“Enough Eric! I’m tired of having this same fight with you over and over! If you really loved me, you’d find a way to get out of this contract with Oklahoma!” Sookie screams her words as she stomps around Eric’s house, gathering her belongings to take with her. They have been fighting for weeks about the contract Appius signed on behalf of his eldest progeny with the Queen of Oklahoma.
“It is not that simple, Sookie! There is a contract in place. You do not understand the penalty for breaking such a contract. It could result in the True Death for me and my progeny. Is that what you want?” Eric bellows his frustration at her inability to understand how his hands are tied. No matter what he does, he loses. If he goes to Oklahoma, he loses his freedom, his children, and the woman he loves. If he breaks the contract, they will have to run; leave the United States forever, and always be on their guard for an attack from Nevada or Oklahoma.
Sookie scoffs at Eric’s words thinking he is being overly dramatic. She truly has no idea about how a maker’s control over their child is absolute. If Appius had wanted it, he could have ordered Eric to murder Sookie, and though he would have fought it, he would have ultimately given in to his maker’s command. Eric would not have had a choice, and he would have spent eternity mourning his beloved fairy. Sookie lives in a bubble of denial when it comes to the supernatural world and it is only going to get her killed. It nearly has already.
Sookie grabs the rest of her belongings, throwing them haphazardly in her duffle bag before zipping it shut with an angry hiss. She flings the bag over her shoulder and glares contemptuously at Eric. “You know, I’m so happy I had the bond broken so I’m no longer tied to you! You never cared about me; all you cared about was your asset! I hope you’ll be very happy in Oklahoma with your wife!” Sookie storms out of the room that had been hers in Eric’s house and goes down the stairs. Angry tears are welling up in her eyes but she refuses to let them fall in front of Eric. She feels hurt and betrayed. Sookie finally realized with the bond gone that she loved Eric on her own; it wasn’t him forcing her to feel anything. She’d thought they would finally be happy together, but that wasn’t meant to be. Eric, in her mind, loved power and his position in vampire politics; two things that would increase with his marriage to that bitch Freyda. His unwillingness to break the contract proved to her that he didn’t love her.
“I already have the wife I want,” Eric says from the top of the stairs in a loud voice that stops Sookie from walking out the front door. Sookie turns around to look at him. What she sees makes her gasp in shock. Blood tears are running down his pale white cheeks, staining his skin and clothes, but he is uncaring. The pain in his eyes glitters like shards of ice in the sun.
He continues in the same pain-laden, hollow voice. “The woman that is my wife rejects me at every turn. She refuses to acknowledge she is mine; cheapens her importance to me by refusing to accept everything I have to offer. My wife broke our bond. But what hurts the most is that when I really needed her help, she refused to use that which was in her possession to save me; to save us.” Eric looks down as he says the last part, letting the tears flow faster. “Perhaps I was wrong to give my love to her; she does not love me in return.”
Eric’s expression hardens and it seems the distance between them only grows. Sookie started sobbing with Eric’s words, never realizing the depth of his feelings for her and how her refusal to use the Cluviel Dor affected him. She’d never learned how he knew she had it and now didn’t seem like the right time to ask.
“Get out, Sookie,” he says tiredly. “You made your choice when you saved the Shifter. I hope you two will be very happy together,” Eric says in a monotone.
“Eric . . .” she beings in a shaky voice only to be cut off.
“Go. I have to begin preparations to leave Louisiana. Good-bye, Sookie Stackhouse,” he says with a note of finality as he turns away from her and walks away.
With a sob, Sookie wrenches the door open and flees as if being pursued by the demons of Hell. Somehow she makes it to her car, blinded by the tears pouring out of her eyes. Yanking open the door, she throws her bag in the passenger seat before dropping down in the driver’s seat. Fumbling with her keys, she somehow gets the right one in the slot and starts the vehicle. Sookie throws the car in reverse, backing out of the driveway quickly only to throw the car in drive and squeal her tires as she speeds away from the second vampire she ever loved; the only one that truly mattered.
It’s a miracle Sookie manages to make it back to her ancestral home in one piece. The hour-long drive had been spent sobbing and screaming in frustration. By the time she climbs out of the car, she is no closer to resolving her feelings, but it doesn’t matter. Eric wants nothing more to do with her.
For the first time in their history, Eric is giving up on her. He hadn’t given up on her after Dallas, Jackson, the witches, Rhodes, the takeover, or any of the other issues they faced together. Eric had protected her, loved her, and taken care of her. But now he is washing his hands of her. It’s only now that she fully understands how much Eric loved her and she’d selfishly thrown it away. Sookie doesn’t regret saving Sam’s life, but she wishes there had been something she could have done to save them both. Saving Sam wasn’t a sign of true love; it was a desperate act to save a friend. Why was she so willing to help her friends? They often judged her or looked down on her; a few of them even straight out took advantage of her. Yet she couldn’t find it in herself to save the one creature that came to her aid time and time again?
What the hell is wrong with her?
All of her thoughts have done nothing to ease her emotional turmoil; they only added to her pain. She’s made it inside her home and sits dejectedly on her couch, pulling the ugly afghan off the back of the couch. Her tears fall harder as she pulls it tightly around her, knowing she will forever associate this blanket with Eric. She burrows in the soft warmth of the material, wishing with all her might it is Eric’s arms around her. Lying down on the sofa, she turns on the television, flipping channels until she settles on a late night showing of The Wizard of Oz. The movie is just starting so it’s in black and white. Sookie thinks the movie’s color scheme reflects her life. Before she met any vampires, her life was black and white; the same boring routine day in and day out. She had convinced herself she was happy, because the other alternative was suicide. Her world was thrown in glorious Technicolor with the emergence of the vampires in her life. Gone were the days of monotony and in its place was a world filled with twists and turns, challenges and triumphs, heartbreak and love. The world was suddenly blindingly bright, often harsh with its realties. But her world was awash with the greatest of life’s blessings: love. For a brief time, she had felt love’s power while with Eric. Now that it is gone, her world is once more a monochromatic color scheme.
Sookie doesn’t want that; she wants the brilliance that comes from being with Eric. All the things that she hated about the supernatural world seem insignificant now that she is faced with losing the love of her life.
“What am I gonna do?” Sookie mutters to herself as she fists her hands in the material of the afghan, bringing it up to her face to brush the tears away. All the emotional upheaval takes its toll on her small frame and she slips away into oblivion as Dorothy and Toto travel inside the tornado from Kansas to Oz.
But her exhaustion does not give her a dreamless sleep. You really should be careful what you watch or read before you go to sleep. It can lead to the most interesting dreams.
“Sookie dear, open your eyes,” a gentle voice says near her ear and a warm hand brushes her hair away from her face.
“Five more minutes,” Sookie mumbles as she tries to snuggle deeper under her covers and hide her eyes from the sun.
“Get up girl! Time’s a’wastin’. You haven’t got all day,” the voice says in a more authoritative tone.
Sookie’s eyes fly open and her mouth drops open in shock. She flips over on her back to see her beloved Gran sitting beside her, looking as spry and lively as Sookie remembers. Gran is wearing her sun hat and the apron she always wore when gardening. Beside her grandmother sits a basket overflowing with a variety of flowers, many of which are exotic species Sookie has never seen. Sookie bolts upright and looks around. As she becomes more aware of her surroundings, Sookie realizes she is sitting in a meadow, not her couch like she first thought. The ground is softer than any mattress she’s ever slept on; it conforms to her body. The grass and flowers made a pillow for her head; instead of being flattened by her weight, they bounce right back, swaying slightly in the breeze. Birds chirp happily in the warmth of the sun and butterflies dance from one fragrant blossom to the next. The scenery and the appearance of Gran makes Sookie think she’s died and gone to heaven.
“Gran, what is this place?”
“Does it matter?” Gran shrugs as she lifts her basket of flowers and rises to her feet to walk towards a small village in the distance. Sookie follows behind her Gran, curious to where they are. How is any of this possible? Gran’s been gone for years.
“Oh, I know what you’re thinkin’. This isn’t Heaven, Sookie dear,” Gran offers as they move closer to the village. The buildings of the village are all brightly colored, reminding Sookie of pictures she’s seen of homes in the Caribbean and the Florida Keys. Corals, blues, yellows, and green buildings rise from the ground with thatch roofs. Sookie can see people in the distance, going about their daily lives without a care in the world, but it’s not like any place she’s seen on Earth. The only thing Sookie can think of to compare it to is Rivendell in Lord of the Rings. People are using horses instead of cars to travel along the cobbled streets. The clothing even looks as if it is from a different century. The women all wear dresses that cover the body from neck to toe, but they appear to be softer than cotton. The men wear tunics and breeches tucked into boots. Everything seems tranquil, as if there isn’t a care in the world.
Gran moves to a wooden table on the outskirts of the town, sitting her basket on the table. Adele then removes her hat, gloves, and gardening apron. Underneath the apron is a dress like the ones Sookie sees the other women wearing. Gran sits on the wooden bench, patting the seat next to her for Sookie to sit as well. Before any more words can be said between the two women, Sookie throws her arms around Gran, crying as she squeezes tightly to her the most influential person in her life.
“Now, now, none of that,” Gran chides gently as she pats Sookie soothingly on the back. “We don’t have time for you to waste it on tears,” Gran says softly as she pulls back from Sookie.
“Gran, I’ve missed you so much,” Sookie whispers brokenly, clutching the older woman’s hand.
“I know, sweetheart, and it breaks my heart to see you suffering so much over me.”
“Gran,” Sookie begins but her voice breaks on a sob. “It’s my fault you were killed,” Sookie wails as she admits her deepest, darkest secret.
“Nonsense!” Adele pulls her hand from Sookie’s and grips her firmly by the shoulders. “Now you listen to me, Sookie Stackhouse, and you listen good. You are not the reason I died. If you want to blame someone, then you can blame Rene Lanier since he’s the one that killed me. And if you had been home with me, then it’s likely that both of us would have met the same fate. I won’t have you waste another minute of your life regretting what happened that night,” Gran declares firmly.
“Gran, it isn’t that simple,” Sookie begins only for Adele to cut her off.
“Yes, my dear Sookie, it is that simple. I’ve accepted my fate. My life was filled with more good times than bad, and I don’t regret a single second of it. Can you say the same about your life, Baby Girl?” Adele looks at her granddaughter with concerned eyes, knowing intuitively that Sookie cannot say the same.
“No, Gran, I can’t. I’ve messed up big time! Eric’s being forced to marry the Queen of Oklahoma even though he’s pledged to me. I shoulda used the Cluviel Dor to save him, but instead I used it to save Sam’s life. I don’t regret savin’ Sam since he was dyin’ but Eric thinks I’m in love with Sam. I love Sam, but not like that. He’s my friend, he’s been there for me when a lot of other people weren’t. You taught me not to turn your back on your friends,” Sookie explains everything in a rush.
“No, I didn’t, but I also didn’t teach you to turn your back on love either,” Adele says sagely.
Sookie lowers her head in defeat, knowing her grandmother is right. She has turned her back on love. She held Eric accountable for things that were beyond his control. Every time they got through one disaster it seemed an even bigger catastrophe descended upon them. Eric tried to shield her from as much of the bullshit as possible, but in the end, the odds were stacked against them. Sookie was a reluctant participant in the goings on of the Supernatural world. She blamed Eric for keeping things from her, but did she ever once ask to be informed about anything? Did she ever offer to work together as a team instead of leaving him to deal with everything? And when bad shit did happen, did she fight beside him willingly or berate him for dragging her into “vampire shit”?
“Gran, I’m such a hypocrite. When I once asked Eric what he wanted, he said everything. And that scared me,” Sookie confesses. “I knew if I gave him everything, I would get lost in him.”
“Honey, that’s what love is,” Gran admonishes with a smile. “You get lost in each other, but that doesn’t mean that you disappear. You’re still you, and he would still be him. Being in love with someone should bring out the best in both of you. But you didn’t give him a chance. There were a few times, glimpses really, when I thought you two were finding your way together, that you both were ready to be the two halves that made up one spectacular whole being,” Gran admits wistfully.
“But I always pulled back,” Sookie admits dejectedly. “Whenever things got too good, I’d pull back and erect a wall to keep Eric out. He was willing to give me everything, and I never did the same for him. I’m a horrible person!”
“There’s still time to make things right, child,” Gran councils her gently. “It’s always darkest before dawn. Nothing’s over until he pledges with that other vampire. You still have time to fix it.”
“How? How am I, Sookie Stackhouse, a barmaid from Bon Temps, going to prevent my vampire husband from being sold to that ho in Oklahoma?” Sookie’s tone is full of sarcasm and her positioning is full of sass.
“Stop underestimating yourself, Sookie. You are more than a barmaid from Bon Temps,” Gran states firmly. “You have friends willing to help you, and it’s time you started using all the abilities you have in your possession. Nothing great ever comes from denial,” Gran admonishes her granddaughter.
Before Sookie can respond, Gran rises from her seat, brushing her hands off gently. “Now, it’s time for you to get going. You’ve got to get back to the vampire you love and save him. Sometimes the fairy princess must save her Viking Prince Charming,” Gran says with a wink.
“But Gran,” Sookie protests while rising to her feet, “I have no idea where I am! I don’t know how to get back to Louisiana!”
Gran smiles. “Follow the yellow brick road, my dear.”
Sookie utters inelegantly, “What?”
Gran points with her hand to the yellow brick road which seems to magically appear at the end of the table they had been sitting at. “Follow the yellow brick road. It will lead you home.”
Gran pulls Sookie in her arms for one last hug. The elder woman embraces her granddaughter tightly. “I love you, Sookie. Stop bein’ afraid and go live your life. There is no such thing as normal. Even the smallest action can be extraordinary,” Gran advices as she pulls back from her granddaughter with a smile on her face.
Before Sookie has a chance to respond, her beloved grandmother vanishes before her eyes. A single tear falls down Sookie’s cheek as the wind seems to whisper, “Follow the yellow brick road.”