1. a count; a computation; a calculation.
2. the settlement of accounts, as between two individuals.
3. a statement of an amount due; a bill.
4. an accounting, as for things done.
5. an appraisal or judgment.
I fought the pull of my blood all the way home; it seemed to want to return to Eric. Or maybe that pull was my heart fighting to go comfort him. I wasn’t sure.
Either way, I felt as if I were in a tailspin. In truth, I’d been in one of those for a long time—even before I’d met Bill. Maybe for my whole life.
There was nothing like death to make a person reassess his or her life, and I didn’t like what I saw.
I tried looking back into the past—tried locating a moment when I was in control of my life.
I couldn’t find one.
My telepathy had pretty much always guaranteed that I wouldn’t be in control. From the time when I was very young, I’d tried to regulate the voices in my head, but it had taken me a long time to build shields. Of course, those shields still weren’t foolproof, and I had no influence over them at times.
However, things had become more tolerable during the last few years. When I was a child, the thoughts could be unbearable—crushing even.
My very first memory was of my mother’s disapproval and fear. I guess I’d repeated one of her thoughts. I didn’t remember the specific thought I’d echoed from her head. But I did remember the ones that came after that. I remember how she grew to resent me.
My daddy was more into denial—denial that I was “different” at all. That’s probably why he’d tried to kill me—twice—rather than let me be paired off with something he considered a “monster.” I guess you could say that I had some “mixed feelings” about that.
Of course, my daddy hadn’t succeeded in killing me either time. I’d been saved, and my parents had been killed by that “monster”—who also happened to be the man I’d had sex with not 24 hours before.
I sighed and sat down heavily onto my bed. Maybe I’d fucked Warlow out of gratefulness. Maybe I’d taken his blood to try to take some control over my fucked up situation—to finally feel like I was the one with the power. Maybe I’d impaled myself on his cock in order to fuck away everything that had come before that.
Or maybe—for just a moment—I’d been too tired to resist my so-called destiny. After all, I had been the prize filly in an age-old contract, which had been signed by the blood of my ancestor. I’d been signed away by blood, and after I’d bitten Warlow, my own blood had boiled. Maybe that’s why I’d fucked him.
“Fuck!” I exclaimed, knowing very well that Gran would NOT approve of my saying that word in my thoughts—let alone out loud. But it seemed appropriate for the occasion. Still—I apologized for what Gran would have called “my potty mouth” both mentally and aloud, just in case she was “around” and listening.
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. In some way or another, blood seemed to be at the root of everything that had ever happened to me.
But—over my blood—I’d had zero control.
I’d had no choice but to be born with fairy blood flowing through my veins.
I’d had no choice about having a fairy spark that would manifest itself in my telepathy.
That telepathy would lead to my mother’s fear and my father’s denial.
That would lead to them trying to kill me.
That would lead to their deaths.
That would lead to my staying with Gran.
That would lead to Hadley’s learning about my disability.
That would lead to her telling the queen.
And that would lead to Bill. And his blood and his lies. And then loving him.
And Gran’s death.
And Eric. And his blood. And his lies. And then his truths. And then his amnesia. And then loving him.
Blood. My blood was like crack to vampires—including Warlow. Maybe especially Warlow.
I closed my eyes tightly and remembered what Bill had said earlier that day. He’d had a vision—a premonition—of Jessica and Tara burning in the sun, and I loved them both very much. He’d also seen Pam being forced to meet the sun. And I almost liked her—sometimes. Okay—I liked her, even though she seemed to hate me.
Bill had also seen Eric in that vision. I shivered and opened my eyes, not even wanting to entertain the possibility of his dying.
Eric. He’d looked so broken as he’d stood over Nora’s remains, and my whole body shook again as I thought of him. I looked down at my palm. It was glowing, but not as if a fire ball were about to shoot out of it. No. It was just a glow. A warm, golden light—much more comforting and meaningful than the one that had encompassed Warlow and me as we’d had sex. It was a light that made me think of Eric. I stared at my hand to wait for it to go away.
But it lingered.
I sighed as I traced the line that I’d cut into my palm with Bill’s letter opener. It had stopped bleeding already and was well on its way to healing. Maybe that’s what my light was doing—healing the wound. I traced the little cut again as I remembered Eric offering me his bitten palm in the cubby.
“We will be one,” he’d said before I’d drunk his blood. And after that, I’d felt something that I could only describe as magical. Whatever hallucination I’d been a part of with him was both surreal and more real than anything I’d ever experienced.
He’d loved me then and I’d loved him.
It had been just that simple.
However, after Eric had regained his memories, I’d felt as if I no longer had control over what I was feeling for anyone. After all, after being shot, I’d been given Bill’s blood again, and I’d immediately felt like I loved him again. It was all so screwed up! Did I love Eric and/or Bill because of my heart or because of the blood that moved through it? And did they love me just because of my fairy blood?
Out of uncertainty and what I was beginning to see as my totally unrealistic desire to just be “normal,” I’d cast away both Bill and Eric.
Again—that was another time when I’d not really thought things all the way through before making a decision.
Eric—the whole one with all his memories intact—had confessed that he loved me. And it was clear he wanted a chance—just a chance. But I’d refused him. In truth, I didn’t really believe that he could love me—at least not for long.
I was afraid of the inevitability of his rejection of me. So I’d done the rejecting myself—to save everyone time, I guess.
But why wouldn’t I be skeptical of his affection? After all, I’d been a social pariah all my life—a cast-off. Crazy Sookie with her crazy smile. And then I’d become a fangbanging whore—at least, according to the thoughts of most of the residents of Bon Temps.
I laughed bitterly as the light went away and I closed my fist. I guess I’d proven everyone right. I’d even fucked the vampire who’d killed my parents. I’d fed him. I’d bitten him. I’d ridden him.
And—though I’d slept with two other vampires—I hadn’t really felt like a “fangbanging whore” until I was lying there with Warlow in a literal afterglow. That light had been a little too bright—a little too blinding.
I sighed and tried—at least for the moment—to put aside my self-depreciating thoughts and my religious upbringing. Though I was no longer the oldest virgin that I knew, I recognized that I was anything but a whore. I was past my mid-20s, and I’d had sex with three people—not a huge number compared to most of the people in town. I’d had two relationships and—as of yesterday—a one-night stand.
That said, I wasn’t overly proud of the way I’d been trying to use sex lately. I’d almost slept with Alcide because I was drunk as a skunk and upset about Tara’s anger and Lafayette’s judgment.
Yep. I’d decided to have sex with Alcide so that I could feel better. And I wasn’t proud of myself for intending to use to friend that way. Looking back, I was glad that Bill and Eric had interrupted us.
I sighed. Maybe I was a little drunk on vampire blood when I’d slept with Warlow too, but—again—I’d wanted for sex to help me to feel better. My only defense was that it had been a shitty day, and at least I hadn’t used “a friend” this time. After all, it isn’t every day that you learn that your father really did try to kill you when you were a child, nor is it every day that he possesses one of your only friends so that he can try to drown you again.
Yep. A little mindless, body-pleasuring sex had seemed like just the ticket for what ailed me in that moment. And there really was something about Warlow—actually, something about Ben—that pulled me to him. It was almost like glamour—a voice deep in my head that I wasn’t used to keeping out. Having felt him trying to “speak” to me again since then, I was beginning to recognize when he was doing it and to push him out. However, that didn’t change the fact that I had chosen to have sex with Warlow because I wanted to feel something other than the ache of betrayal and loss.
I sighed. Using sex as emotional Tylenol rarely turned out well. I’d heard that from a lot of people’s heads! I should have “listened” to those thoughts and learned from them.
Maybe I was just experiencing the inevitable “walk of shame” that many people did after having casual sex for the first time. God knows, I’d heard about that phenomenon from a lot of people’s heads too.
Or maybe I felt guilty because I had used someone that I knew was “into me”; undoubtedly, Warlow wanted me to be “his.” I had recognized that he had “feelings” for me—though I suspected they actually had very little to do with the “real” me and were based upon some “ideal” he’d been dreaming up for centuries. Yes. Just as I had almost gotten romantically involved with Sam once upon a time—despite the fact that I hadn’t cared for him in the same way he’d cared for me—I had used Warlow, and I couldn’t help but to feel a little bad about that.
Then again, I’d offered Warlow no great protestations of love before I’d lowered myself onto his body, nor was I shy about my feelings afterwards. Gran had taught me that I was responsible for only one person’s feelings: my own. Of course, in the next breath she had always told me that people who loved each other nurtured each other’s feelings not out of obligation, but out of choice.
Gran’s lesson was a good one. To nurture was not the same as to be responsible.
Honestly, I wanted neither to nurture nor to take responsibility for Warlow’s feelings anytime soon. And realizing that, I also recognized that I didn’t want to pursue any kind of long-term relationship with him. And casual sex was obviously out. I shook my head and chuckled ruefully. Yep. It was clear that Warlow didn’t understand that concept—at least, not where I was concerned.
I took a deep breath and tried to be rational about my experience with Warlow/Ben. I laughed again. Maybe, I should come up with a new name to use: Benlow? Warlen? I giggled like a school girl: Billith and Benlow were quite the pair.
My laughter stopped, and I sighed. I felt myself doing that a lot lately.
I found that I could be almost “clinical” about the actual sex I’d had with Warlow. Undeniably, the act itself had been pleasurable. He’d obviously gotten “around” during his time, and he’d had thousands of years to practice. I’d cum. He’d cum. And a light had encompassed us when we did; afterwards, he’d told me that’s what happened when two fairies “shared their light.” But that light—disappointingly enough—hadn’t signaled transcendence. It had just signaled a regular old orgasm.
Congratulations, Warlow. You are now equivalent to the Rabbit in my nightstand.
I sighed—again. Obviously, I was looking for more.
I shook my head. Maybe I was looking for what I’d experienced with Eric. At a thousand years old, Eric was skilled, but he was a child compared to Warlow. However, it had been Eric who had stirred me like no other. And it had been after exchanging blood with Eric that I’d experienced something transcendent—that we’d experienced it together. Maybe it was because I trusted him; therefore, I could let myself experience unequalled pleasure with him.
As Eric and I had lain in bed after we’d had sex for the first time—actually after the first six times if each orgasm and location counted as a separate event—I’d told Eric that I wanted for things to remain the same for us when he got back his memories, even though I also conveyed that I doubted they could. He’d looked so hopeful, and I’d not been able to take that hope away from him. But now I recognized that I’d lied to myself.
I’d been scared of him, as well as of my feelings for him, which had slammed into me quickly and comprehensively. And because of my fear of his blood and its effects—actually, my fear of all blood and its effects—I’d never really given the “complete” him a chance.
I suppose that made me a hypocrite now, since I’d voluntarily—and without adequate thought—taken blood from another vampire. That was me sometimes: an unthinking hypocrite. Maybe one day I’d learn.
I closed my eyes.
Arguably, when I’d taken Eric’s blood in the cubby, I’d taken it just as rashly. “We will be one,” he’d said, his eyes shining with a look that conveyed love instead of possessiveness.
It hadn’t taken me long to decide to drink from him.
Of course, it hadn’t taken me long to let my fear take over either. Did Eric’s blood in me cause me to act or feel something I normally wouldn’t? Was it like Bill’s blood? I’d taken Eric’s in Dallas too, and I’d had those dreams. Could Eric control them? I’d had so many questions—most of them dealing with whether any of my feelings were my own.
I’d wanted proof of something real. I’d wanted something tangible.
And Eric had given me that—in the form of my home. And he’d also acknowledged who I was and—more importantly—who I was to him to Nora. To his family.
“She’s a waitress,” he’d said minutes after he’d saved everyone in the fairy club by killing Russell. His eyes had shined with pride and so much more as he’d looked at me that night.
Of course, a couple of days after that, I’d rescinded his invitation to my beautifully restored home—his gift to me. And then, just a day after that, I’d invited another vampire into that home—a fairy-vampire, who’d wanted to possess me.
Of course, in my defense, I hadn’t known that Ben was really Warlow when I’d found him “hurt” by the side of the road.
I sighed at my foolishness at once more simply accepting a story that I’d been spoon-fed. Like Bill before him, Ben had lied to me from the start. He’d known who I was, and he’d manufactured a vampire attack so that he could manipulate me. He’d not had the Rattrays handy to “drain” him, but it had been the same damned thing that Bill had done. And I’d fallen for it—hook, line, and sinker.
My hand felt heavy as I pushed a tear from my cheek.
I’d told Eric that I wanted to be the girl in the white dress again. But I hadn’t even been that girl when I’d worn that dress to Fangtasia. I’d already had Bill’s blood in me by then. Had it already been “working on me”—trying to get me to fall in love with its owner?
Regardless of my having Bill’s blood, however, Eric had seen me as innocent the night I’d first walked into his bar. And in order to give me what I’d told him I wanted, he’d walked away without a fight after I’d rescinded his invitation to my newly returned home.
Instead of arguments or anger, he’d offered me only a “goodnight,” though his eyes had spoken of so many things. He’d still loved me, but I had been trying—so desperately trying—to deny my supernatural self and find my way back to the Sookie Stackhouse I’d been before I met Bill.
It turned out that I was a lot like my daddy. I was just as fond of denial as he’d been. Hell—I’d even tried to kill the fairy within by shooting away all my powers.
I sighed—again. And I wiped away a large tear—again. Eric had told me that—to him—I’d always be that girl in the white dress. Maybe he was the only one who had ever truly been able to see her. And—if that were the case—then the last thing I should have done was send him away. I should have held onto him as tightly as I could.
But I’d been so freaked out that night. I’d just attempted to kill Bill, and I wasn’t sorry for it! I’d felt so changed—so cold—and I hadn’t even recognized myself.
And—truth be told—it had been disconcerting to know that Eric still saw me the same way he’d seen me the night we’d met. His eyes had brimmed with unspoken love, and I’d been unable to deal with that.
I sighed. I wouldn’t be surprised if Eric never admitted to loving me again, even though his actions spoke louder than any words could. He was too proud, and I’d rejected his words once. I’d lumped him and Bill together, telling them both goodbye at the same time. I hadn’t even had the decency to tell Eric in private, even after the life-changing week we’d shared together.
I guess I’d just assumed that it hadn’t changed Eric’s life as much as it had changed mine. And—of course—I’d tried to deny my feelings. It seemed that the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.
I wondered if Eric had known that Bill’s presence had been the crutch I’d needed to say goodbye to him that night. I had loved Eric, and if my willingness to kill Bill to protect him was any indication, I still loved Eric.
But where had love ever gotten me?
And what was to say that Eric didn’t crave my blood just as much as Bill had? Want my soul just as much as Warlow did?
But would those things necessarily be bad—if it were Eric doing the wanting, that is?
Yes—it was safe to say that I was in a tailspin.
But none of my shit—none of it—matched the suffering of Eric or Arlene right now.
Eric had lost a “sister” he’d had for who knew how long. I’d seen his face. He’d loved her. I felt a twinge of jealousy when I thought about the fact that they were likely lovers, but I pushed that emotion away. I’d staked no claim to Eric—not even when I could have. And I’d had sex with one man and tried to have sex with another in the few weeks since I’d rejected Eric.
I closed my eyes again and remembered the look in Eric’s eyes when I’d seen him an hour before. Yes. Eric loved Nora—probably more profoundly than I loved Jason. And there was more. Somehow I knew that Nora was one of the last links Eric had to Godric.
“Godric,” I said with sudden realization. Maybe there was something that I could do to comfort Eric, after all.
A/N: First, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has commented on this story so far! You all blew me away with your reactions! WOW!
Next, I wanted to say a little about Sookie. It might seem like I’m doing a little Sookie bashing in this story (or some of you may think I’m not doing enough). However, I have mixed feelings about Sookie. I love her potential as a character, and I think that a lot of the things she does come from her naiveté. After all, Eric does some dumb, prideful things too sometimes (and he’s got a thousand years on Sookie). People are flawed and make stupid errors sometimes; that’s what makes forgiveness a “divine” thing instead of an easy thing. Thus, my inclination in my stories is to give Sookie a break, forgive her mistakes, and let her figure things out on her own. Despite what happened in the books (and what will likely happen on the show), I believe that the Sookie Stackhouse that C.H. introduced us to all those years ago has the capability to “work it out.” So that’s the Sookie I write. Also, I don’t necessarily “hate” Warlow/Ben—though I think that his duplicity and his violence (to the fairies at the club) have been glossed over. And—to be frank—he seems quite “beginning Bill-like” to me.
All that said, I hope that you enjoyed this chapter!