“That’s it?” Bill asked, as Bob and I finished cleaning up the elements of our spell. If things had worked according to plan, absolutely nothing “bad” would happen because of the elaborate show Bob and I had made.
Still—I had my fingers crossed that all had gone according to plan.
After all, undeniably, I’d had my problems with magic before—and the spell Bob and I conducted did have to be magical. Even Bill would have been able to tell if it had not been since vampires (inept ones, included) could smell magic!
In the spell we conducted, Bob and I had used only innocuous ingredients associated with protection and peace—just in case the mixture of them somehow led to an unforeseen effect. And the words we chanted were actually a simple invocation of good luck for the target of the spell, which was Eric.
A fact that had made the Viking a little nervous.
He’d met Bob as a cat, after all.
But Eric had to be the spell’s subject! It was his hair that we had to use, after all!
Again, even bumbling Bill would have been able to tell if it wasn’t Eric’s hair!
Bob had made a big production of clapping his hands ten times before wrapping the hair strands around a sprig of rosemary. In any other situation, I would have laughed out loud at his “acting!”
But I’d kept my countenance enough to join him in chanting a good luck spell for the person from whom the hair had come.
Sincerely, I hoped that the spell would offer the Viking and his mate all the good fortune they needed.
And I prayed that—if anything unintended really did “take” about the spell—Eric’s hair might just be softer for a while. Or shinier? Like in a Pantene commercial or something.
Bob gave me a knowing look—as if recalling another time when I’d conducted a “spell” I wasn’t exactly sure about.
He went so far as to mouth a “meow.”
I had a feeling that the Viking wouldn’t be amenable to whiskers and a tail—though if anyone could pull off the look, he could.
“When will we know if it worked?” Bill asked impatiently, breaking me from my reverie.
Since I hadn’t responded to the accent-challenged asshole before, Bob answered for us and then continued to field Bill’s unnecessary and inane questions—for which I was extremely grateful. Several hours before, Bill had reached my last nerve, and then he’d started plucking it.
In fact, the only way for me to remain calm in that moment was for me to remain silent.
The night before, Bill had questioned me several times about how the spell would work, what would be needed for it, etc. I’d conveyed nicely that Bob and my telling him about the spell wasn’t a part of the deal; I’d also let him know that the bond-breaking spell had been partly crafted by Octavia—which was actually true. I’d assured him that—even under glamour—I couldn’t “give up” the spell and that I would also remember if I was glamoured.
That part was actually quite true too.
As my powers as a witch had grown over the last several months, I’d developed the “extra sense”—as my mentor called it. And one of the things that the “extra sense” had given me was the ability to recall if my mind had been tampered with by a vampire.
I couldn’t prevent myself from being glamoured, but—if I was—I could remember everything about it.
Bob—though a “younger” witch than I was—also had that gift. In fact, I liked to joke with him that he’d developed this “un-humanly” talent when he’d been “Bob-cat.”
Still—just in case—Eric had strategically glamoured both of us while we were in his office at Fangtasia. We could remember the “plan,” but we couldn’t speak of it—even to each other. And we couldn’t be glamoured by another vampire to speak of it either. Moreover, Eric had glamoured us not to bring harm to him, Sookie, or their bond—no matter what another vampire might glamour us to do in the future.
Oh—and because Sookie knew me very well—Eric had glamoured Bob and me to remain “calm” during any direct dealings with Bill. That “command” had most definitely been for the best. Given the fact that I would have been nervous about Bob and my part in the plan, it was nice to have a “calm” attitude about the whole thing. Thus, Bill hadn’t picked up any heartbeat changes, etc., as Bob and I had lied to the asshole.
Oh—plus—there was the fact that I couldn’t have stopped myself from telling off the Antebellum asshole if not for Eric’s very effective glamouring.
Luckily, Bill hadn’t tried to glamour Bob or me. Clearly, he was “playing nice” to keep us cooperative, but that, too, was as annoying as hell!
Just like his overall “manner,” his manners were fucking annoying!
Still—I’d stayed calm.
However, Eric’s glamouring had only worked during my “direct dealings” with Bill. At all other moments, I’d wanted to kill him.
In fact, when the sun had been up, I’d been of half a mind to break through the floorboards of the house we were in until I discovered Bill’s dead body.
There were plenty of things in the house that could be used as stakes! Or I could have just dragged the douchebag out into the sun!
But Bob had stopped me—several times. Though only with a look. But that look had been enough to remind me that the “Bill” distraction would be needed to help with the de Castro situation.
According to tonight’s “plan” (which had, hopefully, already been enacted with success), the fairy-laced Royalty Blended was the main device to be used to ensure that Madden and his people were slain.
But de Castro would need something different—a different wrench in the machine.
And what better “tool” than Bill Compton?
As Bob assured Bill—for the fifth time—that the spell had gone flawlessly and that Sookie was now most assuredly not bonded to Eric anymore, a knock sounded at the door. Bill inhaled deeply and looked concerned as he slowly approached the door.
“Rasul?” Bill enquired.
“Yes,” a male voice answered from outside. “Please. Will you let me in? I was ordered by Victor earlier to come here and consult with you if anything went wrong tonight!”
Bill opened the door cautiously, and a handsome vampire entered. I’d seen Rasul before in New Orleans when I used to hang out with Hadley. Of Middle Eastern decent originally, I knew that Rasul had been kind to both Hadley and Sookie. I also knew that he was in on at least part of “the plan.”
“What is going on?” Bill demanded. “What has gone wrong?”
I noticed that Rasul was bloody. His clothing was also torn.
“Were blood?” Bill asked after he’d inhaled once more.
Rasul nodded. “Yes.”
“What happened?” Bill asked.
“The night was progressing as planned and Victor was inside Fangtasia . . . ,” Rasul began.
“And Sookie?” Bill interrupted.
“She was inside the club too,” Rasul reported.
“And her punishment?” Bill seethed.
Rasul shook his head. “I am not certain, though I did get some secondhand reports that indicated her punishment was pretty mild.”
Bill didn’t necessarily look relieved. “What of the hunt for Sandra Pelt?”
“That is what I was trying to tell you about,” Rasul said almost desperately—but without frustration.
He was a good actor. I would have been telling Bill to shut the fuck up!
Except that I’d been glamoured to stay calm.
“Then tell me! Now!” Bill demanded with irrational impatience, given the fact that he’d been the one to interrupt Rasul.
“Not long after 11:00 P.M.,” Rasul reported, “a group of Weres and fairies stormed Fangtasia. Victor had stationed me and two others outside as watchmen; however, we entered the club soon after the attackers did.”
“Why didn’t you stop them?” Bill accused.
“The attackers seemed to materialize out of thin air,” Rasul responded with wide eyes. “They were between us and the door.”
Bill gestured for Rasul to continue—rather impatiently, given the fact that the Confederate cocksucker had once again interrupted the other vampire.
“A fight had already broken out. I will never forget what I saw in that bar!” Rasul continued, his voice effectively “haunted.”
“What did you see?” Bill rasped.
Bob and I displayed the proper levels of “surprise”—at least outwardly—as we listened to the narrative woven by Rasul.
Fae-blood-laced Royalty Blended, which had all but incapacitated the vampires inside the club!
An attack from a force led by Sandra Pelt and unknown fairies!
The deaths of many Louisiana vampires.
The targeting of Sookie, who’d been “with” Victor at the time.
Oh the “humanity!”
At this point in Rasul’s narrative, Bill was growling.
“Eric just let Victor have Sookie?” Bill asked incredulously.
Rasul frowned. “I cannot be sure what Northman did because I was not in the club at the time, but it seemed that he did offer Sookie to Victor.”
“What!?” Bill and I demanded angrily at the same time.
I had to make my reaction authentic, after all. And—if Eric had actually offered up Sookie to that slimy bastard, Victor—I would have wanted to stake the Viking!
“Regardless of what Northman did,” Rasul quickly assured, “I am almost certain that Victor was just talking with Sookie in the sheriff’s office when the attack began. I saw Sookie fully clothed right after the battle, and she did not,” he paused and glanced at Bob and then me before looking back at Bill, “smell of sex. Moreover, I do not think that Victor would have taken Sookie against her will! Our Regent was too honorable for such a deplorable deed!”
Bill obviously was comforted by Rasul’s defense of Victor. As for me? I thought Rasul was a very convincing storyteller! If I wouldn’t have known better, I might have been swayed to believe that Victor was Saint Vampire.
Eric clearly chose his allies well.
And Bill clearly didn’t know his asshole from his elbow.
Bill should have known better; he should have known that Eric would have never intentionally hurt Sookie. Indeed, he’d been around them enough to know that fact without a doubt. But Bill was ruled by his own skewed narrative. And, in it, Eric was the villain and he was the hero.
“What was the outcome of the fight?” Bill asked—finally getting to what, in my opinion, should have been his first question.
How the Southern shithead had managed to survive for as long as he had was beyond me!
“Victor is dead,” Rasul said as he looked down, his eyes full of sorrow.
That they didn’t also look full of shit was yet another testament to his acting ability.
“What?” Bill asked pushing himself backwards into his chair enough that his movement caused the furniture to scrape the hardwood floor.
Another crime he was guilty of.
It was a beautiful floor! Worth more than twenty Bills—in my not-so-humble opinion.
“I must get to Sookeh!” Bill yelled out, standing up and rushing toward the door.
In that moment, I was glad that I was the picture of “zen”—thanks to Eric’s glamour. Otherwise, I would have called Bill out on his horrific pronunciation of my friend’s name! Seriously, how was “Sookie” so difficult? I mean—really—had Bill once asked his mother for “cookehs?”
God! Cookie’s sounded good.
Maybe Eric’s glamouring was like being stoned!
However, I was capable of recognizing that the last thing we needed was for Bill to run off half-cocked. Thankfully, Rasul knew exactly what to do.
“Bill,” Rasul said in a soothing tone as he blocked the younger vampire’s path to the door, “we should call the king and find out what to do now that our Regent is gone. I came here because Victor trusted that you would be the best person to contact King Felipe if something went wrong. The king knows you—respects you. I believe that he will not just want to count upon you during this trying time. But need to.”
I could see the change in Bill’s demeanor the moment that Rasul had stroked his ego.
“But Sookeh,” Bill sighed, “she will need my protection even more now.”
Rasul frowned. “Is that because Northman was injured by some kind of magic a little while ago? But how could you know about that? I have not told you that part yet.”
At Rasul’s comment, a fuse seemed to pop inside of Bill. “Explain everything that happened again! And leave nothing out this time!” the Confederate creep demanded—as if he were the fucking king.
Rasul nodded agreeably. “Of course. My companions and I were outside—guarding the perimeter and waiting for Victor’s ‘special hunt,'” he said, glancing discreetly in my direction as if to remind Bill to keep the nature of that hunt a secret from Bob and me. “It was as if the attackers just appeared at the doors of Fangtasia, and then they burst inside. As quickly as possible, my companions and I entered the club. A fight had already broken out. It seemed as if Northman and most of the vampires inside were drunk on Fae-laced blood. My companions and I aided as best we could, and—after a few minutes—the Viking’s people rallied. Otherwise, we would have all perished. Unfortunately, Victor was already dead by the time I got to him, but—by all accounts—he died protecting Sookie.” Rasul paused for a moment as if grieving for his Regent. “Many of our comrades—Victor’s people—were slain in the attack; thus, I made sure to keep a close eye on Northman after the battle. He instructed Thalia, his new second in command, to take Sookie to one of his safe homes. Not long after that, Northman succumbed to an invisible pain that could have only been sorcery,” he added with a hint of fear in his tone. “After that, Eric was carried to his office, and a few of his long-time subjects converged around him—before expelling the rest of us from Fangtasia. And then I came here.”
“The effects of the severing spell?” Bill asked Bob and me.
Bob nodded. “It had to have been.”
“So the rumor that bonds can be broken is true?” Rasul asked with surprise.
If that surprise was feigned, it sure fooled me.
“Yes,” Bob confirmed.
Rasul shook his head as if in disbelief. Meanwhile, Bill was dialing his phone.
His call was answered—but only after several rings.
“Sookeh!” Bill cried out. “Thank God!”
After a few seconds, Bill frowned. “Thalia? Why are you answering Sookie’s phone?”
There was another pause.
“Is Sookie well?” he asked tentatively. “I heard that there was a battle at Fangtasia.”
After a moment, Bill growled.
“I was not there because I was ordered elsewhere by our Regent!”
“Yes, I received Eric’s summons, but the Regent’s orders clearly superseded the request of a mere sheriff,” he said haughtily.
Calm—I was glad that I was so calm.
In fact, the more Bill pissed me off, the more stoned I felt.
Cookies—that reminded me of cookies.
Or cookehs—if you were Bill.
“I am Sookeh’s friend! Her health is my business!” Bill said insistently. “And it is my king’s business, too!”
There was another pause, and Bill’s posture became even more tense.
“I do not care whom Sookeh is supposedly bonded with!” he yelled into the phone. “Put her on. Let me talk to her now!”
As there was another pause, Bill’s expression changed, likely because the dolt realized that the word “supposedly” could be used to implicate him in the bond-breaking spell, which had “supposedly” occurred.
Whether Thalia called out Bill on his misstep or not, I could not tell. For the vampiress had—apparently—hung up on the douchebag.
I envied her. She could turn off Bill’s voice with the touch of a button. I was currently stuck with him.
Bill looked at his phone helplessly for a moment.
“We really should call King Felipe,” Rasul urged.
Bill hesitated for a moment and then dialed.
A/N: I thought it was time for an Amelia POV so that we could see what has been going on with our witchy friend. Since the original story request asked that she be a major part in bringing Eric/Sookie together, I felt the need to go back to her here. Plus, she’s funny for me to write. I tried to infuse her with the kind of “odd” and out of the box (almost random at times) personality that she seemed to have at first in C.H.’s books. For the record, I really liked her at first. It’s too bad what happened to her in the books, IMO.
Anyway, I hope that you comment if you have the time. Even a quick word of encouragement is just that–encouragement.