Disclaimer: The Sookie Stackhouse Series is the creation of Charlaine Harris. Don't sue me Charlaine! I love your books.

A/N- This story takes place in mid February, after "From the Beginning" and "Sookie's Revelation" but before "The Gamble. This story was started around the same time as "Sookie's Revelation" and like that story, I'm just not happy with this one. But it's time to move on. There's stuff in here that you'll need for later.

Friendship

I.

Pam and I were sitting in the Starbucks off of I-20, chatting while I finished my latte and she her True Blood. I had needed some warmth and a shot of caffeine to keep me alert as we headed to Monroe. It was a cold February night.

Pam was wearing a pink cashmere cowl-necked sweater and a pair of black jeans that had a sheen to the fabric. She wore low-heeled boots and looked really lovely. I'd put on a cranberry red marl Aran-style sweater with a pretty notched collar, a pair of regular jeans, dark red pumps and I was wearing the coat Eric gave me a year ago. We were both wearing makeup and looking pretty fine, especially considering how cold it was outside. Guys would give us the eye as they walked by and every once in a while Pam would flash some fang to make them jump and make herself chuckle. She was incorrigible but it was so funny to see how much she enjoyed herself doing it. We were, however, having a serious conversation.

"So you won't ever, if you don't have to, correct?" she asked me looking me directly in the eye.

"Pam, I'm not going intruding into your mind, okay? Geez Louise. I already apologized and it's not like I was taking extensive notes, okay?" I said in a low voice.

"I have to say, Sookie, much as I care for you as a friend, I find it offensive and I think it's going to cause a lot of trouble if you're not careful. You say you can shield from it, but really, I hope you understand how dangerous this could be. I don't like it. It upsets me. No matter what Eric says about it."

"Pam, do we really have to talk about it here, in Starbucks? If you want to talk about it, can't we wait until we're back in the car?" I said, again in the low voice. I was frankly always worried about anyone else, another single soul, finding out how much my telepathic ability had recently expanded. Talking about it in a public place seemed like a bad idea.

"So I'm telling you that you upset me and your response is that you want to be in a smaller, more confined space with me? I really can see sometimes why Eric is so endlessly amused with you, Sookie," she said with genuine mischief in her eyes and a smirk on her beautiful face.

I sighed. Clearly, Pam was upset, but not all that upset. "Yes, Pam, I'm so amusing. He just laughs and laughs," I said shaking my head.

I finished my latte and didn't say anything further. We rose to leave, disposing of our trash and headed out the door into the bracing cold.

Once in the car, I buckled up and prepared myself for the far briefer drive to Monroe than would have been the case if I were at the steering wheel. Ever notice that vampires drive precisely as if they're immortal? Even if their passengers are not?

Pam looked at me with a merry spark in her eyes and said "Let's see what this car can do, shall we? We'll say it's our due, considering."

Eric had enlisted Pam to accompany me on a trip Monroe, to Hooligans, a strip club owned by my distant cousins Claudine and Claude Crane. Why Eric thought I would need a vampire bodyguard to go do something for fairies is beyond me. When Claudine called me in the afternoon and asked me for a favor, I said yes, even though it was my day off. Claudine, though my cousin, is kind of like my fairy godmother. She's looked after me countless times and most recently had gotten me out of a magical funk that had had me terribly depressed. The less said about that, the better. But now, for a change, she was asking for my help. It was only the second time she'd done so, and I really felt I had to help her out.

Pam raced down I-20 toward Monroe at a rather alarming speed. I was clutching the seat and center console of the corvette, while Pam chuckled. She was the vampire but I was probably the one looking very pale about now.

"So Sookie," she said with her voice raised slightly as she shifted gears while weaving in and out of some late evening traffic. "Exactly how did you think it wouldn't be noticed?"

I sighed. Pam could be like a dog with a bone for some things.

"Pam, I didn't know if it would be noticed. I wasn't doing it deliberately at first and then when I realized what was going on, I tried to be careful. Bill noticed it, but I'd had Bill's blood, so I thought, I mean we thought, that it was just something that he picked up on because of that."

"It feels like someone moving things around in your room, quietly, when you're trying to sleep. At first I just couldn't believe it. It's definitely noticeable."

"Well it's noticeable to you, but I can assure you it isn't noticeable to everyone."

"Oh? Do tell!" she said with an interested glance. Giving me that glance meant that she had her eyes off the road while we drove at about 80 mph.

"Pam, I beg of you. Could you please just drive the car?" It occurred to me that Eric had put his beloved human, his child, and his car in a precarious situation. So much for strategic risk analysis, Mr. Northman. I should have asked him if I could get Tray to go with me. Yeah, right. Like that would fly, Sookie, I said to myself.

"I'm having fun Sookie! I hardly ever get a chance to borrow it. I'm a good driver, and I want to know what dirt you have. Were these other vampires in the bar? I mean at the very least, I should know because if they are so stupid they don't feel you tramping around in their minds, they bear watching."

I hesitated. I wanted her to be safe. I could see her point from the standpoint of knowing who's got your back. Clearly, you'd want to know if someone was inattentive to the details.

"Okay, the only other people I've read a bit have been Clancy, Felicia and that dancer Kira, the one will all the tattoos and piercings. I didn't try Clancy for long because I know he doesn't like me much and I just felt it was a bad idea. I wasn't there long enough to tell if he felt it. Felicia I could read really easily. And Kira is, well, let's just say Kira is very occupied with her own thoughts and wouldn't notice much. Oh, and I tried Thalia once but she seemed like she felt it right away so I stopped immediately and made myself scarce."

"And?"

"And what?" I replied.

"And what did you hear?" she said impatiently.

"Just totally innocent stuff, Pam! I wasn't looking for your super secret vampire shit, okay? Geez…"

"But seriously, Sookie, what did you hear?" she said more gently. "Is it like what you hear from humans?"

Ah. So Pam was really curious, after all was said and done, about how it all sounded in my mind.

"Well, humans are all different, Pam. Sometimes it's like someone reading from a book because the thoughts are clear and well formed and the person is talking out loud in their own head. Other times it's more like a stream of images. Some people don't even really think in words. With Weres I get mostly images, although some (here I thought of Quinn) are really quite good at projecting strong thoughts and ideas. Usually, before, I just saw vampires as a sort of void space. Like something that should be there, wasn't there, so you knew a vampire was there. Now it's more like a combination of that and hearing the odd thought and seeing some images. It's like I can string it together and make a movie in my mind."

"How hard is it to read a vampire mind?"

I hesitated. The truth of the matter is that if I'd had Eric's blood recently, not hard at all. But did Pam really need to know that? Probably not. I thought she was already uneasy enough with the whole thing. And I was not much better off than she was on the topic, I thought, honestly.

"Sometimes it takes work to make sense of the thoughts, Pam. More work than with a human, or some Weres."

This was true. Some of the things I'd seen in Eric's mind were pretty hard to comprehend.

Bill had told me he knew, before he actually told Eric (unlike Pam). Eric had not been pleased when he found out that Bill told me first. Since then, Bill and I had been practicing to see if I could read his directed thoughts. He'd come into Merlotte's and try to communicate silently. Eventually, we'd practiced to see if Eric could detect Bill literally beaming me thoughts. That had the potential to be a useful skill according to Eric. Eric could figure it out, or get the fact that Bill was talking to me in his mind, about half the time. Discouraging, I'd thought, but they'd thought it showed great promise. I didn't want to think too hard about what kind of information I might be "sent" and what I might be doing with it for them. Frankly, the whole thing worried me, even if Eric thought it had "great potential".

Eric practiced thinking at me regularly. In fact, just this evening, when I was refusing to have anyone accompany me to Hooligans, I got a wonderful blast of "Oh yes you will…" along with a pleasant refusal, out loud, to even let me out of the house for the night if I didn't do as I was asked and accept Pam's company to keep an eye on me. Well, that was a tempting offer, I'd thought, with a naughty smile. And how would he keep me busy in the house so I couldn't leave? Hmmmmm. But… I really owed Claudine. I supposed I should be glad I could go to the grocery store alone.

I chuckled to myself about Pam. Considering it our due, indeed. Poor Pam, having to be out of Fangtasia for the night, to go to the fairies' strip club.