“Pamela,” I warned.
“Eric,” she shot back. “I’m not intending to invade her home. I doubt I could if I wanted to. The house has changed ownership and Sookie likely rescinded all vampire invitations years ago in any case. I simply wish to see this rare, new, off-limits creature. Purely for amusement. Like a… What’s that place called where humans cage other animals for entertainment? A zoo! Like a zoo exhibit.”
“Do you know, I have not met an off-limits human since… Since Sookie. How very droll that the vampire imposing each of the restrictions has been my maker. Are you in love with this human?”
“Are you still pining for Soo-”
“Pam, I am so very close to ordering you back to Minnesota.”
“Really, Eric, when will this unnatural affinity for humans end? You’re a free vampire now. Why do you not let loose? Perhaps drain a few busty blondes? Get it out of your system. You’re boring. You have been boring for the last century. You spent a thousand years not giving a fuck, and I’d hoped once the little fairy finally kicked it-”
She marched from the room in a pink cashmere strut and made for the front door, but stopped and turned back to me.
“Before I forget, your offer on this…” she wrinkled her nose at the peeling Scheele’s green wallpapers, “house was accepted and the documents requiring your signature will be delivered on that thing shortly.” She indicated the little disc projecting the layout of Freyda’s mansion that she had personally delivered to me. I gathered that a pair of shoes had been ruined in the process of securing it, and I owed her. “You grossly over-paid even if this dump was his ancestral home. I’d burn it down and start fresh. Oh, and Compton made it clear you are to check in with the sheriff immediately. Really, Eric. Four days before you followed protocol? You’re lucky Bill shared your little obsession and made you an allowance.”
“Pamela, I believe I gave you an order.”
She resumed her pastel processional out of the dilapidated dwelling I now owned. While, I had no desire to stay long in the Compton house, it had certain conveniences.
And now I am not… ‘squatting’ I thought irritably.
“Pam, I do expect you back before the night is through.” I turned from her and resumed my study of the blue prints projected before me.
She wrenched the heavy wooden doors open and stopped. I looked up impatiently, expecting another biting remark about my love for blood-bags, but her attention was fully engrossed by the startled Nan, who had been about to knock when the door flew open.
“Why, Sookie Stackhouse, how have you been? You haven’t aged a day, in fact, I do believe you look younger!” Pam was on a roll. Inexplicably, Nan’s eyes were slowly filling with tears. “Master, she’s leaking.”
In a heartbeat I had shoved Pam through the door, pulled the weeping child roughly to me, and kicked the door shut.
“Eric, consider what I said about busty blondes,” drifted through to me before I knew my child had started her new mission.
I stared frowning for a moment at the girl pressing her wet little face into the new silk shirt Pamela had brought. I had forgotten how they ruined my shirts.
“Do not cry, little one,” I crooned softly. She pressed herself further into me and heaved a sigh.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered looking up into my eyes. I began to be uncomfortably aware that I had never noticed Nan was, in fact, a busty blonde. I put a bit more distance between us. She rubbed a fist into her eyes to wipe away her tears, and sniffled. “Today was just… not a good day to be mistaken for Sookie. I had a fight with Claude, again, although why that should come as a surprise, I don’t know. I’ve been on edge all day and painfully aware that I am just not her…”
“Anabelle, you are more like her than you realize.”
She just sniffed and studied her feet.
“I’m not comparing the two of you. You are obviously different in many ways.”
She looked up at me expectantly.
“You have been told many stories about-” my wife had been on the tip of my tongue but I did not think this girl would like to hear that at the moment, “her. I will not deny that she was an incredible, resilient, and strong woman. She had… a warrior’s spirit. Something no one could take from her, and that is why I…” Would I make her bleed with my words? Was I going to bleed before this child? I supposed I was, “still long for her after a century. One does not forget a love like we had. It was passionate, violent, and explosive but also tender and peaceful and happy. I do not expect to love again.”
Nan’s face had adopted a mask of complete calm, but her eyes betrayed her turmoil within.
I plowed ahead.
“I tell you this because, no one has told you the truth about Sookie. You were told the misleadingly perfect stories because it is easier for humans to believe in an ideal than face a reality that is marred or broken. I do not subscribe to such folly, however. I am not human and the memories I have are far too detailed to be anything but accurate.” I paused to decide upon the best approach.
“Sookie Stackhouse was an unbelievably obstinate, juvenile, conniving when it suited her, infuriating, judgmental, proud, troublesome little minx of a woman,” Pam said from the doorway looking directly at Nan. I growled but Pam just continued, “And the best friend, human or vampire, that I have ever had. I am Pam, Eric’s child.”
Understanding dawned in Anabelle’s eyes, and she relaxed visibly. “Pam, I’m Nan Merlotte,” she replied softly. “Sookie wrote about you a lot. I think she missed you.”
“I miss her,” Pam let slip, then froze. After the moment passed and no one acknowledged that she had admitted to missing a human, she continued, lapsing into her soft British accent, “What my master is very longwindedly trying to tell you, is that no human is without as many faults as virtues, and Sookie had the lion’s share of both. She made my master suffer. He made her suffer. They, suffered together – are we done with the touch-me-feel-me human bullshit now?”
Nan’s eyes were dancing with glee. “Did you just say, ‘touch-me-feel-me’?”
“Are you offering?” Pam took a small step in her direction, fangs extending.
To her credit, the girl did not so much as flinch. “Pam, I’ve always wanted to meet you.”
Pam continued to eye-fuck her for moment, then looked beseechingly at me. “Master? I know what I would like to replace my shoes.”
“But Master, you got the last one. You cannot be so stingy.”
She shot a smoldering, fangy smile at Nan, and walked in the direction of the kitchen.
“So… Did she just ask you to give me to her to replace some shoes you broke?”
“That was it essentially, yes.”
“But you won’t, right?”
“No. I will not.”
She smiled breathlessly and moved slowly in front of me, her eyes never leaving mine.
“Because… I don’t want to be anyone’s but yours.”