Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Nautical Note: In the early days of exploration in the United States there was great interest in finding a navigable waterway that would allow traders to go from the east coast to the west coast, and from there to the rich lands of the Orient. This quest cost many their lives and, in the end, proved to be no more than a myth. To this day, the Northwest Passage is immortalized in story and song as a test for those willing to risk all for fortune and fame.
Click, click, click, click. Pam’s high heels against the tile of the airport corridor sounded unnaturally loud. It wasn’t something she usually noticed, but, for some reason, tonight, it was all she could hear. Pam was walking a little faster since she wasn’t dragging a carry-on. She had opted to check her larger bag this time, which would mean standing at baggage claim with Andrew or whomever Misha sent to get her. Pam assumed it would be Andrew. Misha had come to the airport once to meet her, but she didn’t believe he would repeat that gesture this time. With a start, Pam realized her cheeks hurt and she realized her smile more resembled a rictus than some sophisticated businesswoman returning to her home. Pam stopped and stepped aside, allowing fellow travelers to stream by. She looked at the advertising that lined the wall and the seating areas full of waiting passengers. Pam focused on trivial things until she felt her anxiety level drop and then she took a long, cleansing breath and mentally ran through her appearance, making sure she was under control.
Checking her watch, Pam rejoined the stream of people heading toward the exit gates. Andrew, or whomever was waiting for her would know when her plane landed. They would know when she was expected and Pam needed everything about tonight to look normal. For the third time since she’d left New Orleans, Pam checked the thumb drive secured in the inside pocket of her jacket, then held her head high.
As soon as she cleared the security checkpoint, she saw Andrew’s face. She smiled and was relieved when he smiled back and then slightly bowed. “Good evening,” she greeted him, and then said, “I brought a bigger bag,” when he glanced behind her. “I brought more of my belongings this time,” she added.
Pam had anticipated more of a reaction, but all Andrew said was, “I see.” He gestured that she should precede him and then walked slightly behind her as they headed to baggage claim.
While they waited, Pam asked, “How is he?”
“He was happy to hear from you,” Andrew replied, his eyes, along with everyone else’s, trained on the door that would start sending luggage toward them. “He has been busy.”
“I’m sorry I hurt him,” Pam said too quietly for anyone but a vampire to hear. “This…what is between us is not what I expected.”
“My King does not form attachments,” Andrew stated.
“Neither do I,” Pam replied and then said no more. The claxon sounded and the belt in front of them came to life with a clank and then a mechanical chatter. People around them crowded forward, but Andrew and Pam held back. It was never easy to stand among humans, but in these kinds of crowds it was even more uncomfortable. Pam saw her bag, “There!” she pointed. Andrew used his speed to dart forward and grab the suitcase, returning to her side in an instant.
“Mommy! They’re vampires!” Pam heard a little girl say, and then she and Andrew were walking back to the escalator that would carry them upstairs and to the front entrance where the town car was waiting.
There was a new vampire standing by her car door and, for an instant, Pam wondered if she was already found out and this was the second brought to help end her. Making sure she didn’t appear startled, Pam smiled and settled herself into the back seat. Andrew placed her suitcase in the trunk and then sat in the passenger seat up front. “So, you’re not driving tonight?” Pam asked, keeping her tone light.
“No,” Andrew shook his head. “Not tonight.”
It took everything Pam had not to fidget as the new vampire sat behind the wheel and they pulled away from the curb. Pam watched the familiar sights pass by, and then they took an unexpected turn. “We’re not going to the brownstone?” Pam asked.
“Not right away,” Andrew replied, and glanced at her in the rear view mirror. Pam hoped her expression was reflecting curiosity and not the rising panic that was roiling in the pit of her stomach. The car moved uptown and soon they were flanking Central Park. Pam watched the street signs roll by and when they were near East 74th, the car pulled to the curb. Andrew jumped out and held open her door. “This way,” he told her as he led the way into the Park. Within a turn, Pam knew where they were. The Loeb Boathouse came into view and he was there, waiting under the light.
“Once you rowed with me under the night sky,” Misha said when she came a little closer. “Would you indulge me again?”
“Of course!” Pam smiled, hoping the release of tension would be interpreted as enthusiasm instead of what it really was. She stepped forward, her hand extended, but Misha turned instead, avoiding the opportunity to touch her. He waved toward the waiting rowboat and waited when Pam hesitated before walking past him. As she stood on the small dock next to the rocking boat, she realized Misha did not intend to offer his hand or help her in any way. Undeterred, Pam kicked off her heels and taking them into her hand, she hopped lightly into the boat and took the seat to the front. As soon as she settled, Misha followed her. Andrew pushed the boat out into the lake as Misha shipped his oars. In a few strong stokes, the boat was away from the small dock and moving toward the middle of the quiet, abandoned water.
Pam looked up, knowing the surrounding light from the city would blot out any sight of stars above her, so instead she focused on the dark vastness she could see between the trees. Misha brought the oars into the boat and Pam felt the boat slow and then drift before she lowered her face to look at the King. She wondered if when she met his eyes she would see her death. Instead, he was studying her, his face oddly neutral. “Are you wondering if we’re really suited for each other?” Pam asked.
“No,” Misha shook his head, puffing his lower lip out just a bit. “I don’t doubt it. I do wonder why you fight it, though.” Pam almost sighed her relief and it took discipline to hold still and not sag as her panic receded. Misha must have seen something because he said, “You think I don’t recognize flight when I see it? You come close, and then, just when you are opening to me, your petals unfolding like the roses I think of when I think of you, you seem to catch yourself. You pull back. Sometimes you even show me your thorns and then you run from me.”
Pam watched Misha. She had planned on using sex to manipulate the King tonight, and now she knew her instincts were right; the trick would be in waiting for the right moment. If she went to him too quickly he would be wary. If she held back too long, his ego would be bruised and she might need to find another way around his wariness. When the King remained silent, Pam dropped her eyes, “I…I do run,” she acknowledged.
Misha might have leaned forward and offered her forgiveness. He might have thanked her for acknowledging her failings, but he didn’t. Misha sat still, his hands flat against the seat, waiting.
Pam waited, too. She allowed her anxiety to show, knowing he would interpret it favorably. She looked around her and fidgeted before looking directly at Misha and shrugging, “It doesn’t help, though. I can’t run far enough or fast enough. I rise and the first thing I search for is your scent,” and then Pam dropped her eyes. Pam thought Misha would move toward her then, but he didn’t. Biting her lips, she added, “I am not sure I want this, this wanting you,” and she waited again, and this time he did react.
“Zaichik,” the King said as soft as a whisper, and his mouth twisted into a rueful smile.
“What am I going to do?” Pam asked him, and, in that moment, she knew it was a sincere question.
“You must choose,” the King told her. “I am not a vampire who can afford the kind of distraction you have presented me,” he told her. “I have a kingdom and those who depend on me. I do not have the luxury of time to chase you, as appealing as that may be,” but the way he said it, Pam could see he was not finding it appealing.
“It is time to make your decision, my Zolotse,” Misha told her. “I want more from you than what you have offered and if you are not prepared for that, then I think it best that Andrew drive you back to the airport and you never return.”
“What are you asking of me?” Pam asked, playing for time. It was one thing to distract the King with sex, but if Misha insisted on a blood exchange Pam knew she would be in real trouble.
“You will be mine,” Misha told her. “In most ways, I will continue to respect your preferences as I have demonstrated, but you will offer me your body to me as well.” The way he looked at her was different and Pam felt new steel in her backbone as she realized that suspicion and disappointment had brought the harsher side of the King to the surface. “You will offer me your blood,” he continued, “and from this point forward we will discuss any of your travel plans in advance.”
“I have obligations,” Pam said softly.
“It is time to choose, Pamela. I have been indulgent with you, but that kind of weakness on my part must be over.” The King’s mouth was hard and Pam started to worry that her opportunity to steer the situation was over, but then she saw the softening in his eyes. Misha might have been channeling her Grandsire, but underneath, there were still remnants of the vampire who had indulged her; desirous of her and begging for more.
“I have never bonded,” she told him. “Aside from my Maker, I have never even had a blood tie with anyone.”
“That is another thing,” Misha’s voice was strained. “I respect that your Sire is the mighty Eric Northman, but you will be bonded to me. You have told me he freed you from your Maker/Child bond. You must strive to put more distance between the two of you.”
Pam watched Misha carefully as he spoke and she caught the flash of hatred in his words. She lowered her head, hoping he would read that as submission, and then made herself nod, “Yes.”
“Do you mean that, Pamela?” and she could hear the slight, hopeful catch in his voice.
“Yes,” she said more clearly, not bothering to hide her feeling of triumph, and looked into his eyes. It was time for a gesture, and she knew what was needed. During the time just after her turning, Eric had taught her how to pleasure a man with her mouth. It was something she hadn’t done since, but she also knew the power the act could give a woman. It might look like submission, but, done well, it placed a man in the palm of your hand, and Pam needed that right now.
Holding Misha’s eyes, Pam leaned forward, lowering herself to her knees. The bottom of the boat was not even and Pam knew she would be bruised before she was done, but this was worth some discomfort. “What are you…” he started to ask, and then fell silent when she reached for his belt buckle. “Be sure, Pamela,” he told her, “Because I will take what I wish.” When Pam continued with her movements, Misha nodded, and then leaned back to allow her easier access and his fangs distended. Zipper followed belt and Pam made sure he saw her fangs as she reached into his boxers and pulled him out.
“Forgive me,” Pam breathed before she opened her mouth and sucked him hard, swirling her tongue around him in the way that had always left Eric gasping.
“I wish to,” Misha growled, and then grabbing her hair, guided her in a way to let her know he meant his earlier words to her and he would show no hesitation in demanding what he wished.
In the end Pam struggled to keep up with him. She knew the damage done to her throat would heal quickly, and in some ways she was almost grateful he hurt her. This new Misha, this harsh Misha, kept her in mind of the real reason she was here. The King had wrapped her hair in his fist and he used it now to pull her back from his lap. He looked down at her, and a slow smile formed. “I forgive you,” he nodded. “Now, you can get up,” and he jerked his chin at her seat, telling her he wanted her farther from him.
When Pam settled back and he had tucked himself away, he said, “I do forgive you, but you have not answered my question.”
“I did wish to return to you,” Pam rasped at him, “I miss you, but I can see now that things have changed. Perhaps it would be wiser not to try. You’re so angry with me that the peace offering I give you is something you just use against me,” and Pam rubbed her throat.
“I was rough with you,” Misha acknowledged almost with a shrug, and then he pricked his finger on his fang and touched her knee where it was bleeding from its contact with the bottom of the rowboat. “You hurt me,” he told her, his eyes on her knees as he helped the cuts heal. “I wished you to hurt as well.”
“Is this how it will be?” Pam asked and she was surprised to hear the tremor in her voice. “I tell you how I wish to be back with you, and punishment is how my gesture will be returned to me?”
“No!” Misha exclaimed and now the King’s superior look slipped into something less confident. “No, Zolotse!” and Misha held out his hand. “I was angry,” his voice was conciliatory now, “I was wrong to take it out on you as I did, but you did offer. I did warn you.” The King’s voice became more conciliatory, “Please, my Pamela, please. Now it is your turn to forgive me!”
Pam had a sudden vision of what her future would hold if she was sincere in her desire to stay with the New York King. She had seen it before; the swift temper followed by the swifter apology as each physical act became harsher. Misha looked sophisticated on the surface, but his charm toward her was nothing more than grooming. In the end he would be as abusive with her as he was with everyone else that surrounded him, and then, for some reason, Pam thought of Andrew. Andrew was the exception.
Misha was still watching her, his hand extended, and Pam did what she had to do. She smiled, placed her hand in his, and said, “I do.”
When they were back in the car on their way to the brownstone, Pam purposely snuggled into Misha, wrapping her hands around his thick arm. The King radiated pleasure and Pam had a sinking feeling that the act in the boat was just a warm-up to what was to come. When Andrew exited the car she took her chance and whispered, “I want to ask one favor of you.”
Misha frowned, but then smiled slightly and kissed her nose. Andrew opened the door before Pam had a chance to finish and Misha hissed, “Close the door and step back, Andrew.” When they had their privacy again, Misha said, “And what is this favor, Zaichik?”
“I want to wait before starting our bond,” Pam made a point of pitching her voice to an almost girlish pleading and she accompanied her words with a small smile.
“I am not certain why that is necessary,” Misha said suspiciously.
“I’ve never bonded before,” Pam squeezed his arm again, mimicking every simpering female she’d ever known. “I want it to be special. I was thinking Boston. We could have the house to ourselves. A week. Maybe more,” and she dropped her eyes, pretending to be demure.
“Like a honeymoon,” and Misha looked pleased. “Of course, my Pamela. I will make arrangements. We can leave tomorrow,” and then he looked at her in a way that told her he was testing her, “If that suits you.”
Pam sat up, and unwrapping her fingers, placed her hands on both sides of his face and brought her mouth to his, sighing “Yes,” before kissing him.
Misha didn’t bother to hide his erection when Pam preceded him through the front door. She threw him a look over her shoulder and headed directly to the staircase. Pam paused when the King asked, “Perhaps you would like blood first?”
“Perhaps later,” she answered. Pam knew that lingering could lead to talking. Lingering meant time for her to say the wrong thing or for Andrew to start searching bags. Pam purposely unbuttoned the top two buttons of her shirt, pulling slightly so Misha could see the pink lace bra underneath.
“If you care to wait in the living room, I can take your bag right up,” Andrew interrupted. Pam glanced at the housekeeper and she could see that Andrew was not happy. He looked at her with open suspicion and Pam was glad she would not be here much longer.
“Later,” Misha growled and he stalked toward the stairs
Pam waited until Misha looked directly at her before she laughed merrily and called out, “Catch me!” and she took off. She knew Misha was right behind her and they barely closed the door before he did catch her, wrapping her in his thick arms.
In past, Misha treated Pam as if she were some fine thing; a treasure that required special handling. It allowed Pam to forget in some moments that his flesh was not so soft, nor so rounded as the women she preferred. It was clear that as of tonight, the gloves were off. Misha ripped her clothes from her, then roughly shoved her face down over the end of the bed. “Turn your head so I can see your face,” he whispered, and with barely any preparation, he was in her, shoving hard. Pam was not ready so it took a bit before he was fully in her. He stopped then, long enough to bite his wrist and he held it to her mouth. “Drink, Pamela. Tonight I would have you know when you please me. I would have you learn everything I will require of you. The time for secrets between us is over. You wish to be with me, my Golden One? It is time you understand what will be expected. Tomorrow, I will drink from you and it will be my turn to learn your secrets.”
Pam knew she couldn’t refuse, so she latched onto Misha’s wrist and drank. His blood was strong and there was something about it and the pleasure he was bombarding her with through their tie that caused her to moan when he rocked in her again. “There!” he murmured. “That is how I like things,” and he rocked again.
It was a long night. Pam told herself she was using him, that she was playing him to get what she needed to save Eric. Some of the acts they shared were easier for her than others. Misha was primal and passionate. He enjoyed foreplay, but when it came to the act itself, he preferred abrupt with an equal mix of pain and pleasure. Pam quickly learned that piercing his nipples with her fangs was intensely pleasurable to him. Misha returned the favor by using his tongue and hands to bring her to one climax after another and Pam found herself wondering how she could wish him harm while at the same time she could lose herself to him so completely.
Pam did not suffer from mixed emotions when Misha surprised her by taking her anally. One minute he was plunging in her pussy and the next he was pressing into her other entrance. He used his strength and his fangs to hold her in place as he took her. He shared every bit of his pleasure, eventually stimulating her clit to force her to experience some pleasure as well. It wasn’t Pam’s first time, but it wasn’t an act she enjoyed. He came with a roar and collapsed across her, and Pam found herself looking at the nightstand, wondering what she could use to stake him as he pulsed and shuddered within her.
But then Misha did something unexpected. He kissed her shoulder and said, “Stay still. I will try to be as gentle as I can.” He withdrew and immediately replaced his member with his tongue. She could tell by the slightly numbing sensation that he had pierced his tongue and was applying his blood and saliva to her torn tissues. She had a moment of worry that he would ingest enough of her blood to be able to feel her emotions, but she knew it wasn’t likely. When he was satisfied, Misha pulled her against his barrel chest. She could feel that he was oddly at peace. It was more than being sexually satisfied; it was different. It was then that Misha told her about Appius. Pam was happy he couldn’t feel her emotions because she couldn’t hide the revulsion she felt. The King described how he had been given to the Roman for money and he described in some detail the brutal treatment he received, and how his survival had shaped him. He told Pam how even now, when he found himself angry or the world spinning out of control, he would repeat the act and how it brought him peace. “Not like tonight, of course,” Misha told her. “Tonight was about my finding pleasure, not clarity,” and he kissed her. “And I did find pleasure, my Pamela, great pleasure, and I thank you.”
“When you gain clarity, how is it different?” Pam asked. “Is that something I can do for you?” She wasn’t sure why she asked, only that there was something more here that she needed to know.
“No, my Golden One,” Misha purred, and he kissed her indulgently. “No, in order for me to find that kind of release, I need be very cruel, so cruel that I end my partner. To allow any creature to live after that act is no mercy,” and he tapped her nose as he would a young child.
Pam hoped her smile didn’t reflect the revulsion she felt, and she determined to keep her true purpose in being here firmly in mind, but it didn’t work. By the time dawn pulled her under, Pam wondered at her own sanity. She had moaned and shuddered in this man’s arms. She called out his name and he called hers. Misha had taken her in so many ways, and Pam found herself returning his passion. She blamed it on instincts, she blamed it on the sure knowledge she would never see him again, but mostly, she blamed her own weakness and she wondered how hate could mingle so closely to warmer emotions.
“You’re restless,” Sookie chided Eric. They were laying together on the chaise in the downstairs garden. The air was less humid. Sookie was always warm now so, even though it wasn’t particularly good for the plants, the humidity level was lowered along with the temperature.
“It’s Pam,” Eric nodded. He was rubbing oil into her belly. His blood helped to heal the stretch marks, but their son was growing rapidly, causing scarring to start forming every day. “I can’t tell, but I think she’s anxious. If Misha somehow found out…”
“There’s no way he could have,” Sookie soothed her mate. “The only person who knows about any of this who isn’t there already is Thomas, and you know what he’s thinking.”
“Karin will have some explaining to do,” Eric chuckled.
“I can’t believe he didn’t expect it,” Sookie sighed. “Do you think they’ll really work? I mean, he is so demanding and she is so stubborn! All they ever seem to do is fight.”
“It sounds familiar,” Eric smiled softly, leaning over to kiss Sookie, “Although you were much more stubborn than Karin.”
“Well,” Sookie sighed, “Now that you mention it…”
“I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Eric smiled, his large hand making lazy circles over their child. “This is a wonderful life,” he said, and in that moment, he felt how fortunate they were and he tugged his forelock as he had as a child to ward off any evil that might find him out of jealousy. He looked up to see Sookie smirking at him. She wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing, but she knew it had to do with some superstition. “I wish Pam was home,” Eric told her.
“If something were really wrong, I know you’d feel it,” Sookie stroked his cheek. “It’s going to be a long night, and tomorrow will be longer. Fretting about it isn’t going to make this any easier.” Eric knew Sookie was right and, as if to punctuate things, their son decided to make his presence known with a strong kick. “Oof!” Sookie winced. “Cheese and rice, Eric! Now you’ve got him going, too!” and Sookie rolled over and levered herself into a standing position. She reached for her robe and drew it around her. As she made a bow with the ties, she said, “Do you really think Grandfather was thinking about killing us?”
“Where did that come from?” Eric frowned. “There are many things I would accuse the Prince of being, but a kin killer is not one of them.”
“Yeah, I suppose,” Sookie shrugged. “Still, it was a pretty creepy thing to do.”
“Fae,” Eric said, as if that explained everything. “Cataliades is making the arrangements. The next time we see your Grandfather, Thalia will be our officially registered guardian.”
“Which is great unless she doesn’t return,” Sookie said, somewhat gloomily.
“Of all of them,” Eric wrapped his arms around Sookie, “I trust Thalia to come back.”
“What do you think she knows?” Sookie asked. Eric had told Sookie about his conversation with Mr. Cataliades. They had speculated about it; everything from a secret plot to take over the world to the location of the lost city of Atlantis.
“Perhaps she’ll tell us that Niall is secretly related to the Ancient Pythoness,” Eric said the first outlandish thing that popped into his head. There was no good reason to speculate, so teasing seemed the better choice.
“Speaking of the Pythoness, Devrah informs me that if the construction isn’t finished by the time the old girl shows up, she’s going to be decorating with wolf skins,” and Sookie smiled. While they didn’t have a firm date, it was inevitable that the Pythoness would be coming to visit them. Mr. Cataliades had confirmed as much and it was decided the entire third floor would be placed at her disposal.
“We could go up and check on the progress,” Eric suggested, and when Sookie rounded on him ready to scold, he winked. “Don’t worry, my Lover,” he soothed her, “I have learned my lesson. You will have a place for our son,” and he kissed her head.
Sookie cuddled into him, laying her head against Eric’s silent chest, “Have you seen the flowers and cards the folks from the City have been sending?” she asked. Sookie’s overnight stay in the hospital became immediate news, the gossip tearing through the Quarter and from there to the rest of the City, the outcry spilling further when the news showed up in the morning editorials. Radio shows were lambasting the FBI and offerings for the Vampire Queen and Baby Vamp were being left at the Palace doorstep.
“I only noticed the letter of apology delivered from the Bureau,” Eric sniffed. “They assure me that the agent involved has been placed on disciplinary leave.”
“If they get more documents than what they had, they might not be so nice next time,” Sookie whispered.
“It is not like the old days,” Eric agreed. “Things have changed, and it seems, if we are lucky enough to survive this, we will need to change with them.”
‘Twilight.’ The thought bloomed across Pam’s mind, and, for the first time in many years, it brought a sense of urgency. Pam forced herself to swim up through the layers and clouds that seemed to hold her down. She became aware of her surroundings and a weight that was more than day death. Her eyes opened and she realized Misha was draped over her. Although her limbs were stiff, she was able to wriggle. Slowly, too slowly, she inched toward the edge of the bed. It took time before she moved enough that the King’s dead, inanimate, limbs fell from her and Pam knew if she was able, she would be sweating in anxiety.
With each second, Pam was closer. When she finally gained the edge of the bed, she literally rolled off, falling to the floor and hitting hard. She didn’t worry. There was no one alive in the house who would hear her. The shock was enough to cause some movement into her legs and through force of will, she started to move. Every effort was focused on one thing. Get to the door, and when she gained the door, get to the hall. Pam didn’t waste time. She rolled down the stairs, ending up on her stomach on the landing of the office floor. She was on hands and knees now, the thumb drive that was in the jacket lining next to the bed clutched in her hand. With each foot she moved she picked up speed until she was at the desk. Pam’s movements were almost normal when she shoved the drive into the USB port, lifted the lid using the edges of her fingers, and then pushed the power button with the end of a pencil.
The machine blinked and then there was a whirring sound. The drive blinked, too, and Pam started to count off the seconds that seemed to race by as the machine went through its routine. It seemed to take forever and Pam waited for the sound that would signal Andrew or Misha rising, but then, the drive blinked three times in quick succession and went dark. The machine screen blinked somewhat ominously as well, then looked completely normal. Pam used the pencil to push the power button again, holding it until the machine shut itself down. Lowering the lid, Pam palmed the thumb drive and turned to rush back upstairs when another drive caught her eye. It was sitting next to Misha’s regular laptop. Pam couldn’t explain it, but suddenly she had both drives in her hand and she was racing at top speed up the stairs. She tucked the drives into the hollow platform of the wedge-heeled shoes she would wear tonight and then slid back into bed.
No sooner did she settle on her side than she felt Misha rushing toward her, his consciousness pinging through the tie he had convinced her to form with him. She turned her eyes toward him as she had every other time she stayed with the New York King and made sure her smile was warm when he opened his eyes.
Misha was in a good mood on their rising. They showered together and while Pam worked on her hair Misha arranged donors. As was his custom, the women who showed up were beautiful. They never talked except to acknowledge that they understood what was being asked of them. Feeding soon led to fucking and Pam had to dig deep to relax into the moment. They were just starting Round Two when Pam’s phone rang. It was the special ringtone reserved for emergencies. Pam was relieved when Misha reached for the phone and presented it to her himself. “I’m sorry,” Pam murmured, gracefully exiting the snarl of bodies so she could drape herself over the chair. She let her manager speak for a few minutes before interrupting him to say, “Can you hold on a minute?”
“I am sorry,” Pam told Misha. “I don’t want to break the mood, but I think you need to hear this,” and she gave her best pleading look.
“If you think so, Zolotse,” the King replied and he backed out of the brunette he’d been in. “Ladies,” his tone became business-like, “I thank you. Please take your clothes and leave. Andrew will take care of you.” When the redhead threw a pouty look, Misha snarled, all good humor gone, and both the humans started moving with more purpose.
As soon as the door closed behind them, Pam pushed the speaker button, “Go ahead,” she told her manager.
“I mean it, Pam,” the stressed voice said, “We need you out here, and I mean an hour ago. The authorities have some idea this was deliberate, and it looks like they are going to accuse us of being involved in some way. Turn on the television! It’s on every major news station! They’re worried it’s going to take out half the block and it’s still nowhere under control. I don’t know what was in the basement, but whatever it was, it went up like a fireball from Hell and now the fire fighters are worried about toxic exposure. We need damage control and there’s no one else who can do this.”
Misha’s lips were pressed together as he stalked to retrieve the television remote. The screen came to life showing a news bulletin with a serious human reporter voicing over aerial footage of the nightclub fire in San Diego.
Pam threw the King a look, “I don’t know what to do…” and she threw him her most helpless female expression.
“Of course, you must go,” Misha growled. “Perhaps I should send Andrew with you.” Pam tried to look grateful, but her mind was racing, scrambling to come up with excuses. Fortunately, Misha then said, “No, it would only complicate things. Get what must be done completed quickly and then return to me.”
“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Pam said into the phone and then she disconnected. “I am so sorry,” she stood and glided to Misha, wrapping her arms around him in the way she knew he liked.
“For what, my Pamela? For being responsible? For fulfilling your obligations?” Misha was near purring and Pam was once again grateful she had maneuvered him into foregoing the exchange. He would not have been pleased, knowing how foolish she felt him in this moment. “I will have Andrew make arrangements for your return flight. You can come directly to Logan and Andrew will bring you to the Boston house.” When Pam made a noise, Misha seemed to interpret it as disappointment, because he tapped her lip and said, “Our time will be delayed only by a matter of days, and then, my Pamela, we begin our existence together.”
“Yes,” Pam angled forward, anxious to have her face so close that Misha wouldn’t be able to accurately read her. She kissed him, waiting for his signal that they needed to get going, and she didn’t have to wait long.
“Get what you need to take with you together,” Misha sighed. “I will ask Andrew to get you a seat to the west coast.” The King glanced at his watch, “There should still be domestic flights available if you wish.”
“They are fastest,” Pam nodded. “The sooner I get there…”
“Yes, my Zaichik!” and Misha was smiling, trailing fingers over her small breasts, tweaking a nipple and then turning to the door. Pam showered again and pulled some clothes together. She packed a few things, just enough to look credible, and used the smaller suitcase she had in the closet here. These clothes were headed on a one-way journey. If all went well, Pam would be able to claim them, but if things didn’t go well, Pam would abandon these belongings rather than risk capture by getting too close.
She was slipping into her shoes when Misha returned, “The car is ready. Allow me,” and Misha took her carry-on and carried it for her down the stairs. He walked her outside, holding her hand as Andrew placed the bag in the trunk and then walked around to the driver’s door. “Text me as soon as you arrive,” he told her. “I will expect to speak with you tonight.”
Pam leaned in and brushed her lips against Misha’s. The past twenty-four hours had been a confusion of emotions and sensation and Pam felt bruised in every way she could. She knew what would come next and while she should also know she should welcome the fact that she was another step closer to freedom, she found herself looking at Misha’s broad, funny face with sudden affection. “What?” he asked.
“Nothing,” Pam answered, and then without another word, she glided into the car.