Eric just… left.
He was there looking at me, and then in a blur he was gone while I was left with the wreckage.
I was also cold and naked from the waist up. Pam was eyeing me hungrily too.
Stupid, stupid vampires.
“Pam, if you’re done gawking, would you mind helping me find something to cover up? I’m cold,” and under my breath I added, “and still all… bothered.”
“I would be glad to help with that,” she grinned like a shark. Somehow, I didn’t think she was answering my request for clothing.
“This thing is done for,” I said snatching up the mutilated remains of my bra. I wanted to cry. “He’s coming back, right?”
She just laughed, and I really did start to cry. I picked up a piece of my now deceased shirt and held it to my face, wishing I could just go hide somewhere. It had been a favorite, the small, blue embroidered flowers on the summery white cotton reduced to shreds by vampire claws along with any dignity I had once claimed. I was angry and frightened. My cheeks felt hot, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t know if I wanted him to come back so I could rage at him, or if I really needed him to reassure me it wouldn’t happen again, but I hated that I’d been left to pick up the pieces alone.
“It’s very hard for me to remember that you are not Sookie when you do that.”
Okay, not so alone, but Pam wasn’t the same.
Startled from my wallowing, I moved the scraps from my face to my chest and eyed Pam. “Do what? Cry like a baby?”
She laughed again. “The leaking too, but I meant the way you talked to me like I am not a vampire after an incident that would make normal humans very afraid of us.”
“Well, you’re not just a vampire, you’re you.”
Her face only betrayed the tiniest bit of an unidentifiable emotion. She stood for a few moments, studying me with her stoicism, then walked into the bedroom. She emerged moments later with a fresh blouse and tissues.
“I do not wear one of those,” she indicated what was once my bra, “but you may have this,” and she stuffed the lavender silk blouse into my hands, then pulled me to my feet and steered me into the bathroom to clean myself up.
“Do you intend to leave my master?” she asked as I was washing my tear-stained face.
“Why would I do that?”
“Sookie always ran away when Eric behaved like a vampire and punished him.”
“Well, I’m not Sookie. Pam, I’ve lived with supes my whole life. Nothing y’all do surprises me anymore, and believe you me, I saw this coming.”
“You are really remarkable.”
“You keep saying that, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that the fairy smell in the locked room and me gone was a recipe for disaster, but Siobhan disappeared before I could tell her to pop me back in! I didn’t know what to do but wait.”
“Anabelle, I would like you to keep telling me about the intruder, but I would also like to punish Eric for you.”
I shook my head sullenly, “What’s the point? Supes acting badly are nothing new. All y’all.” I was feeling decidedly ungenerous toward supernatural creatures just then. Stupid vamp-crack fairies leaving figurative messes, and stupid heightened-senses vampires leaving physical ones. I just wanted to lock myself in the bathroom and have a good cry while I mentally abused them all for a while.
“Ignoring the fact that you just proved beyond any doubt that you are, in fact, as supernatural as they come, the point, dear girl, is my amusement. Eric made a stupid mistake. Oh, not in trying to make you a meal, that was very well done and very entertaining, but in refusing to hunt and letting his thirst take over. He must learn to control himself when he cannot find you. We’ll be helping him.”
“You just want to go out but have to babysit me.”
She grinned her predatory grin again.
“You’re so much more scary than he is.”
Pam’s idea of ‘punishment’ consisted of shopping and spoiling the crap out of me. After a little… housekeeping and her playing at being the master of disguise (she gave me a pair of gaudy sunglasses, red lipstick and slicked my hair into a tight bun), she took me to a boutique and every time I protested that Eric would be mad as hell that we’d left, she added another item for me to try.
I refused to let her buy everything (PAM we’re supposed to be in hiding! Where’s it all gonna go? The garbage, who cares?) and put my foot down at even trying on the stupid evening gowns she kept trying to sneak in. In the end, I had enough for a couple days at a time.
As she paid (in cash and it was more money than I’d spent on all the clothes in my life combined), I saw that she had gotten supplies for them too and felt a lot better. I didn’t know if the coordinating accessories she’d piled in counted as supplies per say, but I wasn’t going to argue with her.
I thought we’d head back after we left. It felt like a lot of bags.
“Walking around Manhattan with parcels is less conspicuous,” she informed me, “and you must have a meal. What would you like?”
“We can just visit the market. I’d be happy just to pick out my own food there.”
“Nonsense, you haven’t had anything hot in days, and if I recall correctly, meals were more enjoyable at higher temperature. It will also allow us to talk in a setting where humans routinely gather with each other and exhibit similar behavior.”
“You mean, we’ll blend in?”
I picked a place to eat because it was close. I scanned the room mentally before we entered, not tuning in to anyone’s thoughts in particular, but looking for distinctive supernatural signatures.
Pam feigned a sigh when we were seated. “I’d forgotten how convenient that is to be able to canvas a room before entry. Your great-grandmother was terribly stingy with it most of the time, but it came in handy often enough.”
I frowned. Her words brought back what Siobhan had told me earlier about Sookie’s spark. “Pam, my friend that came to visit told me some things today…”
“Is it information that should wait for my master?”
“I don’t know. She was real upset by it and I had to drag it out of her. But maybe you two know about it already. I only know what I read in the Sookie-Book. I didn’t know her at all, so I feel like I have questions for you that would be… different from the ones I’d ask Eric.”
The server came then and I ordered the first thing I looked at on the menu. Pam just said she to make it two and we were once again left to our conversation.
“So what your… friend… told you concerns her?” She was trying to tell me I was not being careful enough. I could’ve kicked myself.
I pleaded my apology with my eyes. “Yeah. And it’s a big deal I think. Did she… Do you think she ever regretted giving him up?”
“Would you?” She stared at me. “You do understand that his earlier behavior is a very large part of who he is, who we are. It is a part of us that we quite enjoy. Revel in. It does not go away because you wish it would or expect it to.”
I didn’t know what to say. Part of me was still recoiling at the fear I’d felt, but if I was going to be completely honest? Once he’d had a hold of me, I was exhilarated and oh-my-god-what-is-wrong-with-me happy. So much so that I’d started… passing him my light. If I hadn’t been able to stop, all this time running would have been a big waste, he would have had to wish, and I might be star-dust. Who knows. But this was the stuff to save for the Great Norse Pillager O’ Fae.
“I’m not trying to scare you away. I simply cannot bear to watch it happen twice.”
“What happen twice?”
Her face betrayed a hint of impatience. “I’m asking you not to decide you are too weak to love him after he loves you.”
I sighed and smiled. “I can change it for him, Pam. It could all be different now. I can make it how it was supposed to be. I’m just waiting for him to ask.”
She didn’t speak again until two plates of meatloaf and mashed potatoes were cooling in front of us. She made a face at it and pushed it to the side.
“That looks horrid. I’m going to say this, but – what is the expression you use? It’s for us women only.”
“Yes, that. I do not wish for change.”
“I believe everything worked out for the best. She weakened him. She softened him. He loved her. She abandoned him. You know the story.”
“My standard version is a whoooole lot different.”
“I think I’d like to see your book.”
I hesitated. Sharing the Sookie-Book was okay with Eric, but Pam looked like she could spit nails and I didn’t want to lose my most prized possession in a vampire fit. I’d seen enough of those for one night. Still, she might have some insight.
“Yeah okay, lets go back and I’ll show you.”