Oh. My. God.
Eric was right.
He certainly hadn’t been exaggerating about his skillset, but even a shout-out to the great almighty didn’t seem to quite cover it. However it was as close as I could come to describing what it felt like to…well…cum. And while I’d already known how pleasurable his bite could be, I didn’t know the half of it because to be bitten when he was doing that?
“Lover?” he softly crooned into my ear, with his body coiled around my own, slowly slithering on top of me like a snake in my grass. His moniker for me was no longer an untrue statement and I couldn’t even refute it in jest, so all I could do was smile like an idiot.
A sated idiot.
But before I could say anything idiotic, the sound of something else filtered into my head.
The mental voices of others.
Others from the other side.
My heart rate picked up speed and Eric’s tattletale blood must have picked up on my fear because before I knew what was happening he was no longer snuggling me in post-coital bliss.
He was looming over me with a deadly snarl on his face.
“Soldiers,” I whisper explained as loud as I dared. “They’re closing in on the house.”
I felt a small snarl work its way onto my own face now realizing Luna and her gang must have sold us out. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but I was. And my idiocy only grew by leaps and bounds when I also realized my telepathy had made me cocky. I felt practically invincible when it came to knowing the true intentions of others. At least others I could read, but I should have known better. I should have insisted we take precautions instead of taking Eric’s clothes off and insisting on gifting him with my V-card. I should have realized them helping us out – complete strangers – was too good to be true to have automatically accepted their offer at face value. But I’d been too pleased with myself thinking my curse had actually helped us get one step closer to freeing Pam when now I knew my own hubris could end up costing us everything.
Just our freedom if we were lucky. And if we weren’t?
My ego could end up costing us our lives.
Hoping I could find a way to get us out of this mess my mental feelers kept reaching out, hoping and praying the Colonel and Alcide wouldn’t get caught up in the trap too. They should’ve been close to arriving by then, but hopefully their own supernatural eyesight and the vampires traveling with them would give them advanced warning. They might be able to do something. Distract the others to give us a chance to escape. I was too afraid of how good of a marksman any one of them might be to risk Eric trying to fly us out of there, but I would feel better about it if a few wolves showed up uninvited to the party. So I strained to cast out my mental net even wider looking for them, but it unexpectedly caught something else.
Too close already to have been one of ours.
They were moving in concert with the human soldiers, so I knew they were acting with them instead of against them. And up until recently their mental signature would have been completely unfamiliar to me, but now I knew exactly what that bubble was.
There was no doubt as to what could be the cause and no doubt feeling my turmoil, Eric’s questioning eyes asked everything his mouth didn’t. So I slammed my own eyes shut and slammed my mental fist into every human head I could find just to be sure before adding, “And a vampire. He…he’s with them.”
No more words were needed when Eric leapt up and tossed my clothes at me while he pulled his own back on in the blink of an eye. All the while I kept track of them as they got closer. There were too many heads to know who or what caused their change in direction, but instead of stealing their way towards the house, they turned and were now headed towards the barn.
My head went into overdrive, with my mind’s eye still poking and prodding at the human heads closing in on us as I got dressed. But my hands fell to my sides and my mouth fell open when I finally caught a glimpse of who the mystery vamp was, with his name tumbling out at the exact same time.
“It’s Bill Compton.”
My whispered words sounded unsure, but the name fell from my lips even more quietly than before, knowing how well vampires could hear. Even if it was a useless exercise since I knew my heart was pounding like a jackhammer and would likely give away our location to even a human. But my uncertainty wasn’t from what he was – a vampire – but more so who he was. He looked like Bill, but different at the same time. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but it may have been that my view of him was skewed by the minds of those seeing him, with their own hateful perceptions coloring my picture of him. They saw him as a monster, so I couldn’t help but to see him that way too, regardless of my previous interactions with him.
It was Bill and it wasn’t. Certainly not the Bill I knew at any rate.
From what Eric had told me, I would have thought the Sino-Virus he’d been inflicted with would have left him weakened. But seeing him through unfamiliar eyes, he appeared bigger. Larger than I recalled and much more menacing.
In a word…deadlier.
But not knowing if what I was seeing was fact instead of fiction, I couldn’t be sure. And not having my now-not-so-helpful curse of telepathy, Eric couldn’t see what I was seeing and confirmed it by saying, “I’m much older and therefore stronger and faster than him. We’ll fly out through the roof and regroup.”
The words had barely left his lips when Bill was suddenly in the hayloft with us, having flown into the barn through the very same window we’d come through earlier. I managed to register the surprise on Eric’s face, but mine far outreached his own.
Bill was larger.
His shoulders and chest appeared to have grown by several inches – just like his height – but it wasn’t as noticeable as his overly elongated fangs. Even at his creepiest, Bill had always come across as a passive aggressive vampire. Sneaky in hiding his true nature from anyone whom he thought he could fool into believing he was harmless.
He certainly didn’t look so innocuous now.
Eric’s voice sounded like a warning and a question all rolled into one, but instead of acknowledging him, Bill’s eyes almost appeared unseeing. Not blind, but glazed over.
If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought he’d been glamoured.
My eyes searched the immediate vicinity in vain for a weapon. It was obvious to me that Bill wasn’t on our side and I remembered all too well just how frightened I was of him in the past. Now I felt that fear tenfold and just as I registered the sound of others storming into the barn down below us, I saw Eric instinctively reach for me, but not before Bill could react.
They latched onto one another and were nothing but a blur to my human eyes, with their movements kicking up a whirlwind of hay around me. I automatically put up my hands to cover my face from the dust storm, but in doing so I managed to get caught up in their fray.
Eric or Bill, it didn’t matter who knocked into me because the next thing I knew I was flying.
Or rather, falling.
The last sound I could hear was Eric’s roar just as my body smacked against the hard floor of the barn below the hayloft, smack dab in the middle of a sea of surprised human minds.
I was cold.
Or maybe it was the hard surface I was laying on?
I couldn’t be sure.
My head felt like one giant throbbing mess of pain, but when my mind tried to recall what happened or where I was, my eyes shot open on reflex as soon as the memories hit me.
My anguished cry sounded more like a muted whisper thanks to my parched throat and my vision was blinded by the light that met my eyes as soon as my lids lifted. I’d lost the sense of sight – temporarily, I hoped – but I could still hear.
With both my ears and my mind.
“Yes,” a female purred from close by. “You positively reek of him.”
I didn’t recognize the sound of her voice and I intuitively curled up into a ball as much as I could to protect myself when my head registered her bubble.
She was a vampire.
She said nothing more and made no move towards me, so I waited in silence for either my vision to be restored or for her to eat me.
Guess which one I was hoping for.
Slowly but surely my sight did return, with the fog slowly dissipating and color seeping back into the white haze my vision had been clouded by until then.
I could clearly see the gray steel of the floor I was lying on.
The glint of light reflecting off of the silver bars that seemed to surround us on all sides.
The beautiful blond seated off to one side – who up until now – I had only ever seen in the memories of all-human monsters.
But before me was a weakened version of her, instead of the snarling, hissing, kick-ass vampire I’d seen in both Gabe’s and Rene’s memories. And instead of growing stronger – bigger – like Bill had, she seemed to have shrunken a bit and was much smaller than I had expected. But then I remembered something else.
They had been starving her.
“Pam?” I asked, already knowing the answer, but wanting her to know I knew who she was and hoping like hell that would do me some favors.
Like her not eating me, for one.
“My master found the time to speak of me?” she asked with a small smile. “I’m surprised since it smells like he’s been busy drowning you in his blood and cum.”
My harsh rebuke wasn’t so harsh apparently because she openly laughed at my horrified expression. But I didn’t mind.
Not when I was so thankful to see that she was okay.
But not knowing if he was okay, I pushed myself up and had to wait for the spinning to stop before I could ask, “Eric? Can you feel him? Is he okay?”
I had no idea of how long I’d been out of it. It only felt like minutes, so my jaw fell open in shock when she eyed me knowingly and said, “Yes and no. I felt his rage and then his confusion before our bond became muted. I only know that he still lives. That was three nights ago, about an hour before you and I became roomies.” My head was still spinning – now like a cyclone hearing three nights had passed me by unaware – and Pam only added to it when she sounded almost amused as she declared, “You are worried for him.”
“Of course I’m worried for him!” I snapped. “Aren’t you?”
She didn’t answer me. She only studied me like I was one of the science experiments Jason tended to grow in his refrigerator before she finally asked, “What cause was there for you to have had my master’s blood?”
And she showed she wasn’t as weak as she appeared when she leaned towards me menacingly and added, “Did you take it without his knowledge?”
I could feel the telltale sign she was trying to do her vampire whammy on me and it was only adding to the throbbing going on in my head. So I clutched each side in my hands and kicked out at her with my feet to make her stop, sounding a bit menacing in my own right, as I snarled out, “He gave it to me because he was worried about me too. Now quit trying to glamour me! It doesn’t work.”
“How?” she asked in a whisper and with her eyes darting in every direction as she added, “And keep your voice down.”
It was only seeing her looking everywhere else that made me take in the rest of the surroundings.
We were surrounded on all sides.
Silver cells identical to the one we were inside of went as far as my human eyes could see in every direction. Up and down. Left and right. Forward and backward.
And each one was housing a prisoner.
A vampire prisoner according to my vamp-dar.
And we were currently holding the attention of all of them. Some merely looked inquisitive as to what I might say next, while others looked at me like I was a prime rib dinner.
It just went to show how far I’d fallen down the rabbit hole when instead of being frightened by that prospect, it only made me realize I was hungry.
And how much I would enjoy a prime rib dinner right about now.
But knowing Pam at least would be able to hear me at my softest whisper, I offered, “I’m not sure, but the working theory is it doesn’t work on me because I’m a telepath. I can’t hear you all, but I can hear some from Weres and shifters. Humans are as easy for me to hear as if they’re speaking out loud. I came here with Eric to try and help free you and the others.” And in case she hadn’t figured it out yet, I added, “It’s not going so well at the moment.”
I watched as she drew in a deep breath of air through her nose and her nostrils flared before her eyes locked back onto my own as she said, “I recognize your scent. It was on my master when he returned from some backwater bayou several weeks ago.”
Since it appeared Eric wasn’t so forthcoming about me to her, I explained, “I met Eric on the night he…apprehended…Bill Compton. We made plans to see each other again the next night, but the massacre in Dallas happened and I didn’t see him again until I heard he’d been taken. I freed him and I’ve been helping him out ever since, which is how we came to be in Nevada.”
Her cynical expression remained on her face for a long moment before it softened – only slightly, mind you – and she nodded in my direction as she said, “I believe you. The scent of his seed in you was much more prevalent than his blood when you were first thrown into the cell, so he would have smelled it as well and would have reacted to it had he not expected it to be there when you fucked.”
So. In. Tru. Sive.
At least my now flaming skin, hearing her speak of things that no one needed to speak about, helped to warm me up some. That fact seemed to amuse her to no end, but all she asked was, “What is your name?”
“Sookie,” I whispered in return.
“How unfortunate,” she smirked. “Both the name and the fact my master has claimed you for himself. You are quite mouthwatering, Sookie.”
I was thisclose to making a jibe at how unfortunate her timing was with her snark or else I might have been inclined to feed her, but when the sting faded from my pansy bruised ego, I found I couldn’t say the words.
Not when she looked so malnourished.
And knowing how much she meant to Eric made it easier for me to scoot closer to her and offer her my wrist as I said, “Here. You need to feed.”
Dainty little fangs snapped down and protruded from her lips, but she denied them and me when she pulled back slightly and said, “I cannot. You belong to my master.”
Already feeling like the underside of a turnip, my anger got the better of me and I huffed, “Eric might be your master, but he certainly isn’t mine. And considering you’re his child – and we came all this way to save you – and you’re starving, I don’t think he’ll be put out if you take a few sips!”
“I think you underestimate my master’s possessive streak,” she huffed back, clearly fighting her own wants with what she thought Eric would want. “Trust me Sookie, if he has given you his blood then you are his. I know my place. You should learn yours.”
I was madder than a wet hen over her obstinate refusal, but hearing her call me his brought back something else Eric had said when we were in the middle of…things.
He’d said, “Mine.”
Huh. So maybe Pam was onto something there.
But I also remembered his claim that there was something different about my blood. He blamed it for his quick healing and I had no reason – or any other explanation – to refute his claims. And we didn’t have the time to argue over archaic terminology. Nor did I have a match or the wherewithal to burn my bra and remind Pam of the women’s movement she should be able to remember more than me. But what I did have was a stubborn streak a mile wide and the memory of Eric’s worry over Pam’s wellbeing burned into my brain. So I did what any concerned maybe-girlfriend would do.
I cut open my wrist using a jagged piece of metal protruding from the cell’s door.
Growls erupted all around us, I assumed over the scent of my now free flowing blood, but I ignored them and thrust my arm at Pam, saying, “Eat. Now. I’ll deal with Eric if he has anything to say about it, but just remember to leave enough in me to deal with him, if you don’t want to end up having to explain yourself.”
I couldn’t tell if it was my reasoning or her hunger that finally made her agree, but she seemed to brace herself before leaning forward and sealing her mouth over the wound. I had braced myself too, unsure of what my body’s reaction would be, but thankfully the lustful feelings I’d always had whenever Eric had fed from me were missing now.
I was grateful nonetheless.
And I was just as thankful Pam didn’t take too much. I was already feeling weak before my offer to feed her and God knows what kind of injuries I’d suffered from the fall, but my head was still reeling. Even more so when I tried to guess where Eric was now or what had happened to him. Pam had said she’d felt his rage and then his confusion, but what about now?
Was he hurt?
Was he in pain?
He had already suffered so much at Rene’s hand, but from what I’d witnessed in Gabe’s mind, I knew that was just child’s play compared to what happened here.
But what could I do? I was locked up.
In a vampire cell.
In an underground bunker.
Buried deep below the earth’s surface.
In a secret government facility.
There was nothing else I could do at the moment but watch as Pam healed my wrist, with a glazed over expression in her eyes. It sort of reminded me of a post-Thanksgiving Day dinner Jason and I almost expected her to lean back and unclasp the button of her pants, before rubbing her hand over her stomach and cooing at her food baby.
The jumble of anxious emotions I was already feeling, now coupled with my memories of home, were suddenly too much to bear and I found myself in tears. I was scared of what was happening to Eric. I was scared of never getting out of that godforsaken place. I was scared of never seeing Gran or Jason again.
I’d never felt so hopeless.
So in spite of everything I had seen and done in the past few days, I closed my eyes and dug deep. Deep into my soul and down into my own spiritual beliefs and I prayed.
I prayed for a miracle, small or otherwise.
And hearing the thoughts of the person now headed in our direction before my ears could register their approaching footsteps, it couldn’t happen soon enough.