Bill stood outside of Lafayette’s door; he was furious at Sookie for breaking their tie. But he needed to be cautious. He smelled Pam and Eric as well as both witches, in addition to Jason Stackhouse and Sookie.
After he had risen for the night, he had immediately felt for his blood tie with Sookie, quickly confirming that it was indeed gone. Jessica had been hysterical upon rising, and he had been forced to waste precious time trying to calm her. She had thought that Jason had been killed. Bill had had to explain the nature of blood magic and ties to her and had calmed her down by telling her that he thought the ties had been severed by both Sookie and Jason, but that they were most likely alive and well.
At this point, Bill had had to waste even more valuable time trying to stifle Jessica’s hurt and anger at Jason for breaking their tie after Jessica had saved his life―twice. Bill couldn’t agree more. He loved Sookie, but he was frustrated. Why wouldn’t she just accept their tie?
In addition to loving her, he wanted her for her blood and for her skills as a telepath. He had also found her to be a somewhat interesting companion, someone that he could easily mold to become his perfect mate. He had thought, after the last time he’d saved her life by giving her his blood and especially after she had clearly chosen to save his life by attacking Eric, that she had finally forgiven him for following the orders of his queen. After all, now that he was king, Sookie could not be taken from him by anyone if she chose to take her rightful place by his side.
He had been mildly concerned that Eric in his incapacitated state might take over in Sookie’s affections, and he chided himself for his momentary lapse in letting his sheriff go instead of staking him, but he knew that Sookie would never forgive him if he killed Eric―at least if he did so overtly.
Bill did not wish to take Sookie by force, at least not unless it became absolutely necessary. He needed to assess the situation and then come up with an appropriate strategy to get her back under his influence.
“No,” he thought. It was better to have Sookie see his compassion in sparing Eric, to have her feel obligated to him and to have her soften toward him after the debacle of the previous year when Eric had forced his connection with Sophie Ann to come to light. Eric continued to be a thorn in his side, though two nights before he’d proven he could be a useful one. All Bill had to do was convince Sookie that now that Eric was back to himself, he was still the vampire she had hated all along.
In retrospect, he was glad that he’d had to take the time to calm Jessica. His own rage had diminished in the ninety minutes since nightfall. He knew that the best way to approach Sookie was to do so reasonably and calmly.
Now that she had severed the tie, he wondered what he would have to do to convince her that it had to be reestablished immediately. He planned to start this mission that very night and knew that he could get her to listen to reason by telling her of all the dangers she would be susceptible to if she wasn’t connected to him by blood. After a little thought, he was even excited, knowing that Eric would no longer have a tie to her either. He’d be able to get Sookie to agree to the tie this time, and the taint of the Rattray incident and the compelling force of Northman’s thousand-year-old blood would not be factors. Bill optimistically thought that Sookie may have even initiated the severing to get rid of Eric’s blood specifically. Now, she could be solely Bill’s again.
Bill looked around as he knocked on the door, noticing several cars, including Pam’s minivan. Jessica sighed, and he looked at his child compassionately. “It will all be fine,” he said to a pouting Jessica.
Bill was quite unhappy, however, by the presence of Northman and his child.
He was even more unhappy when Pam opened the door.
“Well, if it isn’t King William,” she drawled in a tone that was the opposite of respectful.
“Pam,” Bill said stiffly. “What are you doing here? And where is Eric?”
“Oh, my master sent me here to check on his property and interests,” Pam said, continuing her disrespectful tone.
Bill recoiled slightly, but carried on, “I asked where Eric is; I smell him here.”
“He’s busy tonight, making up for lost time now that he has his memories back. I believe that you’re scenting that he was here earlier, but he was told to leave by the owners of this,” she paused and looked around, “dwelling.”
Bill looked at Pam, half smirk and half snarl on his face. Even though Pam knew that vampires did not age, Bill looked at least five years older since he’d become king, and he now had a very unfortunate haircut as well. “Unhappy is the king,” she thought to herself.
“I know Eric is here, Pam,” Bill insisted. “His scent is everywhere.”
At this point, Lafayette, Jesus and Jason came around from the back of the house, a move that they’d strategized as the car had pulled up. This way, none of them would be inside to invite Bill or Jessica in if the vampires attempted to use glamour.
Immediately, Jessica sped to Jason as he approached the porch. Jason felt his heart lurch as he looked at the beautiful vampire in front of him, knowing that he’d now have to face the music.
The others turned their gazes curiously toward the pair. Pam stepped outside and on to the porch, closing the door firmly behind her.
Inside Eric smiled and listened to the events unfold.
Her face full of hurt, Jessica asked Jason, “Why would you do this? I saved your life twice, Jason Stackhouse, and I don’t appreciate just bein’ got rid of.”
Jason tried to determine what he was feeling for the redhead in front of him. He still found her beautiful and exciting, but he was happy that his overwhelming need to touch her had been replaced by a kind of calm affection. He could work with that.
“Jess,” Jason said, his tone screaming apology, “I found out about this tie breaking spell, and I thought I should do it for Hoyt―since he’s my best friend and all. Also, now we will know for sure if we want to be together because we really like each other and not just because of the blood. This way, we can take things slow if we want to.” Jason brought his hand up to caress Jessica’s cheek affectionately. Bill could only hope that his reunion with Sookie would go this well.
Jessica’s response was unexpected by everyone, especially given Jason’s affectionate gesture.
“But I don’t want slow things any more, and I don’t want no relationship,” she said, looking like a child getting ready to have a temper tantrum. “You are supposed to be a good screw and a good meal to me. No strings! That’s how you do things, Jason! That’s how everyone in town―including Hoyt―talks about you!”
Jason’s face betrayed the hurt he felt. He took a step away from Jessica and decided to man up. “Listen, Jess. I like you, but Hoyt’s been my best friend since I can remember. I ain’t riskin’ all that for somethin’ casual. I may have been that man in the past but not now.”
Jessica looked at Jason, surprised that he was turning down the casual and most definitely sexual relationship she was offering.
Jason continued, “Jess, I appreciate you savin’ my life and all. I will never forget that, and I’ll always try to help you if I can, but I don’t want to do casual no more.” As he’d been sitting and waiting for Sookie to fall unconscious during the spell, he’d promised her and himself that he’d work to get his act together, and casual sex with a vampire who just happened to be his best friend’s ex was not the way to do it. “I’m sorry, Jess,” he added.
Jessica lowered her head and seemed to be pouting. “This is when you choose to get a moral conscience, Jason Stackhouse?” she raged at him. Then she turned to Bill. “I’m goin’ to find dinner!” She raced away at vampire speed while Jason looked on in shock.
“I thought she really liked me,” Jason said almost to himself.
“Guess not,” Lafayette couldn’t hold back his sarcasm.
Pam smirked and winked at Lafayette; maybe she could learn to like the witches, after all. Maybe she could even get them to curse Bill so he’d have to keep his bad haircut forever. She grinned wickedly at all the fun she could have if she had two witches on her side.
Inside, Eric was happy that there was one fewer vampire to contend with outside. He looked at Sookie and hoped that her peaceful sleep would continue through the night.
Bill looked into the darkness, following the path of his child long after the others on the porch could, at least with the exception of Pam. He chided himself for not teaching Jessica more patience, but he was also proud of the progress she had made, and he was a bit perturbed by Stackhouse’s reasoning.
He turned his thoughts back to the reason for his visit and addressed Pam again, “I told you earlier that I could smell Eric’s scent everywhere. Where is he?”
“Not here,” Pam answered again.
Lafayette piped in at this point with his predetermined line. “He was here to check on Sookie earlier, but we’s didn’t want him botherin’ her, so we sent him away.”
Not accepting the explanation yet, Bill asked, “What about her? Why is she here?” He gestured toward Pam.
Jesus spoke up. “She came with Eric.”
“And why is she still here?” Bill pursued.
It was Jason who spoke up, “I’m the one that asked her to stay for a while. I wasn’t sure how Jessica might take the tie-breaking thing, and I thought that Pam might help her if she was upset.”
Bill still looked skeptical. “Pam, you are not known for your compassion. Why would you agree to stay for this reason.”
“I did not,” Pam said as if she were currently being tied down with silver. “It was punishment from my maker. He is still angry that I disobeyed him the other night and thought it would be funny for me to play counselor to a fledgling vampire and an idiot human.” She looked right at Jason as she said the last line.
Bill considered this for a moment before seeming to accept the explanation. He said, turning to Lafayette now, “I want to see Sookie. I wish to check on her safety.”
“Oh, she is perfectly fine, my king,” Pam said with a mild flourish just this side of insubordination. “I just saw her myself. She is sleeping off the effects of a little magic.” She winked at Lafayette and Jesus.
Bill looked at the two witches again. “You performed a severing, did you not?” His polite façade was betrayed by the slight twitching of his eye.
“Yes,” Jesus answered, stepping forward a bit, unconsciously placing himself between Bill and Lafayette. “Sookie and Jason both decided to eliminate the blood magic in them so that they could start afresh. Jason, as you can see, recovered quickly. Sookie’s experience was a bit more difficult since there were two vampires that she was tied to, but she will be fine, I assure you. She is resting now, and I am monitoring her.”
Bill remembered that Lafayette’s boyfriend was a registered nurse. “At least that’s something,” he thought to himself even as he worked to hide his frustration over Sookie eliminating their tie.
“Even so,” he said trying to capture Lafayette’s eyes so that he could subtly glamour him into an invitation, “I would like to make sure that Sookie is being taken care of―personally.”
Lafayette, warned by Pam not to make eye contact with Bill, looked down at the patio table in front of him and busied himself as if he were going to clean up some left-out drinks from earlier in the day.
Jesus answered for his boyfriend, calling upon his most professional voice, “Sookie needs her rest right now. I’m sure that she will want to talk to you later this week, but for now, I think that one visitor,” he gestured towards Pam, “was enough.”
Pam continued to look bored before acknowledging that she’d heard her name. She pulled out her phone and scrolled through some text messages. “Yeah, fairy okay―check. A simple blood tie severing―check, check. Blah, blah, blah. Just another day in the fucked up life of Sookie Stackhouse. The only amusing part of the evening was when the witches wouldn’t let my master in to see her; he was fit to be tied!” She winked at Lafayette and Jesus. “Seriously, Bill,” Pam’s sarcasm was in high form, “what is it about her that has both you and my maker so damned enthralled? He was just as anxious to check on her as you are.” Pam rolled her eyes. “I cannot believe that she is that good in bed.”
Bill snarled at Pam. “You will show respect to my . . .” he paused. He couldn’t say ‘future wife’ without putting his cards out on the table. Instead, he continued, “. . . friend. In fact, Sookie has shown great loyalty to all vampires. Of course, as king of Louisiana, I must ensure the safety of such an asset to our world.”
Pam rolled her eyes again before saying, “Fine, fine, fine.” Just then, she received a text from Eric, asking her to relay that Nan Flanagan had been seen in the area. Eric wasn’t certain if this was true, but he was expecting Nan―herself a very old vampire of over 800 years―to be paying a visit to both Compton and himself soon. He was still trying to figure out how to deal with the Nan problem since she’d seen Sookie use her power. This was yet another reason why he wanted Sookie to hone her fairy gifts. Inevitably, others would want to take her as theirs. If she could stop them, she would keep herself safe. So far, he had just seen Sookie’s power stun others who were threatening her, except in the case of when her power hit him. But he felt that she could be even more powerful if she worked to develop her light.
Eric had a hard time finding words to describe how Sookie’s hitting him with her light had felt, and he knew over 100 languages, some of them not used for almost a millennia. Certainly the power had stopped him, but it hadn’t really hurt him in any way. If anything, Eric had felt clearer than he ever had, and the memories he’d lost came spilling over him, followed in quick succession by his memories of his days with Sookie. Her light had warmed him in a way that he’d never felt from an enemy.
This is what gave him hope that her shooting him with her magic had not been a testimony of her choice of Bill over himself. If that were the case, Eric felt that he would have experienced pain from Sookie’s blast as he’d seen Russell do the previous year. Russell had been sent twenty yards and had been in obvious pain because of Sookie’s power. By contrast, Eric had, in a sense, been healed by Sookie’s magic. He resolved to talk to the brujo demon about this the next chance he got. Maybe Jesus could find something to explain how Sookie had been able to break Antonia’s spell in one of the witch’s books.
From outside, Eric could hear the brilliance of his child as she spoke out loud while typing him a text message reply. “No, master,” she typed as she rolled her eyes at being bothered with a task she seemingly thought was beneath her. “There has been no sign of Nan―the bitch―Flanagan here. And Jessica has come and gone, so may I leave now?” She looked up at Bill before she hit send, “Your majesty, have you seen our intrepid Ms. Flanagan tonight?”
Bill shook his head and asked the blonde vampire in front of him, “Why do you ask?”
She gestured down at her phone. “Eric texted that she has been seen in the area. He wants to make sure that I avoid her if I can.” Pam finished her text with a flourish. “And King Bill hasn’t seen or heard from her either.” She hit send and put her phone back into the pocket of her black leather jacket, again turning her attention to her nails.
She noticed Bill become restless after the mention of Nan and once again marveled at Eric’s ability to hone in on people’s vulnerabilities.
Bill was thinking about what a bastard Eric was, checking on his child and warning her about Nan, but not informing his own king directly. Despite wanting to talk to Nan about the sheriff situation, he was also concerned about what Nan would do now regarding Sookie, whose powers had been on display to her. Bill knew that Nan was not above keeping secrets from the Authority if she was served by them, but he wondered what her play would be this time.
At the very least, she’d have questions for both Bill and Eric, and she’d want to talk to Sookie. If Sookie admitted that Bill had known about her nature for a long time, Nan would realize that Bill had been lying to her. She could then issue a warrant for his true death or at least have him removed from his office. Bill wouldn’t accept either of those possibilities. Maybe it would be better for Sookie to lay low for a while, and if she were tired from the severing of their blood tie, then she might stay put where she was instead of returning to her own home, which any vampire could enter since Eric had bought it. He once again thought about the selfishness of the Viking in this act. Eric didn’t understand how to protect Sookie as he did.
Bill turned back to Lafayette, who was still working to straighten up the porch. “Lafayette, given this information and Nan’s interests in Sookie, it might be better if she stayed here with you for a few days. Because of Sheriff Northman,” he snorted, glaring at Pam, “she is vulnerable in her own home since vampires can enter there at will.”
Bill knew that his words would paint him as the unselfish hero and Eric as the villain, and he hoped that Sookie’s friends would at least report his actions and behavior to her. He felt confident that she would be his―this time only his and by her own choice―very soon.
“I will wish you good night then. Please tell Sookie that I came by and inquired about her health. Lafayette, Jesus, Jason.” Bill bowed slightly to each of the men before giving Pam a curt nod, “Pam.” With that, he walked off the porch. Pam also made a show as if she were leaving, once again taking out her phone and texting as she walked towards her car. By the time Bill’s car had disappeared into the distance, Pam had sent two texts to Chow and had played a quick game of Sudoku.