*Chapter 3*: Chapter 2
Disclaimer: Southern Vampire Mystery characters belong to Charlaine Harris. My original characters, however, belong to moi.
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Sam groaned audibly as he and Sookie turned their attention to the smug, well-coiffed vampire.
“Hello to you Sookie. Oh, and to you too Lassie.” Pam was wearing ivory crepe pants, a peach twinset, and pearls, her hair done up in a sleek chignon. She looked like a young trophy wife ready to head off to a junior league meeting.
Sam growled. Sookie admonished, “Pam, be nice. Perfect timing, by the way. I need to talk to you. You have some explaining to do.”
“Hmm. Well, yes, I believe I mentioned in my voice message I would explain more when I saw you. I’m glad you discovered the invitation prior to my arrival. Most people don’t check their mailboxes on Sunday.”
“Well, in Bon Temps, you’re lucky just to get your mail delivered on any day of the week. Old man Reliford is past retirement age and is starting to become even slower and more forgetful. Some days he doesn’t finish let alone even start his route. So Sunday mail service is not uncommon. No one has filed a complaint on him because everyone feels sorry for him since his wife passed away. I heard him coming down the drive while I was sunbathing yesterday.”
Pam’s fangs ran out as she grinned wickedly, obviously ignoring the sad tale of Bon Temps dementing postal carrier. “Mmmm, Sookie oiled up and in a bikini. So delicious…” She ran her tongue salaciously across her fangs.
Sam grunted, “What’s this shit about Sookie being “yours?” Cher, what is she talking about?”
Pam looked evenly at Sam and interrupted before Sookie had a chance to reply. “Shifter. I am not obligated to explain myself to you. But, it seems my intrusion into your little jealous verbal diarrhea was timely. Let it suffice to say that Sookie’s safety at my master’s wedding is of no concern to you. She will be with me. Ergo, she will be safe. That is all.”
If looks could kill Pam would be a bubbling puddle of vamp goo on the floor given Sam’s narrowed eyes and red face. “Safe,” he scoffed. “If Sookie even makes it into Oklahoma’s court and is not immediately detained or assassinated by Freyda, who’s to say she won’t be claimed by an older or more powerful vamp, likely in league with the Queen? Freyda knows damned well that Eric is still burning a torch for Sookie, divorced or not. You can’t guarantee jack shit. The sooner Sookie learns to stay away from you fangers the better off she’ll be.”
Pam didn’t even bat an eyelash at Sam’s tirade. “Enough. You should be proud of yourself now that you are capable of making toddler level deductions. We have taken all of these things into consideration. Sookie, come. I will follow you back to your house where we can resume our “discussion” in private.” Here she cast one last disdainful glance at Sam and proceeded to head out the back entrance.
Sookie looked sharply in Pam’s direction as she walked away. Her slip of “we” did not go unnoticed. She suspected Pam meant for her to catch the underlying hint of Eric’s potential role in Sookie’s invitation to the wedding. Sookie turned back and let out a long sigh as she looked apologetically at Sam. “I’ve got to go Sam. I’ll talk to you later.” She turned to go.
“Sook….” Sam’s face looked pained but he didn’t elaborate.
Sookie smiled half-heartedly and walked out the back entrance, where she saw Pam already waiting in her minivan, tapping her French manicured nails impatiently on the steering wheel.
Sookie ignored her and took her time getting in her car, allowing the engine a minute or two to warm up. As she slowly turned from the bar’s entrance onto the road, she pointedly refused to look into her rearview mirror at the minivan that she could tell was riding her ass, a blatant attempt to get her to speed up. Sookie grumbled lightly under her breath, “If you think being rude is going to make me drive faster, you’ve got another thing coming sister.” She eased her foot off the gas pedal a bit just to make a point and smirked. That was too much for Pam, who gunned her vehicle around Sookie’s car and sped off towards her home.
“Damn. I didn’t know minivans could go that fast!” Sookie exclaimed aloud.
When she arrived home, Pam was already standing on the porch, toe tapping and arms crossed. She did not look amused.
“Sookie. Seriously. You drive like a centenarian on tranquilizers. I could have crawled here faster…Backwards.”
Sookie gave her a saccharine smile. “Well, Pam, us mere mortals have to be more safety conscious than y’all immortals given that we could lose our lives if we hit a deer while racing like a bat of hell down the road. Y’all would only lose money on car repairs.” She got her keys out to unlock the door.
Pam said quietly, “Yes, we are well aware of that fact.”
Sookie ignored the loaded double meaning in Pam’s statement and opened the door, heading towards the kitchen. She dumped her purse on the dining table and went to the fridge. “Have a seat Pam, wherever you’re comfortable. I’ll warm you up a blood.” Sookie took 1 of the 3 remaining True Bloods left in the fridge, unscrewed the top, and popped it into the microwave. While it was warming, she grabbed the pitcher of iced ginger peach sweet tea and poured herself a glass. The microwave dinged and she took the bottle out, lightly swirling it to help disperse the heat.
She brought the drinks to the dining table where Pam was already sitting and staring intently at her. Sookie nudged the True Blood to her while she sat down and took a sip of her tea.
Sookie returned her stare. She counted to ten before she mustered up the courage to ask the question that was foremost on her mind. “How is he, Pam?”
Pam’s expression softened slightly. “He is well…as can be expected.” She paused before slipping in the words that twisted a razor sharp knife in Sookie’s heart. “He thinks of you often…”
Sookie couldn’t prevent herself from visibly grimacing, despite her efforts to mimic Pam’s calm demeanor. “That’s funny. I’d have never known otherwise,” she ground out bitterly. “He hasn’t returned my calls or emails. I even sent him a letter to Fangtasia. Nothing. Not even a “Fuck off” text. Just a divorce decree that I didn’t even know about.” Sookie’s voice was hoarse and she fought hard to hold back the tears that were stinging her eyes.
Pam’s expression remained neutral as she cooly said, “Eric has not forgotten you and is not ignoring your efforts to communicate without good reason. I cannot tell you specific details regarding his motives or actions at this time, but let it suffice to say that he has not been idle.”
Sookie snorted, “Yeah, I’ll bet he’s been real busy, helping Freyda pick out flower arrangements for the wedding and registering for china!”
Pam abruptly slammed her fist hard on the table, startling Sookie and making the drinks bounce. “Little girl,” she hissed, “You know nothing about the pain my master has experienced since you last saw him, the lengths he has gone…” Pam stopped abruptly and straightened her back, in the blink of an eye regaining her composure.
Sookie was rattled. “Pain? What do you mean? Has someone hurt him?” She began to panic, “I thought you said he was well!”
“Calm down Sookie. As I said, I am not at liberty to divulge all of Eric’s doings to you. He has had extremely good reason to keep his distance from you. He is constantly under surveillance and has not contacted you due to the risk of interception of his correspondence, which could potentially put you in grave danger…he was given a royal edict to cease all communication with you, under threat of pain of death….”
Sookie gasped and sputtered indignantly, “That bitch threatened to kill Eric?!”
Pam paused and said slowly, “Nooo…the edict pertained to YOUR death. And you, my dear, have been oblivious to the fact that your comings and goings have been tracked. Closely. In fact, while you were at work, I did a sweep of your home to make sure you were not bugged so we could have this conversation without prying eyes and ears.”
Sookie sat back in her chair, deflated. “Well shit. Did you…?”
Pam smirked and held up a small plastic bag that she proceeded to empty out on the table. Sookie looked at the shattered electronic devices spread out on the surface. She gulped. “I can’t believe it. I feel sick…I had no idea. How? Why would she want to kill me? Why spy on me? I’m not that important.”
Pam swept the broken pieces back into the bag and said nonchalantly, “Oh, you’re plenty important…you are a telepathic fae hybrid from a royal bloodline who is loved and coveted by one of the most powerful, feared, and desirable vampires in the world.” She paused and took an unnecessary breath for dramatic emphasis. “And…said vampire happens to be the unwilling recipient of a queen’s political and romantic maneuverings in large part due to his unwavering and burning desire to be with his true love, who is mortal.” She stopped and looked expectantly at Sookie.
Okay, that did it. The tears started to flow down Sookie’s face. She gave a watery smile and said weakly, “He still loves me?”
Pam rolled her eyes. “Of course. Now stop your leaking. Be the strong part-fae badass I know you are capable of being and listen to me. Now, as I said, I can’t gave you many specifics about Eric’s motivations for inviting you to the wed-.”
“Wait!” Sookie blurted. “Eric is the one who wants me to be at the wedding? I wasn’t sure…I thought he might have, just to get closure about us or something.”
“Hmmm. Closure. Dear Abby has mentioned this is an important milestone for humans when dealing with difficult situations.” She appeared to be reciting memorized information. “But no, he is not wanting “closure.” He has requested your presence for other purposes…Purposes that will have to remain shrouded until it is time for the reveal.”
Sookie closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. She was starting to get a sinus or tension headache again. “Okay, Pam. I’ll play along with the subterfuge (former word of the day) and let it drop for now. However, it seems like Sam had a good point about me walking into a trap if I decide to go the wedding given everything you told me. I doubt that us waltzing in and you just announcing I am “yours” to a room full of vamp VIPs is going to keep me safe.”
Pam huffed and looked offended. “Don’t be foolish, Sookie. I have been a very busy vampire. I have made arrangements. I guess you can say I covered all our bases. And, we will have to put forth effort to make it look as if you are truly mine prior to our appearance at the wedding.”
Sookie eyed her suspiciously. “Uh oh. I’m afraid to ask, but like what?”
Pam beamed. “Well, let me start by saying I have already submitted paperwork to the king with your signature…”
“Huh? I haven’t signed any formal documents lately.” Realization hit her. “Oh. Of course, you know how to forge my signature,” she said, dripping sarcasm.
“Of course,” Pam said without missing a beat. “As I was saying, the document formalizes the pronouncement of you as my pet human, as well as my personal telepath who has agreed to be at the service of his royal highness upon request.”
Sookie was dazed. “Huh?”
“Providing your telepathy to him, for a fee of course. The king has approved the paperwork, which has been filed with Mr. Cataliades.” Pam leaned in conspiratorially. “I’ll have you know, Felipe and Freyda are tight. Following his receipt of the contract, Felipe, according to my sources, promptly faxed a copy to Oklahoma. You are now not only under the formal protection of King Felipe, but you are also his contracted employee. You are now officially too valuable to kill without just cause. Without the killer having to face repercussions.” She paused and then added, “Well, publicly that is. I suppose you could always meet an “unfortunate accident” or simply disappear. That risk remains…”
Sookie let out a strangled groan and proceeded to roll her forehead back and forth on the table. Sookie thought of something and abruptly sat up. “Wait a minute. If I am formally under Felipe’s protection, and you said I am generally “too valuable” to knock off, at least out in the open, then that means the bitch can’t have me killed if I talk to Eric, right? I can stay in touch with him and Eric doesn’t need to worry. I’ll just have to be more careful.”
Pam gave a sober shake of her head. “Sorry. Felipe has his head shoved up Oklahoma’s ass in terms of political and financial pacts. Felipe’s “protection” only extends so far and is also contingent upon your formal agreement to cease correspondence with my master (which was stipulated in the contract). You, my Sookie, have “signed” your agreement to very specific stipulations that Felipe insisted on including in the contract, obviously under Freyda’s influence.”
Sookie fumed. “What the hell? If that’s the case, then why even attend the wedding? Apparently I am enemy number one and will be killed if I even see Eric!”
“There has been an allowance made per the contractual agreement for you to attend the wedding as your final contact with Eric. Freyda supposedly granted her approval after being approached for “permission” by my master. I assume she agreed to the concession as a pathetic attempt at extending a sorry ass act of good faith to Eric. And…” Pam smirked, “The real reason she agreed to your attendance is that I believe she wants to rub her marriage to Eric in your face. She is a very jealous queen.”
Sookie glared at Pam. Frigging high-handed vampires! She spat out between ground teeth, “Fuck Freyda! And I did not “agree” to sign any damned “contract”, Pam, and you know it! I can’t believe you would go behind my back and sign my life away like that. I also can’t believe Mr. Cataliades would betray me…you both have made me into a slave and have assured I will never see or hear from Eric again! I never dreamed he still loved me. It kills me to think that he still wants to be with me and can’t because his balls are in a vice. I thought I meant something to you both.” She choked, “I considered you friends…”
“Sookie, don’t be obtuse. This is all part of the plan. There is a method to the madness. You will not be a slave. I do consider you a friend. You are my favorite breather and my master’s love. Trust me. You do trust me, don’t you?” At this, she arched an eyebrow and stared at Sookie.
Sookie snorted loudly.
Pam ignored her and continued, “And, prior to our attendance to the wedding, you and I will exchange blood so that we carry each other’s scents when we present ourselves to the court.” Pam’s eyes glazed and Sookie heard her fangs snick down.
“Oh hell no! I’m not opening a vein for you! The Sookie blood bank is not open for withdrawal, Pam!”
“Yes. You. Will. It will be a small exchange, just enough to help convince them of the illusion that you are mine. Believe me, Freyda is going to give you the once over and she will be on the lookout for any sign that the formal contract with my pet telepath was a ruse, Cataliades’s involvement or not. This is something that is…”
“Non-negotiable, yeah yeah,” Sookie interrupted.
Pam smiled. “That is good. You are in agreement. I knew you would see the logic.” She stood and said, “I will have our limo service come to pick you up the day of the wedding. I have chartered a private jet and will be in my travel coffin during the flight. We should arrive right before sunset. We will be staying in a vamp friendly hotel near Freyda’s court.”
Sookie stayed slumped at the table, suddenly overcome with mental exhaustion as Pam walked to the door. She mumbled tiredly, “You know Pam, I could just say no. I could refuse to go…”
“Ah, but Sookie, I am confident you will go. Your love for Eric will prevail.” Pam turned as she opened the screen door and smirked, “Oh, and Sookie? Don’t worry about purchasing or packing any clothing. I’ve already packed for you.” She laughed merrily as the screen door banged closed.
Sookie put her head on the table face down and grumbled, “Oh hell…”
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