“I will need to talk to her, to understand what has taken root in her mind,” I returned after some contemplation. “But she’s frightened, I need to gain her trust. I don’t think I’ll be able to coax it out of her otherwise. Perhaps showing her Bill Compton is safe and sound will allow her to open up to me.”
“That won’t be possible,” Shahbaz said shortly. I noticed Eric’s irritation and before it could fester any further I reached out for his hand softening his face to me in the process. It was a strange realisation that in Staci’s mind it was the same look Bill gazed onto her adoringly. Thankfully I knew for certain that what he held for me was true. It was a look he had carried for me from the moment we met before either of us had brushed up against anything supernatural.
“Come with me,” I requested of Eric as we collectively ignored the rest of the room in the tender looks we held for each other. “Pretend we just had mad passionate romantic sex.”
“Do we really have to pretend?” he leered with that annoying quirked brow that could only reduce me to giggles. Instead of admonishing the crass nature of his statement I forced his gaze to Godric.
“Look,” I said encouragingly. “You made Godric smile.”
It was a real smile and I felt it through the bond that he truly was amused by my antics. Godric didn’t let me into his side often, usually only when he was proud or approving. The rare few times I had disappointed or shamed him had been the other times. Nothing could quite bring me to my knees like the anguish I would feel when that came resonating from my maker.
Despite it being such a rare occurrence to feel that much of any depth from my maker my mind lay elsewhere. The possibility of a bond with Sookie was a possibility I had never dared think would be a possibility for us. They were rare, like the sharing of our blood determined by the Grandest Sire of our house. Since Aelia had mentioned it, or rather stealthily proposed the possibility, it had become impossible not to think of anything else when I was in her presence.
The only bond I had ever shared was with my maker. Godric mostly closed it from his side and I knew he blocked my presence inside him most of the time. It had taken a long time to accept the indifference in him towards me was borne out of my own overflowing state of confusion that was the amnesia. Somewhere along the way it had become our state of normalcy. It was a cold place to be and that shared experience made the smile gracing his face more rewarding than anything.
“Come along,” Sookie chided when I apparently lingered too long and had Shahbaz chuckling too. I was the laughing stock amongst the Sanguine but I couldn’t care less, the two most important people to me were the cause of it and not even mad passionate romantic sex with Sookie could possibly feel this good. Somehow her tiny form was dragging my mindless self along as we stumbled into the room where Staci resided. When finally coming to my senses I remembered Sookie’s instructions of our pretend post coital bliss and refused to let the opportunity pass to grab her ass.
“ERIC!” she shrieked while slapping away my hand. I’m sure the not so innocent look on my face only helped her inability to truly be mad about it as her teeth desperately tried to contain a grin.
“We just had passionate primal sex together woman,” I taunted back. I realised by Sookie’s shocked expression that turned from amused to pissed, with my incorrect choice of words to describe our supposed coupling, that there was something extremely arousing in riling her up. By the scent of her I wasn’t the only one that was experiencing just that. My grin was unstoppable with that realisation. “No need to be coy. Your ass is mine.”
“Sorry,” she gestured over to the innocent looking girl feigning much of that herself. “He’s a horndog.”
I couldn’t help but growl a little and let out a low volume bark as I nibbled at her earlobe. Apparently I was overdoing it because Sookie was melting into a puddle and was only pulled from her distraction when young Staci was tittering softly at our antics.
“Off,” she whispered with a hint of threat that let me know we were no longer playing and had her firmly in charge again. However, her act was far from finished as she turned around and sweetly kissed me. “Honey, why don’t you go find me that dinner that you promised me? Make sure they bring her something too,” she cooed gesturing behind her. She batted her eyelashes like the porcelain princess she never was and I prayed to god never would be as she pouted a little and arched her neck at me enticingly, “Pretty please? You know if I eat you might get a little snack too.”
I blinked unnecessarily with her chosen words, a tainted reminder of my past. Reminiscent words from women that I once entertained where everything came at a cost. Emotional or financial, often both. When you have all the money in the world you discover there is very little that isn’t up for sale and find everything desires to be bought. I had to hold her soft cheeks between the palms of my hands and look deeply into her eyes to affirm what was real between us, that this personality wasn’t the one I was chasing.
She smiled a secret smile that I knew was only meant for me. The fire in her eyes told me she was still pissed at my ploy of grab ass. It reassured me all the more that this was the Sookie that meant everything to me.
“Of course my sweet,” I returned like the indulgent sugar daddy I was apparently supposed to portray. Kissing her chastely on the lip she giggled like a thirteen year old girl and I had to seriously restrain myself from keeping the fine cuisine of earlier in the night inside of me. I knew I should have paid more attention to the mischief because as soon as I turned round a rather forceful slap smacked across my own ass. Dumbfounded my head turned to look at my aggressor who stood fluttering her lashes with a triumphant grin that celebrated her payback. Little did she know that she was only upping the ante.
“Bye bye, big daddy,” she said with a saccharine sweetness and a limp wave that had me reaching for my toothbrush with the acid reflux that threatened to surface. I mumbled something incoherent, to the sound of a greeting before re-joining my maker and Shahbaz behind the two way mirror. Either they were still laughing at me from my point of departure or our little show had brought it to greater hilarity. I feared it was both and I was seriously reconsidering how much I enjoyed my maker laughing at me.
“Sorry about that,” she said congenially in Staci’s direction. I finally recognised the role she was portraying, it was who Sookie pretended to be at the diner she once worked at. She held back the performance with me, I’m unsure why perhaps because I never responded well to the over friendly nature of American establishments. In the own deluded privacy of my mind I liked to entertain that Sookie didn’t feel the need to act the part around me. I knew this was how Sookie raked in the biggest tips and it seemed to work for tip offs too, as the girl was immediately drawn to Sookie’s congenial presence.
“No worries,” she said shyly. With an encouraging smile from Sookie that I knew always got her customers to instantly decide what they wanted, Staci gushed, “You two are so cute together.”
“Thanks,” Sookie threw over her shoulder as she was rummaging through the refrigerator like she came there on a daily basis. She pulled out two soft drinks setting them down on the counter before finding two tall glasses. “First time here?” she asked placing the beverages in front of them. With an affirmative nod ‘bubbly’ Sookie continued petting her arm, “Thought so. Don’t worry it’s just secret vampire business, he’ll be back soon enough.”
“Have you known each other long?” Staci asked who was quickly losing the nerves that had held her glued to her seat earlier.
“Yup,” Sookie replied making a popping noise of the ‘p’. “Over ten years now.”
“Wow,” Staci gushed before ascertaining Sookie with more scrutiny. “You don’t look…”
“Old,” Sookie smiled back tucking a loose strand of hair behind the girl’s ear. The touchy feely Sookie was a new sight to me. From memory I knew she usually stiffened when a customer touched her, innocently or not. The trigger to increased telepathy explained it to me now, when it had left me merely wondering then. My touch was the only one she never had recoiled from, it was a high point of pride to me. “Vampire blood keeps us looking young, sweetie. Doesn’t your vamp share his blood with you?”
The girl blushed deeper than I had ever seen, the thoughts in her head must have been especially graphic since Sookie coloured suit. “From the moment we met,” she whispered so only she and Sookie would be able to hear if there had been any other human in the room. Sookie mouthed an impressed ‘wow’ with wide eyes as if Staci were the queen bee of the gold-digging fangbangers.
“Oh, it wasn’t like that all,” she quickly corrected Sookie’s supposed assumptions of her prowess. “He hit me with his car, but it was totally my fault. It was sooooo dark and I wasn’t paying attention,” Staci continued. Dark my ass there’s little that doesn’t pass our scrutiny at night. “He gave me his blood to heal me and then well…”
“You two fell in love,” Sookie piped in as if her heart was about to burst with the discovery of it.
“Yes,” Staci said gleefully as her head bobbed up and down like one of those novelty items on a dashboard. It was frightening to see Sookie mirror the action so expertly.
“So you and…” Sookie asked knowing full well to expect the receiving answer of Bill. Though Staci referred to him as William as if it were the most unique name in the world. The lies that were planted in her mind quickly came tumbling out with Sookie’s encouragement.
“What is she doing?” Shahbaz asked curiously. I didn’t appreciate his interest in Sookie earlier but he seemed respectful enough of our connection now. It was merely fascination with her skill that had him intrigued with Sookie.
“Sookie is following the paths of the girl’s thoughts. I think the true memories reside beside it,” Godric explained as he seemed to know the most of the technicalities of Sookie’s ability. “Eric,” he said pulling my attention back to the scene in the room where Sookie appeared to be writing my name with her fingers on the surface of the table and seeking eye contact with the mirror. I grabbed the two lunch bags that had been procured in my absence and was knocking on the door in an instant.
“Sugar tits,” I smiled at her hoping to ruin her appetite as she had mine. When she looked equally ready to hurl and pissed I knew I had hit the right trigger. I held the two lunch bags tauntingly high out of reach, making good use of my considerable height. “I come bearing gifts.”
“Give it to me then, daddy,” she whined in what some men would find attractive but made me swear I still possessed bile in this transformed body. To her credit, Sookie was giving me an expert training on how to hold my face like a Sanguine as I swallowed the foul taste in my mouth.
“You eat, I eat sweet cheeks,” I threw back at her reminding her of the proposed deal while pulling her body into mine holding her in place by her generous ass. I was happily flaccid with her infantile act but the irked set of her eyes had us both surprised when something started straining in my pants against her soft stomach.
“Later,” she said sweetly through the worst fake smile I had ever seen. Thankfully her back was to Staci so it was purely for my benefit. I had to gulp a little knowing there definitely wasn’t going to be a later. She beckoned the set of lunch bags down and nudged my ears to her lips to whisper what appeared to Staci to be a seductive promise, “Pick me up in five and have a pen and paper ready.”
“I will gladly eat out that sweet pussy of yours,” I growled out in an overtly audible response to the room. It was delightful to beat her at her own game as Sookie surpassed Staci in the most embarrassed blush ever sported championship. She was pissed and turned on at the same time, that only seemed to piss her off even more and that had me following suit in the other direction. I kissed her scowl from her face as she tried to disentangle herself from me and my forceful erection and breathed out a low and threatening, “Later.”
Leaving her in a state of fluster I moved from the room with my back to the door fearful of her immediate retaliation. Consciously I knew she would be conjuring up a punishment for my actions which would be far worse than a slap on the ass or a humiliation in front of my maker. I feared her threat of withholding sex from me was one that stood to stand for an extended period. By the time I had returned to my observing post behind the mirror Sookie had already transformed into her perky self, making apologies for my behaviour.
“You are walking a thin line my child,” Godric noted with a slight chuckle from my side. The amusement was barely contained as it seemed to overflow into our faint bond.
“She started it,” I huffed back portraying the petulant child bride Sookie pretended to be. We shared our amusement more openly through the bond from that moment on as I carefully continued to observe the clock.
“She is better for you,” Godric said with withheld words. Nearly ten years had taught me that much with him. The sentences he spoke directly always held more meaning than what was being said. It clicked with me now why Sookie had not been upset with his statement of her being a good mother. At the time I had taken it as an insult that she would never be one with me. A verbal retaliation for her apparent disrespect. I knew all too well it was not an uncommon occurrence to be at the receiving end of that.
“No,” I returned my eyes still fixed to the clock, monitoring every second that ticked away to five full minutes. “She is a good partner. You are the best maker.”
With thirty-eight seconds left on the clock I felt the full force of his quiet appreciation and pride through the bond we shared. In that I understood what it would mean to share that as equals as Aelia had requested of Sookie and I. It wouldn’t be a state of subservience as it had always been with my maker. No matter how much possible physical control I could have over Sookie, she had just demonstrated she had every cunning at her disposal to undermine me. Equality had become a foreign concept to me since my turning but with Sookie that could be had again. The warm feeling that thought brought me nearly had me missing the agreed time to release Sookie from the room.
With my formidable speed I made it back to the door with a second to spare. “Ready to go, little lady?” I asked with a quirk in my brows. I had yet to see Sookie this pissed, I had witnessed it on that lovely voicemail message she had left Pam once, where she had accused us both of manipulating the former occupants of her childhood home. My survival instinct hinted I should be more scared than I was. However, I knew that as the true lady Sookie was, she would always come back with the best apologies when she calmed down. She was blaming me now for her anger but come tomorrow Sookie would realise she was pissed because she had responded to it. Perhaps I would get something to eat after all.
Refusing to address me any further apart from a scowl, a ‘sweet’ compliance was uttered before she bid her goodbye to Staci assuring her William would be back soon enough or someone would drive her home. They promised to keep in touch when they exchanged phone numbers but Sookie seemed anxious to get out as soon as possible so I refrained from heating up her fire any further for my own enjoyment.
She was icily silent as we walked back the short distance to the room next door. Sookie sat down at the desk and scribbled away at a furious pace on the legal pad that was placed there. She shushed me when I attempted to ask if she were in need of anything else when I sat beside her. I refrained from looking at Shahbaz and my maker from that point on. I didn’t need to witness their silent laughter to know it was there.
Her notes appeared to be a maze of connected thoughts as she finally finished writing up the last of her gathered intelligence. I was surprised to find her grabbing for my hand as she closed her eyes and seemed to decompress. “I just need a bit of silence right now,” she said with a hint of exhaustion. Three sets of eyes peered curiously at her as she seemed to revel in the silence. My thumb drew small circles over the back of her hand and with a small moan she sank against my body which had me hoping my forgiveness was closer than my anticipated scheduling of it.
When I was looking decidedly smug she unfortunately pulled away with great distance killing my earlier hopes of being pardoned. “I counted six separate glamours aside from the one I couldn’t identify,” Sookie explained directing it mostly to Shahbaz. “How many of them are yours?”
“Two,” he said in acknowledgement.
“Can you release them?”
“Yes,” he answered. “They were placed out of precaution.”
“Good,” Sookie returned. “I think you should turn her.”
The three stares looked at her with simultaneous questioning blinks. “Turn her for counter intelligence,” she clarified understanding the severity of the word had a different weight to it to a room full of vampires than her. “Look,” Sookie said gesturing to her notes. All three of us looked at her hasty penmanship to read the different encrypted messages that were being run back and forth. “Staci has been running messages between Bill Compton and a Sanguine I don’t know. In her mind they are all wildly romantic dates with Bill and she works as a day person for the other three detainees.”
“This Sanguine has been imposing this deception of her mind?” Godric enquied with a look that told me he was searching the depths of his memory to ascertain a Sanguine who could possess this capable gift.
“You are both aware of my other supernatural state by now?” Sookie asked addressing the other two vampires in the room. Their confirming nod had me thinking that information seemed to be shared with ease around here with everyone but me. “I think it’s someone like me.”
We were all silenced by that piece of information as we contemplated the consequences this would hold for us all. “What is your proposal?” Shahbaz finally asked with an increased respect of her esteem.
“Bill Compton is your obvious leak,” she said after some thought. “He’ll jump at the opportunity for a position at the palace. We can summon him without suspicion, we feed him false information to take back to the other Sanguine. Meanwhile I read out Staci’s brain where I appear to be merely an innocent friend.”
“To the outside world it’ll appear Pam is appeasing to the threat of the terrorists in offering Mr Compton a job,” my maker objected. “She will come across weak.”
“To the unthinking yes,” Sookie responded. “To most it’ll come across as an appeasing gesture with little merit.”
“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak*,” I reminded my maker of the teachings of Sun Tzu he had taught me so diligently.
“I shall put in the proposal with our queen,” Shahbaz said giving it his seal of approval.
“Not necessary,” the rich voice of Aelia sang from the other doorway to the room. “Shahbaz, make sure Mr Compton is healed and fully apologised to before sending him home with the human. Tell him to come back to court tomorrow where the Queen will personally see to him and the human’s reparations.”
After a ceremonial nod Shahbaz departed and the faint sounds of torture in the background seized. Aelia sat in his vacated seat looking over the sentences Sookie had put down with a calculated scrutiny. “You are quite the asset young Sookie,” she smiled appreciatively.
“Sookie has learned quite a lot from an insight into the human world’s finest procurers of intelligence,” Godric deduced astutely remembering Sookie’s association with the different intelligence agencies of the world. “There is much to learn from them.”
“Yes,” Aelia agreed. “My instincts would have been to end the Impurus and his pet while we waited for the next to take his place. This works in our favour in more ways than one.”
I couldn’t help but beam with pride at my Sookie, because that is what she had agreed to be earlier in the night despite the weight of a bond that was requested from her. “Thank you,” Sookie said softly out of courtesy, it had become quite apparent to me she did not take to accolades well. Her deeds had always been silent ones and with no one else to stand witness to that, little appreciation was given in return. I grabbed her hand and kissed it softly to express my gratitude and a small smile appeared from her lips and her distaste with my earlier actions was momentarily erased from her burning eyes.
“So how about our later,” I leered because I didn’t think I would be able to dig my grave any deeper than I already had that night.
“Remember our earlier conversation,” she said pointedly with narrowed eyes as she softly petted my forearm before dropping it unceremoniously. “All I gotta say is you better start getting real friendly with that hand of yours.”
Remember when I was so happy to see everyone laugh… not so much anymore.
A/N: *From ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu
We’ll pick up next time with Godric’s point of view. Remember to check all the lovely entries in the second edition of Sephrenia’s Writing Challenge.