
“Bill Compton is here as well,” she informed us.
Great, just what I needed.
Despite our being bonded and pledged there was still a part of Bill that hoped I would someday go back to him. Never mind that Eric and I were married in every way we could be, and we were raising a child together.
“Send him home. We’ll send for him if he’s needed,” Eric ordered.
“Yes, Master,” Karin said.
“We should get down there,” I sighed and fixed my hair.
I wasn’t going to bother changing clothes. Hell, it might have actually been better if I looked like shit.
Before leaving the room I called the number Niall had given me so I could reach him. It was bullshit, really, since he never answered the call. He would always pop up sometime later, usually weeks after I called. Apparently fairies didn’t understand a human sense of urgency, and he usually sent Claudine in his stead. I wondered how long it would take for some member of my fairy family to pop in.
When we got downstairs there was a representative from the company Eric called about light-proofing the upstairs bedroom, so Eric took the man upstairs to get him started while I was outfitted with a microphone and a makeup person came by to powder my face so I wouldn’t be too shiny to the viewers at home.
“You have lovely skin,” the makeup girl said.
“Thank you,” I responded with a weak smile.
I couldn’t take full credit for it since I was a regular recipient of vampire blood, and Proactive didn’t have shit on what vampire blood could do to heal a girl’s complexion. Eric’s blood also kept me from getting wrinkles, no matter how much time I spent in the sun. I didn’t look my thirty-two-years and I knew a lot of that had to do with the amount of his blood I’d taken.
Eric came back downstairs after giving instructions for what he wanted done, and he too was outfitted with a microphone. No makeup for him, though. Eric’s skin didn’t get greasy or sweaty like mine did. In fact, his skin was almost papery.
When we were deemed ready to go, Agent Weiss prepped us to the best of her ability on what to expect. There would be lots of lights, cameras, reporters shouting questions—despite the attempts to keep things in order—and Agent Weiss would be leading the conference by giving a statement of facts that could be released to the public. For the obvious reasons, there were certain details of the case that would need to be kept from the media, but keeping them from me wouldn’t be possible.
I already knew that agents had been sent to Bill’s house to question him, thanks to her mind.
Eric and I joined hands and followed Agent Weiss out of the house. Lights hit us immediately and it was a good thing I was with Eric because his much keener vision kept us both from eating gravel at the bottom of the porch steps. A podium had been set up to the left so there wouldn’t be too much interference from the trees that were to the right of the house.
I resisted the urge to flip Agent Lattesta the bird when I saw him standing near the podium. If I never saw that asshole again it would be too soon.
There was a large photograph of Sadie blown up and displayed on an easel. The picture was from the Labor Day barbecue I’d thrown at the house in New Orleans for the Weres that guarded us during the day. Sadie had a little red and white bandana patterned skirt on with a white tank top and little red cowboy boots that Stan Davis had sent as a gift when Eric went for a visit over the summer. Her silky blond hair was pulled back into pigtails and she was missing two of her front teeth.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming,” Agent Weiss started. Flashes went off and I tried not to look like a dear caught in the headlights as she continued to talk. “At approximately one o’clock this afternoon Sadie Adele Northman was abducted from her grandmother’s house. At the time she was taken she was wearing a neon pink and white dress with sparkly shoes. She’s six-years-old with blond hair, brown eyes. She’s approximately forty-six inches tall and weighs forty-five pounds. She was last seen with an unknown person in a light blue pickup truck with rust damage and a camper shell on the bed of the truck. If anyone has any information in regards to the disappearance of Sadie Northman, please contact local law enforcement.”
Hearing my daughter whittled down to just a description that was so basic was almost painful because she was so much more to Eric and me than height and weight. I could go on for days about all of the things that went into making Sadie who she was. It went without saying that Eric was going to do the talking for both of us because I didn’t think I could handle getting in front of the cameras without breaking down.
The cameras started clicking and flashing away again when Eric stepped forward to take over the podium. I went with him, if only because I was afraid my knees would give out if I tried to stand on my own. It was a good thing Eric was doing the talking because my voice had suddenly disappeared and there was no way I was good for anything but silently sobbing and looking properly distraught and devastated.
I heard Eric speaking and answering questions about our daughter by my mind checked out on me. I was in some sort of zombie state, much like I had been when it all first hit me, and I wondered if I could count on these waves coming and going like the tide would. If so, I was going to need to start carrying a marker board or learn sign language beyond the very rude way of telling Agent Lattesta that he was number one.
The catatonia that had settled over me caused me to lose track of time and the next thing I was aware of was when I was being carried back into the house. Apparently my ability to send commands to my limbs had disappeared with my voice. It took a minute for me to regain all of my faculties, and even then it was only because of the concern that was prodding me through the bond I shared with Eric.
“When is the last time you ate something?” he asked me.
“Lunch,” I whispered numbly.
“You need to eat,” Eric said. “Your pulse is far too low.”
“She’s probably exhausted,” Karin chimed in. “Come with me, Sookie. I’ll help you get something to eat while Eric makes his calls.”
I nodded my head and let Karin help me up. Eric kissed the top of my head and before we were even in the kitchen I heard him on the phone.