The sun hadn’t even set when Eric rose the next night. As he grew older, the sun’s hold on him had begun to diminish. He still couldn’t go out in it and he never would be able to, but he could withstand its pull for a few hours after sunrise and wake a few hours before sunset. Few knew of this: only Pam and the vampires who had reached his age or older.
Thoughts of Sookie filled his mind as he waited for the sun to set; she consumed his thoughts of late, much like she did when she lived in Bon Temps. He let their shared history play over in his mind as the sun set slowly.
“Hi, I’m Sookie Stackhouse.”
“Aren’t you sweet?”
“By the way, I haven’t heard an ‘I’m sorry’ from you yet.”
“I am sorry that the Maenad picked on you.”
“Angelic Sookie, vision of love and beauty, I am prostate that the wicked, evil Maenad violated your smooth and voluptuous body, in an attempt to deliver a message to me.”
“You trust me?
“I don’t think so.”
“I don’t like having feelings.”
“I would bring you to my side. I will share everything I have with you. Every vampire who owes me fealty will honor you.”
Every little thing repeated in his head, from their first meeting to their last. As he replayed their goodbye, Eric wondered how he was going to approach her. He never had a problem speaking to Sookie in the past, but now he found himself feeling nervous.
Eric had no idea what her life was like in the years since they last saw each other, but he thought she couldn’t have changed much. Sookie was still Sookie no matter where she was. Closing his eyes, Eric centered himself blocking out the sounds of the city. He could feel Pam, still dead for the day and not far from him. He wondered who had missed Sookie more: him or Pam? Despite her snarky attitude, he knew Pam had missed Sookie fiercely; in many ways, Sookie had been Pam’s only friend and it had hurt her greatly when they had broken contact.
Although there was nothing in his contract to Freyda that said Pam couldn’t keep in contact with Sookie, Pam couldn’t do it. She couldn’t be around both of them when they couldn’t be around each other. She knew she would have been asked how the other was doing constantly, and she didn’t want to see either of them hurting worse than they already were. So Pam decided she could only stay around one of them, and with everything Pam, it was vampires first. She had cut all contact off with Sookie; her last message to her old friend being Eric had pledged to Freyda – something Pam had felt guilty about. Even though she tried to hide it from Eric he could tell.
Eric knew Pam regretted cutting Sookie out of her life so completely, more so when she disappeared without a trace. Neither of them expected that; they had both known she would leave. Eric had advised her to, knowing she wouldn’t be safe from de Castro if she stayed. But they both assumed she would move to either Texas or Mississippi, seeking protection with either Stan Davis or Russell Edgington. Instead, she had disappeared completely, leaving a huge gap in both their lives.
As soon as the sun set, Eric unlatched the travel coffin and jumped out. He ran his eyes over the hotel room before crossing it to the mini fridge and grabbing a bottle of blood. He heated the blood while he checked his emails on his cell phone. Satisfied everything was okay in his Kingdom, Eric grabbed the warmed blood and downed the vile liquid, throwing the empty bottle in the trash as Pam opened the lid of her coffin.
“Why are you drinking that sludge?” Pam asked as she climbed out of her coffin as gracefully as possible.
“Because I was hungry,” Eric answered like it was obvious.
“Then order a donor.”
“I don’t want a donor.”
“Mmm,” Pam replied, smirking at him.
“What?” Eric asked, sensing her amusement.
“Pam,” Eric growled.
“I just find it amusing that you haven’t even seen Sookie yet, and you’re reverting to old habits. Drinking that synthetic shit instead of getting your fill of a nice, hot, willing donor.”
“My not wanting to feed on a donor has nothing to do with Sookie,” Eric defended.
“Of course not; you refuse them all the time.”
“Maybe I have more important things to do than stick my fangs in some pathetic blood bag.”
“Like going to see Sookie.”
“That is the whole reason I am here, Pam,” Eric growled. “Or did you forget? I am here because she is in danger.”
“I haven’t forgotten, Eric,” Pam replied. “I just don’t want you to change who you are. I remember how things changed before, how you wouldn’t feed on donors because of Sookie, except the times you were tricked into it by fairy trickery. I didn’t like it. I don’t want you to go back to that. I didn’t like you denying who you were because of Sookie.”
“I never denied who I was because of Sookie. Sookie accepted me for who I was – a vampire. But, by all means, bring in a donor, if that’s what you want. I’ll feed on one if it will make you happy. What I want is clearly unimportant as long as you get what you want.”
“Eric, I didn’t… I just…”
“No, Pam. I don’t have to explain myself to you,” Eric said cutting her off. “I chose not to get a donor tonight because I didn’t want to. It had nothing to do with Sookie or you.”
“Eric, I’m just concerned. I don’t want…”
“Again Pam, you want, not me.”
“I just remember how things were with Sookie before, when you were together.”
“So do I, Pam,” Eric said. “She made me happy – happier than I had ever been before. She made you happy, too. Why are bringing this up now? You haven’t said a word in almost thirteen years.”
“Because you’ll be seeing her tonight. She wasn’t a part of our lives before.”
“Pam, she might have not been in our lives, but she was always a part of them,” Eric replied. “I never forgot her. I never forgot how I felt about her, and what she meant to me. I couldn’t.”
Pam stared at her Maker, she always knew he loved Sookie, but up until that point she hadn’t really comprehended how much. Time had done nothing to extinguish his feelings for her, she realized. He still loved her.
“What are you going to do?” she asked. She knew they were there to protect Sookie, but she didn’t have a clue how they were going to do that.
“Whatever we have to,” Eric replied.
“But how?” Pam questioned. “We don’t know anything about her anymore. We don’t know even know if she’s here. All Marcus told us was that she was at a bar last night, and I haven’t heard from him since.”
“Eric, we don’t know that,” Pam argued.
“I do. She’s here, Pam. I know she is,” Eric said, his voice filled with confidence. “I can feel her.”
“What? How?” Pam spluttered. “Eric, that’s not possible. Sookie broke the bond.”
“I know she did. But I know what I feel, and I feel Sookie.”
“How’s that even possible?”
“I don’t know,” Eric admitted. “I just know I can.”
“Are you sure?” Pam questioned. “Are you sure it’s Sookie you’re feeling?”
“Positive,” Eric answered. “I remember how she felt. It’s definitely her. She’s here, in the city.”
Pam wasn’t sure what to say. Part of her wondered if Eric really could feel Sookie, but the other part wondered if he only thought he could, like phantom pain. But if he could, and was feeling her, what did that mean? Sookie had broken the bond before she learned of the whole Freyda thing – something that had infuriated Eric. Pam remembered convincing Eric that killing the witch would be a bad idea, and Sookie would likely never forgive him if he did.
Although, to be honest, she had been tempted to kill Amelia herself for the part she played in breaking the bond, a temptation that had only grown stronger after Sookie disappeared. Amelia used Sookie’s disappearance as a way to attack Eric; her constant accusations that Eric had done something to Sookie had grated on Pam’s nerves. The witch refused to believe Sookie had left of her own free will and not told her about it, despite her leaving a letter for Jason. On more than one occasion, Amelia accused Eric of kidnapping and killing Sookie so he could be free to marry Freyda. She had even gone as far as to report him to the police.
Having enough of Amelia’s actions, Pam had dealt with the police before she confronted the witch personally. She had taken great pleasure as she shared a few home truths with her pertaining to her friendship with Sookie. Pam hadn’t cared if her words hurt Amelia before leaving her with a little scar on her right cheek – a small reminder not to fuck with her or Eric.
“Can you tell what’s she doing? Where she is?” Pam asked finally.
“She’s not far away,” Eric said, smiling. “I don’t know what she is doing though.”
“What about what she’s feeling?”
“She’s feeling apprehensive, pissed off, and a little excited,” Eric said.
“Sounds like Sookie,” Pam sniggered. “So what’s the plan?”
“Go see Sookie.”
“That’s it?” Pam asked incredulously. “You’ve had us searching for months, we finally track her down, you blow off your duties as King to fly over here, and your whole plan is just to go and see her?”
“Eric, this is madness,” Pam said. “We have no idea what we’re walking into. But given Sookie’s danger-magnetism, it’s likely to be trouble.”
“Danger-magnetism,” Eric repeated. “Is that even a word?”
“I said it; it’s a word,” Pam defended.
“No one knows we are here, Pam,” Eric said. “Not even Sookie. I only want to speak with her, make sure she is okay and warn her she is in danger from Freyda…”
“What about Freyda?” Pam cut in. “Do you think she doesn’t know you’re here? She has a spy in your court, as you do hers.”
“Yes, but unlike Freyda, I know who her spy is…”
“And you’ve fucked her,” Pam snarked.
“And I have fucked her,” Eric agreed.
“You think she hasn’t told Freyda where you are, and why?”
“To tell Freyda where I am, she would have to know herself, and that would be difficult, seeing how she is chained in one of the cells at the palace.”
“What? When did you do that?” Pam asked.
“I had Thalia throw her in one of the cells and chain her in silver after you told me you had found Sookie. I didn’t want her interfering or telling Freyda.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Pam huffed.
“I didn’t realize I had to tell you everything I did,” Eric replied. “All that matters is that Karen won’t be telling Freyda where I am, or why.”
“That still doesn’t mean we couldn’t be walking into trouble without a plan,” Pam argued. “This is not like you Eric. You normally have plans, A, B, C, D, E, and, just in case, F.”
“What do you suggest, Pam?” Eric asked, frustrated. “I can plan for every contingency, except for the unknown, and that is what this is: the unknown. Despite our best efforts, we have no idea what we are walking into. We have spent months researching, plotting, and planning and we still have nothing except the fact that Sookie was at this bar one night ago.”
“Let me go first,” Pam suggested.
“No,” Eric dismissed.
“I can get the layout of the bar. If Sookie’s still there, I can get her to meet you somewhere else. Someplace safe.”
Eric remembered Sookie’s reactions to him using Pam to send messages to him in the past, and it was not favorable. In fact, he seemed to recall Sookie referring to Pam as his flunky once. He didn’t think she would like him entering her life again by sending Pam to collect her, and what’s more, neither did he. He wanted to see her first. He didn’t want to wait for Pam to bring her to him.
“No,” Eric said. “I will go to the bar and see if she’s there. If she isn’t, I will track her down.”
“Enough. The decision has been made,” Eric growled, silencing Pam’s argument. “What is the name of the bar?”
A smile spread across Eric’s face as he heard the name of the bar. He couldn’t have hidden it even if he wanted. It was the sign he needed. There was no doubt in his mind now that she was there. She didn’t work in the bar; she owned it, he was sure.
“Goda Tider, indeed.” Eric said.
“What?” Pam asked even more confused.
“The name of the bar, Pam. It’s a hint.”
“Goda Tider,” Pam repeated the name not understanding.
“What does it mean?” Eric asked.
“Good times,” Pam answered automatically, having been forced to learn a modern version of the language Eric spoke when he was human.
“Bon Temps,” Eric said. He could see Pam wasn’t seeing what he did. She couldn’t see the connection to Sookie that he did. “Bon Temps means good times in French and…”
“Goda tider means good times in Swedish,” Pam finished smiling as she finally got it. “Sookie.”
“Sookie,” Eric agreed.
“Everyone always did underestimate her,” Pam said.
“And they usually end up the worse for it,” Eric replied. “Find out where the bar is Pam.”
Pulling out her phone, Pam did a quick search for the bar and found the address. She handed the phone to Eric and waited. She couldn’t take her eyes off him as he looked over the details before he handed it back to her. Pam’s eyes followed Eric around the hotel room as he picked up his leather jacket and slipped it on.
Staring back at Pam, Eric smiled slightly, “Let’s go and see my…. Sookie.”
As she followed Eric out the hotel room, Pam hoped they would all survive what was to come.
Sookie eyed the clock on the wall above the bar for the hundredth time, her nerves getting the better of her as she drummed her nails against the table. There was an electricity in the air that was both new and familiar; goose bumps broke out on her arms as the hairs on the back of her neck stood. She could almost taste the anticipation in the air. Her body thrummed with it. She let her eyes sweep over the bar, taking in the many customers. Despite the early hour, the bar was packed; it was almost like they could sense a change in the air and wanted to witness it first hand. Something was definitely coming, and Sookie wasn’t afraid of what that something was.
Standing up, Sookie sashayed across the room towards the bar, her hips swaying to the beat of the music hypnotizing a few young men as she went. Pushing to the front of the queue, she signaled the bartender. His eyes smoldered as he placed her usual drink in front of her without her having to ask. Smiling wickedly at him, Sookie took a sip of her drink before dismissing him with a flick of her finger, having no interest in what he offered that night. Turning around, Sookie leant against the bar and closed her eyes, letting the music wash over her. Dropping her shields, she scanned the bar, sneering as all the thoughts of sex invaded her mind. For a minute she pictured herself back at Fangtasia, listening to the disgusting thoughts of the fangbangers as they degraded themselves for a small bit of attention from any vampire who would have them.
Opening her eyes, Sookie grabbed her drink and strolled back to her regular table and sat down, dismissing anyone who approached her. Her attention was drawn to a young man by the bar; she raked her eyes over him in a degrading manner and smirked at the blush that stained his cheek when he noticed her. A quick dip into his head told her he was as innocent as he looked and she had the urge to corrupt him. She was imagining all the sinful, wicked things she could do to him, when a sudden shiver went through her body. Whispers broke out through the bar, and Sookie found herself looking away from the young man; her eyes widened as she saw the six-foot blond sex god by the door.
“Eric,” she whispered.