Chapter 3: Simple Math
June 14, 2004, continued, 3:00 p.m.
It turns out that I’m most definitely NOT in love. I’m being manipulated by vampire blood, and Gran is just about ready to march over to Bill Compton’s house and torch it—after she finds his body and stakes him, of course.
In fact, if Mr. C wasn’t still here, I imagine that’s just what she’d be doing right now. I’m sure that’s why he’s decided to stay at the house with her.
Oh—it’s clear that Mr. C wouldn’t care one iota if Bill Compton were to meet his final death, whether that came at Gran’s hands, my hands, or his own. No—Mr. C simply wants Gran to “pause” while I make my choice about what to do next.
I last wrote in you just twelve hours ago, Diary—only half a day: one full turn of the wall clock. Yet so much has changed and has been made clear to me since Mr. C got here a little after 11:00 a.m. In fact, it’s difficult to know where to begin—let alone understand where things might end up.
I guess I’ll start by telling you about the vampire queen of Louisiana. Mr. C works for her. He told me that she’s not so bad of an employer, but he also added that she behaves like a spoiled, entitled child sometimes—especially with things that she regards as her “toys.” The combination of a bratty child and a vampire doesn’t seem to be a very “safe” one—at least not for someone caught in her crosshairs.
Sadly, I’m that someone right now.
After Gran called Mr. C last night—and asked him to come and see us—he went to what Queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq calls her “palace,” which is basically a huge old mansion in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Mr. C had been planning to drop off some papers for her tonight, and since he hadn’t known how long Gran and I would need him here, he had decided to deliver them to the queen before leaving New Orleans.
It seems that dumb luck continues to be on my side, Diary. And I’m more thankful for that than I can express!
Mr. C usually meets with Sophie-Anne in her office, but—since he arrived looking for a “walk-in” appointment, so to speak—he was sent to the queen’s “sunroom.” Apparently the queen had decided to hold court in her “favorite place” because she was celebrating, and she wasn’t shy about telling anyone who would listen all about her “triumph.”
And what was that triumph?
Well, Diary, apparently, the queen’s most skillful procurer had just managed to confirm that there was—indeed—a telepath in the state. He had also confirmed that she couldn’t hear vampire thoughts. And—best of all—he’d already managed to create a blood tie with said telepath.
The queen was atwitter with anticipation for her “newest toy.”
Well—2+2 does not equal 5 to Mr. C. And telepaths aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, though between those with demon blood and those with fairy blood, they are more common than vampires know. Not surprisingly, Mr. C immediately suspected that I was the telepath of whom Sophie-Anne was celebrating her “acquisition.” Add to that the fact that Gran had called Mr. C wanting his advice on the effects of vampire blood, and—voilà!—Mr. C solved the simple math problem that had been placed before him.
I had no problem solving it either.
One telepath (me) + one procurer (Bill) + his blood in me = me being screwed over!
Mr. C, being a lawyer and a demon—and a general badass, from what I’ve been able to pick up on—”celebrated” with the queen and offered to work on a contract in order to secure her telepath’s “employment.”
It seemed that the queen didn’t think she’d need a contract—given the fact that her procurer’s assignment called for him to seduce the telepath and secure her the “old-fashioned way”: with blood, lies, and manipulation.
Fantastic for me—right?
Have you heard of Renfield, Diary?
Anyway—Mr. C played it cool, and stuck around the palace, “partying” and keeping his ears open. Before dawn, he’d figured out that the queen had learned about me from the one missing link that none of us—not me, not Fintan, and not Gran—had considered when it came to keeping my secret: Hadley.
It seems that Hadley is now the queen’s favored pet, and it also seems that “loose lips really do sink ships”—mine!
Mr. C also shared the “fantastic” news that every vampire in the sunroom—including Sophie-Anne’s children, her guards, and other “courtesans”—were also now privy to the fact that there was a telepath in the state. Bill Compton’s name came up several times, so there was no doubt that he was the procurer in the “newsflash.” Plus, Hadley was openly celebrated as the original source of the information. And those things meant that all of the vampires in that room would be capable of tracking me down.
What joy is mine—NOT!
And there was more “good” news too. The queen suspected that there was Fae blood in my family—based on the way Hadley tasted. Sophie-Anne didn’t bother to keep that theory a secret either!
I really shouldn’t make judgments about someone I’ve never met, but I’m pretty sure that Sophie-Anne and I are not destined to be BFFs.
At least, according to the “buzz” among the courtesans, Sophie-Anne’s theory that there is fairy blood in Hadley’s family—and, therefore, mine—is not actually believed. Apparently, Sophie-Anne offers out Hadley left and right, and—though all of the vampires at court agree that Hadley is sweeter than normal—none of them believe her to be Fae.
That’s mostly because of the queen’s child: her favorite child, Andre. Apparently, Andre, whose palate is renowned for being more “talented” than most, cannot say definitively that Hadley is part fairy. According to Mr. C, that is because Hadley lacks the essential spark.
So, Diary—at least for the moment—the secret of my true lineage might still be salvageable.
However, that doesn’t solve my most immediate problem.
The queen wants me to be her “court telepath.” According to Mr. C, she wants me to move into her palace and “be seen” every night. Officially, she hasn’t decided—yet—if she is going to “share” me like she shares Hadley, but it was clear to me from Mr. C’s purposely vague comments that it won’t be long before I become a “court bicycle.”
And how does the queen plan to get me to go along with all of this? Well—apparently—Bill is going to continue exchanging blood with me until we have a permanent bond. And, with his blood, he will be able to influence me—making me think that I’m choosing to love him, to marry him, and to move to court with him. Once I’m there, Sophie-Anne will likely have him use the bond to influence me to “explore the sensual side of life.”
Yep—all that pretty much sounds like unpaid prostitution and slavery to me too, Diary.
Bill is counting on my ignorance, but I’ve got a newsflash of my own! I’m NOT ignorant. And I won’t become his Renfield! I’d rather die!
But, even knowing this, I feel that web inside of me—the web that Bill’s blood is still trying to spin. When I think about how I felt about Bill after I took his blood—how my emotions continue to “want” to feel about him even as I write this entry—I get nauseated.
That web is doing its damnedest to convince me that I love Bill, even though I know I don’t! I can only imagine that I would have been quickly entangled into Bill’s lies if I were still ignorant.
But Gran wouldn’t let me stay ignorant. Mr. C wouldn’t let me stay ignorant. Even you wouldn’t let me stay ignorant, Diary.
Now all I have to do is to choose the best way to fight. Thankfully—I still have quite a few options that can get me out of this mess.
But, before I tell you about those options and ask for your help in choosing one, Diary, I need to tell you more about vampire blood—as well as ties and bonds and vampire “law.”
There is an unescapable fact; last night, Bill took my blood, and I took his. According to Mr. C, that means we are “tied” by vampire law. So here is the 4-1-1 on ties.
Number 1: Since Bill and I had an exchange—meaning that we took blood from each other at roughly the same time (me—out of necessity—and him—because he’s a prick!), I am now considered “Bill’s property” according to the vampire world! His “pet!” Most vampires won’t give a damn about the fact that I never agreed to Bill’s “claim.” Apparently, agreement on the part of the human isn’t a requirement!
Yep—I’m definitely nauseated again!
Number 2: Obviously, Bill has the ability to manipulate my emotions with his blood. And he started to do that the moment he had his blood in me!
Number 3: A human will become more sexually attracted to any vampire who gives him or her blood; moreover, a human will have explicit and sexual dreams about said vampire.
Numbers 2 and 3 explain my “love” for Bill—and my desire to kiss him only minutes after almost being beaten to a bloody pulp!
And that thought had been what had made me lose my breakfast a few hours ago!
I still hadn’t attempted to eat lunch. I was just happy that I’d been too wired to sleep last night. The last thing I wanted was to dream about Bill in a sexual way—not when the things he was doing to me were already akin to rape in my eyes.
Number 4: When he’s awake, Bill will be able to sense my emotions.
Number 5: Bill will be able to track me with his blood.
See—Diary? That’s why I don’t think I can keep down lunch. Thinking about the fact that Bill will be able to track me is already enough to give me dry heaves!
Things were not made any easier when Gran, Mr. C, and I came to several inarguable conclusions.
Clearly, Bill had set things up with the Rattrays—during both of the last two nights!
Even while I’d been marveling at the wonderful silence of his mind, Bill had likely been “thinking” things at me—trying to see if I’d react. Once he was certain that my telepathy didn’t work on him, he had tried to glamour me in order to get me under his control. Most likely, he would have glamoured me to take his blood.
But I didn’t “cooperate”; thus, he’d had to go with Plan B. And the Rattrays were convenient and expendable accomplices due to their own questionable pasts.
Clearly, Bill had aimed to get me to take his blood after the Rattrays had “attacked” him. According to Mr. C, Bill probably thought that I would greatly desire the prized “gift” of his blood. However, I’d failed to “cooperate” again when I didn’t accept the vials of Bill’s blood already taken by the Rats.
So Bill had glamoured them to come after me last night, which is probably why I hadn’t heard their thoughts before they attacked. Most likely, Bill had glamoured them so that they wouldn’t have the ability to “think” for themselves. Maybe he’d even glamoured the Rats to stay at his home all day so that he’d be sure to have their “help” in hurting me. It would have been appropriate—the Rats having a slumber party with the chief rat!
And then Bill had watched and waited until I was near death. And then he’d “rescued” me.
I wanted to hurl again, but my stomach was now well-past empty.
So—here I am, Diary. I’ve come to my treehouse in order to absorb the sun and—hopefully—a little of my grandfather’s wisdom. Gran and Mr. C have already shared their own opinions, but, ultimately, I know that it is up to me to decide what to do next.
So, Diary, here are my choices.
First, I could kill Bill and then run away. Actually, I wouldn’t even have to be the one to “end” the vampire; Mr. C has volunteered to “flex his fighting muscles.” And, certainly, killing Bill would take care of the problem of the blood tie, but not the root problem. It’s too late to put that Genie back into the bottle, so—if I don’t want to belong to Sophie-Anne—I will have to leave Louisiana, probably forever. Of course, if Gran and Jason stay behind, they might become targets for the queen. She could kidnap them and “punish” them in order to try to draw me back.
Expectedly, without hesitation, Gran had offered to come with me, and I know that Jason would come too. And—knowing I have their support means the world to me! But I don’t want to steal their lives from them if I don’t have to. I don’t want to become a “fugitive” because of a queen’s obsessive desire to have me as a toy!
Still—Mr. C says that he could have us out of here and somewhere safe before the morning. He’d arrange for us to have new identities and new jobs. Ever a woman of strength and fortitude, Gran told me that my safety and Jason’s safety were a lot more important than the wood and nails of the farmhouse. And I know that Jason would be able to find happiness anywhere we went. That’s just the way he is.
LOL. He’d probably be happy to have a “new colony” of women to “conquer.”
And it isn’t as if waitress jobs are impossible to find. And—thanks to Fintan—there is plenty of money available to us, even if it took us some time to get established in a new place.
My second option is to kill Bill and then to “come out” to the entire Supe world as a fairy/telepath.
As I’ve written to you before, Diary, Mr. C is my Supe godfather, and he told me that he will publically take me under his wing—and his protection. But I’ll have to move to New Orleans with him so that he can keep me guarded full-time. And—if I move in with him—I likely won’t be able to be a waitress anymore.
I know that prospect would be welcome to some people, but I like being a waitress—even if some people look down on me because they see it as a second-class job.
That just proves their own ignorance. The important thing is that I’m happy doing my job. I like using my gift to anticipate the needs of my customers. When I do that, they literally get “happier,” which is usually their motivation for coming to a restaurant to start with! They want a “break” from life, and I can help them achieve that. Of course, there are those who come to a bar to get drunk for the wrong reasons or far too often, but I’ve used my gift to help them too!
A subtle word to Andy Bellefleur got him out of his doldrums before he let alcohol take over his life. And—when I heard that Holly “liked” him and that he “liked” her—it was easy to create an opportunity where they could “act” on that mutual interest if they chose to. And now they are getting married! And, more importantly, they are happy!
An offhand comment to Jane Bodehouse’s son got him thinking about how much pain his mom must have been feeling because she’d lost her husband, mother, and sister in just over a year. Well—he made a point to have her over more often and eventually convinced her to talk to a therapist. Now Jane, Marvin, Jane’s daughter-in-law, and her four grandkids all come into Merlotte’s about twice a week. And—when Jane does come into the bar without them—she’s never alone, and she no longer thinks about how booze is the only thing that can get rid of her pain.
And I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done little things to make sure that people didn’t drive once they’d had too much to drink.
I don’t fashion myself as the “people police.” And I definitely don’t see myself as a saint. In the end, people need to make their own decisions, but I’ve found that people are often missing an important piece of information that could have helped them make better choices. And—if I can give them that—then I consider my telepathy to be a wonderful gift indeed!
Anyway, Diary, you know that these things are only some of the reasons why I love being a waitress. You know that I also love the activity, the way that the shift seems to fly by once things get busy, the “turnover” of the crowd so that there is an influx of new minds every hour or two, and the camaraderie that forms among the staff. You know that I also love being able to leave my job where it belongs—rather than “bringing my work home.” Heck—the only thing that I might bring home is a pair of sore feet if I’ve worked a double shift.
But a foot soak and a book solve that problem.
You know that I’ve tried to take correspondence classes online, but you also know that it just didn’t work for me, Diary. I love to read and to learn, but I’m not enthused about being told what to read and what to learn.
Fintan did a wonderful thing for us all when he made sure that we had enough money to not have to worry about bills, food costs, etc. And—because of him—I’ve been able to choose a job that makes me happy. And I’ve been able to slip a bit extra into the communal tip jar for the waitresses who count on their tips for the basic staples more than I have to.
So—Diary—I’m pretty sure that moving to New Orleans and publically becoming Mr. C’s ward would mean that I could no longer work at my chosen profession. I’m sure he would find things for me to do; maybe I could even learn to work with him and do some paralegal type work or something, and I’m sure that would be rewarding in its own way. But it just isn’t my first choice.
Plus, even though Mr. C is trying to shut me out of some parts of his head, I get the impression that the queen would be very angry with him if she found out that he’s the one who “stole” her telepath.
And I don’t want Mr. C to get hurt.
Speaking of people getting hurt—when I questioned whether every option I had would include killing Bill, Mr. C had laughed heartily, and had told me that the world would be a better place with one less rat in it. Maybe that’s true, Diary, but part of me knows that Bill’s not ultimately to blame for my troubles. He’s simply a “yes-man” to Sophie-Anne—a lackey following orders.
Mr. C said that there was an alternative to killing Bill. I could try to have the tie removed by magic. But, again, that wouldn’t solve the problem of the queen knowing about me, and apparently my chances of surviving a severing spell were only fifty-fifty if Bill didn’t “cooperate.”
I doubted he would.
So, even if I went that route to try to save Bill’s life out of a sense of altruism, I’d still have to leave Bon Temps—and either assume a new identity or go live with Mr. C.
The only difference would be that Bill’s blood wouldn’t be on my hands.
Another of my options involves “dancing with the devil.” In other words, I could pick a stronger vampire than Bill to tie myself to. That tie would—apparently—override the one I had with Bill and null his claim on me.
Both very good things!
While there were many vampires stronger than Bill in Louisiana, only two were viable options for me. Mr. C said there were more options out-of-state, but I didn’t need to hear about those.
If I decided to leave Louisiana, I knew that I’d be choosing option 1—killing Bill and getting the hell out of Dodge!
My first viable vampire option is Queen Sophie-Anne herself! Mr. C said that he and I could try to control the situation with her by proposing a contract.
I had decided against that option before he’d even finished his first sentence!
My second vampire option is Eric Northman, Sheriff of Area 5 and star of the vampire calendar which had been hanging in my treehouse since January 1. Dawn had given me a copy as a Christmas gift. And—in my treehouse, at least—it was still January because that was Eric’s month.
Oh, Diary—you’ve had to endure hearing about all of my crushes, haven’t you?
You’ve had to tolerate my John Stamos phase, my Freddy Prinze, Jr. attraction, my Leo DiCaprio love, and my continued Johnny Depp fascination.
And I’m still sorry about that month I was into James Van Der Beek. In my defense, I did soon realize that Joshua Jackson was superior.
Anyway, I’ve tried to keep my Eric Northman fantasies to myself, but I will admit that I’ve ended up getting lost in his blue eyes more than once—when I’d intended to write in you.
LOL. I’m sorry if you see that as cheating, Diary.
But I defy even you—you who are made out of paper and staples—to not be enamored by those eyes.
So—yes—I’m a fangirl of Eric Northman’s. But I’m not a fang-girl, and I’m definitely no fangbanger.
Anyway, as I was trying not to blush in front of Gran and Mr. C, Mr. C told me a little about Eric Northman—the vampire beyond the calendar picture I’ve memorized every line from.
Eric, as I already wrote, is the Sheriff of Area 5, which includes Bon Temps. Given that, the queen should have told him about me, and, according to Mr. C, Eric should have been the one to “secure” me. However, the queen had triumphantly crowed to Mr. C that she’d bypassed Eric because she feared that he might try to claim me for himself.
At a thousand years old, Eric, it seems, is the oldest vampire resident of Louisiana. He’s known for being a savvy businessman and a fair—if sometimes brutal—sheriff. According to Mr. C, there are quite a few old, strong, and wise vampires living in the area because they like the way Eric runs things. Mr. C made clear that this, more than anything else, is a sign of Eric’s effectiveness as a leader.
Simply put, the stronger the vampire, the less he or she is willing to become the subordinate of someone unworthy, and vampires must swear fealty to a sheriff in order to settle in his or her area. Many extremely powerful vampires had sworn fealty to the Sheriff of Area 5.
But there is a lot more that makes Eric seem like a good choice for me—and I’m not just referring to his abs—though I’m pretty sure I wrote a sonnet to them in a previous entry. Or maybe it was a limerick. Yes—definitely a limerick!
There once were some abs sent from heaven,
The number of packs was six—maybe seven,
I worshipped away.
And my heart—it did sway,
Till I . . . .
Sorry, Diary, I can’t remember the rest of the poem. I think I got stuck on the rhymes—or the abs.
Anyway, Eric is—or was—a Viking. And he is known for keeping his word once it is given. And he’s also well-known for his loyalty and his prowess, which is why no other monarchs have dared to mess with Louisiana since Eric swore fealty to Sophie-Anne.
Mr. C told me that he respects Eric a lot more than the queen and that the only reason why Eric isn’t a monarch is because he doesn’t want to be one. Apparently Eric likes a “simpler” life, a life where he is mostly independent and doesn’t have to deal with a lot of political machinations—aka bullshit.
I couldn’t agree with Eric’s preferences more at this moment!
In addition, Mr. C told me that Eric is pleasant to be around. He also praised Eric’s “wicked” sense of humor.
Finally, Mr. C told me what he knew about Eric’s maker, which was quite a lot, actually. Godric is two-thousand-year-old! Like Eric, Godric has earned great respect during his long life. He’s a sheriff in Texas, and—similar to his progeny—he is happy to stay in “middle management” as long as he can run his area independently.
The rest of what Mr. C knows about Godric was told to me while Gran was in the bathroom. According to Mr. C, Fintan and Godric had been periodically “involved” for hundreds of years, though they kept that involvement a secret from most people. In fact, only Mr. C and Eric knew about the relationship.
Mr. C, who knew Fintan better than anyone, told me that my grandfather loved Godric deeply—probably more than he ever loved anyone else. But a vampire and a half-fairy in Fintan’s position couldn’t “share” their lives full-time, so they’d had to settle for brief secret encounters—followed by years and years of nothing.
Mr. C assured me that my grandfather’s love for Godric had never interfered with his love for Gran, but he knew that—out of respect—Fintan had never discussed his other lovers with Gran, and that’s why he’d waited until she was out of the room to tell me about it.
I was once again struck by the solitude of Fintan’s life; he had tasted so much love, but had never been able to luxuriate in it. I know he’d wanted more for me.
Among the possessions that Fintan left behind with Mr. C to give to me when I came of age—which is age 27 for a fairy, by the way—is a dagger. According to Mr. C, the dagger was given to Fintan by Godric to symbolize their love.
Thinking that Eric was the best option for me, Mr. C had brought the dagger with him. In fact, I’m looking at it right now, Diary.
It looks ancient, though it could obviously still kill. However, despite it lethality, the word that comes to my mind as I look at it is “beautiful.”
In fact, the dagger is startlingly beautiful. Its handle is blue—a similar shade to Eric’s eyes—if the photo in the calendar is an accurate representation. There’s a pattern etched into the blue of the handle, just as there seems to be a pattern in Eric’s eyes—almost as if every pigment in his irises had been dancing when the picture was taken.
Markings that look like ancient runes decorate part of the steel blade of the dagger. I can’t help but to wonder what they say. Mr. C didn’t know for sure, but he told me that he recognized the rune for one word: love.
Love—the emotion I both feel and definitely don’t feel for Bill Compton.
So—what do you think I should do, diary?
Should I run? Or should I go live with Mr. C and accept a very changed life? Or should I trade in one blood tie for another? And could I trust Eric not to misuse that tie?
I know what I want to do. I want to stay close to Bon Temps. I want my brother and grandmother to keep the lives they are content with. I want to continue working as a waitress. I want to know that an overindulged queen can’t swoop in and hurt me or the ones I love. And I don’t want to be anyone’s toy!
But—to stay here—I will have to choose Eric.
But—if I choose him, what danger will he be placed in? I hate the thought of pain filling Eric Northman’s eyes. I may not know the vampire himself, but I do know that I want his eyes to stay alit and dancing.
And I certainly don’t want to be the cause of any strife for him.
Mr. C told me that Eric would be fine no matter what my choice was—that he was older and better connected than his queen and that Sophie-Anne needed to keep him happy in order to keep her queendom stable. But I felt the need to make sure before I started making choices that would affect his life as much as mine.
After all, I would basically be asking him to protect me from Sophie-Anne and any other threats, and that might not be an easy task.
Plus, would he even agree? Mr. C seems to think he would—in exchange for the periodic use of my telepathy and a little of my blood now and then. But I need to ask more questions and get more answers before I make my choice. And Eric needs to be afforded the same right!
So—Diary—I guess I have decided. I still have no idea where I’ll be in a week, but I know my next step: meeting Eric.
So here I am—ten feet away from a vampire who is more beautiful than even his drool-worthy picture captured. Here I am—ten small steps away from the vampire who is going to help me decide my future.
Here I am at the cusp of choice—his and mine.
A/N: A lot of you commented on the fact that Sookie let herself be victimized by Bill—even in this incarnation. I agree, but (as Eric will imply later, even the strongest people can get victimized). Luckily, this Sookie has been brought up to question things and to value herself. I wanted to write about her reaction to what Bill did. In the show/books, Sookie seems to “get lost,” and I always thought that Bill’s blood and her own naivety were the main reasons for this.
The Sookie here is self-aware enough to know that she should question her feelings—and she does—even before Mr. C tells her everything. I wish that the Sookie in the books/show would have had the “tools” (passed on by mentors like Fintan and Gran) to question why she felt her “selfhood” fluttering away.
It’s a real pity that the books end (in my opinion) with Sookie’s LACK of assertion of “selfhood.” I can’t help but to fear that the show is moving in that direction too—as evidenced by the fact that Sookie looked like a Stepford wife in the last episode of Season 6. Writing a stronger Sookie who ultimately won’t be taken in by Bill or “forgive” him is therapeutic.
Anyway, I hope that this chapter helped you to see the “true” Sookie in this tale.
I appreciate all of the comments, “favorites,” and “follows” for this story! I’ve loved reading what you’ve had to say—even as some of you have been skeptical about Sookie making the mistake of letting her guard down with Bill. But—all of us make mistakes that change our lives. Figuring out how to “outlive” those mistakes and to move beyond them could have always been the narrative track of Sookie’s story. Again—it’s a pity that the books didn’t let her follow that track to a satisfying conclusion.
Once more—thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!
Are you ready to meet Eric?
FYI: This is Mr. C in this story. LOL. I never see the same actor playing him in my stories. This incarnation of Mr. C is “funnier” in a way.
Oh–and one more thing–a special shout-out for Sephrenia for the banner for this chapter. It’s one of my faves! Be sure that you keep track of the contest she’s putting together! I’ll be writing a promo piece for it, and I hope that lots of writers–both new and old–will participate!