None of the four friends really spoke much once they were on the road to Shreveport.
Sookie spent the drive worried that Bill’s men may have already cleaned out the Moon Goddess Emporium completely.
As he drove, Jason went back and forth between wanting his attraction to Jessica to be real and wanting to do whatever was possible to keep his friendship with Hoyt.
Jesus and Lafayette spoke in hushed tones from the back seat.
Sookie looked back at the couple on occasion and saw that they were holding hands. She was so happy for Lafayette that he had found such a good partner, one that obviously loved him for what he was. She couldn’t help but wonder why Bill and Eric loved her.
Sookie’s insecure part wondered if their love for her was simply the effect of the taste of her blood―in other words, just something chemical, and not the good kind of “chemistry” her Gran told her that she and Grandpa Earl had shared.
Sookie smiled when she remembered the “sex talk” Gran had had with her when she was fourteen. Gran had looked Sookie in the eye and said, “You already probably know more than I do about sex, just from having to look into people’s heads, so unless you have any questions, we’re just going to skip that part. Do you have any questions?”
Sookie had shaken her head, “No.”
“Good!” Gran had said. “Anyway, the actual process of physical joinin’ is pretty much common sense. ‘Pole into hole―repeat’.”
“Gran!” Sookie had cried out, horrified to hear her Gran saying this kind of thing.
Gran had just smiled indulgently. “So we don’t need to talk about the sex act. You’re a smart girl, and you have seen in people’s heads what happens if they get pregnant when they don’t want to or if they end up with some kind of disease, right?”
Sookie had cringed and nodded.
“Good!” Gran had said again. “I wanna talk about somethin’ you might not hear much of from people’s head―what real love truly means. Sure, it’s important to have chemistry with someone; your pheromones need to attract his and vice versa.” Gran had stopped there. “You do prefer boys, right, Sookie? It’s okay if you like girls better, but I’ve picked up that you prefer boys from all the posters on your walls. Am I right?”
Sookie had blushed and nodded.
Gran had continued, “So like I said, you need to be attracted to him and vice versa. And chemistry will make your sex much better; trust me on this one, child.”
“Gran!” Sookie had said, horrified again.
“Oh honey, don’t fret,” Gran had said. “Like I was saying, chemistry is wonderful, but it often fades over time. No―true love, or what I like to think of as lasting chemistry, percolates over a long time. If anything, the feelings and attraction you had at the start get greater and greater. Sure, everything stays real excitin’, but things get secure too; your love gets all nice and shored up, just like you shore up a house before a hurricane. ‘Cause Sookie, there are hurricanes in life that’ll come right outta nowhere, and without that shorin’,” Gran had paused here, obviously a little choked up, “you’ll lose that love for good.”
Gran had patted Sookie’s cheek. “I had a true love with your Grandpa Earl, you know. That man made me wanna break out in song every time he touched me, or was even in the same room with me.”
Sookie had been torn between being uncomfortable at the insinuation that her grandparents had had a lot of sex and happy that her Gran had had a great love like that. As an adult looking back, Sookie was just happy for Gran.
Gran had continued. It had been the only time she’d really ever discussed Grandpa Earl’s disappearance with her granddaughter. “Some people ‘round here try to tell me that your Grandpa Earl died or was murdered, but I never believed them ‘cause that chemistry that drew us together and then kept us that way for so long would have told me if he were gone for good. And then others wanted me to believe that he’d run off with someone else.” She had scoffed at this notion. “When two people seem to have magnets in their bodies meant just for one other person like your Grandpa Earl and I do, well it’s not even possible to think about someone else. Maxine Fortenberry tried to get me to start dating about fifteen years ago, but I told her that I wasn’t about to settle for somethin’ mediocre when my sweetheart was still out there. And I never have.”
Sookie had smiled at her Gran and taken her hand.
“So, Sookie, don’t you ever let yourself settle for something that is less than what you deserve. And you deserve that big kind of love that’ll tuck you in every night nice and warm, whether the person you love is in the room with you or whether you haven’t seen him in more than twenty years.”
At this, Gran had risen and gone to her room. From her thoughts the rest of the night, Sookie had known that her matriarch had been remembering her husband. Shamelessly, Sookie had indulged in listening to those thoughts for a while, warmed by the love that the two had shared. But when her Gran’s thoughts had started to turn toward the R-rated, Sookie had turned on her then fledgling shields full blast and had gone for a nice, long walk, despite the fact that it’d been only 40 degrees that day.
Sookie smiled at her memory. She wondered if Bill or Eric might be her “true love,” someone that she could have that “big kind of love” with. She wasn’t sure because any kind of chemistry that might have been real between her and either of them―that might have been the kind that would percolate and not just disappear―was tinged by the literal chemical make-up of her own blood. Sookie also believed both from her Gran’s story and from her own instincts that if she were truly in love, she wouldn’t love someone else too―unless, of course, she was being fooled by the influence of the vampire blood itself―which was again something merely chemical, not real “chemistry.”
Sookie shook her head and made the only comparison she could think of. Her own favorite food was dark chocolate, specifically Swiss dark chocolate. Whenever she got it, she luxuriated in its creaminess and the way its flavor seemed to touch every part of her tongue all at the same time, its bitterness and sweetness coming together in the perfect balance. She loved it! But in the end, it was just food, no matter how she looked at it. Was she Bill’s dark chocolate? Was she Eric’s?
She had sexual chemistry with both vampires. Bill had been her first, and she’d been pretty insatiable after waiting for so many years for sex, or maybe that was just her heightened libido acting―again, something caused by a kind of false chemistry placed into her blood by Bill’s own blood. And sex with Eric had been―well, Sookie really didn’t have a word that did it justice. So sexual chemistry was definitely there too. Sookie just wondered if the few drops of blood she’d had from Eric were influencing that experience as well.
Either way, how could she possibly have something like her Gran had had if she doubted the very foundation of her attraction and love? And how could she possibly feel that way about two men at once? She knew the answers to both of those questions: she couldn’t. She needed the spell to be done.
Perhaps severing the blood magic between them would give each of her vampire suitors more clarity too. They both seemed to think that her fairy blood made her delicious, and she knew that with vampires, things were always related to blood. Did they love her, or did they love her taste? Without the ties between them, they might be able to see the difference too. And then―at the very least―they could be honest with her about why they wanted her. Whether they chose to be honest or not was another story.
Hell, she’d rather bottle her blood and give it to them as treats―just like dark chocolate was for her―than be stuck in a relationship where she was not loved for herself. What scared her the most was that she might become stuck―trapped― without even knowing it due to the vampire blood being able to influence her emotions; to her that was hardly better than when Eric had been like a zombie under Marnie/Antonia’s spell.
Bill had tasted her before he had given her his own blood, of that she was certain. He had been licking her wounds after the Rattrays beat her up. She’d caught him doing this when she had regained consciousness right before he opened his wrist for her to drink from.
Eric, on the other hand, had not drunk from her before giving her his blood. She wondered if any of this made a difference, but she felt certain that if she could understand the timeline of events in her life for the last six months―fuck, year and a half―she might figure things out. However, she wanted all this to happen with a “blood-free” head.
Finally, Jason pulled the cruiser up to the Moon Goddess. There seemed to be a moving crew outside, and the four friends looked at each other warily.
“Stay here. Let me handle this,” Jason said.
He got out of the car, straightened himself up to his full height, took on the swagger of his deputy position, and strutted toward the obvious leader of the crew.
“What the hell are y’all doin’?” he asked the man, who had just loaded a box into a large white van.
Upon seeing Jason’s uniform, the man looked at him with a bit of concern.
“We had an order placed this morning to move this stuff out today,” the man said, fumbling with some paperwork in his pocket.
“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that,” Jason returned. “This here is the sight of a police investigation, and you’ll need to put those boxes back in there and come back when you have been authorized.”
The man looked around nervously before noticing that Jason’s cruiser said Bon Temps and not Shreveport. “What does a police officer from Bon Temps want here? This ain’t even your jurisdiction,” the man said with a bit of challenge in his voice covering up his nervousness.
Sookie decided it was time to try to listen into the man’s thoughts to see if she could help her brother. From them, she heard that the man had twenty unpaid parking tickets, that there was a bench warrant out for him, and that one of his workers inside was an illegal alien.
“Jase,” Sookie said, as she got out of the car.
“Just one sec.,” Jason said to the man before adding forcefully, “and stop moving anything else!”
Sookie whispered to her brother what she had heard, and he went back to the cruiser, pretending to look something up and to make a radio call.
When he returned to the man’s side, he said in an authoritative but conciliatory voice, “Listen, man. I know that you are only tryin’ to do your job here. I’m here because of a multi-jurisdiction investigation of drugs bein’ sold out of this place.”
Sookie noted that the man’s thoughts betrayed his belief that some of the contents of the business had seemed very odd to him, but he had dismissed it as ‘fruity new-aged shit’.
Jason continued, “Also, I have run your plates, and it seems there are parking violations outstanding on this vehicle.”
Sookie heard the man trying to remember if any of his parking tickets had been gotten while he was driving this work van. He didn’t think so, but he also didn’t want to take any chances.
“I think that I can just overlook those things if your men put the contents of the building back into place. We’ll take your number and let you know when the investigation is over if you still need to move the items later,” Jason said in a folksy tone.
The man, whom Sookie had found out was named Henry, looked Jason up and down before deciding to do as he asked. Thankfully, Jesus and Lafayette had stayed in the car, so the man wasn’t suspicious about why Jason was accompanied by three people in street clothes. Lafayette’s flamboyant leopard print pants and purple shirt may have caused Henry more than a momentary doubt about their intentions.
Within ten minutes, the moving crew of four had left after unloading the few boxes that had already been put into the two vans that they’d been using.
Jesus quickly began scanning the bookcases, which hadn’t yet been packed up, looking for the book with the spell he’d seen. Finding it, he read the spell so that he could collect the ingredients he would need. It was actually a relatively simple spell, and soon, Sookie, Jason, and Lafayette were opening boxes as Jesus collected the things he needed. Sookie then carefully packed up the materials into an unused box, and the four were on their way. It was just after 3:30, about three hours until sunset.
Sookie looked over her shoulder at Jesus, who seemed to be reading her mind for a change. “It’s too late to try it today, anyway,” he said. “We’ll want them asleep when we do it.”
Sookie nodded and then looked back at the road in front of them.
She wondered what nightfall would bring. Would either or both of her vampires seek her out? At that moment, she was glad that she was staying at Lafayette’s where invitations could be given and rescinded.
Part of her wanted to see them more than anything else. Bill―her first love, her first everything―was back in her life. Sure he’d mislead her about his true intensions, but Sookie felt that they were past that now; she felt like she could forgive him, had forgiven him. Even thinking about him made her warm.
And if Bill warmed her, the thought of Eric set her body aflame. But that was her Eric. She was so confused about who the real him was now that she just needed some time by herself.
She hoped that, for once, they would understand her need to have some “me” time.
After making a quick stop at the grocery store for limes and more food for the evening, Jason stopped at his house for a change of clothes.
Once back at Lafayette and Jesus’s home, the four talked and laughed about everything that could be imagined―everything except blood magic and witches’ spells, that is.
As shot after shot of expensive tequila was shared between them, they all relaxed and enjoyed the evening. They giggled as they all tallied up how many fifty dollar shots they were putting away. Suffice it to say, they lost count many times and squabbled about the final tally.
And when the tequila was gone, they cracked open the bottle of gin that Lafayette said was worth at least $100 and made martinis.
“Fucking high-handed vampire,” Sookie thought to herself in her now mostly-drunken state, as she chewed on an olive flavored with the most delicious gin she’d ever tasted. She glanced at the clock above Lafayette’s television. It read 6:26 p.m. She smiled a little smile as she felt a jolt of energy within her, a jolt that seemed to warm her from the inside out like one of Eric’s smiles. She dismissed that thought immediately and ate another olive, certain that her alcohol buzz had caused the other ‘buzz’ in her body as well.