Thirteen years later
An older Cadillac sedan makes its way to the parking lot of the restaurant. Even though it is the middle of the week, the parking lot is overflowing with vehicles. Of course, in a town this size, there aren’t many options for where people can go to have a meal or a drink. The car drifts to a stop, and the engine cuts off. The inhabitants of the car do not immediately exit the vehicle. The driver is a man with brown hair and brown eyes. He looks like the perfect description of middle class America in his polo shirt, khaki pants, and brown loafers. The passenger is a female with bright red hair, light blue eyes, and translucent skin. She is wearing jeans, a pink t-shirt, and sandals.
“I don’t think it is a good idea for you to go in there tonight,” the gentleman says.
The female rolls her eyes. “I will be fine. I’ll be in there with my boyfriend. All of his friends are in there tonight. He wants me to meet them and hang out with them. He said it’s going to be a big night because one of their friends is coming back to town. She’s been away forever, going to school and traveling. They said she is coming home for a visit before she starts her new job.”
“Maybe it would be better if I came in there with you. I don’t want anything to happen to you,” the man says as he watches a few more patrons enter the building.
The woman rolls her eyes again, and gets out of the car slamming the door. “You can’t control me forever, Bill. You have to let me live my life!” Jessica stomps towards Merlotte’s, flinging the door open with gusto before walking in.
When Bill walks in the restaurant, he finds Jessica being hugged by Hoyt, her boyfriend. She looks a little uncertain as she glances over at the group of people surrounding the pool table. There are three women and three men gathered around the pool table; talking and laughing with each other as a fourth man attempts his shot. When the ball the man was trying to hit bounces off the bumper of the table, some of his friends start joking about him not knowing how to handle his stick. The man just waves them off before taking a gulp of his beer. The next player steps up to the pool table to take their shot.
Bill moves over to a table close to the crowd of friends so he can keep an eye on them. Hoyt tugs a reluctant Jessica over to his friends.
“Guys,” Hoyt says loudly to get everyone’s attention. “This is Jessica, my girlfriend,” he says proudly. “Jess, that’s Tara, Dawn, Jason, Jesus, Lafayette, Arlene, and Rene.” Jessica nods her head in greeting and gives everyone a shy wave.
“Oh no, honey child, you best be givin’ Lala a hug. We’s all friends and family up in here,” says a dark-skinned man with a bright red scarf wrapped around his head, a tight red muscle t-shirt, red and black plaid kilt, and black Converse sneakers. As Lafayette envelopes Jessica in a hug, she sees that he is also wearing black nail polish, blue eye shadow, and red lipstick. Lafayette whispers in her ear, “You best take care of my man Hoyt. He’s prolly the best of all a us.” Lafayette pulls back from Jessica and gives her a knowing look.
“Don’t worry about him,” Jesus says with a friendly smile on his face as he steps forward and gestures to Lafayette. “He takes some getting used to.”
“Please,” scoffs Tara as she takes a shot of tequila. Tara is also dark-skinned, with long shining ebony hair. She’s wearing jeans and a white lace tank top. “I’ve known that bitch all my life, and I’m still gettin’ used to him.”
“Hooka shut yo mouf!” Lafayette snaps at his cousin before turning to Jessica, “Ignore that bitch. We might be family since she’s my cousin, but I swear she was raised by a bunch of gators with the way she snaps at everyone.” The entire group laughs at them. Hoyt moves over the bar to get Jessica a drink.
Jessica moves to sit at one of the high-top tables that the group stands around as they take turns playing pool. Arlene comes up next to her as she pours more beer into her cup. “I’m just happy there’s another red-head in the group! Now you guys will have someone else to tease about their hair color.”
Dawn snorts into her drink. “Yeah, but at least hers is natural.” Arlene begins to protest and the group goes back to joking with each other, talking, laughing, and just having a good time. They accept Jessica in their fold without any reservations, and she visibly relaxes. She snuggles against Hoyt’s side and smiles up at him happily.
The group continues on this way for some time. Bill is still sitting in his booth watching them, nursing his drink when he senses a presence hovering behind him. A contemptuous voice interrupts his solitude. “Is this more of your pathetic attempt at mainstreaming?” Bill looks over his shoulder to find the Sheriff of Area Five. Eric Northman has been a vampire for over a thousand years; he was one of the original Vikings. His physique is intimidating, which is enhanced by his all black outfit. He slides in the seat across from Bill.
Bill smiles genially and asks pleasantly, “Is there something I can help you with Sheriff?”
“Don’t be an ass-kisser, Bill. The Queen may have surrounded herself with sycophants, but I have no use for it,” Eric states harshly. He leans back in the booth staring at Bill. “To move to this backwoods town, away from all the comforts of life at court, it doesn’t fit what I know of your character. What aren’t you telling me?”
Bill’s face takes on a constipated look. “As I told you before, as part of my punishment, the Queen sent me back to Bon Temps. It was my home as a human. She said that it would be best if I raised Jessica here where there would be less chance of accidents since she is a newborn vampire.”
Eric smirks, “And yet you bring her to a crowded establishment? She is still within her first year of this existence, and could easily lose control.” Eric glances at Jessica to see her leaning against Hoyt as she talks with Dawn and Tara. Eric looks back at Bill in disgust, “You are letting her pretend to still be human. She will never survive this way. And as for why I am in the area, that’s my business.”
Before Bill can reply, one of the drunken patrons from the bar makes his way over to Jessica. He has watched her since she came in. He moves to stand in front of her and looks at her menacingly. “We don’t want your kind in here,” he states as he sways on his feet. All activity in the bar screeches to a halt.
“Excuse me?” Jessica looks confused and Hoyt tightens his arm around her shoulders. The other members of the group all move closer to Hoyt, wanting to protect their new friend.
“Ya heard me. We don’t want your kind in here. This is a family place. We don’t want no fangers in here,” the drunk states emphatically as he points at Jessica.
Sam Merlotte, the owner of this fine establishment, grabs a bat from under the bar. He knows that there are three vampires in his bar this night, and he doesn’t want a bloodbath to erupt. A quick glance at the booth containing the two vampires shows that both of their fangs are down. He is about to move out from behind the bar to take care of the drunk, when the door to the bar opens.
“Why’s it so quiet in here?” Standing in the doorway is a buxom blonde. Her blonde hair floats down her back in loose curls, her blue eyes highlighted by a touch of mascara and eyeshadow, and her lips are a light pink color. She is wearing skin-tight jeans, a red halter top, denim jacket, and red high heels.
Acting as if she is completely oblivious to the scene that is unfolding, she quickly walks over to the pool table. “Hey guys. What’s going on?” She poses with her hands on her hips as she waits for someone to answer her.
The drunk turns to look at her. His eyes widen when he sees that her jacket has parted enough to show the deep v of her cleavage. He licks his lips and replies, “I was just tellin’ this bitch that we don’t want the wrong sort in our bar.”
The blonde smiles up at the drunk in understanding, and her eyes flicker over to the group behind him. The group is tense, ready to pounce. Her eyes return to the drunk and she smiles. “You’re right. We don’t want the wrong sort in here.” He smiles winningly, thinking he has an ally in the beautiful girl before him. In his inebriated state he even thinks he stands a shot with the sexy woman. However, his dreams fly out the window when the blonde rams the heel of her palm into his nose and knees him in the groin. The drunk falls to the ground and curls up on his side. Blood spurts out of his nose and his hands cup his abused groin. The blonde stands over him, the smile completely wiped off her face.
She stands over the drunk and says in a hard voice. “As I was saying, you’re right. We don’t want the wrong sort in here… and that’s ignorant, prejudiced assholes who think that they are better than everyone else. That girl,” her finger pointing at Jessica, “has done nothing to you! And yet, you hate her because of what she is. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Now get the fuck out of here!”
The drunk is still curled up on the floor moaning in pain. The blonde rolls her eyes and sighs in exasperation. She looks at the guys over by the pool table. “Would one of you guys mind taking out the trash? It’s starting to stink in here.”
Lafayette and Jesus move together. They pick up the drunk underneath his arms and quickly drag him outside. They both come back in dusting off their hands. The blonde looks around at everyone who is staring at her in shock. She puts one hand on her hip and the other gives everyone a shooing gesture. “Show’s over people, go back to whatever you were doing. Oh, and don’t forget to tip your waitress!” The noise level in the bar returns to a deafening level.
Before the blonde can move an inch, she is enveloped by her friends. They are all cheering and passing her around for hugs.
Jason is the last to hug the blonde. He picks her up and spins her around, “Goddamn Sook, you sure do know how to make an entrance!” He sets her back on her feet as she laughs at him. Sookie looks at all of her friends, “I see you started the party without me. I guess I need to catch up.” The gang moves back to the pool table and their drinks. Dawn moves over to the jukebox and picks out some dance tracks. When the first song starts playing, the girls and Lafayette begin dancing.
Sam calls out from the bar, “Hey Sookie! Whatever you want tonight, it’s on the house. It’s the least I can do. You don’t know how much you saved me.”
She walks over to the bar, pops up on the railing, and gives Sam a kiss on the check. As she leans back she says, “I’ll have a gin and tonic.” She glances over at Jessica who has not moved from her perch. Bill moved to Jessica’s side to make sure she remained in control. Jessica’s eyes are wild, her fangs are down, and she seems to be shaking. Sookie nods her head at them and adds, “And I’ll have a few of whatever she’s been drinking. She’s going to need something to help her calm down.” Sam looks over and quickly understands the situation. He heats up two True Bloods and mixes Sookie’s drink. Sookie picks up the three drinks and makes her way over to Jessica.
She sets her drink down on the table, and shakes the two True Bloods. “Here, I think you could use these.” She holds the drinks out to Jessica. In vamp speed, Jessica drains both bottles. Her eyes lose some of their wildness and her fangs retract.
Sookie nods her head. “Do you need more? Of course, it would be best if you had some fresh blood, but I don’t think that we need to be feeding the stereotype now.”
Jessica says quietly, “No, I’m fine.” She remains silent a moment and then looks at Sookie. “You shouldn’t have done that. I mean, I’m grateful, don’t get me wrong, but you didn’t have to defend me. You don’t even know me. Besides, he might come after you now.”
Sookie smiles brightly. “Well, I’m Sookie, and it’s nice to meet you. And I don’t need to know you; Hoyt likes you and that’s good enough for me. And that drunken redneck has always been a bully, and it was time someone took him down. I figured it was better I do it than one of the guys; definitely better than one of you,” she gestures at Jessica and Bill.
Jessica smiles, “I’m Jessica Hamby, and this is Bill Compton, my maker.” Sookie nods her head at the two vampires. Jessica continues on excitedly. “So your Jason’s sister? I’ve heard a lot about you from Hoyt. He said everyone was real excited you were coming back tonight.”
Bill stiffened when he heard Jessica identify who Sookie is. Sookie’s eyes flicker to him, and he quickly relaxes. He smiles engagingly at Sookie. “Well, isn’t this a coincidence. We live in my ancestral home across the cemetery from the Stackhouse farm. We would love to call upon you and your family some evenin’ to pay our respects and extend our hospitality,” he says laying the Southern charm on thick.
Before Sookie can reply, Eric saunters over to the group. “Something tells me Bill that she wouldn’t enjoy your brand of hospitality. She might find it a bit bland.” Jessica snickers and Bill’s expression looks pained.
Sookie grins. “And who might you be, tall, blond, and handsome?”
Eric straightens up to his full height, and a slow, sensual smile spreads across his face. “Eric Northman, Sheriff of Area Five. And you are?” His voice trails off as he slowly peruses Sookie’s body.
“Sookie Stackhouse,” she says and takes a sip of her drink. Her own eyes glide over Eric’s body in a tit-for-tat gesture.
Eric gives her a fangy grin. Bill, annoyed with the interaction between the two blonds, draws attention back to himself. “Not many humans would be willing to stand up for us the way you did tonight Sookie.”
Sookie shrugs, “I don’t believe someone should be judged for what they are. Vampires and humans have coexisted with each other for millennia, but humans were just unaware of it. Now that humans are aware, why should our coexistence stop? Yes your diet is different from mine; yes you have exceptional strength; yes you have the potential to kill someone. But a vegetarian has a diet different from mine, and I don’t think they should die. Any fool on steroids or vampire blood could have exceptional strength. And humans kill each other every day. So what says that humans have more right to live than vampires?”
Eric tilts his head to regard Sookie. “You surprise me, Miss Stackhouse, and that is a very rare quality for a breather. Perhaps you will allow me the opportunity to repay the kindness you have shown my kind this evening.” Eric reaches in his pocket, withdrawing a business card. He hands it to Sookie. A jolt of awareness shoots through Sookie when their fingers touch, and her eyes widen. She looks at Eric to find that his pupils have also dilated. Before she can withdraw her hand, Eric grasps her fingers and places a kiss on her hand. His tongue slides through his lips to give her skin a quick lick. Sookie shivers again.
Eric straightens up, his tongue darting out to lick his lips. “Hmmmm, delicious.” His eyes snap open and he stares intensely down at Sookie. “Until we meet again, Miss Stackhouse.” He vamps out of the bar.
Sookie sits bemused for a few seconds. Bill clearing his throat draws Sookie out of her reverie. She slips Eric’s card in her pocket and smiles apologetically. “Sorry ’bout that. He’s quite the charmer isn’t he?”
Bill frowns. “Charming? Eric Northman is one of the most vicious vampires ever. He is a master manipulator that will do anything to get what he wants. You need to stay away from him, Sookie. He is dangerous.”
Sookie’s body goes rigid and her face hardens. “I appreciate your concern, Mr. Compton, but I will be fine. Eric Northman isn’t the first vampire that I have dealt with. It tends to be an occupational hazard in my line of work.”
Bill opens his mouth to say more, but Jessica gives him a beseeching look. He nods stiffly at the two women. “Well, it seems that Jessica is in more than capable hands tonight. I will leave you ladies to enjoy the rest of your evening.” With that Bill blurs out of the bar.
Lafayette, Tara, and Dawn move over to the table with Jessica and Sookie. Dawn sets down a tray of tequila shots and a True Blood for Jessica. Lafayette passes the drinks out to everyone, and he raises his glass. “To Sookie. Baby girl, you have no idea how much you mean to all a us, and how much we’ve missed you while you’s been gone. Here’s hoping that this time you’re home for good.” Everyone clinks glasses and downs their shots. As they set all of their glass down, a new song starts playing from the jukebox. Sookie’s eyes widen and she starts glaring at her friends.
“You didn’t!” Sookie stares in disbelief. Tara, Lafayette, and Dawn start laughing and singing along to the song as they make their way back to the dance floor. Jessica looks confused as Hoyt comes up to the table. He grins while explaining to Jessica. “Sookie hates this song. Someone always plays this song when we get together and they dedicate it to her.”
Jessica asks, “Why does she hate it?” Hoyt laughs and indicates she should wait. The chorus of the song comes back around, and all Sookie’s friends start singing. However, instead of singing “Brickhouse” as The Commodores intended, they all sing “Stackhouse”. Jessica laughs in delight, and joins in the next time the chorus comes on.
As the song comes to a close, Sookie glares at all of her friends. “Fuck all y’all!” Everyone laughs and the friends from Bon Temps go back to enjoying their evening together.