Club Dead Chapter Fifteen

What a cozy evening it was turning out to be - yours truly and four vampires, after Bill and Eric arrived separately but almost simultaneously. Just me and my buds, hanging at the house.

Bill insisted on braiding my hair for me, just so he could show his familiarity with my house and habits by going in the bathroom and getting my box of hair doodads. Then he put me on the ottoman in front of him as he sat behind me to brush and fix my hair. I have always found this a very soothing process, and it aroused memories of another evening Bill and I had begun just about the same way, with a fabulous finale. Of course. Bill was well aware he was pushing those memories to the fore.

Eric observed this with the air of one taking notes, and Pam sneered openly. I could not for the life of me understand why they all had to be here at the same time, and why they all didn't get sick of one another - and me - and go away. After a few minutes of having a comparative crowd in my house, I longed to be alone once more. Why had I thought I was lonely?

Bubba left fairly quickly, anxious to do some hunting. I didn't want to think too closely about that. When he'd left, I was able to tell the other vampires about what had really happened to Jerry Falcon.

Eric didn't seem too upset that his directions to Bubba had caused the death of Jerry Falcon, and I'd already admitted to myself that I couldn't be too wrought up about it, either. If it came down to him, or me, well, I liked me better. Bill was indifferent to Jerry's fate, and Pam thought the whole thing was funny.

’’That he followed you to Jackson, when his instructions were just for here, for one night ... that he kept following his instructions, no matter what! It's not very vampiric, but he's certainly a good soldier.’’

’’It would have been much better if he'd told Sookie what he'd done and why he'd done it,’’ Eric observed.

’’Yes, a note would have been nice,’’ I said sarcastically. ’’Anything would have been better than opening that closet and finding the body stuffed in there.’’

Pam hooted with laughter. I'd really found the way to tickle her funny bone. Wonderful.

’’I can just see your face,’’ she said. ’’You and the Were had to hide the body? That's priceless.’’

’’I wish I'd known all this when Alcide was here today,’’ I said. I'd closed my eyes when the full effect of the hair brushing had soothed me. But the sudden silence was delightful. At last, I was getting to amuse my own self a little bit.

Eric said, ’’Alcide Herveaux came here?’’

’’Yeah, he brought my bag. He stayed to help me out, seeing as how I'm banged up.’’

When I opened my eyes, because Bill had quit brushing, I caught Pam's eyes. She winked at me. I gave her a tiny smile.

’’I unpacked your bag for you, Sookie,’’ Pam said smoothly. ’’Where did you get that beautiful velvet shawl-thing?’’

I pressed my lips together firmly. ’’Well, my first evening wrap got ruined at Club - I mean, at Josephine's. Alcide very kindly went shopping and bought it to surprise me ... he said he felt responsible for the first one getting burned.’’ I was delighted I'd carried it up to the apartment from its place on the front seat of the Lincoln. I didn't remember doing that.

’’He has excellent taste, for a Were,’’ Pam conceded. ’’If I borrow your red dress, can I borrow the shawl, too?’’

I hadn't known Pam and I were on clothes-swapping terms. She was definitely up to mischief. ’’Sure,’’ I said.

Shortly after that, Pam said she was leaving. ’’I think I'll run home through the woods,’’ she said. ’’I feel like experiencing the night.’’

’’You'll run all the way back to Shreveport?’’ I said, astonished.

’’It won't be the first time,’’ she said. ’’Oh, by the way, Bill, the queen called Fangtasia this evening to find out why you are late with her little job. She had been unable to reach you at your home for several nights, she said.’’

Bill resumed brushing my hair. ’’I will call her back later,’’ he said. ’’From my place. She'll be glad to hear that I've completed it.’’

’’You nearly lost everything,’’ Eric said, his sudden outburst startling everyone in the room.

Pam slipped out the front door after she'd looked from Eric to Bill. That kind of scared me.

’’Yes, I'm well aware of that,’’ Bill said. His voice, always cool and sweet, was absolutely frigid. Eric, on the other hand, tended toward the fiery.

’’You were a fool to take up with that she-demon again,’’ Eric said.

’’Hey, guys, I'm sitting right here,’’ I said.

They both glared at me. They seemed determined to finish this quarrel, and I figured I would leave them to go at it. Once they were outside. I hadn't thanked Eric for the driveway yet, and I wanted to, but tonight was maybe not the time.

’’Okay,’’ I said. ’’I'd hoped to avoid this, but ... Bill, I rescind your invitation into my house.’’ Bill began walking backward to the door, a helpless look on his face, and my brush still in his hand. Eric grinned at him triumphantly. ’’Eric,’’ I said, and his smile faded. ’’I rescind your invitation into my house.’’ And backward he went, out my door and off my porch. The door slammed shut behind (or maybe in front of?) them.

I sat on the ottoman, feeling relief beyond words at the sudden silence. And all of a sudden, I realized that the computer program so desired by the queen of Louisiana, the computer program that had cost lives and the ruin of my relationship with Bill, was in my house ... which not Eric, or Bill, or even the queen, could enter without my say-so.

I hadn't laughed so hard in weeks.

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