When I opened my eyes, Godric was sitting in a chair across the room waiting for me with two bags of donated blood. I wasn’t surprised, since we normally started the night with a feeding and a plan of action. Plus, he always rose before me.
“Master.” I greeted him with a nod before taking the offered blood from him, and draining the bags effortlessly.
“My child,” he said as I finished the last bag. “Pam and Eric are upstairs and cannot hear us. I would like to hear your reasons for not wishing to stay here.”
Godric never did waste time, even though we had plenty of it.
“I have too many bad memories here now, Master.”
“Your memories will follow you wherever you go.”
I couldn’t argue that point.
“The Queen still wants me. What will she do when she finds out I’m here?” I asked.
“She cannot have you now. She will know this.” He answered steadily. “You may need to assist her from time to time if we stay in her state, but I will not allow her to overstep her bounds. I will protect you.”
“Pam and Eric don’t need me tagging along like the baby vamp I am.”
“They have already expressed their desire for us to stay with them.”
I stayed silent for several minutes before Godric took my hand in his. “What worries you the most?”
“I don’t know.” I admitted. “I simply feel the need to be away from here.”
He nodded as if he expected this answer. “Will you listen to why I believe we should stay?”
“Of course, Master.”
“Eric and Pam are the only other vampires we can trust to know about your extra abilities.” He explained. “If we stay here, then I can train you with others to test your abilities, and push you to learn how to best defend yourself.”
“I can understand that reason.” I admitted reluctantly.
“Regarding the Queen, she is young and she is not a serious threat to myself or Eric. Also, Eric is one of her trusted Sheriffs. If we were to move on to another state, we may have a stronger King or Queen to contend with and we will not have the insight that we will have with Eric on our side.”
I nodded but stayed silent.
“Most importantly,” Godric spoke softly as he lifted my chin so that I was looking into his eyes. “I believe you must face your past and work through these feelings of guilt and anger that overwhelm you.”
I fought back the tears threatening to overflow and nodded my head again.
“Good.” He answered softly. “Then we are agreed that we will live here with Eric and Pam.”
“Yes, Master.” I said softly.
“Then join me upstairs after your shower. You will find that Pam has left clothes for you outside your room. I will tell the others of our plans…”
“Master,” I called him when he started to leave the room.
“May I ask you for something?”
“I’ve told Eric not to treat me with kid gloves.” I sighed unnecessarily. “I would ask you do the same.”
“I do not understand.”
“Eric is a flirt.” I stated simply, and Godric nodded in response. “If he doesn’t flirt with me because of what happened to me, then it makes me feel broken or undesirable.”
I paused for a moment before I continued.
“You are a strong and caring Master. However, if you do not push me to be better or stronger, then it makes me feel as if you do not think I am strong enough for your teachings, or this life.”
Godric looked thoughtful for a moment. “You are asking me to be stricter with you?”
“No. I’m asking you to forget what happened to me and treat me as you would any other child.”
He sighed and walked back towards me. “This I cannot do.”
I was surprised that he denied me and I could feel my rejection building.
“You may wish the past did not happen, but it did. I will concede that I should not have asked Eric to treat you differently, but my interactions with you are apart from Eric’s flirtations.”
“How are they different?” I asked.
“He is not your Mentor.” He said softly as he brushed my hair behind my ear in a fatherly way. “I must know your weaknesses, deepest fears, and worst nightmares in order to help you overcome them and move forward. Sometimes, I will push those memories of yours to the forefront in order to help you heal. Other times, I will comfort you so you are not alone in your grief. This is my role as your Maker.”
I simply nodded as I listened to his words and felt his sincerity through our bond.
“Never think that I believe you to be weak, my child. You have more inner strength than almost anyone I’ve ever met. It is my privilege to be your maker.”
“Thank you master.”
After showering, I put on the pale blue sundress Pam had left for me along with a pair of white sandals. I then made my way upstairs to find everyone waiting for me in silence in the ‘living’ room.
I surveyed the room and it immediately reminded me of Eric. It was larger than life. It was at least four times the size of my Gran’s old living room and it had a high, vaulted ceiling with skylights. The walls were as blue as the deepest ocean and the furniture was oversized, with darkly stained wood pieces, and tan upholstery. I saw touches of what I assumed was Pam’s style around the room. There were several feminine looking paintings, as well as floral decorations on the table.
My examination of the room was interrupted when I noticed the feeling of reluctance and annoyance coming from my Maker. I knew better than to question him in front of any other vampire, even those in our family. So, instead of questioning him vocally, I sent curiosity and worry through our bond while I looked at him.
“Come sit, my child.” Godric spoke softly and motioned to the chair across from where he and Eric sat on the couch. Pam was sitting in the chair next to me.
I felt like I was being prepped for bad news.
“Just tell me.” I blurted out. “I do better with straight facts than hand holding.”
Godric stared at me for one moment before turning to look at Eric and nodding.
I guess that meant Eric was the one with the bad news.
“I must release Compton tonight.” I stiffened immediately at my ex-boyfriend’s name. “Before I release him, I need to call the Queen and tell her of your newly discovered state of being.”
He paused and I continued to stare at him. I knew there had to be more to it than he was letting on but I didn’t know enough about vampire politics to put two and two together yet.
“Godric has informed me that you will both be staying in Louisiana.”
I nodded in agreement.
“As full time residents of Louisiana, you will both be required to swear fealty to the Queen by the end of the week.”
I leapt out of my seat. “What?”
“Sit back down and listen.” Godric ordered softly, and I obeyed.
“Fealty is how the vampire world works, Sookie.” Eric explained. “A Monarch must know that they have the loyalty of their residents. In return for their subject’s loyalty and services, the Monarch offers their protection of the subject’s undead life and their assets.”
“So you all expect me to swear my loyalty to a woman whose interference in my life led to so many heartaches?”
I started to snap back at him but out of the corner of my eyes I saw Godric raise his hand slightly. The gesture was enough to remind me of my latest lessons.
Control my emotions.
I closed my eyes for a moment, to center myself, before speaking again, “What makes you think she won’t try to abuse her power over me? She’s the one that sent Bill after me in the first place.”
“She may try.” Godric answered. “However, I am over twice her age and she will not be allowed to be abusive.”
I sighed unnecessarily. I couldn’t really challenge my Maker’s confidence in dealing with the Queen so I was left with nothing to say.
After a couple of moments, Godric nodded to Eric and he took out his cell phone. While Eric was dialing, Godric turned to me.
“I command you not to speak or otherwise react while Eric speaks to the Queen.”
Immediately I felt the pull in my gut that always accompanied my Maker’s command. I looked at him in surprise as the command settled in my body.
He had only commanded me a handful of times since my rising. I couldn’t understand why he was doing so now.
“She may react poorly and we cannot have you speaking out of turn.” Godric answered my unspoken question.
I nodded and turned my attention to Eric as his call was connected. Vampire senses were great for hearing both sides of the call, as he requested to speak to the Queen and he was placed on hold.
After a couple of minutes of hold music, a shrill, female voice purred through the receiver. “My favorite Sheriff. To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Eric rolled his eyes as she spoke, “Your Majesty, I have learned some new information that was quite surprising, and I knew you would want to know right away.”
“Oh? And what is this news?”
“Last evening, my Maker came to visit me at Fangtasia to introduce me to his new child. He had crossed paths with her in Kentucky and circumstances led him to turn her.”
“Why is this important to me, Sheriff?” She answered in a bored tone.
“I was shocked when I learned that his new child is Sookie Stackhouse.”
“WHAT?” She shrieked.
“I was as surprised as you are Your Majesty.”
“How did this happen? Did you have something to do with this Northman? I’ll have your head . . .”
“No, my Queen. I knew nothing about their meeting or that Ms. Stackhouse had been turned until they showed up in my bar. It seems they both crossed paths with the Fellowship in Kentucky. I’m sure the King there can collaborate their story.”
“Where are they now?” She seethed.
“They are staying with me. My Maker has decided for Ms. Stackhouse to learn about her new state of being near her vampire bloodline. Therefore, I will be accompanying them to visit you, to swear fealty, at your earliest convenience.”
She was silent for a moment before speaking again, “Very well. Be here tomorrow night and inform your Maker that I wish to hear how his new child avoided detection for the past several months.”
“Yes, Your . . .” Eric started to answer before the phone call was ended by the Queen.
“That went well.” Pam drawled as Eric placed his phone back in his pocket.
“Indeed.” Eric answered.
While the three of them conversed about the Queen’s reaction, I was still reeling from the fact that I had to bow before the vampire that ruined my human life. I was trying my best to shake it off.
Godric wanted me to learn how to control myself. While I may have been the expert at hiding my emotions as a human, this new vampire life had introduced me to a whole new set of instincts and stronger emotions. I needed to relearn the control I had become so proud of as a telepath.
Deciding I wasn’t going to let the meeting tomorrow night ruin what was left of tonight, I turned my thoughts towards lighter things.
“What does one wear when visiting a vampire Queen?”
The sudden change in her demeanor and the smile on her face told me I was in for one hell of a night of shopping.