SOOKIE POV, CONTINUED
I pushed down on the accelerator and tried to process what had just happened.
Not only had Remy made a move on me, but also Hunter seemed to support the idea of a relationship between me and his dad.
Nope—I couldn’t see that happening.
Even for Hunter, I wasn’t willing to marry a man I didn’t love—especially not a human man—whose thoughts had literally “hurt” me when he’d kissed me.
Plus, maybe it made me selfish, but—in the end—I just didn’t think that it was my job to become the wife that Hadley had failed to be.
I took a deep breath, calming myself down in the process. Had I somehow sent Remy mixed signals—or any signals which would have encouraged that kiss? I honestly couldn’t think of any.
I’d certainly not picked up on any overly romantic thoughts from his head regarding me. I took another deep breath. Likely, Remy’s advance was based upon his desire to give his son the best life possible, and I suppose he couldn’t be blamed for that.
But he could be blamed for some of the things he’d said—things that seemed glaringly manipulative and hurtful. Thinking back, I wished I’d given Remy a piece of my mind, instead of running away.
But—then again—I always ran, according to Eric.
I pulled over to the side of the road and contemplated turning around. Eric had commented before that my default impulse was always to try to escape or to put off dealing with the difficult things.
And, honestly, I knew he had a point.
Taking a deep breath, I took my phone out of my purse and dialed Remy’s number.
“Sookie?” Remy answered.
“Yeah. Listen—we need to talk. And I think that we should do it in person, but I also don’t want Hunter to be able to read either of our thoughts. Do you think you can get a sitter and meet me?”
Remy sighed. “The woman next door will usually watch Hunter for short periods of time when I need to run an errand or something.”
“I’ll wait on the line while you check with her,” I said firmly.
Clearly, Remy was on his cellphone because I was able to follow the sounds of doors opening and closing and footsteps, followed by the knocking on a door. I heard Remy ask his neighbor if she could sit with Hunter for a little while. And then I heard her agree.
A few seconds later, Remy was back on the line. “Okay, Sookie,” he sighed. “Where do you want to meet?”
Being about ten minutes from Red Ditch, I thought back to the businesses I’d passed. One—about five minutes away—had looked a little like Merlotte’s.
“There’s a bar and grill along the highway—about five minutes from town,” I said. “Can we meet there?”
“Okay,” he agreed.
I turned the truck around, determined to deal with this issue before Hunter could absorb any more ideas about his dad and me getting together. I didn’t want for him to get his hopes up—only to have them dashed.
I was nervous as I walked into the bar and grill. I’d never been good at confrontations.
I saw Remy sitting in a booth and went over to join him. Moments later, a waitress came by and delivered a pitcher of tea, which Remy had obviously ordered. After pouring two glasses, she asked if she could get us anything to eat.
Apologetically, I told her that we’d be having only the tea—but that we wouldn’t keep the table for long. Luckily, the place wasn’t very busy yet, so the waitress wouldn’t be missing out on tips from higher-spending customers.
She nodded and left us to tend to another table.
“Look, Sookie,” Remy started, “I’m sorry that I just—uh—kissed you like that. But ‘you and me,'” he said as he motioned between us, “is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I think it really would be best for Hunter.”
I sighed and shook my head. “No, Remy. It wouldn’t. And it wouldn’t be best for either of us either. Hunter would hear from our heads that we weren’t really in love with each other and that we were only together for him. And if one of us had regrets—and I guarantee that would happen—he’d eventually blame himself if we were unhappy.”
Remy looked down at his tea. “I didn’t think about that.”
“Have you been telling Hunter that us getting together is a real possibility?” I asked.
He sighed. “Not really.”
“What do you mean—’not really’?”
“Hunter heard me thinking about you, and he asked about it. I told him that I was going to ask you out,” Remy responded sheepishly. “And listen—that stuff about Hunter blaming himself if things went wrong with us might not even happen. Right? I mean—it’s possible that we could really get along if we dated. I like you, Sookie,” he said firmly. “You seem like a good and kind person. And I’m attracted to you. Isn’t that how a lot of strong relationships start? I really would like to give us a try—for both Hunter and for us, too.”
I shook my head. “But neither one of us is single. I don’t know what your relationship with Erin is like, but I’m with Eric.”
Even if my vampire boyfriend was being secretive and even if I had doubts about the bond, I was committed to Eric. Plus, even if Eric and I weren’t “serious”—which I thought we were (and I hoped Eric thought so too)—I couldn’t imagine dating two guys at once. I just wasn’t built that way.
“Erin and I aren’t monogamous,” Remy offered. “And—um—it seems like your relationship with your vampire won’t last,” he added with a shrug.
“Why do you say that?” I asked him.
“Um—well—you’ve told me that you aren’t willing to be turned—right?”
I frowned. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Well,” Remy said, “I just figured that if he wanted to turn you in order to have a permanent thing—and you didn’t want that—he would eventually move on because you aren’t willing to commit in that way. And—uh—the fact that you don’t want to stay with him—uh . . . .” He paused. “Sorry, but I just assumed it meant that you weren’t that serious.”
I shook my head. “You’re wrong. Yeah—Eric has told me that he wants me to become a vampire, but he’s going to follow my wishes on the issue. And—as for what we have—uh—I don’t know how long it’ll last, but I’m fully committed to Eric.”
“Are you?” Remy questioned. “I mean—I don’t know a lot about your life—but it doesn’t seem like you spend much time with Eric. And I know you aren’t living with him. From what I can see, it just seems like you two have sort of a casual thing—like Erin and me. Sorry if I’m wrong, Sookie. Honestly, I wouldn’t have tried anything if I had thought that what you had with the vampire was serious.”
He chuckled nervously. “I don’t have a death wish!” he added.
My frown deepened. Was Remy right? Did I come off as not being serious about Eric? I decided to think about that issue during the drive home.
“I love Eric,” I told Remy. “But even if I didn’t, you need to know that things couldn’t work out between us. Because of my,” I paused, “ability, being with a human would be too difficult.”
We were silent for a while as Remy thought about what I’d said. I hoped that he would accept my reason and give up any hopes that he had about us. I didn’t want to have to add that—even though I thought he was a nice guy and a good father—I just wasn’t attracted to him in a romantic way. And I was almost positive that that fact wouldn’t change, even if I became single again.
Remy frowned, and I “heard” from his thoughts that he was on the verge of accepting that he and I would never be a couple.
I breathed a sigh of relief as his shoulders slumped in defeat.
“I get it,” he murmured, swirling his sweating glass in his hands. “I just—well—being with you would have been perfect in a lot of ways. Hunter would have a mother who accepted him. And I really do—uh, did—think we could be compatible.”
“I’m sorry, Remy,” I said. “I really am. But being with any human just wouldn’t work out for me.”
“Do you think it’ll be the same for Hunter?” he asked with concern.
“Unless he becomes a lot better at shielding than I am or unless his telepathy is weaker somehow, then—yeah,” I sighed. “I think Hunter will have trouble having a human mate. Weres and other two-natured people will likely be easier for him to be around, but even their thoughts slip through. And thoughts can be hurtful—even from people who want to love you,” I added glumly.
“Is that why you’re with a vampire?” Remy asked me.
“It’s one reason,” I said honestly.
“Well—I can’t compete with that,” he sighed.
I took a deep breath. “Remy, you need to talk to Hunter. He needs to understand that I love him and that I’ll help him with his telepathy in any way that I can, but I’m not going to be his mother.” I chuckled. “I know I’m not his aunt, but that’s honestly how I look at myself when it comes to him. I really want to stay that.”
Remy looked about as anxious at the prospect of talking to his son as he would be to get a root canal.
“I’ll do it tonight,” he sighed. “I’ll make sure he understands.”
“Thank you. Listen, Remy, I really do want us to get along without the awkward feelings that I bet you’re feeling just as much as I am right now.”
He chuckled. “Yeah. Me too.”
I noticed that the tables were beginning to fill up in the restaurant, and I took out my wallet.
“I got it,” Remy said, quickly taking out his own wallet and pulling a five dollar bill out of it.
I slid out of the booth. “Call me the next time you want me to keep Hunter,” I smiled.
“Okay. Look, Sookie—I really am sorry I made you uncomfortable earlier,” he said embarrassedly.
“I know,” I responded.
I didn’t offer him a hug as he left, even though I normally would have. I just didn’t want to have to face another thought-barrage in that moment.
After going to the ladies’ room, I hurried back to Sam’s truck. Overall, I was relieved that I’d gone back to speak with Remy about what had happened, despite the fact that I’d just experienced about the most awkward half hour of my life.
As I restarted the almost ninety-minute drive home, I thought about some of what Remy had said regarding Eric and me.
I didn’t mean to project the idea that I wasn’t committed to the Viking. However, at the same time, I had to admit that I sometimes wondered how much Eric was actually committed to me. Though I now saw him more regularly, there were still weeklong stretches when I wouldn’t see him—or even hear from him, though he always made sure that at least Pam called me nowadays.
I knew that a lot of those stretches of time were because of his work or my work; plus, vampire politics—especially when Victor was involved—were a murky business.
The truth of the matter was that—although I loved Eric and although I believed that he loved me—I’d reconciled myself to the fact that he would never be able to put me first.
I sighed. Maybe the fact that I didn’t want to be turned would eventually lead Eric to break things off with me—as Remy had speculated.
And—undoubtedly—things would become more complicated for us once I began to noticeably age. A part of me wondered if I would reconsider being turned when that time came. Honestly, I just wouldn’t know until then.
As the countryside passed quickly by, I speculated about how quickly my life would seem to pass by for an immortal like Eric. I tried to imagine myself as an old woman looking at his still-young face. Somehow, I couldn’t quite picture him sticking with me for that long. Eventually, I wouldn’t be able to be a viable sexual partner for him. And—as I got older—I wouldn’t be able to provide him with blood either.
And what of the bond?
Eric had said that it was permanent, so he might be trapped with me until I died. Eric had told me before that he was being faithful to me, and I believed him. But I couldn’t help but to wonder if the bond was partly responsible for his faithfulness.
Did it make fidelity easier for him? Or did it make being with someone else harder?
I knew that I would have a difficult time being with someone else if I could feel Eric’s sadness, displeasure, or jealousy through the bond. I also knew that feeling his affection or lust for someone else would hurt like hell!
Unlike me, Eric seemed to “like” our bond, but I wondered if that would hold true in a few decades.
My musings had to be put on hold, however, as I arrived back at Merlotte’s. I could tell the bar and grill was busy, so I slipped in the back and left a quick thankyou note for Sam—along with some gas money and his keys—and then hurriedly left again, taking my car this time.
Again, I looked in my rearview mirror and kept my shields down as I left Merlotte’s. I breathed out a sigh of relief when there was no sign of Sandra Pelt.
I just hoped that Amelia and Bob had managed to strengthen the wards around my house.
A few minutes later, I parked behind the old farmhouse just as the sun was nearing the tops of the trees to the west.
I could see Amelia and Bob in the kitchen. They were smiling; no they were laughing.
I smiled sadly as I thought about the sweet domestic moment I would soon be interrupting.
I closed my eyes and thought of how sad Amelia had been following Tray’s death. I said a prayer of thanksgiving that she’d found Bob again. Some people might have seen Amelia’s jumping into another relationship after she’d lost Tray as being a sign that she’d not truly loved the Were, but I knew better.
She’d viewed Tray as her soul mate. I could “hear” from her thoughts that she loved Bob too—though in a different way. Still, he was good for her. They were good for each other from what I could tell and “hear.”
Bob had clearly gotten over the “cat incident.” And he obviously cared for Amelia a great deal. There was a level of comfort and ease between them.
I finished up my prayer by asking God to keep them both safe and happy.
I listened carefully for other minds in the area before I got out of my car. Neither of my fairy roommates were home, which didn’t surprise me. They spent most of their evenings at Hooligan’s, using the “in case vampires come over” excuse.
Given that most of the vampires in my life looked at them as if they were tasty steaks, I couldn’t really blame them.
Happily, there were no threats in the area either, so I hurried in to find Amelia and Bob cooking dinner. I couldn’t help but to smile. The fairies in my life were family by blood, but Amelia had always felt like “real” family, and it was so nice to have her home—even if it was just for a day or two more.
A/N: About the last chapter, a lot of you supported the fact that Sookie left Red Ditch when Remy used his emotional manipulation, so I hope you don’t hate the idea that I had her go back there. I actually felt this was a moment of breakthrough for her. She didn’t want this issue festering (while she put off dealing with it). A lot of that is because Hunter and his hopes are involved. However, I wanted this chapter to demonstrate that Sookie has been “listening” to Eric and is trying to stop “putting things off.” Of course, this is also hypocritical because she’s not “dealing with him.” But—in her defense—I think she’s scared. Since they’ve been together, he hasn’t exactly been around much (I know—the roads go both ways and she could have visited him).
I suppose we can safely say that they are BOTH in need of an intervention at this time. That will be starting in the next chapter!
Thanks to everyone reading and reviewing this story!
Many thanks to Seph and Kleannhouse–as always!!!!