One year after the events in Dead Ever After . . .
In one week, Sookie Stackhouse will cease to exist.
In her place will be Sookie Merlotte.
The thought unsettles Sookie as she tries to stand still on the pedestal in Tara’s Togs. The seamstress works efficiently around Sookie, pins griped tightly between her teeth as she makes last minute alterations to Sookie’s white wedding dress. Sookie had heard enough snide remarks coming from the seamstress’ head about the fact Sookie had chosen a white wedding dress; fangbangers like Sookie didn’t deserve to wear white in the seamstress’ opinion. It didn’t matter that Sookie hadn’t been with a vampire in some time; she would always be labeled as a fangbanger by some. Sookie had gotten used to that mentality from people and blocked most of their thoughts, but it was difficult to block out the seamstress when she was touching the blonde telepath. If Sookie didn’t think it would have caused an issue with Tara, she would have taken her wedding gown somewhere else to get the alterations done.
Today was supposed to be Sookie’s final fitting for dress. All she had to do was try the dress on to make sure it fit and take it home with her for the big day.
“I thought we agreed no more drastic weight changes before the wedding” the seamstress huffs rudely as she jabs another pin into Sookie’s dress. This time, the woman also managed to stab Sookie’s skin, drawing a noise of pain and protest from Sookie’s lips. At the woman’s glare, Sookie shrinks back slightly and begins apologizing.
“I’m sorry. It’s been really stressful the last few weeks between the weddin’ and the bar. I didn’t really notice any changes in my diet or weight,” she offers weakly.
“It’s OK, dear. These things tend to happen to brides,” the woman replies though her tone is far from compassionate. Despite her best efforts, the woman’s thoughts slip past Sookie’s shields and lash at her like a whip.
How could she not notice a change in her weight?!?!?! A month ago, I had to take the dress in because it looks like a sack of potatoes on her. Today, I have to let everything out because we can’t even zipper her into it. She needs to lay off the ice cream and the French fries, though I’m bettin’ she’s a drinker. She smells like a damn bar. Wouldn’t surprise me the least bit if she has a drinkin’ problem. Probably also has a drug problem. All those damn fangbangers . . .
Sookie flinches under the onslaught of the woman’s thoughts but says nothing. As sad as it is, she’s used to people thinking poorly of her. For a while after she’d been cleared of all charges in the murder of Arlene, people had been genuinely nice to Sookie in both their actions and their thoughts. Things, for once, seemed to be going well for her. Vampires were out of her life once and for all. Work was keeping her busy what with business picking back up after Victor’s bar shut down. Thanks to the money from her fairy kin, she didn’t have to worry about robbing Peter to pay Paul when it came to her bills. And to top it all off, her relationship with Sam was flourishing. They’d been friends for so long that they didn’t have to spend time getting to know each other; it was only the physical part of the relationship that needed to catch up.
And Sam was hell bent on trying to make up for lost time. It seemed every time they were alone, he was initiating sex. Hell it didn’t matter if they were alone; Sam seemed to have a thing for sex in public places. He was always trying to initiate it in the bar, usually when they seemed to be at their busiest. It’s not that Sookie wasn’t used to having sex in a bar where others could hear her; she and Eric had sex plenty of times in his office while Fangtasia was full of humans and vampires. What bugged her the most about Sam always trying to initiate sex in Merlotte’s was that it felt like he was marking his territory.
She wasn’t a fire hydrant for a dog to pee on!
In all honesty, sex with Sam was . . . OK. It didn’t shake her world like Eric, but it was definitely better than her time with Quinn. However, Sookie was really tired of doggie style. And at least Quinn was one pussy cat willing to lick the pussy. Sam expected her to perform oral without returning the favor.
Not happening! Quid pro quo, equal rights, and all that.
Eventually the normal life that Sookie had craved all her life felt suffocating. It was the same day in and day out; nothing out of the ordinary happened. It felt like time was on one giant continuous loop. Sookie felt as if she were going mad. There were times while at work when all she wanted to do was stand on top of a table with her hands over her ears, screaming as loudly as she possibly could to express her frustration and discontent. The only thing that stopped her was the disheartening belief that no one would care or worry. They would just shrug it off, saying ‘Crazy Sookie’ was up to her usual tricks.
So if Sookie is so unhappy with her life, why is she standing in Tara’s shop, having an emergency fitting for the wedding dress she is to wear when walking down the aisle to tie her life to Sam?
It’s a question Sookie asks herself daily, with increasing frequency and hysteria as her wedding date approaches. Sookie keeps thinking that this is what she wished for all those years: a normal life.
“Be careful what you wish for,” Sookie mumbles under her breath.
“What was that dear?” The seamstress asks the question distractedly as she jabs Sookie with another pin.
Sookie flinches and gives a long-suffering sigh before answering. “Nothing; nothing at all.”
Later that evening, Sookie pulls down the driveway leading to the house on Hummingbird Lane. The once smooth driveway is beginning to erode, leaving bumps and holes that need to be navigated carefully. Sookie can’t help but think the driveway was like her relationship with Eric: eroded. Sookie’s eyes sting as tears well up in her eyes. She can admit now that it was her pride that kept her from fighting for her relationship with Eric. With hindsight, she can see that Eric did everything he could do to get out of the contract with Oklahoma. It wasn’t that he wanted to go, but he HAD to go. Appius treated him no better than a slave. If the Roman vampire were still undead, Sookie would take great pleasure in staking him herself for everything he had ever done to Eric.
But it doesn’t matter now.
Eric is far beyond her reach. Her high-handed vampire had given up an extra century of his existence to keep her safe. At the time, Sookie hadn’t appreciated Eric’s selflessness. Even now, she still cannot grasp the enormity of his gesture. Why would he tack on an extra one hundred years of enslavement to keep her safe if she meant nothing to him? Why protect an asset that he would no longer have the ability to use? If Sookie had been in his shoes, she wouldn’t have done that for someone so ungrateful. God, Eric must resent her so much.
The car stops and Sookie turns the engine off. The silence of the night surrounds her as the tears roll down her cheeks. “I’m so sorry, Eric,” Sookie sobs. “I’m sorry I didn’t fight for us. I’m sorry that I never told you how I really felt and spurned your affections at every turn. I’m sorry that I made you hate me!” Sookie’s head falls forward to rest on the steering wheel as her shoulders shake with the force of her tears.
“He doesn’t hate you, Cousin,” a soft lyrical voice says from beside her.
“Jesus Christ Shepherd of Judah!” Sookie screams in fright and sits upright to stare in disbelief at the figure beside her. “Claudine? How is this possible?” Sookie’s heart and mind are racing as she stares at the lovely figure of her dearly departed fairy godmother. Claudine had perished trying to protect Sookie during Breandan’s attack on Dr. Ludwig’s Supe hospital. Sookie clearly remembers the knitting needle sticking out of Breandan’s flesh as he fought against Eric and Niall. Yet, the radiant woman sitting next to her looks exactly like she did that night everyone met in Merlotte’s to discuss Hallow and her coven of witches. Her long, dark, hair looks artlessly styled; there doesn’t seem to be a speck of makeup on her flawless skin. And the white spandex dress clings to Claudine’s ample curves making Sookie feel even more self-conscious about her sudden increase in weight.
“I’ve ascended, my dearest Sookie. I finally became an angel,” Claudine replies happily. Seeing Sookie’s confusion, Claudine clucks her tongue in annoyance. “Honestly dear, you need to learn about your heritage. There is a world of opportunity that awaits you if only you would accept who you are.”
Sookie bristles at Claudine’s chiding tone. “And who will teach me about my heritage? Niall sealed all the portals, so there’s no one to teach me,” Sookie retorts hotly. Her indignation bubbles up inside her and spews forth like a cauldron boiling over. “How am I supposed to embrace my heritage when none of you, not a single damn one of y’all, bothered to explain to me what it means to be a fairy? And not just a fairy, but a royal one at that? Even my so-called godfather hasn’t bothered to explain anything to me. He talks in riddles more often than not! You can be damn sure the vampires in my life never bothered to tell it to me straight. They only told me bits and pieces of the story, and that was usually only after something big happened to force them to tell me. Hell, I doubt Eric woulda ever told me about Freyda if it wasn’t for Pam’s interference!”
Sookie’s tirade halts momentarily as she draws in a breath which allows Claudine the opportunity to respond. “When did you ever ask what it meant to be a member of the fae race? So many times I wanted to explain things to you, but you didn’t want to hear it. You denied your faeness unless it was convenient for you,” Claudine answers calmly without a hint of malice or condemnation as she picks at imaginary lint on her dress. When she turns to stare at her former charge, Sookie is staring at her with her mouth hanging open and her eyes wide with shock. “My dear Sookie, the only times I ever felt like you would accept my presence in your life was when you were knocking on death’s door. Even then I couldn’t help you often because you surrounded yourself with vampires. I couldn’t possibly save you if I was too busy saving myself.”
Claudine smiles softly at Sookie, almost maternal. “My dear, I didn’t come here to fight with you. I came to give you a wedding present, something I know you’ve wished for repeatedly over the years.” Claudine’s is solemn, implying this present is something of great significance. Sookie stares at her angel fairy godmother, unsure of what Claudine could mean. There’s nothing on her wedding registry she’s coveted, and she certainly isn’t in need of money. Before Sookie can ask what the present is, she squeezes her head between her hands as a sharp pain starts at the base of her skull and works its way up the back of her head and around to her temples.
“Oh dear! I had hoped you’d be asleep before it took effect. They did warn me that it can be quite painful, though the pain is temporary,” Claudine offers sympathetically.
Sookie doesn’t hear the rest of Claudine’s explanation before she faints.
Sookie jerks awake the next morning in the comfort of her bed. She stares down at her nightgown with confusion. When did she change her clothes? More importantly, how did she end up in her bed? The last thing Sookie remembers is the pain in her head and Claudine’s visit…
“Oh hell,” Sookie mutters as she flops back against the pillows. “It was just a dream,” she says in relief as she smiles slightly. Her smile falters though when she turns her head and sees the folded up piece of paper propped up on her nightstand. Her name is written in such a way that it looks like a calligraphy artist did it; her name is full of loops and sweeping curves. It looks elegant; definitely not like Sam’s cramped handwriting, and certainly not Jason’s childish scratch. With trembling fingers and a sense of foreboding, Sookie grasps the letter.
As I said last evening, I wished to give you a gift to celebrate your upcoming nuptials. I wanted the gift to be something to help you enjoy your wedding and the preparations leading up to it. Therefore, it is with that in mind that I have temporarily removed your telepathy. I know large crowds have always taxed your shields, and I did not wish for you to be miserable on such a joyous day. For the next seven days, you will be free of that which you consider a burden. I do hope this allows you to fully enjoy your wedding to the Shifter. I am sorry that I cannot attend, but know that I am with you in spirit and I am always watching out for you.
P.S. This gift can only be used one time, so do not think I have the power to remove your telepathy permanently. It is a part of you and helps make you who you are. Being normal as you have often desired is not necessarily the correct path for you. Be careful what you wish for my dearest Sookie.
Sookie crumples the note in her hand. “Why do I get the feelin’ Claudine is tryin’ to warn me even as she congratulates me? What on Earth can be so bad about bein’ normal?”
“You look beautiful, Sook,” Jason says as if surprised. “I can’t believe ma baby sister’s getting’ married!”
“You don’t look so bad yerself, Jason,” Sookie says with a small smile. Jason isn’t one to wear a suit for no reason; his wife, Michelle, practically had to browbeat him into putting the suit on without a fuss this morning. As it is, Jason’s been tugging at his collar and tie all morning, like the cloth is choking him.
Sookie knows that feeling all too well. She feels like she is going to have a panic attack wearing her wedding dress and veil. The seamstress came through and had all the alterations finished by Thursday, but Sookie hadn’t really cared. In fact, she hadn’t even bothered to try the dress on in Tara’s store; she’d just picked up the garment bag and taken it home. She didn’t want to overhear anymore snide remarks from the people of Bon Temps about how Sookie didn’t deserve Sam or deserve to get married. Sookie had overheard Maxine Fortenberry telling some of her friends at lunch the previous day that she was surprised that Sam was “settling” for someone like Sookie. In her opinion, it wouldn’t be long before Sookie was up to her fangbanging ways and would leave Sam high and dry.
She’d been happy that she didn’t have her telepathy that day. If Maxine had been cruel enough to make those comments for Sookie to hear, can you imagine how much worse her thoughts were? However, not having her telepathy wasn’t the gift Sookie had always thought it would be. In fact, she felt at a disadvantage without it, like she was handicapped.
Ironic since she’d always referred to her telepathy as her little quirk or a disability.
At first it had been wonderful to interact with people like she was normal. Sookie wasn’t constantly having to strengthen her shields, she didn’t have to block unwanted thoughts, and she didn’t have to avoid accidental contact with people. When she smiled at people, it was genuine, not the smile she plastered on her face to cover up the fact she’d heard something unpleasant. For the first few days, Sookie had actually enjoyed not having her telepathy, and she appreciated the thoughtfulness of Claudine’s present.
But that ended with the arrival of Sam’s mother, Bernie. Sookie wished with all her being that she’d had her telepathy the night of the rehearsal dinner; perhaps it would have helped her be better prepared for what she dealt with from Sam’s mother.
No matter what Sookie did or said, her future mother-in-law did not approve of her. Sookie tried with all her heart to at least be cordial with Bernie, for Sam’s sake, but the woman was downright hostile towards her. A confrontation between the two of them occurred in private at the rehearsal dinner, with Bernie telling Sookie that the only way she would ever approve of her would be if she let Sam go. As Sookie looks at herself in the mirror, her hands moving softly over the white beaded bodice of her dress, she can remember Bernie’s words with absolute clarity.
“A Shifter ain’t got no business bein’ mixed up with a fairy! He should be with his own kind! You can’t give him what he needs! All you’ll ever be is a vamper’s used goods!”
“You alright, Sook? You’re lookin’ a little green around the gills,” Jason’s voice brings Sookie out of her reverie. She forces a smile to her face and tries to laugh off his concern, but it sounds strained even to her own ears.
Jason, in a rare moment of compassion, moves forward and puts his hand on his sister’s arm. “You sure you want to do this, Sook? If Sam ain’t what makes you happy, then don’t go through with it. Don’t make the same mistakes I did,” he tells her with eyes shadowed by pain.
“Jason, I can’t back out now. What would everyone say? You know they already think the worst of me. I’m not gonna give them more fuel to add to the fire,” Sookie declares passionately.
“Now see, if you really wanted to get married to Sam, you’re first response shoulda been that you loved him. Not that you give a damn about what all the people sittin’ out there think,” Jason responds with a cocked eyebrow. He gives his sister a knowing stare, letting the silence spread between the two of them as Sookie contemplates his words.
Sookie looks at her brother sadly. “I can’t do that to Sam, Jason. He’s a good man, he’s always been there for me. I can’t humiliate him in front of all those people. He doesn’t deserve to suffer because I made a mistake. I may not love Sam the way I should, but I’ll be a good wife to him. He deserves that,” Sookie vows quietly.
Before Jason can respond, a quick knock sounds against the door. Jason rushes over to the door, prepared to block whomever it is from entering the room and seeing the bride. “Ya can’t come in here. The bride don’t want to see anyone ‘fore walking down the aisle.”
“Miss Stackhouse will definitely want to see me,” a deep booming voice responds. The door shoves open as Desmond Cataliades forces his way in the room. The demon lawyer, no longer on the run from his enemies, looks more robust than Sookie remembers. His clothes no longer hang on his frame, and his face no longer looks like that of man running from death. Desmond looks well-groomed and quite fashionable in his expensive suit and shoes with his black leather briefcase.
“Mr. Cataliades, what are you doin’ here?” Sookie tries to smile hospitably, but she fears something is wrong. She’d sent a wedding invitation to his law office in New Orleans. He’s her godfather after all; it only seemed right that she send him an invitation. However, there had been no response from the demon. The invitation to Diantha had also gone without a response. It had hurt Sookie deeply to think both thought so little of her that they couldn’t bother to RSVP to her wedding.
“My dear, you look lovely, though I do wish I was here under better circumstances,” the lawyer says in a tone that is heavy with doom. He reaches inside his briefcase to pull out a thick manila envelope and stretches his arm out to hand the envelope to Sookie.
Sookie inhales sharply and feels the air get stuck in her chest. This is her wedding day; it’s supposed to be one of the happiest of her life, yet it seems to be one of the most miserable. Isn’t it bad enough that she wishes today were over and done with? Sookie knows with a sense of absolute certainly that whatever is inside this envelope will greatly change the outcome of today in ways she never imagined.
Exhaling shakily, Sookie turns the envelope over. Her eyes widen in shock and she makes a small noise of distress. She hears a ringing in her ears and she starts to see spots at the edges of her vision. Sookie clutches at the chair in front of her with her free hand, lowering herself into it as she feels herself start to hyperventilate.
“What is it, Sook?” Jason peers over her shoulder, trying to see what his sister sees. He doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about since it just has her name on the envelope.
Sookie takes a few deep breaths, forcing the air in and out of her lungs, trying to keep the panic from taking over. She doesn’t say anything for a few moments, simply staring with equal parts wonder and horror at the elegant script on the envelope. Tears well up in her eyes and one makes its way down her cheek as she finally responds to her brother.
“It’s from Eric.”
“Eric?” Jason scratches the back of his head in confusion. “Oh! You mean that vamp ya used to see? Well, what’s he got ta say? I guess he couldn’t come tell you himself since its daylight out.”
Thank you, Captain Obvious, Sookie thinks as she exhales slowly trying to calm herself. With shaking fingers, Sookie traces her name lovingly, as if she were touching the planes of Eric’s face. Her head turns to look at the demon lawyer. There are so many questions running through her mind. So many scenarios of what this letter can mean. The wedding contract between Eric and Freyda expressly forbids Eric from communicating with Sookie or his progeny. The punishment for breaking the contract is severe. What could be so important that Eric is willing to risk so much?
“Well ain’t ya gonna open it? Don’t ya wanna know what he has to say?” Jason has never handled surprises well; he’s always so impatient. When they were children, Jason would ask Sookie to use her quirk to find out what he was getting for his birthday and Christmas. Sookie never did, but that never stopped Jason from asking her. Hell, he still asks her!
“I suggest you open that and read it without further delay,” Desmond says in a grave tone.
“Do you know what it says?” Sookie looks at her godfather with curious eyes, wishing with all her being that she had her telepathy back and that she could get something from his brain other than static. Desmond always seems to know more than everyone else, yet never gives anything away. It’s what makes him very good at his profession, but for Sookie, it’s annoying as hell. He’s always so goddamn cryptic! Just once, she wishes he would spit it out!
“I know the gist of it,” Desmond confirms. “I also have evidence to support the claims the Northman makes in that letter. He knew you wouldn’t believe him without proof. Now I really must insist you read the letter, my dear. Time is of the utmost importance,” the demon ends emphatically.
Fear grips Sookie. The way Desmond speaks makes this seem like it’s a matter of life and death. With a shaky breath and even shakier fingers, Sookie turns the envelope over and slides her finger under the flap to rip it open. She pulls out a thick packet of paper, handwriting covering both sides of the creamy cardstock. Sookie cannot help but laugh at the monogrammed stationery. It’s an ‘N’ with a sword through the middle of it. Leave it to Eric to send a warning letter on expensive stationary. Actually, it’s probably Pam’s influence on him. Sookie can imagine Pam reciting advice from ‘Dear Abby’ about the importance of letter writing and good stationary. That probably also explains the perfect penmanship.
With a quick prayer, for what she isn’t sure, Sookie begins reading. The first line has her ready to sob. In her mind, she’s whispering heartfelt thanks to Claudine for telling her the truth.
My beloved Sookie,
Yes, you are my beloved. Time and distance have not helped my feelings for you fade. If anything, they have only grown deeper and sharper, causing an ache in my long dead heart that never ends. I owe you a thousand apologies for ever making you believe I didn’t care for you, that you were only an asset, and that I would have turned you against your wishes. Nothing I said in our last days together was true, other than not to believe everything I said. I’m sorry, Lover, but I had to make everyone believe you meant nothing to me and that your ability was fickle at best. It was the only way to keep us both in this realm of existence. Even then it wasn’t enough. I had to pledge another hundred years of slavery to Oklahoma and give up my progeny to keep you safe. And yes, my Sookie, it is slavery wrapped up in a gilded cage. I am Freyda’s to command as she wishes . . . in all things.
Tears run unimpeded down Sookie’s cheeks, falling from her jaw to splash against the paper in her hands. Oh God, I am such a fool! Eric’s living the fate I once feared being condemned to. I’m so sorry, Eric, so very sorry. Desmond passes Sookie a handkerchief so that she can dab at her eyes before continuing the letter.
But I digress. I did not write you this to make you pity my situation or to make you feel any guilt. I chose to protect you, Lover, and I will always protect you, even if I cannot be there to physically do it myself. And that is why I am writing this letter to you.
Sookie, you cannot marry the Shifter.
In an instant, Sookie’s tears turn to rage. Never mind that she is regretting her choice to marry Sam, but she’ll be damned if she’ll let some high-handed vampire tell her what to do!
I’m sure you are cursing me and telling me that I can’t boss you around; that you’re an independent woman and can do whatever you want. I do love your fire, Lover, but in this case, it will only lead to you making a terrible mistake. I regret deeply that I pushed you towards Sam after my departure. Yes, Lover, I pushed you towards Sam. I knew that by forbidding him to have any contact with you would only infuriate you and make you defy my decree. I know you so well, my stubborn, headstrong fairy. You are calling me every dastardly name you can think of and vowing to stake me yourself. I beseech you, Lover, please hear me out. I thought the Shifter was the best option to keep you safe. He seemed loyal to you and you to him.
But I was wrong.
I feel responsible for the danger you are now in, but I swear to you on the existence of my progeny that I did not know.
My dearest Sookie, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you Sam Merlotte is not the man he presents himself to be. Just as Compton and Quinn were sent to gain your affections, so too was Merlotte. However, the Shifter was not Sophie-Anne’s puppet or even de Castro’s.
He is Niall’s.
“Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?!” Sookie looks at the paper in horror, stunned by the allegation Eric made. Desmond opens his mouth to offer proof to substantiate Eric’s claim, but Sookie holds up her finger to stop him, indicating she needs more time to finish reading.
I know how much you value family, Sookie; how much you crave having those of your blood close to you and accept you for who you are. It is an admirable trait, but it is one that your fae kin have often taken advantage of.
The real Sam Merlotte was killed shortly after being discharged from the Army in a car accident. The man you know as Sam Merlotte is actually a fairy, one who has the ability to transform into another being. You know how your true grandfather Fintan often disguised himself, posing as Mitchell Stackhouse, to spend time with all of you? Shape shifting is a common trait among the fae, particularly for the Earth Fae. It is how they commune with nature, just as you, my Sky Fae Princess, replenish your energy by lying in the sun.
Niall tasked the fairy (his name is Conchobhar (Irish name meaning lover of hounds), by the way) with getting close to you in the hopes that the two of you would one day procreate, creating more members of the House of Brigant that would carry the essential spark. No one could tell, not even I, because of the magic and science Niall employed to hide his deception. You know of the company Niall owned that created the gloves he wore? They also created a perfume to alter one’s scent. That is why no vampire ever detected the scent of the fae from the imposter.
Before you tell yourself that Niall wouldn’t do this to you, I want to point out another instance where he has. Do you remember the Christmas when you took in the injured man who was being hunted? A man whom you had intimate relations with before he disappeared?
“How could Eric know that? I never told anyone,” Sookie muses aloud while blushing furiously. She’d thought that to be her deep, dark secret. Sookie had attributed her indiscretion to being lonely at the holidays; abandoned by her friends, family, and Eric. It was a momentary weakness, one never to be repeated. Gran didn’t raise her to be a loose woman, and Sookie had always looked down on those who were so cavalier about sex, including her brother. She’d believed it wasn’t proper for a Southern lady to spread her legs for every man willing to lie between them. She’d been so ashamed of herself after that encounter and swore never to repeat it. She’d never mentioned it to anyone, so how did Eric know?
If I know you, Lover, you are focused on the fact I know your ‘dirty little secret’ and not the fact that your soon to be husband is an agent of Niall’s sent to entrap you. In the interest of keeping you focused on the bigger picture, the man you knew as Preston Pardloe currently resides in Oklahoma. He is seeking asylum from Niall. Cataliades aided him in escaping the Prince’s death sentence. Oklahoma has surprisingly become a safe haven for those Fae that wish to escape Brigant’s clutches. The Fae know that I am no longer an ally of Niall’s.
For what he intends to do to you, my sweet Sookie, I would happily kill the Fae prince. I would rip him apart piece by piece, bathe in his blood, and display his head on a pike for the world to know that any who dare wish you harm will suffer my wrath!
“EWWWWW!!” I know you mean well, Eric, but that isn’t the way to tell a girl you love her.” Sookie chastises the absent vampire though her lips turn up in a smile. Once a Viking, always a Viking, she muses.
Now that we have that little detail cleared up, we can once more focus on the problem at hand. Sookie, I have tasked Desmond with delivery of this letter to you so that you may know all the facts before you walk down the aisle and seal your fate. If you do not believe me, if you do not listen to the words of your godfather, and continue with this shame, then I will not trouble you further. I wish you the best and hope that you find the “normalcy” you have always yearned for.
But if you do believe me, you have only to ask Desmond for help. Arrangements are already in place to help you escape. Lover, I would love nothing more than to bring you to Oklahoma and protect you myself, but the contract Appius enslaved me with prevents that. I regret deeply that I will not be able to see you again in this life. But know that you are never far from my thoughts, and that you are in my heart always.
I love you, Sookie Stackhouse, and I will love you for eternity.
I love you too, Eric, Sookie answers solemnly inside her head. Tears are rolling furiously down her cheeks. Jason looks at his sister with concern, unsure about everything that is going on. Desmond waits cautiously, unsure of what he is to do or say. He is waiting to take his cue from Sookie.
With a deep sigh, Sookie rips the veil off her head and tosses it down on the ground. Though tears still fall, she stares at Desmond with determination. “Mr. Cataliades, I am in need of your help.”
“Where is she?” The man known as Sam Merlotte snarls with fury as he paces inside the church. The guests are already seated; the ceremony was to have begun thirty minutes ago. Those seated in the pews of the church are whispering among themselves, wondering what the holdup is. Rather than stand in front of the guests and pretend to ignore their whispered comments, Sam has hidden himself in one of the church offices. Those inside the room with him try to comfort him, offering some paltry excuse about how brides are always late, that weddings never start on time, but even they do not believe it.
They all think Sookie is a runaway bride.
Niall is going to kill me if this doesn’t work out as planned, is all Sam can think to himself as he paces the tiny room. I’m going to make Sookie pay for this!
A knock at the door has Sam striding forward and yanking it open forcefully. The angry words on his lips die when he sees the officiant in front of him. The fairy imposter hurries to paste a congenial smile on his face and use the affable tone that everyone associates with Sam Merlotte. “What can I do for you, Reverend?”
“The bride has arrived. We can get started,” the church official declares in a relieved tone. “It’s time for everyone to take their places.” Those in the room hurry to make their way back to the church. Sam takes his place on the altar next to the reverend and JB du Rone who is acting as his best man. He hadn’t cared who stood beside him in the ceremony; hell he didn’t give a fuck about anyone in Bon Temps! It was just easier this way since Tara, JB’s wife, was acting as Sookie’s matron of honor.
The music from the piano player starts. On cue, Tara appears and begins walking sedately down the aisle. Once she is in place on the altar, the music fades out.
“All rise,” the reverend commands. As the guests rise from their seats, the opening notes of Here Comes the Bride fill the air. The doorway of the church remains empty and the guests look at each other with confusion. When the song is about halfway through, Jason Stackhouse appears at the end of the aisle. He walks quickly down the aisle, his hands balled inside his pockets, nodding at those he knows and telling them hello. Mutters and whispers make their way quickly through the guests as Jason strides up the steps to the altar where Sam is waiting. The piano player stops playing when she sees Jason standing on the altar.
“Jason, what the hell is going on? Where is Sookie?” Sam whispers to his future brother-in-law though he keeps a smile on his face so the guests remain calm. Today is not going as planned at all and beads of sweat are starting to form at the base of his neck as fear gripes him. Prince Niall was very explicit in what would be done to him if he didn’t marry Sookie.
“Sook? Oh she’s long gone,” Jason responds nonchalantly with a shrug of his shoulders.
“What do you mean she’s gone?” Sam can’t control the volume of his voice as he realizes that everything is falling apart and that he is from this moment living on borrowed time.
Jason shrugs again. “She left, but she wanted me to give you a message.”
“Message? What message? What do you mean she left? We’re supposed to be getting’ married!” Panic explodes inside of Sam and he feels all the blood draining from his face. There is a loud whooshing noise in his ears, and he is beginning to see spots.
That probably explains how he missed the left hook that Jason threw at his jaw followed by the haymaker Jason threw with his right. Sam dropped to his knees as blood began pouring out of his nose. The crowd gasps in shock at Jason’s violent outburst, but he pays them no attention. Jason grabs the hair on Sam’s head, holding it in a painful grip forcing the injured man to look at him.
“My sister knows all about you and Niall’s plan, you sick son of a bitch! She’s gone someplace where y’all can’t find her. If you try to go after my sister again, I’ll kill ya. That’s a promise,” Jason vows before shoving Sam’s head away from him.
Jason turns and walks briskly down the aisle towards the exit. The invited guests are stunned by the turn of events and talking animatedly among themselves. In a few instances, money is being exchanged, going to those that had bet the bride would not show up. Jason is only halfway down the aisle before he turns back around to face Sam.
“Oh, and if you couldn’t tell, Sookie quits and is finished with ya!” Jason then smiles at the guests. “Sorry folks; the weddin’s off. But y’all have a nice day now!”