I could still feel the sensation of Eric’s lips on mine as I watched him darting from shadow to shadow across the parking lot towards the warehouse. If I hadn’t known he was there I would’ve never seen him. He really was like a ghost and a part of me wondered if their description of him as such was due to his ability to disappear before their eyes.
My stomach was in knots with worry and when I saw him slip inside through the same door Bill Compton had used I thought my heart would pound out of my chest. My hand was resting on the door handle as I hemmed and hawed for all of three seconds before getting out of the car and following in Eric’s footsteps. I paused everywhere he had paused; I darted exactly where he had darted and I’d thought I had done a pretty good job of recreating his path. That is until I was surprised and grabbed from behind when I stopped at the door to listen in before opening it.
I turned to see a behemoth sized man, or perhaps he was a wooly mammoth. I’d thought they were extinct but that guy was bigger than my first car! I tried to pull free from his grasp and managed to kick him in his shins once or twice, but I was sure my actions had physically hurt me more than him since his only reaction was a chuckle followed by, “Feisty.”
“I’ll give you feisty,” I spat out and used his freakish size (he really was built like a mountain) to my advantage. He was holding onto me by my elbow, but I had enough room to use his grip like an anchor as I literally climbed his body with my feet and landed a kick to his jaw. My body was now practically upside down and I’d fully expected to be dropped on my head since I couldn’t continue my forward momentum without possibly dislocating my arm, but I figured that was better than being caught. It turned out the only thing I accomplished was making him grin, showcasing his bloody teeth, before he wrangled me upright again.
Once I had my feet underneath me he opened the door and shoved me down the hallway before turning down another one. I could see the light spilling from the room at the end and as we got closer I could hear Eric’s voice saying, “I don’t see how since I’m the one holding the gun.”
I couldn’t believe how stupid I’d been. He told me, practically begged me to stay in the car so he wouldn’t have to worry about me. He needed to focus and from the sounds of it he had the upper hand. Now, because of my stupidity, it could all fall apart. I desperately wanted to get away to spare him the trouble my presence was sure to cause and whisper yelled, “Let me go!”
He just snorted and shoved me into the open doorway. My eyes swept the room until I found Eric staring back at me with a pained expression on his face and it was only then that I felt the cold metal of a gun barrel pressed against my temple. My comic relief audience of one spoke up behind me saying, “Found her outside.”
My gaze was broken from Eric’s as I heard Bill Compton say, “Why Miss Stackhouse, what a surprise seeing you here. Did you come all the way from Bon Temps just for me?”
My mind went back and forth from wanting to tell him I was sure having sex with a cheese grater would be more pleasurable than him, to wanting to beg Eric’s forgiveness for messing up everything. I wouldn’t blame him if he never forgave me. Thankfully, I was able to remain silent.
I watched Bill’s eyes go back and forth from me to Eric when he finally said, “You two are together?”
Give the man a prize. A Darwin Award would suffice.
“Well isn’t that interesting. Tell me Northman; just how tight is that little piece of southern ass?”
The movement of Eric whipping his gun around to point directly at Bill curbed the retort that was on the tip of my tongue, I am a lady after all, and I could practically see the steam coming from Eric’s ears. This would end very poorly for Bill Compton if Eric got his way.
“Maybe I’ll just have to see for myself. Now drop your gun or else your little white trash honey gets her brains blown away.”
Apparently Compton didn’t know who he was dealing with. Eric would never give away our only advantage. I was a little worried that Bill might follow through and I gave myself a quick mental pep talk to be ready for anything. I’d go down fighting tooth and nail, that’s for sure.
But my mental pep talk didn’t prepare me to see Eric lowering his gun to the floor and, “Eric, no!” left my lips without thought. How could he? Why would he?
Bill looked triumphant as he said, “Kick it towards me,” and I watched Eric do just that. My heart sank, completely crestfallen, and Gigantor pushed me further into the room taking the gun away from my head as he came to stand next to me.
I watched Bill pick up the gun with a sinister smile as he brought it up to point directly at me. My adrenaline, which had waned while we stood there, was back in full force and with the fuzzy white noise that suddenly filled my ears I barely heard him say, “I lied.”
I started to try and pull myself free to dive towards the floor as the sound of the gunshot exploded inside of the room when suddenly Eric was in front of me; on top of me. He’d leapt in front of me to save me from the bullet and I don’t know if it was the weight of his body or because Gigantor had been surprised, but he’d let go of my arm and we both fell to the floor.
Because I had been crouched forward when Eric landed on me, my head ended up next to his feet and I reached under the hem of each of his pant legs, grabbing the daggers I’d watched him strap on in the car, and threw one right into Bill Compton’s chest without thought before rolling onto my back and throwing the other one into Gigantor’s neck. How’s that for feisty?
I watched him crumple to the floor clutching the knife lodged in his throat before turning to see Eric lying face down, still halfway on top of me, with a pool of blood forming at a rapid rate around his head. As I scrambled to get out from underneath him knowing I still had to deal with the other two I heard another gunshot and looked up to see three new people had come into the room, each of them holding a gun and I heard the sound of the bullet hitting its target behind me.
I turned to see what must have been Gigantor’s brother, given their uncanny resemblance to one another, falling backwards behind me with a gun clutched in his hand. The bullet fired from one of the other three had entered the center of his forehead and he was dead before he hit the floor.
I looked around desperately searching for another weapon, but they were all too far away so I covered Eric’s body with my own and held onto him tightly awaiting my own death. “I love you,” I whispered in his ear hoping against hope that he’d somehow hear me in his unconscious state.
“Go! He can’t be far,” I heard a woman’s voice say. She sounded familiar and I looked up to see one woman, with darker features making me think she was perhaps from India, run through the door at the back of the room. The man was tall and broad shouldered wearing all black, and his features were darker as well, but I thought him to be from the Middle East. The woman who seemed to be in charge looked more like a well-to-do housewife with her long straight blond hair held back from her face with a thin headband and her pale pink twinset and white linen pants. Well, a well-to-do housewife holding a gun.
She knelt down by Eric’s head, ruining her pants, and checked the wound at his temple which was still pouring out blood. She pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket holding it out to me while saying, “Hold this on his head and apply pressure.”
I did as she ordered while I watched them move throughout the room checking the others. “Compton is dead,” the man said with a slight accent in his voice. I looked over and sure enough, the knife I had thrown entered Bill’s chest right where he heart would be and his chest was completely covered in his blood.
“Damn it,” the blond woman said and I worried that she was on Bill’s side, but there was nothing I could do to save us now. I relaxed a little when she said, “I wanted to be the one to kill him.”
Gigantor moaned and the Middle Eastern man walked over to him to check on his wound. The knife was still stuck in his throat, but the wound wasn’t bleeding much and I could see that he still seemed to be able to breathe and his eyes were open and aware.
The Middle Eastern man chuckled over him asking, “How does it feel to be bested by a little southern flower Siegbert?”
Gigantor’s eyes narrowed and I was pretty sure he choked out the word, “Feisty,” before he gave up trying to speak at all. He didn’t seem to be amused by me any longer.
I looked around noticing for the first time that the man who had been standing near Bill when I first came into the room was gone. I guessed that was who they were talking about going after since I had no idea who they all were except for Eric and Bill.
The blond stood in front of me staring down with a hard look on her face as if she was trying to solve some puzzle before asking, “Who are you?”
“Who are YOU?” I said before my brain could filter down to my mouth watch my tone since they were the ones holding the guns. I braced myself for her wrath, but after a moment the corners of her mouth twitched upwards and her eyes took on a more amused expression as she said, “Feisty indeed. I’m Pamela de Beaufort,” she pointed at Eric’s still unconscious body and continued, “his boss, but you can call me Pam.”
Answers. Could it be we were finally going to get some answers? I had a million of them flood my brain, but my primary concern was Eric so I said, “We need to get him to a hospital.”
I’d seen that the bullet had just grazed the side of his head, but head wounds tended to bleed a lot and the fact that he was still unconscious wasn’t helping me to calm down any.
“No, no hospitals,” she replied. I was about to protest when she held her hand up and said, “There’s a safe house not far from here. We have a doctor on retainer that will come and tend to him.”
I wasn’t sure if I could trust them, but I had no choice and my instincts weren’t telling me to fight them so I did as they said without complaint.
The Middle Eastern man, Rasul I was told, pulled a large cargo van up to the door at the front of the warehouse while she issued orders to someone over her phone. I went with Rasul as he carried Eric’s limp body out to the van, draping him over a long bench seat directly behind the front seats, and I knelt down on the floor holding the now blood soaked handkerchief to his head and noticed our duffle bags from the car were next to me on the floor. It scared me a little when I looked inside and saw the weapons were gone, but at least I had something clean to change into at some point so I pushed the fear aside and stared down at Eric.
His hair was stuck to his head from all of the blood, but other than that he merely looked like he was sleeping. His breathing was even and he didn’t make any grunts or sounds of protest when Rasul put him in a fireman’s carry to bring him out to the van so I hoped he wasn’t in any pain. I loved him so much and now that things had settled down and we seemed out of immediate danger I felt the tears form. Whether it was from love, fear, or relief I didn’t know. It was probably all three.
Rasul went back inside and returned a moment later with Gigantor in tow. The knife was still sticking out of his neck, but he was able to walk on his own and one of them had secured his hands behind his back using two sets of handcuffs since he was so wide. Rasul secured him in the very back of the van with another set of handcuffs attached to the ones he was wearing on one end and through a metal ring bolted to the floor of the van with the other end. Hopefully that would hold him.
Rasul climbed into the driver’s seat with Pam climbing into the passenger seat a minute later, still talking on her phone, and as we drove away I heard her say, “Two bodies. I want the building searched and no traces left behind.” With that she ended the call and turned to Rasul saying,” Indira hasn’t found him yet, but she’s heading south on the off chance our informant wasn’t completely full of shit.”
He just nodded and then she turned to me saying, “You’re pretty good with knives. Isn’t she Siegbert?” He grunted making her cackle, which seemed like an odd sound to be coming from her given the whole lethal Stepford wife thing she had going on. I didn’t respond, still unsure of whether or not they could be trusted, and the interior of the van fell silent. I paid attention to our surroundings, just as Eric had taught me, and when we pulled up to a darkened ranch style house ten minutes later I knew I could find our way back to where we had started at the warehouse if necessary.
Rasul pulled the van into an oversized garage attached to the side of the house and took Gigantor out first. Pam disappeared through the door with them telling Rasul to take him to the basement and moments later Rasul returned to get Eric with me following along behind them into the house.
It looked like any other middle class ranch style house except that it definitely wasn’t a home. It was sterile looking with zero clutter, but it was a thousand times better than that warehouse so I was happy. I followed Rasul to a back bedroom, relieved that we weren’t going to the basement too, where an oversized hospital bed was already set up and a very small woman was waiting. She was standing on a step stool on the side of the bed and had a tray of medical tools off to her side and a lot of different machines were lined up against the far wall.
I watched as she pulled on a pair of latex gloves and began examining Eric as soon as he was situated on the bed and breathed a sigh of relief when she said, “It’s just a flesh wound.” She continued to examine his head and looked up at Rasul saying, “He’s got an egg-sized knot on the side of his head. Bring me the portable x-ray.” He did as she asked without comment and she shooed us out of the room as she took his x-rays before allowing us back in.
She had me tell her about how Eric became injured and I looked to Rasul silently asking if I should tell her the truth. He seemed to appreciate that I would think to check first before spilling out everything that had happened and he nodded his approval. I told her everything from the point Eric had leapt in front of me until I saw him lying unconscious on the floor while watching her put an IV drip into Eric’s arm and seven stitches into the side of his head that she covered with a bandage. When she was done Pam came into the room with us and looked at the doctor saying, “So?”
She appeared annoyed, but responded, “He’s got a concussion, probably from hitting his head on the concrete floor when he dove in front of the bullet. He should be fine, but he probably won’t wake up for the rest of the night. The other one is in the basement?” she asked and Rasul escorted her out of the room, I assumed to treat Gigantor. The relief I felt at her words was indescribable and all I wanted to do was crawl up alongside of Eric and cry my eyes out.
Instead I went back out to the van and retrieved the bag that had our clothes inside before searching through the kitchen cabinets. I found a large basin that I filled with soapy water along with a couple of dish towels and leaving the bag there, I brought the clothing and everything else into the room with Eric. I didn’t care that Pam had stayed in the room; I just wanted to take care of Eric so that’s what I did.
Using the pair of scissors the doctor had used when she cut the thread from Eric’s stitches I cut away his blood soaked shirt and pulled it off of his body. I placed a towel behind his head and began the slow process of cleaning all of the blood out of his hair and off of his face, neck, and chest. I was careful to not let the water get near his stitches and it took over an hour and several refills of soapy water before I deemed him clean enough.
There was an en suite bathroom that I used to shower myself when I was done and when I emerged in my clean set of clothes the exhaustion of the day finally set in. It seemed like a lifetime ago that Eric and I were at the church buying our Christmas tree, but in reality it was less than 24 hours earlier. When Pam came back in I guessed my expression said it all because she said, “Why don’t you get some rest and we can talk when you get up,” and she left the room shutting the door behind her.
I was glad she didn’t question whether or not I wanted to stay in the room with Eric and I did exactly what I’d wanted to do earlier. I crawled up alongside of him, feeling comforted with his body pressed against mine, and finally drifted asleep.
I awoke the next day to the smell of coffee and opened my eyes to see Pam standing there wearing a powder blue designer pantsuit with a cream shell and sky high heels. “She lives,” she said as she waited for me to wake up enough to take the cup of coffee from her extended hand.
“Thank you,” I said and turned to look down at Eric. He hadn’t moved at all from when I’d fallen asleep, but he still only looked like he was sleeping. I looked back over at Pam and said worriedly, “Shouldn’t he have woken up by now?”
She took a seat in one of the chairs by the bed and shrugged her shoulders saying, “Ludwig said to call her if he’s not awake by tonight. It’s still the afternoon so I’ll give him a few more hours.”
Afternoon? How long had I slept? According to my bladder, too long. I carefully got out of the bed and set my coffee down before heading into the bathroom. When I came out a few minutes later Pam patted the seat of the chair next to hers and said, “Let’s chat.”
“O…kay,” I hesitated.
“Start at the beginning.”
I didn’t have to ask what she’d meant and since she’d gone through the trouble of having Eric taken care of and I wasn’t locked up in the basement I figured she was one of the good guys so I sat down next to her and told her everything.
She nodded her head at some parts of my story and got lethal looking at others, namely the Chow incident, but she remained silent throughout. Once I was done she gave me an appraising look before she said, “You’ve been through quite a lot. There’s a discretionary fund that we use to pay informants so you’ll be rewarded for your troubles.”
“I DON’T WANT ANY MONEY!” I screeched. How dare she?
My ire was thrown off when she smiled as though she’d expected my outrage and she asked, “Why would you help him? I mean it’s obvious that you love him now, but why in the beginning when he was just a stranger to you?”
“I DO love him. In the beginning I helped him because he needed it. When he woke up without his memories he was so lost, but I could tell that I made him feel better. The thing is, I didn’t know how lost I had been until he came into my life. He made me feel better. Even with all of the death and running he’d manage to make me smile or laugh. I felt protected with him. I would die for him.”
Her eyes softened just a smidge as she said, “I know,” before her stoic expression was back.
I looked back at Eric before holding her gaze again and said, “Your turn.”
“That’s classified,” was her only response.
“That’s bullshit,” I countered.
Before we could dissolve into a never ending verbal loop the sound of the sheets rustling next to my head caught both of our attention. I quickly stood up next to Eric’s head and looked down seeing his eyes move behind his eyelids so I softly said, “Eric? Honey, are you awake?”
His eyes opened seconds later and I wanted to cry feeling relieved all over again. He was okay!
He looked unsure, which was understandable considering he was waking up in a strange bed without having any idea of how he got there. Talk about déjà vu.
“Do you feel okay?” I asked as I reached down to brush the hair out of his eyes.
He tried to clear his throat and realizing he probably needed a drink I grabbed a bottle of water that had been left on the side of the bed and opened it before handing it to him. He stared at me as he drank the entire bottle and handed it back saying, “Thanks.”
He looked contemplative before asking, “Who are you?”
I laughed saying, “That is SO not funny.”
He didn’t laugh. He didn’t even crack a grin. I was not amused.
He stared at me some more and said, “Aren’t you the girl from the boat shop? You had pink and purple and blue streaks in your hair, right?”
I wasn’t laughing anymore and stared him down saying, “After everything that’s happened in the last 24 hours I don’t find this funny at all Eric. Quit playing around.”
He sat up in the bed and looked over at Pam asking, “What’s going on? Why is she here?” He looked around the room and added, “Where is here, exactly?”
“Eric stop!” I pleaded with the tears falling freely down my face. This couldn’t be happening.
He spared me a glance before looking back at Pam who was looking back at him and not hiding her confusion. “What do you remember last?” she asked.
He flicked his eyes at me before looking back to her with his eyebrow raised up when she said, “You can talk in front of her. She knows everything,” she lied. I couldn’t spare a thought to wonder why.
“I’d gone to eliminate de Castro three miles off the coast of Saint Thomas. The intelligence was bad, there was no party, and after four hours I slipped onto the boat and took out two of his guards. I found him below deck, but his young daughter was asleep on top of him so I returned to the deck to head back to the boat. That’s the last thing I remember.”
His voice was cold and detached. I’d never heard him sound that way before and it frightened me in more ways than one.
“She found you,” Pam motioned towards me, “floating in the ocean with a bullet in your back. She saved you; helped you escape the island. She went with you to NY to try to figure out who you were and when someone tried to kill you she took you home with her where you’ve been ever since.”
Eric continued to stare at Pam before turning to face me and said in the same cold and detached voice he’d used moments ago, “Thank you for your services. There’s a discretionary fund that we can use to pay you for your troubles. Would you mind waiting in another room so I can speak to Pam?”
My heart broke with the irony of it all. The Eric Northman I knew, the sweet, gentle and passionate man I had fallen in love with, would die for, disappeared before my very eyes. Just like a ghost.
I turned and ran from the room, barely able to see through the tears that flooded my eyes.