“An infallible method of conciliating a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured.”—Konrad Adenauer
Bill hurried into the kitchen/bunker, glaring at Eric as he did. But the Viking vampire didn’t even look at him as he made his exit with Olivia. Once in front of me, Bill looked me over very carefully—likely to check for wounds.
“You are uninjured?” he asked.
“I’m fine,” I responded.
“Do you require any blood?” he asked, bringing his wrist toward his mouth.
I shook my head. “No! Like I said, I’m fine,” I responded firmly, wondering why Bill was offering when—for once—I hadn’t been hurt. However, just as I was getting ready to ask him about that and about the most recent effects of his blood, I noticed Quinn at the door and immediately opened it to him.
Quinn was dressed only in his suit pants and a wife beater shirt. He looked between Bill and me with suspicion—as if he’d caught us with our figurative pants down—even though my dress was right where it had been since I left Hadley’s apartment, though it was a bit worse for wear.
For several moments, I worried that the two were going to fight over me like I was a nice, juicy bone, but they didn’t.
“I will escort you back to your cousin’s apartment,” Bill said as if daring Quinn to argue with him.
However, before Quinn could say anything, I made my own feelings about Bill’s out-of-line posturing be known. “No thank you, Bill,” I said firmly. “I’ll be leaving with Quinn.”
“But Sookie,” Bill implored, his accent thick, “there could be more trouble.”
“And I will be safe with my date,” I emphasized, hoping to placate Quinn with my words as well as to discourage Bill.
Honestly, the testosterone in the room was getting suffocating.
Once we were in the limo, Quinn said that he’d be driving me to Bon Temps that very night.
Wanting to get home, I didn’t argue.
Quinn waited for me at Hadley’s apartment as I collected my things before saying goodbye to Amelia and arranging for Hadley’s packed-up items to be given to charity.
Very little was said between us during the trip north. It was clear that Quinn was frustrated by the whole situation—but especially about finding Bill and me together, though nothing had been happening between us. Not that Quinn asked.
Honestly, I didn’t have the energy to proclaim my innocence to the brooding weretiger. I was bone-tired and fell asleep quickly once it became clear that Quinn’s responses to the questions I asked him about the battle would be one word answers—or grunts.
I woke up to Quinn carrying me inside my house to my bed and woke up even more when he started kissing my lips and then my neck. My body was returning his attentions even before my mind was fully aware.
I knew that Quinn and I had some things to talk about; for one, I really didn’t appreciate his attitude since Bill had given me his blood. I felt as if Quinn had been trying to “punish me” for crimes that I’d not committed.
However—perhaps, to my shame—I wasn’t adverse to his attentions as he took off my clothing. In truth, I wanted to feel good in that moment. I wanted to forget the blood I’d seen at the ball. I wanted to forget the Pelts and Bill and mysterious bonds and Eric and Olivia.
The colors of Quinn’s mind were deep oranges and reds as he plunged into me. I groaned from both pleasure and a little discomfort. I hadn’t been as aroused as I probably needed to be in order to take someone of Quinn’s size. My mind flashed to Eric for a moment. Though longer than Quinn—and thicker too—I’d never felt discomfort with him. Quickly, I focused my thoughts back upon the man I was with. After all, I’d once hated the idea that men’s thoughts might turn to other women when they were with me in an intimate setting.
And though I was beginning to understand how I’d been hypocritical about quite a few things during the past year, I didn’t want to be that way. So focus on Quinn I did.
Thankfully, my body quickly responded to his thrusts and caught up in the lubrication department. So I was soon feeling only pleasure as Quinn moved in and out of me again and again. I gripped his forearms in order to keep up and anchor myself so that I could give back too, and I marveled at the muscles I found in my hands.
However, just as I was about to reach my completion, I heard a thought propel its way through the hues of his mind: “Claim. Claim. Claim. Claim.”
At first, I just thought it was the normal “Supe” refrain, but then more formed thoughts broke through the oranges and reds.
“If I get her pregnant, de Castro will consider my debt paid. Please—let this work. Please let the brat be a telepath. I have to protect my mother. Sister. Even if I have to screw this fang-whore to do it. Take it, slut! Take it!” his thoughts yelled. “Take a live man’s load, you dirty fangbanging slut!”
I froze, but Quinn didn’t seem to notice as he pounded into me twice more and then came—hard.
Oh no! Oh God!
In the next moment, his body landed on top of mine uncomfortably. Quinn was a large man, after all, and—for several seconds—I felt trapped.
I was trapped.
I felt used.
Like a whore.
I wanted to cry. To scream. To hit. To deny.
To curl up and die.
But I knew none of those things would help me. So I just lay there, trying to breathe through my nose—trying to pretend that Quinn hadn’t just thought about me as a brood mare.
Trying to pretend that he’d not thought of me as a slut.
“That was great, babe,” he panted when he finally moved off of me.
“Crazy Sookie” came to my rescue, and I mustered a smile. “Yeah—perfect. I’ll just—uh—go to the bathroom and clean up. Okay?”
He seemed to half grunt in agreement and half snore, and when I returned to the bedroom after scrubbing between my legs with a scalding cloth as best I could, he was snoring.
I was grateful for that. I grabbed some clean clothes and returned to the bathroom. I felt numb as I took a shower, scrubbing my body even more—until it was beet red.
One name kept going through my mind: de Castro. Who was he?
After I got out of the shower, I stared into the mirror for what seemed like hours. I’d always avoided looking into mirrors for too long. Seeing the unflattering side of oneself from people’s thoughts was already bad enough. But I forced myself to stand there—finding all of my flaws until they were the only thing I could see.
The only thing left of me.
Finally, I became disgusted with my image, quietly left the bathroom, tiptoed to the kitchen, and made coffee.
I closed my eyes tightly as the beverage brewed. I was naïve and inexperienced when it came to sex. And my previous encounters had been with vampires. Still—how had I not thought about birth control before I had sex with Quinn?!
How fucking stupid was I?
And then the horror of mathematics hit me: it was a week and a half past my last period.
Prime time for getting pregnant.
I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down numbly at the table; however, after a single drink, I felt guilty.
So I poured out my cup and made herbal tea.
A couple of hours later, my thoughts were still spinning as I rocked on the porch swing.
“Thanks for making coffee, babe,” Quinn smiled as he stepped out onto the porch with a large mug of the beverage I refused to drink.
Just in case.
“Sure,” I said, trying to smile back.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Still processing last night.”
“Well vamps are bad news,” he said with a hint of disgust.
“You’re right,” I agreed, trying to keep my voice calm and even.
He came to sit next to me, his eyes telling me that he was up for another round of sex.
I doubt if my body language demonstrated that I was up for that idea, but Quinn still leaned toward me and kissed my neck.
I’d not eaten a thing in almost a day, yet my stomach turned, and bile rose to my throat.
“I’m—uh—sore,” I said as Quinn continued to kiss toward my collarbone and took a breast in his hand.
“Sore?” he asked.
“Down there,” I said, trying to sound shy and apologetic. “You’re large.”
I almost laughed at Quinn’s expression, which was a mixture of pride and disappointment.
“I can go slowly,” he purred seductively, even as he put his cup down so that he could fondle my other breast as well.
Trying to act disappointed, I gently pushed his hands away. “I really am sore, Quinn.”
He stood up abruptly and huffed out a curse.
“I’m sorry, Quinn,” I found myself saying as I drew my legs up toward my body. In truth, I felt a little scared of him just then.
“No—I’m sorry,” he said, turning around and thrusting his hands into his pockets. He looked truly contrite. “I really am. It’s just that I want you, and I need to remember that you’re only . . . .” He stopped midsentence.
“Human,” I completed for him as he moved back toward me.
I could tell that he really was contrite at the thought that he may have taken me too hard earlier that morning. And, for the first time, I dropped my shields completely and “listened” to him as I reached out for his hand as if trying to soothe his rumpled feathers—or fur in this case.
He sat back next to me and picked up his coffee, though he didn’t drop my hand. I swallowed my bile and pride as I leaned against him in order to gain even better access to his thoughts.
I sighed as if contented by our cuddle—when all I wanted to do was pull away. But pulling away—being ignorant—had gotten me into my current mess.
So I listened as hard as I could—though he was difficult to hear.
Quinn was thinking about how he truly hadn’t wanted to hurt me physically, and then some horribly graphic thoughts about finding his mother after she’d been raped entered his mind before he could push them back into the recesses of his subconscious. After that, he thought about how he wanted to leave my house as soon as possible, despite the fact that he felt he should fuck me one more time so that I’d be more likely to get pregnant. His distaste at that idea was accompanied by thoughts of Bill and Eric—as well as more labeling of me as a “fang-whore.”
He thought about how he didn’t want to have a child with a “freak” like me, though de Castrol felt it would be the best way to get me to move to Nevada. Quinn was supposed to “romance me,” impregnate me, and then bring me to Nevada as his blushing bride. In return, the weretiger would earn freedom for his family.
Unsurprisingly, given his other thoughts, Quinn didn’t want me to be his bride for long. He was hoping that de Castro would let him divorce me once I was officially a resident of Nevada.
He thought about how I’d “voluntarily opened my legs for corpses.” He figured I’d do the same for de Castro and any other vamps that asked. He was truly disgusted by me.
Again, I swallowed hard to keep from vomiting as I kept listening.
Quinn’s next thoughts went to the upcoming job he had in Dallas, and he knew that—if he was able to scope out the event site before dark—he would have time to visit a “booty call” in Ft. Worth before he had to catch a plane back to Las Vegas.
He thought about the woman he was going to see and wondered if her bout with chlamydia had been dealt with before deciding that he would use a condom regardless. He didn’t want to have to go through taking the antibiotics again.
My stomach turned once more, but as it did my mind clicked upon a way that I could use my nausea in my favor.
I decided to run for the nearest toilet. However, I didn’t even make it off the porch before I was spilling all of the contents of my stomach.
“Hey—are you alright, babe?” Quinn asked as he walked to my side and then backed off a bit as I continued to dry heave. The bastard didn’t even have the decency to hold my hair!
However, during the minutes that I couldn’t stop myself from heaving until there was no longer even any stomach acid for me to cough up, I crafted a lie the likes of which even a professional conman would be proud of. And then I rose and excused myself to go to the bathroom.
I exited a few minutes later with minty breath and a forlorn look.
“You okay?” Quinn asked, his own face etched with concern, but not because I was sick. No—he was concerned because he wouldn’t be able to fuck me again.
My stomach almost found more to heave up, but it settled for a slight wretch.
Quinn backed up a little.
“No, I’m not okay,” I finally said. “Quinn, I have something I need to tell you,” I whispered, trying to look both ashamed and contrite.
“Okay,” the weretiger said, looking almost as sick as I did when I couldn’t help but to wretch again. Luckily, nothing was expelled from my body beyond a burp.
I led the weretiger to the couch and began crying tears of shame.
They weren’t even crocodile tears. I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed that I’d trusted Quinn—that I’d not listened to him with all of my might from the very start.
In that moment, I knew two things for certain. I was alone. And that was what I deserved.
“My” Eric’s face jumped into my mind as fresh tears came to me. But I pushed back thoughts of him as I forced myself to begin my tall tale.
“Four weeks ago,” I whimpered, “I—uh—went with my friend, Claudine, to her brother’s strip club. I—uh—got a little drunk—actually a lot drunk—and I hooked up with a guy there.”
Quinn’s mind screamed a single word, “Whore!”
But his mouth was silent, and I didn’t let myself react to his unspoken thought.
Instead, I plowed through my story. “It was a one-time thing, Quinn. I promise. And I’d never done anything like that before,” I whimpered. “I don’t even know the man’s name. And Claudine didn’t know him either.” I sniffled. “And now I’m afraid—after what just happened—that I might have gotten pregnant by him.”
“What?” Quinn yelled.
“You see—I’m never sick. But I am today, and I was nauseated yesterday morning too. And when I told you I was sore earlier, it’s not just my . . . .” I stopped midsentence and let shame overtake me. “It’s not just down there,” I emphasized. “My breasts have been sore too. I didn’t really think anything of it—until I threw up again. And now I’m just so . . . .” I stopped again and cried. “I’m just so worried I’ll lose you if I’m pregnant with another man’s child!” I lied.
My shields were down and I was listening for his reaction.
Immediately, Quinn’s mind flew to what de Castro’s reaction would be when he learned that he’d failed in his mission to impregnate me himself. This time when he thought of de Castro, I caught an image of a vampire dressed in a cape and wearing a crown.
Quinn began to consider ways that he could spin the situation for his benefit. After all, if I was already pregnant, de Castro certainly couldn’t hold him accountable—right? Quinn also felt that de Castro would “let him off the hook” as far as I was concerned. And that was just fine by him. And—certainly—okay by me. But I still needed to play my part.
I shook my head contritely. “I’m so sorry, Quinn! I really am. I just—I made a mistake with that guy. I truly did—do—like you.”
“Who was he?” Quinn asked, his eyes glowing yellow.
“Like I said, I don’t even know his name,” I cried. “I don’t know anything about him except that he was from out of town.” I shook my head in shame. “I can’t even remember much about that night—except that I woke up naked in an otherwise empty bed the next morning.” I let out another cry. “He didn’t even leave a note.”
“Whore!” Quinn’s thoughts shouted again, even though his mouth remained tightly shut. He was still incredibly difficult for me to read, especially now that I wasn’t touching him, but when he thought “at” me, I found that I could hear him as long as my shields were down and I was concentrating on his thoughts.
In that moment, he was thinking about needing confirmation—so that de Castro would be satisfied.
Quinn got up abruptly and grabbed his keys from the table near the entryway.
“Are you leaving?” I hiccupped.
“I’m going to get a pregnancy test for you,” he gruffed. And, with that, he was out the door.
I harnessed all of the strength I could in order to try to follow his thoughts as he went to his car.
They were fragmented.
However, I could pick up that he was worried. He was wondering if he should try to convince me that an abortion was my best option or if he should count his lucky stars if I’d already been knocked up by some anonymous dick. He was leaning toward the latter option.
Once he was gone, I picked up the phone and called the only person I thought could give me any kind of answer—at least, during the daytime—to the biggest question on my mind.
“This is Desmond Cataliades,” the voice said.
“Hi. It’s Sookie Stackhouse,” I returned.
“Ah—Miss Stackhouse. I am glad to hear that you are safe.”
My mind fluttered to the image of the demon lawyer beating a vampire with her own leg.
“You—uh—too,” I said. “I am calling with a question.”
“About your payment? No need to worry. Even though you were unable to warn us of trouble using your gift last night, the fact that you returned the bracelet was worthy of your fee. Plus, the queen understands that you wouldn’t have had time to learn of Threadgill’s impromptu attack anyway. It’s clear the humans in his group had no idea!”
“Uh—that’s good. But that’s not why I’m calling.”
“Oh?” he asked.
“Who is de Castro?”
“Felipe de Castro is the vampire king of Nevada,” he confirmed. “Why? How do you know that name?”
I took a deep breath. “Quinn works for him,” I sighed.
“Yes. Well—he used to. He was once a star in the Vegas pits.”
“Fighting rings,” the demon lawyer clarified. “Like human cage matches but with higher stakes.”
I couldn’t help but to wonder if Mr. Cataliades had meant the word “stakes” as an intentional pun.
I closed my eyes. “Okay, but Quinn is still working for de Castro—as a spy. He got—uh—close to me because de Castro wanted him to.”
“What more did you hear from him?” Mr. Cataliades asked.
“That he was sent to impregnate me so that I’d go with him to Las Vegas. It seems clear that de Castro knows I’m a telepath and wants me to be in his territory,” I added flatly, “preferably knocked up with a telepathic child.”
“Are you—pregnant?” he asked tentatively.
“I don’t know,” I said, my voice shaking. “It’s too soon to know. Um—I need to go,” I said, wiping tears from my eyes. After hanging up without a goodbye and chastising myself for my rudeness, I went into the kitchen, opened the “junk drawer,” and grabbed the little box holding a variety of colored pencils, pens, and highlighters that Gran had accumulated over the years. Then I took those supplies into the bathroom before stowing them under the counter.
After that, I walked over to the fireplace mantle; however, I could look at the picture of Gran only for a few moments before I had to turn away. I fell to my knees and stared at the ashes in the fireplace.
I cried as I thought about the last time there had been a fire lit in my home. Eric had lit it.
Given the fact that March had brought warm weather with it, there was no need for a fire, but I found myself stacking wood into a pyramid shape, nonetheless. I added newspaper under the wood and then struck a match. And then I grabbed the afghan and wrapped myself inside of it, shivering as I did so.
I found that I couldn’t get warm.
I sat in front of the fire, rocking my body as more tears fell.
And I waited for Quinn to return.
A/N: Hello! I hope that you enjoyed the chapter! So—now you know just how much Quinn’s a villain in this story. However, I feel that I just went a step or two beyond what CH did. I always felt that Quinn was getting close to Sookie b/c of de Castro’s orders. I don’t buy the idea that he found out later and then he immediately sent Frannie to warn Sookie—yadda, yadda, yadda. What? Phones don’t work? It seems much more reasonable to me that Quinn’s pursuit of Sookie was one of de Castro’s attempts of spying on Louisiana. It makes sense that Felipe would want Sookie for himself, but—at this point—Sophie-Anne is still strong. So—how would Felipe go about getting her? The same way that Bill had wanted to: seduction. Older Supe seduces young naïve telepath. But Quinn has been tasked with going a step further: getting her pregnant so that she’ll marry him. Then she will come to Nevada for “love” and no one can stop her.
Luckily, Sookie “listened” just in time. She won’t stop listening again.
So—yeah—I have been very “cruel” to Sookie. In the book version, Quinn isn’t jealous after the New Orleans battle. But—with Eric mostly “out” of Sookie’s life—Bill has continued to infiltrate it through subterfuge with his blood. Plus, in this story, she remains mostly ignorant of Bill’s actions/motives (by this time in the book narrative, Eric had made sure that Bill told her why he came to Bon Temps). Because of the Bill factor, we see a more jealous and desperate Quinn. In Quinn’s mind, he needs to “secure” her before Bill can finish the job. So—yeah—I feel sorry for this Sookie. She thought she was moving on; of course, I hate that she made the [in my mind wrong] choice to not be with Eric. However, she did choose not to take back Bill—though she forgave him. Again—she’s naïve, and I think she’s in some denial about her rape and wants to “think about it in the future,” rather than actually deal with it (which is one of Sookie’s worst character traits in the books—in my opinion). Sadly, she is moving on with Quinn, but—in all fairness to her—if he were on the up-and-up, he wouldn’t be a horrible choice. She can’t “hear” him as well as a human, but he’s not a vampire. She is—somewhat wrongly—blaming vampires for what’s happened to her so far. (Even Eric is blamed because she thinks it’s in his “nature” to leave her.)
Anyway, I hope you will leave a comment about the story if you have the time.
Thanks to Kleannhouse and Seph–as always!