Last night was . . . fucked up. So much happened in the span of a few short hours; I don’t know how to process it all. Tara’s gone; Eric and Godric are back; Hep V vamps attacked Bon Temps, killing and kidnapping several townsfolk. I’d say it’s just another day in my life, but this shit is crazy even for me. How is it possible that I am devastated and ecstatic all at the same time?
I finally fell into an exhausted, dreamless sleep, and for that I am thankful. Sleep has been hard enough for me to come by. Having Lafayette and Alcide in the house caused me to worry their thoughts and dreams would invade my subconscious. Let me tell you, I’ve had some weird dreams over the years because others have invaded my subconscious. Part of me worried that I’d be dreaming of a wolf running through a psychedelic gay pride parade in New Orleans. But blessedly, my sleep was dream-free. Perhaps I had Eric to thank for that. Just add it to the list of things I owe him.
Jason’s arrival woke me up a little after 9:00 am; since he has keys to my house, he lets himself in when he wants. And rather than yelling up the stairs to let me know he’s here, or even coming upstairs to see me (both of which would take too much energy), he just yells at me in his mind. To me, that’s the equivalent of having someone screaming in my ear to wake me up.
Going downstairs, I find Jason standing in front of my refrigerator, gnawing on a piece of cold friend chicken. He looks terrible, as if he hasn’t slept in days. “Help yourself,” I say dryly as I make my way over to the Keurig. Alcide had brought this with him when he moved in, and I absolutely love it. I don’t know how I ever survived with a regular coffee pot! Once I have my first hit of caffeine, I turn my attention back to my brother.
“Did y’all find anything?”
“No,” Jason says shaking his head angrily. “We searched every damn abandoned building between here and the interstate. Tried calling the Feds, the State Police, and hell even Shreveport PD; nobody fucking returned any of our calls.” Jason sits down wearily at the kitchen table, putting his head down on his arms.
I empathize with my brother; I know he hates feeling helpless, and that’s exactly what he’s feeling at the moment. My hand drops down on his head, rubbing his neck and scalp comfortingly. “Why don’t you get some rest? I’ll wake you in plenty of time for the meeting at the church. You aren’t gonna be any good to anyone if you’re dead on your feet.”
Jason lifts his head; his lips curve in a playful smile and there is a sparkle in his eye I haven’t seen in a long time. “And here I thought you only loved guys dead on their feet.”
I scoff at my brother and smack his shoulder playfully. “Shut up!” I feel a blush spreading across my cheeks. I don’t know if Eric can hear us or not!
The screen door opens and then bangs shut. Alcide stands there looking embarrassed to have been caught by Jason and me. He looks rumpled; his hair is a mess, his clothes are torn in a couple of spots, but more importantly, there are several bite marks scattered on his neck and chest. Well, I’ll be damned . . . Alcide is doing the walk of shame! Oh he is so gonna pay for this . . .
“Dude, what the fuck happened to you last night?” Jason asks with concern as he takes in Alcide’s ragged appearance.
With my tongue planted firmly in cheek, I respond. “I’d say he bit off more than he can chew. Oh wait, it looks like Willa was doing all the chewing!” I can’t help the shit-eating grin that spreads across my face. At my words, Alcide flushes a dull red color. Oh this is gonna be so much fun! I wish Lafayette or Tara, hell even Pam, were here to help me tease him.
Alcide tries to look at me sternly, but his lips keep twitching with the need to smile. “What? She wanted to play with her food before she ate.” The grin spreads fully across his face and I’m inundated with images of his evening with Willa. I’m shaking with laughter as I throw up my shields; there are just some things I don’t need to know about. I will say this though; it’s ALWAYS the quiet ones.
“Honey, I’m happy you finally got your head outta your ass and realized you liked Willa! I swear, you both denying how you felt was like watching a dog chase its tail; it’s entertaining at first but then it gets old real quick.”
Alcide cocks an eyebrow towards me and folds his arms over his chest. “You done with the dog jokes yet?”
I hold up my finger, “Can I have one more?” I smile my most innocent smile, hoping to get in one more joke. It is so much fun to tease him, especially since he is forever dishing out dumb blonde jokes to me.
“No more,” he growls out. He stalks to the refrigerator, pulling out the remaining fried chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, and country fried steak. I swear to God, he and Jason must have cast iron stomachs; they can eat anything and everything no matter the time of day. Setting the food on the table, Alcide reaches into the dish rack for two plates and two forks. Alcide knows Jason will help himself to whatever’s available.
“Sook, you shouldn’t always be teasin’ Alcide,” Jason says as he puts a large pile of spaghetti on his plate. “I swear Sis; you’re like a dog with a bone.” He reaches for a piece of country fried steak and then digs into his food with gusto.
For an instant, Alcide and I both freeze, staring in astonishment at my brother. Jason shrugs his shoulders, asking with his mouth full what we’re looking at. All I can do is collapse in a fit of laughter. Alcide glares at Jason who still doesn’t realize the priceless gem he added to the conversation. Rinsing out my empty coffee cup, I head back upstairs to get ready for the day. Alcide’s growled “fuck you” sends me into another round of laughter. It feels good to have some normalcy despite all the fuckedupness that surrounds us.
A few hours later, Jason, Alcide, and I have returned to the church along with the other townspeople to discuss what happened last night at Bellefleur’s. Lafayette refused to come with us, saying that all the religion he needs is in his bottle and his pills. I’m worried about Lala; he’s always used drugs recreationally, something to enhance having a good time. But now he is using them every day to escape reality; I worry he’ll go too far one day.
The number of people in the church is much smaller than the day before. Looking around, I don’t see Arlene and her kids; actually, I don’t see any kids at all. Jason also looks around in confusion; it’s the same look he gets when trying to do math in his head. “Where’s everyone at? We didn’t lose that many people last night did we? I thought we were only missing a handful of people.”
Sheriff Andy Bellefleur arrives behind us; once again, his daughter is not with him. I understand his need to protect her, but by keeping her isolated may end up doing her more harm than good. “People are leavin’ Bon Temps. Arlene packed up the kids this mornin’; said she ain’t gonna be some vamps main course while the kids are the appetizers and dessert. A lot of other families have pulled out too. Not that I blame ‘em,” he says gruffly.
“They honestly think it will be safer somewhere else? Running ain’t gonna solve the problem. What’s to say they won’t find the same problems somewhere else?” The idea of running from a fight is inconceivable to Jason. I don’t think he’s ever run from anything in his life, and that includes defending me from all the bullies when I was a kid and pissed off husbands/boyfriends when he was fucking random women.
“If you had kids to protect, you’d do anything you could to save them. Even if it means running.” Alcide gestures to an empty pew in the church. “Shall we sit down so we can hear what’s goin’ on?”
Sam and Reverend Daniels quickly call the meeting to order. I’m tuning out the words spoken in lieu of listening to everyone’s thoughts. After last night, I need to know if anyone is planning to attack those that are trying to protect us. Many in the crowd are scared, and rightfully so. Some are worried about those injured and missing; a few feel guilty for being happy they weren’t injured or taken. But there are a few minds in the crowd that are blaming vampires and anyone different for being the cause of all these problems. Honestly, how the fuck is this our fault? Even in my mind I’m apologizing to Gran and the Lord for cussing in church, but I think He will let me slide this time. I need to remember to tell Andy and Jason to watch out for some of the townspeople; we don’t need them trying to take matters into their own hands and only making the situation worse.
This Hep V is a sign from God that vamps aren’t meant to be here. It’s God’s plan to punish them for their evil ways. I’m glad I staked my Tara to save her. I know Jesus will protect her and God will forgive her; she was led astray by those she called her friends. One day we’ll be reunited and we can have the relationship we were meant to.
Rage the likes of which I’ve never known sweeps through my body. I fight to keep control of my emotions, but the urge to scream is threatening to overwhelm me. My light is a shimmering, hazy red ball inside me that is looking to be unleashed, but I need to stay in control in front of the people of Bon Temps. They already fear me because of my telepathy and my association with vampires. Can you imagine what they’ll do if they learn I can shoot light and fire from my hands?
My eyes lock with those of Lettie Mae Daniels, and her eyes are cold and lifeless. She legitimately has no remorse for killing her daughter; in fact, she feels it was her duty as a God-fearing woman. How could that bitch commit filicide? And listening to Lettie Mae’s thoughts, she thinks she’s a martyr, that she’s committed some big sacrifice for her God.
“You OK?” Alcide nudges me to get my attention.
“I’m fine,” I lie as my ‘crazy Sookie’ smile is firmly in place. In truth, I’m thinking about the come to Jesus moment Pam and me need to have with Lettie Mae.
For the first time in many months, years actually, I rise with a sense of utter contentment. I would have believed last night to be an elaborate dream if it hadn’t been for the blood tie I felt with my maker. Words fail me when it comes to describing how Godric’s presence feels to me. I had not lied to Sookie; a maker/child bond is more profound than any other type of bond. He is my father . . . brother . . . lover . . . friend . . . in short, he is everything to me. For a thousand years of darkness, Godric has been a constant fixture in my existence; like the moon and stars, he has guided my path.
The other sense of comfort I feel comes from rising in the home of my beautiful Sookie. I was surprised to find the cubby has been lovingly tended to since the last time I was here. The linens have been freshly laundered, not a speck of dust is to be found; even the clothing I had worn during my memory-less existence has been laundered and neatly folded. But the most surprising aspect is how fresh and intense the smells of sunshine, wheat, and honey hang in the air: Sookie has been in here, and very recently. The strength of her scent tells me she has been in here for more than just cleaning, and I can detect no other scents in the room: not Willa, Tara, and especially not the dog. I can faintly detect my scent lingering from my personal effects in the room, but no one else. Perhaps Sookie longed to be near me as I longed to be with her.
I sigh as I sit up on my bed, triggering the motion-activated lights. Sookie, the one creature in my existence that I have not been able to control through glamour or fear; the one creature I want above all others. Hunger is an ever-present feeling for a vampire; we thirst for blood from the minute we rise as a creature of the night, and the desire for it never really fades even though we need less of it as we age. However, I have never known this level of hunger or desire as strongly as I feel it for Sookie. I crave not just her blood, though that is a rare and exquisite vintage. I want to know her thoughts, feel her emotions as she feels them, and above all else, I want her love; I yearn for her. When it comes to Sookie, I want everything; even then, I fear it will not be enough.
Seeing her in danger last night was not a surprise. After all, danger seems to follow her wherever she goes. What truly surprised me was her reaction to me. Sookie was genuinely happy to see me; the glow that always surrounds her seemed to shine more brightly when she saw me for the first time, and it never faded. I admit it; I expected her to rebuff me. Our last meeting was when she had all but told me to get out of her life that she wanted to have a ‘normal’ life. I had done as she asked, though I knew her wish for a ‘normal’ existence was a foolish one. My lover is extraordinary; normal will never satisfy her. So to see her accepting of my presence and to have her react the way she did was amazing. Sookie has changed; I cannot put my finger on it, but she is different. Oh don’t get me wrong, she’s still the same stubborn, infuriating, sassy, generous, caring woman she’s always been, but there seems to be a maturity to her that was missing before. She no longer seems to react first and think later.
I am grateful to the blonde spitfire for taking care of my youngest child when I was not willing or able to do so, I can never repay the debt I have because she has returned my maker to me, though I shall spend the rest of my existence trying to do so. It is this sense of obligation that causes me to worry about the current situation I find myself in. Willa and the Were cannot be allowed to hurt Sookie, even if it is unintentional. Previously, I would have encouraged Willa’s affection for Alcide in the hopes of destroying his relationship with Sookie. I would have gleefully swooped in to pick up the pieces, offering comfort to Sookie through the use of my body. I would have bound her to me before she could know what had happened. But I’ve changed . . . Pam would call me pussy-whipped but I don’t want to see Sookie hurt. I want her to come to me because she genuinely wants to be with me, not as a rebound fuck. Having her use me just to abandon me when she felt better would destroy me.
“So serious my child; what worries trouble you?” I have been so lost in my thoughts that I failed to realize my maker is standing before me; that must mean the sun has set.
“I feel as if everything is hanging in the balance based on how I decide to act. One wrong decision will tip the scales against me, destroying everything.”
Godric smiles faintly. “Yes, love does make it seem as if everything is life or death. You have chosen your mate well my son.”
“But she has not chosen me,” I say with all the bitterness I feel over my seemingly hopeless situation.
Godric sits on the edge of the bed, his head turned to look at me as he begins speaking. His voice is gentle, full of love, and filled with an endless supply of patience. “She did choose you Eric; you know she did. How else would the two of you have begun a blood bond that day in this very cubby?”
“She chose someone who does not exist Godric,” I say bitterly. “Sookie would never have chosen me if I did not lose my memories. Once I regained them, she ran from me as fast as she could. No matter how many times I tried to prove to her I was the same man,” I say as I remember each of my attempts to prove to her that I was the man she had fallen in love with.
Godric smiles softly at me. “Eric, have you ever considered that you scare her?”
“I would never harm her!” Indignation rises swiftly in me; how can Godric think I would harm Sookie?
“You have hurt Sookie, my child, whether you meant to do it or not.” Before I can respond, he holds up his hand to stop me. “Please hear me out. Remember, I have the advantage of having watched over you and Sookie from my place in the Summerlands. The two of you are similar; it is easy to see how you became enamored with one another. I had asked Sookie to care for you when I chose to leave; I recognized even then how the two of you were drawn to each other. I had hoped that in my absence the two of you would grow closer to each other. But you were never given the chance because of Russell, then the fairies, and finally the witch. However, the witch did you an incredible favor.”
“And what’s that?” What the fuck favor did that dead bitch do me?
Godric smiles at me indulgently, as if explaining something to a child. “She allowed Sookie to see the best part of you; the part of you that you have tried to bury since the death of your human family: the part of you that loves. You never would have allowed Sookie to see that of you. Your first attempt to tie her to you was when you bought and restored her home. Remember your words to her? ‘If I own the house, then I own you.’ When that did not work you tried to scare her saying that others would be after her. You glossed over the fact that you cared for her. Why should she have chosen to be with you?” His question is rhetorical as he continues his speech/lecture.
“If she had no feelings for you, my son, she would not have taken you in when you were without your memories. She would not have comforted you, sheltered you, or protected you. And she did all of those things, Eric. The you without your memories was gentle, considerate, and most of all, loving; you were stripped of all your defenses and open to the idea of love. What the two of you had those few days was absolutely beautiful.”
I am awash with memories from those days and I release a broken sigh. “So why did she run from me?”
“Fear,” Godric says simply. “Even when she was with you, Sookie knew it would not last. She feared you would leave her as soon as your memories returned or that you would use her love for you against her. The old you would have done both,” Godric says reproachfully. “I know she used Compton’s blood in her as an excuse about why she couldn’t be with you, but that’s all it was: an excuse. She knew she loved you even after the extra dose of his blood in her; she fought for you while you were in the witch’s clutches. All Sookie knows of love is that those who love her leave her. With the exception of her brother, those who claimed to have loved Sookie have hurt her, betrayed her, and left her. She expected you to do the same. In her mind, it was better to let you go and not to lose you later down the road. It all comes back to fear Eric. Are you going to let her slip through your fingers again because of fear?”
I am at a loss of how to respond to Godric. He must sense my confusion because he rises from the bed, leaning over to press a kiss to my forehead in comfort. Godric retreats to the bottom of the ladder leading out of the cubby. “It is your happiness hanging in the balance Eric. You and I both know that true happiness is a rare thing. If I were in your shoes, I would do everything in my power to get what I wanted.” With those final words of wisdom, Godric vamps up the ladder and is out of the house within a second. I have missed his wise counsel.
Rising from the bed, I pace the confines of my cubby as I ponder Godric’s words. He is right; if I do not say anything Sookie will never know how I still feel. I know I told her I loved her, but did she understand what that meant? In all the years I have been a vampire, I have only loved three other people besides her: Godric, Nora, and Pam. Does Sookie not realize how rare it is for me to love? Does she not realize how special she is? I have to try one last time. I hate the thought of rejection, but I will not hide in fear. I am a warrior; I shall be courageous. Perhaps this old warrior will be rewarded after all this time with my own personal Valkyrie guiding me to my idea of Valhalla: eternity with Sookie.