Sookie sighed loudly and brushed away some tears.
She’d just told Sam that she’d be unable to work for him anymore. Needless to say, he’d been upset—and loud in his protests. In fact, Bob and I had been able to hear most of his outburst as we’d prepared the potion we would need to sever Sookie’s blood connection with the vampire.
Sookie had promised Sam a fuller explanation in a few days before hanging up. When the house phone rang, she ignored it.
Frankly, I was proud of her for not telling Sam about the “plan.” He was seeing Jannalynn, whom didn’t seem trustworthy at all. And I didn’t see Sam as being above pillow-talking about his frustrations.
Plus, he had his own motives.
“I wish he could just trust me,” Sookie said as she sank into a chair and watched what Bob and I were doing with interest.
All of us had been glad that the fairies weren’t at home. Of course, Sookie had helped with that by calling Claude and telling him that Eric was angry and might try to come over that night.
Talk about a fairy repellant!
Sookie didn’t want to have to explain herself to them either, and Bob and I were in a hurry. After all, it needed to look as if we were obeying Eric’s “orders.”
“All done!” I declared. “We just need something of his.”
Sookie nodded and left the room for a minute. When she came back, she had a lock of his hair. “Will this do?” she asked.
“It’s his?” I queried in return.
She nodded. “Yeah. He said that in his human time, people exchanged locks of hair. I thought it was sweet and romantic,” she explained with a shrug. “Will it work?”
“It’ll work,” I confirmed, even as I put the hair into a bowl. “And now I need a drop of your blood.”
“Will it hurt him?” she asked.
“No. But—knowing him—he’ll probably notice as soon as your tie is gone,” I cautioned.
“We’re counting on it,” she sighed. “I know that he can only feel me when I’m close nowadays. After he was poisoned with silver, a lot of his blood got replaced. But,” she said with a little growl, “I bet Bill’s found an excuse to spy on me every night since he’s been well enough to get out of bed. And he’ll know if I leave here, and God knows who he’d tell!”
“Maybe you shouldn’t break the tie with him—until after Victor’s gone,” I said cautiously.
She sighed. “This might be the end—of Eric and me.”
“But you’ve committed to each other!” I said.
“Yes,” she sighed. “But what if something goes wrong with the plan? Tonight might be our last chance to be together, and Eric can’t come here because Claude and Dermot might come back. I won’t let Bill take this night from me. Plus, we need to get him on our hook—remember?”
I nodded. “Okay, Sookie. Are you ready?”
“Will it hurt—me?” she whispered, bracing herself.
“Since it’s not a full bond, you shouldn’t feel much. Maybe a little pain or discomfort.”
She smiled tensely. “Okay. Do it.”
I motioned to Bob, and we started chanting the spell that would eliminate Bill Compton from Sookie’s body for good.
As it turned out, she didn’t feel any pain at all.
TEN MINUTES LATER
Sookie had made sure that she would be visible through her living room window.
“I hate Eric. I just hate him!” she yelled out, signaling to me and Bob that a vampire—most likely Bill—was close enough for her telepathy to pick up on.
I nodded and moved so that I wouldn’t be seen through the window. Then I called Sookie’s phone.
As Sookie answered and then pretended to have a screaming match with Eric about how the new “wards” that Bob and I had supposedly just set interfered with Eric’s ability to “feel” her, Bob went upstairs to retrieve our suitcases.
Finally, Sookie yelled out an invitation to Eric. And then her voice turned cold, though it was still loud enough for any “visitors” to hear.
“Well—I’m glad that worked to help you to feel me again! God forbid I have any privacy from the monster who threatened the lives of my friends!” she said before hanging up.
After that, Sookie looked at me. We both wondered if Bill would yell out from the yard—since he could no longer come to the door thanks to the stronger wards that Bob and I had actually set earlier that day. But when Bill didn’t try to get our attention after a few seconds, Sookie made a show of going to the kitchen and taking the phone off the hook. Then, I pretended to escort my friend upstairs and tuck her into bed.
Ten minutes later, Bob and I left the house.
We weren’t surprised at all when Bill’s car was blocking us from turning off of Hummingbird Lane.
“Bill?” I asked as I got out of the car. “What are you doing?”
“I wanted to speak with Sookie, but she’s not answering her phone,” he said, clearly agitated.
“She turned off her cell and took the house phone off the hook. And she’s gone to bed. It’s been a difficult night for her,” I said truthfully.
“I heard what Eric did,” he growled. “And—just now—I saw her in her room from a distance. How is she? I can no longer feel her with my blood,” he added cautiously.
“She’s not well—thanks to Eric,” I sighed, ignoring Bill’s second question for the moment.
“Northman is a bastard!” Bill yelled out.
“After tonight, I wouldn’t disagree,” I responded.
“Why is it that I can’t get as close to the house as usual?” Bill asked suspiciously. “And why can’t I sense Sookie’s presence anymore?” he asked again.
“Oh!” I said. “Bob and I worked a spell to strengthen the wards before we left. The barrier has been extended. If you can’t feel her, then that’s probably just a side effect of the spell.”
He frowned. “A side effect? When will I be able to feel her again?”
“When she leaves the house, you’ll be able to pick up on her. Or—uh—when you get an invitation.”
“But I mean Sookie no harm. Why would your spell rescind my previous invitation?” he asked irritably. “Why would it keep me from ascertaining her safety?”
“The spell requires a clear invitation from Sookie for any Supernatural—except for Bob and me since we did the spell. So far, she’s just invited in Claude and Dermot—um—since they live there.”
“Eric?” Bill asked stiffly.
“Oh—yes. Well—uh—she had to invite him in,” I said, trying to sound frightened.
“What?” Bill asked angrily.
“Um—she was afraid what he’d do otherwise.” I shook my head. “I think he threatened to hurt Sam or Jason or you,” I added. “He—uh—called right after we finished the new wards. He must have felt a disconnection from her too. After she reissued his invitation, though, Eric seemed satisfied because he could feel her again. Anyway, after that, Sookie hung up on him, and that’s when she turned off her cell and took her house phone off the hook,” I shared. “I’m sure that’s why you couldn’t get ahold of her.”
Bob stepped out of the car. “I’m sure that Sookie intends to invite you in, Bill—but it’s been a crazy night. Plus, she’s really protective of her fairy kin.”
“Yes,” Bill said contemplatively. “Few vampires have received invitations to her home since they arrived. In fact, I’m one of only two.”
“Well—like I said, she was really upset, especially after Eric called,” I said with concern. “I’m positive she’ll invite you in the next time you go over.”
If he bothered to announce his presence—that is.
The skulking perv!
Bill nodded. “Yes. I suppose she will.”
“Um—I know that you’re closer to her than I am now since I moved back to New Orleans. Would you please try to watch over her? Eric—well—he’s shown his true colors, and she’ll need someone,” I entreated.
For a moment, Bill looked quite smug. If anyone enjoyed a good stroke to his ego, it was him.
“Bob and I should go. If you heard what happened, then you know that we need to get out of Area 5 ASAP!” I added, glancing nervously over toward Bob, who was looking adequately nervous in the driver’s seat.
“At Fangtasia, someone overheard that you now have the ability to interfere with blood bonds—that you developed the skill to help Pam,” Bill said.
“Um—yeah. The spell has some similar qualities to the new wards we set. In fact, it was when we were experimenting with them that we discovered that the magic messes with bonds. I guess it interfered with your tie too—huh?”
“Yes,” Bill agreed. “That makes sense. So—how does the magic work?” he asked with interest.
“Well—um—Sookie told me that fairies who share a bloodline with her—no matter how distant—could potentially track her, so we started trying to make the ward work to stop that from happening. During our testing, we learned that we can get a ward to disrupt other types of blood connections too.”
Bill seemed to contemplate for a moment. “So you pushed your research further?”
“Yeah. And—uh—Sookie asked me to look into how to break her bond with Eric a while back,” I added as if admitting to a big secret.
“She did?” Bill asked with interest.
“She doesn’t want it—the bond,” I whispered, looking around with trepidation as if Eric would fly out of the sky and skewer me.
Bill nodded indulgently—like he was placating a child. “But you found a way to disrupt bonds?”
“Yes,” I responded.
“Even a child-maker bond?”
I nodded in confirmation. “Pam really wanted to turn Miriam. And it was clear that the chemotherapy wasn’t working. She got desperate, and I knew I could help her because of my research,” I explained.
Actually, I lied.
“And you could interfere with the bond between Eric and Sookie too?” he asked, his voice as slippery as a snake’s.
“Um—yeah,” I said nervously. “It would almost be like placing a ward around her—similar to what I did with the house.”
He contemplated for a moment. “So you could block their bond fully?”
I nodded as if reluctant to answer. “Yeah. But—uh—actually, I could do more than just that,” I whispered.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I could break Eric and Sookie’s bond, but it would cause them both a lot of pain to do it. That’s why Sookie went against my advice and told Eric tonight—after he felt Pam’s bond with him diminish. She had expected him to understand—even be grateful—that we’d helped Pam in a way that wouldn’t get him into trouble with Victor or Felipe. Uh—it was Victor who ordered Pam not to turn Miriam, after all. And you know what a douchebag Victor is!”
“Yes,” Bill agreed, though somewhat reluctantly, which proved that Bill was a king-sized douchebag too—a used one!
“Anyway, Sookie thought Eric would be pleased, but he had his own reasons for not wanting Pam to turn Miriam. He thought Miriam wouldn’t be a worthy vampiress because her cancer was so advanced. And Eric was pissed that Sookie helped Pam behind his back. Eventually, he calmed down a little, but things went south again—far south—when Sookie explained her reasoning for wanting to break their blood bond. She just wanted to be sure of her own feelings—sure that neither Eric nor the bond was causing her love for him.”
Bill scoffed. “I can only imagine that Eric was enraged by that.”
“Well—I just hope that he calms down a little before tomorrow night,” I sighed. “I just wish we could ensure her safety.”
“We can,” Bill said almost seductively.
My stomach turned. Did he actually think he was alluring in any way?
“How can we help her?” I asked—instead of barfing.
Which was what I wanted to do.
“Come with me,” he said.
“The services of the witches are secured,” I told Victor just as soon as I’d convinced Bob and Amelia to help me save Sookie.
I didn’t really trust Victor, but when he’d called me earlier that night to tell me that there might be a way to break Eric and Sookie’s bond, I’d been intrigued.
And then, after he told me what had happened at Fangtasia earlier that night—the violence that had been wrought upon Sookie—I was anxious to help. If nothing else, Sookie being bonded to Felipe was preferable to her being bonded to Eric. And—according to Victor—it was quite possible that Felipe would allow me to be the one to bond with Sookie.
I closed my eyes and said a quick prayer that this would be the case. I had done all that I could to earn Sookie’s forgiveness, and I knew that we would have been together again by now if it hadn’t been for Eric. Once their bond was broken, I was certain that she would choose me of her own free will. Or she would see the practicality of bonding with Felipe. Plus, I held an ace up my sleeve. Once she learned about Eric’s soon-to-be marriage to Freyda, any grief she might have felt at losing Eric would be incinerated by his betrayal.
Sookie had always figured that Eric would eventually move on, and she would soon be proven right thanks to Freyda and Appius.
I’d planned to bide my time until the inevitable happened—until Eric hammered the last nail into his own coffin—but the bond-severing spell and Eric’s plans to punish Sookie were motivations enough to act quickly.
“So they can actually break a blood bond?” Victor asked incredulously.
“Yes,” I returned. “That is what they say. And I believe them.”
“Could they do it now?” he asked.
“A strand of Eric’s hair is needed,” I sighed.
“Surely such a thing would be easy enough to secure in Miss Stackhouse’s home,” Victor said.
I sighed. “The witches already looked; they even tried a finding spell. Unfortunately, Sookie is an excellent housekeeper, and Eric rarely visits.”
Victor growled. “I know how to get one. How long does the spell take?” he asked.
“About half an hour,” I reported.
“Fine. Do you have the witches secure?”
“Yes. They are at my home.”
“Not good enough,” Victor said after a moment. “I’m texting you an address. Take them there before dawn and make sure that they have all they require for their immediate needs and for the spell. There is a coffin in the attic that you may rest in. You are to look after the witches carefully and make sure that they know not to leave during the day. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” I returned.
“Good. Now—tell me about the spell,” he ordered.
“It should sever the bond fully,” I returned.
“And not just mute it?” he asked.
“No. Since Sookie’s mostly human, the spell will completely annihilate the blood bond, but it will cause intense pain for both Sookie and Eric,” I said somewhat reluctantly.
“Perfect,” Victor smiled. “The hair will be delivered to you tomorrow. You will ensure that the witches conduct the spell at precisely 12:30 a.m.—unless you hear otherwise from me.”
“What about Sookie?” I asked.
“I will see to it that she is placed into your care before tomorrow night is over,” Victor promised. “You will likely be asked to escort her to visit Felipe.”
I smiled. “Thank you, Victor. Thank you for all that you are doing for Sookie.”
“She is an asset to the kingdom,” my regent said, “as are you. Northman is a fool for not treating you as such.”
“I am pleased to hear that you think so,” I smiled.
“And I am pleased that you are finally all in with your loyalties to your king—and to me,” Victor said.
“Uh—I . . . ,” I stammered.
“Your loyalty to Northman was admirable, but misplaced. I’m sure you appreciate—now—that Miss Stackhouse will be safer in Felipe’s care—with you acting as her companion—rather than in Northman’s care.”
“Yes. I see that now.”
“Good boy,” Victor said before hanging up.
I sighed and looked at a picture of Sookie and me, which I kept in my desk drawer. It had been taken by Adele—though I’d had to coach the old woman in how to use a cellphone camera—before Sookie and I had left on our “date” to Fangtasia. Sookie had looked so innocent and pure. And I knew that going to Fangtasia was the first step in robbing her of that look. In retrospect, I wished that I’d not taken her. I should have used the fear of the serial killer to get her and Adele to come with me to New Orleans right away.
I should have done a lot of things that I’d not done when it came to Sookie, but I was determined to right the wrongs of the past.
A/N: I’m so sorry that I’m a day short getting this to you. Yesterday ended up being a nightmare—both with work and the headaches it brought on.
Anyway, I hope that you liked this chapter. A lot of the machinations going on in this chapter occurred so that Sookie could do away with the blood tie between Bill and her without his sending up any kind of alarm to Victor or Felipe. Also, before it’s all over, our duo is going to want their enemies to think that they are no longer bonded—even if they still are. And, of course, it is essential for Sookie’s “mental” health that she be aware of what Bill is really doing.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the chapter. Next time, Eric and Sookie will take advantage of the fact that Bill is away from Bon Temps and can no longer feel what she’s doing at all.