Settling down in his chair, Eric grabbed another untraceable phone and kicked his feet up on his desk before dialling the number for the demon lawyer.
“I’ve been expecting your call,” Desmond greeted, not surprising Eric in the slightest with the manner in which he answered his phone. From the moment Godric told him to call Desmond, Eric knew the demon lawyer would have been expecting his call. Little got by Desmond, and Eric had no doubt he already knew of Sophie-Anne’s plans for Sookie.
“You know what is going on,” Eric remarked. It wasn’t a question.
“I am aware,” Desmond admitted. “The cousin has betrayed Sookie and the spoilt Queen wants her for herself.”
“I have had the Guardian submit the papers of my marriage,” Eric replied, cutting straight to the heart of the matter. “They won’t be a deterrent to Sophie-Anne…”
“No, they won’t be,” Desmond agreed interrupting Eric. “Sophie-Anne is arrogant as well as spoilt. She believes the rules – the laws – don’t apply to her, and that she is above them. She doesn’t even honor the contracts she makes herself.”
“But they will give me the right to defend Sookie from anyone, regardless of their position,” Eric said finishing his earlier sentence. “You know Sophie-Anne will contact you as soon as she learns of the papers. She will want to know if you can void them in any way.”
“Which I won’t be able to,” Desmond replied. “I personally saw to your wedding contract. They’re unbreakable by any authority. The fact that Sophie-Anne herself approved them will only work in your favor. Her signature is on the papers; the Queen sanctioned your marriage to Sookie, even if she doesn’t remember doing it. She has no legal recourse. Your marriage is binding and unbreakable by foreign parties.”
“That is not going to make her majesty happy,” Eric said with a chuckle as he remembered the magic they wielded to get Sophie-Anne to sign the papers without realizing what she was doing. “You could find yourself in her sights if she thinks you betrayed her.”
“I’m not worried about any slight she might perceive,” Desmond said dismissively. “She won’t risk attacking me while I still have the ear of The Supernatural Council. It would not bode well for her if she did. Besides, she currently needs me to broker a contract between her and Arkansas.”
“Sophie-Anne plans to pledge to Arkansas?” Eric queried barely concealing his shock. It was the first time he heard of it, and pledging contracts usually caused vampires to gossip like old women.
“Yes. The contract is almost complete, just small details still to iron out,” Desmond replied. “I believe the proposed pledging might be a factor into Sophie-Anne’s insistent interest in Sookie. Having a telepath in her retinue would strength her Queendom and give her the upper hand over the King of Arkansas.”
“That makes sense,” Eric agreed. “Having a telepath to read all of Arkansas’ humans would benefit Sophie-Anne greatly. Of course it would never occur to The Queen to simple ask Sookie if she would like to work for her and offer her a contract.”
“In Sophie-Anne’s mind, Sookie is beneath her and should be honored to be owned by her,” Desmond said. “Offering Sookie a contract or paying her wouldn’t even enter her mind.”
“So, Sophie-Anne is plotting to procure my wife and pledge to Arkansas,” Eric mused. ”She is keeping busy.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t receive an invitation to the pledging. It would be the perfect opportunity to get Sookie within her reach,” Desmond warned.
“Do you know when the pledging is set for?” Eric asked, seeing the truth of Desmond’s warning. Inviting Eric and Sookie to her pledging would be the perfect way to get Sookie before her without tipping her hand and revealing what she really wanted. If Eric hadn’t been aware of the Queen’s interest in his wife, he might not have suspected anything amiss with such an invitation. It would be natural for a Queen to invite her Sheriff and his partner to her pledging.
“Rhodes,” Desmond answered.
“She never did like to do things by half, did she?” Eric said, letting out an unneeded breath. “I am starting to think Sophie-Anne really is crazy. What in the hell possessed her to want to pledge at Rhodes? Is she aware half, if not all, the Council will be there?”
“She said she wanted an audience,” Desmond hinted. “She wants everyone to witness their union…”
“So no one can question it if anything should happen to Arkansas,” Eric said as realization swept over him. “She plans to kill Threadgill and claim Arkansas.”
“That would be my guess,” Desmond agreed. “Although I have no proof, I fear that Peter Threadgill will not survive long after the pledging. I suspect he will be finally dead within the year.”
“Knowing Threadgill, he is no doubt planning the same,” Eric replied. “None of this is surprising really, but I fear it puts Sookie in more danger.”
“I will send Diantha to you,” Desmond said. ”She will be there first thing in the morning. She will keep Sookie safe during the day. I’m sure you will be guarding her at night.”
Eric chuckled as he heard Desmond say he would send Diantha, realizing that, as usual, Godric was right. “Sookie is well guarded at night,” Eric admitted. “I was arranging for Weres to guard her during the day.”
“I suggest you still do that,” Desmond recommended. “I have full faith in my niece and her ability to keep Sookie safe, but it’s always wise to have back-ups just in case. I will keep a close eye on Sophie-Anne and alert you to anything she might be planning.”
“I appreciate that,” Eric acknowledged readily.
“I will do anything to keep Sookie safe,” Desmond replied. “I’m her sponsor, her Supernatural Godfather. It’s my duty to protect her.”
And it is my life, Eric thought.
“Tell Diantha to test the mettle of the Weres guarding Sookie,” Eric ordered slipping back into Sheriff mode. “I want to know if they are capable of protecting my wife and if they are going to take the job seriously.”
“I will,” Desmond assured. “I will tell Diantha to see how close she can get to Sookie before any of the Weres can discover her presence.”
“I will inform Sookie of the test so she is not scared,” Eric replied.
“Good; if you need anything you know you can contact me and I will help,” Desmond said. “If that is all?”
“It is,” Eric replied. The words had barely left his lips when he heard the call disconnect. “I am starting to see why Sookie thinks that is annoying.”
Tossing the phone on his desk, Eric rested his head on the back of his chair and closed his eyes, the events of the last forty-eight hours weighing heavy on him. He knew he couldn’t keep Sookie hidden from the vampire hierarchy forever. He was well aware that one day Sookie and her ability would become widely known. He had known it would come since the day she told him she was a telepath, which would have been just weeks after they had first met. From the second he had learned of her abilities, Eric had been planning ways to keep her safe. He hadn’t even been aware he was doing it in the beginning; it had been his natural reaction to an unseen threat. He hadn’t even realized the threat wasn’t directed directly at him and that if he wanted he could walk away.
Walking away had never crossed Eric’s mind. From the moment he and Sookie had shared their first kiss on their first date, he had been lost to her. Eric had fallen fast and had fallen hard, and he had not once tried to fight it. It had surprised even him how welcoming he had been of the feelings Sookie evoked in him. He had foolishly believed they would have more time before Sookie was discovered. Sophie-Anne’s unexpected and unwanted attention to his wife had thrown all their plans for Sookie’s eventual introduction into the Supernatural World into disarray. Now, because of his own arrogance, his wife was in danger. But one thing Eric swore was that he would watch the world burn before he let Sookie fall into Sophie-Anne’s clutches.
Sookie was his.
Bill eyed the crumpled form of Selah lying on the floor in front of the open fire. Her small whimpers were grating on his nerves, and from his vantage point he could see bruises forming over her body. Semen coated the inside of her thighs and blood still trickled lightly from the unhealed bite marks.
Malcolm, Liam, and Diane had left over an hour ago, having used Selah to the point of unconsciousness. They had taken her in every way they could think, not giving her a single second of rest. Bill could still hear Selah’s cries of pain ringing in his ears as Liam and Malcolm had taken her at the same time. Bill was only sorry he wasn’t fit enough to join in.
Maybe once I’m healed we can all have some fun, he thought as he eyed Selah hungrily. I wonder how she’d like three cocks in her at once.
Licking his lips, Bill smirked; at least Diane had dragged Selah over to him so he could feed on her. The fresh blood had aided in his healing and restored a little bit of his strength. Pulling himself to his feet, Bill winced as small stabs of pain hit him.
Crossing to where the naked Selah still lay whimpering, he nudged her lightly with his foot, turning her to her back. “Do shut up,” he growled. Bending down, Bill grabbed Selah by her hair and yanked her to her feet. Gripping her chin painfully, Bill stared into her eyes, pushing his mind against hers and taking control of her once again. “You enjoyed everything that happened here tonight. You wanted it. You wanted to please Malcolm, Liam, Diane, and me. You begged Malcolm to fuck you up the ass. You never once said no. You will never speak of what happened here to anyone. If you are told to you will do it again. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Selah whimpered, her mind under his control.
“Good girl,” Bill replied condescendingly. “From now on out, you’re mine. You belong to me. You will come when I call. You will do as I say without argument. You will take care of yourself and keep yourself healthy. You will take vitamins daily and eat suitably. You will return tomorrow and bring a friend with you, a female friend. Is that clear?”
“Yes,” Selah said automatically.
“Good, now go and clean yourself up,” Bill ordered as he let go of her chin. “You have fifteen minutes.”
Bill watched with a sense of detachment as Selah shuffled painfully out of the living room. Once he was satisfied she was out of hearing distance, Bill grabbed his phone and dialled the number for the Queen’s palace. “This is Bill Compton, I wish to speak to the Queen,” he offered in lieu of a greeting when the call was answered.
“One moment please.”
“Bill, please tell me you have secured my telepath,” Sophie-Anne said, her tone soft and breezy.
“Unfortunately, not yet,” Bill replied as he crossed the room and sat down again. “Northman, as you can imagine is proving to be a problem. He is possessive when it comes to the telepath, almost controlling you could say. He refuses to let anyone but his child anywhere near her.”
“That is not good to hear, but not unexpected,” Sophie-Anne huffed.
“I’m confident if I could speak to Sookie without the Sheriff around I could make leeway,” Bill continued hoping Sophie-Anne could see where he was going. “Northman treats her little better than a fangbanger,” he added lying. “He parades her around his bar covered in his scent for all to smell. I believe it would be easy to convince her to come with me. She doesn’t seem too bright. She is currently hesitant around me because Northman has no doubt told her she can’t trust anyone but him and his child. If I had the opportunity I’m positive I could gain her trust and get her to leave Northman willingly.”
“I see,” Sophie-Anne mused as she thought over what Bill was telling her. If Sookie was anything like Hadley, she would be easy to manipulate, Sophie-Anne believed, and Bill was certainly adept at that. It was why he was her favorite procurer. He had never failed her yet, and she had faith he wouldn’t now. Although annoying at times, Bill was loyal and skilled in what he did, and she had no reason not to trust him. “I suppose I can demand the presence of my Sheriff for a few nights. I would like to know why he thought he could get married without informing me or asking for my permission.”
“Thank you, my Queen,” Bill replied, adding the right amount of respect to his voice.
“I shall demand his presences in court this weekend,” Sophie-Anne said as she cast her eyes over the donors milling around in her sunroom. Clicking her fingers at Hadley, who was sitting by her feet, Sophie-Anne spread her legs wide and ordered her favorite pet to take care of her while everyone watched. “You will have two nights to gain the telepath’s trust,” Sophie-Anne moaned alerting Bill to what was going on. “Do not fail me.”
“I won’t my Queen,” Bill promised. “The telepath will be yours.”
“You get her to leave Northman willingly and I might be inclined to let you have the first taste of her,” Sophie-Anne said, offering him an extra incentive.
“The Queen is too kind,” Bill replied practically panting at the thought of having the first taste of Sookie.
“Make it happen, Bill,” Sophie-Anne ordered before hanging up.
Bill smiled as he leaned back on the sofa, his plans slowly taking form. He had a couple of days to recover from his unjust punishment. Selah would bring him fresh donors, every night and this weekend Northman would be out of his way and he would have a chance to get closer to Sookie. He believed things were beginning to look up for him.