Eric went back to his shop and took the covering off of his current project, a new bed for Hunter. He was working on it during the nights after Hunter had fallen asleep because he intended for it to be a surprise present for the boy’s sixth birthday, which was coming up on March 30. Eric ran his fingers over the smooth oak wood that he’d used to make the headboard. He pulled out his small carving knives and picked up on the dinosaur scene that he was making on the headboard. He worked slowly and carefully, enjoying the feel of the wood smoothing under his hands. At the same time, he worked to empty himself of all his feelings and frustrations at not yet getting to his Sookie. In the dead of the night, he could concentrate on his simple work, even as he made sure his emotions were safely stowed away.
At about 3:30, he felt Pamela drawing near to him, which was not unusual. His child often came by during the nights after Fangtasia had closed, especially when Jessica was on a date with Stackhouse―something that Pam allowed twice per week now. Of course, Pam had threatened Jason’s life several times so that he would not try to coerce Jessica to break her order not to feed from or fuck a male for the year. So far, the young man had been well-behaved, but Pam liked to complain to Eric about Jessica’s mooning over Stackhouse like he was some kind of prized catch.
Still―Eric knew that Pam was secretly glad that the relationship between the two seemed to help keep Jessica settled down and contented, and the pair had been forced to take things slowly, which seemed to be a good thing for both of them.
As always, Pam didn’t bother to knock when she came in to see him. As his vampire child silently studied his progress on the headboard, Eric felt anxiety from her. He gave her a few moments to speak, but she didn’t. Her unease seemed to be growing, yet he intuited that she didn’t want to upset him about something. He decided that the best plan would be to get her talking about other things.
“Hunter requires that his bangs be cut again,” he observed.
Pam sighed, “Human children are like weeds. His hair cannot be kept at a good length for more than three days, and he has already outgrown the jeans I procured for him for Christmas.”
Eric chuckled. He was often amazed by the boy’s growth as well. “Perhaps, Pamela, you will not purchase such expensive clothing for him next time.”
She scoffed, “I’ll not have him wear Target all the time as you would. The child needs to learn some sense of style from someone around him. And Lafayette should not be Hunter’s lone role model in this.” She sneered, “The day I find Hunter in leopard print is the day that Lafayette Reynolds will meet his end; I do not care what you have ordered!”
Eric looked up at his child and chuckled, “You cannot kill Lafayette, Pam. Remember my command?”
Pam rolled her eyes. “But leopard, Eric? Surely you would make an exception.”
Eric ignored her comment. “Sookie often spoke about liking the Target store, and they have an adequate selection of clothing for a child Hunter’s age. Perhaps when he begins choosing his own style and clothing later, he will want something different, but until then, practical clothing seems best—especially considering his growth spurts and the way he seems to enjoy putting holes into his garments.”
“Well―not from Aunt Pam,” Pam said, crossing her arms.
“Aunt Pammy,” Eric corrected grinning at her.
Pam rolled her eyes again at the nickname that Hunter had taken to calling her ever since she’d begun cutting his hair. She was almost positive that either Lafayette or Miranda had put the idea for the name into the boy’s head, and she would have her revenge as soon as she found out which one of them was responsible.
Eric chuckled. He felt no real animosity from his vampire child and knew that she was actually quite fond of Hunter—despite her best efforts not to be.
Pam’s demeanor changed, however, when Eric went back to his carving.
“What is the matter, Pamela?” Eric asked perceptively after a few minutes of silence. “I have felt your apprehension since you got here. What is it that you are both eager and nervous to speak to me about?”
“It’s Compton,” Pam said with some trepidation.
For several months―ever since Eric had threatened him―Bill had been behaving himself―for the most part, at least. The king had doubled his efforts to find Hadley, but he’d lost the trail in California, just as Eric had hoped.
During the previous month, Eric had given Pam and Jessica permission to take care of the Remy Savoy issue once and for all. Back in November, when Pam had initially investigated Savoy, she found out that the man had joined Alcoholics Anonymous and had been attempting to hold down a good job at a manufacturing plant. Eric had decided to have the man watched for a while in order to see if his rehabilitation and positive direction in life would last; unfortunately, they did not.
Savoy had become drunk in public one night and had told everyone who would listen at a bar that he was glad to no longer have to deal with Hunter because his son was mentally damaged. He said that he was grateful that Hadley now had that burden. Eric had wanted to kill him for those remarks when he’d learned of them. Not only had Savoy rejected his own son—again—but also he had publicly talked about the boy’s ability, and even though he’d framed it as a mental handicap, if Bill had found out about it, he might have been able to connect the dots. Eric had immediately ordered Pam and Jessica to glamour all of the bar patrons to forget about Savoy’s ramblings.
Also, that very night, he’d had Pam arrange for “Hadley” to call Savoy from California to say that she and Hunter were safe and that she wanted to keep him with her. Savoy had agreed immediately―without glamour having to be used―and Eric had again wanted to kill him—though Pam had rightly stopped him from doing so. Any extra attention drawn to Remy Savoy would just draw more attention to Hunter.
Instead, Eric had Pam glamour Hunter’s father to forget about the child’s ability, to never seek the boy, and to move on with his life after reporting “Hadley’s” call to the police.
Savoy had done just that, and the police―aided by glamour from Jessica and Pam― officially closed the case two days later after Remy had told them that he no longer wanted the boy and that Hunter’s mother could have him. The kidnapping charge was pulled―again due to Pam and Jessica―and the detectives were made to believe that they’d gotten evidence of Hadley being in several locations in California during the last few months. Then, Eric had made sure that Bill’s P.I. also learned of this information. As far as Eric was concerned, Remy Savoy was no longer Hunter’s father, nor would the man ever be a part of the boy’s life again.
Eric cataloged all of these events in moments as Pam sighed, “Bill has learned of Hunter’s ability―at least he has told Lillith that he suspects that the child is like Sookie.”
Eric put down his tools and stood up. “Explain—now!”
“Bill’s P.I. apparently interviewed some of the townspeople about Remy and Hunter; he posited that learning about the child would help him to find the mother. Upon hearing rumors of a mental illness, the P.I. probed the matter further, hoping that there was a condition he could trace―through doctors or medicines that Hadley would have to get for Hunter. It seems that Remy had spoken to a few people in his church about the burden he felt from taking care of Hunter before that night at the bar. Either way, Bill now believes Hunter is likely a telepath, and he intends to find the child and use him for his own purposes. And,” Pam stopped.
“And what?” Eric growled.
“And he told Lillith that he hopes the child tastes even more potent than his mother―more like Sookie. Bill plans to secretly—but sparingly—feed from Hunter until he is of legal age, and then,” Pam stopped again.
“What?” Eric seethed.
“And then he plans to train Hunter as his lover and tie the boy irrevocably to him by blood. He also wants to use the mother sexually and for blood until the boy is eighteen, and then he wants to turn Hadley into a vampire so that neither child nor mother will ever leave his side.”
Eric walked over to a discarded piece of wood and crushed it into his hands like a piece of paper.
“There’s more,” Pam said meekly, though her own anger was now simmering as well.
“What?” Eric growled.
“He told Lillith that he remembers scenting a wonderful-smelling child here several months ago; he also wonders why Bubba is still here since Sookie is no longer around for him to protect. He has hypothesized that Hunter may be living here and believes that Hadley may also be with us, acting as your sexual surrogate for Sookie.”
Eric growled again.
Pam went on, “Bill is planning to sneak onto the property Monday when you are at Fangtasia, take Bubba out if necessary, and kidnap Hunter if he is here. He feels that Hadley would come to him of her own accord if he had the boy.” Pam paused, “He has also convinced Lillith to make an attempt on your life on Monday. She is to make an appointment to file a bogus complaint against a vampire named Simon Brown, who is a mercenary that Bill has hired. Brown is around 600 years old and has been hired to kill me. Then, when you are distracted by killing Brown, Lillith is to surprise you and eliminate you.”
Eric rammed his fist into a pile of redwood sitting in the corner of the shop and turned back to Pam. “That is it! Compton is going to die!”
“I know,” Pam said calmly. “Either by your hand or mine―his fate is sealed this time. He will not,” she paused, “hurt Hunter.”
“No—he will not. Never!”
Just as Eric’s supple mind began to form a plan to once and for all kill Bill, he doubled over in intense pain.