Headnote: This INNER-Lude should be read after “INNER-Lude 3—Warlow.”
I opened my eyes to the light of day spilling through the huge window of the bedroom I’d been shown to the night—actually, the morning—before.
I glanced at the clock on the nightstand. 2:00 p.m.
I could hardly process the past few days—and especially nights—which had led me to be staying in a beautiful house on a tiny island off of the coast of Rhode Island.
Instead of being a virtual captive in my father’s home.
I was 22—very young compared to Pam, the vampire who had recently come into my life like a bolt of lightning.
Of course, her appearance hadn’t been the first drastic change to my existence. I sighed as I remembered the other time when my life was irrevocably altered. It was hard to believe that it had been almost three years since my father had changed to the point where I hardly knew him.
It had been two weeks after my nineteenth birthday, and I was home from college for the weekend. My father had begged me to go to Louisiana State University, only miles away from the Governor’s mansion. And I’d given into his request, though I’d insisted that I stay in the dorms. Of course, we’d had to compromise: guards were always stationed nearby and I’d agreed to come “home” most weekends.
But—honestly—I’d not minded. I’d never been a party-girl, preferring to read and study, rather than to behave “wildly.” It wasn’t that I was shy either—though, looking back, I knew that I’d been sheltered. Mainly, however, I’d just always preferred knowing where I stood with people, and my father’s political career and my mother’s money had made that difficult. Not only did I have to deal with my guards, but also I had to deal with a lot of people who wanted to hang around with me just because my parents were richer than God and more influential than the devil.
At least—that was the saying I’d made up for my parents in my head.
Not that I’d ever risked saying that particular thought out loud.
Actually, it was my mom who was the wealthy one—so wealthy that her family made the Hiltons look like the middle class. I had always speculated that my father’s ambition for political office had originated from his desire to “keep up.” And he loved my mom so much that I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that he’d made a deal with the devil to impress her.
I sighed as I got out of bed and trod over to the window, ignoring my screaming bladder for a moment. From my room, I could see the shoreline of Rhode Island in the distance, even as small boats moved between the island I was on and the mainland.
The view looked like freedom to me; it was beautiful.
I sighed and then went to the bathroom before following my nose to some coffee.
And to the truly beautiful man who had made it: Jason Stackhouse.
My breath caught as he turned around and gave me a crooked grin which was full of sin. I’d been able to recognize that he was a “ladies’ man” as soon as I’d met him in the early—very early—morning hours as “my” vampires had met up with some other people on a plane headed from the Shreveport area to the Northeast.
It had been difficult to ignore Jason’s charms, even though he’d drooled in his sleep for most of the plane trip. In fact, Jason and Sookie Stackhouse, the woman who was going to marry Pam’s maker, had slept during the entire flight. And, of course, the vampires had “slept” too—in coffins.
Seeing them climb into them had been enough to keep me awake for the entire flight. Even now, I shuddered a little—in both fear and anticipation—as I thought about the fact that I, too, would soon be in need of a coffin of my own.
“Hey, there, pretty lady!” Jason greeted, even as he preened. Geez! Why wasn’t the man wearing a shirt?!
“Hi,” I said shyly.
“Do you want some coffee?” he asked, scratching his six pack—as if he needed to draw my attention to it.
Newsflash: My attention was already there.
“Yes. Sure,” I returned, trying to sound calm. And trying to look up into his eyes.
Another handsome, bare-chested man came up behind Jason and popped him in the back of the head. The other man, I knew, was named Tray, though he’d guarded the vampires’ coffins in the back of the plane—at Sookie’s insistence—so I’d not seen him much.
Still, I noted that—though probably ten years or so older than I was—Tray was very well-built and handsome. Once I dragged my eyes up from his eight-pack (who knew that those really existed?), I noted that his eyes were brown and held a warmth in them that warmed me, despite the cool coming through the windows of the kitchen.
“Stop drooling over the ‘pretty lady,'” Tray winked at me even as I wiped the drool from the side of my own mouth. “And pour me some coffee too, Stackhouse.”
Jason scoffed, but pulled two coffee cups from a cabinet.
I giggled and blushed. I wasn’t used to being around men who weren’t my father’s business colleagues or my expressionless “keepers.”
“Do you like it sweet?” Jason asked me suggestively. “Or would you prefer some cream?”
My mouth gaped as Tray hit Jason again. “Don’t be a prick,” he said, rolling his eyes at Jason before taking over the coffee pouring.
“What’d I miss?” Sookie asked, dragging her feet into the room, even as she was texting someone.
“Your brother is shamelessly flirting with Willa,” Tray chuckled.
“Am not,” Jason glared.
“And what about you, Tray?” Sookie asked.
“There’s nothing shameless about it?” he said, winking at me again.
I felt my cheeks inflame.
“Stop being adolescents and put on some shirts, or I’ll put you both on bacon-cooking duty,” she warned.
Both men quickly left the kitchen.
Sookie giggled and looked at me. “I’m so sorry that Jason and I fell asleep on you this morning on the plane. But my brother works a lot of night shifts, and I’m becoming more and more used to vampire hours.”
My eyes traveled down to her pregnant belly. Was it just my imagination, or was she A LOT bigger than she’d been the night before?
Nothing was mentioned about her size, however, as Tray and Jason both reentered the room—with shirts on. I didn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed about that. Meanwhile, Sookie shuffled toward the refrigerator. As if he were a little afraid not to, Jason placed a large cup of coffee on the counter near his sister.
He also placed a container of salt next to the cup, and Sookie immediately grinned at him. “Thanks, Jase,” she smiled before opening the salt and pouring what had to be at least seven teaspoons into the cup.
I’m sure my mouth was gaping.
“Don’t worry,” she smiled at me from over her shoulder. “The doctor said that caffeine isn’t bad for the babies—not in my case.”
“I think she’s likely surprised by the salt, Miss Stackhouse,” Tray chuckled.
“Oh. Of course!” Sookie nodded before looking at Tray. “And it’s Sookie,” she emphasized.
“Sookie,” he agreed.
“Salt is good for the babies too—apparently—and I am craving it like crazy!” she said, even as she glanced at me again.
I simply nodded. Pam had told me that Sookie was “different,” but I wasn’t sure how. Pam had also informed me that she needed to discuss things with her maker before she told me any specifics about Sookie. Based on what I’d seen, however, I figured that there was something supernatural about her.
I certainly wasn’t supernatural. But I did have very good intuition when it came to people. And I could tell that there was a lot more to Sookie Stackhouse than met the eye.
As soon as Sookie had finished half of her cup of coffee, she peered into the refrigerator. Quickly, Tray stepped over to help her, and she’d soon tasked Jason with chopping onions because she claimed to be too emotional already and didn’t need another reason to cry.
“Dammit, Sook,” Jason grumbled as he took the onion and found a knife.
“Afraid to cry in front of the new girl?” Tray teased Jason, even as he winked at me again.
I found that I liked it when he looked at me—for any reason.
Jason grunted again. “Why don’t you do it?” he challenged.
Tray chuckled. “Your sister has already put me on pancake duty.”
“Um—I can help,” I volunteered. “Uh—I don’t know how to do much, to be honest with you, but I can try.”
Sookie smiled kindly and handed me a bowl of already-cracked eggs (a good thing since I didn’t know how to crack them) and a whisk.
“Stir these up—will you?” she asked.
I smiled back and began the task.
“So—uh—Willa,” Jason said with a sniffle, clearly fighting the tears caused by his onion chopping, “where are you from, and how did you come to be with Pam and Tara?”
“You don’t already know who I am?” I asked, suddenly nervous.
“I know,” Sookie soothed, “and you are more than welcome here.”
Tray nodded in my direction, letting me know that he was aware of who I was, too.
I breathed a sigh of relief as Sookie addressed her brother. “Willa’s father is Truman Burrell.”
It took Jason a few minutes to place the name.
“The crazy fella—the governor?” Jason asked. “The one who came up with the Hitler thing for vampers?”
“Vampires,” Sookie and I corrected at the same time.
Sookie turned to smile at me before looking at her brother and speaking firmly. “Jason, what Willa’s father was planning to do has no relationship to her. In fact, she was helping Pam and Tara to spy on her father.”
“Dang, Sook,” Jason frowned, “I wasn’t sayin’ nothin’ bad about Willa—here. I know better than anyone that you can’t pick your family.”
Sookie looked upset for a moment.
“Wait a minute!” Jason said, catching on that his comment might have been offensive to his sister. “What I meant to say was that you and Gran deserved a lot better than me,” he clarified, clearly ashamed about something he’d done in the past.
Tray popped Jason in the back of the head in a brotherly way.
I found myself smiling at the older man—and thinking to myself that he wasn’t actually that old.
Probably no more than 35.
“Stop doin’ that, man,” Jason said, rubbing his head and scowling at Tray.
“Stop putting your foot in your mouth, so I can stop needing to dislodge it for you,” Tray grinned at Sookie.
I giggled, eliciting another wink from Tray. Though Jason Stackhouse had certainly been more attractive to me initially, I found myself shivering at Tray’s attentions. And I blushed even more when he blushed in return before going back to his pancake duties as if he’d not just had that reaction.
“Set the table?” Sookie asked me as she took the bowl of eggs from my paused hands; she had a knowing look in her eyes as she glanced at Tray, and I blushed all the more, glad for an excuse to turn away from the group for a few minutes.
I shook my head at my own reaction to the men in the room as I found plates for the four of us.
“You can bring the plates here, but set out five places with silverware,” Sookie said off-handedly.
“Five?” I asked myself, thinking about the others I knew were with us. Three vampires had flown with us, and two additional coffins had “met” us at the Rhode Island airport, so I knew that no one else in our party could actually eat the omelets and pancakes being made for breakfast—even if they could survive the sun coming in through the generously-sized windows that seemed to dominate almost every room of the home, except for the specially made vampire rooms, which required codes to enter.
I’d noticed after our arrival that Sookie oversaw Eric being safely put into a room that they were to share. And—because of that—she had a code. Others who were helping us, sent by the vampire king in the area, had made sure that the two vampires who’d arrived on the separate plane were safe, while Tray had made sure that Pam and Tara were safe and sound in a room together. I had to admit that I kept an eye on both of them too, especially Pam—even though I still couldn’t fathom or understand the draw I felt to her.
By this time, the plates had been filled and the others had joined me at the table—with the fifth guest not having arrived yet. In fact, the others must have been eating for a while as I’d been lost in my thoughts.
“You okay?” Sookie asked kindly, even as she managed to half-glare at Jason, who’d borrowed a bit of salt for his eggs. Quickly, he slid the spice back toward his sister.
“Uh—sorry, Sook,” he stammered, looking a little afraid as Tray chuckled.
Sookie looked back at me. “Are you okay?” she asked again.
“Yes. Just thinking about everything that’s changed in my life over the last couple of days,” I confessed.
“I know just how it feels for your life to seemingly change overnight,” she said with a little smile and a pat to her belly.
I nodded. “Yeah. But it’s not just that. I mean—I would have helped Pam and Tara regardless because I truly hate my father’s views about vampires. But I didn’t expect my reaction to Pam,” I said a little quieter, even as I shrugged and took a bite of my omelet before it got cold.
“Well—Pam can sure be a scary bitch,” Jason drawled before shoveling what likely amounted to half a pancake into his mouth. “I gotta feelin’ she’d rather drain most humans than talk to ’em,” he added as he chewed.
“Jason!” Sookie admonished. “What would Gran say if she saw you talkin’ with your mouth full?”
“Oops,” Jason said. “Sorry,” he added after shoveling in yet another large bite.
I had a strong feeling that Jason and table manners weren’t exactly friends. And that didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was my reaction to what he’d said about Pam. I found myself wanting to defend her, even though I recognized that Jason was right about her: she could be scary. But the way she looked at me—dealt with me—was different. Maybe that’s why I felt the need to defend her.
“Pam didn’t scare me when we first met. Well—maybe she startled me a little,” I owned, remembering my surprise at suddenly traveling at vampire speed in Pam’s arms when I’d not even realized that she was there. “But then—as soon as I saw her . . . .” I stopped, not knowing how to describe the feeling I’d had.
“Eric said that Pam felt a pull toward you?” Sookie asked helpfully. “Did you feel one back?”
“Dang it!” Jason muttered, causing everyone to quickly look at him.
“What’s wrong?” Sookie asked.
“It just seems like every pretty girl nowadays is one of them lesbians,” he pouted. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” he added quickly, “‘cept that they ain’t inclined to hook up with me.” He pouted. “Pam, Tara, and you,” he sighed. “I wonder if Jess is one now, too.”
Sookie giggled loudly at her brother’s words, even as I felt the need to correct them. I found myself glancing at Tray rather than Jason, however. And I felt a blush burning my cheeks.
“Um—I didn’t mean I was attracted to Pam like that,” I said softly. “It’s just that she asked me if I’d consider being her vampire child, and it was weird, but I knew I wanted to say ‘yes’ right away. I’d never even thought about being a vampire before, but—just like that—I felt like it was fate that Pam was there.” I shrugged. “It’s hard to explain.”
Sookie put her hand over mine and gave me a sincere smile. I found that I was comforted by her gesture; it felt almost sisterly—or maybe even motherly in a way. “Supernatural stuff is sometimes impossible to explain.” She patted my hand. “If you do decide to become a vampire, I’m sure you’ll learn all about that.”
“You’re gonna be a blood-sucker?” Jason asked incredulously, a frown overtaking his expression.
“Jason Stackhouse!” Sookie chastised. “I won’t stand for such names in my presence or in the presence of the kids—whose daddy is a vampire!”
“Oh, Sook!” Jason put up his hands. “I didn’t mean nothin’ by it. I was just surprised that someone would want that,” he added, glancing at me with all the subtlety of a herd of buffalo.
I hoped that I was a little more subtle as I stole another glance at Tray, hoping that his eyes didn’t hold disgust or judgement.
I breathed an unexpected sigh of relief when he was simply looking at me with interest, as he’d done many times throughout the morning—um early afternoon. I felt my cheeks blush again. “Um—Pam and I are gonna wait a little while before we decide for sure—at least until after the stuff with my dad dies down. And she told me that there’s a ban on turning now—anyway.”
“So you might change your mind then?” Jason asked somewhat hopefully.
Oddly enough, I didn’t sense that Jason was necessarily prejudiced, but it seemed clear to me that he would have preferred that the world be “normal.” Of course, the fact that he supported his sister’s wedding to a vampire enough to travel to Rhode Island for it said a lot about his inner character. Still, other than his good looks, I realized I wasn’t that attracted to him.
Tray, on the other hand, was a different story, and—as I had that thought—my face must have turned even redder, given the heat I felt on my cheeks. I noticed that Tray’s cheeks were ruddy too.
Quickly, I looked down at my plate and ate more of my breakfast, even as Jason pushed back from his spot, his own plate already scraped clean. “Well—I think I’m gonna go outside and look around a bit. There’s a dock out there. I think I saw some fishin’ stuff, too.” He looked at Tray. “Wanna come?” he asked.
Tray glanced at me and gave me a little smile before standing. “It’d be good to get more familiar with the perimeter,” he agreed. He gave me one more “look” before he left.
“He likes you,” Sookie grinned once they were out the door.
At the same time as she spoke, there was a “popping” noise in the room, and a man appeared—quite literally—out of thin air.
“Who likes whom?” the man asked.
“Oh—hey, Claude,” Sookie said casually, as if people appeared and disappeared around her all the time. I was sure that my mouth was gaping open, but I couldn’t quite close it. “Well—both Jason and Tray seem to like Willa, actually.” She gave me a knowing look. “But Willa already seems to have figured out that Jason’s a can or two short of a six pack.”
“Oh—well,” the man named Claude shrugged. “Lucky for Jason, he’s got a different kind of six pack,” he said.
“Tray’s is better,” I muttered, causing both Sookie and Claude to chuckle.
Quickly, Claude sniffed out the plate that Sookie had left in the oven for him. He joined us at the table soon after and dug into his food.
“Sorry I was late,” he said between bites—rather than during one as Jason would have.
Sookie shrugged. “Is everything okay?”
Claude nodded. “Just a fight between the Claudes again.” He rolled his eyes and looked at me. “My sisters—my many sisters.”
I nodded, though I couldn’t really empathize since I had no siblings.
“A fight?” Sookie asked.
“Yes. They were arguing about how to create the best scent concealment spell.” He rolled his eyes again.
“But—uh—they made one. Right?” Sookie asked. “You’ll be okay if you stay for the wedding—even with the vampires around?”
Claude nodded as he finished a bite. “Yes. Don’t worry. The Claudes might squabble, but they eventually get it together.”
“Oh—I’m so sorry!” Sookie exclaimed after she’d gulped down some salty coffee. “I should have introduced you two properly. Willa, this is my cousin, Claude. Claude, this is Willa. She was helping us with Governor Burrell. She’s his daughter, actually. Oh—and she might become Pam’s daughter—or, uh, vampire child—soon—as weird as that sounds,” she added almost to herself.
“Oh,” Claude said, offhandedly—as if the weather were being discussed. “Well, it’s nice to meet you. Once you become a vampire, we likely won’t run in the same circles though.” He chuckled as if he’d just told a joke.
“How did you—uh?” I started, but then just pointed to where he’d materialized.
“I’m a fairy,” he explained. “I can teleport to the locations of others with my bloodline. Fairies also smell really good to vampires, thus the scent concealer I’m currently wearing,” he added pleasantly. “Sadly, the ingredients for it aren’t the easiest to come by, and once you’re a vampire, you’d have a hard time not draining me.”
My face felt a little drained, given the nonchalance with which Claude spoke about my potential desire to drain him. Sookie had been right. The Supernatural world was going to be very hard to get used to.
“So, do you wanna help me plan a wedding in,” Sookie paused, “five hours?”
I thought that she was talking to Claude at first, but she was looking right at me.
“Huh?” I asked, inelegantly, still processing the fact that fairies were real and could appear out of thin air—oh, and that vampires wanted to drain them so they had to cover their scents with magic.
“Jason will be useless—until it comes time to string up light or something,” Sookie scoffed. “And—no offense Claude—but it would be nice to have a female opinion when I pick out a dress to wear.”
“None taken,” he said, seemingly enamored with his food. “I’m mainly here early because your bonded wanted me to make sure you stayed safe today.”
“But that’s why Tray’s here,” Sookie said with a frown.
“I think Eric wanted both of us to take care of you if you left the house,” Claude said with a shrug—before he took another bite.
I listened to Sookie mutter something about highhandedness and Vikings and men and expectant fathers before she took a long breath and then let it out slowly. “Tray will stay here to make sure that no one bothers Eric and the others,” she said firmly, her eyes shining in a definitely otherworldly way. Thankfully, they’d softened back to their normal brown color before she looked back at me. “Willa, I heard that you had to leave your house quickly and that you don’t have a lot of clothes. Maybe we can find some stuff for you while we’re out.”
I glanced at Claude, who seemed amused by Sookie’s protective outburst.
And her glowy eyes.
I decided to just ignore them.
“Okay,” I said. In truth, I did need clothing and other personal items. As much as I was drawn to Pam, her style wasn’t like mine at all. Her clothing seemed to be either soccer mom or dominatrix, and I was more of a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl—when I could get away with it. And—honestly—I didn’t want to ask Tara to lend me anything. I got the feeling that she wasn’t quite sold on my presence in her maker’s life, and I wasn’t anxious to rock that boat in any way.
Especially not with my potential future “sister,” who was also the lover of my potential maker.
Nope—that didn’t seem wise at all!
“I think I’ve finally found it!” Sookie said excitedly through the dressing room door.
I giggled behind my hand. Sookie had been dress shopping for about an hour—not a lot of time at all when it came to looking for a wedding dress, but she’d sighed and lamented her way through every minute since the assistant to the vampire king of New England had dropped us off at the wedding dress boutique.
I shook my head. A vampire king! Of course, I’d known that some vampires were higher up in whatever hierarchical system they had, but learning that there were monarchs—and learning that Eric was the acting king of Louisiana—blew my mind a little.
“But—then again—maybe I shouldn’t wear white,” Sookie sighed, sounding unsure of herself.
I passed her a bottle of salt water under the door—just in case it was her hormones causing the current dip in her mood.
“Thanks!” she said brightly, practically seizing the water from my hands.
I smiled to myself. In just a few hours, I had found that I liked Sookie very much. She felt almost like the older sister I’d always wanted—heck, that confidant I’d always wanted.
I’d been too shy—and too suspicious thanks to my parents—to ever really form tight friendships.
But I intuited that Sookie liked me—just for me.
“What do you think?” Sookie asked as she walked out of the dressing room, carrying the already half-drunk bottle in her hand. She spun around tentatively.
I couldn’t help my grin. “You look beautiful!”
She turned to the side.
“Not too pregnant?”
I couldn’t help my giggle. “But you are pregnant!” In fact, she looked about six months along, and she’d also told me that she was carrying twins.
Sookie shook her head, and her expression seemed part ecstatic and part nervous—probably a “normal” look for a bride to have.
“I was always raised that I should be married before I was expecting a baby—babies,” she emphasized.
I smiled at her. In the hours we’d spent together, Sookie hadn’t told me everything about her and Eric’s situation, but I’d perceived enough to guess that she was somehow carrying his children—his actual children. A vampire’s children! Of course, I had no concrete evidence of that fact, and—even if I did—I had no intention of telling my theories to anyone; my instincts told me that that would be very bad for my new friend.
In fact, I was already planning to ask Pam to glamour me so that I couldn’t tell anyone about any of my new vampire/human/etc. friends.
“I think that Eric would find you lovely in any color,” I told Sookie honestly as I looked at her in her dress. “But—as for wearing white?” I shrugged. “I’d wager that most brides aren’t virgins when they get married anymore. Heck—I’m just glad that it doesn’t really matter nowadays, or even I couldn’t wear white!”
Sookie looked at me in question even as I flamed into a blush as I realized that I’d just broached a subject that only two other people knew about.
But when Sookie’s eyes took on intense concern, it was I who looked at her in question.
“You weren’t ‘hurt’ when you were younger—were you?” she asked seriously, her eyes glowing again.
The undertones of her question were clear as was the power I saw in her. I knew in that moment that—if I had been hurt by someone—Sookie would be willing to exact justice for me.
It was also in that moment that I realized that Sookie had likely been molested as a child. Whether that monster had taken her virginity or not, I didn’t know, but I felt the need to comfort her, so I stood and took her hand.
“I wasn’t hurt like that,” I assured. “When I was fourteen, I took a spill from a horse.” I tried to smile, though I knew my tone was a little bitter. “I’ll never forget how mad my mom was at me for no longer having evidence of my virtue.” I shook my head. “I’m still not sure that she believes that I’ve never been with a,” I paused, feeling my blush acutely, “guy.”
Sookie sighed with relief and squeezed my hand. “It’s okay to wait for the right one.”
“The security guards that my father’s had tracking me since he became governor aren’t helpful in that department either,” I said, trying to lighten the mood. “There have been a couple of guys that I liked—really liked—but they were kind of freaked out by everything.”
“Speaking of that, won’t your dad be looking for you? Since you’ve basically disappeared?” Sookie asked.
“I called my mother,” I responded. “I told her that I’d finally gotten tired of Dad’s ‘imprisonment’ and was staying with friends, which is true I guess. She’ll tell my dad—and any authorities that he contacts about my disappearance.” I shrugged. “It’s not like I’m not over eighteen—and twenty-one,” I added with a scoff.
Sookie patted my arm. “I can tell that you love your dad—you know,” she said, showing that she was just as intuitive as I was. Probably more so.
“Yeah,” I said. “He used to be different. I mean—he was always super overprotective, and his politics were always really conservative. And I haven’t agreed with them for a long time,” I shared. “But—even after vampires came out—I thought he’d be fair to them. Fair, but” I paused, “cautious. You know—stuff like, ‘We have to be careful to protect our own.'” I rolled my eyes. “That’s kind of how he’s always operated with any people different from him—whether they’re a different religion, race, sexuality, or nationality.”
Sookie chuckled. “So your typical white, male, ultra-Conservative Southerner?”
I nodded and shared a knowing look with her. “He wasn’t pleased when I turned out more liberal in my beliefs than he is, but he was never a hater—until my mom did what she did.”
“She left him? She ran off with a vampire?” Sookie asked.
“How did you know?” I asked, wondering if Pam had told her.
“Sarah,” she responded simply. “She resented you, and Eric had her glamoured at the time, so she spilled all of her thoughts.”
I sighed. I hated Sarah fucking Newlin. “She made Daddy about fifty times worse than he already was—feeding his hate every chance she got.”
“She is full of hate,” Sookie said with a mixture of sadness and anger. Her reaction alone was enough to make me like her even more. It was clear that she still had compassion even for Sarah—something that I couldn’t muster.
Maybe I’d be a good vampire, after all.
“How about your mom?” Sookie asked. “Are you close with her?”
I sighed. “She and I were never really close—to tell you the truth,” I responded. “I wanted to be, but she was born into wealth and then sort of lorded that over Daddy.” I shook my head sadly. “I could tell that much from an early age, but he loved her so much that he overlooked it every time she condescended him. And she was always busy with her charities, which weren’t actually charities at all!”
Sookie looked at me in question.
“They were really just excuses for her to look and feel important,” I said bitterly. “And I was never quite pretty or talented or stylish—or whatever—enough for her.”
Sookie looked sad for a moment, but then squeezed my hand. “Moms aren’t always right about their daughters—you know?” she asked. I could tell somehow that she knew that fact from firsthand experience—just as I did.
I smiled at her appreciatively. “My mom and I have actually had a better relationship since she’s been with Jacob.”
“Her vampire?” she asked.
I nodded. “Yeah. I think he swept her off her feet and helped her to realize that there was a lot more to the world than fancy clothes and dinner parties.”
“Why weren’t you living with her then?” Sookie asked. “I mean—don’t feel like you have to answer if I’m prying. I was just wondering.”
“My dad was broken after she left—at least until Sarah Newlin infiltrated his life,” I sighed. “And I was already going to school in Louisiana. And then Daddy got militant about his hatred of vampires, and I was sort of afraid to go see her—afraid that the guards he sent with me might harm her or Jacob.” I closed my eyes. “I have no idea how he’ll react when I become a vampire.”
“He might surprise you,” she said uncertainly.
“I doubt it,” I sighed.
“Do you really think you’ll do it? Become a vampire?” she asked, her voice quivering a little.
I nodded. “Yeah. I can’t explain why, but yeah.”
She looked down, and her eyes were wistful. “I wish I could be so sure about my future and what it will entail.” She shrugged. “I’m just glad I have more time to decide since being part fairy will allow me to have a longer life than most.”
My eyes widened. Yes—I was surprised that she was part-fairy, but I was even more surprised that she’d not already decided to become a vampire with Eric. Then again, I knew that all experiences weren’t like mine.
“You didn’t feel the pull to him? To Eric?” I asked her.
She froze for a moment and looked at me as if wanting to dissect my every thought.
“What did the pull feel like? For you?” she asked.
I paused for a moment, somehow knowing that her question was extremely important to her, so I tried—for the first time—to think of the feeling in words.
“It felt like all of the air had been taken out of the world when I first saw Pam. And then it just felt like I wanted—no needed—to be close to her once the air came back,” I explained.
She paled a little and then closed her eyes and put her hands over her belly, which was framed beautifully by the white silk of the gown she still wore.
“I felt those things too,” she said with her eyes still closed. “And I felt more.”
I squeezed her hand, and she opened her eyes. “I think that you are getting to live out the ‘more’ now, Sookie,” I smiled at her and glanced at her belly.
She sighed. “I’m glad that you are with us, Willa,” she smiled softly at me. “Welcome to the family.”
I couldn’t help but to grin back. “Thank you, Sookie. Thank you,” I said, never more grateful than I was in that moment—because I’d never felt so happy before.
A/N: I didn’t mind the idea of Willa in the show, but I hated the way TIIC (the idiots in charge) utilized her to make Eric into a short-sighted villain. And to make a child and then just basically abandon her? In the San Francisco scenes w/ Pam, Eric talks about how makers need to be responsible. So why would he be ready to change his philosophy so quickly in order to take on Governor Burrell? BEFORE he is even aware of the Vamp Camp? Anyway, Eric deserved better and so did Willa. I wanted to develop her character a little.
I hope you enjoyed this “INNER-Lude”; we’ll return to Eric’s perspective in From the Inside Out next week.