Sookie is a nervous wreck when she wakes bright and early Sunday morning. She only fell asleep the previous evening because Giselle gave her a sleeping potion. Springing out of bed, Sookie hurriedly dresses. Glancing at the hourglass she scowls; still far too much time until sunset for her liking. Rushing out of the house, she heads for one of the resorts located nearby. She has an appointment at the spa to pamper herself; she wants to look and feel her best for Eric’s arrival tonight.
While Sookie is enjoying her spa day, Fintan arrives midafternoon with Eric’s travel coffin. Given everything that has happened, Fintan offered to guard Eric while he traveled from Shreveport to Barbados. Upon their arrival, Izaiah and Giselle move Eric’s coffin to his light-tight room. Meanwhile, Claudine greets her uncle with enthusiasm.
“Uncle, I’m so happy to see you!” Claudine and Fintan embrace and a little glow surrounds them. Once they separate, the glow disappears. Claudine leads Fintan into the living room so they can talk.
“Claudine, are you well? It seems your time here has agreed with you,” Fintan says as he takes in the tan color of her skin.
Claudine smiles at him, “Uncle, of course I am well. Why wouldn’t I be?” Fintan looks at her knowingly and glances down at her stomach. Claudine gasps, “How did you know? I haven’t told anyone besides Colman!”
Fintan laughs and embraces his niece again. “I have my ways, child. I am happy for you both.” His expression sobers. “Now tell me, how is Sookie really? When I left the two of you here, she was withdrawn, numb even. Once she started calling me, I could tell that parts of her personality were returning. When she called me yesterday, it was as if she had never been hurt. She was vivacious, teasing, and happy. I cannot wait to see her.”
Claudine nods her head in agreement with Fintan. “I think a lot of her recovery has to do with the friendship she has developed with Giselle and Izaiah. She wouldn’t speak to me about anything at first. I think she was ashamed to admit what happened to her. Ludwig confirmed that there was no physical sexual assault, but the things they did to her mind…” Claudine chokes up and goes quiet for a few minutes. When she has herself under control, she continues. “They tried to break her, Uncle. They tried to destroy her spirit. Neave and Lochlan twisted everything good in her life and made it a nightmare. She was drugged with something that caused hallucinations. She believed Eric was holding her as a blood slave. They would blindfold her and bite her so she would think it was Eric. They would even speak in Swedish to perpetuate the hallucination. I’m not sure how she survived,” Claudine says tearfully.
Clearing her throat and swiping at her eyes, Claudine hurries on. “After our first few days here, I feared she would never recover. But it was Giselle’s influence that finally enabled Sookie to begin to heal mentally and emotionally. She was able to reach Sookie in ways that I could not. By the end of our second week here, it seemed as if Sookie was almost back to normal. The only hurdle she still needed to overcome was her feeling of abandonment by Eric. That is why I pushed her to call him; they cannot heal this rift if they are apart. But I am amazed by how much influence and perspective Izaiah has given Sookie. He does not speak often, but when he does, he has incredible insight.”
Fintan stares out the window, watching the waves ebb and flow along the beach. “Do you think they will be ok?”
Claudine smiles fully, “Yes, they will be. Honestly Uncle, they’re both too hard-headed to be with anyone else.”
Just before 5:00 pm, Sookie returns to the house. Her excitement mounts when she detects a silent void in the house; Eric is here. Sookie eagerly runs up to her room to drop off her things. She stares angrily at the hourglass as she passes by. It feels as if the time piece is mocking her with how slowly the grains of sand move from the top to the bottom. Sookie heads downstairs where she finds her family and friends at the outdoor kitchen. Giselle and Izaiah are cooking a dinner of traditional Caribbean dishes. Fintan rises from his seat and Sookie runs to hug him.
“I have missed you, my Sookie!” Fintan wraps his arms tightly around his granddaughter, and is pleased when she returns his sign of affection without hesitation. He breathes a quiet sigh of relief and his eyes connect with Claudine’s over Sookie’s shoulder. She smiles at him in understanding. When Fintan last saw Sookie, she flinched when he tried to kiss her cheek.
“I’ve missed you too, Grandfather, but I needed the time away,” Sookie says as she pulls back from his embrace. Fintan searches her eyes and sees no sign of pain or anguish; they are as clear a blue as he can remember. “Now, did you bring me what I asked?” Sookie is bouncing in front of Fintan like an excited child on Christmas morning.
Fintan strokes his chin as he pretends to be deep in thought, “You asked me to bring you something? I thought the only item I had to make certain arrived in Barbados was Eric. He’s in his travel coffin in his room. Did I forget something?” Fintan tries to look confused as he gazes at Sookie.
Sookie stomps her foot in frustration and whines, “Grandfather!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t tease me; it’s really important that I have this item. Please tell me you didn’t forget it; it would ruin everything if you did!”
Everyone in the room laughs at Sookie; it is good to see her acting playful again. “Yes, my dear, I brought it with me. It is in my bag upstairs. You can go get it.” Sookie pops up on her toes to kiss her grandfather’s cheek and then runs out of the room.
Claudine looks at Fintan with a smirk on her face. “I told you they will be fine.”
Eric awakens in his travel coffin feeling anxious. He disengages the locks so that the lid opens and he climbs out. Eric had dressed in the outfit he wanted to wear tonight, except his shirt, which he had folded on top of his chest. Eric is wearing loose linen pants, a white undershirt (wifebeater), and a white linen button down shirt. He is uncertain about what Sookie wants to do this evening, so he didn’t want to seem too casual, but he didn’t want to seem too dressy either. He can hear the voices coming from the outdoor kitchen and he is frustrated that he must be confined to this room until the sunsets. He wishes Sookie would seek him out, but he knows she may feel uncomfortable in the enclosed space. He stands near the door of his room, listening to the sound of Sookie’s voice. She sounds happy; he can hear her laughter and joking with the others in the room. He can only hope that her happy mood continues when she sees him.
Eric focuses on the feelings coming from Sookie. It is a relief to feel her clearly again. He savors the feelings coming from her, slowly analyzing each emotion he discovers. Her overall feeling is one of happiness; she is at ease, yet there is an underlying feeling of anticipation and anxiousness. The one emotion he is surprised to not find coming from Sookie is fear.
The sounds from outside have ceased; Eric has been so focused on analyzing Sookie’s emotions that he didn’t realize it. In fact, he cannot hear any voices in the house at all. He knows that Sookie is near, but he cannot sense anyone else in the house. It surprises him that Sookie feels comfortable to be alone in the house with him. He is impressed with the strides she has made in her recovery.
He can feel that there is less than five minutes until sunset. It is a strange thing to see a vampire giving himself a pep talk, but that is exactly what Eric does as he paces his room. He reminds himself to let Sookie set the tone of their conversation this evening. As much as it pains him, he also forces himself to acknowledge that she may not want him to touch her. After weeks apart, all Eric wants to do is gather her in his arms and never let go. He wants to hold her and tell her how much he loves her. But another part of him wants to possess her; her body and her blood call to him on a primal level. Eric knows he will have to control his vampiric urges; showing her that side of him now will only push her away.
Eric stops his pacing; the sun has set. For all of his anxiousness moments ago, he is now reluctant to leave his room. If Pam were here she would roll her eyes at him and tell him to shit or get off the pot. He smirks to himself as he walks out of his room. On the other side of the door, he pauses to inhale deeply. Sookie had stood outside the door; her scent lingers in the air, more intoxicating than the most expensive perfumes in the world. He follows the fragrance through the house until he finds what he has looked for.