The lights of the shopping center where Fangtasia was located came into view. I landed and paused to admire the grey and red exterior. The neon sign out front with its blazing scripted letters flickered as if in agreement with my own annoyance. I disliked doing anything I did not wish and there were many things of that nature to come in the days ahead. I shoved the thought away and left it to mingle where the rest of my unpleasantness resided. I stalked through the door.
“She’s in there,” Pam whispered as I passed her, “and she’s in an especially foul mood.”
“It is nothing I did not expect.” I kept walking past the bar and into the office that had been my sanctuary. I did not like that the Queen already felt that she owned me and would have told her so had I not had plans of my own.
Sitting behind my desk, Freyda, the Queen of Oklahoma, looked poised and immaculate, as was expected of her position, but I could tell from the narrowing of her eyes when I hesitated briefly before bowing to her that she was unhappy. It grated on me, but there was nothing to be done about that. For now, I needed to start acting a bit more submissive.
“Majesty, what may I do for you this evening?” I asked calmly. It helped that I did this while I imagined twisting her head clean off her body.
“Well Eric that is certainly a change from the attitude I have come to expect from you.” Her head tilted slightly to the side and because she was much younger than my years I could see the wheels of her mind trying to understand this change in my demeanor. Well I’d have to make my excuse believable, so I opted for the truth.
“The Stackhouse problem has resolved itself.” The words fell bitter from my tongue. “She will not interfere with your plans any further.”
“The Stackhouse problem…Hmmm. Is that so? Why such a change of heart? The last we spoke you had no intention of leaving your Sookie.” Freyda spat out her name with derision.
“Ms. Stackhouse made it clear to me that she no longer cared for my company or affection. I find it distasteful to continue to fawn over a woman who has proven that she is unworthy. I am nothing if not pragmatic. The path laid out before me now is obvious. Truly, I should have seen it before, if I had not been so…infatuated with her blood.” The words were like silver in my veins, but I ignored the pain and continued. “So I ask again, what may I do for her Majesty on this evening? I have much to do before our marriage occurs.”
“As usual you come quickly to the reasonable solution. Yet I wonder…” Freyda looked as if she was reconsidering the proposition, but it was only a momentary flash in her eyes before she continued. “I only came to impress upon you just how persuasive I could be, but I find that it is unnecessary. I will leave so you may continue your preparations. I would hope that you do not change your mind before we sign the papers. I trust that you will ensure that all is appropriately formal for tomorrow evening. I find your little venture here unsuited to my usual style. Until tomorrow.” Freyda smiled coyly in my direction as she left my office, her light brown hair swaying with her hips. Evidently she had moved onto the seduction portion of her strategy.
I settled behind my desk, feeling a bit closer to myself. “Pam, I need to speak with you.” There was no need to raise my voice or even leave the office, she would hear my call.
Pam entered, the black lace of her outfit sweeping the floor behind her. She was on duty tonight, hence the ridiculous get-up. I knew she hated the façade, but it was necessary to keep the humans enthralled. Normally her style tended more towards Ann Taylor and less towards Morticia, but we all do what we must.
“The arrangements for tomorrow evening have continued I assume?” I knew how Pam felt about Sookie, protecting her like a little sister despite her breather status. It was surprising considering how standoffish Pam usually was. Sookie was the only human besides Miriam that Pam had ever cared for as a vampire. I could tell she was taken aback by my seemingly quick change of heart.
“Yes Eric,” hesitating as she looked in my eyes and must have seen a hardness there that had not been there before. “Everything is as the Queen wished it. All who owe you fealty will be here. What caused your…” I cut her off before she could continue.
“There is nothing more discuss then regarding the situation.” My voice came out as hard and determined as I wanted it to. There was no reason to involve Pam in my plans. My people would need someone to keep them together after I was gone.
“What about Sookie, Eric?” Pam looked confused as she tried to grasp my motivations.
“I said there was nothing more to discuss. I will see that Mustapha takes care of the incidentals of my daytime life. If I can arrange it you will take over Fangtasia after I leave.” I dared not look at her for fear I would reveal too much.
“I don’t want your fucking bar. I want you to fight. I want you to be the warrior I have known, the vampire who bowed to no one. We can fight her, I know we can. Let me gather your people since you are unable to. Please, Eric, don’t do this. Don’t just give up.” Pam’s voice was filled as much emotion as I’ve ever heard from her, I had to put a stop to it.
“Fight what Pam? The Queen of Oklahoma does me a great honor and I see now that my maker knew better than I what was best.”
“Bullshit Eric! I have known you for over a hundred years and you’ve never let anyone defeat you.” Had she been human, or Sookie, she would have been screaming at me by now, not that I blamed her, my actions must seem confusing at best. As it was her words took on an icy edge, one that I knew would only stop when I put an end to it. She would risk her life for me and I could not allow that.
“Enough. This is not a democracy as you well know. Do not make me command you as your maker. Do as you are told and leave.” My voice brooked no disobedience and I watched as she left, appearing defeated.
The door shut behind her and my head dropped to the paper calendar that covered my desk. Only a few more hours of freedom existed to me. I would not spend it wallowing. I would spend it protecting the only woman I had ever loved, whether she wanted me there or not.