Sookie was slightly worried about Eric. She realized this morning that he’d never told her what happened with Bill. The one time she’d asked he’d told her not to worry about it then and to go to sleep. She had been so exhausted that she hadn’t really been able to fight it that night, but come morning she was back to being worried with no one to talk to about it.
Pulling into the Merlotte’s parking lot she took a deep breath and pushed those problems to the back of her mind right now she had a few less fanged problems to deal with. She hoped that Sam and Arlene were over their little snit from before. She honestly didn’t understand why they thought they had the right to tell her what to do with her life. Only Jason really had any sway over how she lived and even he would never go so far as to tell her who she could see.
Walking in she expanded her shields and got the lay of the land and found the atmosphere… chilly. Oh wonderful, today was going to be just perfect.
She made it through nearly the entire day holding her tongue. Every time Arlene made a nasty comment in her hearing about vampires she shrugged it off telling herself that she had a right to her own opinion, bigoted though it might be. Every time Sam refused to look away when she caught him openly glaring at her she told herself that he had a right to his feelings no matter how unjustified.
Ten minutes til the end of her shift Sam grabbed her arm and damn near dragged her into his office. Alright that was NOT okay any way she looked at it. Once the door closed behind them she jerked her arm out of his very tight grip and went on the offensive.
“Keep your hands off me Sam Merlotte! What the hell is wrong with you!?” She rubbed at her arm trying to get the sensation of being held to go away while she waited for his answer.
“Me? What’s wrong with me!? I told you Sookie, I told you when you got involved with Bill in the first place that vamps were bad news but you didn’t listen and look what happened to you, Cher. Well by god you’re gonna listen to me this time.”
Deciding to hear him out, to at least get it all out in the open, she nodded for him to continue. Even if she knew she would never agree with him he had a right to get this off his chest before she had her own say.
“Vampires, all vampires, are vicious bloodthirsty killers and a nice girl like you ain’t got no business mixing yourself up with the likes of them.” Translation: I was too much of a gutless worm to try for you when you were free and clear and now I’m angry that you’re so popular with the vampires that I’m lashing out like a little boy.
“And another thing! Don’t you remember how things were with you and Bill? You kept getting hurt and needing your friends to help you out. I just don’t want to see you get hurt no more darling.” Translation: I’m better than any of those other guys. Give me a chance and I’ll prove it.
It’s all about subtext and reading between the lines with guys. As much as they like to go on and on about how straight forward they all were compared to the fairer sex they talked in circles like nobody else whenever they got an itch to.
“Do you understand where I’m coming from Sookie?” Translation: please agree with me and be mine.
“Oh I understand Sam. Now I hope you understand why I have to quit. Please consider this my two weeks’ notice. I will work all the days you still have me on the schedule, so I don’t put nobody out having to cover for me, but please do not put me on the next.”
“What?” Translation: how did this not go the way I wanted it to?
“You’ve known me a lot of years Sam. By now you should know that when my boss starts acting inappropriately and making decisions about me based on romantic feelings I will never, and I do mean never, be able to return. I walk away. Now will this do as my notice or will you need a written notice of intent as well?”
Sam’s mouth hung open in very real shock. He’d apparently never thought she would ever leave Merlotte’s which was in part her own fault. She should have made things clear to him a year ago when she’d started dating Bill and his true feelings for her came to the surface but she hadn’t wanted to hurt him. Now that he was attacking her personal choices and manhandling her that reservation went out the window.
Deciding she’d ask him again tomorrow about the written notice, give him time to come to terms with how things were now, she turned and briskly walked out of his office all the way to the car.
Never noticing the figure in the hallway outside of the office, or the scowl of the man who’d overheard her entire conversation with her boss and friend.
Eric had woken from his slumber two hours ago filled with determination. Sitting on the ridiculous floral sofa in Sookie’s living room waiting for her, the papers to sign Fangtasia over to Bill ready and waiting on the coffee table before him. When he’d called Pam this evening to tell her about the new ownership and told her to keep the club closed this evening she’d laughed long and hard. When she asked if he’d be coming by later to gather any personal items from the club she’d laughed even louder when he’d confirmed that he would. Sometimes his child’s humor was a mystery even to him.
When he finally heard Sookie’s car pulling up out front he took a deep unnecessary breath that always seemed to help his lover when facing difficult situations and stood to greet her at the door. He would later blame his inattentiveness on Bill and the situation he forced him into for what happened next. When he opened the door to his darling Sookie he was greeted with a shotgun blast to the side of his head.
Sookie spent the entire drive back home after quitting her job going through an emotional roller coaster. She went from angry to sad to resigned. She had done the right thing, she just had to keep reminding herself of that.
When she finally got home she had expected Eric to meet her at the door since he’d told her he would not be going to Fangtasia tonight because they had something to discuss. When she didn’t see him she assumed he was waiting for her inside or worse yet maybe he wasn’t there at all, it would be just like Bill to summon him again tonight.
Climbing the three steps to her door she paused, her door was open. There was no way Eric would leave her door open, he was so anal about her safety. Shifting her keys in her fist until they were threaded through her fingers, just like they always taught in those women’s self defense classes she stepped closer to the door. Slowly she put her hand on the edge of the door and pushed it open wider. She’d never noticed just how unnerving the creaking of her door really was until that moment.
No answer, taking one step forward and expanding her shield to try and find the blank spot that would tell her if he was still in the house she stopped frozen at the puddle of blood just past the threshold. All thought stuttered to a halt as her fears overcame her mind and her heart began to break. This was just like Gran. She was so consumed with her memories of past horrors and denials of what she might find in her house she didn’t even hear the footsteps behind her.
Just as she was assuring herself that while there was a lot of blood it wasn’t nearly enough for Eric to be finally dead she was struck soundly on the side of her head. Dropping to her knees she would have fallen face first in Eric’s blood if not for the arm securely around her waist holding her up.
Eric had awakened moments ago flat on his back looking above him at what he guessed was the ceiling of Sookie’s basement, the biting pain in his wrists, legs, and neck told him he was bound with silver. That bastard, he was really going to enjoy killing him. The scent from before was stuck in his nose and could only belong to one man. Brad.
No sooner had the thought entered him mind than the son of a bitch in question moved to stand over him, smiling, the little fuck. The grip on his shoulder as he pulled him up into a sitting position caused the chains on his neck and wrists to move making him have to bite the inside of his cheek not to cry out. No matter how old or powerful a vampire was silver would always burn the same.
Once his vision cleared of the spots the movement caused he found himself sitting upright with Sookie tied to a chair opposite him. She was bleeding from her temple, her ponytail was lopsided and in disarray. If his heart had been beating the sight before him would have stopped it instantly, only the shallow rise and fall of her chest kept him from becoming catatonic.
“Hello there, finally one of you is awake. I should have guessed it would have been you, vampire healing and all.”
The bastard was smiling at him like they were friends sharing a private joke. He would torture him for weeks before finally granting him the mercy of death. Focusing inward he sent out a call for aid to his child and satisfied his bloodlust with visions of all the things he would do to this little piss ant soon enough. When he felt his child’s immediate response and sensed her moving steadily closer he focused on the problem at hand.
“What did you do to Sookie?” He kept his voice bland void of any emotion at all.
“That’s what you ask? Not why are you doing this? What do you want? Just what did you do to my girl? Gotta say I’m impressed no one ever asks after others, they’re always very me oriented. To answer your question I just gave her a little love tap with the butt of my gun when she got home, nothing life threatening.”
“Well that’s a relief it took me a long time to get her just the way I wanted her. It would be a pain to have to start all over with someone else.”
Just keep his focus a little longer. Keep him off balance with unexpected answers and give Pam enough time to get here.
“Oh, ah ha, you are a funny one aren’t you? Don’t try to snow me, vampire I know she means something to you. You wouldn’t have looked for her for as long as you did for that whole year she was gone if she didn’t, now would you?”
How the fuck did he know about any of that?
“What makes you think I looked for her?” Be cool, be calm.
The son of a bitch was circling Sookie now trailing his fingers across her shoulders, down her face, up her arms. He was gonna rip his fucking hands off.
“Oh no lying now, it’s rude. I started hooking up with one of your vampires… ah Lilith, Lillian, Lilah something like that, she told me all about your obsession with the little backwoods telepathic barmaid. The longer she was away the more desperate to find her you became, so don’t act like you don’t care for my benefit.”
Lithia a Russian vampire fairly new to his territory, not only had she spoken of him to her human lover and spoken badly of his chosen, but she’d also revealed Sookie’s telepathy as well. She would suffer for her part in this.
“You’ve heard of me before. I’m flattered.”
“Don’t be. It wasn’t you that caught my interest. I was seeing Lily so I could kill her. I’d never killed a vamp before. Human, werewolf, demon, but never a vamp, then she started running her mouth about Sookie Stackhouse. When she told me about her telepathy I asked others about it mainly here in Bon Temp, but at Fangtasia as well. Most of your vampires told me to take a hike, and most of the people here in Bon Temp told me to stop listening to silly rumors, but there were a few who verified what she told me. Not many mind you, but enough to gain my interest. While I’d never killed a vampire, I’d never even seen another telepath, so I abandoned my plans for Linnett, knowing a dead or missing vamp would cause too much attention to her human lover, and waited.”
The man was truly certifiable. Not only did he admit to wanting to kill a vampire to him, the Area Sheriff, but he just couldn’t seem to stop talking. He’d heard Sookie’s breathing increase halfway through his rant signaling her wakefulness, but she was smart enough to pretend slumber. Now all he had to do was keep him talking for ten more minutes.
“Please Brad, do continue, you have my rapt attention. The fact that you managed to dupe a vampire is truly a herculean feat. “
As expected the praise caused the imbecile to preen and as an added bonus his attention caused him to finally stop touching Sookie. If he’d watched the lunatic run his hands over his lover one more time he would have tried to attack him silver or no silver.
“I gotta admit I started to wonder after a few weeks if her vamp boyfriend really had offed her when she still hadn’t shown up. Only your continued search for her told me otherwise. If you were still looking for her it wasn’t very likely that a vampire had killed her, if they had you would have known within the first week and stopped looking. I made friends in Bon Temp who kept me apprised of all the town gossip and finally when word came that the long lost telepath had returned I took my friend up on the offer to move up here near her. That Fortenberry woman really can talk you to death, but it was all worth it.”
So crazy didn’t mean stupid in this human, to bad crazy and stupid was easily defeated, crazy and clever made things a little harder. Not that he doubted Pam’s ability to take out one meager human. The only reason he’d been able to take him was because he wasn’t paying attention, something that would never happen again.
“I was gonna draw this out a little more. When I first met her I understood all the fuss and thought about trying to sway her away from you and to me. Then you started sending her elaborate gifts at work and I decided to just kill you and take her. I had an entire trap set up, you would have truly been impressed. There was a vat of liquid silver, which is very hard to come by these days, and a pulley so she could watch you die.”
He was actually pouting about not being able to kill him like he wanted. Searching the bond he found his child was almost here. Just a few more minutes.
“What changed your mind?”
“She quit her job today and I figured now was likely going to be my last chance.”
Sookie had quit Merlotte’s? That was news to him, good news in his book, but still news. Hearing the sound of a shotgun shell being racked into place he focused on Brad again to find him aiming his weapon at his head. Normally he would not be worried, but at this range he might truly be able to kill him. Sending his urgency through his bond with his child he sensed her enter the property.
“Goodbye Eric, this has been fun but it’s over now.”
“Yes, it is.”
The racking of the shotgun made Sookie’s heart stop. After waking tied to the chair to the sound of her neighbors crazed rant she’d tried once more to listen to his thoughts. Like the breaking of a damn his thoughts flooded into her mind. The antipsychotics he’d been taking to help himself appear normal had been blocking her telepathy. The drugs had changed how his mind worked effectively keeping her out. His name wasn’t Brad it was Antony Bradson and he had killed so many people it was disgusting to see, but every death he’d caused played before her eyes in sickening detail as he thought of them all in this moment rearranging them in his own personal ranking system as he prepared to add another to his list.
He’d started with animal’s kittens and stray dogs, before moving on to other children in his neighborhood. Finally he’d killed his mother when he was twelve and hadn’t stopped since.
“Goodbye Eric, this has been fun but it’s over now.”
Those ominous words made her jerk her head up without thinking, wide eyes on Eric. Only his response helped her regain her calm.
“Yes it is.”
No sooner had he spoken those words than she heard her basement door splinter and crack. Pam with her fangs down at the foot of the stairs was the most beautiful sight in the world to her at that moment. With everything that had happened she had expected a bit more of a climactic ending to dear old Brad, but no Pam just sped right up to him while he was still staring at her wide eyed with shock, reached out a hand and snapped his neck. It was all over in seconds and the relief that flooded her entire being left her feeling drained.
Pam untied Eric first of course; who then jumped up before his wounds even had time to heal and ripped the ropes from her arms and ankles. He spoke to Pam in Swedish as he swept her up into his arms. She knew they were probably discussing how best to get rid of the body, but she couldn’t gather enough energy to care.
Her world shifted and tilted as Eric sped them both through the house and away from the carnage in the basement.
Eric had placed her on the counter top in her bathroom while he started running a bath. She knew from past experience that she was beginning to go into shock, and it was beyond sad that she could recognize the signs of that by now. When he stood in front of her once more she looked into his eyes silently trying to set it right in her mind that they were both truly okay. She had been so terrified that she would lose him, like she seemed to lose everyone these days.
She felt his hands on her body as he began to peel her bloody clothes from her, but she couldn’t pry her eyes from his. She only felt a slight stirring of emotion when he stripped himself down to nothing but skin, but even the sight of his magnificent body couldn’t bring her out of herself.
The hot water flowing over her body helped to stop her shivers and his strong arms around her holding her to him made her feel safe and loved. She heard him crooning softly in her ear from what seemed like from a great distance, even though she could feel his lips against her neck. Only when the water began to cool did she finally move sitting up slightly to look over her shoulder at the man who owned her heart.
“I’m sorry I’m being such a baby about everything. You’d think that I’d be better at life threatening situations by now.” Her attempt at humor was met with a look of sympathy and understanding from his stormy blue eyes.
“You have nothing to apologize for my darling. You are actually doing far better than most in this situation, and I for one and in awe of your strength, if that means anything to you.”
“That means everything to me. Can we talk about something else please.” She needed to think of something other than what could have happened to them both down in that basement.
“As you wish.” Reaching past her she watched him add more hot water to the tub, and bubbles filling the air around them with the soothing scent of vanilla.
“Tell me what you wanted to talk to me about tonight.” He had been firm with her about needing to talk to her tonight about a few things, maybe if they talked about those things now it would help her stop feeling so under water about everything.
“Well, why don’t we speak of you quitting your job this evening instead.”
His hesitancy to speak to her about what he’d wanted to speak to her about made her slightly nervous but she refused to panic until it was absolutely necessary, she was just too exhausted for anything else right now.
“Uh, Sam and I really got into it today over my personal choices in life. I have a hard and fast rule about my boss’s involvement in my life. As long as they’re well intentioned and truly trying to help I will take a lot from them, but if like Sam they are self-serving in their comments I walk if they step over the line. Sam stepped over the line today that is the beginning and end of it.”
Looking over at him expectedly she raised her eyebrows, she shared now it was his turn. He looked a little conflicted like he wanted to please her by talking but wasn’t sure if what he had to say was something she would want to hear. Uh oh.
“Our plan to keep Bill from taking my properties here in Louisiana seems to have partially failed. He wants one of the two properties I denied him. I have decided to give him Fangtasia so you don’t need to worry about losing your ancestral home. I told you before that you would be able to keep your home and I meant it.”
“You’re going to give him Fangtasia?” She tried to hold back her laughter at the thought of Bill walking into the new and improved Fangtasia thinking he’d actually won something.
“Yes, that is the plan little one. Why?”
“Oh, nothing, I just have one request, could we both go there tonight before signing it over please.”
Eric could admit when he was confused, it didn’t happen often, but he could admit it easily if only to himself when it did. Sookie had somehow gone from shaking with adrenaline to shaking with suppressed laughter and he could not for the life of him figure out why. All he knew was that it had something to do with Fangtasia, and as the thought ran through his mind he remembered Pam’s own humor only a few hours earlier at the mention of his precious club. Her laughter was now very much in evidence, her shoulders shaking as she tried to hold in her giggles. He did not know what was going on but he knew now after all this laughter in response to his club that he needed to go see it… now.
Quickly getting them both dressed and ready for the little outing, he drove faster than normal hitting and surpassing 150 mph. When he pulled up the outside looked as it always did, except for the lack of people proclaiming it as closed. Stepping inside he stopped and… laughed.
It looked like the bedroom of a demented five year old girl. Everything was done in bright colors that didn’t go together at all; electric pinks, baby blues, and sunflower yellows adorned the walls and dance floors. There were ceramic cherubs hanging from the ceiling on strands of purple yarn that seemed to glow every four feet. His throne, his precious manly throne, was covered with a tacky nineteen seventies floral fabric.
He wished he could be there when Bill got his first eye full of his new club.
“Eric, I’ve been thinking.”
“Yes, my dear so have I.”
“What have you been thinking about?”
“I’ve been thinking that if this is how you decorate I will never allow you within ten miles of my home with so much as a swatch.”
His laughter could not be contained. He knew why she had done it originally, this was his punishment from his darling girl.
“Stop, you know this is not to my taste. I would never decorate something I would see everyday like this, this was all for you.”
“And I appreciate it lover, I really do. Now what were you thinking?”
“I was thinking that if you just give Bill Fangtasia he will do something else to get my home. So I was thinking; maybe, if the offer is still on the table we could give him my home like he wants and I could move in with you.”
To say he was stunned would be an understatement. He stood stock still for a minute thinking maybe he hadn’t heard her correctly. He’d wanted this for so long.
“Are you sure?” He did not want her to make this decision now when she was so full of emotion and come to regret it when she was back to a more even keel.
“Yes, I’ve been thinking about it since I quit my job. I want to share my life with you, my whole life not just half of it.”
He couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across his face.
“Alright, I would love to have you move into my home, our home, but I still want to give Bill Fangtasia if that’s alright with you.”
“I agree we should be generous with Bill, he is your King after all.”
They laughed together until she couldn’t breathe and he couldn’t stand up straight. He loved this woman more and more every day.