In true Sookie fashion her character wouldn’t allow her to cower at Nora’s words. What she said could have been taken as a threat, and maybe that was exactly what it was, but Sookie wasn’t going to hide. She was angry.
“Who does that bitch think she is? If she knew what she was asking me to do-” Sookie exploded after she gave Eric his phone back.
“She knows exactly what she’s asking for,” Eric said.
“You said I could trust her,” Sookie looked at him accusingly. “It doesn’t sound like she’s interested in helping anybody but herself.”
“Her interest is in protecting the Authority, and that means making sure that Nan Flannigan doesn’t gain too many allies among the regents,” Eric explained.
“So why don’t they just take Nan out?” Sookie asked. “Gran always said that the best way to solve a problem was to get to the root of it. If Nan is the root of the problem, then why are they pussy footing around?”
“Nan is a public figure, unfortunately. Her sudden disappearance would raise a lot of questions, and the Authority isn’t a group that enjoys publicity outside of our world. You knew nothing of the magister, or our power structure prior to becoming personally involved with a vampire. The way we discipline our kind is something that human authorities wouldn’t approve of, but it’s a system that has worked for much longer than the government in this country has been functioning.
“In the old days, before there were so many ways for news to get to people en masse, taking Nan out would be simple. Hardly anyone would know she was even gone, and the human population would certainly be none the wiser. In fact, not only would she be eliminated, but so would her consorts,” Eric explained.
“Which means Bill would be taken out as well?” Sookie surmised.
“Precisely,” he nodded. “Nan is using Bill. He’s hungry for power, more than likely so that he can ultimately get himself into a position where you have no other choice but to rely on him for protection. If Bill becomes king I have no doubt he will find a way to either pursuit a death warrant for me, or entrap me in a situation where it’s possible I might meet the True Death.”
“But you already see a way around that?” Sookie asked with a smile. “I bet you’re a phenomenal chess player.”
Eric smiled broadly and said, “Anytime you’d like to test my skills, lover.”
Sookie chuckled and said, “I’ll add that to my to-do list.”
“To answer your question, yes, I have a plan. I have several, in fact. In the trunk of the car I have a bag that I’m going to leave with you that is for emergencies. The bag contains identification and passports under several aliases, cash, prepaid cell phones, a list of safe locations for you to stay and a few other things we’ll go over when we get to where we’re going. When I leave tonight for New Orleans, Nora will be under the impression that you are with Pam at Fangtasia. That is also where I will tell the Queen you are. I have already told Pam that if there is trouble, or your security has been compromised that I will summon her. She is to notify you immediately. Since she won’t know your location you will need to get yourself to the rendezvous point, which I will also tell you more about later on,” Eric told her.
Sookie listened carefully while he spoke, and for a minute she felt like she was in an old spy movie from World War II. If she didn’t know any better she might think Hitchcock might be somewhere just out of sight, directing everything that was happening.
“And what about you, Eric? If the queen has a plan to get her hands on me, then she’s going to have to go through you to make that happen. I don’t want you to get hurt,” Sookie said.
“I will be fine. I’m taking Nora with me tonight because if the queen has something up her sleeve that injures Nora, she’s going to have to explain herself to the magister and the Authority.”
“Sneaky, sneaky vampire,” Sookie shook her head slowly.
A short time later they pulled into Sookie’s driveway in Bon Temps. Everything looked just as it should. Sookie dropped her shields to scan for brains since looks could be deceiving, but she found nothing. Moli scurried to the back door of the SUV to be let out as well, and as soon as Sookie let her out the dog went running for the tree line.
“Moli, no! Koma!” she called with authority in her voice, and while Moli growled, she turned tail when Sookie again ordered, “Koma!”
Sookie unlocked the front door of the house and both Eric and the dog followed her inside. Eric took a quick sweep through the house and found everything to be in its right place. Windows and doors were locked where they should be. The house was secure.
“I’ll be down as quick as I can,” Sookie promised with a smile, and Moli followed her upstairs to her bedroom.
She pulled a suitcase from the back of the closet and tossed it onto the bed. Sookie started to look through her closet, trying to pick what she wanted to take. It sounded to her like she would be doing a lot of the same during the day, but the nights were up for grabs. They could stay in, go to dinner, spend time at Fangtasia… with Eric, who knew what he’d talk her into doing. When Sookie came to the far end of her closet her hand touched a plastic bag, and she remembered the dress she had bought before Dallas. She had intended to wear it one night when she and Bill went out, but the night had never come.
After he proposed to her it had set everything off course, and when she looked back on it she wondered why she hadn’t just straight up said, “No.”
It had been too soon. In love or not, it was too soon. There was too much they didn’t know about one another, and while it was true they could learn those things over time, if Bill was the right one for her wouldn’t her instincts have at least screamed a yes before common sense took a hold and told her slow the fuck down? But that hadn’t happened. In fact, Bill proposing to her had made Sookie want to run screaming in the other direction.
Moli started to growl as she looked out the bedroom window and down at the backyard. Sookie figured she must have seen a squirrel or something running around the yard and paid it no mind. She took the bag from the closet and peeked inside it, debating whether or not to bring it along. It was a red dress, slightly scandalous, really. The more she thought about it, the more she realized Bill wouldn’t have liked the dress. It would have been too daring for someone as conservative as he was.
Eric, on the other hand…
Sookie smiled to herself and tossed the bag onto the bed. Moli’s growls got louder, and then she came to sit at Sookie’s feet and whimper/growl at her mistress.
“Do you need to go out, Moli?” Sookie asked. She was answered with a bark. “Go to Eric, Moli,” she said, but the dog didn’t move. “Eric, will you call Moli to you so she’ll go outside?” Sookie called.
“Moli, koma!” Eric responded in a booming voice that had Moli running downstairs like her tail was on fire.
Sookie laughed at the slightly uncoordinated sight and then turned to finish her packing. She was in the bathroom getting a few things from inside there when she heard Moli barking again. Usually Moli didn’t bark that much. The only time she had was when Alcide had gotten too close when he first…
Sookie dropped what she was holding and ran to the bedroom window to see Eric and Moli wrestling a rather large man in the yard. She screamed and then ran downstairs. She stopped at the front hall closet and grabbed the loaded shotgun she’d been keeping in there since she was attacked by Rene. A girl could never be too careful when it came to home invasion. The protection spell was supposed to keep anyone intending to do her harm from crossing the barrier but it had yet to really be tested.
“Eric!” Sookie called from the back porch.
“Sookie, stay in the house!” Eric called as he continued to fight the man.
She dropped her shields to listen for thoughts, but like with Alcide, they were red and snarly, not really wanting to untangle themselves for her to read.
“He’s a werewolf!” she shouted.
“I know!” Eric called back.
“That your piece, Northman?” the Were taunted. “Bet I could breed some cute pups with that one.”
Eric punched the Were in the ribs, more than likely breaking a few, and definitely puncturing a lung so it was hard for the mouthy Were to breathe.
“Who sent you?” Eric demanded in a sinister voice that scared even Sookie a little.
“Fuck you, Fanger!” the Were answered, and for his defiance Eric bit him in a savage way that made the Were howl and whimper.
“Who sent you?” Eric demanded again.
You ain’t got shit on Jackson, fucker.
“Who is Jackson?” Sookie called out after hearing that one thought.
“Give me your blood and I’ll tell you who sent me,” the Were offered.
“Too late,” Eric said, and then bit the Were again.
“Eric, stop, you’re killing him!” Sookie called from where she stood behind the barrier, shotgun aimed at the Were’s head.
But Eric didn’t stop until the Were’s heart slowed down to the point of being at near death. There was no saving him. But Eric got the information he needed. When he released the Were and stood up, Moli returned to Sookie’s side and parked herself at her mistress’ feet. Eric stood, blood dripping from his chin, and when his eyes met Sookie’s she couldn’t help gasping.
She knew that look.
Her instincts told her to run, and that’s exactly what she did.