“When I succeed you will release me.”
Eric was disappointed in her, it was obviously a passing fancy and Pam’s boredom had already taken over.
“You have already been released Pam if you want to continue this pretence at least conjure up something believable.” He had released her decades ago yet her loyalty had always kept her close. It was a quality he always enjoyed in her unlike her penchant for drama.
Pam’s determination had remained intact as she repeated the sentence she had just uttered pausing for an unnecessary breath whilst adding, “as Godric released you.”
As Godric released you.
The words rung sharply through his head. He was well aware of their meaning and her intent.
As Godric had released him.
His maker had granted him a final command upon his release. They were the words rarely spoken by a maker to his progeny.
‘Upon this release I command you from this point forward to disregard all I ever command of you and respond from your own will. No command spoken from me will reverse this. You are truly free my child.’
Whilst a release from one’s maker assured that one could leave his or her side the opportunity to command one’s child would remain entrenched. It distinguished the nature of a vampire, always to be at mercy of the one who made you till their final death. Godric had gifted Eric with something uncommon in the vampire world. He had returned him his free will as he had taken it the night he was turned. Yet his maker’s protection had remained intact.
Somewhat taken aback by the extent of Pam’s request his defences prevailed. The bond that existed between them was shut out. She had been given more freedom and respect than most whilst still under his full command. He had never forced her, the reprimands had been gentle. If any criticism were to come to him it was that Eric was perhaps too indulgent with his progeny.
“You are not ready,” he simply responded without a note of the emotions that were swirling inside of him coming out for an appearance.
“You are not ready,” she replied staring him down. Pam was exceptional in moments like these, it was from this recognition that had motivated her turning at his hands.
Eric regarded his child carefully, silence holding them both hostage in the noisy environment of the bar. He was extremely proud of her and her achievements but the request of separation antagonised him. Not so much that she wanted distance from his side. He had granted that to her in the past and she had taken full opportunity of it. No it was the definitive nature of it, the severing of the tie.
Her conclusion was just, Eric indeed wasn’t ready for that. He didn’t know if he would be in six months’ time either. One thing he knew for certain was that a determined Pam never left him disappointed.
He ran the possible scenarios through his mind at the speed of light and ascertained the probability of success. He made his decision.
Eric would be lying to himself if he denied the prospect of the blonde waitress was not influencing his decision. Woman rarely held his attention this long, she was a mystery waiting to be unravelled. One part filth that rivalled a chimney stack and another part that was as white and innocent as virginal snow. He couldn’t wait to get his hands dirty.
In the worst case scenario Ms Stackhouse would be in possession of a large shoe collection. He would have six months of time to talk Pam out of her request whilst being entertained by the lovely little blonde morsel. He remained the one firmly in control. Though he prided himself on keeping his word if he deemed Pam unfit for the freedom he possessed there was no process of appeals. His decision was what determined the outcome. All in all he had little to lose.
He was certain once a tirade of Sookie’s was directed at Pam she would falter and change her tune. It was without question that she would need guidance from them both if she were to successfully navigate the political realm of the supernatural. The victory of presenting Sookie would belong to them both and though their agreement appeared as a bet it wasn’t. They were working together towards the same goal. His shrewd acumen had determined he would win no matter what the outcome.
Somehow this might actually work.
Eric offered Pam his hand in a very unvampire like gesture.
“Deal,” he said as Pam looked slightly disturbed at the stretched out limb.
They shook each other’s hand with a bit of hesitance, both over what they had just agreed upon as well as the feel of the unknown gesture.
Merlotte’s Bar and Grill had emptied out considerably and whilst Sam was assisting Jane Bodehouse’s son with his drunken mother Sookie approached Eric to settle their bill. Pam had been concerning herself with the only other waitress still on duty, Dawn Green.
“Still waiting for Bill?” she asked as she returned with the change.
Bill had made a brief appearance in search for his maker and sister and was now inevitably on a wild goose chase searching for two vampires and JB on the wet and muddy roads of Bon Temps.
“My day man Bobby actually. He is taking unusually long and not responding to my calls,” Eric offered somewhat apologetically knowing the hour was late for her whilst the night was still young for vampires. He was made well aware by the yawns Sookie had been suppressing for the last hour.
“Where’s he coming from?” she asked politely whilst wiping down the table beside theirs. They had occupied their table for hours and Sookie suspected the man was lost or simply gave up trying to persevere through the storm.
“I doubt he’ll be showing up tonight. I assume he drives a similar car to that one.” She gestured at the stranded luxury vehicle outside.
“Same one different colour,” he offered with a smirk. Eric enjoyed her forwardness, she allowed little to stand in her way whilst it seemed everyone around her was determined to do so. He had always preferred cities to towns for this reason. The anonymity gave way to liberties a town like Bon Temps would bar.
“He’s probably stuck somewhere. It’s a nice car an’ all but they don’t do well on these back roads, especially in this weather,” Sookie offered in explanation of the poorly maintained roads of her parish. “The cell reception disappears in a circle of about 50 yards from here.”
She had moved the flap full off bills towards Eric which he promptly returned in her direction.
“You have been a delight this evening keep the change,” he offered with his most satisfying grin. Somewhat flustered Sookie looked down at the bills. The tip was larger than the bill.
“It’s too much,” she stammered. Eric enjoyed this side of Sookie too, when confronted with something unknown she became adorably flustered. She didn’t recoil from something new like most, she was fire and innocence all rolled into one. On this basis alone he would be seeking her out, Sophie Anne’s requirements calling for subterfuge or not.
“I think we already established Nanny Bitty expects a different response,” he replied slightly admonishing with another brow raised smirk. She was already developing a signature scowl in response to the grating gesture.
“Nanny Bitty sounds like my Gran,” she responded with a small smile and a roll of her eyes. Putting on her best British accent she dropped into a curtsy whilst exclaiming dramatically, “Thank you, kind Sir.”
Eric had to laugh at her British accent through the filter of her southern drawl. It sounded more like a strangled cat than any self-respecting Brit. She shared his laughs at her own antics.
“Shall I take you and your child to Bon Temps’ one and only vampire friendly B&B?” she offered.
“Bon Temps has a vampire friendly B&B?” he asked with a surprise. Any vampire held business in his area was known to him. He wondered if Bill, the only vampire for miles, was hiding the necessary tribute of such an establishment.
“It’s a single light tight room and the breakfast is a bottle of O neg so don’t get too excited. But if you prefer roughing it at Casa di Compton I can drop you off there instead,” she smiled smugly at him knowing the dilapidated state of the less than stellar accommodations in the old antebellum home.
“What’s not to get excited about with you around?” he leered at her, encroaching closer to her over the Formica table. His hand lingered closely to her working one as he motioned over to Pam, “Though Pam seems to have found a better prospect than a bottle of O.”
“Oh,” Sookie managed to stutter out as she regarded Pam’s advances on Dawn. A shot of mirth overtook her features as she overheard Pam exclaiming Dawn was Pam’s most favouritest person in Bon Temps.
“Was Nanny Bitty a brunette too?” Sookie sniggered at Eric. It only heightened his good mood despite the circumstances of being stuck in a backwater Louisiana town with most likely two broken down vehicles and an incompetent day man.
He hardly remembered the description of Pam’s beloved governess but he remembered that she was indeed a brunette. At his confirmation of her assumptions they couldn’t help but share in revelry at Pam’s expense.
Pam had been prepared for a whole range of Eric’s reactions after Sophie Anne’s announcement earlier that night. Irritation and anger were her best guess but the sight before her was not one she could have fathomed in a million years. There stood her maker giggling with a tiny blonde waitress in atrocious red cowboy boots. The worst part was now that she looked properly Dawn did somewhat resemble her beloved Nanny Bitty. She huffed audibly her annoyance unmistakeable.
“Let’s go!” Pam spoke at a far too loud volume as she failed to hide her irritation.
This only served to increase the giggles from the newly formed blonde twosome and subsequently left a confused Dawn behind as Pam stormed out the doors.
They had departed from Merlotte’s without interruption, aside from a questioning expression from Sam’s face. It was met with a patented Sookie Stackhouse ‘don’t you even dare tell me what to do Sam Merlotte’ look promptly shutting him up before uttering a single word.
“Here we are,” she exclaimed proudly as they approached her old family homestead. There was a bit of repeated hilarity as Eric attempted to gracefully unfold himself from her ridiculously compact rust bucket of a car bearing the colour of the sun. His exit had been much like his entrance into the vehicle, suitably clumsy. Sookie and Pam tried feverously to steel their amusement but failed miserably.
“You are sure the proprietor is still awake?” Eric questioned trying to regain some dignity as they moved at accelerated human speed towards the front porch seeking shelter from the continued downpour. The property was far too simple to be vampire owned, most likely it was an extended service of an established B&B. He just hoped it didn’t belong to a desperate fangbanger, he saw enough of those on a nightly basis.
“Of course,” Sookie squealed breathlessly as she ran for cover. “You’re looking at her.”
“You are our gracious vampire friendly host? You don’t seem the type,” he replied once they were all safely dry on the porch whilst Sookie dug out her keys. Rather than being greeted with a set of jiggling keys Eric was surprised with the set face of Sookie Stackhouse’s infamous temper. For the first time in his existence as a vampire he paled in complexion as he silently vowed never to be at the receiving end of her temper again.
“I didn’t mean to imply…” he stammered only digging himself further in his chosen hole.
“That I’m a fangbanger,” she finished for him with an accusing arched brow not unlike the one he often sported himself.
“Yes. I mean no,” he flailed helplessly.
This particular hole seemed to be filled with quicksand.
“Or my grandmother?” Her gaze remained unrelenting until a tiny smirk betrayed her. A small sigh of relief was released at the sight of it. “Don’t worry I’ve been and will be called far worse,” she replied in a friendlier tone. “For the record I’m not. It’s why Lorena and I are such besties as she assumed I was the advertised breakfast.”
Pam had greatly enjoyed her maker’s discomfort but was somewhat disappointed at the prospect of a bottled breakfast. That was always her favourite part of staying in vampire friendly hotels, breakfast in bed. She contemplated seeking out Dawn again despite her Nanny Bitty resemblance. With a good squint she could pass as someone else. She’d even disregard the ridiculous name.
The two vampires uncharacteristically followed Sookie timidly into her home after being granted an invite. She showed them up towards their room after walking through the common areas of the ground floor. The modest room contained a brass queen bed with floral patterned bedding and a perfectly appointed adjoining compact bathroom. The windows had shutters with sensors opening and closing with the arrival and departure of the sun. The whitewashed boards that were the original wall covering were filled with paintings and pictures that had been Stackhouse heirlooms for centuries. The bare polished yellow pine planks of the floor was partially covered with a bright faded rug. Sookie’s grandmother Adele had paid special attention to the lighting using low wattage bulbs to ease the vampires’ eyes.
The room was an assembly of Stackhouse hospitality with a feminine homely charm. It was not what would traditionally appeal to the tastes of vampires nor what they would seek to recreate for themselves. It was exactly for these reasons that Eric liked it so much. It was as unexpected and charming as their host.
Pam of course saw the snags and imperfections; the roughness of the boards, the wear on the armchair by the window, the homeliness of Adele’s crafted quilt, the towels that were becoming threadbare. Despite all that she recognised an innate sense of pride in the space one wouldn’t expect in such an environment and for that reason she liked it.
“It’s nice,” the two vampires spoke in an uncoordinated unison.
“Thank you,” Sookie responded with an appropriate modicum of delight. She proceeded to explain some of the practicalities in the bathroom and setup of the vaulted steel door and showed them the rest of her home to which they would have access to.
“What made you open up your home to vampires?” Eric questioned carefully at the end of their tour fearing a reprisal of her ire whether real or faked. Both were equally frightening to him. They were seated comfortably around the hearth in the living room.
“My Gran actually,” she corrected. “This was her home and when y’all revealed yourselves she was giddy like a young girl at the prospect of meeting a vampire.”
Sookie smiled wistfully at her Gran’s youthful spirit that seemed an effervescent part of her.
“Had she been younger I’m pretty sure she would have been beating down the door at that vampire bar down in Shreveport. Although I have a hard time imagining her in that Goth gear,” Sookie couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of it.
Pam barely batted an eyelash at the idea. She had stood at the door of said nightclub night upon night and when it came to fangbangers there was no set type. They all dressed the same but they certainly weren’t the same. A granny had slipped in once or twice, they were usually great fun. The blood was slightly stale though.
“She just wanted to get to know y’all, the stories, the lives you led, the lessons learned. I think she was secretly seeking kindred spirits of those who retained their youth in their old age. She was always complaining about what fuddy-duddies her fellow octogenarians were.” As she spoke Eric noticed that Sookie seemed different. Less guarded than before but she kept her distance regardless. Most likely a wise decision as the only human in a home with relatively unknown vampires. “She waited a full year and no vampires appeared in Bon Temps. Under the guise of Mohammed and the mountains she decided to convert the guest room and registered it on the Dark Nights reservation website.
“We didn’t get a lot of customers out here but enough to have kept my Gran entertained and occupied. The remote location and lack of a Dracula theme usually attracted the equally curious nocturnal guests.” She reached over for the guest register displaying several photographs of her Gran with an assortment of illustrious vampires and dedicated words of gratitude to their gracious hostess Adele.
Eric and Pam looked suitably impressed by their predecessors as they turned the pages until they stumbled upon a page that made them both stop. Staring back at them next to the brightly shining Adele stood Godric smiling with equal vigour. Eric looked disbelievingly at the picture had he not witnessed the smiling faces on previous pages he would be certain it was a doctored image. Never had he witnessed his maker with such an expression of genuine joy even in their most private of moments.
Never in a thousand years.