Monday morning comes far too early for Sookie’s liking, thanks to the pounding in her head and the taste of sand in her mouth. Before Tara and Lafayette had arrived the previous evening, she’d already begun working her way through the bottle of tequila. She needed to numb the pain of Bill’s betrayal, Gran’s apparent lack of compassion, and her own thoughts of failure. Tara and Lafayette had found Sookie crumpled against a wall with both dogs’ heads on her legs and the bottle of tequila at her lips. In true friend fashion, they’d helped her up, and then proceeded to get roaring drunk with her as they’d gone through the house itemizing everything Bill had taken. As they made their way through the house, Sookie had wavered between tears and rage. Tara had wanted to join in on the bashing of Bill since she’d never liked the uptight pretentious dick, but Lafayette had kept her quiet. It was OK for Sookie to bash her soon-to-be ex-husband, but Lafayette knew that Sookie could easily turn her fury on them for the simple fact she needed someone to lash out at. Lafayette didn’t want either of his girls to say something they would end up regretting, and they would regret it since their friendship spanned nearly two decades.
It had been nearly three in the morning when the alcohol in Sookie’s system as well as all the emotion of the day caught up to her. While getting drunk seemed like a good idea at the time, the plan ultimately backfired on her. Loki and Thor, her two Labrador Retrievers, didn’t know that she’d been drinking and that she would feel like death when she woke up. They didn’t know that their “mommy” had left her employer a message saying she would be taking a vacation day to start the work week. All the boys knew was that it was time to eat and go outside to take care of their business. Even though Sookie had turned off her alarm, the boys have gotten used to waking up at half past five every morning during the week; definitely no later than seven. They have a routine and they want to stick to it!
“Alright, alright; I’m up! Stop whining,” Sookie begs as she kicks the covers off her body. She doesn’t remember half undressing last night or rather this morning before climbing into bed, but she must have since she is minus her shirt, a sock, and her pants are undone. When she rises from the bed, her head immediately begins spinning and her stomach feels like a ship being tossed around during a hurricane at sea.
“Oh sweet baby Jesus!” Sookie runs for the bathroom as fast as she can, barely making it there before the contents of her stomach come hurtling back up to say good morning. In between bouts of heaving, Sookie rests her cheek against the cool tile floor of the bathroom. When she feels the world has stopped spinning, she cracks open an eye and finds Loki and Thor both lying on the carpet of the bedroom right outside her bathroom door. They are lying with their heads on their paws, staring at her worriedly. Both have pitiful expressions on their faces, but when Sookie makes eye contact with them, Thor gets up to come check on her. He stands beside her, nuzzling her body with his head. All she can do is pat him haphazardly and mumble that she’s alright. Who she’s trying to convince is anyone’s guess because the dogs know she isn’t fine.
Finally feeling that it is safe to stand, Sookie slowly climbs back up, using the vanity as her ladder and then leans on it when things begin to spin again. She fights off the nausea and dizziness while staring at herself in the mirror. Her lips curl in disgust; she looks positively awful. You know those celebrity mug shots that everyone makes fun of because the celebrity’s makeup is smeared all over their face and their hair looks like a wild animal have made it their home? Sookie looks worse than that. Her makeup reminds her of a crying Tammy Faye Baker and her hair looks like it’s gone through a wind tunnel. She has no idea what that sticky substance is on her chest; she only remembers drinking tequila, not eating any food. And is that the topper for the tequila bottle in her hair?!?!?!
“I am never drinking again,” Sookie mutters as she puts toothpaste on her toothbrush. The smell of her own breath makes her cringe and she hurries to brush her teeth. Sookie applies toothpaste to the brush twice and rinses twice with mouthwash; only then does she feel that her mouth won’t be declared a Superfund site.
“OK babies; let’s go.” With those words, both dogs hop up and run as fast as they can down the stairs to the sliding glass door so they can go outside. As Sookie weakly walks out of her bedroom, she sees the doors to both guest rooms closed. Good; at least her friends didn’t attempt to go home last night. Slipping a t-shirt over her head, she walks gingerly down the steps and keeps her eyes covered against the diffused sunlight that still filters in despite the window coverings. Before going to the sliding glass door, she takes the sunglasses out of her purse and puts them on her face. The dogs are shaking with energy waiting for her to get to the door to let them outside; yips and whimpers coming from both.
With a sigh, Sookie braces herself as she slips the crossbar back into its holder and flips the lock on the door. She is hit in the face by the bright sun and heat of the morning and it makes her stomach turn. The dogs, however, are happy to be outside. Thor and Loki run down the steps at full speed and do laps from one side of the fence to the other, barking at the world to announce their presence as kings of the yard. Birds and rabbits go scattering from the yard, and the dogs howl and bark as they give chase, though they have no chance of catching any of these animals. Normally Sookie enjoys watching their antics, but this morning she doesn’t. She loves her dogs, they are her children, but this morning she wishes they were silent. Sookie moves away from the door and heads to the kitchen where she keeps bottles of aspirin and ibuprofen in a drawer for easier access.
“GODDAMN ASSHOLE!!!!!” Bill even took the bottles of generic medicine from the drawer.
“Quiet down, hookah! I gots what you needs right herre,” Lafayette’s whispered words are muttered in a voice hoarse with pain. When Sookie turns to her friend, she sees that he too is wearing sunglasses in the house. However, he doesn’t look like he’s been on a bender for the last week. Lafayette simply looks like he needs a cup of coffee. A part of her hates him for looking this good after a night of drinking, but she doesn’t hate him too much since in his hand he’s holding the little pills that she craves more than anything in this moment.
“Bless you,” she cries in relief as she takes the proffered ibuprofen. While she goes to the Keurig to make her coffee (thankfully Bill left that), Lafayette goes to the door to let the dogs in who have been patiently waiting on the top of the steps. The boys circle Lafayette’s feet before sitting down on their haunches and staring expectantly at the bin that holds their food. The dogs look at Lafayette and then at their food, repeating this action until Lafayette looks at Sookie with confusion.
“They each get a cup of food; half of one of the measuring cups on top of the bin,” Sookie explains absentmindedly as she pulls her brewed cup of coffee to her lips. She sighs in satisfaction as the piping hot liquid rolls down her throat. To Sookie, coffee is the elixir of life. She cannot survive without it.
Once Lafayette has dispersed the food to the dogs, they hurriedly chomp their way through their morning meal. Lafayette then sashays his way over to the cabinet where the coffee cups are kept so that he can get himself a cup of Joe. Lafayette stands in front of the Keurig, depositing the pod in its holder and selecting his brew size. While the machine works its magic, Lafayette turns to Sookie. “Hows’ you feelin’?”
“Like my life is falling apart around me Lala,” Sookie answers honestly. “Everything I’ve known for years is suddenly gone. The man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with doesn’t want me. The home that we’ve built together is now gone.” She looks bitterly around at the home she had lovingly and painstakingly decorated. This was supposed to be her dream house; the house had been built for them. Sookie and Bill had decided on every feature in the house: carpet, tile, and cabinets were all her choices. Even though every decision had been hers, Sookie hadn’t been happy to leave the house as it was. Over the years, she’d constantly worked to improve her home; simple things like painting every room something other than contractor white to large undertakings like reseeding the entire lawn and adding ornamental gardens to fix the barren landscape that had been left in the wake of the construction.
“Yous still got yo home, Sook,” Lafayette says compassionately as he squeezes her arm affectionately.
Sookie looks at him skeptically, her lips curling down and her eyebrow rising up. “Do I Lala?” She gestures to the room at large. “Look around, Lafayette. Bill’s destroyed whatever ‘home’ we had here. Anything that had value, he’s taken. Things he gave me as tokens of his love; gone! What’s next? The house? My car?” Her lower lips trembles as she looks at the two happy, expectant faces of her dogs. “What if he takes the boys? I’d be lost without them, Lafayette.”
Tears roll down Sookie’s cheeks as she thinks about losing the two creatures watching her carefully. Every time she has an emotional outburst, the dogs think they have done something wrong and try to make her feel better. Now is no different; they both move to sit beside her, nuzzling their heads against her legs and whimpering with her. She drops down to her knees, wrapping an arm around each of them.
“Baby Girl,” Lafayette says as he bends down to be eye level with Sookie. “Yous needs to protect ya self and sees a lawyer. This shit he did,” Lafayette says gesturing wildly around at the house, “ain’t right cause half dis shit be yo’s.”
Sookie sniffles loudly. “I think you’re right.”
Lafayette smiles indulgently as he leans forward to put his hand under Sookie’s chin. “Of course I’m right. Nows we need to find ya da nastiest mutha fucka out there!”
Sookie nods her head. “I think I know of someone.”
Lafayette raises the sunglasses so he can look at her with his eyebrow raised. “Hows do ya know a nasty mutha fuckin’ lawyer?”
Sookie shakes her head. “I don’t; my boss does.”
Lafayette smirks. “Well Pam’s a nasty mutha fucka herself. Course she knows people.”
Sookie cracks the first real smile in days and laughs fully. “It wasn’t Pam; it was The Asshole.”
“Say what?!?!?!” Lafayette knows who “The Asshole” is; he’s heard Sookie complain enough about Eric Northman over the years. “Hows da hell did that happen?”
Sookie takes a couple of deep breaths before beginning her tale. “I was in the office the morning after Bill left having a rough time. Of course, the one person I didn’t want to see me be weak, did.”
Lafayette bristles. “Was he an ass to ya? Did I need to march down there and break ma foot off in his fine ass?”
Sookie giggles again. “No, Lafayette. He was actually decent. I think I scared him when I almost started cryin’. He ran from the office and I didn’t see him again until later in the day. I got called into his office; I thought I was in trouble for somethin’; ya know how he is.” Lafayette nods and Sookie continues. “He actually gave me a card for his lawyer, said it was the one he used when he got divorced. He said I needed to protect myself.”
“Didya know he was married?” Sookie shakes her head no. “Hmm. Well did ya call the lawyer?” Sookie shakes her head no again. Lafayette cocks his head and looks at her like she’s crazy. “Well I don’t know what da hell yous be waitin’ for, Sook. Yous needs to get on it before Bill tries to call him and then yous be up shits creek without a paddle!”
“I’ll call him today,” Sookie says to placate her friend.
“Bitch, please. Yous be callin’ now!”