The blanket covering him was slowly dragged down to Bill’s waist a little after nightfall, and he saw Jessica standing over him.
“Jessica,” Bill pleaded, “I had hoped you would come. Help me up from here.”
As a red tear slipped from the redhead’s eye, she shook her head no.
“Jessica, Eric is going to kill me. You have to help me.”
More tears came from Jessica’s eyes, but she continued to shake her head.
“As your maker, Jessica, I command you to free me now,” he tried.
“I can’t,” Jessica said in a small voice. “And I’m sorry, but,” she paused, “I don’t want to help you either.”
“Then why are you here?” Bill asked, his voice immediately becoming edged with cruelty.
Jessica wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, smearing the blood on her cheeks. “I wanted to say goodbye to you,” she said. “I wanted to tell you that I forgive you and that part of me still loves you.”
“Forgive me for what?” Bill spat out.
“For makin’ me. For not teachin’ me how to really make it on my own. For not loving me back.”
“I need your forgiveness like I need another leg in the fucking sun!” Bill said angrily.
“Still,” Jessica said in a quiet voice, “some of me will be sad when Eric kills you.”
“Then set me free,” Bill said, once again pleading.
“I’m not gonna do that,” Jessica said, straightening up tall. “You told your men to kill me, and if Eric hadn’t pushed me away in time, they would have. And because of you, Jason was hurt―when all he wanted was to get to me, to protect me.”
Bill shook his head and spoke bitterly, “You were a disappointment from the fucking start, Jessica. You came out of the grave as a disobedient child, and you never learned respect.”
Jessica shook her head, “You’re wrong, Bill. I respect Pam and I respect Eric and I respect Sookie. The life that everyone’s making here with Hunter is somethin’ I’m real proud of, Bill, and you are the one who’s missing out.” She turned around and started to go.
“They don’t love you, Jessica. I doubt that Pam is even capable of love.”
Jessica turned back around. “That’s where you’re wrong, Bill—so wrong. Maybe you don’t know this because Lorena was your maker, but you can feel it when someone who shares blood with you really loves you, and I feel that from Pam—even though she’ll probably never say it out loud.” Jessica reflected for a moment. “I think that’s why I was so upset and acted out so much after Jason broke our blood tie. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but when I gave Jason my blood and started to feel what he felt for me, it felt so good that I was angry when it was gone.” She shook her head. “I wish I wouldn’t have run away from him then.”
Jessica walked back over to Bill’s side. “Because of Jason and Pam and everyone here, I am beginning to understand real love for the first time, Bill. My daddy always beat me up at home, and my momma was real meek and always did exactly what he said, never standing up for me or my sister. Did you know that Pam helped me get my momma and my sister away from him? She did that for me―because she loves me, and she knew I didn’t feel right leavin’ them in that house with him. And you―Bill―you were a piss-poor excuse for a daddy too. I thought you loved me at the end, but you didn’t really.”
“I did love you, Jessica,” Bill insisted desperately. “If you let me up, we can re-form our bond and be a real family.”
“Oh my fucking God,” Jessica said, somewhere between a laugh and a cry. “Your eye really does twitch when you lie. And you can save your lies, Bill. I have a real family now. And Pam is teaching me how to be a real vampire. Eric too―just by watchin’ him, I learn. And Jason loves me, and one day, I’m gonna ask him to bond with me because I love him too.”
“Get out, you useless sack of blood,” Bill yelled out angrily.
Another tear slipped from Jessica’s eye, but she walked closer to Bill. “I’m not so useless, Bill. Do you know why Jason rescinded Lillith’s invitation?” She smiled a little.
Bill looked up at her, obviously curious.
“It was because of me,” Jessica said proudly. “Pam thinks it’s my vampire gift―bein’ able to glamour so good. I glamoured Jason to appear to be under the power of your glamour or Lillith’s glamour, but he was able to break it as soon as he was in the house because mine was stronger than hers or yours.” She stood up even straighter, “Eric says my glamour is even stronger than his, and Pam says that that’s sayin’ somethin’.”
“You see,” Jessica continued, “Eric knew that you would go for the house and expected you to get in. He also figured you would try to have Jason rescind all of our invitations, and he was a hundred percent right.”
She got a look of love in her eyes, “And Jason was brave enough to put himself right on the line to protect Hunter from the likes of you. I thought my human daddy was a sick fuck―beatin’ me with his belt so much and obviously enjoying it―but you and what you wanted to do to Hunter,” Jessica stopped as the emotion welled in her.
“Just get the fuck out,” Bill said.
“Fine,” Jessica said, moving to go again. “But I did come with a message too. Eric will see you later tonight. He’s got more important things to do for a while―like spending time with Hunter―like a real father, Bill!”
With that, she turned and walked away.
Pam was waiting for her just outside. Because of the privacy spell on the workshop, she’d not been able to hear what was happening, but she’d felt Jessica’s emotions. One look from her child told her all she needed to know.
Pam embraced Jessica comfortingly. “He’s chicken shit.”
“I know,” Jessica whimpered. “It’s just that,” she couldn’t finish her sentence.
Pam pulled back from the embrace and put both of her hands onto Jessica’s cheeks. “It’s just that part of you still wants to love him.” Pam kissed her child’s forehead. “I know. I had a bastard human father once too.”
“Now,” Pam said. “Go fix your face. Jason is asking for you, and you look a mess.”
Jessica smiled a little and nodded again as she went inside. Pam stayed outside with Bubba, watching the workshop. She kept her eyes open for any sign of trouble. Lafayette and Jesus would not be putting the protection spell into place again until near dawn, and she knew the need for vigilance. Rasul and Isabel had stayed the day and would be holding perimeter positions for the rest of the night―just in case Lillith decided to try any type of heroics. And Thalia was also out there somewhere, though Pam wasn’t exactly sure where.
So far, Lillith―the only survivor of the melee on Bill’s side―had managed to elude them, and they’d all feel better when the protection spell was back in place.
As Jessica walked into the house, Hunter was resting against Eric in the rocking chair. Eric noticed that the girl had been crying, “He did not upset you, did he?” Eric asked calmly, not wanting to show his anger in front of Hunter.
Jessica managed a smile, “Not too much.” She went quickly into the bathroom and then returned to the living room, where Eric, Hunter, and her Jason were watching Finding Nemo once again. It was one of Hunter’s favorites and, therefore, was watched a lot. Jessica kissed Jason on the cheek and settled into him as her beloved’s arm moved around her. She smiled as she took in the room―Hunter safely on Eric’s lap, transfixed by the movie, and the man that she loved holding onto her like she was the most precious thing in the world to him. And she felt Pam’s love for her through their bond too. Jessica realized that she was happy and content—finally. And for the first time in her life, she felt really safe, and that was quite a discovery considering the fact that she’d almost died the night before.
She looked at Eric and caught his eye. She mouthed the words “thank you,” and he nodded before once again turning his focus to the movie.