Sookie rolled her eyes as she watched Bill and Pam go toe-to-toe. Since she had agreed to organize the Queen of Illinois’ party almost a month earlier, she had witnessed countless arguments between the two vampires. They couldn’t agree on anything. If Bill wanted white; then Pam wanted pink. Pam wanted silk; Bill wanted lace, a gazebo; a fountain, etc… Sookie was certain that if it wasn’t completely impossible one of them would even want to hold the party in the day just to go against the other.
Sookie had organized many parties over the years, but she had never encountered two people who were more troublesome. They were constantly sniping at one another and, during the first few nights, Sookie, and her staff as well. Sookie had quickly put an end to that. They could tear each other’s hair out all they liked, but she would be damned if she let them bitch at her employees. The first night, Sookie had taken care of it herself. She had reminded them both of the contract as well as the clauses it contained, and they had backed off with minimal fuss. Things had remained civil yet strained for a few nights and Sookie had been cautiously hopeful that they had both realized she wouldn’t tolerate their bullshit. She should have known; both Pam and Bill had the mistaken belief that because they were vampires, they were better than her and her staff.
Three weeks earlier
Sookie could hear the shouting the moment she stepped into Freyda’s palace and groaned as she recognized the voices. It seemed Pam and Bill weren’t even waiting for her to arrive before they started butting heads over the party. Hurrying through the foyer, Sookie made her way back toward the room Freyda had assigned for the party business. When she burst through the door a look of shock flashed across her face as she looked over the state of the room. Apparently, in their desire to outdo each other, Bill and Pam had resorted to vandalism and violence. Dried blood stuck to both of their pale faces and their clothes were ripped.
“What the hell is goin’ on here?!” Sookie shouted, not even attempting to keep her tone even. The room was in complete shambles with many of the notes and samples she had gathered destroyed.
“This doesn’t concern you,” Pam snarled, never taking her eyes off of Bill. It was bad enough that she had to work with him while having to play nice with a bloodbag as well. There was no need for that Bitch to hire Sookie in Pam’s mind. She was more than capable of organizing the little party. She knew her Maker better than anyone; she knew what he liked and didn’t. She didn’t need any help from cretins such as Compton and the bloodbag.
“You destroyed my work, so I’m makin’ it my business,” Sookie replied, unfazed by Pam’s bratty attitude. “Now, get the sand outta ya tampon and tell me what the fuck happened.”
“As Pamela said, it doesn’t concern you,” Bill said haughtily while he straightened his tie despite having his shirt ripped completely open. “It’s vampire business.”
“I don’t give a fuck if it’s vampire business, Were business, or even Council fuckin’ business,” Sookie retorted, taking a step forward. “You fucked with my work and destroyed my temporary office. Start talkin’ or I’m gonna put my foot up ya asses.”
Pam flashed her fangs at Sookie and snarled at the threat. It was bad enough she had to put up with Freyda bossing her about; she sure as hell wouldn’t put up with it from the bloodbag too!
“Oh, enough with the intimidation tactics already, Barbie,” Sookie growled, shaking her head at Pam’s continued attempts to scare her. “They don’t work on me. I ain’t scared of ya; never will be. For the record, I’ve seen bigger. You look like an angry Chihuahua compared to some I’ve seen.”
Pam narrowed her eyes as she stared at Sookie. How dare she talk to her that way? Did she not know her place? Pam would be happy to show it to her; it was under her foot. Vamping over to her, Pam snarled in Sookie’s face, baring her fangs. “Listen here you stupid fucking bloodbag…”
“No!” Sookie spat, getting right in Pam’s face, and showing no fear. “You listen to me, you spoiled brat with fangs. I don’t give a fuck if ya like me! This goes for you too, Mr. Pretentious,” she added, shooting Bill a look of contempt. “I don’t care if ya hate me and want to rip out my throat. Children, ya ain’t the first to want to and ya won’t be the last. I don’t give a flyin’ fuck ‘bout how ya feel ‘bout me, but ya will fuckin’ respect me and let me do my job without throwin’ a fuckin’ tantrum every few minutes. A set of fangs means shit to me. Now get over this superiority complex ya’ve got and then get the fuck over yourselves.”
Pam’s eyes blazed in anger as she took in Sookie’s stance. There wasn’t an ounce of fear in her and Pam didn’t like that one bit. She had made grown men piss their pants just by looking at them; here was this little slip of a girl getting in her face, commanding respect, and showing no fear. “I’ll rip your fucking throat out, you worthless bloodbag,” Pam snarled as she crouched down in an attacking pose. “I’ll eat, fuck, and kill you; then fuck in your filthy remains.”
“Do ya’ll ever come up with new threats?” Sookie replied unfazed. “‘Cause I got tired of hearin’ those ones years ago.” Sookie shook her head as Pam continued glaring. Whatever problem the childish female vampire had with her, she could just get the fuck over it already. Sookie wouldn’t put up with her bullshit any longer. Hell, she wouldn’t put up with tantrums thrown by past clients, some of them the most influential, wealthiest Kings and Queens. She sure as shit wasn’t about to put up with tantrums coming from two seemingly “baby” vampires who held no power or distinction; one with nothing but other than her Sire, and the other nothing but a simpering fool kissing the ass of a Royal until the next one appeared.
Sookie wasn’t lying when she said she was tired of “hearing” these types of threats. She had heard these same ones long before she even dreamed up Only at Night with Lafayette and Jesus. The Council’s backing of Only at Night had gone a long way into silencing the threats, however; what really stopped most of them and had earned Sookie and her company the respect of the vampires in the U.S., Mexico, and some parts of Canada were Sookie’s refusals to back down and stand up for herself, her friends, and her business. Supes, be they vampires, Weres, shifters, other weres, or faeries respected strength and loyalty. Sookie had those by the bucketful. Her loyalty to Lafayette and Jesus was well known by Louisiana and her neighboring states. It was also widely respected by the various Supes, but never more important or vital to her was the trust, respect, and loyalty received from Lafayette and Jesus.
In the earlier days, Sookie had been tested by the various Supes that Only at Night had been hired by to organize their events. The only one who had never really tested her was Russell Edgington. Warlow had recommended Only at Night to Russell and the three-thousand year-old vampire had been more than happy to take Warlow’s recommendation. He knew the ancient vampire well, and, regardless of personal feelings, Warlow wouldn’t have recommended them if they couldn’t do the job.
Sophie-Anne had been one of the first to test them. The Louisiana Queen needed to know what kind of people she was employing and allowing into her home. She had acted like the most monstrous spoiled brat, demanding changes to things that had already been agreed upon in their contract only days before her event, insulting Sookie, Lafayette, and the rest of the event planners and workers. She had even tried to glamour one of the employees, a strict no-no. She had pushed them all to their limits just to see who and what they really were.
It hadn’t taken Sookie long to bite back, so to speak. Just two days before Sophie-Anne’s party was scheduled, Sookie had barged into her throne room and let Sophie-Anne have it with both barrels. She had not censored herself in the slightest, letting the ever-annoying and snooty Queen know exactly what she thought about her. Sophie-Anne had been amused by Sookie’s outburst; something that had only angered Sookie. In her anger, Sookie had destroyed a priceless vase, earning Sophie-Anne’s ire.
The two of them had then proceeded to have a loud screaming match that everyone in the palace had heard. Various questions of parentage had been made, Sookie asking the Queen if her father was also her brother. The vampires of the court, rather than jumping to the defense of their Queen, had actually been amused by the argument and quite impressed by the plucky young woman who dared to physically call out a fight with a vampire Queen, one who was thousand-years-older than her. Their amusement had only grown when the argument had turned physical as their regal, respected Queen ended up in a catfight with the twenty-five-year-old woman. The two of them had rolled around on the floor in front of Sophie-Anne’s throne, pulling hair, scratching, and on Sookie’s part, biting.
Even Andre, the Queen’s second and favorite child, had been amused by it. He had been content to just stand back and watch as the brave young human yanked his Queen and Maker around by her red hair. He knew there was no chance of either of them killing the other. Sophie-Anne had pushed Sookie with her most unpleasant and childish behavior; Sookie had finally reached her limit and struck back. It was only when Andre had started to feel Sophie-Anne’s emotions shift from amusement, to mild anger, and to lust did Andre jump forward. He had ordered everyone out of the throne room and sealed the doors behind him while remaining in the room just in time to see Sophie-Anne and Sookie start to rip off each other clothes.
While the other vampires of the court started to think Sophie-Anne was going to kill the entertaining and ballsy Sookie, Andre had dropped himself onto his Queen’s throne and watched while the two stunning women fucked on the floor in front of him. In all his years at the side of his Maker, Andre didn’t think he had ever seen anyone, man, women, human, or vampire dominate Sophie-Anne the way Sookie had. As long as he lived, he knew he would never forget the sight of his Queen with her back arched, breasts thrust out, while Sookie rammed her fingers into Sophie Anne’s cunt almost brutally. He had given them a standing ovation when they finished.
Once they had cleaned themselves up as best they could, and then dressed, Sophie-Anne had apologized for her behavior, and given Sookie and Only at Night her seal of approval. That hadn’t been the last time she was tested, but it was by far Sookie’s favorite time. Since then Sookie had enjoyed her friendship with Sophie-Anne immensely.
Looking at Pam, Sookie snorted; there was no way in hell things were gonna go the same way they had with Sophie-Anne. Oh, Sookie would beat the shit out of her if necessary, but there would be no chance in hell she would kiss and make Pam feel better afterward. She might not be uptight when it came to her sexuality, but she still had her standards, and nothing she had seen of Pam so far said she measured up to those standards.
Pam growled at Sookie’s apparent dismissal. She couldn’t believe the nerve of her! She had come into her home, tried to take over the arrangements for the party for her Maker, and was now dismissing her as a non-threat. She was Pamela Ravenscroft, youngest and favorite child of Eric Northman! She had style, grace, and beauty. Women wanted to be her and men just wanted her… not that she would ever give them the time of night. No, the only man she held any interest in was her Maker, and that was not sexually these days; at least that’s what she told herself. The truth was a little different. It wasn’t that she held no interest in Eric sexually, but that he held no sexual interest in her. He hadn’t in almost a hundred years. He hadn’t even so much as enjoyed a threesome with her in ninety-four years; even then, he never touched her as she wanted. It was all that Bitch Queen’s fault, and Pam hated her. On and off for the last hundred years, Pam had to watch while Eric took one woman after another while never sharing himself with her. Freyda, various other Queens, and even that simpering idiot, Willa. They all got something that was rightly hers. She was His child… His youngest and favorite. The fact that he made her even after he already had a child was her proof. She wasn’t good enough for him, She didn’t please him enough. She wasn’t enough for him, he needed her; He needed His Pam.
Watching Pam, Sookie knew the exact moment she was going to attack and so she prepared. For all the vampires and their “vampires are the superior species” crap, Sookie found them oddly predictable at times. The moment an insult was uttered, they’d bare their fangs and try to intimidate you. Trading barbs were beyond most of them and they relied on their perceived superior strength. Vampires, for all their gifts and advances, still hadn’t realized they weren’t the biggest bullies in the playground. They may have been the most public Supes, but they weren’t the best or strongest.
Curling her fingers into claws, Pam leaped forward, her lips pulled back into a snarl and fangs bared as she lunged at Sookie’s throat, ripping it out her obvious intention. She was a hairsbreadth away when a flash of white light blinded her and she was sent flying backwards.
A cry of panic tumbled from her lips as she felt an unnatural heat spread over her lower half. Her eyes widened in alarm as they landed on a slightly glowing Sookie. “What…”
Bill flicked his eyes from Sookie to Pam, then back again. Fear welled up inside him as he saw the otherworldly presence seeming to radiate from the pissed off event planner. “What are you?” he whispered, gazing upon her in a new light. It was obvious that the bloodbag wasn’t human, although Bill wasn’t completely sure what she was. Whatever it was, it was impressive… Not as impressive as his Queen, the beautiful and charming Freyda, but she was a step above the scum beneath his feet… only one. She still wasn’t a vampire.
“An event planner,” Sookie answered simply, not taking her eyes from Pam. Sending a burst of light toward Pam’s head, and deliberately missing, Sookie smirked as the arrogant vampire whimpered and cowered against the wall.
“This bloodbag doesn’t respond well to attacks, physical or verbal,” Sookie said, her voice void of all emotion, making her sound even more deadly. “Now, I’m done with your childish fuckin’ behavior… both of ya’ll,” she shot Bill a look, making it clear she was including him in her warning as well. “I was hired to organize this fuckin’ party by your Queen and you can bet your poorly dressed contour ass…” she couldn’t resist throwing in the insult about Pam’s clothes. It was obvious to her that Pam was a label whore, and the more expensive, the better. It didn’t matter if the clothes were hideous; she just had to have them because they were a designer name. “That I’m goin’ to do the job I was hired for. Now, ya can either shut the fuck up and let me, or get the fuck outta my way and let me. Your choice…”
“Shut the fuck up!” Sookie snapped interrupting her, irritation clear to hear in her voice as Pam tried her usual, ‘my Maker’ threat. “Your Maker ain’t always gonna be able to bail your ass out of the trouble your big mouth has caused…and this is one of the times. Your Maker might be well known and respected in the Supe world…” Sookie ignored Bill’s strangled cry at her words. She hadn’t even met the Regent yet, but she already liked him just on the basis of Bill being jealous of him, not even Pam’s horrid behavior could change that. “The Council trumps him every time. You may have his protection, but I have theirs. If I wanted I could have you dragged before them for this attack and your Maker wouldn’t be able to do a damn thing ‘bout it.”
Pam blanched at Sookie’s words and felt a real shiver of fear spread through her. Her Maker might have been able to protect her from many things, but even he couldn’t go up against the Council and expect to walk away in one piece.
Sookie opened her mouth to drive her point home when the door flew open and in stormed an irate Freyda. “What the fuck is going on here?!”
“My Queen…” Bill started.
“The childish vampire found out why it’s a bad idea to piss off and try to attack Sookie,” Jake cut in before Bill had a chance to say anything. He had watched it all from the edge of the room, ready to jump in and defend Sookie the second he was needed. As usual, his boss had shown she didn’t need defending. He knew there was a chance he would one day have to step in and defend her, but so far, she had proven she could take care of herself. Jake almost felt sorry for the vampires…almost. He would never want to be on the receiving end of her temper. Word had spread through the Pack via Jackson of what Sookie had done to Jannalynn when the angry, and often homicidal, Were had tried to force her into being their Pack Shaman. Any sympathy Jannalynn had been receiving had dried up the second the Pack heard what she had tried. For all of Alcide’s, Rikki’s, and Jannalynn’s Pack first spiel, the wolves of the Longtooth Pack would put Sookie before the Pack’s enforcer. Sookie had their respect and friendship, while Jannalynn only had their contempt.
“She’s not human!” Pam shrieked, finally climbing to her feet. She glared at Sookie, but there was a hint of caution in her eyes.
“I never said I was,” Sookie snorted, taking a step back. “Ya’ll just assumed it, but come on! How many humans do ya’ll know who run Supe event plannin’ businesses and have the Council’s approval and protection? I thought ya’ll were smarter. None of the partners at Only at Night are human.”
Freyda held her hand up silencing both Pam and Bill before they could say anything else. Staring at Pam, she took a step toward her making the younger vampire back up slightly. “You tried to attack Ms. Stackhouse,” she said firmly, worded as a statement, not a question. “I made it implicitly clear that Ms. Stackhouse was not to be touched in any way, by anyone, while she was here. Yet you ignored that order and attacked a woman who has the protection of the very body that controls all Vampires everywhere…”
“She insulted me,” Pam interrupted petulantly, but some of the bite had gone out of her tone.
“Your very presence insults me!” Freyda growled. “You’re over a hundred years old, Pamela; it’s time you grew the fuck up and started acting like an adult. One would think you’d have learned your lessons by now. How many more times is your Maker going to bail your ass out of trouble?”
Pam glared at Freyda, hatred burning in her eyes as she was reminded of her last major fuck up. “He didn’t have to…”
“No, you’re right, he didn’t,” Freyda admitted, cutting Pam off before she could go on one of her usual profanity laced rants. She had heard them all before and didn’t want to hear them again. “He could have let me save him a great deal of trouble and allowed me to kill you; instead he sold his fine ass to me for a hundred years.” Freyda grinned as she saw Pam blanch at her words. She knew Pam hated being reminded of the reasons why her Maker ended up in Illinois married to its Queen…even if she wasn’t aware of the real story. No, the truth was kept between just Freyda and her Regent. “You’re lucky that I have morals and respect for those around me, or your Maker could have spent the last hundred years in hell.” Looking around the room, Freyda let out a sigh as she saw the damage. “I take it all this…” she waved her hand around signalling the damage “is your fault?” She directed the accusation at both Bill and Pam.
“Your Majesty, it was…”Bill began.
“Be quiet!” Freyda snapped, interrupting him once again. “I do not want to hear your pathetic excuses and snivelling little voice. Your actions tonight have shamed me and my Queendom.”
Bill hung his head in sorrow at Freyda’s harsh words. Didn’t she know that he did everything for her? She was his whole world.
Taking a deep unneeded breath, Freyda exhaled and turned to face Sookie. “Sookie, I apologize for the behavior of these two idiots tonight, and any other night they may have offended you,” she offered sincerely. “They have shamed and made a liar of me. If you desire to demand retribution for either of their actions, I will not object nor stand in your way. In fact, I will stand beside you and give you my full support, but rest assured even if you don’t demand it, they will be punished.”
“You have nothin’ to apologize for, Freyda,” Sookie replied with a small smile. “You have been nothin’ but gracious to me since I was hired. I will leave their punishment in your capable hands this time, but note this, if either of them so much as looks at me the wrong way again, I will take them before the Council to have them punished.”
“You’re too kind, Sookie,” Freyda told her. “I would have had both of their fangs by now.” Turning back to Bill and Pam, Freyda glared at the pair of insolent vampires. “Ms. Stackhouse might be forgiving, but I am not. Guards!” she called, not taking her eyes off them. “Restrain them both and place them in the cells. I will deal with them personally after my next meeting.”
Sookie watched as the guards cuffed Bill and Pam in silver and dragged them out of the room. She probably should have felt something knowing they were going to be punished, but she simply couldn’t find it in her. They both knew the consequences of their actions and had still tried to attack her verbally and physically. She shook her head once Freyda had left the room and set about trying to salvage some of her work. She knew she had the right to walk away if she wanted. Pam and Bill’s actions were a clear breach of contract, but for the moment, she wanted to stick around. She had an inkling she would regret it if she left.
Sookie didn’t see either Bill or Pam for four nights afterward. She heard from one of the Weres guarding the palace during the day that they had both been whipped before being chained in silver, and then placed in a coffin for seventy-two hours. Apparently, Weres liked to gossip as much as vampires. Upon release, they were both on their best behavior, at least when it came to her. They still snipped at each other whenever they had a chance.
The party was just one week away and everything was almost sorted, so, of course, now would be the perfect time for both Bill and Pam to decide they didn’t like the theme. They both had ideas on what would be the perfect theme, and neither of them was shy about voicing it. Sookie was content to just let them argue; it didn’t really matter what either of them wanted, the theme had already been decided on. It was one of her first tasks to complete. While they argued with each other, they left her alone to go over the final details.
“It would be elegant and dignified, aristocratic even,” Bill argued self-importantly, looking down his nose at Pam. “Just like my majestic Queen.”
“They all mean the same thing, you fucking idiot,” Pam snapped, rolling her eyes. “Stop trying to sound intelligent, Bill, it makes you look like an idiot. It would fucking suck. No one wants to dress up like an extra from Gone with the Fucking Wind.” She let out a huff as she glared at him. “Really Bill, it’s the twenty-first century, it’s about time you joined us all.
Bill glared back at Pam, his feelings for the arrogant blonde plain to see on his face. “I know what century it is, Pam,” he snarled. “It would not suck! It would bring a bit of elegance to this whole sordid affair. I’m sure if you had your way you’d have something straight out of a burlesque club, with strippers and sexual deviancy. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that you were whoring yourself out in a brothel,” he sneered, taking great delight in reminding Pam from where she hailed.
Sookie groaned as Bill brought Pam’s past up for the hundredth time in a month. Since taking the job, she had learned more about their histories than she had ever wanted. She learned Bill was once a vicious prick who killed indiscriminately, and then blamed his Maker for commanding him to do so. She couldn’t say she was too surprised that he once was a bloodthirsty bastard or blamed his Lorena for his actions. There was just something about him that screamed, “I have no sense of personal responsibility!”
Learning that Pam was once a madam at a brothel was more of a shock. Given the way the blonde vampire behaved, Sookie would have guessed she came from a well-to-do background with servants, where no one had ever told her “no!”
“Anything would be better than your stupid fucking idea,” Pam growled, taking a step toward Bill. “What do you think?” She asked Sookie over her shoulder, trying to draw her in and tell Bill his idea was stupid, although considering Sookie was from the South she might agree with Bill.
“I think it doesn’t matter,” Sookie replied, looking up from her iPad. “The theme’s been set; it ain’t changin’, so your whole argument is pointless.”
“We still have time to change it,” Pam argued.
“Yeah, but we ain’t doin’,” Sookie retorted. “A Southern Ball is your style, Bill,” she added, looking at the Civil War veteran. “The S&M style party is yours, Pam. However, this ain’t either of your parties. It’s Freyda’s. She decided on the theme and that’s the one we’re doin’. Enough.”
Pam huffed at the refusal, but said nothing. She hadn’t forgotten the last time she had challenged the mortal and wasn’t willing to risk it again.
“Good, now if ya’re both done, I need to see Freyda,” Sookie said, rising from her seat. “All the details have been decided, and my guys will be arrivin’ in the mornin’ to set up the stage and hang the decorations. Now if you’ll excuse me,” she gave them a wave as she made her way out of the door, Jake at her side.