Chapter 6 – True Colors All Around

She was late! She’d invited him to the premiere and she was late.

Running as fast as she could in three inch heels she skirted around people down the crowded sidewalk. Seeing the theatre just up ahead she ducked in to see Eric waiting next to the ticket takers booth. Smiling slightly she ran her fingers through her hair to try and tame it from her from her mad dash before making her way to him.

“Eric!” For a moment she thought she saw something close to relief flash across his face, but that couldn’t be right. Maybe she did rely too much on her telepathy, apparently she couldn’t read faces anymore.

“Sookie, right on time.” How sweet. She was nearly twenty minutes late for when she said she’d be there, she must look a complete mess, and he still acted like a gentleman. She just hoped he didn’t try to compliment her or she might cry.

No, no tears, tonight was supposed to be fun. 

“Actually I’m late but thanks for that. Sorry, I’ll explain after the movie. Shall we?” They were going to sit in a dark quiet and watch a movie while she stuffed her face with popcorn and tried to ignore the fact that she was here with a different vampire than the one she had planned to come with. 

As they took their seats in the far back of the theatre, she had a feeling that Eric wouldn’t take it well if some teenager sat behind them and munched popcorn in his ear for ninety minutes, she thought momentarily about Bill before pushing those thoughts aside. She will have fun tonight! There would be no guilt, no drama, no reality, no nothing but FUN. 

Settling in she resolved to zone out and enjoy the story, nothing and no one existed other than the characters on the screen.

Eric sat beside his future lover and tried to dispel the feeling of unease that had grown within him with every minute that had passed since the appointed time of their… outing. He could admit if only to himself that he had been worried that she may have changed her mind about forgiving him. Or talked herself around to believing that enjoying herself with him would be some kind of betrayal against Bill.

Thankfully he had been worried for nothing. Sookie had breezed into the lobby disheveled and harried but perfect in every way.

As the movie started he paid little attention to it, far more fascinated by Sookie’s reactions than anything playing out on the screen. No stories truly moved or surprised him anymore, he had seen them all acted out in one form or another over the years and found no true pleasure in the repetition. Her emotions and reactions however were a revelation, they ran the gamut from laughter to tears and everything in between. She was very expressive and seemed to sink nearly into the skin of each character feeling their emotions with them with every breath. Nearly two hours later when the lights finally went up again he had to fight the feeling of disappointment that threatened to overwhelm him. He had so enjoyed just being able to watch her that he didn’t want it to end. As they strolled across the lobby to the door he thought frantically of an excuse to stay in her company.

“The café around the corner serves True Blood if you would like to give me that explanation.” He watched as confusion was replaced by understanding and then amusement in her eyes. She had been so pulled into the other reality of the film that she seemed to have forgotten for a moment that she had been late in the beginning. He would have felt sorry for bringing it up, but she didn’t appear angry at the reminder, only amused. 

“Sounds good to me.” It sounded good to him too. The walk over was uneventful and peaceful. Something that could rarely be said when the two of them were together. Once they sat at their table and ordered, he could stomach that vile brew if it would help him gain the future he saw, he calmly waited for her explanation.

“So a pipe in my basement burst. That would have been bad enough but I would have been on time, but it somehow knocked out my power. Just my luck right. Well, I say somehow but it’s kind of a no brainer that water plus electricity means no more electricity, right. Anyway I was late so that some creepy electrician with a truly condescending voice could tell me I couldn’t get my power back until tomorrow at the earliest and it could take as long as a week.”

There were several ways he could react to this news. He could offer sympathy so he didn’t offend her feminine pride by trying to fix things for her. He could offer money for a hotel couched in words of concern for her safety and human need for rest. Or he could suggest that she call on one of her friends for a shoulder to lean on and a place to sleep during her time of need, not that he expected much from that group. These were all things he could do, but they were not the things he wanted to do. No, what he wanted to say would likely not only not be accepted but might even light the fuse on another fight between them. But he was a Viking and he did not live in fear of conflict of any kind, so he would try the one he wanted the most and work from there.

“I have a spare bedroom if you need a place to stay.” He tried to remain casual, no pressure, simply a friendly offer, but inside he was sweating. He wanted to show her his home and have her be a part of it, if only for a single night. He had no illusions that her acceptance would mean anything other than a show of trust in their burgeoning friendship, but he wanted it all the same.

Sookie knew she should say no, gently decline Eric’s generous offer and tell him that she could easily line up a place to stay with one of her friends or that she’d already made other plans. Bill wouldn’t be happy if she stayed with Eric and they were both already fighting so much it just seemed silly to add another reason on top of the massive pile they already had. 

She had been planning to stay at Bill’s, but his house kind of creeped her out when he was away. It felt almost like staying in your grandparent’s house while they’re away. Afraid to touch anything because you know that if you do there’s a very good chance you’ll be scolded for it when they get back and see that things are slightly out of place. Eric had behaved the entire night, even though he hadn’t watched a second of the movie. And she could admit if only to herself that she was more than a little curious about where a thousand year old Viking slept when given the choice.

“How kind of you to offer, I would love to, thank you.” She could tell she’d surprised him. He’d expected her to say no. Some small part of her rejoiced. How many people could say they could surprise someone like Eric? Not many she would wager. Taking a small sip of her coffee she started to go through her mental check list of all the things she could possibly need before staying overnight with a vampire. How had this become her life?

She wouldn’t need to get anything from the house, she already had her overnight bag in the car so that should save time. Nothing would have been more tedious than having to go all the way back to Bon Temp just to try and gather her things in the dark and turn around and come all the way back to Shreveport. Talk about a waste of time. 

Food wise she had already eaten dinner and she could just leave early for work and grab breakfast on the way. 

She was all set. Though something in the back of her mind kept whispering that she was forgetting something important.

She followed behind him on the truly convoluted route they had to take to get from the theatre to his home. She was almost certain that he’d had his house built out here on purpose, just so that no one could find it. Or at least no one could find it easily, she was half worried she wouldn’t be able to find her way back out in the morning without a map and a set of written directions to guide her.

Pulling into his driveway Sookie had a hard time closing her mouth, but she finally managed it. His home was magnificent at night; she couldn’t wait to see it during the day. It wasn’t the huge mansion she’d been expecting, but it was a good bit larger than her own home or even Bills. What caught her attention and held it were the beautiful stained glass windows that held every color she had ever seen. Getting out of her little yellow car, which looked a bit out of place, she grabbed her overnight bag out of the backseat and slowly walked towards Eric.

“What do you think of my home?”

“Wow, seems inadequate, but it’s the only word that comes to mind. I love the windows.”

The windows? Most people would mention the size, the design, or the grounds but not Sookie. He should learn to always expect the unexpected with her. 

Eric wished that Sookie had been sitting next to him in his car when they arrived so he could have seen her first reaction to his home, but she’d had a point. She needed her car to be able to go home during the day tomorrow and deal with everything, plus she had work at that Shifters bar. While he knew he would share many firsts with Sookie soon enough he found he wanted to experience them all with her and resented being robbed of this one.

Opening the door he bowed slightly before gesturing for her to enter ahead of him. The look on her face as she took in every detail of his home nearly made up for not seeing her initial reaction to it, nearly. As he led her up the spiral staircase to her room he took pleasure in her stunned silence.

He was a collector of beautiful things and his home reflected that.

“This is your room, Sookie.” He’d had the room redecorated to be “her” room the day after they were shown their futures. It was a room that at a glance would seem decorated for just anyone who happened to use it, but closer inspection would show how much care was taken with it. The bedspread and matching sheets were her favorite color. The walls were painted to match the exact shade of her warm eyes. A million other things proclaimed this room as hers. Her expression of awe and wonder made it absolutely worth it.

“What would you like to do until it’s time for you to go to sleep?” He knew what he’d prefer but he was trying very hard to behave himself. He needed to be the perfect gentleman if he wanted his future with her.

“Hmmm, do you play chess?”

“Of course.” What strategist did not?

They played six games of chess. He won the first game, to which she cried best two out of three. She won the second and he the third. When she won the first game of their second set he cried the same, which had her responding ‘screw that you lost’. He couldn’t help but laugh at that. She had relented of course once he appealed to her sense of fair play. Of course he’d paid so little attention to the actual game by that point she’d won all three games before going to her room gloating all the way.

Sookie woke to a beautiful light filled room. It took her a moment to remember where she was. Once she did she couldn’t stop the smile that tugged at her lips. She packed quickly checking to see she had a little time before the electrician got to her house. Jogging out to her car she turned back a moment only to catch her breath. The sunlight was captured in the stained glass making all the colors look like dancing flames. Quickly snapping a picture with her phone she headed home.

She stopped back at the cafe where she’d first met Alcide for a quick breakfast and tried not to look for him, but couldn’t help herself. There had been something about the man that had drawn her in if only a little. His thoughts had been so hard to pin down it was soothing to her then hungover brain. She wanted to see him again to see if that spark was still there while she was completely sober and pain free. 

After getting a mind numbing estimate from the electrician she sat at her laptop and uploaded her pictures of Eric’s windows. She e-mailed them to him thinking he should see what his home looked like in the sun. It was pure magic.

Getting ready for work she wondered if she might be getting the hang of this whole life mess. Things have certainly become easier lately.

Bill could barely restrain his smile of satisfaction as he stopped in Merlotte’s parking lot. He was now Investigator of Area Five, just one step below Eric. They were still not equals but when he had explained everything to Sophie-Anne she’d given him his new status with the strict instructions to bring the girl to heel soon. Now he had the standing necessary to block Eric’s pursuit of Sookie.

Walking into the disgusting bar owned by the equally disgusting shifter his darling claimed as a friend he spotted his love immediately. He moved towards her intending to share the news of their good fortune when he caught a familiar scent coming from her, Eric. Grabbing her arm without a word he dragged her outside. Once away from the vermin that frequented the establishment where she worked he turned to her.

“Bill what the Hell!”

“Why do you smell like Eric?” He would have an explanation, and he would have it now!

“How dare you drag me out of a public place, where I work, and make demands of me. You need to get control of yourself. Now I’m going back to work, my shift ends at two, we can continue this conversation then at my home if you want. That is if you manage to find that civilized southern gentleman under the neanderthal by then.” As she tried to walk past him he grabbed her arm again to stop her. She would answer him. Now!

Sookie looked down at the restraining hand on her arm in disbelief.

“Bill, what are you doing? Let go of me this minute!”

“Answer my question Sookie. Why do you smell like him!?” His fangs had dropped down in his fury, which just worked to raise her own. How dare he!

“Fine if you must know I spent the night at his place.” She didn’t enlighten him about the reasons and he didn’t ask. For a second as she watched rage darken his features she was truly afraid of him.

“You did what!”

“Let go of me Bill! You’re my boyfriend, not my husband, and after tonight you’re not even that anymore.” As she finished her little tirade Sam came bursting out the door with his shotgun.

“I believe she told you to let go of her Bill.”

She saw the moment of indecision flit across his eyes. That one moment when he thought about just killing Sam and it turned her blood to ice. He tossed her arm away from him in disgust before he sped away. Hugging her arms to her for a moment she looked into Sam’s sympathetic eyes with tears filling her own. How had she never seen that side of Bill before?

She just needed to get through her shift and she could sort this whole mess out once she got home and into a nice hot bubble bath.

Sookie sped down the road towards her house dreaming about a nice hot bubble bath, she deserved it after tonight. She still couldn’t understand what had gotten into Bill. Catching a glimpse of something in her headlights she slammed on the breaks. What the…

“Eric?” What was he doing out here without a shirt?

Pam could not believe it. Even with the warning that their little trip to the future had given them these witches had still gotten to Eric. She was racing at her top speed towards Bon Temp and her Maker trying to remember everything Sookie had said about this time in their lives. She never said the name of the witch responsible so she was going to have to do a little searching, but first things first, she needed to get Sookie to agree to shelter Eric. This was their time, when it all started for them according to her; this had to go right damn it if they were going to all have that future they saw.

She arrived at Sookie’s and in her eagerness to see for herself that her Maker was alright she didn’t even pretend to ask for entry she just burst through the door and made her way straight to Eric.

“What the fuck happened?” Nothing, if anything Eric seemed confused about what she was talking about, or why she was asking him, or even who she was. Looking to Sookie she got a helpless shrug in response, no answers there either. Fuck. She only knew so much from the future she needed answers.

“I just found him on my way home from work. No shirt, or shoes, just running down the side of the road.”

No shirt or shoes? Did the witches cast their spell on him at home while he was preparing to come to Fangtasia? How was that possible no one knew where Eric bedded down, not even her. While he did allow her into his nest at times he was always the one to take her there by flight so she couldn’t find her way back later. If she ever got into trouble and needed somewhere safe to bunk down he had safe houses set up all over Louisiana and beyond it for them both. His home was just that, his. 

It was no use to just sit around asking questions that for the moment had no answers she needed to get Eric protected then hunt down these witch bitches and explain to them exactly why this was a bad idea. No one messes with her Maker!

“Sookie, darling I need a favor.”

“Let me guess, look after him.” The girl didn’t sound very enthusiastic; she seemed almost resigned like she saw this coming. Oh well, as long as she agreed she figured the rest would just work itself out with time.

“Would you, this would be the last place anyone would think to look for him.”

Sookie knew what her answer would be even before Pam had asked. Eric might be a grade A jerk but he did try to be a good guy, sometimes, in his own Eric like way. Besides she knew that if she refused and something was to happen to him she would feel beyond guilty. She had just opened her mouth to agree when there was a sharp knock on the door. Motioning for Pam and Eric to be quiet and to go upstairs out of sight, she moved towards the door to take care of this little problem. She felt a gust of wind behind her when the two sped past just before she opened the door.

“Bill, what are you doing here?” She hadn’t expected him to come by, her invitation to come over and talk things out had pre-dated their break up. Most people would have taken the it’s over speech as a dis-invitation to chat. 

“Sookie, may I come in?” Sure come on in, it’ll be just you, me, an amnesiac Viking who doesn’t like you on his best day, and a mightily pissed off Pam. What could possibly go wrong with that.

“No, you may not.” They had broken up which reminded her. “In fact, Bill Compton, I take back your invitation. You are no longer welcome in my home.” She could feel the magic take hold and keep him out. If only the rest of her problems could be handled so easily.

“Sookie, please, I want to apologize for my behavior before. I overreacted and I shouldn’t have. It’s just when I smelled Eric’s scent on you I feared the worst and in my panic I behaved badly, I thought he had finally succeeded at what he’s been trying to do from day one. I thought he’d taken you from me.”

“Wow, really Bill, that’s your apology. Let me play that back for you for a minute here. You’re sorry that after all this time you still don’t trust me enough to believe I would stand by you when you leave for a few days. Which by the way I never really got an explanation for, not that you tell me much of anything these days when you leave to go god knows where and do god knows what for god knows how long. Then when you got back you ‘over reacted’ by physically dragging me out of Merlottes in front of everyone and then yelling at me. Then when Sam stepped in to help me you ‘behaved badly’ by seriously considering hurting him for helping me. Don’t even try to deny it. I may not be able to read your mind Bill, but in that moment your expression was enough. Now get the hell off my property, your invitation is rescinded, and if you ever come here again I will find a way to end you, don’t think I won’t! We’re over!”

Pam listened to the little melodrama downstairs with no small amount of glee. Things were progressing nicely for her Master; it would seem his future would come to pass after all. Bill was doing exactly as expected and falling face first in the mud. Trying to save his relationship with Sookie was what was destroying it. She could not wait until her Master was himself again so they could laugh about this together.

Looking over at her Master she tried to come up with a plan. She was fairly certain Sookie had been about to agree to hide him before her now former boyfriend had shown up to make an ass of himself. Now, she just had to figure out how to find the witches responsible so she could get Eric back. She didn’t know where the spell had been cast on him, given his state of nearly complete undress she would have normally said his home but there was no way even a witch had found him there. Even if they had she wouldn’t be able to go there to investigate so that was a deadend. Her best bet would be to go to Fangtasia and look over his schedule to see where he might have intersected with these witches; they had to have interacted with him at some point.

Maybe one of the witches on his payroll would be able to help her more? She would have to consider it if she found nothing at his place. Though she knew that the less people knew of his new condition the safer he would be. Right now he had the age and strength of an ancient vampire, but he was lacking the experience, and she didn’t want to have to find out the hard way just how far instinct could take him.

Eric barely kept himself upstairs while she was arguing with this Bill person. He did not sound like a good man, and he found he didn’t like the idea of him near Sookie. She was a good person, so full of light and laughter; he didn’t want such an obviously short tempered vampire so close to her while he wasn’t next to her and better able to protect her. 

Only the fact that he was certain she would be upset even more if he went downstairs kept him in place. She was already angry enough with the stranger that he didn’t want to make it worse for her. 

She was his world.

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