Eric kept his word and when Sookie woke later on she found Moli sitting outside the chamber door. The dog immediately jump up, excited to be reunited with her owner. Sookie knelt to give Moli all the kisses and cuddles she’d been missing the last few days, and then the two of them went to the kitchen. The fridge was stocked with food, courtesy of Eric’ day man, most likely. Sookie sighed with relief to see that there was a bag of coffee in there and went on a hunt for filters.
A glance at the microwave clock told her it was already early afternoon, and with the days getting short and shorter she was only looking at a couple of hours before Eric rose for the night. Sookie located the filters and then started a pot of coffee. She found Moli’s water and food bowls and was happy to see both of them full. The yard was big enough for Moli to go out and run. Sookie knew she needed to get back to working on Moli’s training. She was a smart dog and capable of learning some pretty cool tricks and commands, but it was going to take work to make that happen.
Sookie made herself some scrambled eggs and toast, and then took Moli outside to let her get some exercise. She worked with the dog on the training exercises Eric had showed her before, and Sookie was relieved to see that Moli was picking things up quickly. She was afraid to get into the attack exercises and decided that might be better left to Eric. He could be very intimidating when he put that little bit of extra bass in his voice. It was almost like his voice boomed through the air, and it never failed to make Sookie jump a little, or make the hair on her arms rise.
Sookie was just going inside for the night when she felt Eric’s presence barge into the bond. She couldn’t help smiling, and after washing her hands Sookie headed back to the chamber. Eric was stretched out on his back the same as when Sookie had left him hours before. She climbed up onto the bed and straddled her vampire’s waist.
“Moli is here,” Eric said without opening his eyes.
“Yes, she is. Thank you for bringing her back,” Sookie leaned down to kiss his neck.
“You’re welcome,” he smiled at her and his eyes popped open.
“You have such pretty eyes,” she told him.
“Thank you,” he answered, completely not expecting the compliment.
“And I got to have coffee today, so I am a very happy girl,” she said.
“You’re a cheap date,” he teased and Sookie rolled her eyes. “Then again I would settle for you naked and never leaving this bed, so I guess that makes me easy.”
“Ha!” Sookie laughed. “You are hardly easy, Mr. Northman.”
Eric arched an eyebrow and asked, “Do I not make myself available enough for you, Miss Stackhouse?”
She knew he did, but she liked being able to tease him a little. It was part of what made her special from everyone else. His minions couldn’t get away with such a thing and a common fangbanger would be glamoured into disappearing from his life for eternity. Besides, if the Viking liked that she kept him on his toes then he needed this.
“I may start doing the clingy girl thing wanting you around constantly and giving dirty looks to fangbangers who eyefuck you too hard,” she warned.
“I might do the same, except instead of glaring I might growl or drain someone,” Eric told her.
“No you won’t.”
“Why wouldn’t I? You’re my woman now, Sookie. No others will have you,” he said.
“Because if you drain someone just for looking at me you won’t get blood or sex from me for a month,” she said. “As a matter of fact, you won’t get anything at all out of me.”
Her blood told him that she was completely serious. They continued to banter back and forth for a while, which was entertaining in its own way, but then the phone rang, reminding them there was a world outside of Eric’s house.
“Northman,” Eric answered his phone.
“Will you be in this evening?” Pam asked, skipping pleasantries and greetings as she usually did unless she was teasing him.
“I will. Give me another hour or two. Are you bored with your new toy already?” Eric smirked.
“I’d rather play with yours. She smells infinitely better and doesn’t whine as much,” Pam said and Eric restrained a laugh.
“I’ve always told you to be careful what you wish for,” he said.
“I’ll keep you informed if the Authority shows up looking for him,” Pam said.
“I’ll be in before midnight,” Eric promised and Pam snorted.
“That’s well over two hours from now. Business is declining without you,” she warned.
Eric hated feeling like an exhibit at the zoo, but it kept the humans coming and spending their money. Not that he needed the business for the profit it brought in, but Pam and Chow were just getting started building their own empires. Pam wanted to open her own boutique but Eric had convinced her to hold out on that until she got a little more proficient at handling Fangtasia. The bar also served as a convenient place for Eric to deal with his sheriff’s duties. He had a growing list of things to do there, and putting things off couldn’t last for much longer. The last thing he needed was for Sophie-Anne to start poking around in his affairs.
While it was true there was nothing the pampered vampiress could do about the blood bond between him and Sookie, she could relieve him of his duties as sheriff. Having to deal with a new sheriff wasn’t at all what Eric was interested in. If that happened he would more than likely move over to Texas and live in Isabel’s area since she would just leave him be. Or maybe he’d go north to Arkansas since the vampire population was so small there. Hell, even going to Mississippi could make things interesting, especially considering the battle for control of Sookie. Eric could imagine the look on Sophie-Anne’s face when she learned Eric had moved Sookie into Mississippi and sworn fealty to a new regent.
Eric and Pam got off the phone and Sookie propped her head up on her hand. “Everything okay at Fangtasia?”
“Fine, but I do need to go in for a while to get some paperwork done and I need to put in an appearance on the floor. You can come with me or you can stay here,” he said.
“How long will you be at the bar?”
“A few hours, depending on how quickly I get there. I might be able to get home around midnight,” Eric turned on his side.
“Hmmm…” Sookie scooted a little closer with a mischievous smile on her face. “I would love to go with you but I’m still without clothing.”
“That is a problem easily fixed,” Eric said, and turned over to fire off a text to Pam.
“What was that?” Sookie asked.
“Problem solving,” he said, and rolled on top of her. “Now about you not having any clothing…” he dipped his head and kissed her neck.
Pam was waiting for Eric and Sookie when they arrived two hours later. The bar wasn’t open yet, but that was the point. Pam wasn’t dressed in her usual dominatrix-type costumes. Instead she was wearing a pencil skirt with a magenta button down shirt that was tucked into her skirt. There was one button too many left undone, revealing the fancy black bra under her shirt. Pam’s hair was pulled back in a sleek ponytail and she wasn’t made-up as heavily as she usually was when she worked the front door of the premier vampire bar in Shreveport, Louisiana.
“I took the credit card,” Pam said, looking Sookie up and down like she was a Barbie doll come to life.
“I’m sure you’ll test the unlimited maximum,” Eric said and bent to kiss the side of Sookie’s head. “Try not to terrify Sookie in your shoe lust.”
“I’ll do what I can,” Pam smirked. “Come along, Mommy Dearest.”
Sookie looked nervously over in Eric’s direction, but allowed Pam to drag her from the room. Eric smiled to himself while he went around the desk to start up his laptop. He grabbed his leather gloves from the desk drawer and decided to pay Bill a little visit. He had refused to answer the question about Adele Stackhouse’s death, but that wasn’t surprising. Bill had refused to take responsibility for anything else he’d done. Why should this be any different?
Rather than going downstairs right away, Eric went out front to survey the waitresses on duty. He located a leggy brunette with almond eyes and an unmarked neck. Eric walked over to her and grabbed her arm. One of the qualifications for working at Fangtasia was a willingness to be bitten by vampires. All new employees were given blood tests to ensure they weren’t carrying Hep D, which would eventually cause Sino AIDS in a vampire. Eric had no interest in biting the woman. While she didn’t smell as awful as many of the humans who came into the bar, she wasn’t Sookie.
“You’re the Master, aren’t you?” the scared waitress asked.
“Yes, I am. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bite you,” he told her, and then pulled her along downstairs to where Bill was being kept.
The toddler vampire was no longer chained up like before, but was fastened to a St. Andrew’s cross with padded silver cuffs. Pam had obviously been having fun with Bill the night before, judging by the implements strewn about with bits of dried blood on them.
“Good evening, pumpkin,” Eric said in a condescending way as he approached Bill.
The toddler vampire looked even more pale than usual. He was a bloody mess, and he knew the waitress had caught sight of Bill when she screamed. Eric turned and glamoured her into calm again. He turned to Bill again with a blank expression on his face.
“You must be hungry, Bill. You’re wounded and Pam has made it difficult for you to get much rest, I’m sure. I’m here to make you a deal. You tell me what I want to know, and I’ll give you a fresh meal,” Eric said, gesturing to the waitress behind him.
“Fuck you,” Bill spat.
“You’re not my type, although if Pam keeps playing with silver you might be,” he eyed Bill’s crotch, where bits were obviously missing. “The way I see it, you have two choices. First, you can tell me what I want to know and I can argue on your behalf with the magister and the queen to get you leniency. Or second, I can haul your child in here and make you watch while I torture her until you talk. Either way, you’re going to tell me what I want to know. So what’s it going to be?”
Eric counted to ten and then called Chow to his side. The vampire appeared in seconds and asked, “Yes, Master?”
“Fetch Mr. Compton’s child and bring her back here in silver,” Eric commanded.
“Yes, Master,” Chow turned to go, but then Bill spoke up.
“Don’t. Jessica is innocent,” Bill seethed. Finally he was acting like a Maker. “What do you want to know?”
Eric dismissed Chow and stepped closer to Bill. The toddler vampire actually managed to look pissed off by the situation he was in, not that Eric could blame him. He knew he had Bill over a barrel, and one way or another Bill was going to be grabbing his ankles for somebody. It was a matter of choosing the least evil person to confess to. Imagine Bill’s annoyance when that person was Eric.
“Who killed Adele Stackhouse?” Eric started.
Bill hesitated to answer, but it was amazing how quickly he sang after being touched with a silver-tipped cane.
“It was Sophie-Anne’s orders!” Bill gritted out. “She told me if Adele was in the way that I should take her out. Rene was a cover up. I glamoured the memory into his head to be just a little different from the other murders. I knew Sookie would eventually figure out that he had killed the others, so then when she read his mind she would see that he had murdered her grandmother as well.”
Eric hissed at the confession, knowing this information was going to have to be passed along to Sookie. It was going to anger her and break her heart all over again, but she deserved to know the truth.
“How far back does Sophie-Anne’s obsession with the Stackhouses go?” Eric followed up, repressing the urge to stake Bill right then and there.
“I’m not sure,” he said, and got another tap with the silver cane. After howling for a minute he said, “She knew about Sookie’s grandfather having the same ability. I don’t know how she found out about him. Before he died Sophie-Anne found out he had a granddaughter with blonde hair that was around the age of eleven. When Sophie-Anne met Hadley she had assumed that was the granddaughter with telepathy. She was furious when she figured out that Hadley didn’t have any of the power Sookie has. Before we even came out of the coffin, Sophie-Anne came up here to search for Sookie herself. But when she learned that Sookie was working for a shifter she backed off. She had no choice but to wait until after the Great Revelation. In the time between she was able to pump Hadley for information about Sookie. She learned that Sookie was a big fan of Gone with the Wind, and had a soft spot for southern gentlemen. Mrs. Stackhouse was interested in the Civil War and since I am a Bon Temps native it only made sense for her to send me.”
Fucking Sophie-Anne. She was going to pay for this, but Eric needed to carefully consider all of his options. Bill’s word wasn’t exactly trustworthy, but he knew about Sookie’s grandfather and he knew about Hadley. There had to be some element of truth to what he was saying.
“The kidnapping, was that all Lorena’s doing, or was Russell involved?” Eric asked.
“Lorena doesn’t usually deal with the wolves. She’s aware of Russell’s connection to them, but she isn’t a supplier. Because of the probation he’s under the wolves have lost their source of blood. No way the weres would be involved unless they were getting paid, and they would have to be paid in blood,” Bill said.
Bill didn’t exactly answer Eric’s question, but he did give away information that was good to know… assuming it was accurate. Really, at this point it didn’t seem like Bill had anything left to lose. Frankly, he was staring down the barrel of multiple death sentences. Sure he could decide to fuck everyone over on his way out, but something told Eric that Bill wouldn’t do that to Sookie.
“As long as Lorena was able to get those werewolves Russell’s blood, they wouldn’t have asked if he was calling the shots. All they care about is getting paid,” Bill explained.
“So what you’re saying is that you don’t know if Russell had anything to do with the kidnapping,” Eric said.
“No, I don’t know for sure one way or the other,” Bill admitted.
Eric paced back and forth in front of Bill, contemplating whether or not he wanted to ask any other questions. He got the most important question answered, and that was whether or not Bill was responsible for Adele’s death.
He turned toward the waitress and motioned for her to come forward. She stepped toward Eric with that glassy, unfocused look in her eyes. Eric picked up her wrist and bit into it, making sure to nick his tongue on one of his fangs so that a little bit of his blood would mingle with the waitress’. The taste of her blood did nothing for him, except remind him how much better Sookie tasted. Eric waited for the scent of fresh blood to hit Bill, and he knew it did when the toddler vampire dropped his fangs.
“He’s hungry,” Eric told the waitress.
She took her wrist back and walked over to Bill. She held her arm up to him and he drank greedily, taking as many mouthfuls as he could before Eric had to pull the woman away so Bill wouldn’t drain her. He felt a connection form with Bill. From now on Eric would know wherever Bill was, or more importantly, if he was lying. That might not matter if he met the true death soon, but it was an opportunity Eric couldn’t afford to waste.
“You’re looking better already,” Eric said and then healed the bite on the waitresses wrist before glamouring her and sending her back to work.
“Are you going to tell Sookie about her grandmother?” Bill asked.
“No,” Eric said as his fangs receded and he licked the blood off his lips. Bill was relieved for all of three seconds before Eric continued, “I’m not going to tell her because you are.”