*Chapter 5*: Chapter 4
AN: I wanted to give special thanks to the fabulous Lady Doughnuts, who has generously agreed to beta this story! She has written several Eric/Sookie stories-you should check them out if you haven’t already! LD, you are awesome! Also, I wanted to credit marilyn59 for the term “go all vampshit” which I thought was hilarious! I know some of you are anxious to get to the wedding (I am too!), but there needed to be additional “filler” content before we can get to the big event. So, not a lot of action in this chapter, but there will be in the near future. As we say in Texas, I hope y’all enjoy! ; )
As always, thanks always to everyone who favorites, follows, and reviews this story! Leaving a review, no matter how brief, is validating and keeps the muse motivated, especially to a “new” fanfiction author who may tend to be overlooked by readers of a particular genre given the plethora of established fanfic writers.
As Sookie and Mr. Cataliades prepared to board the chartered jet (Diantha had waved to them jauntily as she drove off in the limousine), Pam’s day man, Anthony, waited at the bottom of the stairs nervously. He explained that he had already loaded Pam’s travel coffin in the main cabin of the airplane and secured it in a special nook (kind of like an oversized luggage compartment, Sookie thought to herself). He gave them the name of the luxury hotel and casino in Ponca City where they would be staying and informed them that a rental car was to be delivered to the hotel. After rapidly relaying the information to them, he turned abruptly with a bow before leaving in rush. Sookie was put off by his behavior but soon relaxed after listening to his thoughts, as he was just nervous about pissing off Pam.
After climbing the stairs and entering the plush interior of the plane, Sookie sat in a leather seat next to Mr. Cataliades, who smiled kindly at her as he propped his briefcase open on his lap.
“Sookie, I have a copy of the contract that was…ahem, signed by you and Pam and approved by King Felipe. I know you had mentioned in the limo that you didn’t want to look at it right away, but I do want you to have your copy in case, ah, if for some unforeseen reason in the future you are no longer designated as Ms. Ravenscroft’s pet.” Here he paused and gave her a loaded look before handing her the document.
She glanced briefly at the contract before tucking it into her large tote. “Well, first of all, Mr. C., I assume you are privy to what is going on and aware that I am not really Pam’s pet, so I am not sure what you are referring to. Do you mean…Oh! You mean if something happened to Pam, I would need to read…uh, what would happen to me?”
“Precisely. Felipe insisted that your “ownership” revert to him in the event of Pamela’s true death. Unfortunately, this stipulation was was non-negotiable. His attorney advised that he would only sign the document if this clause was included.”
Sookie felt like the rug was yanked out from under her. She had no idea…Pam had not mentioned the clause that essentially gave her to Felipe as a slave if she was killed. It was too much. She tilted her head back on the seat and closed her eyes.
Mr. Cataliades gave her a sympathetic look. “My dear, why don’t you rest a bit? We have a long night ahead of us and you will need to be at your best tonight. As I’m sure your aware, it is a situation that should not be taken lightly.”
Sookie shook her head in a dazed agreement. She quickly fell into a deep sleep and was gently awakened by Mr. Cataliades just before the plane landed. As the plane began its descent onto the runway of the Ponca City Regional Airport, she discovered that the newfound feeling of hope she had experienced in Bon Temps to dissipate rapidly. A gnawing doubt and dark sense of foreboding was starting to bloom deep her in her chest.
She and Mr. Cataliades watched as Pam’s coffin was safely placed into the courtesy van that had been arranged through the concierge service from the only vamp friendly hotel and casino in the city (according to the pamphlet Anthony had handed her before their take-off).
While they waited for their luggage to be loaded into the back of the van, Sookie remembered her manners and inquired about his health and well being given her last memory of him being chased by hellhounds. He seemed somewhat embarrassed and was evasive, but explained he had a “misunderstanding” with the daemon high council that had since been resolved. They then spent the majority of the drive in silence, only exchanging brief comments about light topics.
As the van pulled up, Sookie saw that the casino/hotel was sleek and modern, with black-mirrored windows lining the outside of the building. After checking in, Mr. Cataliades and Sookie walked towards the elevator with the attendant who pushed Pam’s travel coffin and their luggage on a special cart. After the elevator door dinged open, they exited to stand in a posh garnet carpeted hallway.
Mr. Cataliades grabbed his suitcase and garment bag off the cart and turned to her, “My dear, I will now bid you adieu. I need to freshen up and change my clothing, as I have arranged a car service to drive me to Freyda’s mansion. I need to meet with Mr. Northman before your arrival and prior to the…ceremony. I will see you there later.” With this, he kissed her lightly on the cheek and opened the door to his room, which was to the right of the suite she and Pam were sharing.
Sookie sighed before turning to their suite. She entered the room as the attendant pushed Pam’s coffin into the main sitting area. She asked him to put her into the master bedroom (which was light tight). After she gave him a generous tip (that he was quite grateful to receive when she peeked into his head), Sookie took the opportunity to rest on the bed. She thought to herself that she would rest her eyes just for a moment, but quickly dozed off again. The next thing she knew, she was awakened in bed with a grinning blonde vampire sniffing her neck.
“Holy shit Pam, you scared the bejesus out of me!” She huffed.
Pam looked unapologetic and relaxed as she lay on her side, wearing a pastel blue embroidered Asian inspired lounge set, not a hair out of place or smudge to her artfully applied makeup.
“Hello to you too sunshine. We need to get ready. Come, I want to warm up a blood. After all…mustn’t let myself be too hungry and get carried away when we do the blood exchange,” she chuckled.
Sookie snorted and crankily followed the giggling vampire, throwing herself onto the leather couch in the living area. Pam walked over to the refrigerator in the kitchenette that had been pre-stocked with True Blood.
She got right to the point. “Pam, I am so glad you are awake. I am a nervous wreck. And to be honest, I’m pissed at you. Mr. C. told me about the “clause” that hands me over to Felipe if something happens to you. Slip your mind to mention that little tidbit?”
Pam waved her hand dismissively. “Oh, that. Don’t worry your pretty little head over that. Just a formality and something that could not be avoided in order to get that bastard to approve the contract.” She grinned a shark’s smile. “Not to fear. Nothing is going to happen to me, doll.”
Sookie rolled her eyes and gazed longingly at the minibar. “I feel like making a strong drink right now to help take the edge off my nerves, but after my last hangover I don’t think that that would be too smart.” She laughed nervously, “I guess it wouldn’t be a good idea to walk into the wedding tipsy.”
“Hmm. No, it would not be prudent. You need to be alert and in control of all of your faculties, tonight of all nights.” Pam removed the bottle of blood from the microwave and sniffed it with a grimace.
Sookie cleared her throat and said worriedly, “Yeah, about that. I’ve been thinking. Everyone has warned me how dangerous it is for me to attend the wedding: you, Sam, Bill, and even Mr. Cataliades. If it’s so risky for me to attend, why would Eric and you want me to come? You say he still loves me and wants to keep me safe, but it seems like I will be just walking into the lion’s den. I doubt that he would want to see me only for a minute right before I get killed.”
Pam gave her an even look. “Sookie. Remember I had told you that per Felipe’s contract, you are a valuable asset and one not easily dispatched.” She paused a moment before continuing. “I do need to tell you something that you are not going to like hearing, but…Eric insisted I tell you.”
Sookie glared at Pam and said, “Oh shit. I am going to regret asking, but what now?”
“Eric wanted you here because of the risk of your abduction had you stayed in Bon Temps.”
Sookie jumped up and started pacing, “Jesus Christ, Shepherd of Judea! I thought I was “too valuable” to knock off!”
“Sookie, calm down. Remember, I had mentioned that it was unlikely you would be killed publically. Clandestinely kidnapped, absolutely plausible…and actually, more of a likelihood really given the intelligence our spies intercepted weeks ago. Tortured, executed, and disposed of is also not outside the realm of possibilities. Eric wanted you close to him, so that he could better protect you.”
“Protect me? I sincerely doubt it since Freyda has it out for me and has home court advantage. Also, say I survive the wedding and am allowed to walk out without a scratch on my head…who’s to say I won’t find myself drained and wearing concrete shoes at the bottom of a swamp once I return home?” Sookie said, as she began to tear up.
Pam approached her and gently pushed her back down on the couch, lowering herself beside her. “Sookie.” She gently brushed her tears off her cheeks and nudged her chin up so she could look her in the eye. “Do you trust Eric?”
Sookie nodded. “Yes. Especially now that I know what he has been through and how he still loves me, I do.
Pam smiled. “Then trust him, trust in his plans. He has nothing but your best interests, your wellbeing…your happiness at heart. He is a formidable warrior. He has over a millennium of cunning hard won through his experience in numerous battles and he is a master tactician. He will be victorious.”
“Pam,” Sookie searched the vampire’s blue eyes for truth. “You are scaring me. You are making it sound like we are going to a coup and not a wedding.”
Pam smiled a wicked fangy grin in response.
Sookie inhaled a sharp intake of breath. “Oh my God, Pam. No…the risk is too great. I sure as hell don’t want him married to that bitch, but at least I know he’ll still be “alive”…I can’t stand the thought of anything happening to him. I can’t…” She began to choke and hyperventilate.
Pam looked appalled. “Sookie! You must stop this at once. My master has been strategizing ever since he learned of his maker’s betrayal. You must trust. You know some of what he is capable of, but not all. He is well aware of all contingencies.”
Sookie bent over and slowly got her breathing normalized. After she centered herself somewhat, she got up and went to the bathroom, grabbing several tissues and blowing her nose loudly. After splashing cold water on her face, she came back out into the living area and stared at Pam for several moments.
“All right. I am going to try to calm down and rely on my faith and trust in him to pull us through this nightmare alive. But Pam, I just don’t know how I can stand by and…”
Pam interrupted her. “Sookie, I know you are worried, but time is of the essence. We must hurry. We still must exchange blood and need to get dressed.” Here she eyed Sookie critically. “You are going to need some prep work before we leave. You are all red and blotchy. That will not do. You must look your best for Eric.”
Sookie frowned. “There is nothing wrong with the way I look, Pam. And by the way, I brought a dress. One that Eric said he really liked when I wore it on one of our dates. ”
Pam jumped up and retrieved Sookie’s dress from her closet. She held it up and looked at it as if she smelled something distasteful.
“Sookie, while I can appreciate the symbolism of black as the color of mourning, we are going to a wedding, not a funeral.”
Sookie was offended. “You know, Pam, people wear black to weddings all the time now, especially evening weddings. It’s classic and chic.”
Pam rolled her eyes. “Yes, well, regardless of whether it is “classic or chic,” you will not be wearing this dress. It looks like something you purchased off a clearance rack. I told you not to pack. I have brought the outfit you are to wear to the wedding.”
“Absolutely not, Pam! I am not a damned doll to you are going to play dress up with.”
“Sookie, would it make you more amenable to wearing the dress knowing Eric had selected it?”
Sookie was shocked. “Really? He picked me out a dress?”
Pam nodded enthusiastically. “He actually commissioned a special gown for you several months ago. He had planned it for a very special occasion he had in mind. Since he was not afforded the opportunity to give it you in person, he wanted me to present it to you and asked that you agree to wear it tonight.”
Pam went into her room and brought out a garment bag the attendant had hung in the master bedroom closet. After Pam unzipped the bag, Sookie gasped when she saw the gown. She exclaimed, “Pam, that looks like a wedding dress! I can’t wear that to his and Freyda’s wedding!”
“Sookie, this gown, while white and floor length, should not necessarily be construed as a wedding dress.” She paused and added, “Although it is. A wedding dress.” Pam almost looked sheepish..almost, but not quite.
“Oh HELL NO! What was he thinking, Pam? If I go into Freyda’s wedding wearing this dress she’ll assassinate me on principle alone! I know he and I were “married” vamp style but it’s not like he ever asked me to have a human marriage with him….” Her voice trailed off as realization hit her.
“Pam…before all this Freyda shit, was he planning on asking me to marry him, like have a real human wedding?”
Pam remained silent and looked uncomfortable. Sookie slowly walked over to the gown that she Pam was holding. It was truly beautiful. It was simple but elegant, white flowing silk with a sheer shoulder drape that crossed the bust and softly gathered past the waist in the back. She softly stroked the fabric and whispered, “It’s beautiful.”
Pam gazed at the gown admirably. “He described the gown to me, which I relayed to the designer. He wanted a dress fit for a goddess. I think it fits his requirements, don’t you?”
Sookie smiled sadly and shook her head. “Really, it’s lovely, but I can’t…it’s considered bad form to wear white or off white to a wedding, let alone wear a wedding dress! I’ll look pathetic and desperate for attention. It’s beyond poor taste. It’s not…appropriate.”
Pam snorted. “Sookie, this whole fucking wedding is in poor taste and inappropriate! Screw Freyda! My master has been sold into a marriage that is designed to make him nothing more than a glorified servant, a forced mercenary. Everyone who is in attendance is aware of this fact.”
Pam took the gown out of the bag and held it up to Sookie before hanging it back up in the closet. She returned and faced Sookie. “Now, enough. You obviously like the dress, and Eric wants you to wear it, so you will wear it. And…I will do your hair and makeup as well. But first,” here she grinned a frightening tight-lipped grin (her fangs were peeking out), “We share blood. Come here, Sookie.”
Sookie grimaced. “I know that look, Pam, and I need to lay some ground rules with you first.”
Pam’s tongue shot out of her mouth, briefly licking her lower lip. “Oh please, Sookie, give me some credit here.”
Sookie glared at her. “First, we exchange blood by wrist, not neck, or anywhere else.”
“AND…I need to know you are not going to go all vampshit crazy on me…”
Pam impatiently interrupted. “Sookie, Eric has given me permission to share blood with you this one time given the circumstances. Do you really think I would “go all vampshit crazy” on you and risk his wrath?” She smirked.
“Well…I guess not. But just a small exchange. And I want you to heal it so there are no marks.”
Pam zipped back over to the bottled blood, which she quickly chugged with a grimace. “Ok, all better. The edge is off. Let’s sit and get this over with so we can get ready for this dog and pony show.”
Sookie was impressed. For all of Pam’s leering, she was restrained and only took a mouthful of blood before delicately tearing a small wound in her own wrist and holding it up to Sookie’s mouth. As Sookie drew on the wound, she noticed Pam’s eyes rolled back in her head as she moaned softly.
Sookie reclined back on the couch and gazed at her friend. Pam’s eyes were glazed and she smiled dreamily. “Ah, sweet Sookie. You are exquisite. Pity Eric isn’t keen on sharing you…at any rate, I can now feel you through our exchange and we at least carry each other’s scents.” She healed the bite marks, licking the blood residue with relish, her eyes closed. She sighed an exaggerated sigh and stood up and clapped her hands. “Now, show time. Hurry up and shower. I’ll dress while you are occupied. Be sure to make it quick.”
Sookie took a hot shower, and while brief, it actually helped loosen the knots in her neck and shoulders. She dried off and yelled out at Pam, “I’ll be out in a minute. I’m going to blow dry my hair first.”
When Sookie emerged from the bathroom wearing the plush black robe supplied by the hotel, she saw Pam had apparently dressed and groomed at vamp speed. She looked fierce and breathtaking. And wearing…black! Damn her! She looked amazing in a form fitting tuxedo style pantsuit. She was wearing a transparent silk shirt underneath, buttoned down to right above her naval and had on extremely high blood red stiletto peep toe heels.
Sookie glared and couldn’t help herself. “After that little lecture, you’ve got the balls to wear black? Didn’t you mention it being a bit funereal for the occasion? Not to mention that suit is a bit risqué. That’s a hell of a lot of skin showing up on top.”
Pam smirked at her. “Oh please. While I tend to favor pastels for casual wear, this is a vampire affair, not a church wedding or a garden party. There will be a wide range of formal clothing seen at the ceremony, but modesty certainly will not be a consideration. Besides…this is couture and I look fabulous in black. And I wanted to wear pants instead of a dress….it’s less restrictive. Easier to move around.” She spun and demonstrated an elegantly executed roundhouse kick.
Sookie snorted. “Easy to move around? You’ve got to be shitting me, in those heels?”
Pam gave her an incredulous look. “Oh, you’re going to be wearing the same shoes, darling, but in white. They’re Louboutins and amazing. Special order, just for us, according to my specifications. The heels on the shoes are…unique.”
Sookie groaned. “Pam, you’ve got to be kidding. Freyda won’t have to assassinate me because I will fall and break my neck before I even get there if I have to walk even five feet in those deathtraps.”
“Nonsense. They are quite comfortable and you can practice here in the suite before we leave. Now, no more banter. It’s time to get down to business. I have a lot of work to do.”
Thirty minutes later, at near vamp speed, Sookie found herself dressed in the beautiful goddess styled dress (with matching lingerie that had the unfamiliar label “La Perla” underneath), and fingernails buffed and toenails painted a blush pink (Pam had sprayed a fast drying spray to speed the setting of the polish). Despite Sookie’s objections, she placed platinum and diamond drop earrings in her ears before doing her hair.
“Sookie,” she said sternly. “No objections. Eric wants you to have the jewelry. He bought it to match the gown.” Sookie gulped and wondered to herself how much the earrings were worth. They looked expensive…very expensive.
Pam pulled the sides of Sookie’s hair back in a loose knot, and lightly curled the rest into soft waves that cascaded down her back. Pam showed her a gorgeous jeweled comb to be placed above the knot on the back of her head. “Eric also designed this comb for you. He carved and engraved it himself with runes but had a master jeweler inset the diamonds and other gemstones. If you look closely, the ends of the comb are tipped with silver. I will have to be careful to only touch the top of the comb.”
Sookie turned and looked at her suspiciously. “Seriously, silver? And they won’t notice it when I get there?”
Pam shook her head. “Doubtful. The silver prongs won’t be noticeable because they will be covered by your hair. Anyways, if it is discovered, you still have your shoes.”
“Yes. I had Christian design both pairs of shoes with wooden stilettos. Quite clever, actually…they are painted with a special paint to look like patent leather, but are indeed made of wood. So, in essence, you will have concealed weapons on your person, and no onewill be the wiser. All guests are going to be searched for weapons, hence the creative accessorizing. Now mind you, if all goes according to plan, you will not have need of them. But we all know how things can go pear shaped in a heartbeat, so we wanted to make sure you had some weapons at your disposal. Us girls can never be too prepared.” She smiled slyly.
Sookie stood up and looked down at her expensive shoes, which to her surprise were relatively comfortable and easy to walk in due to a platform on the sole. She walked over to the nightstand and grabbed her matching clutch that held a pale pink lipstick, small hairbrush, compact, and hotel key.
Sookie gave herself one last glance in the floor length mirror attached to the closet door. She hardly recognized herself. She looked exotic from the additive effect of the dress, shoes, jewelry, and makeup (Pam had artfully painted her a smoky eye, which added a mysterious air to her look). She turned to Pam, who had retrieved her own bejeweled clutch and was standing by the door. “Well, I guess it’s time. I’m as ready as I’m going to get.”
Pam held her arm out to Sookie as they walked out of their hotel room. She turned to stare at her with a sober expression. “Yes, Sookie, it’s time.”