“Wha… No,” Sookie said, shaking her head frantically. “You’re wrong!”
Willa slowly moved in front of her friend when she noticed her body began to shake.
“I wish I was but…” Willa looked around again on alert. “I’m so sorry, Sookie.”
“You’re sure?” Sookie asked as she dropped her forgotten pizza boxes and wrapped her hands around her pregnant belly. Sookie knew that Willa would never lie to her about such a thing, no matter how much she and Dirk didn’t get along.
“I am, sweetheart,” Willa responded sadly to her friend. She wrapped an arm around her waist to help as Sookie slowly sank into the grass.
“It’s not possible. I just saw him this morning and… I brought pizza home for dinner, his favorite, and I have a car full of baby items that I bought today. It’s just not possible. You must be wrong. Maybe he’s at a friend’s house. Or…”
“Sookie, I’m not mistaken,” Willa said with worry.
“Why would someone kill him? We’ve been living a quiet peaceful life these last few years. As far as I know, he doesn’t have any enemies. Could it have been someone after me and instead they killed Dirk? Could it…” Sookie trailed off trying to think of who would want her hurt.
“I don’t know,” Willa said as she tried to subtly scan their surroundings.
“Am I in danger?” Sookie whispered as fear for herself and her unborn baby consumed her. Even in her shocked state, she had noticed how Willa’s eyes kept searching along her property.
“I don’t want you to unnecessarily worry yourself, especially being pregnant, but there are two different type of scents in the house and neither of them are human. I believe someone came to kill your husband and quite possibly you,” Willa explained and looked around again. “When you arrived I was trying to track the scents but two of them ended abruptly in the cemetery and the one that smelled of Were ended in your driveway, most likely from getting in and out of a car.”
Sookie’s body began to tremble after hearing that two of the scents had disappeared in the cemetery and Willa didn’t know what to do. She didn’t want to take her friend inside with her husband lying dead on the floor just inside the living room.
“I don’t know what to do, Sookie. Inside is safer, but you don’t need to see what’s in there. I’d go and quickly clean up, but I can’t leave you out here where there’s possible danger. I’m not that good of a strategist. I’m…”
Willa’s voice cut out as they heard an engine revving and tires squealing in the distance.
Sookie struggled to push herself off the ground, but her center of gravity was not what it used to be. Just as she got herself upright, a black SUV came flying down her driveway.
“Run!” Sookie yelled as she grabbed her belly and started to run as fast as she could being seven and a half months pregnant, which was not fast at all.
She hadn’t made it far when she was caught in the grasp of big, strong, unwielding arms.
Sookie screamed and fought with all her might, but her struggle was useless as the arms tightened around her and lifted her off the ground.
Tears streaked down her cheeks as she realized this was it. The end of her life and the life of her unborn child. She had so many regrets and now she’d never live to correct them. Eric’s face drifted through her thoughts, his sweet amnesiac smile and his soulful eyes. How she wished she hadn’t rejected him time and time again over the years. Why had she been so stupid and begged him to cure Bill? Why had she wasted all these years? She should have gone to him in Shreveport but she was too afraid. A sob escaped as she kicked and tried to squirm her way out her attacker’s grasp.
The attacker’s grip faltered for a moment as Sookie took the advantage and tried to make her way as quickly as she could into her home. If she could only make it to her shotgun! Once again she was grabbed, only this time it was by her upper arms and she was whirled around into a tall figure dressed in all black. Sookie tried to free her arms, but it was no use, she wasn’t going to get away.
Sookie stopped moving as she noticed her attacker was slowly bending down to face her. What she saw next shocked her to her very core.
She must have been hallucinating if she thought Eric was her attacker. Maybe she was already dead and had gone to Heaven, or was this her Hell; to be able to see Eric, the man she had never stopped loving, but had never really gotten a chance with by her own doing, and knowing she’d never feel his cool strong arms around her again, nor look into his cerulean eyes, see his smile, or feel his cool breath as he whispered into her ear.
This must be her Hell.
“Sookie, I need you to take a breath,” Eric’s smooth voice echoed through her thoughts. His body had relaxed and his hands were only lightly holding onto her arms now.
“I know it’s been awhile since we last saw each other, but do you really think I’d hurt you?” Eric spoke, his words laced with hurt. Sookie could see in his eyes and hear in his tone that she had wounded him by her actions, bringing her only slightly out of her stupor.
“Eric?” Sookie asked after blinking a few times. She was still unable to believe that this night was real, that Eric was standing right in front of her with a hurt, but also worried look on his face.
“Yes,” he replied as he let go of her arms and sat her down on the porch swing.
“Are you really here?” Sookie asked with confusion as she looked over at Eric. She couldn’t believe that he was really here after all the times that she had wished he would show up one day and want her back in his life.
Eric looked out into the yard to his youngest progeny. “Did she hit her head? I thought you said that she knew I’ve been looking out for her.”
“She’s known all along why I came that first time. Maybe since we’ve become friends she thought I was only coming for myself, but I think she’s in shock. It’s a lot to take in,” Willa responded as she made her way up to the front porch.
Looking down, Eric noticed that Sookie had scooted closer with one hand on her swollen belly and the other only an inch from his leg. It was almost as if she wanted to touch him but was afraid.
Was she afraid of him now?
The thought tore through him, causing an ache to form in his long dead heart. He would rather die the True Death than cause her an ounce of pain.
Picking up her hand that was close to his leg, he held it in between both of his as he turned to talk to her, rubbing his thumb soothingly over the tops of fingers.
“Sookie, I want you to know that I’d never hurt you,” he said, trying to hide how much it pained him for her to think that of him.
Taking her hand off her belly, Sookie reached up and touched Eric’s cheek.
“You’re really here,” Sookie stated as he leaned his face into her palm.
He wanted to close his eyes and relish in the warmth of her hand. It had been too long and he had forgotten how one touch from her could soothe and make him burn at the same time.
“Of course. Where else would I be?”
“Shreveport,” Sookie stated as she looked up at him, finally starting to believe that he was really there.
“You needed me,” he replied, but continued when he saw her dumbfounded expression. “I’ll always come when you need me. I came as soon as I could.”
“I’ve needed you for a long time,” she said quietly. If he hadn’t been a vampire sitting right next to her, he wouldn’t have heard it.
Eric wanted to hope that she really meant it, but it was obvious that she was still in shock.
Instead of responding and getting his hopes crushed, he rose from the swing and faced his Childe.
“What can you tell me?” He asked as he scanned the property. Something he should have done the second he arrived if he had been thinking clearly, but when he was around the woman who had ensnared his unbeating heart all those years ago, all rational thought left him.
As Willa explained, Eric used his acute sense of smell to see if he could identify who had killed the mangy Were and was now most likely after Sookie.
One Were and two full blooded fairies. Shit.
Eric realized he and Sookie had never really talked about when she had gone to the Fae realm and if she would be in any future danger. Hell, maybe she didn’t know. Sookie’s self-preservation skills had always needed more work.
“Sookie,” Eric said as he kneeled down in front of her. “I’m going to go inside for a moment to look around and see if I can figure out who’s behind killing your… husband.”
It took almost everything within him to utter that one word without showing his distaste for with whom she had chosen to spend the rest of her normal life.
“Willa’s right here,” Holding out his arm, Willa came forward with a tentative smile on her face. “If you’re agreeable, I’d like to take you somewhere else for the night just to be on the safe side.”
“I don’t have anywhere else to go,” Sookie mumbled looking down at the ground.
“You’ll come home with me… unless you’re uncomfortable being around me. If that’s the case, I’m sure Willa would let you stay with her.”
“You’re more than welcome to stay with me,” Willa replied, placing her hand over Sookie’s.
“I don’t want to be an inconvenience to either one of you.”
“I wouldn’t have offered if it were. Please come with me,” Eric’s eyes begged her. “I need to know that you’re safe.”
“If you’re sure,” Sookie nodded.
“I’m positive. Stay here with Willa and call out if you need me or spot anything suspicious. This shouldn’t take long,” Eric said before he quickly made his way into the house. He was surprised that he didn’t need an invitation but he’d have to ask Sookie about it later.
Willa stood on guard as she looked out to the cemetery. She hoped that no more danger would come tonight since she wasn’t sure if her friend could take any more stress. All they needed was for Sookie’s blood pressure to spike or for her to go into early labor.
“Do you think I made the right decision?” Sookie asked.
“What decision would that be?” Willa replied. There were plenty of decisions that Sookie had made that were bad, but she didn’t need to hear anything about them tonight.
“About leaving with Eric,” Sookie whispered.
“I think it’s one of the best decisions you’ve made in a long time,” Willa said as she turned toward her so that her friend could see the truth on her face.
“I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I’m going to try and do better. My baby deserves better,” Sookie said as she placed her hands of belly protectively.
For the remainder of time that Eric was inside searching the house, the two women stayed quiet as they contemplated what had happened. They watched as Eric quickly strode out of the house, walked over to Sookie, and held out his hand.
“We really should get going. Are you ready?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Sookie replied as she took his hand and let him help her stand.
Eric kept hold of her hand as he walked her to his SUV that he had parked next to Sookie’s same old piece of shit car she’d had since he met her. He helped her get up into the SUV before he placed the seatbelt around her swollen stomach.
He hated to think of her carrying another man’s child. It didn’t matter that it was physically impossible for her to carry his child, he wanted it to be his. He shook his head slightly, he couldn’t think about such things now. He needed to protect her, not be jealous.
“I’ll be back in just a moment. I need to speak to Willa. Will you be alright here?” He asked as he was getting ready to close the door.
“I’ll be fine. Thank you, Eric.”
“No need to thank me.”
“No, thank you for everything. I’ve done so much to hurt you and I don’t deserve your help,” Sookie said with a tentative smile.
“Deserved or not, I’d do anything for you, Sookie. You should know that by now,” Eric said as he shut the door and walked over to Willa.