“I’ll see you again,” Eric told Sookie when she left with Bill following the Long Shadow attack. What if that “again” had been the very next night? This is a “SHORT,” suggested by Gwynwyvar. (SVM Eric/Sookie)
After the Long Shadow incident, what if Eric arrived the next night to apologize to Sookie? What if he was able to tell her about the blood effects then? Would she open up about her accidental slip into his mind? Would he see a picture of Hadley in the house? How many things could have been avoided and sorted out that night? (Idea from Gwynwyvar–March 14, 2015)
I asked my blog-ites to vote on the POV they wanted. They asked for a mix of Sookie and Eric (in first person). So that is what you are getting. Also, after the Long Shadow incident, I changed quite a few of the happenings in the books, so up until then, it is “canon”; after that, I played with the “rules” a bit. I hope that you enjoy!
Many thanks to . . .
Gwynwyvar for participating in my SHORT project and suggesting the idea! I hope I did it justice.
Kleannhouse for always being ready, willing, and able to beta for me!
Sephrenia for graciously “taking up Gwynwyvar’s challenge too—by making a banner from only the same prompt I had! It’s always so fun to see what she comes up with for these shorts! She’s a wonderful partner in crime! I have to say that I think she outdid herself on this one!!
“Love knows not distance; it hath no continent; its eyes are for the stars.”—Gilbert Parker
Chapter 1: The End
I’d woken up the night before in a very different frame of mind than I’d woken tonight. Last night, I’d been looking forward to seeing the telepath again—to seeing her skills in actions, though she’d been impressive enough the first night I’d met her.
After all, she’d warned me about the undercover policeman in my bar, saving me a lot of fucking hassle.
I’d been intrigued by Miss Stackhouse. And attracted. Now I was downright captivated!
More significantly, I liked her.
In truth, I’d not suspected Long Shadow of duplicity. I thought he’d been smarter than that. If he had been, he would have known better than to fucking double cross me! He should have simply asked for a fucking loan!
Some people’s children!
Speaking of which, I’d just gotten off the phone with Hot Rain. Now there was a “hot mess!” I shook my head, knowing that I’d have to deal out his death too since the crazed vampire was obviously not capable of understanding that his child got exactly as he deserved. Instead of recognizing that Long Shadow had signed his own death warrant by stealing from an ancient vampire, the idiot had fixated on the fact that a human had been involved in the discovery of that theft.
And that meant that the bastard might eventually send someone after Sookie—since Bill’s report of the situation to the Magister had included her fucking name! I knew that because he sent me a copy of it; at least, it hadn’t included the fact that she was a telepath.
Still! What. A. Fucking. Idiot!
The fact that I envied Compton—even a little, but only because of Sookie—riled me to no end.
And it brought home the changes that had been wrought within me from the night before.
Changes brought about by the amazing demonstration put on by Sookie the night before.
Pam interrupted my pleasant recollections as she sauntered into my office as if it was hers.
She was a bitch—though a loveable one. Most of the time.
Defying the laws of physics, she sat down without revealing her pussy, despite the miniscule length of her dress. Pity. She had a lovely one, though I’d not partaken in it since her preference for women had become clear.
“You are pensive tonight,” she stated.
“Hot Rain will be a problem,” I relayed.
“Surely not for you,” she observed, studying me through narrowed eyes. “There was a time when you would have welcomed any threat from someone like him. After all, there’s so little opportunity for torture these days—even among our own kind,” she said wistfully.
“But it is not only me at risk,” I said.
“You think I cannot take care of myself?” my child asked incredulously. “Hot Rain might be a little older than I am, but I could smell him coming from a mile away! Seriously, hasn’t he ever heard of a bath? Every time Long Shadow visited him, he carried the scent for weeks!”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m not worried about you, Pamela.”
“You are thinking about Sookie Stackhouse—aren’t you?” she intoned. “I will admit that she’s lovely, but—seriously—Eric, you cannot take her into consideration in such matters.”
“I already have,” I reminded. “I killed Long Shadow instead of letting him continue harming Sookie.”
Why Compton hadn’t jumped to her defense, I didn’t know. But I did intend to find out—even if I had to get a little rough with him to do it.
She sighed. “You killed Long Shadow because he’d stolen from you—from us,” she said firmly.
“No. That is not why. You and I both know that I would have normally just pulled him off of her and then enjoyed torturing him for a few months before cutting him loose, disgracing him, and then exiling him from Area 5.”
Pam looked away. “But you didn’t do that. Why?”
“Had I pulled him off of her, the damage to Sookie would have been grave,” I said honestly.
“I was afraid you’d say something like that,” Pam sighed. “But why her?”
My eyebrow lifted. “You need to ask?”
Pam had witnessed Sookie’s performance the night before as well as I had. Not only had Sookie negotiated with a thousand-year-old vampire to turn in human miscreants that she discovered to human authorities, but also she had kept her cool in the face of three vampires ravenous for her blood.
It had been she who had made sure that Ginger was called in to satisfy my own bloodlust before I licked Sookie’s body like a Popsicle. It had been she who had dragged Bill from the room, controlling him like he was a dog on a leash. By all rights, Bill should have drained Sookie the night before. But she had obviously gotten him to snap out of his blood-haze.
Indeed, I knew that she’d gotten home safely because I’d hovered outside of her window for a while after I’d had my fill of Ginger.
I frowned. Ginger always left a bad taste in my mouth, and I always feared “catching something” from her, even though human sexually transmitted diseases didn’t affect vampires.
Still, she was someone I’d used sparingly—only in “emergencies.”
Pam broke me from my thoughts. “The telepath was quite clever in handling you and in figuring out the mystery—despite Ginger’s being glamoured by Long Shadow.”
“And she did figured things out remarkably quickly too,” I smirked.
“And there was that light in her eyes as she worked,” Pam remarked. “The confidence was quite attractive on her.”
“Indeed,” I agreed.
“And quite unappreciated by Compton,” Pam added.
“Indeed,” I growled.
“You really like her,” Pam said, her tone betraying her surprise.
“I really could,” I returned.
“What are you waiting for then?” Pam asked me, picking up her cell phone.
My eyebrow rose, curious about whom she was calling.
“Compton,” Pam grinned, “there has been an issue over border rights in Northern Louisiana; since Area 5’s investigator position has not yet been filled by the queen, you have been charged with investigating the situation and putting forth a solution for your sheriff.”
Pam checked her nails as Billy Boy offered his protests. It was her eyebrow’s turn to rise as he gave his final one: Sookie’s safety.
I sat forward to better hear.
“What do you mean Sookie is in danger?” Pam asked casually, putting forward my own fucking question. Only I would have asked it much less calmly!
She and I both listened as Bill explained the work of the serial killer in the Bon Temps area. Not only had he killed the two that Sookie had brought to my attention, but also he’d killed Sookie’s grandmother!
And that had happened AFTER Bill had brought Sookie to Fangtasia for the first time—AFTER he’d claimed her! And that meant that he should have provided for her protection. And—if he was unable—I should have been asked to help protect his human. Hell—even a simple, worthless pet would have merited a Were guard.
At the very fucking least!
Pam recognized this fact as well as I did.
She snarled, and I reached for her phone.
“Bill, you are hereby appointed provisional Area 5 investigator.” After all—friends close, enemies closer. “You will do as Pamela has instructed, and you will begin your task tonight! You’d better fucking be in Northern Louisiana within 90 minutes, or I will punish you for insubordination!” I yelled before hanging up on him.
“I liked that phone,” Pam whined as she looked at the crushed plastic in my hand.
“Sorry,” I said, handing her back the remaining pieces. “Your little phone guard was useless, however.”
She rolled her eyes as only she could. Seriously, there really should be a contest for such things, for Pam had made eye rolling an art form and a sport.
“It was obviously not vampire-proof,” she said testily, looking at the pink scraps in her hand.
“There is glitter on my hands,” I remarked with a frown.
Pam’s phone’s case had been laden with the substance.
“Then you will bedazzle Sookie when you see her tonight,” she smirked.
I didn’t move for a moment.
“Go,” she said simply.
“I’m not sure what to do once I get there.”
Her smirk was immediate.
“You must really like her,” she said.
I did, but I didn’t have to admit it again.
She shrugged. “Do what you always do. Do what will help you accomplish what you want—what you need,” she said, making things sound so simple.
I was sure that they would not be.
Bill had offered me his blood to heal the wound Long Shadow had made, but I’d not needed it. Between what Bill had convinced me to take the night before we’d gone to Fangtasia and what I’d accidentally swallowed of Long Shadow’s blood, I’d already mostly healed by the time Bill got me home.
I cannot say that his behavior was ingratiating, however. He’d acted almost as if I was to blame for Long Shadow attacking me. And he’d told me more than once that having the other vampire’s blood was bad.
As if I could have helped it.
Moreover, if having Long Shadow’s blood was so “bad,” why was having Bill’s apparently no big deal? I was full of questions, but without answers as I worked my shift at Merlotte’s—a shift which Bill had suggested I skip, given my “ordeal.”
A worse “ordeal” would come when the monthly bills arrived!
Gran’s Social Security check wouldn’t be among the mail either.
As I tallied my bills in my head, I bussed my current table faster, hoping a new customer would arrive to take it.
That would mean a tip.
“Do I really need a house phone?” I muttered to myself as I took the dishes back to the kitchen. After all, most calls that came in had been for Gran. In fact, I could count the calls that had come in for me during the last month on one hand. And not having one would save forty-three dollars a month. Or maybe there was a pay by call sort of thing I could work out with the phone company—just so I’d have a phone for emergencies.
And I was already hoping to save on electricity by not running the air conditioning. Gran had needed her window air conditioners to stay comfortable, but I could get by with cool baths and a box fan.
Of course, my grocery shopping habits had already changed. I knew that I could use the free meal I got every shift at Merlotte’s to fill me up most days. And Mac-n-Cheese was filling on the days I didn’t work. And it was cheap too! Ramen noodles, which Gran had felt to be an abomination, had also made their way into my cupboards. With salt and a little chicken broth, the noodles actually tasted decent.
I smiled when Hoyt came into the bar with Catfish. They always left 15% on the dot, and they sat at my newly-cleaned table.
I had them a pitcher of beer before they could even ask, and I mentally added milk to my grocery list, but then took it off again when I realized that Mike Spenser would want the first installment for Gran’s funeral costs by the first of the month.
Yes—the phone would have to go. I frowned. Maybe I could sell some baked goods at the farmer’s market? Or maybe I could ask Bill to buy his own TrueBloods to keep at my house?
I cringed, thinking about how Gran would be displeased if I was so rude as to ask that. But at twenty dollars a four-pack, they’d been half of my grocery budget the week before. And they’d only lasted three visits by Bill. Not to mention that he’d asked me to get vitamins for when he drank from me. I scoffed. As if I could afford those!
I frowned. I wondered if I could ask Jason to cover half of Gran’s funeral costs?
I shook my head as I bussed another table. No. Jason’s mind already blamed me for Gran’s death. How could I ask anything of him?
Especially since I blamed myself, too.
No—Gran was my responsibility.
I’d just asked Sam for more shifts. And I would look for a second job. Yes! That is what I’d do. I’d start hunting for one the very next day.
Resolved, I continued moving between tables as quickly and efficiently as I could.
I hate to admit it, but I was a little disappointed when Bill took my empty booth. Since he and I had been together, he’d stopped tipping—barely leaving enough to cover his TrueBlood tab.
Still—I mustered my smile and scurried to get him his usual before delivering it to his table.
“I am sorry, Sookie,” he said rather stiffly. “But I’m afraid I won’t have time to have a drink tonight.”
I’ll admit that I deflated a bit. Would that mean that he wouldn’t pay for the $8.50 TrueBlood? I sighed, refactoring the tips in my apron.
Could I get by without electricity?
“Can you sit for a few minutes?” he asked.
I looked around at my tables. They were all fine for the moment, but even a minute of a customer’s not getting something he or she needed would result in less of a tip for me.
Still, I closed my eyes to accept the probability of even more math in my future and then nodded toward Sam, who gave me a disapproving look. There went those double shifts.
I sighed, but I sat, nonetheless.
“I have to go away for business,” Bill began.
“Business?” I asked.
“It is Eric’s fault,” he said sullenly. “He made me the acting Area 5 investigator, and—though this could be a good thing because it will make you less vulnerable—I have to do his bidding.”
“What is his bidding?” I asked.
“There is a border dispute with Arkansas,” he explained, “and I am to investigate it.”
“But there’s a serial killer on the loose here,” I said. Maybe I sounded selfish, but I was also afraid.
“Blame Eric,” Bill said, a certain amount of triumph in his tone. “And be wary of him. He might use this opportunity to try to seduce you,” he practically growled.
“I’ll be careful,” I promised.
“Remember that he is brutal and duplicitous,” Bill warned. “And you are naïve. Do not trust him.”
I nodded as if in agreement. But I wasn’t sure I fully agreed with my vampire boyfriend. Was Eric a little scary during our two meetings? Um—yep. But he also was personable, and he certainly worked with me the night before.
And he saved my life.
“I have to go. He expects me to be up north soon.” Bill paused. “I shouldn’t have even spent the time to come here,” he reached out to take my hand, “but I wanted to say goodbye.”
I sighed. Why did his words sound so ominous?
Bill got out of the booth and then pulled me out before kissing me soundly. I had a fleeting thought that the display would be noticed by any serial killers that might be in the room before I let myself enjoy the kiss for a moment since it was happening anyway.
Silent touch was—after all—still a luxury that I was appreciative for.
“When will I see you again?” I asked, once he’d pulled away.
“When I am done with my task,” he answered enigmatically.
Bill gave me another quick kiss and then zipped away.
With a sigh, I dug $8.50 out of my apron and cashed out Bill’s check—all the while trying to ignore the glare that Sam was giving to me.
Struggling to keep my head up amidst the onslaught of negative thoughts being targeted at me because of Bill’s visit, I attempted to “make things up” to my tables. I smiled and anticipated their needs. And I skipped my dinner break, too. I skipped a needed bathroom trip. I walked so fast that my feet hurt.
“Would it really be so bad to live without electricity?” I wondered to myself. After all, the range was gas. And there were quite a few candles in the house. They would last for a month or more.
Given my meagre tips, I might be finding out just how long they would last very soon.
But I was determined to pay Mr. Spenser; he’d be the kind to rip up Gran’s simple headstone otherwise! And I would pay the mortgage of Gran’s home. That was the least I could do for her.
“You’ll figure it out, Sookie,” I promised myself—trying to convince myself that I really could.
A/N: I hope that you enjoyed the first chapter of this new SHORT!