ONE WEEK LATER:
“I'm telling you, you're doing it wrong!”
“I am not,” Eric insisted, refusing to listen to his child's directions that were contradictory to the ones in his hand.
“How would you know? It's not like you've ever done this before,” Pam insisted as she crossed her arms over her chest and glared at her Maker. He was the one that had asked for help, and now he was refusing to listen to her!
Looking back and forth between the two, Haldar offered, “Why don't we split it? We do one Pam's way, and then we do one your way, Eric. How about that?”
“As usual, Haldar,” Pam sneered, “you are completely useless.”
Focusing back on her Maker, Pam insisted, “I'm telling you, Eric, you have to crack them open before adding them!”
Shaking his head, Eric denied, “That's not what the directions say. Lafayette said all I have to do is follow these directions to the letter and everything will be fine.”
He focused back on the bowl, picking up the two eggs and dropped them into the mixture he was creating. He grabbed up the wooden spoon and began stirring the concoction, breaking apart the eggshells so that the gooey insides broke free.
Facing his child, he held the bowl in his arm while continuing to stir, his voice steely with insistence. “The recipe says to add two eggs, so that's exactly what I'm going to do.”
“You're an idiot! I'm the youngest one here so I obviously have more remembrance about human food than you! And I'm telling you that you're supposed to crack the eggs open and throw the shells away!”
Intractable, Eric continued to stir. “Are you certain of that?”
Pam glanced down at her red Louboutins and bit her lip. “Well, I'm pretty sure.”
“Not good enough. Your advice is contradictory to what Lafayette told me, and he is a professional cook, not to mention human.”
Eric nodded to Haldar over his shoulder and instructed, “Find me flour. We need to make something called a crust.”
Haldar turned from his friend and began pulling open cabinets and drawers trying to find the “flour” Eric had mentioned. “Do you know what it looks like?”
“No idea, but we need two cups of it.”
Haldar pulled open the cupboard that held all of Sookie's glassware. “Should I go ahead and get a cup down?”
“Which cup should I use? She has a lot of different sizes in here.”
Looking up from the bowl he was still stirring, Eric glanced at Haldar before looking into the cupboard he was holding open. Inside were dozens of different colored and sized cups and glasses, and Eric had absolutely no clue which one would be best. Glancing at the index card Lafayette had written the instructions to make Sookie's Gran's pecan pie on, he replied, “It doesn't say what size cup. It just says two cups flour.”
“Well, more is always better,” Haldar offered with a shrug as he grabbed the largest cup Sookie had in her cupboard. It was a large plastic 72 oz. slurpee cup that Sookie had apparently saved. Setting it on the counter, Haldar quickly searched the rest of the kitchen before finding a bag labeled “All Natural Flour”.
“Good, measure out two cups and put it in that bowl over there. Lafayette's instructions say that we need to let the crust set in the refrigerator for an hour before putting it into the oven.”
Haldar quickly opened the package and began to pour the white powder into the cup he'd brought down from the cupboard. The fume of flour rose in the air, causing the vampire to sneeze before remarking, “Eric, I don't think this bag is enough. I think there is only enough flour here for one cup.”
Eric looked up from his bowl and saw that Haldar had completely filled the large plastic cup, and the bag the flour had come from was now empty. “Is there any more?”
Shaking his head, Haldar replied, “No. This was the only bag she had. Unless she keeps it somewhere other than the kitchen?”
“No. Sookie keeps all her food in the kitchen.” Eric thought about it for a minute before shrugging his shoulders. “We'll just have to make do. Lafayette told me that the pie filling is the most important part anyway. Add all that flour to that bowl on your left. Stir it and then put it in the fridge.”
Pam watched Eric and Haldar move about the kitchen trying to make this “Gran's pecan pie” that Sookie supposedly needed. She couldn't understand why they were wasting time on this! The past week had been beyond hectic. The dethroning of one monarch and installation of another was always a difficult time. Such situations always called for immense amounts of work to ensure the new monarchy did not fall to enemy territories during the period of change and uncertainty, and considering Eric was not only securing his rule over Louisiana, but laying the foundations for his rule over the rest of the supernatural world, he was definitely stretched pretty thin.
Every night for the past week Eric had risen and stayed only long enough to feed Sookie his blood, be present for her nightly check up with Ludwig, hear the day team security report, hear the hackers' daily report, and check the progress of the building of the compound around Sookie's home before he left for Shreveport. And once he arrived in Shreveport he was in one meeting after the next without reprieve. Not to mention the moment he rose until he died he was busy. He even stayed awake some days for hours to continue work.
It was this ongoing draining schedule that had Pam question his judgment in taking half the night off to come home and make Sookie this pie he insisted she needed. Eric was certain that Sookie's resolve against him would weaken if he made her this pie, but Pam was just as certain Sookie would only smash it into his face since her Maker still refused to apologize for hurting and disrespecting Sookie the way he had. She'd tried to tell him that Sookie wouldn't want to be bribed with food, and that all he had to do was apologize, but Eric would not listen. He insisted that he knew his bonded, and that this pie would land him back in her good graces.
Pam watched Eric as he used the large 72 oz. cup that Haldar had pulled down from the cupboard so he could fill it and add it to whatever the hell it was he was mixing up, Pam asked, “What the hell is so special about this pie that you are insisting on taking off time from the work that will ensure all our survival to make it? Do you not pay Lafayette to make Sookie's food?”
He stabbed into the large mound of sugar he'd added to the bowl with a wooden spoon and continued to thrust the strange instrument about as if he were using a knife and flaying an enemy. Eric's reply was cool, belaying the incongruity of the scene he was creating. “Sookie's Gran's pecan pie is a very important part of Sookie's emotional process.”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“Sookie gets over painful emotions by eating large amounts of chocolate, ice cream, and her Gran's pecan pie. It is a very important and set ritual she has. She will also need a day to sit on the couch and complain about me to her girlfriends while she eats this pie. Tara is gone, but Lafayette has assured me he is more than capable of handling it.”
“Are you serious?”
He nodded. “Most definitely. After she found out about Compton's betrayal in New Orleans, she came home and spent three days moping around the house with her friends while they all ate the chocolate and ice cream I had procured for her. Apparently they bitched about Bill a lot as well, and complained about his many deficiencies as a man and vampire. When the three days were over, and Sookie had had her fill of chocolate and ice cream, she returned to work and was ready to move on with her life.”
Indicating the pie filling he was emulsifying now, Eric added, “I intend to help her do the same now.”
Pam grinned. “You are making your mate food so she can sit on the couch and complain to Lafayette about what a prick you are while eating it? Seriously?”
When Eric did not immediately answer and instead continued to stir the pie filling, Pam shared a look with Haldar before she darted from the room to get something out of her purse. The hackers had done something to ensure their phones, laptops and all other forms of technology could no longer be used against them by Sargon. So she snatched her new phone out of her purse and returned to the kitchen.
He frowned at his child. “What?”
“Say pussy whipped!”
A bright flash went off from Pam's iPhone as she giggled, “I am so keeping this one! My Master making a pie for the sole purpose of his mate eating it while complaining about all of his faults! I have to have this blown up and put in my living room! I cannot wait to entertain guests and tell them all about it!”
Eric's fangs snapped down as he held his hand out and demanded, “Give me that! I did not give you permission to take a photo of me!”
Pam just laughed harder and dodged Eric as he made to grab her phone. Tossing it to Haldar, she crowed, “Don't let him get it!”
Haldar laughed as he caught the phone and quickly took another picture of Eric standing in the kitchen covered in bits of flour and holding the bowl of pie filling before quickly emailing both photos to his and Pam's emails. He knew it wouldn't be long before Eric either used his superior speed or telekinesis to take the phone and crush it. Just like Pam, he didn't want to lose these photos. Laughing heartily as Eric growled and rushed him, Haldar leaned down rapidly and slid the phone on the kitchen floor between Eric's legs right into Pam's waiting hand as he laughed, “Keep away!”
Pam caught the phone with a guffaw and managed to snap one more photo of Eric before he flew it right out of her hand with that damn new talent of his. She watched him grin evilly at her as he crushed it with one hand. She couldn't help her pout as he turned his hand over to let the tiny crushed pieces of former iPhone fall from his hand to the floor dramatically.
Eric smirked at his child and friend. “Like I would let any photos of me in this situation get out. Now enough of this foolishness. I need to get this pie made before Sookie wakes up from her evening nap. I want to give it to her personally before I die for the day.”
Eric turned back to the counter and missed Haldar mouthing silently behind his back to Pam. “I emailed them to both of us.”
Pam grinned at Haldar before reminding herself she didn't like him and wished him bodily harm. Quickly reclaiming her superior bitch mask she flipped him off before joining Eric at the counter.“How long will it take to make this thing?”
Eric scanned the index card with Lafayette's directions. “It says to bake the pie on the middle rack on 350° for an hour, before letting it cool for another hour. Then it will be ready to eat.”
He looked up at the clock on the wall and surmised, “We are not going to have enough time for that. The sun will be up before the pie is even done, and I cannot stay awake this morning if I am going to rise early tonight to meet with Oberon.”
Haldar had moved to stand on Eric's other side and suggested, “Well the oven goes up to 500°. Why don't we just turn it all the way up so the pie cooks faster? It might be done in 30 minutes instead of an hour, and if we put it in the freezer right after it comes out we can cool it down in a few minutes instead of another hour.”
Eric quizzically looked back and forth between Pam and Haldar. “Do you think that would work?”
Pam shrugged. “I don't see why it wouldn't. If it will cook at 350° in an hour, then logic dictates that it will cook much faster at a higher temperature. And the freezer is supposed to cool things off quickly. I say we do it.”
As Eric moved to turn the oven on as high as it would go, Haldar teased, “Why my luscious Pammy, are you agreeing with my brilliant idea?”
Pam didn't respond except to pick up one of the fresh eggs from the basket on the counter and smash it into Haldar's face as she mumbled, “Dumbass.”
Haldar growled and grabbed an egg of his own but Eric caught his wrist and said, “Don't waste those. We've already broken five tonight. I don't know how many eggs Sookie's chickens lay each day, and she needs those for her meals. They have a lot of protein.”
Grumbling about how it wasn't fair Pam got to waste one, Haldar put it back in the basket before grabbing a napkin to wipe his face. His face contorted, lips pulling thin as he pursed his mouth ruminating aloud. “What is protein?”
Eric shrugged. “I don't know, but Ludwig said that Sookie needs a lot of it, and supposedly eggs are high in it. Though they are also high in cholesterol and Ludwig warned Sookie away from that.”
Haldar quirked an eyebrow. “If it is bad for her why is she eating it? Surely other foods have protein?”
“I don't understand it myself, but apparently few foods are completely good. Human food is so confusing and complex. Like some sugars are good, and some are bad. Some cholesterol is good, and some forms are bad. There are also good fats and bad fats and man made fats that are dangerous but are in a lot of the food humans love to eat. I honestly don't understand any of it.”
“I have never been so glad to be vampire in my life,” Pam muttered.
“Me too.” Taking a whiff of the concoction Eric was stirring relentlessly, Haldar added, “But at least there are plenty of nuts here. You should use peanuts instead of these pecan things. Sookie apparently likes peanuts. She hasn't stopped talking about them.”
Shaking his head, Eric insisted, “I've told you, Haldar, she isn't talking about peanuts. She means Egil.”
“Why in the hell would she want peanuts for Egil? He will need blood like any vampire! Other than his mother's milk to grow, of course, but you should tell Sookie not to give him any peanuts when he is hungry. He will not like them.”
“You are such an idiot, Haldar,” Pam scoffed.
Wagging his brows at Pam from his spot on the other side of Eric, Haldar replied, “And you are so desperately in love with me it is almost embarrassing. Almost.”
“In love with you?! Ha! I can't fucking stand you, Yeti!”
Haldar rolled his eyes as he scoffed, “Please, like anyone is falling for your theatrics. I have it on good authority there is a pool going among the Weres to see when you finally succumb to your own lust for me and are found riding my cock, totally lost in the throes of ecstasy only I can provide.”
Pam's fangs snapped down as she hissed, “You tell me who these Weres are! I'll rip their fucking throats out!”
“Before or after I cum inside you?”
“You fucking moron! Your dick is never coming anywhere near my vagina again! That's even assuming you can find that tiny little thing you call a prick!”
Stepping away from the counter Haldar let his own fangs drop as he growled, “Tiny?! I'm the largest you've ever had—besides Eric—and you certainly had no complaints when I was wringing one orgasm after another from your body with my more than adequately sized cock!”
“I told you: I faked every time!”
“And that is a bold faced lie! You absolutely loved it when I—“
“That is enough!” Eric glowered at his child and friend, his voice steely as he ordered, “You will lower your voices. Sookie is upstairs sleeping, and if either of you wake her from her nap I'll make sure you regret it. She needs her sleep with how much her telepathy and magic lessons are taking out of her. You will not endanger your queen's health and therefore that of my son's just to bitch at each other. Now enough of this foolishness. Haldar, get the pie crust out of the fridge. It's time to get this in the oven. While it cooks we'll go check in with the hackers and see if they are ready for everything tomorrow. We'll come back and check on the pie in 30 minutes and see if it has cooked fast enough.”
It didn't take Eric long to get the pie made and put in the oven. Checking his watch, he repeated, “We'll come back in 30 minutes. Let's go check in with the hackers.”
Fifteen minutes later …
Sookie woke groggily, her ears ringing. She stretched and shook her head confusedly. It was Thor causing that ringing, her dog barking frantically at the bottom of her bed. As she sat up, the dog began tugging and pulling on her comforter with his teeth, growling. She cocked her head and tried to calm him. She couldn't imagine what had him acting like this.
“Thor, baby, what's wrong?”
He let out another high pitched bark before scrambling off the bed and taking off out of the bedroom. Well, something was up. He didn't normally behave this way. She threw her comforter back and slid her feet into her slippers before standing from the bed and hurrying after him. As she reached the top of the stairs she could easily see the smoke coming from downstairs and she gasped, “Oh no!”
Rushing down the stairs she came into the kitchen and saw it filled with smoke that was steadily leaking out of the sides of the door of her oven. “What the hell?!”
Dashing over to the stove, she was stunned to see that her oven was set as high as it would go. Who had done that? She knew Lafayette was asleep. She grabbed an oven mitt and opened the door of the oven. Smoke belched out, bitterly pungent. She stumbled back, eyes instantly watering as she inhaled the biting soot. She coughed violently, her lungs hungry for fresh air. She turned to wrench open the window above the sink to start to dissipate the fumes.
Smoke furled out of the window carrying the sounds of Sookie's coughs and within moments her guards were rushing inside as they demanded to know what had happened. The commotion soon had Eric, Pam, and Haldar returning to the house to find Sookie being led out of the smoke-filled kitchen by Liam as she continued to hack harshly.
Angry, thinking someone had done something to hurt his Sookie, Eric let his fangs snap down and darted to his mate's side. He brushed Liam aside angrily and wrapped his arm around Sookie as he demanded, “What happened?”
Liam looked at his king and shrugged his shoulders as he replied, “I don't know, my king. I caught the scent of smoke seconds before hearing the queen's distress. I and the rest of the fairy guard came to see what was wrong and found her in the kitchen.”
By this point Sookie had finally gained enough control of her throat to croak, “Water! I need water.”
Before she'd even finished her request someone was pressing a cool glass of water into her hands. She took several deep swallows before remarking, “Someone put something in the oven to start a fire!”
Eric stiffened marginally and asked, “The smoke is coming from the oven?”
Sookie nodded her head energetically. “I don't know what they put in there but whoever did it is in big trouble! They tried to burn my Gran's house down!”
Eric looked towards the kitchen where angry smoke was still billowing out and filling the room, and said, “Wait here.”
As Eric began to leave her side, Sookie exclaimed, “Eric! Aren't you worried about this? Someone just tried to kill me! Inside the barrier! It has to be the traitor! We have to find them!”
Eric continued toward the kitchen as he replied, “It was not the traitor. No one tried to kill you, Sookie, I assure you.”
Sookie watched as Eric retrieved the oven mitts on the counter by the stove. He slipped them on before reaching into the stove to pull out whatever it was that was at the heart of the smoke. Moments later he was standing before her holding out a heavily smouldering, inky black, scorched, grossly misshapen and lumpy substance in one of her Gran's pie pans.
“What the hell is that?” Sookie asked as she waved her hand in front of her face to try and dispel the smoke that was still wafting off the unknown item.
Eric looked uncertain as he continued holding out the pie to Sookie, and answered, “I made you your Gran's pecan pie.”
Sookie's eyes widened as she took in his hopeful expression before looking back down at the smoking offering before meeting her Viking's gaze again. Her brain was misfiring. Surely he hadn't said pie. “What?”
“Haldar and Pam helped me. I wanted to make you feel better, and I know that her pie is part of your emotional process. I wanted to give it to you before I died for the day so that you and Lafayette could sit on the couch and bitch about me.”
Sookie's jaw practically hit the floor. “Are you serious?”
Eric nodded. “It is what you did before. I cannot give you three days with everything we are going through, but I can give you today. I wanted to make you feel better.”
Sookie stood in silence as she looked at the burnt and smoking pie in Eric's hands before looking back into the kitchen. Pam and Haldar were standing in the doorway watching the scene with varying degrees of curiosity. Beyond them, the room was slowly airing out as her guards had opened all the doors and windows in her house to ventilate the place while she was speaking with Eric. Through the smoke she could now make out the empty flour and sugar bags, the lumps of sugar and flour sprinkled on the counters and the floor, and the different bowls and spoons still dirty and laying about. It was obvious that none of her vampires had thought to work neatly or tidy up after themselves while they were cooking.
At Sookie's continued silence, Eric rushed to fill in the void. “I wanted to surprise you.”
“Oh, I'm surprised all right.” Once more focusing on Eric, Sookie asked, “Where did you learn to make it?”
“Lafayette gave me the instructions.”
“And you followed them?”
Shaking his head, Eric divulged, “Not exactly. I used all the ingredients Lafayette told me to, but I didn't have enough time to cook it for an hour at 350°, so Haldar suggested we just turn the oven up as high as it would go to cook it faster, and then put it in the freezer to cool it down quickly.”
Looking forlornly down at the smoking pie, Eric lamented, “I guess it didn't work.”
A smile tugged at the corners of Sookie's lips as she agreed, “No, cooking food doesn't work that way. You can't rush it without burning it.”
Eric looked at the pie hopefully, “You can't eat this, can you?”
Doing her best not to laugh, Sookie replied, “I probably shouldn't try.”
Stepping closer to Eric, Sookie asked softly, “You really tried to make me my Gran's pecan pie for me?”
“Yes.” Holding Sookie's suddenly soft gaze, Eric continued, “But I have failed. I will try again and be sure to leave enough time to cook it at 350° for an hour. I promise I will make you a pie that you can eat.”
Tears filled Sookie's eyes as she looked up at her Viking. She knew why he had done this, and it warmed her heart. It wasn't the apology that she needed, but it was certainly a step in the right direction. Leaning up on her tiptoes she kissed Eric's cheek and whispered, “You're almost there, Viking. But it is the words I need.”
He blinked uncomfortably, choosing not to address her statement, and instead offered, “I am sorry I nearly burnt your Gran's house down.”
“Oh, it's okay. It wasn't like you started a fire or anything. It was just some smoke.” Looking down at the pie, Sookie added, “I wish there was some way that I could keep this.”
Surprise clear on his face, Eric asked “Really?”
“Yes. This is one of the sweetest things you've ever done for me, and if I wasn't worried about chipping a tooth I would try to eat this pie.”
Eric earnestly wanted to please her since the pie had been an epic failure. He offered, “I can have the witches put a stasis spell on it, and you can keep it forever if you want.”
She grinned in amusement. “I would love that.”
Eric suddenly took notice that they were the center of attention for Pam, Haldar, and the fairy guard. Scowling at them all for witnessing his very private moment with her, he ordered brusquely, “Get the kitchen set to rights, and make sure something is done for the smell of smoke. I don't want Sookie breathing this.”
Thrusting the burnt pie to the closest Fae guard, Eric added, “And get this to the witches. Tell them they are to place a stasis spell on the pie so that Sookie may keep it.”
The Fae guard took the smoking pie and started out of the house, but was brought up short when Eric announced, “And if any one of you ever mention my baking again I'll string you up and torture you to death. Understood?”
Eric scowled at those present and persisted, “Am I understood?” He kept his eyes averted from his mate's protestation she was surely wearing on her face.
A round of agreements was heard before the Fae guards left to begin carrying out their king's orders. When they were gone Eric gave a particularly dark look to his child and friend and growled, “I don't want to hear one fucking word out of you two!”
Pam and Haldar shared a conspiratorial wink, before Pam sauntered into the living room and said, “Eric, I can't believe you'd think I'd try to torture you over this? I mean, I find it absolutely adorable! Gestures of love and devotion do so touch my cold dead heart.”
Moving to stand beside Pam again, Haldar quickly joined in, “I agree. I have never seen anyone so under the thrall of love. Why there are practically little cherubs flying around your head right now. Tell me my friend, just how many love songs and sonnets have you written for Sookie that we don't know about?”
“Watch it Haldar,” Eric growled.
Sookie stood behind Eric with her hand covering her mouth to keep in her giggles as she watched Pam and Haldar tease her Viking. She absolutely loved watching these three interact. They acted like such children when they got together.
Pam's smile was all predatory as she teased, “Really, Eric, if you are writing love poems to Sookie you shouldn't keep them private. You are supposed to recite them to her from beneath her window.”
Nodding enthusiastically, Haldar agreed, “Indeed! Eric, my friend! Why don't we go outside so you can practice right now? Just let me get my camera.”
Eric was off after Haldar so quickly that Sookie didn't even see them move. She only heard the door bang against the wall while her curtains swayed with the gush of wind. With Eric gone Sookie finally stopped trying to rein in her amusement and doubled over laughing. The entire episode had been just too funny! She couldn't believe that Eric had actually tried to bake her Gran's pecan pie! She was deeply touched by the gesture, and it only proved that her Viking just needed more time to come to terms with his emotions. But despite how much his attempt had warmed her heart she just couldn't stop laughing! The sight of him holding out that charred mess with such a hopeful expression on his face would stay with her through the rest of time. He had been so adorable!
Pam turned to head after Eric and Haldar, determined to help her Maker pummel the bane of her existence, but stopped short when a thought popped into her head. Turning back around to face the giggling Sookie, she asked, “Sookie, when you are cooking do you crack eggs before adding them to the food? Or do you use the whole egg? Shell and all?”
Managing to gain control of herself, Sookie looked amazed as she answered, “You crack them, pour out the contents and then toss the eggshells into the container for the compost heap out back. No one eats shells. I'm not even sure they are edible.”
At Pam's victorious smirk, Sookie couldn't help but question, “Eric didn't use the whole egg, did he?”
“He did, despite my superior knowledge and advice, and I can't wait to tell him I was right!”
Pam was gone before Sookie could respond, but she heard the vampiress shout from outside, “Eric! I told you I was right! Sookie said you have to crack the eggs, no one eats the eggshells!”
Left standing alone in her living room with the distinct smell of smoke filling the air, Sookie looked down at her dog who was wagging his tail now and said, “We're in the Twilight Zone now, Thor. I'm sure of it. I had my doubts before, but now I'm certain.”
Thor cocked his head to the side as he looked up at his mistress and gave a little yip of response before trotting out of the living room and heading back up the stairs. Now that the excitement had passed, he was obviously intent on going back to sleep. Feeling a yawn escape her, Sookie decided she was tired as well and followed after him, mumbling, “Crazy vampires.”
Later that day in Texas, Tara gave a wave to Steve Newlin before she and Eggs headed into the condo they'd been assigned inside the Fellowship compound. She had to admit she'd had her reservations about all of this, but with each passing day she grew more certain that Eggs was right. These were good people, and they were her best shot at saving Sookie from Eric.
Since they'd arrived here, she and Eggs both had been assigned jobs within the Fellowship. Eggs was part of the work crew that spent every weekday trying to expand the compound building housing, community centers, and storage and training facilities. It was hard work, but it was honest work, and Eggs loved it. While he was busy building and constructing, Tara had taken a position with the Outreach Program. She was still in training, but Steve had explained that with her personal involvement with vampires in the past she would be instrumental in showcasing newcomers just how dangerous they were. She could explain just how ruthless, vicious, and evil they were with first hand experience. She greatly enjoyed her training lessons, and sitting in on meetings with visitors. She was certain she would enjoy being a counselor once her training was finished.
And more than that, she felt part of something. Something good, and real, and right. After she and Eggs finished work each day they would gather in the temple to hear Newlin's nightly sermon, before joining the rest of the congregation for evening festivities. Every night there was some different type of function. A ball game, or a movie, or a barbeque, or some other fun activity. The Fellowship believed firmly that humans were safest from vampires in large groups, and encouraged members to only interact with each other when not working in the Outreach Program.
Tara enjoyed it greatly. No one knew her history of being the town drunk's daughter. Everyone only expressed sympathy and concern over her past with vampires. Everyone was kind and supportive, congratulating her on leaving the darkness behind and embracing the light. She'd never felt so cared for and accepted, and her life with Eggs had never been better. He was kinder, more considerate and affectionate, and she found herself responding in kind. She found herself shedding the hard exterior she'd been forced to shroud herself in from such a young age. She felt happy. Truly happy.
And it was because of this that she didn't object at all when Steve called her to his office earlier this afternoon to question her about Sookie. He'd asked detailed questions about her telepathy, and Tara, to the best of her ability, had explained how it worked. Truthfully, while she'd always known about Sookie's little quirk and accepted her regardless, they had never actually sat down and talked about it, so she really hadn't been all that much help. However, when he'd asked about Sookie's security she had been a wealth of knowledge.
She'd explained to Newlin about all the freaky supernaturals Eric had summoned to keep guard over Sookie. She told him about the barrier, and the home security system. She also told him how Eric had brainwashed her friend into thinking the guards were there to keep her safe, but that Tara was certain that Eric was only using them to make sure Sookie stayed under his control. She explained all about Eric's new powers, and the fact that Sookie was so under the his thrall that she obeyed him completely and would never knowingly betray him. She did her best to outline what security procedures she knew were in place, but she didn't have much to offer him there.
Truthfully, Newlin hadn't seemed very interested in trying to infiltrate the compound Eric was building around Sookie's home. In fact he'd been far more interested in hearing about all the ancient vampires that Tara had witnessed rallying around Sookie, not to mention the supes she'd seen arrive the night before she left. Newlin and the rest of the Fellowship had naively believed that vampires were the only thing that went bump in the night, and he was fascinated to find out there was far more out there for him to wage war against than just vamps.
For nearly two hours Newlin had questioned Tara about what she knew of the Weres, fairies, and other supes that had come to work for Eric and keep guard over Sookie. After he'd exhausted all of her knowledge he had then asked her the question she was dreading. Was she ready to lie and deceive Sookie in order to free her from Eric's control? Newlin had made it apparent that the only way they could save Sookie would be by tricking her out of the barrier and kidnapping her. He'd then outlined his plan to make Sookie believe that Tara had been kidnapped by vampires and was being tortured, and that the vampires would only let her go if Sookie traded herself for Tara's freedom.
Tara didn't want to lie to Sookie like that, and she wasn't too keen on any plan that revolved around faking her “torture”, but she also couldn't see any other way. Since coming here to the Fellowship, Tara had come to realize just how much shit had been in her and Sookie's lives back in Bon Temps. She was sure that once Sookie got here and saw that there was a better way to live she would forgive any deceptions. She had to believe that.
Now, after finishing her conversation with Newlin, she headed into her new home with Eggs. He was sweaty and smelly from his long day, but he was smiling brightly. Tonight they were going to an indoor pool party being hosted in the Fellowship's new recreational center. She was looking forward to relaxing and hanging out with some of her new friends.
Pulling Tara into the house behind him, Eggs asked, “How did your meeting with Newlin go?”
Tara watched Eggs yank his dirty shirt over his head and kick off his work boots. “I think it went pretty well.”
“What did he ask you about?”
“He wanted to know all about the supes Eric is using to keep Sookie locked up. I told him everything I knew, but obviously that isn't much. He was glad to know that apparently Weres don't like silver anymore than vampires do.”
“Really? I didn't know that.”
As Eggs headed into the bathroom to take a shower to get ready for the night, Tara called out, “Yeah, I heard two of them talking about it right before we left. I don't think they knew I could hear them, but other than that I didn't have much to tell him.”
“Well you guys talked for a long time, according to the receptionist. I came by to pick you up earlier and she told me you were still in your meeting with the Reverend.”
Tara began to dig through her dresser in search of her bikini. “Yeah. We talked about a lot of different things, but we also spent a lot of time trying to figure out a way to contact Sookie without Eric knowing. Despite what she said when we left, I know Sookie would come for me if I were in trouble. The hard part will be getting the message to her that I need her without Eric finding out. He'd lock her up before he'd let her out of that pretty cage he is building her.”
“I'm sure the reverend will think of something, Tara,” Eggs' voice was assured over the running water.
Tara's voice was tinged with sadness. “I just wish there was a way to get her out of there without me having to lie to her, having to deceive her. Sookie hates lies. She hates people manipulating her.”
She was silent for a moment before adding, “But I know she'll forgive me once we get her here and undo whatever brainwashing Eric has done. She'll be happy here. I know it.”
In the shower Eggs couldn't keep the disdain off his face. He'd hoped that once Tara got here and saw what decent people were like she'd distance herself from the friendship she'd had with Sookie. Obviously that hadn't happened. With him? Ever since coming here it was like his eyes had finally opened. Ever since coming to the Fellowship he'd come to realize just how wrong and evil Sookie and the people she surrounded herself with were. Sookie had been born wrong. Plain and simple. Born with some devil's gift that made her just as damned as the vamps she couldn't stay away from.
As the Reverend Newlin had said, “Just like pedophiles, sociopaths, rapists, and homosexuals, Sookie Stackhouse has been born with evil inside her. It is a part of who she is and there is no saving her. She has to burn.”
Truer words had never been spoken in Eggs opinion. He'd never had much against gay people before, but he'd found God since joining the Fellowship, and God hated gays. So despite having associated with gay people in the past, Eggs was determined to never let their filth touch him again. No more freaks for him. He was going to live a straight and godly life from here on out.
He'd even stopped feeling guilty about tricking Tara into getting Sookie out of the compound so that Newlin's Fellowship Light of Day special forces team could kill her. Newlin had told him that they hoped to be able to capture Sookie so they could torture her for information, but they would settle for putting a bullet through her eye and out the back of her skull. Eggs didn't even feel bad about the prospect of Sookie's torture. According to Newlin she was a godless creature and therefore didn't have a soul, and because of that Eggs didn't see any reason they couldn't torture her for information to use to hurt other demons like her.
Still, Tara refused to see the light about her “friend” so he and Newlin had agreed it was best to keep her in the dark. She would never agree to lure Sookie out for them if she knew what they planned for her. Eggs didn't know that Newlin's promises that he would orchestrate things to look like Sookie died in an accident were nothing but smoke and mirrors. He fully believed Steve when Newlin assured him that Tara would never know they had assassinated Sookie instead of rescuing her.
When Eggs finished his shower he came into the living area with a towel wrapped loosely around his waist. Tara was sitting on the couch in her red bikini and flip-flops watching TV as she waited for him. He flashed her a grin before heading into the bedroom to put his own swim trunks on. When he came out, he beguiled, “Tara, stop worrying so much. Newlin and the Light of Day soldiers have been training for years for things like this. They have everything they need to rescue Sookie once you get her out of the compound.”
Tara's face showed her worry as she asked, “But what if Sookie never forgives me for lying to her? You don't know her, Eggs; she hates it when people lie or manipulate her.”
“Tara, you're doing it to save her life.”
“Tara, if roles were reversed what do you think Sookie would do?”
Tara hesitated only a moment before answering, “She'd do anything she could to get me out of there.”
“Exactly. You know what we're doing is right, and once we get Sookie here and get her head on right, she'll know it too. No worries, okay?”
She stood and headed for the door so they could go to the pool party, and addressed Eggs over her shoulder, “You're right. Once Sook gets here everything will be fine. I hope she and Lafayette can get condos in this building. Maybe we can all be neighbors!”
Tara had turned back around by this point and therefore didn't see the disgusted look on Eggs face before he quickly schooled his features and muttered, “Yeah baby, that would be great.”
Following Tara out of the condo, Eggs thought, 'Like I'd ever live next to a fag or a freak like Sookie ever again. That shit is behind me and Tara, and I intend to keep it there.'
In a suburb in Dallas just twenty miles from the Fellowship compound, Jason made his way into a nice house with three blonde teenage girls following behind him obediently, stiff under his glamour. Sophie-Anne had brought him and his brothers here after leaving Louisiana to find Tara so they could use her to get to Sookie. Once arriving in Texas, Sophie-Anne had followed Jason's suggestion and found a government agent to make use of. They'd glamoured him into doing a search for Tara and he'd told them that she and Eggs were staying with the Fellowship.
Since then they'd been plotting a way to get to her. The Fellowship had drastically increased their security measures since the episode with Sookie, and with the Council and Authority's ban on any vampire directly attacking the anti-vampire organization, it wasn't like they could just go in and take her. Jason had suggested that he go and see if maybe he could pretend to be human long enough to reach Tara and get her out, but Sophie-Anne had vetoed that suggestion immediately. She'd pointed out that Sookie had most certainly told Tara he'd been turned before the girl left, and if that was the case then the Fellowship probably already knew he was a vampire.
That meant for now all they could do was surveillance. They'd been able to catch one of the Outreach Program counselors outside the compound one night when he and a few other counselors had been picketing outside the Dallas vampire club. They'd quickly glamoured the man to keep an eye on Tara and report to them by email each day all of her comings and goings. They were hopeful that they'd be able to use the man to lure Tara out of the Fellowship compound since she and Eggs rarely left it and never at night. Thus, Sophie-Anne had come up with a plan and sent Jason out to procure blond teenage girls. She hadn't told him what she was intending to do with them, and Jason didn't ask. It wasn't his place to question his Maker and queen.
Walking into the house, Jason heard his mistress and brothers playing with the homeowners in the living room and led the glamoured girls towards the sounds of whimpers and cries. Coming to stand at the entrance of the living room, Jason felt his fangs snap down at the sight before him.
Sophie-Anne was naked and sitting on one of the chairs with her legs hooked over the shoulders of the young girl between her legs. It was the young daughter of the couple that owned the house. Sophie-Anne was forcing the girl to perform oral sex on her while Siegbert fucked her ass from behind. The girl was bleeding from the assault and crying into Sophie-Anne's snatch while her parents cried out behind their gags from where they were tied up in the corner. Seated on the couch watching his brother and maker, Wybert had his cock buried in the ass of the young son of the couple. The boy was sobbing and begging for mercy as his anus bled around Wybert's cock while the vampire fucked him slowly, watching the grotesque scene before him.
Jason couldn't wait for his turn, and announced, “My queen, I have the girls you asked for.”
Sophie-Anne raised her head from the back of the chair to gaze at her youngest, and surprisingly useful child. She let her eyes take in the delicious forms of the three blond girls he'd procured at her order, and purred, “Excellent! I can't wait to put them to use!”
Jason made no effort to avert his eyes from the scene before him. The young girl going down on his Maker was titillating and he wanted in. “What are we going to do with them?”
Her smile was lethal and full of darkness as she replied, “We're going to hurt them. A lot.”
“No, afterwards we will glamour them into thinking that you freed them from my clutches and are now yourself being held hostage for doing so. Then we'll glamour them into going to the Fellowship and telling them about you and how you sacrificed yourself to save them. Certainly Tara will hear about it and hopefully, from what you've told me of her, will want to question them herself. They'll tell her you're tied up in the garage and hopefully Tara will be stupid enough to think she can save you during the day hours. But, of course, we'll have a pretty little trap set and take her hostage. Once we have her it won't be long before I have your sister, and then the real fun will begin.”
Seeing the genius of the plan, Jason laughed, “That's brilliant! She'll come right to us!”
Licking his fangs, Jason asked, “Can I play with them? My cock feels like it is about to burst.”
Shaking her head as she pushed the young girl's face deeper into her cunt, Sophie-Anne replied, “Not yet. I want first taste.”
Sophie-Anne slid her reptilian gaze to where the parents were tied up before gleefully suggesting, “Why don't you have Mr. Thompson suck your cock for you?”
Jason's expression showed his shock as he stuttered, “Uh—I—I ain't gay.”
“Oh Jason! How you amuse me with your lingering human beliefs. There is no gay or straight for vampires. Pleasure is pleasure. Only humans think in such terms.”
Smiling viciously at the human male's terrified and enraged gaze, she finished, “And forcing a straight human man to pleasure you while his young son and daughter are being fucked a few feet away as his wife watches it all will be delicious for you. For all of us. Breaking a human's spirit is very fun, and of course, a mouth is a mouth. Try it, my child, I promise you'll love the feeling of power it gives you. And if you are feeling really bold, try raping his ass. Nothing is as exciting as raping a straight man. Seeing their will break is absolutely beautiful!”
Wybert nodded from the couch as he gave a particularly brutal thrust into the boy he was raping, and added, “It's fun, my brother. Seeing how much they hate what they are doing, how much it shames them, makes our pleasure all the greater.”
Jason had to admit the idea was growing on him. Seeing the encouraging looks of his Maker and brothers he decided what the hell. Striding over to the parents, he dropped his pants and let his rigid cock spring forth as he growled, “Get ready motherfucker, you're about to be choking on my cock, and then I think I am going to take a crack at that ass.”
“Remember to glamour him not to bite you, Jason. You would heal in seconds, but it won't be pleasant. However, make sure you don't glamour him too deeply. You want him to be fully coherent and realize exactly what is happening to him. It makes his fear and pain so much sweeter.”
Ripping the gag out of the husband's mouth, Jason replied, “Yes, my queen.” He glared down at the man, forcing his head back with a sharp pull on his short hair and glamoured, “You will not bite me no matter what, do you understand?”
The man's eyes glazed over momentarily as he muttered, “I understand.”
Jason released the man from his glamour, took hold of his cock and aimed it at the man's mouth as he hissed, “Suck my cock, you human filth!”
Sophie-Anne's smile turned impossibly cruel and sadistic as she watched Jason shove his cock into the man's mouth. The wife was crying, and you could plainly see the disgust on the man's face. It served to only fuel her own desire more and she snapped at the girl between her legs, “Lick my clit, you little bitch! Or I'll really show you the meaning of pain!”
When the girl's tongue began moving across her clit faster and harder, Sophie-Anne let her eyes move to the three girls standing under the thrall of glamour in the corner. She couldn't wait to play with them and then turn them over to her children. By tomorrow they would be beyond broken and covered in bite marks. There was no way the Fellowship would doubt what had happened to them. She'd make sure the girls were glamoured into believing they were kidnapped from midnight mass and raped and tortured by vampires. Which was pretty much the truth. They would garner the sympathy and trust of the Fellowship easily and provide a perfect opportunity to get to Tara.
Yes, tomorrow was going to be sweet, and very soon it would be Sookie Stackhouse between her legs giving out the pleasure she deserved!
Much farther away Sargon let out a vicious snarl and hurled his iPad across the room to shatter into pieces as it smashed into the wall. He'd been watching the video feed from Sophie-Anne's newly acquired cell phone that his tech team had been streaming to him in real time. He'd heard and seen everything and his rage beat wildly inside his chest. Seeing Sophie-Anne goad his love's brother into such acts made his undead heart hurt. He knew if Sookie ever found out what her brother had done it would eat at her very soul, and he couldn't allow that. Once again he cursed Eric for ever allowing Sophie-Anne to leave. He should have locked the woman up and done something to make sure she couldn't encourage or force Jason into doing such things!
Sargon moved to his picture window to view the city below him. He hissed, “Stupid fucking Viking! How could he make such an error in judgment! Sookie will be heartbroken when she learns of this.”
And that is why she couldn't know.
'I have to hide this from her. She can never know what Jason did. She cannot be hurt in such a way. She would take the pain of it upon herself. She would blame herself for what he did, and I cannot allow that.'
Looking out at the lights of the city below him, he thought, 'I cannot allow Sophie-Anne to lure Tara out of the Fellowship compound. I cannot allow her to use the girl or Jason to get close to Sookie. That whore will never touch my beautiful Sookie. Ever. I need to call Eric and alert him to this development. He needs to prepare for the fallout.'
A sudden thought entered Sargon's mind. 'Or perhaps I do not let Eric solve this problem? Perhaps I should have Sophie-Anne and Jason collected and brought here? Then I can call Eric and demand to speak to Sookie about her brother. I can explain to her what Sophie-Anne was trying to do, and then tell my love that I have placed them in holding facilities until every avenue of separating Jason from that whore has been researched. I can even provide pictures and video of Jason in his cell to show he is safe, maybe let her talk to him. I can show her I will not allow her brother to be used against her or to be hurt as long as a hope of saving him exists. That has to show her how much I love her!'
Sargon spun away from the glittering scenery and called for his servant to let him know he was going to be busy the rest of the night. He was going out. He would not send any of his soldiers to do this. He would do it himself to ensure nothing happened to Jason or Sophie-Anne during the procurement. He would capture them, kill Sophie-Anne's other children, bring them back here to his base, get them secured, and then reach out to Sookie so he could show her the pain and heartbreak he had saved her from! She had to see then that his love of her was real, and that she could turn to him in times of need. A smile overtook Sargon's features as he thought of how Sookie would one day show her thanks and appreciation to him for all he was doing for her. One day she would be on her knees before him, smiling up at him with love and adoration as she thanked him with her beautiful body for everything he'd done to ensure her place at his side, and her happiness.
He just knew it.