What does one wear on a date with Eric Northman? While I’m sure he’d like to see me in next to nothing, that’s not how I rolled. Yes, I wanted to look good for him, but I didn’t want to look desperate, plus Eric had already seen me looking my worst on more than one occasion.
Tara’s Togs was where I decided to go shopping for a new outfit. Maybe I could even wear it at one of the events at the Summit. It wasn’t that long ago Tara had called me and left a message saying she had put aside a few outfits she thought I’d like that were on sale.
In no time at all I had cleaned up my lunch before heading out. It didn’t take long to reach Tara’s shop. When I walked in, she was at the register with another customer.
I decided to look around and see if anything caught my eye. Luckily her shop held a little bit of everything though sadly most of it was out of my price range. I didn’t want to spend most of my paycheck on an outfit for one date, even if it was with Eric.
It was definitely time for me to do more with my life than being a waitress. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could take the bigoted thoughts of the people in my town. Fortunately, I already had enough money saved to get the Internet at my house, and almost had enough to buy myself a computer. Once I had everything all set up I was going to enroll to get my Associates in Arts degree online. I figured by the time I started taking classes I’d find something I liked and decide on my degree then.
The moment Tara was done with her customer, she came over to where I was looking at some dresses with a big smile on her face and immediately gave me a hug. Tara was one of the few people I didn’t mind having physical contact with.
“So you finally found time to visit me,” Tara said with a grin.
“I’m sorry it took me so long. I’ve been busy, but that’s no excuse.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. I understand. Did you come to see what I put aside for you?” She asked, dramatically wiggling her eyebrows which caused me to laugh.
“I did. I have a date on Sunday and was hoping to find something to wear,” I replied shyly. I wasn’t sure how Tara would react if she found out it was a vampire, or better yet Eric.
Although she shouldn’t think too badly about Eric, he did get her out of that mess with Mickey. A shudder ran through my entire body just thinking about him. I was happy he was out of Tara’s life. Unfortunately, it left a bad taste in her mouth about all other vampires.
“Why don’t you go head to the dressing room and I’ll grab what I pulled out for you. I’m sure there’s something you’ll like for your date,” Tara said as she started toward the back.
Tara returned with her arms ladened with an array of clothes. After she had hung up and placed each item in the room, she helped me decide what I should try on first.
“So… Are you going to tell me who you’re going on a date with? I doubt it’s anyone from around here,” she asked while helping me zip up.
“No one from around here. He’s from Shreveport,” I replied, still unsure of what her reaction would be.
“Hmm… I don’t know many people from there. Do I know him?” She asked, pulling out a black skirt and silky red blouse.
“Actually you do. You remember Eric, right?”
“Hot, blond, and deadly?”
I nodded as I checked myself out in the mirror.
“That might be the outfit, but try the rest on before you decide,” she said with an approving look. “How could I forget about him? He’s the one who finally got rid of Mickey. I’ll be forever grateful to him for that. ”
Tara smiled as she took in the navy dress I now had on.
“I like that one too,” she commented while straightening the hem.
“I don’t know how I’m going to choose. Maybe I’ll have to get them both. We’ll see,” I said as I took it off to try on the last outfit. It wouldn’t hurt to get two. I was pretty sure there’d more than one date with Eric, and I could wear both to the summit. Seemed like a win-win in my book.
“Do you know what you’re going to be doing on this date?” She asked, setting aside the two outfits I liked.
“I have no clue,” I replied with a shrug. “Eric’s supposed to call in a couple of days, so I figured I’d ask him then. He’s just as inexperienced in dating as I am so it should be interesting.”
“I can’t imagine him having a hard time finding someone to date. I mean he’s gorgeous,” Tara said before slapping her hand across her mouth. “I’m sorry, Sookie, but it’s true. As does everyone else and he probably knows it too.”
“It’s okay,” I sighed. “I do know that everyone thinks he’s gorgeous, and boy, does he know it! I don’t think his ego could get any bigger.”
“Well, you’re pretty hot yourself,” Tara said with a pointed look. “Especially in that dress. Hey! Do you remember that time when we both were at the same club in Jackson, and we ended up doing our old high school dance talent show routine?” She asked, laughing as she remembered it. She was thinking about it so hard that I didn’t know if I would have been able to block her if I wanted.
“How could I forget? We gave them quite the show,” I managed to get out in between laughs.
Our laughter filled the dressing room and once we calmed down we headed to the register. Now I had to decide if I was going to buy only one or both outfits.
“You really like him, don’t you?” Tara asked.
“I do, but it’s so complicated. It’s a long story, and you probably have to get back to work.”
“I have time. I’m always here if you need me. Lay it on me,” she said with a laugh, but her face was serious.
We sat down in the chairs that were in front of her computer where she did wedding consultations. Tara sat quietly as I explained what happened when Eric had his amnesia, how he woke up without remembering, and all that had happened since then. Every once in a while, she’d stop me to ask me a question. Never once was she negative about my feelings for Eric.
With brown eyes full of sympathy, Tara let out a low whistle. “That is complicated. It’s obvious you still like him, and it sounds as if he likes you from what I know about vampires. What you need to do is forget about what everyone else thinks, and go by how you feel and what he brings to your life. The good and bad,” Tara said with a knowing smile.
I didn’t know how long I sat with my mouth hanging open. I didn’t close it until Tara started laughing and wiping her eyes.
“How? What?” I questioned.
“I know you better than you think, and I also know that you’re better than this small town. You always have been.”
I couldn’t speak. I was beyond overwhelmed by her words. Very rarely did I hear positive things about myself. Actually, the only ones who were positive about me and my ability were Eric and Pam.
“How close are you to enrolling in online classes?” She asked, sensing how overcome I’d become.
“Almost…” I cleared my throat. “Almost there. I have a big job to do for some vampires that’s coming up, and once I get paid, it will put me over by quite a bit. I plan to enroll next semester,” I replied proudly.
“That’s great, just don’t forget about me,” she joked.
“That would be impossible. You know that. Now that you know I’m going on a date with Eric, let’s talk about your dating life. Have you been on any dates recently?”
“Actually I have. It’s still pretty new, but J.B. and I have been out on a few dates,” she told me shyly.
“You and J.B.? I had no idea that you even liked him.” I was stunned but happy for her. She needed someone nice after her ordeal with Mickey.
Tara shrugged her shoulders and smiled shyly. “You know how sweet he is, and he’s damn fine looking, so when he asked me out one day as I was getting ready to leave the gym, I said yes. It’s still new, but he treats me the way I’ve always wanted a guy to treat me. What more could I want?”
I wanted to say brains because J.B. was about as smart as a tack, but who was I to judge, especially after how encouraging she was when I told her about Eric.
“Nothing. It sounds perfect. I’m so happy for you. Well, I guess I should probably check out so I can get on home and get ready for my shift. We definitely need to get together more often. I missed talking to you.”
I forgot how good it felt to talk and hang out with her since we were both so busy.
“Definitely. Who knows maybe things will work out between you and Eric, and we can go on a double date. Can you imagine?” She asked with a laugh.
I couldn’t help but laugh along with her. First of all, I couldn’t imagine what a date with Eric would be like, but going on a double date with Tara and J.B. was impossible.
“So have you decided which outfit you’re going to get for your date tonight?” she asked as we walked up to the register.
“I think so, and I’m going to buy both of them and hope that there will be more than one date with Eric in my future,” I answered.
“I know there will be,” she said with a smile, but as she rung up my purchases, it quickly slipped away. “Um… I don’t know if you know this or not, but a few days ago a blonde vampire came in here and opened an account for you.”
“What?! Do you know who?” I asked with frustration leaking out with my voice.
“I think her name was Pam. I could check if you want me to,” she squeaked out.
“No need,” I said between gritted teeth. “I have an idea who it was, and I’ll be confronting him very soon.”
“Eric?” Tara asked.
“The one and only. He’s the only one I can think that would be high-handed enough to do this,” I replied with a huff.
“So I’m guessing you don’t want your purchases on the account then,” she stated.
“There is no way in hell he’s paying for what I’m going to wear on our date. If there will even be one after this.”
“Don’t cut him off yet. Talk to him first at least. I’m sorry, Sookie.”
“It’s not your fault and don’t worry, I’ll be talking to him as soon as I get home from work,” I promised.
“Okay. Don’t be a stranger. I want to hear what kind of date that vampire takes you on,” Tara said as she handed my bag tome.
“I will. Thank you for all your help. I’ll talk to you soon,” I replied as I gave her a quick goodbye hug.
I was still fuming as I made my way home. There was no way in hell I was letting Eric pay for my clothes. Is that what he thought I wanted from him? I was definitely going to have to set him straight.
Debating on whether I should go see him after work or if a call would do to get my point across, I didn’t even realize that my front door was wide open until I was lifting my keys up to unlock the door.
Quickly scanning my surroundings, I didn’t pick anyone up in or around my house. Still, even knowing there was no one there I quietly walked into my house to find it ransacked.
Everything, and I mean everything, was turned on its side or upside down. Books, magazines, newspapers, knick-knacks, and framed pictures were scattered all over the place. When I stepped into the kitchen, even my food from the refrigerator was on the counters and littered all over the floor.
Who would do this? I thought as I walked down the hall to my bedroom. A sob escaped me as I peeked into my room. It looked as if a tornado had hit it. My bed was ripped apart with stuffing and springs coming out from huge gashes that were cut through the mattress. All the drawers were ripped from my dresser and water was starting to seep into the room from the broken sink that had been split down the middle.
I quickly turned off the water valve before high tailing it out of my house. There was no way I could stay here. I was scared out of my mind. Who was after me now? Why couldn’t my life be simple?
Trying to lock the front door, but realizing it was busted, I think I went into a state of shock. All I remember was getting in my car and heading toward Shreveport. The next thing I knew I was being shown into Eric’s office by Ginger.
“Master should be here soon. Is there anything I can get you while you wait?” She asked with an honest smile.
Shaking my head, I decided to lay down on the couch while I waited. Curling myself into a ball, I closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around my knees, hoping it would stop my body from shaking.
I must have fallen asleep because when I opened my eyes, I could only see two cerulean orbs staring back at me.
“What an unexpected surprise to find you in my office. Could you not wait until our date to see me again?” Eric asked with a smirk.
I shot off the couch and threw myself at Eric’s crouched form. I must have taken him by surprise because we found ourselves sprawled out on his office floor.
What the hell? When Ginger informed me that Sookie was waiting for me in my office, to say I was surprised would be an understatement. Not that I was going to complain, I was always happy to see Sookie and if she was going to take the initiative, that only made it better.
But when she threw herself at me so unexpectedly, I was so shocked that my reflexes didn’t even have time to work. We found ourselves laying on the floor, not that I minded. At least not at first.
The second my arms were wrapped around Sookie’s small frame, she clutched herself to my body and started to cry into my neck. I quickly moved us onto the couch and tried to calm her down.
“Sookie, whatever it is, you’re safe with me. I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise,” I spoke soothingly as I rubbed a hand down her back. “You know how I hate to see you cry; please tell me what’s wrong so that I may fix it.”
Nothing I said seemed to help. I couldn’t remember the last time I tried to console someone. Perhaps it was my human daughter, but from what little I could remember she had never been this inconsolable. I started to sing a lullaby that I had heard many of the women sing around my village. When Sookie’s fingers made their way into my hair and began to twirl it around, I was relieved that something had started to work. By the time I was finished with what I had remembered of the song she had stopped crying.
I decided that I would keep quiet, try to let her formulate what she wanted to say, and was left wondering if I was going to have to kill anybody.
It didn’t take her long before she slowly sat up, and it took every ounce of my control when I felt her heat straddling my cock. Now was definitely not the time.
Sookie sniffed and used the sleeve of her shirt of wipe her tear-stained cheeks before her head slowly tilted up to look at me. When our eyes finally met she had a small, but sad, smile on her face.
“That was beautiful. I didn’t know you could sing,” she said somewhat shyly.
“Thank you. It’s not something anyone would know for I haven’t sung since my human days,” I explained.
“Why? You have a wonderful voice, and I think you should use it.”
“Now is not the time to get into such silly things. I want to know what had you so upset when you first saw me. You are unharmed,” I stated.
I hadn’t found any trace of blood in the air or any marks on her body from what I’d seen.
“No one has hurt me,” she said her lower trembling. “At least not yet.” Tears started to trail slowly down her cheeks, and I didn’t know what to do with the crying woman in my lap. I did the only thing I could do. I wrapped my arms around her, pulled her against me, tucked her head underneath my chin, and started to sing once again.
Luckily, this time it didn’t take her long to calm down. Although I did hate when she slowly extricated herself from my lap, but if that meant no more tears, then I could deal with it.
Wanting a body to be against mine was entirely new to me. I didn’t mind it so much when I was fucking some fangbanger for my release, but I tried to keep it minimal. Sookie didn’t need to know how much she affected me. Did she realize how differently I was with her?
“I’m sorry for breaking down on you,” she said, looking from under her wet eyelashes before placing her hand on my chest. “It seems I’m always ruining your shirts.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry about. My shirts are of no consequence. Now explain to me why you think someone may hurt you so that I may rectify the problem. I meant what I said; I won’t let anyone harm you,” I said with my jaw clenched just thinking about someone hurting Sookie.
“I know,” she said. “I believe you. Earlier today I went to buy an outfit for our date.”
A smirk spread across my face knowing that she had gone out to buy something special for our date. However, it quickly disappeared when I saw the angry set to her face.
“Later we’ll be talking about why you,” she said, digging her finger into my chest, “set up an account for me. I will not be accepting any such thing from you.”
Always jumping to conclusions. Maybe she’d feel differently when she knew why it was set up, but logically that probably wouldn’t happen knowing Sookie like I did.
“Yes, later. Now explain.” Why was she being so difficult? My patience was slowly fading. I needed to know why she was so upset, and she kept crying, and now she was mad at me.
Would life ever be easy with Sookie?
Doubtful, but she was worth it. I did know that. Crossing her arms over her chest. I tried not to notice as her plentiful breasts were heaving upward, but it was hard, in more ways than one.
“Anyways, I went home to put away my purchases and get ready for work. Oh no! I forgot about work. I’ve got to call Sam and let him know I’ll be late or not coming in at all,” she cried out, scurrying around looking for something.
“Can I use your phone? It seems I left my purse and phone in the car?” She asked, looking strained.
I almost wanted to laugh. I didn’t care about the shifter. Personally, I’d be more than happy if she wasn’t working there. As far as I was concerned, she could get fired for not showing up, but I knew the mutt wouldn’t fire her. Not when he wanted her and thought he had a chance.
I motioned for her to use the phone and waited even longer to find out what the hell had happened. Crossing my arms over my chest, I sat impatiently as Sookie tried to evade answering the shifter’s questions.
When Sookie finally hung up the phone, she at least felt guilty. Perhaps she finally noticed my frustration or maybe she saw how busy I was. I hadn’t even begun to sort through all the emails for the summit yet. The amount of work that this summit was causing left me with very little free time and I was lucky to be able to reserve Sunday for our date. I had much to do so that I’d be ready when Andre showed up for the meeting.
“I’m sorry, Eric. I know you’re busy, and I’ll get out of your hair after I explain.” Sookie moved to one of the chairs in front of my desk and squared her shoulders.
“So… I noticed when I went to unlock the door that it was already opened.” Really? “I scanned to make sure no one was in the house or close by, and when I knew it was clear, I went in.”
At least she checked and showed some self-preservation. Only then did I notice that Sookie had stopped talking and was close to tears again. Slipping two fingers under her warm chin, I tilted her face so that she would look at me.
“You are safe here,” I firmly reassured her, and she regarded me for a moment before she softly whispered.
“I know, Eric.”
My thumb ghosted over her jaw line. “What happened?”
She pressed her lips together and sniffed before she continued, “My whole house was ransacked. Everything was turned upside down or thrown, even my bedroom. They tore my bed up and broke my sink.”
That definitely got my attention. Who would do that to Sookie? It was hard to tell without surveying it for myself. She was always in some sort of trouble.
“What do you mean they tore up your bed? Do you have anything in your house that you know of that would make someone break into your house to steal?” I questioned. There were too many unknowns.
“No, you’ve seen my house. I have nothing that anyone would want.”
Except everyone wanted Sookie. I had no idea how she could never see all the males that wanted her.
“Now that I think about it, it looked like huge claw marks on my bed. The springs and stuffing were showing. I didn’t know what to do. The next thing I knew I was here. Who would destroy my home?” She painfully asked.
That I didn’t know, but I did know that my chest was puffed out slightly knowing that she instinctively came to me. She knew she was safe with me and that I’d help her.
“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out. Give me twenty minutes. I need to make some arrangements before we leave.”
“Okay,” she murmured and set her hands in her lap.
“If you’d like a drink before we leave there should be someone at the bar who can help you. I won’t be long.”
Nodding her head, Sookie got up and made her way to the door before she turned back to look at me. “Thank you, Eric, for helping me.”
“Always,” I made sure to look her in the eye. “I’ll come get you when I’m finished,” I said before pulling out my phone and texting Thalia to let her know I needed her to be on the floor tonight. Although she had a weird following, I didn’t care. When word got out that she was at Fangtasia, they all showed up trying to get a picture of her smiling. That was never going to happen. I’d known Thalia for close to six hundred years and never once had I seen a smile on her face.
Next, I called Pam and informed her that I needed for her to cover for me. I had no idea how long I’d be gone tonight. If I needed to, I could always go through my emails at home or on my phone, but I didn’t want to. I was already working from almost sundown to sunup as it was. Maybe I should file a petition to go on vacation after the summit was over. I certainly deserved one.
Pam had no problem coming in to help once she found out that someone or someones had broken into Sookie’s house. I was lucky that Pam liked Sookie as much as she did; otherwise, I’d hate to think of how ugly it could get between the two of them.
Not knowing if I’d make it back or not, I did have to look through the papers on my desk to see if there was anything important, and go through my email to see if there was anything from the Queen or any sheriff business that I needed to take care of immediately. Luck must have been in my favor tonight because I only had one email that required my immediate attention.
After shutting down my computer and putting my paperwork away, I made my way out to the bar to find Sookie. The bar was empty since it wouldn’t open for another hour. Normally I wouldn’t be here this early, but much had changed since Hurricane Katrina and the upcoming summit. After the hurricane, I had an influx of vampires in my Area whom I would normally not allow to live here due to their penchant for not following rules, but the Queen had issued a demand to all of her sheriffs that we must take in any and all that vampires from the Areas that were affected by the hurricane into our Area for the time being.
Sookie sat perched on a barstool, sipping what I was sure was a gin and tonic as she listened to Ginger babble on and on about who knows what. Deciding that I’d save her from having to hear to another word from Ginger, I made my way over to the bar.
“Sookie, we need to get going,” I stated, holding my arm out in the direction of the office.
“Sure. Um…” She looked out toward the front and then back at me, indecision warring in her eyes.
“What do you need, Sookie?” I asked, stepping toward the hallway.
“Can I get my purse and phone out of my car?” She asked nervously.
Was I being too impatient?
“We’ll stop by your car on the way out of the parking lot so that you may get your items. Come,” I said as I put my hand on her lower back and guided her out the door.
It was a quiet ride on the way to Sookie’s. She sat biting her fingernails and looking out the window as I tried to figure out why anyone would be after Sookie at the moment. It didn’t take long to get there since I was driving. It pleased me that Sookie didn’t fight me on her driving or wanting to take her car.
The first thing I noticed was Sookie’s front door was standing wide open, and when I opened my door, the air smelled overwhelmingly of Weres. There had been two or more, but it was hard to tell outside. I’d have more luck once I was inside.
Seeing Sookie’s door start to open, I quickly made my way over to her side. After promising to keep her safe, I wasn’t going to take any chances.
Sookie wasn’t over-exaggerating when she described the state of her house. It was a mess. What she didn’t describe was the damage to the walls to a few of the rooms. The food that had been thrown around her kitchen was starting to smell foul.
As we walked into her bedroom, I noticed that Sookie’s eyes started to tear up, and I had a feeling that what I had to say next was going to be the cause of them spilling over.
From the moment I walked in, I knew that two Weres were responsible for the destruction, but the new evidence I had found was the kicker.
A black pen with gold lettering on it. Gold letters that said EEE, and to make matters worse, the tiger’s scent was all over it.
“Sookie,” I called to her as I walked up behind her. Placing my hands on her shoulders, I broke the news, “It’s not safe for you to stay here right now.”
Slowly she spun around to face me, wrapping her arms around her body as she looked at the claw marks that punctured the dry wall.
“The ones who broke into your house and caused all of this devastation,” I explained, pointing to her bed. “Are Weres and this,” I said, holding up the pen for her to view. “Smells strongly of your date from the other night,” I growled.
Her eyes grew wide as she took a step toward me, “Quinn?”
“Yes, the tiger.”
“Do you think he was responsible for…”
Just as I excepted, her eyes welled up more than before, and tears started to rain quickly down her cheeks.
How many times would I have to witness her cry in one night? I would try to do everything within my power to only make her smile.
“I do. I don’t know why, but I will find out. I not sure if he sent someone here to do all this because he felt jilted or for far worse reasons. Until I know more, I’d feel better if you were not here alone. You’re too far from me in Bon Temps for me to protect you. I’d prefer if you stayed with me until I can assure your safety,” I explained calmly. I was prepared for an epic Sookie throw down. Instead, she stood gaping like a fish at me until she started to look around the room with a frown.
“Can I pack a few things?” She asked quietly looking at the floor.
Placing my index finger underneath her chin, I slowly raised her head until our eyes met. “Get whatever you need. I need to let Pam know that I won’t be coming back tonight, and to have someone come to clean and repair your house while you’re gone.”
I was shocked that Sookie hadn’t fought me on leaving. Maybe she was in shock. Tomorrow night she’d probably be fighting me to come home.
“You really don’t have to do all this for me, Eric. I don’t want to owe you…”
I stopped her. Did she really think that everything I did for her was so that she would be in my debt?
“Sookie, you owe me nothing, never have and never will. I am doing this because I want to and because I can, nothing more. Now go get your things while I make my calls.”
Pulling out my phone, I sat down on Sookie’s bed and watched her go into her closet to get a suitcase and start packing.
My first call was to Pam to let her know that I wouldn’t be back and that I’d catch up on my emails at home. Although she wasn’t happy that I wouldn’t be doing my duty of sitting on that damn throne she understood. Sookie was the only human that Pam liked, and she had become protective of her. Pam was constantly giving me tips from Dear Abby on how to deal with Sookie. Maybe now that Sookie and I were going to try this dating thing she’d be happy.
Next I sent Alcide a detailed email explaining that I wanted him to send a cleanup crew to Sookie’s house, and then have someone to repair the damage. It wouldn’t take long to fix the walls, but the front door would need to be replaced, and I wanted to replace it with a much stronger door than then the one she had now and while I was at it, I might as well replace the back door. I wanted her house to be as secure as possible. Maybe I should have a security system put in. Perhaps a secure light-tight chamber under her house. There was no way I’d be staying in that shoebox of a closet again. I could only remember rising one night in it, and that was enough for a lifetime. Plus it smelled of Bill.
It was better to ask forgiveness than to get Sookie’s permission. She would never agree to all the changes I wanted to be made. I hoped she wouldn’t stay mad at me for long, and Alcide could get it all done quickly.
After sending off the email to Alcide, I stretched out on Sookie’s bed as I watched her sort through the clothes on the floor and place them in her suitcase. Once she went into her bathroom to finish up her packing, I turned on my side, brushed away the clumps of stuffing and a spring that was in my way, and caught Sookie’s scent. Somehow her pillow had seemed to bottle up her unique scent of sunshine and all that was Sookie. Burying my nose into her pillow, I inhaled deeply. I couldn’t get enough.
Sunshine, wheat, honey, and other.
I didn’t know what she was, but Sookie was certainly not all human. No human smelled or tasted that good and add in her telepathy; she was definitely other. Once the summit was over, I’d start trying to figure out what.
Not wanting Sookie to witness me surreptitiously sniffing her pillow, I decided to take one final discreet inhale to last me until she left her intoxicating scent in my home.
What I wasn’t expecting when I inhaled was my own scent or the way my vision blurred. I hadn’t experienced anything like it since my human days when I had drunk too much mead. I lay stunned until Sookie’s face came into my peripheral with a worried look on her face.
“Are you okay?” she asked concerned.
“I’m… well. Why do you ask?”
Getting off her bed, I grabbed her suitcase and made my way to the living room trying to put the strange feeling behind me. Before leaving, I secured the front door until it could be replaced and walked Sookie out to my car. After placing her bag in the trunk, I took one final look at her house.
What happened in her room? In that house?
I shook my head at the odd sensation. I needed to get Sookie to my house where she’d be safe and could relax. With all the stress of the day, she looked like she was on the verge of falling asleep at any moment.
Like the drive to Sookie’s, the drive to my house was made in silence. I was wondering if Sookie knew that she was the first person I’d ever invited to my home. The only ones who had been there were Pam and Bobby. Pam, I wanted there, but Bobby was out of necessity.
I had just pulled onto the highway when a cascade of images started to flash before me. Unprepared for the onslaught of emotions and images from the week that I had lost, I slammed on the brakes as a searing pain ripped through my head causing me to pant through the memories.
When the images finally faded, Sookie’s hysterical voice calling my name over and over again brought me out of my now confused state. Slowly I turned my head toward her as I steeled my face and emotions.
“Are you okay?” she asked with concern as she tentatively reached over to place her hand over my own that was on the steering wheel.
Pulling my hand out from under hers, I ran it through my hair as I looked out the windshield. At that moment, all I could do was nod my head. I needed to get us to my house so that I could process what I had just experienced and sort through the flood of memories.
“Are you sure you’re okay? I could drive if you want.”
Sookie had seen too much. I needed some space to work through… What the fuck just happened? “Reign it in,” I said to myself. “I’ll deal with this when I get home.”
“Thank you, but I’m fine,” I replied with my jaw clenched. “I didn’t mean to cause you more stress this evening. Sit back and relax. It won’t take us long to reach my house.”
“If you’re sure.” She stated with concern.
My response was only a nod as my hands tightened their grip on the steering wheel.
The rest of our journey I was on autopilot. The images, feelings, and words that were spoken during my time with Sookie continued to swirl around not only in my head but also my cold dead heart.
It wasn’t feeling very cold or dead in that moment, though.
Once we reached my house, we remained silent as I helped Sookie out of the car, retrieved her bags, unlocked the door leading from the garage into the house, and put in my security code.
I stood watching as Sookie took in the kitchen and peered into the living room. The kitchen was updated, but there was nothing on the countertops or in the cupboards except a microwave. There were only different types of blood in the refrigerator, no food whatsoever. I was going to have to send Bobby for some groceries for Sookie while she was here.
The vibrating in my pocket hadn’t stopped since our abrupt stop on the side of the road. I knew it was Pam, and she was worried about what she was feeling from me. She knew I wasn’t in danger, only that she couldn’t place what I was feeling or why.
Welcome to the club!
Whipping out my phone, I sent her a text letting her know that we had made it to my house safely, and I would talk to her tomorrow night. Maybe by then I’d have wrapped my head around the influx of a week’s worth of memories that could very well change my existence. If I let them.
Toeing off my boots, I gestured to Sookie’s worn white tennis shoes.
“No shoes in the house,” I said a little more gruffly than intended.
Nodding her head, Sookie looked at me with sadness. It didn’t help that I could feel that she felt dejected, worried, and confused. She probably thought I didn’t want her here with the way I’d been acting, but I needed time. She’d have to understand.
“Let me give you the tour and show you where you’ll be sleeping. This is the kitchen. There’s nothing for you at the moment, but I’ll have my day man pick up some food and bring it by the time you wake.”
“I don’t want to be any trouble. Let me know what I owe, and I’ll pay you back.”
“You are my guest here. No arguing,” I added, knowing she’d want to fight me on it. She stayed quiet as she followed me.
“This is the living room,” I said as I swept my arm out as we passed. “This room Pam uses as an extra closet, this is a bathroom, bedroom, and bedroom. You can choose whichever one you want, they both have an attached bathroom.”
“Is that your bedroom?” Sookie asked as she pointed down the hall to the double doors.
“Yes,” It was technically my bedroom. She didn’t need to know I’d be in an underground chamber.
“I guess I’ll take this one,” she said, indicating the room closest to mine.
Opening the door, I placed her bags on the bed and started to walk out the door until Sookie’s small warm hand on my arm stopped me.
“Eric?” She said, looking up at me from underneath her long lashes.
Putting my hands on her shoulders, I looked down at her. “Feel free to look around tomorrow when you get up. Nothing is off limits. I know you’re tired, so I’ll leave you to rest.”
Closing her door, I made my way out to the backyard where I gathered some firewood. I needed to clear my head, and building a fire and watching its flames had always brought a level of calm I found nowhere else. Even in my human days.
Once the fire was lit, I sat down and let it warm my body as I tried to make sense of the memories that had stormed through me at break neck speed earlier.
Sookie finding me on the side of the road when I didn’t know who or where I was. Knowing in my blood that I could trust her with keeping me safe and later with my heart. Feeling like I should know her, Sookie cleaning my feet, taking care of me, being uncertain and going to her that first night, holding her hand, talking in front of the fire, the shower, the sex, the meeting at Merlotte’s, the war, not being able to find her afterward, desperate to be with her, going back to her home, getting shot to protect Sookie, and cleaning up Debbie’s remains. Rising the next night not remembering what had happened and Sookie’s excitement when she first came into the room, only for it to plummet when she knew I no longer remembered and the way she always felt this strange mix of longing, mourning, and anger when she saw me with each encounter afterward.
I couldn’t stop the memories from running in a loop over and over.
We were happy, if not in love, and Sookie had given all of it up for me to regain my memories. I was unsure if I would have been selfless enough if I had been in the same situation.
What I couldn’t get over was how happy I was. I couldn’t remember being that happy in all of my existence.
I understood Sookie’s anger and why it hurt her to be near me. Especially with the way I treated her when I wanted to know what had happened during the time I couldn’t remember. Now I understood why my own feelings had grown so unexpectedly after I rose that night.
How could she forgive me and be willing to date me now?
Would Sookie ever love me for who I am? I knew without a doubt she loved him, my amnesiac self.
Could I strip myself bare for Sookie? Let her see that deep down I was that man who had stayed with her, only now I was more. Now I was a vampire who had learned to harden himself, and to only feel anger and lust to survive. I could never describe to her what I had been through with my maker to make her understand why I had erected the walls I had over the centuries.
Feeling a warm hand on my shoulder jerked me to the here and now. To Sookie.
“I’m sorry,” she stuttered as I whipped my head toward her. “I was coming out to get a glass of water, but I saw you sitting here. You looked lost. Is everything okay, Eric?”
Still unable to speak, I nodded once.
“Do you mind?” She asked, indicating the space beside me.
Shaking my head, I returned my gaze back to the gentle fire, waiting for it to bring my calm. Only this time it wasn’t the fire, but Sookie that finally made the memories stop and for my mind to clear.
Even though I knew she needed her rest, I was too selfish to tell her to go to bed. I let her sit beside me where she eventually rested her head on my shoulder and stared at the fire with me.
It was similar to our time when I wasn’t myself, but this felt more.
After an hour of silence Sookie quietly told me goodnight before she rose from her spot on the floor. When she reached the hallway was when I finally spoke to her. Wide, innocent eyes looked back at me, and I heard her heart skip a beat when I finally spoke.