Pam strode into Eric’s office after giving a perfunctory knock at his door and flopped dramatically onto one of the still-new leather sofas. Eric was a neat eater…unless one of his meals squirmed too much or had a leaky femoral artery, then all bets were off…hence the matching pair of new sofas purchased a little over a month ago. Judging by the scent, they still hadn’t been broken in yet.
Not that she should be surprised – these nights it was “Sookie this” and “Sookie that” all the damn time.
Not that she could blame him – the little blonde bloodbag did smell absolutely divine. Maybe someone needing to be ‘read’ would come along sometime soon?
“Yes, Pamela. Report. What angered my Maker earlier, and how is his pet?” Eric spat the last word. Since his Maker had encountered the brunette bloodbag, his behavior had become slightly more restrained yet, oddly, even more erratic. Mentally he sighed; he had area business to conduct, reports to read and digest, another manager to fire and therefore one to hire… Surely this shouldn’t take too long.
Oh, yeah, Pam thought as she recalled herself from reminiscing over Sookie’s scent… “Godric,” she started, then paused for effect as she relayed the most important part of this evening’s events, “offered her his blood…in front of Dr. Ludwig.” She did so love to drop a bomb on her generally inflappable Maker.
Eric inhaled sharply in shock, then clenched his jaw. His Maker never, ever, offered his blood. Ever. The blood was sacred – Godric had drummed that mantra into his head since the night he rose.
“What is her illness? Ludwig did examine her, right?” Maybe she had some strange sickness that only his blood would cure?
“A common cold,” came Pam’s less-than-impressed answer along with an eye-roll.
Even she realized that she enjoyed Eric’s shocked reaction a little too much as she watched him think over that sweet little tidbit. The only other time he displayed as much reaction was when it concerned that Sookie. She tucked her feet under herself on the sofa to get them out of the way of Eric’s sudden pacing. His office at TSO was huge even in her opinion, but he had very long legs. His pacing took up a lot of room…
“Ludwig should have informed me of this,” Eric growled a few minutes later. That fucking doctor should have called me the second she left that human’s house.
“She was in a hurry to leave for her vacation, but she did seem taken with the girl.”
Pam snickered at Eric’s raised brow. The idea that Ludwig would actually like someone was worth pausing the pacing.
“She did. She even cast a sort of privacy spell so that Godric and I couldn’t hear what was said. Grandmaker was not happy about it, either.”
“So, this Cara now has his blood,” he fumed as he resumed pacing, his ire rising yet again. Great…yet another reason to despise Godric’s little pet.
Pam’s negation stopped him in his tracks once again. “No? She didn’t take his blood?” Surely the little bitch had jumped at the chance to get some tasty ancient vampire blood on her tongue. Odin knows anyone else would.
“No, she refused it. Even after he told her what it would do for her, she still refused it. She was even… nice about it, too,” she added begrudgingly.
Damn. Now he had to like her, at least a little. Well, he would settle for despising her a bit less instead. So far his reports on her had turned up very little, but there was nothing negative in what his people had managed to find.
Pam wisely stifled her laugh at the expressions rapidly crossing her Maker’s face.
“Know what sucks about this entire situation?” Pam’s off-handed drawl several minutes later didn’t fool Eric for a second. He knew his Child well, better than she knew her own self most times, and steadied himself to hear her true feelings regarding this mess. Also he had yet to learn what had caused his Master’s sudden burst of anger…during the time he knew his Child to still be in his presence.
He raised a brow to encourage her to continue.
“I don’t like her,” she stated with petulant firmness.
Fully accustomed to her ways, he turned to face her and waited.
“Because I think I might actually…like her,” she continued, her voice growing small at the end of her statement.
Eric thought for a moment, then lowered his tall frame to sit beside her on the sofa. This was going to get good.
Pam extracted a nail file from her pocket and assiduously tended to a perfectly fine nail.
“And how did this miracle come about?” Pam did not like humans in general and very rarely in specific. Something must have happened…
“I may have said something… Something might have… Look, I was getting bored, ok? We had bought the girl food and had taken it to her house and even stayed there while the doctor did her thing, right? It was time to go! The doctor had left, the girl was fine… So, I might have sounded a little…bored.” Pam never looked away from her unnecessary filing even as she half-heartedly shrugged one shoulder.
Pam, Pam, Pam… Eric shook his head. He knew well just how uncomfortable and bored his Child would have been in a human’s home – a sick human who wasn’t even her usual dinner at that. He could easily imagine exactly how she would have come off sounding.
Unfortunately, he could also easily imagine his Maker’s reaction to any perceived insult toward this human that he was so besotted with, too.
“And?” He kept his voice neutral. This situation was between his Maker and his Child, not only did he not want to become involved, to an extent he truly couldn’t. If his Master decided to punish his grandprogeny, there was not that much he could do about it. Not only was it vampire tradition for older members of a family line to take younger members either under their wing or to task, but he also knew his own Maker to be scrupulously fair and just. Godric would invariably wait until his temper had leveled before deciding if a punishment were necessary. When needed he would indeed react with glorious, frightening anger toward any not of his own line who deserved it, but he treated his progeny with kid gloves…if kid gloves came with an iron center. These nights, however, Godric rarely reacted as expected.
Besides, he sensed there was more to this story. Pam just liked to draw out the drama.
“And,” he prompted again. Judging by the suddenly baffled expression on his Child’s partially-hidden face, encouragement was needed. Little baffled his Pamela…
“Then, a little later, I could tell that he was angry with me, very angry, but I didn’t think she could tell, but now that I think about it, maybe she could and I just didn’t really realize it at the time.”
“Daughter, you are rambling. Speak plainly.” His voice wasn’t unkind, but he did want to fast-forward to the interesting part. Through the bond he could tell that Pam truly was fine, just… Yeah, baffled. His own curiosity was rapidly rising.
“She…this Cara, it was like she was trying to get me back into his good graces. She even complimented me. Twice. She voiced her approval of the food choices I had made even though I did not think she was as impressed as she made it sound. She was…appreciative, and in a way that Godric seemed to like. It was as if she really was trying to smooth things over between us, but…but there was no way she should have been able to tell that there was a problem to begin with. She’s just…human.”
Eric was stunned. He recognized that his Child was formidable in her own right, and did nothing to endear herself to anyone. Those were but a few of the qualities that had drawn him to her in the first place. The only beings on the planet whose opinion she cared about were his own and his Maker’s, and in that order. That this interloper, this Cara, had noticed that something was amiss between grandMaker and grandChild was noteworthy; that she would actively try to ease whatever problem was amazing. Instead of being put off by his Child’s behavior, it seemed she had actually tried to help…and anyone who aided his Child…
“She even called me her future friend. She said that I had done…good.”
He bet that if he raised Pam’s face, there would be an unshed tear in her eye to match the slight tremble in her voice. It seemed that this simple human, his Maker’s pet, had somehow introduced his Child to the concept of…humility. Yes, he consulted the bond, humility, gratitude, and a strange warmth seemed to be new guests in her heart. Interesting…
Giving her a moment to compose herself, Eric moved back to his desk. “So, how was Godric toward you when you left?”
After unnecessarily clearing her throat, Pam replied, “Much the same as always, actually. He told me that I had done well,” she finished proudly.
Eric immediately relaxed a justifiable tension he hadn’t realized he held. He would truly hate having to try to intercede between his Maker and his Child – he treasured both equally and could not fathom having to choose one over the other.
“Then we must assume that this Cara has worked some sort of magic, and that you did, in fact, do well. Mind that you keep your impatience to yourself in the future, however. Godric’s temperament is apt to change at a moment’s notice.”
Pam looked up and met Eric’s gaze squarely. “I know, and I’m worried.”
Not wanting to discuss Godric’s current situation with her now, he nodded then reminded Pam to check on the night’s waitresses and bar personnel.
A while later, as Eric was scanning applications from several vampires wishing to move into his area, he felt Godric’s emotions surge. He had been enjoying a peace that he’d never felt before from his Maker, a peace and contentment so strong and all-encompassing that he, himself, couldn’t help but smile from even the paltry effects flowing through the bond.
Then all hell broke loose.
Jumping from his chair so quickly that it flew backwards into the wall, he sped through his office door, leaving that door embedded into the wall across from it, and toward the nearest exit.
Godric was crazy, perhaps literally, over this Cara. If something were to happen to her even accidentally by his hand, he knew his Maker would never recover.
Pam, having sensed his apprehension, met him just as he reached the exit.
“I know the way,” were her only words.
He scooped her up into his arms and took to the night sky.
At once stunned, achy, and pissed off, Cara jumped from the couch and stomped over to the furious vampire draining the dark-haired guy shoved up against her living room wall.
“Godric! Godric – dammit, stop!”
Seeing that yelling at him wasn’t doing a damn bit of good, she hauled back and slapped his arm as hard as she could. She would have gladly gone for his face but since it was buried in…
“For the love of little green apples…dammit, Godric, that’s my cousin! Now kindly get your fangs out of his neck already! Godric!”
Godric stilled and, after ensuring that he had the intruder properly subdued, he slowly removed his fangs from the vaguely pleasant flesh. While the man’s blood was flavorsome, it certainly wasn’t good enough to be worth losing his Cara’s tentative affections more than he already had, especially if this idiot truly was somehow related to her.
Still…what was this man doing haunting his Cara’s door in such a fashion, and after hours at that?
Leaning back enough to capture this cousin’s gaze in his own, he silently compelled the man toward honesty, then growled out, “Why were you lingering at Cara’s door? What is your business here?”
When the man didn’t immediately answer, he felt his Cara come closer. Every instinct in his still-tense body demanded that he move the threat away from her, and was glad when he felt his Child and grandChild quickly approaching.
As he didn’t wish to cause his progeny undue distress, he sent Eric the “come quickly, no threat” call, and was pleased with the “understood” reply through their connection.
“Nat, now would be a great time to answer the gorgeous, pissed off vampire. What in the hell are you doing here? I haven’t laid eyes on you in years!”
“I…I was just dropping in for a visit is all,” Nat stuttered, his terrified brown eyes darting all around the room as his voice rose at the end of his statement.
Godric sincerely hoped the man managed to hold his water. He tried to tone down his instinctive growls toward that end, but promptly gave up. What the hell was this fool thinking?
With a glare at both Nat’s bleeding neck and Godric’s still descended fangs, Cara huffed then dragged her tired ass off to the bathroom. She grabbed a hand towel, wet it with cold water, then returned to place it on her stupid cousin’s stupid still-bleeding neck. Godric’s long-ass’d fangs had done a number and the blood was copious.
What the hell was her cousin doing showing up at her apartment in the middle of the night, anyway? The last time she’d seen him, years earlier, his non-working ass had wanted to borrow money from her – money that she’d worked hard for and was not going to waste on his beer and loitering habits.
Just then Cara felt the arrival of Pam and another vampire. To Godric’s immense surprise, he heard her say, “Eric, please come in. You, too, Pam.” He had felt their approach, of course, but knew there was no logical way his Cara could also have felt them. But then… Curious…
At Godric’s genuinely astonished expression, Cara smiled, coughed into the bend of her elbow, then explained, “I thought I felt vampires approaching, and I recognized Pam. I guessed that other one had to be Eric since he’s the only one besides Pam who would have automagically shown up, right? Now move, I need to stop that bleeding before it gets on the hardwood.”
Numbly following her orders, Godric lowered the arm closest to the punctures and moved the man’s head to the side so that she could place the towel over the wounds. After casting a wary glance at the surprisingly calm Cara, he began briefing Eric and Pam on what had happened.
Eric listened to his Maker’s words as he quickly took in the situation. From what he could piece together, this young idiot had lingered too long around Cara’s door for his Maker’s comfort. And, indeed, the timing of this visit was suspect as it appeared such visits were not common so late in the evening…or at all.
Pam quickly surveyed the door and frame, and grabbed her phone. Because of TSO she had the local all-night hardware store on speed-dial…and on retainer, as it were. After giving the specifics – she had a talent for instantly determining dimensions – she surreptitiously studied this Cara. Where the human should have been freaking out, as they say, about her cousin being attacked by a furious vampire – she could still feel Godric’s protective fury – she was instead calmly instructing her male relative to hold the cold cloth to his own neck so that she could…sit down. The short, curvy brunette stated firmly that she was sick, she was tired, and she was going to sit the fuck down, which she promptly did.
Yes, perhaps she would like this human.
Also, what the hell was this idiotic male doing here at this time, anyway?