Sure enough, Bill Compton was dragging his withering body into my club. “Fuck,” I said, knowing his presence wouldn’t bode well for anybody.
Much sooner than I’d wanted to, I released Sookie, whom I’d been holding tightly since our exchange, caressing the PG parts of her body that I could reach—to calm and comfort us both.
The wet spots on my jeans, her back, her jeans, and the leather couch told the story of how strong our orgasms had been, and Sookie immediately blushed.
“Jesus Christ!” she exclaimed.
I chuckled. “I’m afraid I have no clothing your size here, but if you can find something among my things, feel free to change,” I said, even as I watched Bill trying to speak to the Yakuza henchmen. They were obviously speaking back to him in Japanese.
Pam and I had already determined which of Mr. Gus’s minions spoke English, and none of the English speakers were present. Of course, I spoke Japanese, but Pam didn’t, and from the look on Bill’s face, neither did he.
“I don’t suppose you can read lips—can you?” Sookie asked me, looking at Bill, who was obviously still trying to explain something to the confused-looking henchmen.
I chuckled. “Nope. You?”
She frowned. “Minds are bad enough,” she sighed as she moved toward the screen as if to take a closer look.
Just then Mr. Gus entered the club.
“Shit,” I intoned, figuring that bad was about to go to worse. It was apparent that Mr. Gus wasn’t happy to see that there was an infected vampire in Fangtasia. It was also apparent that I needed to upgrade my surveillance system to include audio.
“Was that Sookie?” Sookie asked, causing me to look at her in confusion.
Thankfully, she explained immediately. “I’m pretty sure Bill just said ‘Sookie.'”
Looking back at the screen and seeing the look on Mr. Gus’s face, I was pretty sure she was right.
“Fuck!” Sookie said loudly, as Bill was unceremoniously placed into custody. In the next moment, Pam was dragged into the main part of the club as well—in silver chains.
“Fuck!” I said in agreement. Obviously, Bill hadn’t taken Sookie’s extremely clear “hint” that they were through, and he’d gone to Fangtasia—into the fucking lion’s den—to find her. And—why? To save her from me? To try, once again, to explain himself? Or—maybe—he’d changed his mind and now wanted the fucking cure. Whatever his reasoning, I was pretty sure that Bill’s looking for Sookie would have signaled to an already suspicious Mr. Gus that—contrary to what I’d claimed—Sookie was anything but just another fangbanger to me.
And—of course—Bill had had to walk in the front door, instead of sneaking in through the tunnel. Gods! It was obvious that the last of his common sense had exited with his senses.
I growled as we watched Pam being dragged down into the dungeon and then tied to my own goddamned torture table. The Yakuza had obviously found all my toys and were currently getting one of my more effective interrogation devices, a large wooden object with a point I’d carved myself, out of the supply closet.
The fuckers—using my own devices against my child!
Even as I began formulating ways to free Pamela, Niall popped back into the room.
He took in our expressions, the wets spots, and then the television screen. And then he inhaled deeply.
“I sometimes forget all that can be accomplished in just an hour,” he said offhandedly, as Sookie’s skin flamed red.
I smirked at her reaction.
Niall inhaled again. “Well—the good news is that the disease is no longer in your blood,” he commented to Sookie before looking back at the television screen. Bill was being tied to a chair with silver chains. “The bad news is that Compton seems to be messing things up for you yet again.” He walked closer to the screen. “The blonde is your vampire child—correct?” he asked me.
“Yes,” I confirmed.
“Looks like you will be walking into a trap,” he commented.
“Yes,” I said again. “It seems probable that something Bill said has clued Mr. Gus in on Sookie’s importance in my life. And I know the way the Yakuza works. They like to punish those who don’t fall in line with their desires.”
“How?” Niall asked with curiosity.
“The last time I defied them, I was forced to choose between my child and the human lover I had at the time. When I chose Pam, they killed Sylvie. And then they forced me to become the Sheriff of Area 5—so that they could keep tabs on me.”
Feeling Sookie’s slight twinge of jealousy at hearing about my past lover made me feel damned good, especially considering I had the same twinges when I thought of her with Compton or Herveaux.
“What will they do?” Niall asked.
“If I had to speculate, I’d guess that they are going to threaten Pam to get me to tell them whether or not Sookie knows about the cure—unless Bill has already spilled those beans, which is highly probable. In that case, they will test my honesty. And—after that—they will likely call upon me to choose between my child and Sookie. Of course, given our history, they will expect me to choose Pamela. They’ll want me to tell them where to find you,” I sighed, looking at Sookie and taking her hand. “And then they will likely hold Pam and me in silver while they go to get you.”
“And they’d kill me?” Sookie asked.
“Likely, they’d bring you to Eric’s location to make him watch as they killed you,” Niall said casually, as if he were talking about the weather.
I suppose the subject of death did become equivalent to the topic of the weather once a Supe reached a certain age.
I nodded in agreement, knowing that they’d do just what Niall had posited. “What they don’t know is that I would choose Sookie above all else.”
Sookie went to protest, but a put my fingers gently against her lips to stop her.
“Not that I will be making a choice tonight, lover. Because Ludwig is able to produce the cure, my arrangement with Mr. Gus was already on borrowed time. But—if he insists upon forcing the issue by threatening those I care about—our arrangement will be ending tonight.” I smiled in anticipation.
“May I help?” Niall asked. “I admit to having a desire for a good fight. It’s been too long. And I’ve never fought beside a vampire. I believe humans would call it a bucket list item of mine.”
I chuckled and nodded. “Your aid would be welcome. Thank you.”
“I’m coming too,” Sookie said stubbornly.
“Yes—you are,” I said with a smirk. I knew that even if I asked her not to come—and even if she agreed—she’d follow anyway. It was the way Sookie operated. She’d agree to what was rational, and then her mind would begin spinning around what she could do to hurry things along. She was fearless and—at times—foolish.
But she was now mine, and I figured that—given enough experience—she’d learn to work within her limitations. And mine.
Surprised, she smiled up at me. “Thanks.”
“Where have you been?” Ginger asked, sounding like a neglected spouse as I strolled casually into Fangtasia.
Spouse? Hell no.
I kept my gaze on her as I walked to the bar, ignoring the fact that I knew Mr. Gus was using my own close-circuit cameras to track my movements. Obviously, he had no idea I could sense my child’s distress—even though our maker-child bond had been severed. Pam would forever have my blood, and my blood told me she was in pain and pissed off.
As Ginger looked up at me with the kind of awestruck eyes she always did, I smiled softly at her.
Ginger’s loyalty could never be questioned. From the moment she’d walked into Pam and my cheesy-as-hell version of Blockbuster, she was enthralled by both my progeny and myself. If I had a nickel for every time she’d asked me to fuck her, I’d probably be the richest vampire in the world, and that was saying something.
But—truth be told—I didn’t want to hurt Ginger, physically or emotionally. As I said—she was loyal. And loyalty couldn’t be bought or overlooked.
Which was why I’d never fucked with it.
And I wasn’t going to fuck her now. My fucks would now be given only to Sookie Stackhouse.
Still, I wanted to leave Ginger with something.
After all, in the very room where we were standing, she had taken the news of Pam and me being vampires with a look of realization and then a nod. “I thought y’all were too pretty to be real people,” she’d said.
Finding out that it was Ginger’s idea that we change our video store into a club made me soften toward her even more. In fact, if Sookie had denied us our chance, I would have been fully prepared to fuck Ginger—just once.
However, now that Sookie and I were together, I knew that Ginger would need to be set loose—for her own good. She’d watched me parade hundreds of women into my office or the dungeon at Fangtasia; however, she’d never seen one about whom I cared. And—I expect that’s why she’d always held out hope that she was the one I did care about.
And she was right—at least in a manner of speaking. For years, she’d been trusted beyond many other humans in my employ.
“Ginger,” I said by way of greeting.
“Wait!” she cried out, scanning my chest. “Where are your veiny things? You’re healed—aren’t you?” she said with accusation. “Why didn’t you tell me?” she demanded.
I sighed, seeing the real hurt on Ginger’s face. The idea that she thought I should have told her before helped reconcile me to what I needed to do. In truth, I knew that part of me would miss Ginger, and Pam would miss her even more. But I also knew that some things really were for the best.
“Ginger,” I said again, this time immediately enthralling her with my glamour.
“Yes, Master,” she responded, eyes widening almost comically.
Actually, there was no “almost” about it.
“Ginger, you and I just had sex,” I informed her evenly.
“Finally,” she replied dreamily. “How was it?”
“The best I ever had,” I responded, holding in my chuckle.
“Wow!” she smiled. “Where did we—uh—do it?” she asked with confusion.
“Where did you want it to be done?” I asked.
“The throne,” she responded immediately.
“It was there. I sat down, and you,” I paused, “mounted me.”
“I did?” she asked. “Like a horse?”
“Absolutely,” I avowed. “But there was a problem.”
“What? Wait. No there wasn’t—was there?” she asked.
“Yes. You see—now that I’ve had you, I fear that you’ll be the only one I ever want again.”
“That’s not a problem,” she sighed drunkenly.
“But it is,” I said more forcefully. “How will Fangtasia survive if I am to be had by only one?” Truth be told, now that I had only Sookie and that she would have only me, I didn’t care what happened to the bar. It’d been closed for months anyway, and I was about to make a shitload of money off of the Hep-V cure.
Ginger’s face fell. “You’re right. Fangtasia couldn’t survive without you.”
“Ginger, your sacrifice for me will never be forgotten.”
“My sacrifice,” she nodded. “Wait—what sacrifice?”
“You are going to leave Shreveport and return to graduate school; I think Michigan would be a good place. Don’t you?”
“Uh—huh,” she affirmed.
“Feel free to write your dissertation about how to tame a vampire, for you have most certainly tamed this one.”
“I have,” she smiled. “I have?”
“Yes. And Ginger?”
“Yeah?” she asked.
“I want you to remember a number for me—okay?”
“Your phone number?”
“No—I different number,” I said with a chuckle
“Okay, Master,” she responded with a nod.
“67923093,” I said. “Got it?”
“You got it,” she said.
“Repeat it to me,” I commanded.
“Good. That number is to an account with Bank of America. That account is in your name. I want you to go into the nearest branch tomorrow, take out the funds, pack up your essentials, and go to Michigan.”
“Thank you, Ginger, for everything,” I said sincerely.
“Thank you,” she responded, still in a haze.
I leaned in and whispered, “Wait five minutes and then leave.” I kissed her cheek as she nodded.
I smiled. Indeed, I would miss Ginger. But it was best she move on while she still had enough brain cells to find a new life for herself. The account number I’d given her had been Pam’s idea—actually. I knew that Ginger would find a half a million dollars in it. She also had ample money of her own saved. And she’d go to her new life thinking she’d ruined me for other women. All in all, that would be a good thing for her.
And finding her sitting at the bar had been a good thing for me, too—and for my plan. I didn’t want Mr. Gus to suspect that I knew anything about the current captivity of my progeny and my soon-to-be former king. To anyone looking—it appeared as if I’d had a simple conversation with Ginger, who even Mr. Gus could tell was completely innocuous.
As casually as possible, I walked to the basement door and then down the stairs. I looked appropriately horror-stricken at the sight of my child in silver chains.
Then, Mr. Gus played his role—just as I’d thought he would.
He demanded that I tell him whether Sookie knew about the Hep-V cure. I pretended to hesitate, and he lowered my machine two of the four levels I knew it had before I told him—”reluctantly”—that Sookie did know.
Bill, predictably, began to curse my betrayal. However, before the first group of indicting words could come out of his mouth, a popping noise was heard next to me. Sookie’s blood was inside of me now, so Niall had no problem “popping” to me with Sookie in tow. Even as they began blasting all the Yakuza in sight, I sped to my child, tearing the head from the shoulders of one of Mr. Gus’s men as I went. Before another of Mr. Gus’s minions could fully release the sharpened wood into Pam’s heart, I had her off the table. In the next instant, I’d snapped a spine and had thrown the victim to Pam so that she could feed.
All the fighting was over within a minute—fairy light igniting around the room and heads being torn from bodies in quick succession. At the end of the minute, Mr. Gus was the one on the torture table, and the other Yakuza were all dead.
“You get the ones outside?” I asked Niall and Sookie.
“Sookeh?” Bill asked, though the name was even more butchered than usual since he said it through the ball gag in his mouth.
“Present,” Sookie returned sassily—though she wasn’t looking at Bill. She was looking at me, and there was love in her eyes, despite the fact that I was currently covered with the blood of my enemies. Yes—Sookie Stackhouse was my match.
And—better yet—she finally knew it.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter! I’m still ambivalent about the Eric/Ginger scene that we actually got on the show. It was funny. But—at the same time—it seemed sad…for both Eric and Ginger. Anyway, I hope you liked how I changed things up!