A/N- This story takes place after the point my other two, "Dead and Gone, With the Wind" and "My Telepathic Friend" left off. It assumes you have read all eight of the Sookie books, "Gift Wrap" from Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, The first chapter of Dead and Gone, (Book 9 in the Sookie Stackhouse Series, where first chapter is available on Charlaine Harris's website) and that you have also seen the synopsis of "Dead and Gone" that now appears on Barnes and Noble's website's description of the book.
The characters of the Sookieverse are the creation of Charlaine Harris. I hope she doesn't mind my borrowing them for a few hours. I'm poor, Charlaine, and love your books. Don't sue me.
(taped onto a sheet of note paper on the refrigerator door:)
WORD OF THE DAY
1 [ trans. ] give or grant someone power, status, or recognition
2 [ intrans. ] be harmonious, in agreement* or consistent with.
1 an official agreement or treaty.
2 agreement or harmony
ORIGIN Old English , from Old French acorder 'reconcile, be of one mind,' from Latin ad- 'to' + cor, cord- 'heart' ; influenced by concord.
(Handwritten below, in various colors of ink and in pencil)
Addendum (reader's note- this one is scratched out, but we can't get strikethrough to work in html on this website... )
*To be in accord with Eric Northman: conceding to his wishes at all times and in all things (please see autocracy or dictatorship in dictionary for further details.)
Someone should tell Miss Stackhouse that she ought to know better. For the record, having someone watch over her is a sign she is held in high regard, not 'stalked' or 'denied her privacy'.
Someone should tell Mr. Northman to keep his hands off my damn word. -Sookie
It is gratifying that Miss Stackhouse is exploring the use of possessive pronouns. -E.
It was almost the end of the month. Sam was back from Texas, his mom was fine, and I was relieved, as of Tuesday, to no longer be managing his bar. I was going to be working the day shift for a few days, so that I could relax and get more sleep.
The third week of the Northman campaign to win my heart had suffered a setback shortly after a third pleasant Sunday 'movie night'. I was getting tired of seeing Bill Compton every damn night in the bar and when Tray went home sick on Monday in the early evening, Bill wanted to see me home. I refused. Politely, but firmly. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that not only did he follow me home anyway but that he was also hovering around my house "just checking things out, since Tray hadn't seen me home". In the argument that ensued, Bill lost his temper and let it slip that he was under orders and that I was just going to have to suck it up and take it, because he was going to do as he had been asked to do, whether I liked it or not. It didn't take much figuring to know where those orders came from and I was none too pleased. We had quite the shouting match and his angry fangs were on prominent display. After asking Mr. Compton to kindly leave Stackhouse property, I called Eric's cell phone and got his voicemail. Sadly, it appears that vampires dial much faster than humans do. A short time later I received a real gem of a text message from the Area 5 Sheriff.
Bill is supposed to be making sure you are safe. It's for your protection. Stop arguing with him.
To which I replied:
I do not like feeling stalked by my ex-boyfriend. It is an invasion of my privacy and it pisses me off that you think you can make this kind of arrangement behind my back.
The 'repentant' reply:
Too bad. Do you think the Alien vs. Predator movie would be too gory?
Sometimes, Eric just took my breath away. And I do not mean that in a positive sense.
The next morning, Tuesday, I arose to the peace of knowing I would no longer be managing Merlotte's in Sam's absence. Sam got back in town shortly after 9 am, and he didn't even look all that exhausted from taking care of his mom or from the three hour drive that morning. His was one welcome face to see at 10:30 am at the bar. He told me again and again throughout the day that he could never thank me enough. I gave him a hug when I was leaving and told him that it had been a great learning experience. It really had. I had so much more respect for anyone running their own business, especially a bar or restaurant.
After a much easier day of work than I'd had in weeks, I went home, showered and contemplated how relaxing it was to have free time. I was pleasantly surprised when Pam came to visit for a while. She showed up at about 7 pm, having called at 6:30 pm to ask if she could come over. Amelia was out with Tray, which didn't seem to bother Pam in the least. I knew Amelia said they still talked regularly and she considered Pam a friend. I somehow didn't think I'd be feeling that same degree of ease with Quinn and the situation with Bill was even worse, since we grated on each other's nerves.
I was surprised when Pam showed up very casually dressed. We were both in jeans and sweatshirts and had no makeup on. She was going in to work late that night, around 11 pm, she told me, and would get ready later. Pam's visit felt like real friendship. She drank True Bloods and I drank sweet tea. We watched TV for a bit and painted each other's nails and chatted about all kinds of things. I tried to grit my teeth and be pleasant when she started in about the business of Bill watching me.
"So, did you pretty much come here on a mission for Eric, then, Pam? You can tell me the truth. I know it's not like you'd have much choice in the matter if he told you to come here and tell me I had it all wrong." I took a moment to admire my nails. She had painted my nails a soft pink. They looked really pretty.
"What if I just wanted to come here and tell you that you had it all wrong? Would it play better?"
"Well, you still have it all wrong. We need to make sure you are safe. Remember that Felipe…"
I cut her off. "Pam, my understanding was that you guys could offer me protection if I need it. Like if I asked for it, or if I disappeared, or if I was attacked by Weres again, or whatever. But I'm not asking."
"Well, we're not asking either, Sookie. We're just doing." She smiled the most vampire smile you could imagine. That 'don't mess with me' smile. The one with the fangs down just enough to let you know they're getting annoyed with you and because they like you, they haven't ripped into you yet. And I don't mean that figuratively.
I looked away to try to be less confrontational and shook my head. "Can you explain to me why, if Eric wanted someone to watch me, he would ask Bill, Pam? What about Bubba? I thought Bubba was back. I'm fine with Bubba. I even have some affection for him. He can be downright sweet."
"Sookie, Bubba is… inept. And he leaves bodies around in awkward locations, as I understand it. Bill may not be your cup of tea these days, but he's very equal to the task and I'm sure that if there was any danger that he would neutralize it quickly."
"While stalking me, Pam," I said while grimacing. We needed a lighter mood, I thought to myself, as I put a quick drying top coat on her nails. We'd chosen a really dark red which was so not Pam, but so right for working in Fangtasia.
"Sookie, we have been around a lot longer than you have. I can absolutely assure you, both as your friend, and as someone who swore to protect you, that you need the protection. Really. Look at that so-called friend of yours who quit at the bar. Bill said that she said horrible things to you. What if those people she associates with went after you? And those are just humans. You are associated with all of us but have none of the abilities we do to protect ourselves. You need the protection and whether you like it or not, I'm with Eric on this one."
"Hmpf!" was my only comment.
"So Sookie, on the heels of Bill's losing his temper and telling you about his orders, and let me just mention I told Eric I could totally understand losing one's temper when arguing with you about things… I hope you are not going to take this the wrong way…"
"What now, Pam…" I said with trepidation as I sprayed the nails with one of those quick drying sprays just to be sure.
"I'm giving you something and you're accepting it because you're my friend. Because I wanted to give it to you and it will make me happy. Refusal would be offensive to me."
When she came back into the house with the blue silk dress and the fine net wrap I started to cry. She looked appalled. I guess that under regular circumstances that I would have been upset with a friend giving me such an expensive gift, because there was no way I could reciprocate. But in a weird way, I felt like she was trying to reciprocate for Rhodes. Not like she thought that she could just buy me something to say thank you. But she was giving me something she knew I had liked, that we had found together and I could see she really wanted to give it to me to be kind. I couldn't refuse her gift, no matter how lavish it seemed to be to me. I knew that what she meant when she said she'd be offended was that she'd be hurt if I refused it.
"It was so sweet of you, Pam. You really shouldn't have. It's so beautiful. Thank you. I really loved this dress."
"Can you explain why you are crying if you are happy? Because you really do not look at all displeased. And yet you cry. This just doesn't make sense to me."
I just hugged her and said, "It's very kind of you Pam. I'll think of you whenever I wear it."
She seemed pleased, even though I cried. I went and put it carefully into the closet next to the red dress. When I came back out, she had rinsed out her two bottles and was studying my word of the day from this morning, which I had taped onto a sheet of notepaper and taped to the refrigerator door. She made an odd chortling sound when she came to my recent addendum to the word 'accord'. That being in accord with Eric meant just conceding on every point and my allusions to autocracy and dictatorship. I realized he'd probably be annoyed when he saw it. Too bad.
"I always get the best material from you, Sookie. I can't wait to use this one… Autocratic and dictatorial, the telepath says…"
"I didn't say that, Pam. Watch it."
"I'll be careful how I quote the written statement." She grinned like the Cheshire cat.
I was in bed by 10 pm, reading my book. Eric called at 11 pm and I was already half-asleep. He completely ignored the entire issue of Bill, and told me he was getting House of Flying Daggers for tomorrow night because it reportedly had great fight scenes and was supposed to be beautiful, so it had something for both of us. He seemed so pleased that I would be off work on a weeknight when Fangtasia was closed. I was so sleepy I could barely muster replies for conversation. After talking about some of the funny things that had happened at this year's Dracula party (it had been back on the 8th and I was invited, but of course, was working at Merlotte's because Sam had been in Texas) that he'd forgotten to mention before, he fell silent.
"So, I guess I'll let you go to sleep. I'll be there tomorrow around 6:30 pm, okay?"
"Mmmm Hmmm," I said sleepily.
"I miss you," he said softly.
"Mmm. I miss you, too." I was really too sleepy to even mind what I was saying.
I felt a sudden rush of pleasure that was almost enough to rouse me. But I was really too tired to overanalyze it. I fell into what seemed to be a deep, dreamless sleep.