No one spoke as we sped away from the Fellowship church and, unfortunately, that meant I had plenty of time to get lost in my thoughts.
And my thoughts were not filled with romantic sunsets, bouquets of roses, or even simple relief of getting out of the church alive. I wasn’t even distracted by the pain radiating from Eric’s wounds.
No, instead my thoughts were filled with fear, guilt, and anxiety.
I had killed someone.
Yes, that someone was going to kill my Maker and probably Godric, and then me, but he was still a person.
Well, a vampire but still someone with thoughts and feelings.
And I had killed him.
Worse. I had killed him with very little effort.
But the worst part – the absolute worst part – about what I’d done was the difference between what I’d done to Godfrey and what happened with Amy.
I hadn’t known what would happen in either situation. I didn’t consciously decide to use my new power or suspect the consequences when I did. However, with Amy, her death could be blamed on karma or simple bad luck.
I may have hit her with my light trick, but it was her fall against the stick that truly killed her. I hadn’t wanted her dead or thought about really harming her. I just wanted her a safe distance from my brother.
But with Godfrey . . .
I closed my eyes briefly as I felt a strong wave of calm and acceptance fill the bond. Part of me wanted to try to bat the feelings away because I felt I deserved to suffer for taking a life. However, I was feeling the need to be selfish as I could feel myself starting to spin out of control. I didn’t want to lose control in front of Isabelle and Godric.
I opened my eyes and glanced discreetly at Eric and nodded slightly.
He added a wave of pride to the bond before facing forward again as the SUV turned to pull into a short driveway.
We were back at the Dallas nest.
Everyone got out of the vehicle quickly and started towards the front door, but I hesitated. Slowly, I got out of the SUV and I stood frozen by the door.
Eric stopped on his way to the house and turned back to me with a raised eyebrow. “Sookie?”
I glanced at Isabelle and Godric to see they had also stopped moving towards the house and were looking at me. I looked back at Eric and bit my bottom lip slightly. I wasn’t sure if I was able to say what I wanted to say in front of them.
“Isabelle,” Godric spoke softly but with command. “Go inside and heat the bagged blood for all of us. We will be in shortly.”
When Isabelle was gone and the door had closed behind her, Godric nodded at Eric.
“What is it, Sookie?” Eric commanded.
I glanced once more at Godric before biting the bullet and responding to Eric’s questioning. “I don’t think it’s safe here, Eric.”
Before I could get a hint of Eric’s response to my words through the bond or he could answer me, Godric’s soft voice floated to my ears. “Why is that?”
I swallowed uselessly before looking at Godric to respond, “I found a Fellowship spy here earlier . . . umm, Sir.” I added on the sir quickly as I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to address my Maker’s Maker so I fell back on my Southern upbringing. “I haven’t had an opportunity to scan the rest of the humans here and there could be more. Also, they obviously know where this house is and they’re gonna be real mad when they find out we freed you. They’re fanatics and could do something desperate in their anger.”
Godric’s face didn’t show any reaction to my words as he probed further. “Scan?”
“Oh!” I exclaimed softly as I glanced at Eric. Of course, Godric didn’t know anything about me yet. “I can read human minds.”
In a very Eric-like gesture, he raised his eyebrow and turned his gaze to meet Eric’s.
Eric nodded before adding, “She was telepathic before she was turned. She can also read Weres but not as easily and freely as humans. We are not sure about other species yet.”
“I see.” He said calmly before looking back to me. He still didn’t show any emotion on his face or in his voice. “This house is a known location for my area vampires to gather and interact for business. Much like my child’s bar but more low-key. We do not rest here, young one”
I nodded and dropped my eyes. I’m sure I would have been blushing if I could have been. He was over 2,000 years old. Of course he would guard his resting place better than this.
Then again, he also had Fellowship spies infiltrate his nest without his knowledge.
“However, you are correct that we should not stay here long.” He added as he turned to walk the rest of the way to the entrance. I fell into step behind Eric and we were soon back in the living room of the Dallas nest.
It seemed like forever since we had been here with Stan but it had only been an hour. Realizing that little fact made me realize that my night had started in Shreveport and at Fangtasia with the Magister. I felt myself becoming overwhelmed with all that had happened in the past few hours.
“We will all feed.” Godric instructed as we followed him into the kitchen where, thankfully, Hugo’s body had been removed. “Then we will have your child read the minds of the humans here tonight to see if we have any other spies in our nest.”
A part of my mind was focused on Godric’s words while the rest of my attention was focused solely on the glasses of blood sitting on the island in the middle of the kitchen.
How had I not realized how thirsty I was?
I lost all sense of control and of the manners my Gran had instilled in me as I zipped past Eric, Isabelle, and Godric to reach the first glass available to me.
It was drained in less than a second.
As the last drop crossed my lips, I quickly became aware of what I had done and became embarrassed. I dropped my eyes to the floor and slowly brought the glass from my lips to place it back on the island.
I could feel Eric’s amusement, but it was Godric’s voice that distracted me from my slight mortification.
“How old is your child?” He asked and I couldn’t tell from his voice if he was asking because of my rudeness or if he was just curious.
“Tonight is Sookie’s third rising.” The pride I felt in the bond and heard in his voice surprised me and my eyes snapped up to meet his, but his eyes were locked on his Maker’s.
Rather than trying to interpret the apparent silent conversation Eric and Godric seemed to be having, I allowed my Gran’s teachings to take over and broke the silence “I’m sorry for being so rude.” I mumbled. “I didn’t realize how thirsty I was.”
Godric and Eric’s eyes turned to look at me but it was Isabelle who spoke first, “Sookie, you have done incredibly well tonight for your third night. I knew you were young but I’m astonished at your control for a three night old.”
I offered her a small smile, “Thanks, Isabelle.”
There was an awkward silence for a moment while Godric and Eric drank their blood before Godric finally spoke. “I want all humans brought to the living room. All vampires will join us as well.”
At first, I thought he was ordering Isabelle to gather everyone together, but, as movement throughout the house instantly followed his words, I realized that all the vampires would have heard his soft words.
“Eric,” Godric spoke again, “We will have Sookie scan the humans for more spies and then we will stay at the Hotel Camilla tonight. It will be safer than assuming my resting places are not compromised.” Eric nodded in agreement as Godric’s eyes settled on me. “Then, we will discuss your new child.”
I stiffened and my eyes darted back and forth between Godric and Eric. I felt a sudden dose of fear as I tried to understand Godric’s words, but my fear was quickly swallowed by Eric’s reassurance through the bond. Before I could think any further on Godric’s meaning, he led the way from the kitchen back into the living room.
The room was now filled with ten humans and nineteen vampires, including Godric, Isabelle, Eric, and me. The humans were standing in a group in the middle of the room and the vampires were standing in a loose ring around the sides of the room.
Godric walked into the middle of the room before speaking to everyone, “A renouncer working with the Fellowship was ended tonight.” There was a slight stirring of bodies among the vampires but no words were spoken. I did find my second spy though. She was a bleached blonde dressed in a short black mini-dress. Her thoughts immediately turned to the fear of being caught.
I looked at Eric and pointed to the girl. In an instant, he had covered her mouth and held her uselessly struggling body against his own.
Godric didn’t glance in their direction as he continued, “Sookie can read human thoughts and has now found two spies in our nest. You have all become lax in your taking of companions. You will begin questioning your humans weekly under glamour to locate any fellowship plants. All spies will be handed over to Isabelle.”
The room was quiet as all the vampires present nodded their agreement. “This nest is no longer a safe place to gather. Take any belongings and do not return here. A new gathering place will be selected shortly and you will all be notified.”
Godric glanced at me and I understood the question in his eyes. I shook my head ‘no’ to indicate that the remaining humans were not spies.
Godric nodded slightly before turning back to address the vampires. “You have ten minutes. You may take all the humans but the girl.” He motioned towards Eric and the spy without looking their way. “Go now.”
The speed at which the Dallas vampires left the room created such a breeze that the humans in the room staggered in place before leaving the room to follow the vampires.
As the sounds of packing floated down from the second floor, Godric nodded to Eric.
“Sookie,” Eric said firmly, “What does she know?”
I’d been listening to Janet ever since I identified her as a spy. Luckily, she’d run through her assignment and exit plans while Godric was speaking.
“Janet doesn’t know much more than Hugo did.” I saw Isabelle flinch slightly as I mentioned her ex-Lover’s name. “She has placed listening devices in two of the bedrooms and one of the cars. A man named Gabe was her contact at the church. She reports back to them weekly on a throw away phone but she hasn’t been able to tell them anything other than some of the routines of the local vampires.”
I paused for a moment to read her thoughts again but there was nothing new. “Her failsafe plan includes pictures of her with local vampires. The Fellowship plans to use them to discredit the local vampires if she disappears.”
Eric and Godric seemed to have another silent conversation before Godric turned to face Isabelle. “Glamour her to forget anything she has learned while with vampires and not to return.”
“Yes, Sheriff.” Isabelle answered as she took Janet from Eric and darted out of the room.
“We will leave in five minutes.” Godric told Eric before he darted from the room.
I looked at Eric questioningly and he shrugged. “He needs to clean up before we go to the hotel or there will be questions.”
Oh, right. How had I forgotten that he was still covered in blood and only wore a pair of dirty pants?
“I know you are conflicted about what happened tonight.” Eric whispered to me as he crossed the room. “But I am very proud of you.”
Even with my guilt, I couldn’t help but feel pleased by his words and I found myself feeling inexplicably shy as I looked down to the floor.
Of course, Eric wasn’t having any of that. He reached up to take my face softly between his hands and lifted my face to his as he kissed me softly.
Everything around me melted away at his touch and I felt all the tension leave my body.
Predictably, I felt Eric’s lips turn upward and his amusement through the bond as he took in my body’s response to him. When he pulled back slightly, I reached up to lightly trace the curve where his neck met his shoulders.
“Are you alright?” I asked shakily.
He grinned at me. “Thanks to you.” He said softly before taking my hand from his neck and entangling it with his own. When he turned slightly towards the front door, I looked around him to see that Godric was standing by the door studying us.
I tried to interpret his facial expression, but I found myself at a loss.
He nodded once before opening the door and heading to our rental car.
I guessed it was time to go.
The drive to the hotel was short and silent. I tried to use the time to recover my mental footing after a tumultuous night but I was too nervous about Godric’s ‘talk’ about me to concentrate on anything else.
Even my guilt took a temporary back seat to my anxiety.
I tried to reason myself out of my fear. I concentrated on the time and the fact that we only had an hour before dawn. Nothing too bad could happen in an hour, right?
However, then I’d remembered how much had happened in one night and my relief at the lack of time left in the night flew out the window.
Then, I concentrated on my bond with Eric. He wasn’t feeling nervous so why should I? But then I realized he wasn’t trying to calm me down through the bond and that made me nervous. Why wouldn’t he calm me down if there were nothing to worry about?
Finally, I focused on everything Eric had told me about Godric. He respected him and he was going to introduce us eventually anyway. That gave me a little bit of relief until I remembered, as his Maker, Godric could order Eric to do anything. He could even order Eric to end me.
But that would hurt Eric.
So. . . he wouldn’t do that.
My mind was spinning in so many different directions I barely noticed when the car pulled up in front of the hotel and Eric opened my door. As I took his offered hand and stepped out of the car, he leaned down and quietly spoke into my ear. “Calm yourself.”
Easy for him to say.
I’ll admit I may have pulled back and glared at him for a very short second before his returning gaze told me I better back down.
And I took a deep unnecessary breath.
Of course, with my luck, the deep breath brought with it a delectable scent that immediately had my attention shifting to a bellboy standing on the curb about ten feet away from me.
He smelled better than the AB- fangbanger I had.
Before I made any conscious decisions, my right foot was already starting in his directions. Only Eric’s restraining hand on my arm stopped my forward momentum.
Embarrassingly, I whimpered. However, Eric didn’t remove his hand from my arm and he started leading me towards the entrance of the hotel.
I blame my vampire instincts for what I did next.
I wanted the man’s blood and I wasn’t going to get it now, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t find out who he was and how to find him later. So, I reached out to listen to his mind.
And immediately froze in place.
His thoughts were filled with the same thoughts I was hearing from the humans around me.
He was telepathic.
All thoughts of drinking his blood fell away as I tried to understand the implications of his existence and his scent. Then I felt a strong tug on my arm.
“Sookie.” Eric’s voice was firm and laced with annoyance.
Sure that I shouldn’t give too much away when we were surrounded by other vampires and humans entering the hotel, I decided to embrace my vampire nature and be cryptic.
“Did I smell that good as a human?” I said softly with a raised eyebrow.
Thin lines of concentration or confusion lined Eric’s forehead as he tried to interpret my words.
A slight widening of his eyes was the only confirmation he’d understood what I was saying.
“Now that you mention it, there is a slight similarity to the scents but it’s not the same.” He answered nonchalantly as we continued our entrance into the hotel lobby where Godric was already checking us in at the front desk. We didn’t say anything else about the bellboy while we waited for Godric, and I was able to think more clearly without the bellboy’s scent calling to me.
It only took another moment or two before Godric walked past us and we followed him to the elevators and up to the sixth floor. I expected him to give us keys to our room but we simply followed him into a large suite. The living area had two chairs and sitting across from a large sofa with a small coffee table in between them. I saw a door on either side of the living room and I assumed they each led to a bedroom.
While I was looking around the room taking in the décor, Godric and Eric were apparently ready to get right down to business since they were already seated and looking at me. Each of them had taken one of the chairs, so I slowly walked over and lowered myself onto the couch.
I felt like I was about to go in front of a firing squad.
“You do not need to fear this discussion, young one.” Godric said softly as he sat back in his chair. “I simply wish to know your story.”
The relief I felt was instantaneous and overwhelming. However, then I considered that I normally hid my emotions very well. As a telepath, I had to learn to keep my face blank when hearing the thoughts of others. Had I lost that ability when I became a vampire, or . . .
I turned my gaze to meet Godric’s and his lips turned up ever so slightly. “You are rather perceptive. Yes. I can feel your emotions.” I tried my best to stifle my reaction but he smiled a little wider so I knew I had failed. “I can’t feel them like Eric can nor would I be able to feel them if I were not so close to you now, but you do carry the same blood.”
I turned to Eric. “Does that mean that Pam can feel me?”
“She feels your presence when we are nearby the same way you felt her when you rose, but it is only the presence of related blood, for lack of a better term, that she feels.” Eric answered easily. “Godric is much older than Pam, so he is better able to understand what he feels through the blood line.”
I nodded in response. It was a little disconcerting that there was another vampire that could feel my emotions but there was nothing I could do about it so I decided to shrug it off.
“The time is getting late and I would like to hear about Ms . . .” Godric started.
“Ms. Stackhouse’s history.” Godric finished.
I glanced at Eric to see if he was going to answer but it appeared as if this was my show. I shrugged. “What would you like to know?”