It was after that night when Eric bared his soul to his youngest child and told her everything that happened that the two of them finally began to mend their broken relationship. Eric had held nothing back and told Willa everything. He told her about his past with the Yakuza and how they had killed his human lover in the eighties, why he ended up in Shreveport, and the events that led to running into them again when he and Pam were in Dallas in search of Sarah Newlin. By the time he was done, Willa knew all there was to know about his history with the Yakuza.
The two of them spent the entire night talking and when they rose the following night they continued their conversation. Once he started talking, Eric couldn’t stop and he began telling her things he hadn’t shared with anyone but Godric. Willa came away with a new understanding of her Maker; her deep-seated anger and hatred she had been carrying around for her Maker like an enormous boulder for the past year gradually began to recede as her appreciation grew.
Coming out of their conversation, they both knew they couldn’t go back and start over, but they could move forward and build a new relationship. Their past could never be undone, but they could learn from it. He could be the Maker she deserved.
Eric knew his relationship with Willa would never be the same as the one he shared with Pam and that was fine. To tell the truth, Eric didn’t want to have the same relationship with Willa as he and Pam had. Willa would never be Pam. He saw and knew the differences between them even as he first decided to turn Willa.
Willa was independent in a way Pam never would be. Willa didn’t need him. She survived on her own without him. Her life didn’t revolve around him; he wasn’t the center of it. Willa wouldn’t throw a tantrum if he loved someone other than her.
Nevertheless, as his relationship with Willa bloomed, the one he had with Pam withered. Pam couldn’t accept Willa in his life. She couldn’t bear that someone other than her had a bond with him. She constantly attempted to come between them. She still didn’t want to share her Maker, and it didn’t matter with whom she might have to share. Even though she considered herself Eric’s favorite, she still couldn’t let go of her jealousy and hatred.
Eric was dismayed to discover just how much she hated Willa. He always thought Pam’s dislike of Sookie was extreme, but it was nothing compared to the pure, blinding hatred she felt for Willa. It came to a head just over a year after Eric bared his soul to Willa.
Two years and five months earlier
Pam scowled as she stomped through the empty hallway of North Holdings Incorporated offices. It had been three weeks since she had last seen her Maker and she had enough. She knew his new position as King of Louisiana took up a great portion of his time, but that was no excuse for him to ignore her. When the newly created Vampire Council had appointed Eric to the position of King of Louisiana, Pam had been ecstatic! If she had to stick around and stay in the godforsaken State, at least she could do it in style. With Eric as King and her as his Second, Pam believed she could do anything she wanted. It might not have been the Happily Ever After she had envisioned eighteen months earlier, but it would do. The position held prestige and riches. It might not have held the same riches the cure would have brought her and Pam was still pissed that she lost out on those, but royal riches were nothing to sneeze about.
Unfortunately for Pam, Eric had other ideas. When the Council awarded him the State and appointed him King, Eric had called in some old friends. Eric held no real interest in ruling Louisiana; he never wanted to be King. He took the throne for two reasons.
One; he never again wanted to have to serve and pledge fealty to a vampire so unworthy and beneath him. Neither Sophie-Anne nor Bill had been qualified to run the State. One was childish, while the other was an idiot. Between the pair of them they had nearly bankrupted the once rich and thriving haven for both tourists and vampire. Neither of them had known the first thing about politics. They only ever thought about themselves.
The second and most crucial reason was Sookie even though she was still gone. Eric had accepted the mantle of King in order to protect her. If history hadn’t taught him anything else, it had taught him that the monarchs of Louisiana had a fixation with the blonde telepathic hybrid. Eric hadn’t wanted to risk refusing the crown only to have another Sophie-Anne Leclerq or Bill Compton to be appointed; worse yet taking a chance of Bill being returned to the throne.
Not surprisingly, after Sookie had disappeared and no one would tell him where she had gone, Bill decided his life was worthwhile after all and had taken the cure. Eric was more than disgusted when he found out Bill had taken the cure and he finally understood what it was that Sookie had realized in the basement of Fangtasia on that fateful night… Bill was once again attempting to manipulate her, using her grief and guilt as his tool.
Eric had been sorely tempted to end Bill when he discovered this, but he recognized he couldn’t allow personal feelings to interfere in his duty as King. Bill hadn’t committed any offense to have warranted his True Death and Eric could not impose it upon him simply because he hated him. Being King over Bill would be enough of a punishment for the younger vampire for the time being.
Once Eric had secured his rule, he called in some old friends and went about setting up a Cabinet that would assist him in keeping Louisiana running smoothly. He chose to design his Cabinet much in the same way as the human government. Pam had been incensed when instead of appointing her his Second, as she believed was her right, he had given the position to Willa. Pam argued that the baby vampire wasn’t equipped to handle such a role but Eric had dismissed her argument.
Willa may not have had much experience when it came to vampire politics, but she had been around human politics her entire life. She knew the ins and outs, and the way things worked. She managed to bridge the gap between the human government of Louisiana and the vampire one. For the first time since The Great Revelation, the two governments had formed a good working relationship. What she didn’t know about the vampire ways, Eric was teaching her.
In addition to Willa, Eric had also employed vampires to oversee Security, Finance, and Public Relations. Unlike his predecessors, Eric understood the importance of taking advantage of the expertise of others. Eric wouldn’t make the same mistakes made by Sophie-Anne or Bill Compton. He wouldn’t let his position of King go to his head.
If Pam had been incensed when Eric hadn’t made her his Second, she had been downright homicidal when she realized she didn’t have any position in his new monarchy. She was not a member of his Cabinet, nor was she appointed Sheriff. Eric had informed her she wasn’t qualified to hold any position. She knew nothing about running a State or even an Area. She hadn’t helped him out in his role of Sheriff over the years, unless it came to dishing out punishments. Eric had signed Fangtasia over to her but other than that she held no power in Louisiana.
This was what led her to the building that Eric had purchased for his Kingdom. After three weeks of being ignored, Pam had finally reached her limit. She had been trying to contact Eric for the last three nights, and had failed at every turn. Her calls were going unanswered, and her texts went unreplied. Pam had been tempted to go to his house to find out what the hell was happening. The only thing that stopped her was Eric’s warning to stay away after she had tried to stop Willa from seeing him a year before. Eric knew how to hold a grudge.
Pam was sure Eric’s new avoidance of her was due to Willa. The little bitch was poisoning Eric’s mind against her. She had to be; it was the only explanation that made any sense to Pam. Eric wouldn’t abandon her. She was his favorite. Willa had to be behind Eric’s behavior.
Pushing open the door to Eric’s offices, Pam sneered at the young vampire behind the desk. She couldn’t believe any vampire would lower themselves enough to be a secretary. In Pam’s mind that job was second only to being a waitress. Neither of those jobs was suitable for any vampire. It was demeaning. Vampires shouldn’t be subservient to anyone. The brown-haired vampire, Felicia, Pam’s mind supplied helpfully, may have been Eric’s secretary, but it still wasn’t a position suitable for a vampire.
“You can’t go in there,” Felicia said, trying to stop Pam from entering Eric’s office.
“I’m the King’s child, I can do whatever I want,” Pam retorted, barely glancing in Felicia’s direction as she stalked toward Eric’s office. She didn’t wait to see if the younger vampire would try to stop her.
Reaching for the door handle, Pam opened the door and stepped into the office. A frown wrinkled her brow when she found the office was empty. Stepping further into it, she closed the door behind her before casting her eagle-eyed gaze over the room. A troubled feeling settled in her stomach as she walked around the office. Nothing seemed out of place and there was no sign of any trouble, but something seemed off. As she stood in the middle of the room, the realization of what was wrong hit her and she let out a hiss of displeasure. Eric’s scent was days old. He hadn’t been to the office in at least three nights.
Has he taken off again? Pam wondered as she took everything in. Where is he? Deciding to have another look around, Pam moved toward his desk and went through the drawers. She grew more and more frustrated when she found nothing to indicate where he was or why he wasn’t at work. She was just about to give up when a book she had never seen before caught her attention. She knew Eric was an avid reader so finding a book in his office wasn’t surprising, but there was something different about this book. It was hidden in plain sight stacked with his other books, but it looked different. She couldn’t explain why it looked different, or how.
Removing the book from the shelf, Pam flipped it open as she sat down in Eric’s chair. “What the…” Pam whispered while she ran her eyes over the first page. The book was written in another language and she couldn’t understand a word of it. “Lam… Lamia Ritualibus…” What the fuck is this?
Shaking her head, Pam turned on Eric’s computer and typed the title into a search engine. Her eyes widened in surprise as her search results loaded. “Vampire Rituals…” Her voice was a breathy whisper as she read the translation. Why would Eric have a book on vampire rituals? Desperate for an answer, Pam flicked through the book trying to discern which pages Eric spent the most time on. It was when she was on her third search that she noticed a section of the book that seemed to have had more use.
Typing in the title of the chapter and a small section of the opening passage into a translation engine, Pam waited for the results. “Reclaiming a released child…” Pam could barely believe her eyes as she read the rough translation of the passage. Eric’s been searching for a way to reclaim a child he released… Why… A smile spread across her face as the answer came to her. He wants to rebond with me. He’s been researching how to repair our bond. That’s why he hasn’t been returning my calls. He’s been busy with this. He probably didn’t want to say anything in case it wasn’t possible. He didn’t want to get my hopes up. I need to see him…
Shutting down the computer, Pam put the book back on its shelf before hurrying out of the office. She didn’t spare Felicia a second glance as she raced out. She needed to get to Eric’s to tell him she knew what he was attempting. It all made sense to her now. The reason Eric didn’t give her a role in his Cabinet, he was planning on bestowing a much greater gift on her. He was going to reclaim her fully. They would have their Maker/Child bond back. I don’t need to be his Second as I will always be his first.
Speeding out the building, Pam quickly took to the air and headed toward Eric’s. She couldn’t wait to tell him she now understood everything.
Pam was almost overcome with excitement as she landed in the front yard of Eric’s home and she raced into the house, not bothering to stop and knock first. She had a desperate need to find her Maker so they could finally reconnect. Pausing in the living room, Pam wrinkled her nose in distaste as the unmistakable scent of her vampire sister reached her nose. As much as she hated it, Pam knew Eric and Willa were close, but she hadn’t realized the baby vampire spent so much time at Eric’s house. Willa’s scent was nearly as strong as Eric’s.
Realizing her Maker wasn’t in the main section of the house, Pam moved toward the kitchen where the hidden panel leading to Eric’s underground chamber was located. Pam forced back a growl when she smelled Willa’s scent in the area that concealed the entrance to the chamber. He’s shared his resting place with her. The thought of Willa resting beside Her Maker caused anger to swell in Pam and she stabbed the security code into the keypad.
Pam smiled as the security panel slid open and she stepped into the small space and reached for the ladder that would lead her down into Eric’s underground chamber. He didn’t change the codes. That proves he still trusts and loves me. Pam couldn’t wipe the smile from her face as she climbed down the ladder; she believed her time was finally coming. Soon it will be me and Eric again like it always should have been.
Reaching the bottom, she waited for the panel to slip back into place before she pressed her thumb to a scanner and waited for it to grant her entrance into Eric’s lair. She could barely contain herself when the little light panel flashed green and she was permitted entrance.
Slipping off her shoes, Pam tried to remain as quiet as possible and she crept down the narrow hallway leading to Eric’s room. The underground chamber was much bigger than the cubby Eric had built at Sookie’s farmhouse and actually housed two separate bedrooms as well as a full bathroom, all of which had been warded to make them sound-proof. Employing the skills she had picked up over the years, Pam moved almost without sound as she neared Eric’s room. She couldn’t wait to surprise him and tell him she knew what he was planning.
Maybe we can do the ritual tonight…
Reaching the door, Pam grasped the handle and slowly turned it. She was grateful that her heart no longer beat or she was sure right about then it would have been beating out of her chest. Pushing open the door, Pam’s eyes widened in shock as they landed on Willa and Her Maker fucking on the bed. Anger warred with jealousy inside her and she wanted nothing more than to rip Willa away from Eric.
How could he do this to me? He refuses me, but will fuck that whore!
Pam’s anger started to dominate when she realized Eric was aware of her presence and was ignoring her. He just kept pounding into Willa at vampire speed and telling her how good she felt. He was fucking Willa, breaking Pam’s heart and…
He doesn’t even care; after everything I’ve done for him. I’ve lied for him, killed for him. I made a deal with the Devil for him.
Pam could feel her heart breaking in her chest while she stood by the door and watched Her Maker, the vampire she loved more than anyone else ever could, fuck the undeserving, in Pam’s mind, Willa. It wasn’t until she saw Eric sink his fangs into Willa’s neck did Pam move.
With an almighty roar, Pam launched herself at the fucking couple. She yanked Eric off Willa and pushed him to the floor before straddling Willa’s waist and raining down blow after blow on her unsuspecting vampire sister’s face. Pam poured every ounce of hate she felt for Willa into her punches.
“I hate you! You ruined everything!” Pam shrieked as she attacked Willa. “Eric is Mine!” Pam screamed at Willa while she battered her; she was so overcome with hatred she didn’t have a clue what she was saying. She just needed to hurt the woman who was trying to take her Maker away from her.
Pain spread through Willa’s body as Pam used her full strength against her. The attack had taken her by surprise and she hadn’t had a chance to react or defend herself. One minute she was being fucked hard and the next she was being beaten by her insane vampire sister. Getting her hands between them, Willa placed them on Pam’s chest and pushed her back using her full strength. She let out a sigh of relief as Pam went flying backward and crashed into the wall.
Rising from the bed, Willa grabbed the sheet and wrapped it around herself still not accustomed to being naked around people. Her fangs slipped down as she stared at Pam and she hissed at the blonde vampire.
Leaping to her feet, Pam glared at Willa with hatred burning bright in her eyes and, at that moment, she wanted nothing more than to kill the woman who had stolen her Maker away. Breaking the post off the end of Eric’s bed, Pam launched herself at Willa again intending to drive the stake deep into her heart.
Tackling Willa to the ground Pam raised the stake into the air and prepared to stake her vampire sister when a hand closed around her wrist, and she was yanked to her feet and thrown across the room.
“Enough, Pam!” Eric growled as he stepped in front of Willa, putting himself between her and Pam. He had known that Pam was in the room. He had sensed her the moment she stepped into his lair, but he hadn’t expected her to react as she did. He knew Pam could be jealous and possessive when it came to him, but he never in his wildest imagination thought she would actually try to kill Willa.
“No!” Pam screamed as she forced herself up. Blood tears streamed down her face as she stared at her Maker. She couldn’t believe he was protecting Willa. He should have stood aside and let her stake the undeserving vampire. “You can’t do this to me! I’m your child! Me! I’m the one who’s done everything for you. You can’t keep putting others before me. It’s supposed to be you and me, just us; not Sookie, Nora, or that bitch!” Pam shrieked the last word as she glared at Willa with murderous intent. “Me! I’m the one who came after you. You don’t need anyone else. Why can’t you see that? I’m the one who loves you. You’re supposed to put me first. You’re supposed to choose me!”
“I did choose you,” Eric replied, trying to calm her down. “I chose you over Sylvie. I chose you over getting revenge against Sarah. I came for you when you got captured and sent to Vampire Camp. I have chosen you over and over, Pamela…”
“No!” Pam shouted, rejecting his words. “You chose Sookie, and Nora, and her,” she stabbed a finger in Willa’s direction. “You gave to them what should have been mine. You gave them your love. It was supposed to be mine and only mine…”
“I loved Nora before I even knew you,” Eric said refusing to lie. He knew he had to be careful with Pam given her emotional state, but he would be damned if he would deny the woman in his long life. He wouldn’t tell Pam what she desired to hear and allow her to think she could control him. “I didn’t put Nora before you because Nora came before you. I had already loved her for five hundred years when I turned you…”
“She wasn’t your child,” Pam argued. She couldn’t accept anything Eric was saying. He wasn’t supposed to have loved anyone before her or after. He was supposed to have been waiting for her. Why couldn’t he see that? He was supposed to put her before anyone else. No one else was supposed to have mattered to him. “You’re not supposed to love anyone else. You don’t need anyone else. You have me. I’m the one who has lied and killed for you. I’ve done everything for you, and you don’t even care…”
“That is not true, Pam,” Eric replied softly. He hated to see her in pain, but he wouldn’t lie to her or be something he wasn’t with her. He couldn’t be with her as she wanted. While he did love her, he wasn’t in love with her. There was only one woman he had ever loved, had been in love with, and that was Sookie. The blonde telepathic fairy owned his heart completely. “I do care. You mean the world to me. I do love you…”
“No you don’t,” Pam denied, shaking her head. “You love her.” She sneered at Willa wanting nothing more than to rip off her head.
“I do,” Eric admitted. He wouldn’t deny it. He did love Willa. However, unlike Pam was thinking it wasn’t a romantic love. He loved her in the same way he loved Pam and Nora, and even Godric. She was in his blood. He couldn’t deny it and he didn’t want to. “She is my child…”
“I’m your child!” Pam screamed. “You shouldn’t have turned her. You don’t need her. You just need me. Why can’t you see that? Why can’t you see you don’t need anyone else but me? You didn’t need Sylvie or Sookie. They were no good for you. I could see it. They didn’t love you like I do. That’s why I…” Pam stopped abruptly, finally coming to her senses and fearing she had said too much.
Eric’s eyes narrowed as he stared at Pam. The abruptness in which she stopped caused his suspicion to rise up. “That is why you what, Pam?” He demanded. Given the way she wouldn’t meet his gaze and her sudden silence, Eric realized whatever she had done, he would greatly disapprove and would likely be furious. “What did you do, Pamela?”
Pulling the sheet tighter around her, Willa flicked her eyes between her Maker and sister. She had a good idea of what Pam had done. She had her suspicions for a while. Ever since Eric told her about his history with the Yakuza, Willa prayed she was wrong. She didn’t want to think Pam could be that obsessed with their Maker. Pam’s behavior reminded Willa of the way Bill used to act around Sookie. It wasn’t healthy. She felt a pang of sorrow for Pam because she knew if she had done what Willa suspected, Eric would most likely never forgive her.
Eric arched a brow as he felt Willa’s fear and sorrow, and then he turned slightly so he could look at her. “Willa, do you know what she has done?” He asked, the harshness leaving his tone as he spoke to his youngest child. “I can feel your fear.”
“I only have suspicions,” Willa replied truthfully. “I don’t know anything for sure…”
“You can feel her fear?” Pam repeated, forcing herself back into the conversation. Her brow furrowed in confusion as she stared at them. “How is that possible? You released…” Pam trailed off as the answer came to her and she swore a stake to the heart would have been less painful. Suddenly it all made sense to her; Eric’s disappearance, the book on vampire rituals, the two of them fucking… “You rebonded with her!” Pam spat the words out in disgust. “You reclaimed her as your child! Her! It was supposed to have been me!” Pam screamed as she launched herself at them again. She didn’t care if she had to go through Eric; she was going to kill Willa. Eric was hers!
Anticipating the attack, Eric raised his hands and pushed Pam away before she had a chance to hurt Willa again. Normally he would have let Willa fight her own battles but she still wasn’t a hundred percent after the ritual that rebonded them. Pam had interrupted the last stages of the ritual and Eric hoped it wouldn’t have an adverse effect on their bond.
Wrapping his hand around Pam’s throat, Eric lifted her into the air as he backed them up and slammed her into the wall, the force of it causing the plaster to crack. “Stop this, Pam!” He ordered restraining her against the wall. “This behavior is beneath you.”
Pam clawed at Eric’s hand as she swung her legs out trying to kick him. She couldn’t believe he had chosen to reclaim Willa as his child. Now that she realized that was what he had done, she could smell it. Willa positively reeked of Eric’s blood… and his cum, a little voice added unhelpfully. He had chosen Willa over her. “How could you?!” Pam shrieked. “After everything I have done, how could you choose her?”
“What exactly have you done, Pam?” Eric asked going back to her earlier statement. “What did you do that you do not want to tell me and has Willa so fearful?”
Pam glared at Eric, but said nothing. She knew if he discovered now what she had done he would only interpret it incorrectly. She had done what she did for him. She did it to secure their future; a future he had thrown away for Sookie fucking Stackhouse.
“Are you not going to tell me?” Eric questioned, tightening his grip on her. “You were so vocal just minutes ago, but now you will say nothing. I guess I will just have to ask Willa.”
Pam sneered at his words. He could ask Willa all he liked; it wouldn’t do him any good. She didn’t know what Pam had done. The only people who knew were now dead, and dead men tell no tales.
“Willa, what did Pam do?” Eric asked, looking over his shoulder. He couldn’t help but grin when he saw her standing by his bed wrapped in a sheet. Pam had certainly chosen the most inopportune of times to drop by.
“I don’t know for sure. I mean, it’s only a suspicion,” Willa rambled, not wanting to voice it and cause Eric anymore pain. She blew out a breath as she eyed her Maker. She wouldn’t lie to him and he would need to know in case Sookie ever returned, although, that was beginning to look unlikely. However, if on the possibility she did return and gave Eric another chance, he needed to be prepared for all possible threats. “The Yakuza…”
Eric felt Pam stiffen at Willa’s words, heard her let out a small gasp, and he snapped his head around and stared at her. Eyeing her carefully, Eric tried to read her face, hoping to get a bead on what was making her so nervous. He didn’t need to still have his connection with her to know Willa’s words had unsettled her. “The Yakuza,” Eric repeated trying to determine why they would make Pam so nervous, or what Willa thought they had done… No, not them, her. What Pam has done, Eric corrected.
As he stared at Pam a memory started to play over in his mind. He could almost see himself back in the basement of Fangtasia, telling Mr. Gus that Sookie knew about the cure. Only this time, instead of being weighed down with guilt he saw everything with a clear mind. As the memory played, Eric watched as he told Mr. Gus about Sookie, however, Eric recognized something he had missed before.
“He already knew…” Pain filled Eric’s eyes as the awareness came to him. There was no surprise on Mr. Gus’ face when Eric told him that Sookie knew about the cure. He had already known that she knew. The more he thought about it, the more he realized he was right, but it was more than just that. Mr. Gus had threatened Pam after he had been informed about Sookie in order to get Eric to do as he wanted. This was just the same as in France when the Yakuza had threatened Pam and made him choose between her and Sylvie and then again in Dallas… Three times they had gotten the drop on Pam and forced him to choose between her and something he desired, and each time he had chosen… “What did you do?!”
“I did it for you,” Pam cried knowing she wouldn’t be able to lie her way out of it this time. She cursed Willa for revealing her suspicions. Why can’t she die like all of Eric’s other whores? “I did it to secure your future…”
“You did it for yourself!” Eric shouted, anger radiating off him. “France, Dallas, here… Sookie… I lost the woman I love because you are a jealous and spiteful bitch!” Pulling back, he tossed Pam across the room uncaring of where she landed. In all his thousand years he had never wanted to kill someone more than he did right then and, to his horror, it was his eldest child who had evoked these feelings.
“No,” Pam replied blinking back her tears as she gingerly rose to her feet. “I did it for you. Sookie was… She wasn’t good enough for you. She was dangerous. You almost died because of her…”
“No, Pam,” Eric interrupted, his tone cold. “I was willing to die for her. There is a difference. It is called love, something you have no concept of…”
Pam gasped at his harsh words and she didn’t try to hold back her tears any longer. “That’s not true!” She argued taking a step toward him. “I love y…”
Before she could get the last word out, she found herself being slammed against the wall once again by an irate Eric. In her hundred years with him, Pam didn’t think she had ever seen him looking so angry and she was truly fearful.
“Do not even think about saying it,” Eric growled, his fangs bared. “You do not even know the meaning of the word, because if you did, you would not have conspired to kill the woman I love more than anyone else…” Eric grinned maliciously as he heard Pam let out a whine of pain at his words. “You know I love Sookie, Pam. I always have and always will. I will choose her every time.”
“She doesn’t deserve you,” Pam cried trying desperately to make him see things her way. He didn’t need Sookie, not while he had her.
“No, Pam, you don’t deserve me,” Eric retorted pulling no punches. Pam had gone too far this time. She had conspired with the Yakuza to get him to do things he didn’t want and she had tried to kill his child. “You conspired with the Yakuza against your Maker…”
“No! Not against you,” Pam said. “For you, I did it for you. They would have killed you if I hadn’t. I did it for you.”
“They were no threat to me until you let them become one,” Eric replied. “I could have easily taken them all out in France if they had not have held a blade to your throat. You forced me to choose between you and Sylvie. I lost someone I cared about because of you. Then twenty-five years later you did the same thing. You used the love I felt for you to force me to choose between saving your life or Sookie…”
“And still you chose me,” Pam interrupted him foolishly. She had never felt as happy as she did the minute Eric told Mr. Gus about Sookie and where she lived. It was the proof she needed that Eric loved her more than the gash in the sundress.
“No, Pam, I didn’t,” Eric replied bursting her little bubble. “I never had any intention of losing Sookie to the Yakuza. I may have lost her but it was not by choice. It was only through an error with Willa’s cell phone number did I lose Sookie…” Eric paused as a thought came to him and he couldn’t believe he hadn’t thought of it until that moment. Given the way Pam had tried to interfere and come between him and Willa, it stood to reason… Every ounce of affection drained from Eric’s face as he glared at Pam. “Did you deliberately program Willa’s cell number into my phone incorrectly?” His hand tightened around Pam’s throat.
Pam didn’t have to say anything for Eric to understand she did and, with a deafening roar, he launched her across his room knocking her through the solid door. Everything that had gone wrong was Pam fault. Eric knew he held some culpability as well, but Pam had cost him the woman he loved with her childish and possessive shit. She had interfered with his life for the last time. Vamping toward her, Eric reached down and yanked Pam up by her hair. Disgust was clear to see in his gaze and Eric never thought it would be possible, but, in that exact moment, he hated his child. “You have disgraced me,” he snarled, fighting the urge to just rip off her head. “I lost Sookie because you cannot get it through your thick skull that I do not love you…”
“No, you do love me,” Pam cried refusing to believe him. “You chose me!”
“Because I thought Willa could get to Sookie before the Yakuza and get her somewhere safe,” Eric replied letting her in on what he really planned that fateful night. “If I would have known that Willa’s number was wrong in my phone, I would have chosen Sookie! I would have gone to her myself!”
Pam shook her head when she heard his words. He couldn’t have meant them, she knew he couldn’t. He loved her. She knew he did. “No. You chose me! You always do.”
“Not anymore,” Eric said his voice taking on a forceful quality. “I will never make the mistake of choosing you again…” Pushing Pam out into the hallway, Eric straightened his shoulders as he stared his eldest child down. “Pamela Swynford De Beaufort, as the King of Louisiana I hereby banish you from the State. All property you own will be seized and any belonging left behind will be destroyed. You have two hours to be out of the State. You are no longer welcome here, Ms. Beaufort…”
Pam stared at Eric aghast. She couldn’t believe what she had just heard. Banished. He’s banished me. No, he can’t… “Eric, please…”
“You are not permitted to call me by my name,” Eric growled, cutting her off before she had a chance to plead with him. “It is Your Majesty. Now, GET OUT!”
Pam remained frozen in the hallway unable to move as the weight of what Eric had done hit her. The night had not gone how she had planned and she had no idea what she was going to do. She tried desperately to think of something to say to make Eric change his mind. She was just about to speak when she saw Eric grab his phone from the bedside cabinet and make a call.
“Thalia, I have an intruder at my house,” Eric said turning his back to Pam. “The vampire in question has been banished from the State. Can you come and remove her and make sure she leaves the State?”
Blood tears poured from Pam’s eyes as she listened to Eric speaking to his Head of Security and it was in that minute she knew he meant every word he was saying. He wanted her out of his State and life. He didn’t want her anymore. He hadn’t chosen her. Pam wasn’t sure how long she stood there staring at his back, but before she knew it Thalia was beside her. “Eric, please,” she begged, trying one last time to make him see reason.
“Get her out of my sight and State,” Eric ordered turning to face the small Greek vampire who was in charge of State Security. “Spread the word that Ms. Beaufort is no longer permitted in Louisiana once you have removed her from my sight and State.”
Eric didn’t spare Pam a second glance as Thalia physically removed her from his chamber. It wasn’t until Eric was sure they were both gone and the house was once again secure that he finally let his grief show. Sinking down onto the edge of his bed, he hung his head as blood tears fell from his eyes. He couldn’t believe what Pam had done. He felt betrayed, but more than that, he was hurt. He let the tears fall as he mourned for the loss of his eldest child. Though she was not finally dead, she was as good as.
Feeling the bed dip beside him, Eric raised his head and stared at his youngest child. He was grateful that he had her with him or he didn’t think he would have survived learning of Pam’s betrayal. Then again, if she hadn’t been there he doubted he would have ever learned of it. It was Pam’s hatred of Willa that had caused her to lash out.
“I’m sorry,” Willa whispered, offering Eric comfort. “I didn’t want to be right, but…”
“Thank you,” Eric replied interrupting her as he placed a chaste kiss on her forehead. “I should have seen it myself, but I was too blind. As much as it hurts to know, I did need to know. Pam could have been… she could have… I couldn’t trust her.”
Eric felt a stab of pain at the insight. The one person he thought he would always be able to trust was the one who had betrayed him. “At least I can trust you.” A small smile curled Eric’s lips as he understood the truth of his words. He could always trust Willa to tell him the truth even if it hurt. He could count on her to tell him when he was being an asshole. As he stared at her Eric wondered when Willa had become the second most important person to him. He realized with a start it was even before he learned about Pam’s treachery. Sookie’s absence had brought the two of them together and now his little Willa was only second in his affection to Sookie.
Unlike Pam though, Willa had no desire to be number one. She knew that position would always be held by Sookie and she was fine with that. It was how it should be. The love of your life should always be the one you put before anyone else. Willa only hoped Sookie would return so her Maker would start living again. Eric needed Sookie. Any fool could see that.
Good to his word, Eric had destroyed everything that Pam had left behind. There was no trace of his eldest child left in Louisiana after that night. Her name was rarely spoken. She was only ever mentioned when it came to security issues. Given her obsessive behavior, Eric feared she would attempt to sneak into his State in order to try to eliminate the person she believed was responsible for her banishment; Willa. Not wanting to see his youngest child become another victim of Pam’s pathological obsession and hate, Eric had tasked Thalia with having someone shadow Pam for the foreseeable future. He refused to make the same mistake again and lose someone else he cared about because of Pam’s possessive, jealous nature. Eric never checked the reports from the team Thalia had assigned. He trusted Thalia to keep him abreast of the situation and to alert him if Pam was planning anything or an immediate threat.
The team only had to act once in the two plus years since Pam had been banished. Five months after Eric had ordered her out of his State, she attempted to sneak back in and return to Eric’s side. Her attempt had been reported to Thalia immediately, and the ancient vampire had intercepted Pam, escorting her out of Louisiana once again.
As far as Eric was concerned, Pam no longer existed, at least that was the image he portrayed in public. Away from the prying eyes of others, he mourned the loss of his child. He knew she wasn’t dead, but he would never forgive her. Her betrayal cut him deeply; it was only through the support and affection of Willa that he was able to deal with it and move on.
Willa refused to let him mope around or blame himself. She challenged him to make a difference; to not let Pam win. Pam believed that Eric needed no one but her so Willa challenged him to prove her wrong.
While his relationship with Pam may have lain in ruins, the one he had with Willa only grew stronger with every setting sun. They embarked on a brief, but highly charged sexual relationship, strengthening their Maker/Child bond before it fizzled out into one of the strongest friendships Eric had ever had. They transitioned seamlessly into a strictly platonic relationship. There was no leftover sexual tension or jealousy. Neither of them desired the other in a sexual manner. They were just Maker and Child, business partners, Eric and Willa.
“The construction work on the bar is almost complete,” Jake Purifoy said giving Eric his latest report. “As requested, we tore out the old basement and installed a new one. The new one contains a light-tight fireproof space for vampires. We added on an upper level as ordered and upgraded the facilities to match the new bar area…”
Eric nodded as he listened. He had already looked over the plans and reports, but he still preferred to meet with Jake in person to review everything. A week after Pam had been banished; Eric shut Fangtasia down with no desire to reclaim the bar for himself. He considered tearing the whole place down, and then burning it, but as much as he hated the place one memory stayed his hand.
Fangtasia was the place he first set eyes on Sookie Stackhouse. The bar was a link to his past with her and for as long as it was that, Eric couldn’t bring himself to destroy it. The old bar had sat empty and abandoned for over a year before he had the idea to upgrade and reopen it. He had contacted Jake Purifoy, a local Were and new owner of what was once Herveaux Construction Company, and employed him to renovate the bar and make it more upscale. Eric had no desire to sit on a throne and enthrall the masses anymore. He wanted a club where he could relax and conduct business. There would be no fangbangers dressed in black, clamoring for his attention in the new place.
“Will the construction be complete in the time we outlined?” Eric asked, leaning back in his office chair.
“It will,” Jake promised. “In fact, we are actually ahead of schedule. Providing no unforeseen problems arise, I believe the bar will be complete before the month is out. The work will have to pass all the safety checks, but I don’t see that being a problem.”
“Good,” Eric nodded pleased with the news. “There will be a bonus for you and your employees if the work is finished ahead of schedule. I am most eager to open the club once again.”
Once their business was concluded, Jake nodded at Eric in a sign of respect before excusing himself.
“Is everything good with the new bar?” Willa asked as she slipped into Eric’s office. She smiled at her Maker as she walked around his desk and perched herself on the edge.
“It is,” Eric answered. “They are ahead of schedule so it seems we will be able to open as planned.” Eric smiled at the thought. He was rather looking forward to opening a bar again, a bar of his choosing this time. Despite his eventual dislike of Fangtasia, Eric had at one point loved the bar.
After the Great Revelation and vampires had revealed themselves to the public, the bar had proven to be a smorgasbord of willing donors. In those first months he had gorged himself on blood and pussy, sometimes taking five or six women a night. The shine had soon worn off, but it still proved to be a place he could pick up a meal if he had no other options. Eric had no intention of turning his new bar into a place like Fangtasia. There would be no vampires on display or any of the other things that were synonymous with the old bar. The new bar would be everything that Fangtasia wasn’t. It would be classy, and owned equally by Eric and Willa.
Eric had gifted Willa with a fifty percent share of the new bar. She had balked at his gift in the beginning, but he had refused to take it back. She had been a rock to him over the last three years, eleven months, and seventeen days and he wanted to show her his appreciation.
“You’re still planning on a grand opening for New Year’s Eve?” Willa asked as she ran her eyes over him. She frowned as she took him in. It was clear to Willa he was working nonstop again. Vampires might not get tired in the traditional sense, but even they weren’t meant to work from dusk to dawn, night in, night out. They needed a rest like everyone else. Eric, however, wasn’t doing that. He wasn’t resting at all. He was just working. He only paused to feed, and all he did was feed.
Willa knew for a fact Eric hadn’t had sex in two years, not since their physical relationship had fizzled out. In fact, Willa realized, their last time together was two years ago that very night. The two of them had spent the night fucking in that very office. Eric’s chair still had fingernail shaped indentations on the arms.
Despite his oft’ claims to the contrary, Willa knew Eric was not fine. It was obvious to anyone who knew him; he was miserable and missing Sookie. The telepathic blonde’s absence had made Eric realize just how much he loved her.
Maybe the news I have will cheer him up, Willa thought, thinking about the letter she received that night.
“I am,” Eric replied ignoring her scrutiny. “I believe an invitation-only party at Valhalla on New Year’s Eve will be the perfect way to open the place. We can invite some of the important people, human and Supernatural, to the opening. We will have a staff in place by then and Thalia can handle the security.” Eric smirked as he looked at his child. “You can even invite your fiancée.”
Willa couldn’t hide the smile that spread across her face at the mention of her fiancée; neither did she want to. If anyone would have told her eighteen months ago she would have a whirlwind romance and fall in love, she would have laughed in their faces. However, that is exactly what had happened.
Eighteen months ago, Willa had stopped by Bellefleur’s to catch up with some of her human friends when she had struck up a conversation with the last person whom she had ever expected to fall in love. The two of them had talked until almost sunrise and, before she had been forced to seek shelter for the day, he had asked her out on a date. Willa had accepted and the rest as they say was history.
They had ended up in bed together after their first date, and then a month later they had confessed their love. Six months later they had moved in together and on their one year anniversary he had proposed.
Willa grinned as she stared at her simple white gold diamond engagement ring. No, eighteen months ago, she wouldn’t have believed she would be sitting in her Maker’s office engaged to Jason Stackhouse, but she was and she couldn’t be happier.
“Jason is at top of the list,” Willa replied cheekily. “He’s the first person to be invited. He already knows that.”
“And he will come?” Eric said the words coming out like a question. It was no secret that Jason was not Eric’s biggest fan. Even though Willa had explained what happened that night and what Eric’s plan had been, Jason couldn’t quite forgive Eric for hurting his sister as he had. Neither Eric nor Willa had seen the broken look in Sookie’s eyes when she left, and Jason was loath to forgive Eric for causing it. The two of them had come to an understanding over the last year. They both loved Willa and they both loved Sookie. They weren’t friends but they could be civil to each other.
“He will,” Willa replied with a nod. “Jason knows how important it is to me, and he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me.” Willa knew her fiancée better than anyone else and she knew he was waiting for Sookie to return before he could truly forgive Eric and move on. It was his loyalty to his sister that kept him from being friends with her Maker. Willa could respect that.
“That is good,” Eric said. “I never thought I would say this, but Stackhouse is a good man and you two work well together.”
Willa smiled at Eric’s words. “He loves me, and I him,” she replied. “It’s why I agreed to marry him.” Willa stared at her Maker for a minute trying to decide if she should tell him the news she heard earlier that night. He had a right to know, and she wanted to tell him. She just wasn’t sure if it was the right time. There were still months to go.
Deciding hiding it from him would just be cruel and something Pam would have done, Willa took a deep unneeded breath and blew it out before fishing an envelope out of her purse and handing it to Eric.
Eric frowned as he took the envelope. He knew from the look of it that it was a wedding invitation. “I already have an invitation,” he said, looking up at his youngest child. “You gave it to me at the beginning of the month.”
“I know,” Willa replied as she carefully slipped off his desk, made her way around it, and toward the door. “That’s an RSVP…” She paused when she reached the door and reached for the handle. Looking over her shoulder, she smiled at Eric. “It’s from Sookie. She will be coming to the wedding.”
Eric didn’t even hear as Willa left the office. His sole focus was on the small wedding invitation in his hand. Lifting it to his nose, he breathed it in, trying to scent Sookie on the stationary. He groaned when he picked up a soft whiff of her scent. His fingers shook as he carefully opened the envelope and pulled out the RSVP. Blood tears rimmed his eyes as he saw the neat checkmark signalling she was coming to the wedding.
“May 11th,” Eric whispered as he gazed at the invitation. He had a date at last. May 11th. Sookie was coming home…