After I had fed and confirmed the security of my prisoner, I sought Anabelle.
I have never had much use for remorse, nor was I in the habit of excusing my behavior to another. It was a curious feeling, this inclination to do so. I found I did not want her to be frightened of me. I also found that I wanted – needed to be near her, and her fear would not lend itself to its accomplishment. The longer we were parted and I could not soothe this need, the more irritable I became. I did not care for it.
When I contemplated our earlier exchange, I discovered a tangled mess of thoughts and truths that had needed sorting.
I was attracted to her.
I felt resistant to act upon my attraction.
I still thought of her, in some small part, as a child. Sookie’s child.
I was not certain why this bothered me.
Confusion frustrated me.
Time was growing short. Anabelle’s loss of control confirmed this.
I had dark needs that required completion before I was ready to make changes.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to hide her.
Twice within hours of each other, fairies had made attempts to reclaim her.
I would kill each one of them.
I wanted and needed to protect her, and it wasn’t only due to her use.
She was and would be very useful.
She had once constantly reminded me of my lover, but that too was fading.
I was not in love with her, but genuinely liked her.
I would risk much to keep her. Even war.
She was mine. Made for me.
Thinking this stirred… longing within me.
I no longer always thought of Sookie when it did.
I did not care for being torn.
Returning to an empty nest resulted in more damage to the building. We were not staying the day, it mattered little.
When my females did return, Pamela shot me a look of pure defiance. She was growing very attached to Nan, and protective even from her maker. I found this very amusing.
Anabelle did not find my latest modifications to the apartment amusing, however.
“You got a thing against doors, Eric? I just cleaned this place up!”
She was gone and she was berating me?
“You were not here. You left without permission and I will not excuse my actions to you.” At times, I amaze myself. The words tumbled from my lips before I properly considered them. What was it about this family’s women which caused me to react so without guard? Sookie had been the only other woman in my life to ruffle me to the point of tripping over my own thoughts and words.
Her luminous eyes flashed with anger. “I needed permission?”
I just stared back, unwilling to say more I might regret. I had intended to make amends, it just hadn’t come out right.
The heat in her golden eyes grew. “You left. You walked the hell out when I was scared and you had acted like – well, you acted like – You went nuts and then you just left after tearing up half of all the clothes I had in the world, and demolished half of our living space, which I cleaned up thankyouverymuch. What the hell is wrong with you? You left me half naked, scared and frustrated as well so I don’t need your permission to take care of myself.”
“Anabelle, I do not like listening to tantrums.” My ire flared in response to her accusations and the… guilt they inspired.
“Well, bully for you, Eric. I don’t like taking your crap either. Don’t let’s forget that you have been a sneaky, tricky, dirty-rotten-deal-making ass too!”
My eyebrow raised questioningly. Anger was warring with remorse. It was uncomfortable and irritating.
“Windows, Eric! Don’t you think for a second what you did was lost on me! Oh, you delivered what I asked for. I just didn’t ask for use of them and you took full advantage! Isn’t that right?”
I could not help finding that humorous and grinned. Pamela too found this very funny.
“STUPID vampires!” She shouted and bolted into the bathroom and locked the door. It further provoked me that she believed a door lock would keep me out if I wanted in.
“Master, you are no longer boring.”
“If I were you, Pamela Ravenscroft, I would refrain from speaking to your maker at this time. You, I am sure, had enough forethought to understand that leaving without my knowledge was unacceptable.”
She didn’t deign to reply and strode into the bedroom and knocked on the bathroom door. It seemed she was admitted and I stood alone for some time. Only Anabelle returned.
“So, Siobhan, my tutor from Fae popped in and asked me to go to lunch. I told her no and threatened to… maybe I didn’t specify what I’d do, but I said no one can come near here anyway. I was really mad at you because you locked me up again so I let her pop me out here and we talked a bit. And you know what? I’m not sorry I did that. I needed it. I feel a hundred times better because I spent the day out here. So you just have to deal with that, Eric Northman. I didn’t let her take me out of the building, I stayed within fifty feet of you, damn it. I’d have asked her to put me back, but you know how fairies leave. They just decide the conversation is over and they’re gone.”
My face betrayed nothing of the rage that melted into amusement which faded into irritation. I was running quite the gamut.
“So then you woke up and tried to eat me…” she hesitated a moment then, “and I guess I kinda liked it.” She blushed furiously. “So my brain kinda turned off and I started passing you my light. I can’t get all blissed-out again until it’s time. Not that I have to get all, you know, blissed! I don’t! You don’t have to do that, if you don’t want to!” She was red enough that she was glowing by that point. “I’m pretty sure I can control it intentionally. So, moral of the story is lighten the hell up on me, okay? Controlling every detail makes you freak when it doesn’t go your way, and that’s gonna happen sometimes.” She stared at me, wide-eyed and expectant.
“Do you have anything else you would like to tell me?”
“Lots. It was, uh, an eventful day.”
“I am listening.”
She proceeded to tell me Niall was missing, which was the purpose of her fairy visitor. She had been given useful information about cluviel d’or, and… information about Sookie. She seemed to believe the information was very important.
“So here’s the deal… Pam’s reading the Sookie-Book right now to see if there’s anything we missed, and I think we should all go through it a couple more times to look for clues.”
“Anabelle, this sounds like it has greatly captured your interest, but it does not seem like vital information.”
She looked like I had struck her. She opened her mouth to speak, but closed it again and looked away.
“I have many tasks which need accomplishing while we are together. What good is chasing this history? Does it change anything for you now?”
“Eric, if you found out your only purpose in life was to grant somebody’s wish, and that it was this whole big thing choreographed by some fairy ancestor, how would you feel?”
I considered this. “I would probably be angry and resistant.”
She smiled genuinely. “Of course you would. I’m not gonna resist, but I do have a powerful need to know why.”
“You are very curious about your world.”
“There’s so much to find curious.”
“Not the least of which, yourself.”
“I will re-read the book.”
“Thank you.” She got up and headed for the bathroom to summon Pam.
“I apologize for hurting you.”
She stopped in the doorway for a beat, then turned in my direction.
“I should be walking, Eric. If I wasn’t so messed up inside right now, I would’ve. I don’t know if I’m a person, or just a cluviel dor. I don’t know if once you make your wish and go I’ll even ever have existed, so I’m having a real hard time keeping my boundaries straight. I gave myself to you, and I’m not going to run away because you’re a vampire and get vampirey. I know you’re good at controlling yourself, but I know you’re dangerous. I’m sure that word is a euphemism and a half when it comes to you, but that happens again and I’m gone. I’m yours, so try to deserve me.”
She turned on her heel and returned to her task.
After hours of pouring over Sookie’s journals and notes, we were no closer to solving Nan’s riddle. But she finally allowed me to hold her while she read, and I was glad.
I gently tugged the volume from her hands when she nodded off in my lap. I glanced at the page she had been studying.
“Yes my master?”
“I want you to go to this address in Shreveport tomorrow night. This was a bank, as I recall. These numbers may be…” I shrugged. “They may also be nothing and you will have bank robbery added to your list of crimes, but I am sure you will not leave incriminating evidence.”
Have you found the artifact Freyda wants?
I expect to be in possession by tomorrow evening.
Where will I find you?
I thought about my loose ends and the time they required.
As soon as I have it we leave for Oklahoma. I will call for you. Also, make arrangements for our immediate removal to a hotel of your choice. Going underground is apparently useless when you steal from fairies. I must attend to Brigant tonight.
“Eric, you cannot be serious that he is still alive.”
“Other matters have been… pressing.”
Do you wish to meet your final death?
Pamela, you are on thin ice.
“I think you are playing a much more dangerous game, master.”
“I did not ask for your thoughts on the matter.”
“What are you still doing here? She’s asleep. Give her to me and go.”
“I find I am reluctant to start a war.”
Too late, Eric. If you don’t kill him, we’re truly dead. I would never doubt your cunning and ingenuity, but catching him this morning was a fluke. If you kill him now, at least you will buy us time in the inevitable resulting power struggle.
I looked down at the softly snoring creature I held, and inhaled her scent. A grin stole over my face as I looked up at my child.
“You’re not going to kill him.”
“You have another use for him.”
You are going to kill us all.
“Not if I can be very clever.”
“Tell me what I need to buy.”