Before I say anything else, let me please say thank you to all of you who have reviewed, favorited or alerted this story, or me personally as an author. I have so much love for my amazing readers!
Next, this is in place of me updating on Sunday. Some real-life stuff has come up for this weekend, and I am afraid I won’t get around to posting on Sunday. So instead of reneging on my promise of two updates per week, I thought you’d enjoy the update early rather than late. Hugs!
Balti K is my beta on this one, so she makes the boo-boo’s go away & she’s the bestest! K is always very generous about making additions to the story here and there, but for this chapter she really went above and beyond, really helping me flush out what I wanted with the negotiations – so thanks, sister, I’d be lost without ya & I thank you kindly for your intelligence and investment in my story!
Disclaimer – Still don’t own them, but I still wish I did!
Bill gaped at me, nearly doubled over laughing, with a look of sheer incredulity on his face, which only fueled the flames of my amusement. He looked as if he absolutely could not believe I was laughing, let alone laughing hard enough for blood tears to trickle from my eyes – which they were, steadily. I was lost. I was gasping for unnecessary breath, crying blood tears, and cackling like a buffoon. Pussy at the Piggly Wiggly… I wonder if they would keep it near the beer and snack foods? Pussy, kept chilled for freshness. Simply heat and eat. Those thoughts, of course, brought on more fits of uncontrolled laughter.
“Fuck, Sookie,” Pam began, “I think you broke him.” The ‘ice princess’ actually sounded worried. How curious… it was an emotion I almost never witnessed in her.
I raised my glance to my progeny, and lost it all over again when she exclaimed, “Fuck! Now he’s leaking. He’s definitely broken!”
The look on her face, combined with the unprecedented whiny tone of her voice, did me in completely. After another laughing fit ensued, followed by several long minutes trying to compose myself enough to speak, I looked at Sookie and said, “Look at them, my love. They look positively… constipated!” I nearly choked on that last word as I tried to get it out. I wondered absently if I were indeed broken. The stress of the night had done irreparable damage, perchance? My behavior was wildly out of character and yet I was quite unable to contain my hysterics. Perhaps this is what happens when a vampire nearly loses his mate several times in one day? I suddenly wondered if my current state was more than simply the stress of this evening; Sookie was oddly calm and I was borderline hysterical. Was it possible the bond between us was tighter than I had imagined?
“Oh hell, Pam! I think we did break him. Maybe the Piggly Wiggly comment was too much for him?” my mate pondered with all seriousness. “Stick a fork in his perfect butt… he’s done!”
Any hope I had had at regaining my composure was gone now. Possibly permanently. I sat on the floor and put my face in my hands, imagining being skewered with a piece of cutlery, and laughed until I was sure I’d pass out; which, incidentally, was impossible, since I had no need for oxygen. I wondered if it would be stainless steel or if they would reach for actual silverware. Sookie came to sit next to me on the cold, hard floor of my bar and while I worried absently that she’d get dirty or sick, I was still too wrapped up in my mental breakdown to act upon my fears.
It had all just been too much over the past few months. Losing Godric, finally tracking down the one that murdered my human family after all this time, fighting to understand my feelings for Sookie, killing Talbot, the battle of wits with Russell, seeing the sun, burning in the sun, conversations with my dead Maker, burying Russell in concrete, revealing Bill’s duplicity and having to watch as Sookie’s heart was crushed, realizing I loved her only to almost lose her several times tonight… no wonder I was losing my fucking mind!
My musings took only seconds as I continued to guffaw uncontrollably and I began to wonder if I would ever regain my normally stoic self, but then my reason for existing pleaded softly for me to “Cut this out.” Apparently, I was scaring the natives.
Her sweet smile, along with the genuine concern in her voice told me it was time to say goodbye to my brief stint with insanity. Sobering up quickly, I pulled myself from the floor then offered Sookie my hand, helping her up as well. Wiping the blood tears from my face I sighed, “Boy, I needed that!”
Pam still looked slightly alarmed, but quickly donned her mask of bitchy-indifference as I addressed Bill. “Now, Bill, do you agree to Sookie’s terms or are we going to have another overthrow of the throne tonight?” I made sure to lace my voice with an exorbitant amount of malice, seeing as I’d just lost my shit like a tween at a Beiber concert.
“Is it well and truly over with us, my sweet Sookeh?” Bill brazenly questioned. I know I was fucking amazed he’d have the balls to ask her that, so I unsurprised when she lashed out at him over it.
“Are you fucking kidding me, Bill?!” she exclaimed, as her fingertips began to flicker slightly with her strange, yet undeniably sexy, light. “After all you’ve done to me, not to mention the bullshit you were spouting off ’bout me earlier (I heard that, by the way!), you think I’d EVER forgive you? Are you a complete fucktard?!” she was beginning to vibrate with rage now, and I was seriously concerned that I’d end up being King without the benefits of being the one to deliver Compton to his final death.
“But, darling, you love me…” Our idiot king began. He never got the chance to finish. My mind was still stuck on the newest of Sookie’s interesting phrases. Fucktard! Perhaps I could put a salutation on a plaque and hang it above his front door? “Welcome to Fucktardia… have you met our idiot king?” or, “Welcome to Fucktardia. Bill Compton, supreme moron, presiding.” Either one would be quite fitting…
I was snapped out of my inner monologue when suddenly, Bill was flying across the bar. It took only nanoseconds for me to realize it was Sookie behind the invisible force currently governing him. He landed with a deafening thwack on the bar and appeared to be held at the wrists and ankles by her force field, from the way he was struggling. Sookie calmly sauntered over to her former lover as if she were taking a leisurely Sunday stroll, the only thing betraying her casual demeanor was the look of pure hatred on her face as she glared at him.
“William Compton, king or not, I could end you with barely a thought.” To demonstrate her point she flicked her wrist absently behind her, one of the wooden chairs collapsed and suddenly there was a very sharp piece of chair leg hovering above Compton’s non-beating heart. What was I thinking having wooden chairs in a vampire bar? Watching Sookie woman-handle Compton made it rather worth it though.
“There are no guards or soldiers here to protect you now, and we both know Pam and Eric are not your biggest fans. Hell, I’m sure they’d throw me a parade if I staked you now.” Sookie’s rant was interrupted by my progeny.
“Sookie, you stake this little fuck now and I’ll take you shopping in Paris,” she paused before she seemed to reformulate her offer to more appeal to my bonded. “Oh, fuck it. You let me stake him, and we’ll have one of those appalling human girl’s nights where we give each other pedicures and gossip while watching ‘chick flicks’ and giggling about sex.” Pam looked positively nauseous at the thought of it. She must really want revenge on Bill for the cement debacle earlier.
Pam’s offer earned a small giggle from Sookie before she replied simply, “I’ll keep that in mind, Pammy.” Pam grinned evilly and nodded slightly, seeming quite pleased with the possibility that she’d get to end Compton.
That was the moment I realized that my progeny and my mate were friends. Pammy? Fuck, Pam had once threatened to stake me in my slumber when I called her that and yet my mate got a grin and a nod. I looked around my bar quickly, searching for anything out of place. I wondered if some former male model was going to jump out of the shadows and tell me I was being Punked; this night was far too bizarre for it not to be some ridiculous MTV program. I was almost disappointed there were no signs of life present other than Sookie. At least I would have gotten to eviscerate someone had that annoyingly loud Ashtray, or whateverthefuckhisnamewas, been present…
“There is nothing stopping me from ending you now, Bill, except for the kindness my Gran raised me with. So… are you going to play nice or is Ginger going to have one more goopy mess to clean up in the morning?” And there it was. The next thing, in a long line of many, my mate said or did that made my cock stand erect. Watching her threaten Compton, in such control of her astounding powers as she joked about that half-wit Ginger, did me in. My dick was instantly titanium hard and aching for her desperately. Fuck my un-life! I needed to claim my woman soon!
“I cannot appear weak to the rest of the vampire world, Sookie. I must have access to your abilities and your blood whenever I see fit or I will be seen as weak and easily overthrown.” Even pinned as he was, hovering with his very existence hanging in the balance, he didn’t seem to understand or appreciate her. I was about to point out the flaws in his logic, when my lovely Fae did it for me.
“Tut, tut, Bill. You forget; you are easily overthrown, especially by the three of us. All your concerns would be taken care of effortlessly if I were to kill you and let my mate take the throne. Would they not? And it would be fitting, since you let my gran be killed,” she smiled sweetly at him again before demanding, “Next!” in a tone that left no room for discussion.
“Fine. I do not wish to die tonight, so you and your little fan-club win. I will leave you alone, under one condition. Let me up so that we can discuss terms while I have a least a shred of dignity.” I couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped me at his irritated tone. I was witnessing a century-plus-old vampire monarch having to beg a barely more than one-hundred pound female for his dignity… priceless. Figures he would resort to throwing a hissy fit when he didn’t get his way. Infant!
“Okay, I’ll let you up for now, Bill,” she said with a flick of her wrist, simultaneously releasing him from his invisible bonds and slinging the chair leg away from above his chest. “But just remember how quickly any of us can end you, so you behave yourself now, ya hear?” she added as she backed up slowly, taking her place at my side.
Bill used his enhanced speed and strength to remove himself from the bar-top instantly, then smoothed and straightened his clothes at a human pace to illustrate his irritation at being put in his place by a tiny faerie. With a long suffering sigh he began illustrating his terms. “I will agree to a contract being drawn up that would allow me the use of Sookie’s talents whenever I see fit. I will pay her expenses, of course, should she be required to travel. I will also need to insist that she take a negligible amount of my blood, so that I would be able to find her should the need arise for her safety, of course.” Sookie’s rage spiked instantly so I placed my hand on the small of her back and sent waves of comfort to her. We needed to let him finish his demands before objecting so that we could learn the full extent of his plans.
“I would also permit Sheriff Northman to be the only one to drink from Sookie under most circumstances. The only time I foresee this being an issue would be if I were to be injured and needed blood immediately. We cannot risk the kingdom’s security over petty jealousy, can we now?” His smarmy voice told me he really believed we’d buy into his bullshit. Amazing! “Do we have a deal?” He pretended to pluck invisible lint from his clothing, looking utterly bored and perfectly sublime thinking we would actually accept his terms.
“We certainly do not!” Sookie insisted firmly as I nodded my support of her. “Eric, seeing as I am your human and mate, would you please broker a more acceptable deal for the use of my telepathy than the one Bill is offering?” she asked sweetly as she deferred her future safety and freedom to me.
“I would be honored, my love,” I said as I grasped Sookie’s petite hand within my far larger one, brought it to my lips and kissed it gently.
Returning my attention to Bill, who now looked incredibly concerned I might add, I began bartering our future contract with the little fuck. “You may hold court, once a month, to handle any issues that need addressing and Sookie would be able to be present – with my accompaniment, of course. However, we will insist that as little attention as possible be brought to Sookie and her talents, for obvious reasons.”
“Of course, Sheriff, her safety is of utmost concern to me. So, how do you propose we have these public meetings if Sookie is not to be exposed?” Bill turned his attention towards my mate, a look of sheer annoyance on his face as he spoke, “And why am I only now finding out about your enhanced abilities, Sookie?”
“The only ability you need to concern yourself with, your majesty, is her telepathy, anything else about Sookie falls under the category of none of your fucking business since you are not her mate.” I left no room for argument with the tone I used. I paused briefly to consider how exactly to answer his first question.
“In response to your pertinent question, here is what I suggest… I will be at your side, not as your second in command per se, but as a tactical advisor. Should anyone be ballsy enough to question my presence, simply explain that my strategy planning is invaluable. Sookie will be at my side always, since she is my mate and her safety is my first priority. Sookie will ‘make herself useful’ by taking notes on the issues you are confronted with. You will preside over all matters, but give no decisions on anything until you have time to deliberate. After hearing all issues, you will announce your need for a brief pause to consider your verdict on all issues, giving us a chance to hear whatever Sookie’s abilities have picked up on. If she picks up anything more emergent, she can alert me through our bond, or she may send you a text message or IM to your phone.” I could feel pride flowing through our bond in heavy doses as I finished my demands. Apparently, Sookie approved of my ideas.
I continued in effort to cover any incidentals he could ever come up with. “If a situation develops in which the kingdom needs the services of my bonded at an unscheduled time, such as in an emergency or for any regional summits, you may petition me for those services. You will pay her normal monthly meeting fee as well as an additional $50,000 per day, plus expenses and travel, and will cover charges for a daytime guard of my choosing. I will, of course, be accompanying her as well.”
Bill seemed to think it over briefly, finally nodding as reached whatever conclusion he was about to deliver. “I agree to those terms, Eric. I think it is both a way to show my new authority as king, as well as protect Sookie from becoming more engrossed in danger.” A menacing smirk crossed his weasel-like face for a split second before he wiped it clean and added almost offhandedly, “Speaking of her safety, it would truly be in Sookie’s best interests to ingest some of my blood to renew our bond, so that I might use all resources available to me as monarch of Louisiana, should the need arise to track her.”
Again my fiery mate beat me to the punch, so to speak, when she scoffed at Bill. “You think you’re so slick, don’t ya buddy? Not gonna happen, not ever again, so just forget about it and move along!” Well, that left no doubts in regards to her thoughts on the matter – not that I would have allowed it anyway, of course.
“Absolutely not! There will be no sharing of blood between Sookie and anyone other than myself. Ever. Even you know it is against all the laws to interfere with bonded mates.” I mentally corrected myself that in dire circumstances I might allow Pam to feed from Sookie in order to save my progeny’s life, as I would also ask Pam to give my mate blood should she require it to heal and I were unavailable, but these were things we’d work out privately between the three of us at a later date. As it stood, we had no idea what exposure to someone else’s blood would do to her anyway.
“I will always be able to find my mate, Bill, so there is no need for a blood exchange, period. Now, as far as your other terms… you will pay Sookie a fee of $100,000 for each monthly meeting she attends. In the interests of Sookie’s well being, these monthly gatherings will last no longer than six hours at a time, and she will be granted a twenty minute break in the middle. I think we both know Sookie’s ability can be overwhelming after long stints of constant use. Should the meetings ever require a lengthier use of Sookie’s talents, she will be paid an additional $25,000 for every fifteen minute block of time the meeting runs later than the agreed upon six hour maximum. These meetings are not to be held at your ‘estate’ because of the proximity to Sookie’s ancestral home. By the way, you seriously need to repair your own home if you are going to be in charge because in the condition in which it currently stands it is a disgrace to all vampires. We are infinitely wealthy beings. For fuck’s sake, Billy-boy, our homes shouldn’t look as if they belong on the latest episodes of Swamp People!” Truly, I was aghast that anyone – let alone a wealthy vampire, would live in such squalor. What the mold alone would do to his sense of smell over time… Ugh. “Do whatever you like with Sophie Anne’s monstrosity of a palace, but I suggest you hold the meetings here in Shreveport. I would even be happy to rent you one my many office buildings, at a very small monthly fee, obviously. Or, we could certainly take the monthly rent off the fealty I owe you each quarter. Your choice, your highness.” Buttering up a side-burn sporting assgoblin of a toddler king… what had I been reduced to?
I glanced around the room as I pondered this, waiting for his response, and my gaze landed on the goddess at my side. The answer suddenly became clear. A man in love. Ah yes, now I remembered why I allowed myself to negotiate with imbeciles.
The king was enraged that his master plan for forcing his will on Sookie again was thwarted, but he calmly replied, “Fine. Seeing that dawn is rapidly approaching, I will expect the contracts to be delivered by the two of you personally at first dark tomorrow. I also expect you to have a list of possible properties for me to use for these fucking town hall meetings. If you are not at my doorstep within thirty minutes of first dark, I will consider you all traitors and will use everything in my power to hunt you down and kill you, Northman, as well as your progeny, before claiming Sookie as an asset of my kingdom. Even if it means keeping her as an unwilling prisoner.” He paused for what I was guessing was dramatic effect, and then demanded, “Am I making myself perfectly clear?”
As if he worried me, even for the briefest of moments! King or not, I’d fucking end him if he even thought to come after me and mine! “We will be there. No worries, Bill, I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to officially show off my claim to Sookie over you.” I wondered for a moment if my caveman attitude would raise Sookie’s blood pressure, but I was pleasantly surprised when all I felt through bond was mirth at my antics.
“Very well, goodnight, my faithful subjects,” he said as he turned to leave. With one last brief look at my Sookie, Compton – King Asshat – sped out of my bar.
Barely a beat passed before the three of us dissolved into fits of laughter. What a colossal fucking tool!
I know this was a long and info packed chapter, but it was important for Bill to see that Sookie really does belong with, and to, Eric. It was also important for her to use her powers without nearly dying and to show her dominance over Bill. She’s always been such a limp noodle with Bill on the show & I couldn’t tolerate her being anything like that here. So, important tidbits aside now, next chapter can get them home before dawn.
Oh, and I have nothing – at all – against Ashton Kutcher. I actually think he’s quite cute and very, very funny. Though I hated that show!
Remember, see you on Wednesday – not Sunday & I’m sorry again about that.
Love and hugs to all – thanks for taking this journey with me!