As Bill approached, he gave Sookie a look that could only be described as predatory, though there was a slight bit of fear in his eyes as well. Given that fear, his look seemed even more threatening to Sookie in many ways. Gran had always taught her that a cornered animal was always the most dangerous kind. However she was grateful that his look seemed to reflect his true feelings and intentions—for a change.
Eric, of course, noticed Bill’s look too. “You would do well,” he said with a hard edge to his voice, “never to look at my wife like she is a prize, your majesty.”
Bill glared at Eric, “And you would be wise to remember just who is king here, Northman! After last night, I realize that Sookie is an even greater asset to my kingdom than I thought she was. I will put her to use as I see fit.”
Eric snarled, “Do you wish to stay a king, Bill? I have had no designs on your throne for my own reasons, but if you push me, you will find out just how hard I push back.”
Sookie spoke up from beside Eric, “Bill―if you think that you have any dominion over me or Eric that we don’t voluntarily give, then you are just plain stupid, and I never took you for dumb before. Sure you are a manipulative prick, and I’m positive that even now you are hoping to find a way to put your blood into my body, but I didn’t know that you were stupid. If you think you can use my fairy powers at will, then you are mistaken.”
“If I choose to, I can tell the AVL and the Authority all about you, Sookie,” Bill threatened rashly. Not used to seeing her maker act this way, Jessica gasped next to Pam.
“And I can send you back to your mansion right now astride a very painful lightning bolt, Bill,” declared Sookie sarcastically, “but neither one of us is gonna do that—right?”
Bill looked at Sookie and then Eric. “Regardless of what you say, Northman, I am still the king of this state, and the AVL fucking loves me, so you would do well to be the good little boy that I know you can be,” Bill said patronizingly. “And in exchange, I will use Sookie for no more than I intended to before.”
Knowing how Bill secretly intended to possess and control his wife, Eric growled at Bill’s words and tone. “Your intentions toward Sookie have never been honorable, Bill―never.”
Bill scoffed, “Sookie is heavily under your power right now, sheriff, but there will come a day when I will get the chance to prove myself to her. On that day, you will show your true colors.”
“Enough!” Eric yelled, his booming voice causing Bill to quake a bit. “Where Sookie is concerned, I have heard e-fucking-nough from you, king.” Eric pierced Bill with his hard stare. “Now―let’s do what you came here to do so that you can get the fuck off of our property.”
Bill turned his gaze from Sookie and Eric to Jessica for the first time since he had arrived. “Fine—let’s get this over with,” he muttered.
Eric also turned to Jessica. “Jessica, you can speak to your maker as you wish.”
Jessica looked at Pam, who nodded. The redhead slowly walked over to Bill, tears beginning to flow down her face. “I’m so sorry, Bill,” she stammered. “I never meant to,” she paused, “be such a big disappointment.”
Bill stepped toward Jessica, and to his credit, he spoke to her in a soft tone. “Perhaps all this is for the best, Jessica. I never wanted to be a maker, and if Eric would not have forced me into it because I saved Sookie’s life,” he glared over his shoulder at the Viking, “you would have been left to grow up as human.”
Jessica threw herself into Bill’s embrace, and he returned it―if somewhat tepidly. “I hate this, Bill. We’d just―you know―kinda bonded, and I had to go and ruin it,” she sniffled as he awkwardly patted her back.
“It will be fine,” Bill said. “And you will be able to stay in Area 5 this way.”
“Pam said that I could see you if you came to Fangtasia,” Jessica said excitedly, almost breaking Sookie’s heart. What Bill said in response broke it more.
“I will not be entering Fangtasia if I can help it,” Bill said, his voice full of resentment. “And you, Jessica, should embrace your new life. I will no longer be a large part of it once I have set you free and the bond between us is no more.”
Jessica pulled back a bit, and new, red tears fell from her eyes, “I’ll miss you Bill.”
He shook his head as he broke their embrace. “No, you will not. Once our bond has been replaced, your affections will lie elsewhere, and you will no longer feel beholden to me, nor I to you.”
Jessica backed off a few steps. “But,” she stopped, not knowing what to say to him. He was her maker, her father, and the most important person in her life, but at that moment, she felt like she was being rejected by him―like he didn’t want to have anything more to do with her.
Eric turned to give his own child a look, but it was unnecessary. Pam was already striding over to Jessica and quickly took the young vampiress’s hand in hers. “You really can be chicken shit, Bill,” she said before curtsying to him. “No disrespect meant, your majesty.”
Pam gave Jessica a look of strength. “Are you ready?” she asked her young charge.
When Jessica nodded, Pam turned to Bill and spoke with an air of formality. “I have been ordered by my sheriff to take charge of this young vampire.” Pam’s voice was strong. “I have freely agreed to this duty because I see much potential in the girl―despite her mistakes as a youngling. For the crime of attacking and feeding from a Were without his consent, I put her under silver last night myself, and she took that punishment with dignity and courage well beyond her age.” Pam beamed at Jessica for a moment. The pride was clear in her voice. “Bill Compton, I ask you to transfer your duties as the maker of Jessica Hamby to me from this night onward. I vow that I will do my best to protect her and to teach her.”
Pam bowed to Bill, who had taken in Pam’s sincerity and ceremony with some surprise. He turned to Eric. “Are your witches prepared, Northman?”
Eric looked at Jesus, who nodded. He and Lafayette stepped forward and moved next to Bill, Pam and Jessica. Lafayette carried a small bowl and a silver knife, and Jesus had a jar of a white powder. Sookie cringed a bit, remembering her own experience with a severing spell. Jesus quickly formed a circle with the powder and motioned for Jessica to step into it. He looked at Bill and spoke quietly. “If you―as the maker―do not fight the severing of your bond, the spell will take only a few moments to work, but we must mix your blood with hers, and that blood must be taken with silver.”
Bill rolled up the sleeve of his suit jacket, held out his arm, and allowed Jesus to cut him, all the while glaring at Eric. Jesus turned to Jessica. “I’ll need yours too.” The young vampiress looked at Pam, who looked at her encouragingly, and then raised her wrist. The silver sizzled against Jessica’s skin for a moment, and then her blood joined Bill’s in the small bowl.
Jesus nodded at Eric.
“It is time, your majesty,” Eric said in an even tone.
Bill looked at Sookie and then at Jessica. “Jessica Hamby, as your maker, I command you to be obedient to Pam.” He paused and then scowled at Eric. “Jessica, I hereby release you. You are free to follow your own path separate from mine. I give up the right to call you to me or to order you to do my bidding.”
In the circle, Jessica’s tears began to roll down her cheeks again. Jesus and Lafayette began to chant a spell in Latin, and Jessica sunk to the ground in obvious pain. Bill also looked uncomfortable for a few moments, and then Jessica looked up at him with sorrowful eyes.
Bill spared Jessica one more look that seemed half-sad and half-relieved, and then he turned back to Eric. “The money for the restitution has been wired to Mr. Dawson’s account as your email instructed. My responsibility in this matter is finished, correct?”
Eric looked at Tray.
The Were spoke, “The settlement is as agreed, and the pack is satisfied, Compton.”
Bill nodded and looked at Sookie once more. “Then my business is done here―for the present.” Without another word or glance for Jessica, he zoomed away at vampire speed.
Under her breath, Miranda muttered, “What a mother fucker,” as soon as she knew Bill was out of range.
Pam was focused on Jessica, who was sobbing quietly in the circle. She spoke up, “What is needed for her and me to form our bond?” She looked at Jesus.
“I’ll need your blood as well now,” he answered.
“Will making the new bond hurt her?” Pam asked, a strain barely present in her voice.
Jesus shook his head. “No―but as your blood sears through Bill’s to bond with Jessica, you will feel some pain,” he said with regret in his voice.
“Fine,” Pam said quickly. “I assume I must get into the circle with Jessica?”
“Yeah,” Jesus answered.
As Pam joined her, Jessica looked up. “I’m sorry you have to be hurt, Pam,” she sniffled.
“It’s nothing, doll,” Pam reassured as she raised Jessica to her feet and stroked her cheek. Pam looked at Jesus. “Let’s get this party started, shall we?” she winked at Jessica and extended her arm to Jesus. She raised a brow at him as she raised the sleeve of her sweater. “If you get blood on my Prada, I will cut you next, witch.”
Jesus gave Pam a little smile and quickly cut into her arm, adding her blood to the bowl. Unlike Jessica and even Bill, Eric was proud to see that his child didn’t even flinch when the silver sliced into her flesh.
“Ready when you are,” Jesus said.
Pam took both of Jessica’s hands into hers. “Jessica Hamby, I accept you as my child, and I promise to fulfill the vow I made to your previous maker―to watch over you and teach you to become a fuckin’ superior vampire.” Her brow rose again, “And might I just add that I would never give you up as easily as that candy-ass previous maker of yours did. I’ll fucking fight to keep you by my side as my maker has always done for me.” She looked toward Eric with intense love in her eyes. “From tonight, Jessica, you enter a family of vampires that you can be proud of. There’s me, of course.” She flipped her hair. “And Eric is―well―he’s Eric, and that’s all I need to say there. You know about Eric’s maker, Godric, but what you may not know is that he was the strongest and smartest vampire I ever knew, and his own maker is also one of a fucking kind. You should be proud, young one. And rest assured, if I didn’t want to do this―to become your maker—then I would have told Eric to stick it where the moon don’t shine. So I don’t want you to ever think that I was forced into this or that I don’t want you as my child. Is that understood?”
Jessica nodded and smiled. A very different kind of tear than before now ran down her cheek.
Pam looked at Jesus and nodded.
Jesus and Lafayette began chanting in Latin again as Pam grasped Jessica’s hands harder, though not forcefully enough to hurt the redhead. Though in obvious pain herself, Pam stayed on her feet until her blood had completely eradicated Bill’s from Jessica’s system.
As soon as the spell was done, the older vampiress looked deeply into the eyes of her new child and smiled as the new bond between them flared to life. “Do you feel that?” Pam asked.
Jessica gasped as she felt Pam’s life force and her affection for her. She nodded.
“Good,” Pam drawled. “That is what it feels like to be a vampire who is happy to be a fuckin’ vampire!”
Sookie looked up at Eric and gave him a nudge. He looked proudly on as he felt his own vampire line increase through his bond with Pam. The sensation of feeling Jessica’s life force next to Pam’s in his body was unexpected but welcome to the thousand-year-old. Through their bond, Sookie felt his pride and affection for Pam, and she wormed happily into her husband’s side.
It was Miranda’s voice that was heard first as everyone else looked on at the new maker/child relationship being forged in front of them. “Well―congratulations you two,” she said sincerely. She had two warmed bloods in her hands and handed them to the pair in the circle, making sure not to pass into it herself―just in case.
Pam took the drink thankfully and downed it before turning to Miranda. “Thanks, Simba,” she said playfully. “But you really should have offered to feed us yourself, you know.”
“Keep tryin’, Vlad,” Miranda deadpanned as she walked to Jarod’s side. “You’ll get my blood the same day you give up your shoe collection.”
Pam scoffed and looked around. “What the fuck is everyone staring at?” She grabbed Jessica’s hand and exited the circle. Lafayette was standing right outside of it. “I hope you don’t expect a tip,” Pam said drolly.
Lafayette put his hands on his hips. Without missing a beat, he said, “I ain’t takin’ no damned tips from someone who wears that shade of lipstick with those shoes.” He looked down at her pink pumps.
“Ah, Lafayette―if the whole world had your fashion sense, we’d all just be so much better off; purple leopard print is always so ‘in.’ Care to donate a bit of blood to me and my new progeny?” she asked with a quirk to her brow.
“Ain’t no donatin’ goin’ on here tonight,” Lafayette said, putting his hands defensively around his neck. “You keep you’s she-devil fangs on you’s own side of the yard, hooker.”
Pam leered. “Don’t worry, witch boy. You’re not my type anyway.”
Jesus chuckled as Pam moved away. She led Jessica to stand in front of Tray.
“Dawson,” Pam began, “my child will never again hurt one of your pack intentionally.” She turned to Jessica. “As your maker, Jessica, I command you to stay away from any pack member that does not invite your company. Furthermore, until further notice, I command you never to drink from the unwilling unless in battle or when given direct sanction by me.” Eric looked on proudly as his child’s voice took on the air of authority he recognized as similar to his own when he had to command her to do something—which was quite rare now. He had known Pam would make a fine maker.
Jessica nodded obediently as Pam continued, “I have one more thing to command, and you will not like it, but it is necessary. Do you trust me, Jessica?”
The redhead nodded her head again.
“Good,” Pam said as she stroked her new child’s cheek tenderly. “You got into trouble because you lacked discipline, and I intend to begin teaching you this trait right now―just as my maker once taught me,” she paused and then added under her breath, “the hard way.”
Pam continued, “Jessica, you prefer men to women sexually―is that correct?”
The redhead nodded.
“That’s what I thought,” Pam said. “In that case, I command you not to have sex with or to feed from a human, shifter, or Were male for the next year. You will feed only from women that I pick for you. You may also drink TruBlood during that period.”
Jessica looked up at Pam and went to speak.
Pam shook her head, “Do not question me, Jessica. You are young and must learn to trust and obey me. You must learn control.” Pam’s voice was laced with warning as she went on. “If you question me, you will have very fat and very ugly women to feed from―or perhaps we could make your prohibition for two years?”
Jessica immediately lowered her head in obedience and defeat. Pam smiled and looked at Eric before gently kissing Jessica on the forehead and looking into her eyes. She gestured toward Eric. “You are doing well, my child,” she said. “I insisted upon talking back and fed from only fat men for three years.”
Jessica spoke, “Really?”
“Indeed,” Eric answered. “It was an extremely unpleasant experience,” he paused, “for both of us.”
Pam deadpanned, “Especially for him. He was the one who had to find the men, and they often thought he was looking for sex with them. So thanks for not talking back.” She gave Jessica a wink as the young vampiress brightened.
Pam gently stroked Jessica’s cheek. “When you begin to learn control for yourself, min dotter, you will have fewer commands from me. I promise you that. You will have your freedom, but you will be ready for it when I give it. My main concern must always be our survival. Do you understand?
Jessica nodded and smiled at her new maker.
Just then, Eric stiffened as he heard a car approaching. He relaxed as Sookie looked at him in question. “It is Jason, min kära.”
Pam quickly exclaimed, “And absolutely none of that one, Jessica!”
If Jessica could have turned red, she would have as Lafayette, Jesus, and Sookie all chuckled.
Jason rounded the corner of the house a minute later, greeting everyone he saw with a smile or a nod until his eyes lit onto Jessica. “Jess,” he said as his lips turned up into a smile. “How you been?”
“Fine,” Jessica said sheepishly, giving Jason a shy smile. “I got into some trouble, but Pam and Eric have helped me.”
“Oh my God!” Pam exclaimed. “Abso-fucking-lutely not!” She leveled her most fierce glare at Jason. “Stackhouse, tonight, Jessica has become my child. And she has been ordered not to fuck or feed from your fair gender for a year. If you try to tempt her, I will have your balls hanging from my rear view mirror―comprende?”
Jason gulped loudly and then protested, “Hey, I ain’t even done nothin’.”
“Not yet,” Pam said harshly. “I’m just givin’ you a friendly warning since your sister is married to my maker, and that makes you and me related-ish.” Pam turned to Jessica, “You understand the rules, right?”
Jessica nodded, “Yes ma’am,” she said quietly.
Sookie couldn’t hold in her chuckle as she took in the scene. Judging by the lost puppy looks on Jason and Jessica’s faces when they saw each other, she knew that Pam would be in for a long year if those two were around each other much.
Eric looked down at her and raised her hand to his lips. Sookie looked up at him, and then spoke to everyone. “Hey y’all, Eric and I are goin’ to the cabin tonight, but y’all are welcome to stay and build a fire and hang out―whatever y’all want.” She and Eric had agreed earlier to keep their actual travel plans a secret for the time being―at least until Hadley and Hunter were safe. Only Pam and Miranda had been told the truth about where they were going.
Eric kissed Sookie on the forehead tenderly. “Yes―please celebrate.” He looked at Jessica. “It seems that the family is growing. Welcome, young one.” Eric winked at Jessica, who beamed a smile back at him.