Chapter 32: The Base
“Jealousy is both reasonable and belongs to reasonable men, while envy is base and belongs to the base, for the one makes himself get good things by jealousy, while the other does not allow his neighbor to have them through envy.”—Aristotle
“It’s so fucking hot!” Lorena complained.
Bill looked at his lover, making sure to school his features so that his growing disdain for her didn’t show. At any other time, Bill might have been aroused by the beautiful woman on the bed. Her naked skin glistened, and her lips were red and swollen from his earlier kisses. However, he was pensive and tired of her complaints.
It was hot to him too! Yet he didn’t bellyache about it incessantly!
He clicked onto the website he’d been looking for. At least the place where they were staying had a faster Internet connection than the last one.
“What are you doing?” she asked petulantly. “Why don’t you come back to bed?”
“I’m monitoring the news from the States,” Bill lied. “I’m looking for articles containing our names.”
Lorena rolled over onto her back even as she rolled her eyes. Her breasts flattened against her chest as she stretched her arms above her head.
“Find anything?” she asked with a pout.
“Not yet,” Bill reported, as he scrolled over recent pictures from the New York Post. He checked the time stamp. They had been put online only 90 minutes before. They showed Eric Northman—looking, unfortunately, no worse for wear—and Sookie at a holiday charity event for abused children.
He studied the photos, his eyes taking in Sookie first. She looked to be about the same size as she’d been before Eric Northman had impregnated her, and she looked beautiful in her dark blue cocktail dress. Neither Sookie nor Eric was looking at the camera. In fact, it seemed as if the images had been taken from a long distance as the couple entered the event away from the press-line—likely through a side entrance.
Bill couldn’t ignore the fact that Eric’s hand was protectively wrapped around Sookie’s shoulder, nor could he overlook the fact that her hand gripped his arm. According to the caption, the event was the first “Eric and Sookie Northman” had attended since Eric’s shooting. There was no sign of the child. However, Eric and Sookie did have two body guards with them, one of whom Bill recognized from the hospital.
He sighed. Getting to Sookie was going to be difficult.
“You never did tell me if you liked it,” Lorena purred from the bed. She was twirling a finger through her hair.
Bill tilted his head and studied her for a moment.
“After all,” Lorena added, “you were the one to suggest this color.”
Bill smiled as he appreciated Lorena’s newly blond hair. It was a little bit lighter than Sookie’s golden locks. However, it was an improvement.
“I thought I showed you how much I liked it,” Bill leered. In fact, he’d fucked her as soon as he’d seen her with her fresh hair color and blue contacts—parts of her latest disguise. They certainly helped to stir his imagination.
He glanced back at the computer screen and frowned a little. Even with Lorena’s changed looks, she didn’t compare to Sookie’s beauty.
Bill had to hold in another sigh as he felt his cock hardening. As much as he hated to admit it, he was losing control of himself. The months of being on the run with Lorena, whom he half despised and half lusted for, had taken their toll. And even he could admit that the feelings he had for Sookie weren’t quite healthy or normal.
Perhaps—they never had been. In Mississippi, he’d seen her as a potential asset. Hell, he’d even been willing to let his interest in her go—until Appius Northman had given him the perfect opportunity to act. It was too bad that Agent Batanya couldn’t let it go and that Eric Northman couldn’t just do the world a fucking favor and die for good!
Still, a big part of him knew that if he could just see Sookie again and—more importantly—get her alone, he could convince her that Northman was all wrong for her. He could make her see that Northman’s life had already hurt her—and would continue to hurt her more if she stayed with him.
Bill smiled a little. Yes. It was high time for his months of running and hiding to bear fruit.
“Come back to bed—please,” Lorena begged with a seductive bat of her lashes.
Bill sighed and closed his browser, making sure that the program he’d created to erase his search history was working. As much as it had been a pain at the time, the doctorate degree in computing that he’d almost completed while pursuing Sookie at Ole Miss had come in handy many times.
He rose to his feet, still naked from his earlier tumble with Lorena. Roughly, he flipped her body and didn’t even bother to check her readiness before entering her from behind. She moaned with delight like a wanton whore. However, Bill shut out the sound and focused on the blond hair before him.
He bit his bottom lip to keep from crying out Sookie’s name as he continued to thrust into the woman in front of him. It didn’t take him long to finish, and he collapsed onto her body.
“Ungh!” she sounded. “Get off. You’re too hot.”
Bill scoffed as he rolled off of Lorena and came out of his fantasy. “We won’t be hot for long,” he said.
Lorena propped herself up on her elbow. “Bill—about going back to New York. It’s not just to be close to her again—is it?”
“Of course not, darling,” he lied smoothly. “But—you know as well as I do that it’s time to move on. And now that your contact has come through with our new passports,” he said affecting the accent of the Australian he was to pretend to be, “there’s no reason we can’t go back to the States—so long as we keep a low profile.”
“But why New York?” Lorena asked.
“Because we have someone there waiting to help us.”
She sneered. “Who?”
“All you need to know is that she wants to help us very much, and she has the money to do it.”
“She?” Lorena asked jealously.
Bill sighed. He’d not meant to let the gender of his accomplice slip. “Yes—it is a woman, but she is no one for you to be jealous of. You,” he said feigning sincerity, “are the only woman I want now. It just took me a while to realize that truth.”
Lorena—probably because she wanted so badly to believe him—smiled. “And you are the only man I’ve ever truly wanted.”
Bill leaned in and gave her a lingering kiss in order to make sure she was placated.
“So—the woman who’s going to help us?” Lorena pushed, after he’d pulled back.
“You’ll meet her soon enough. All you need to know is that she has the resources to make sure we are set for life. And all we have to do is kill Eric Northman.”
Lorena shook her head and sighed. “That will be difficult.”
“But the reward will be great,” Bill smiled sinisterly. “Ten million. And if we kill the child, it’s another five.”
Lorena gasped. “Bill, I don’t like the idea of killing a kid. And what about your precious Sookie?” she asked sarcastically.
Bill schooled his features to contain his anger. “My ‘friend’ wants Sookie to stay alive—to suffer the loss of those she loves,” he said, knowing that if he succeeded in killing Eric and his child, Sookie would only suffer for a little while before he appeared once more as her knight in shining armor. He would convince her to be his again. He would just have to be patient.
Nora Gainesborough tossed and turned in her bed. She still couldn’t believe that the things she’d believed her whole life weren’t real.
The man who’d been her father—her friend and her confidant—had also been a monster.
“A monster to the man I love,” she whispered into the night.
She sighed loudly. It had taken Eric almost being killed for her to realize that she loved him—truly loved him. She cringed a little as she thought about the way he’d always looked at her—like they were brother and sister.
“But we’re not—not brother and sister,” she said aloud, wishing for the thousandth time that Eric had seen things as she had.
But he’d had to fall in love with Sookie Stackhouse, she thought bitterly. Oh—it wasn’t that Sookie was bad; she was actually quite kind. And a part of Nora was happy that Eric was so happy.
“He deserves to be happy,” she sighed, even as she wished that she’d been the one to make him that way.
Grace Northman slammed the phone down. Neave Faeman had just called her to inform her about the goings-on at the “meeting,” which was held following the Christmas meal at Appius’s home.
Grace scowled, not quite believing that Nora had betrayed Appius by negotiating with Eric. And now he was the CEO of NP! That had been the one thing that Appius hadn’t wanted—but the one thing that he knew he couldn’t prevent.
“Fuck you!” she said to the picture of her dead husband. She picked up that photo and threw it across the room. She was the only one who was even trying to preserve Appius’s memory now!
“My beautiful son,” she whispered. “Don’t worry. I’ll find a way to make them pay. I’ll find a way to make them all pay.”
Sophie-Anne Leclerq sighed heavily as she hung up the phone. Her call to Felipe de Castro hadn’t gone badly. In fact, she found herself wondering if he might make an acceptable husband number two. The only problem was that she couldn’t carry her wealth from Appius into another marriage—at least, not until A.J. was twenty-one.
Her husband had been extremely generous, leaving her enough of his estate to be a very wealthy woman, indeed! However, he’d managed to screw her over in that she couldn’t marry while she was still young—unless she was willing to forfeit that wealth.
And she wasn’t about to do that! She was too pragmatic to give up money for so-called love. Hell—she didn’t even really like men that much to begin with!
“Fucking asshole,” she whispered. “It’s not like he loved me and would have been jealous.”
She shook her head. She’d been a model wife to Appius. But—at almost every turn—he’d fucked things up for her. Andre had become so screwed up by Appius that he’d likely be going to prison!
And then there was Pam.
Pam used to be such a wonderful lover to Sophie-Anne, but the relationship they’d shared had cooled down considerably the year before. Sophie-Anne now posited that that was because Pam had learned about Appius’s cruelty toward Eric. Thus, Pam had ended their fling, which used to bring her to the mansion quite a bit. And now Pam was engaged to Amelia Broadway, who was actually Amelia Carmichael.
Oh—it wasn’t that Sophie-Anne had “loved” Pam or anything, and she certainly wasn’t going to be coming “out” as a lesbian. No. Sophie-Anne like the “appearance” of living the “expected life.” She liked being the model that others looked to in society. And she’d had a difficult enough time keeping her own social standing from falling apart because of Appius’s misdeeds.
“Fucking Appius,” she muttered. They’d had a good thing going, and he had to fuck it up! And it had been left up to her to clean things up and to make sure that A.J. wasn’t overly affected by what his father had done.
“Too bad that Eric’s taken,” she mused to herself. If he were not married, he would be the perfect man for her to align herself with. And he wasn’t bad to look at either. Though she preferred women, she could imagine that sex with Eric would be pleasurable. But he had a wife and a child.
“Too bad indeed,” Sophie-Anne reiterated.
“What do you mean I’m not going to get another check?” Michelle Stackhouse yelled into the phone. “I wrote a best-seller!”
“I’m sorry, Ms. Stackhouse, but your book has been pulled from the shelves and is no longer generating income. And—there is reason to believe that some of the information in the book isn’t completely true,” Lochlan Faeman said dispassionately.
“Every fuckin’ word is true!” Michelle insisted. “This is just Susanna’s way of continuing to punish me for whatever it is she thinks I did to her.”
“Regardless, this matter is considered closed by Northman Publishing, Ms. Stackhouse.”
“But you owe me!” Michelle wailed.
“Not according to the contract you signed,” Lochlan returned. “Now—be so kind as to stop harassing our editing staff, or we will be forced to contact the authorities.”
“I ain’t harassing anyone!” Michelle yelled.
“Following your editor to the subway and screaming like a banshee could be construed as harassment,” Lochlan sighed. “Anyway—you should just give up. Now that Eric Northman is the CEO of NP, there’s no way in hell that your book will be re-released—and no way you’ll be seeing even a penny more.”
“Well, then, I should be able to take the book to another publisher!”
“Sorry, but that’s not possible according to the contract you signed; moreover, the book was actually written by Ms. Flower, who was an employee at NP at the time of the book’s production. Now, I think our business is concluded. Good day.”
Michelle looked at the phone in her hand in disbelief. “That prick hung up on me!” she screeched.
Michelle paced her hotel room for a while, trying to figure out what she could do. Jason had already given her most of the money that his long-lost relative had released to him.
“Niall Brigant’s another selfish prick—if you ask me,” she muttered as she lit a cigarette. Brigant had called Jason several months before, informing him that he was a millionaire—but withholding most of the money unless Jason got a college degree.
Michelle rolled her eyes. Jason was currently trying to do just that, but he was struggling in school. He wasn’t exactly the sharpest nail in the box. But he was loyal—loyal to her.
Unlike her daughter.
“Sookie needs to fuckin’ pay,” Michelle snarled. “And I’m gonna make sure she does!”
A/N: Hello all! So I figured that at this point, there are really 4 possible women who might be helping Bill (in addition to Lorena): Michelle, Nora, Sophie-Anne, or Grace. I thought it would be interesting to check in with our villains/potential villains before the next plot twist. Who do you think is helping Compton?
I hope you enjoyed the chapter.
Next up: Someone gets a go ahead from the doctor for sex…who could that be? I’ll be squeezing some lemonade!