Chapter 12: The Second Hand Unwinds

SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2005

APPROXIMATELY NINE MONTHS LATER

SOOKIE POV

I woke up with a jolt, sitting straight up. I saw the gray and beige bedroom I’d tried to die in. Felipe’s pool house!

I blinked. And I blinked again. Only when I calmed myself from whatever nightmare I’d been having did I recognize that I was in my yellow room—that I was home.

I took several more steadying breaths until I “found” Gran’s mind. She was trying to decide between a baked chicken and a roast beef for Sunday supper. I sighed, letting myself think her thoughts with her for a while—until I was sure that she wasn’t dead.

I gripped the cool metal in my hand and then opened my fist to see the question mark pendant in it. I inhaled and exhaled in relief. I was in Life 2.

The same thing happened every morning.

Every time I woke up, I found myside inside of Life 1 for a moment—even though I’d been living in Life 2 for more than a year. I always had to center myself—to focus on Gran’s mind, which was invariably busy by the time I woke up. And then I had to look at the pendant that Life 2 Eric had given to me.

Ironically—surprisingly—I was grateful for the daily memories of my life that had been. Those memories kept me grounded—and grateful.

And vigilant.

However, all things considered, Life 2 was very different from Life 1.

For example, I’d just completed my first semester of online classes.

Beginning Accounting: A+

Biology: C+

Algebra 101: B

Beginning English Composition: A-

Gran had put my report card up on the refrigerator, as if I were a grade-schooler. But I couldn’t help but to be proud too. After all, those were my best grades ever. In public school, I’d gotten more “pity” C’s than real ones. But in my online classes and with my “virtual classmates,” I was a “valuable contributor”—at least that’s what one of my professors had told me.

I smiled as I slipped out of bed. I’d already started my summer courses. I was taking three—anxious to finish my degree. I’d easily gotten through my four during the spring semester because—let’s face it—I didn’t have much of a life. I’d kept my fulltime hours at Merlotte’s, but I had very little “social life”—unless my chats with Gran counted.

Indeed, I was viewing my life as if I had two full-time jobs. Merlotte’s and school. And—given those commitments, I didn’t have much time to think about Eric at all. In fact, I’d already registered for six classes in the fall, which was the maximum I could take.

Just so that I would continue to not think about him—just as much as I could.

I was determined to graduate as soon as I could—even if my degree didn’t lead to a “real” job. My earnings from my betting were enough to pay for my education—though I was currently taking loans and saving my money. And—for now, at least—I was having fun learning things I’d never been able to learn before.

I had to say that—for a telepath—online classes were amazing!

Every night—I wanted to call Eric. To tell him, “Thank you.” It had been he who had first encouraged me to look into getting an online education. Actually, it hadn’t been Life 2 Eric. It had been Life 1 Eric.

I frowned.

Life 1 Eric was gone.

In coming back, I’d killed him.

Gran still talked to me about Life 2 Eric every once in a while, despite the fact that I’d told her that I was the culprit behind out “breakup.” Looking back, I should have come up with a different reason for going to New Orleans other than working for Eric. That trip had just extended Gran’s hope that Eric and I were having a “secret” fairy tale romance.

To keep Gran from hoping even longer, I’d had to stop wearing the question mark pendant Eric had given to me, though I kept it under my pillow and held it grasped in my palm each night.

I couldn’t help but to wonder if Eric could still feel me from our one blood exchange. It had been more than a year since we’d shared our blood, so I doubted he could feel me.

I, of course, had never felt him—not in Life 2.

The funny thing was that Gran had become pen pals of sorts with Eric. He wrote to her like clockwork—once a week. And his letters always requested that she write back to him. And those letters were always accompanied by pink lilies.

Yes. Eric and Gran had become true friends through the words they’d written to one another, but I could only imagine what they spoke about since I denied myself the comfort of delving into Gran’s mind when it came to them.

Penance.

I made sure that Gran knew that I didn’t begrudge her the contact she enjoyed with the Viking.

In fact, a part of me was grateful that Eric’s life was still touching mine—even if it was only indirectly.


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2005

I’d just suffered through a double shift—thanks to Arlene’s most recent “boyfriend crisis”—and had come home to hear Gran thinking about Eric’s latest letter.

After a quick shower, I told Gran that I was gonna take some flowers to Daddy and Momma.

Accepting the fact that she and Eric were writing to one another was one thing. Having to hear about it when my shields were shot to hell was another.

I’d “heard” that he’d told her about an interesting encounter he’d had with Martin Luther in his weekly letter. It was exactly the kind of thing I’d always wished that he’d have told me about. But—then again—when would he have felt “free” enough with me to share himself?

I hurried out of the house and cut some roses before heading toward the cemetery. As always, I kept a tight reign over my distress—a tight reign over all of my feelings. I didn’t want to risk Claudine visiting, after all.

So far, I’d avoided any contact with her, which meant that her life expectancy had increased by a lot.

I sat next to Daddy’s grave and meditated, quickly feeling myself become numb, which was something I’d perfected during my time in Life 2.

All vampire blood seemed to be out of me now; thus, maintaining my shields was up to me and me only. And I’d been much more conscientious about trying to make others forget that I was “different.” I wanted everyone to think of me as “ordinary.”

Because of this, I’d been keeping all of my feelings close to the vest.

Even when it hurt like hell.

Joy was okay to feel—but I allowed the emotion only when I saw or interacted with anyone who was “supposed” to be dead.

Thus, I stayed somewhat disconnected from it—clinical.

Love was okay to feel—but only when I interacted with my family.

Clinical.

Loneliness was okay to feel—but only when I was in my bed at night waiting for sleep to come.

Clinical.

I cannot say how many times I woke up, my fingers searching for Eric—who was always just out of reach.

But I culled my loneliness. Long ago, I’d determined that it would be selfish on my part to ask for personal happiness in my “new” world. Others’ lives versus my own happiness? That equation didn’t need a mathematician to solve.

The answer was as clear as a bell.

Others Sookie.

I laid two roses on my daddy’s grave. And then two on my mother’s grave. The former was based on affection—the latter on obligation.

My duty to them done, I lay down between their graves, thankful for the silence the cemetery offered.

Aching to touch something alive, I allowed my fingers to delve into the earth—to link with the grass. And then I allowed myself to focus on my victories over the last year.

People I’d helped to keep alive: Maudette, Dawn, Gran, Tina (though she wasn’t a person), Hadley, Lafayette.

And more too!

Just the week before, I’d thwarted Sweetie Des Arts from ever getting started with her spree of hurting the two-natured.

I felt good about myself.

But my loneliness cut me. Perhaps that loneliness was my true Hell—my true penance. Nowadays, I always found myself struggling between selfishness and selflessness. I wanted to contact Eric, but I worried about the consequences—for him, for Gran, for Hunter, for Jason, for Sam.

For everyone!

Thus, most of the time, I just tried not to have a “self” anymore.

Work, spending time with loved ones, trying to protect said loved ones, studying, sleeping.

Those were the activities of my days.

Setting up an account to provide Jason and Gran with money in the event of my death—thanks to the bets I’d made on various sporting events.

Hustling at work so that I could earn as many tips as possible so that I’d have more for future bets.

Studying as hard as I was capable.

Being the best granddaughter I could be.

Being the best sister.

The best friend.

Pretending that I didn’t have a huge hole in my heart named Eric Northman.

Eric—I tried not to think of him that much. But it was difficult.

And—I knew that Eric was fine, of course.

My major source of information about Eric—a source I wish I didn’t have—was Dawn. She would go to Fangtasia at least once a week.

After the first two visits, her memories of Eric had involved him sitting on his throne. But after that, her memories had become harder for me to bear. I will admit that I was heartbroken when I unwittingly—unwillingly—”heard” Dawn thinking about being with Eric: recalling what it had felt like when he bit her, remembering the look in his eyes as she’d given him a blowjob, thinking about what his dick felt like when he was having sex with her from behind. No glamour had been involved in their encounter, so Dawn’s memories had been crisp and clear.

And loud!

I’d had to escape to the walk-in for a while after hearing them.

But it was worse when—two weeks later—Dawn thought loudly about a repeat performance. More sex. More biting. Eric telling her that her blood was better than most.

Then two weeks later, Dawn had new memories.

Internally, Dawn celebrated that Eric had made her a standing “date” as she told Sam that she’d need Monday nights off from then on.

Mondays—Fangtasia was closed on Mondays. I tried not to analyze what that meant too much.

I tried not to think about how Dawn was reading up on how to make her diet more “vampire friendly.” Apparently, there were things that could be eaten or avoided in order to improve the taste of one’s blood.

I tried not to cry every time Dawn thought about how happy she was to be “seeing” someone who made her feel like a queen.

In short, I tried not to be jealous of Dawn because of her Monday night dates.

After all, it’s not as if I had any claim to Eric in Life 2. And it’s not as if I could compete with someone like Dawn—if that’s what Life 2’s Eric wanted.

Indeed, Dawn and I were polar opposites.

She was tall; I was short.

She was a brunette; I was a blonde.

And then there were the more significant points of difference between Dawn and me.

She wasn’t a time traveler; I was.

She expected no commitment or feelings on Eric’s part; I would.

Oh—and she hadn’t caused a heaping load of trouble in his life either! Of course Life 2’s Eric hadn’t experienced that trouble first hand, but he’d heard all about Life 1 Eric’s troubles—many of them occurring because of me.

Plus—and this was the part it was hard not to be jealous of—Dawn was beautiful in every thought I heard about her, and it was her smile that most stood out in people’s minds; on the contrary, people’s minds still judged me as “odd,” and my boobs seemed to be my most memorable “quality.” Whenever we worked together, Dawn would get better tips—despite the fact that I had my telepathy to help me anticipate customers’ needs.

She was just more likeable.

More loveable.

Hell! Even Gran thought about Dawn’s beautiful smile and friendly personality when Jason casually mentioned that she was “seeing” Eric Northman, the owner of Fangtasia, during Sunday supper a few months before. Gran was still sad that things didn’t work out between Eric and me. But she couldn’t help but to feel happy for Dawn.

She imagined them together. In her mind, they were a “striking couple.”

And they were.

I was happy for them too—at least, I was when I wasn’t focusing on my losses. The unselfish part of me even recognized that someone like Dawn was good for Eric. She was fun, and drama wouldn’t follow her around like an albatross.

Still—it had become very difficult for me to work with Dawn because her thoughts often drifted to Eric nowadays.

A restaurant he took her to.

A dress he bought her.

A diamond bracelet.

His laugh.

His eyes.

The feelings she was developing for him.

She’d been my work partner for the second half of my double shift, which I’d taken so that Holly could go to a PTA meeting.

I was startled as someone knocked on my car window: Gran.

It was then that I realized I must have been sitting in my car for about twenty minutes—and probably worrying Gran the whole time!

Quickly, I opened the door to get out.

“You okay, honey?” Gran asked.

I took her hand. Yep. She’d been worrying about me.

“Something happen at work?” she asked.

“No. I’m so sorry to worry you, Gran,” I said as I held onto her hand while we walked up the porch steps together. “You know how double shifts give me headaches though.”

She sighed. “I wish you wouldn’t work those. I’m gonna call that boss of yours and give him a talkin’ to,” she threatened.

I chuckled. “Don’t do that, Gran. You know Sam tries. And—remember—Holly had the PTA meeting tonight, and Danielle is still down with that summer cold that’s been goin’ around.”

“Sam needs to replace Arlene,” Gran said as she took her favorite seat. I finally let go of her as she did. Gran figured that I had started holding onto her so much because I was worried about her getting old. And I was. But the truth was that I held her hand or hugged her whenever I could because I remembered what my world had been like without her in it.

I frowned. Arlene had been working fewer and fewer days. Her most recent man had moved in and was paying some of her bills for her. The problem was that that man was Whit Spradlin. In Life 1, Whit had turned Arlene into a militant Fellowship of the Sun member, and I could tell that a similar thing was happening in Life 2, too. The main difference was that there wasn’t a vampire living in town to galvanize the vampire haters.

“If Whit asks her to marry him, Arlene’s gonna quit,” I said. “Sam’s already mad at her for refusing to work shifts with Dawn,” I added. Internally, I thought about how odd it was that Arlene had remained my friend in Life 2, only because vampires weren’t in my life. But I worried that she might transfer her violent tendencies in Dawn’s direction.

Thus—truth be told—I hoped that Whit did marry her so that she wouldn’t be working at Merlotte’s when the shifters and Weres “came out,” which I figured would still take place the next January.

“What about Maudette?” Gran asked. “When will she be back?”

I smiled. Maudette had been an interesting difference in Life 2. Sam had hired her on at Merlotte’s—part time at first so that she could still work day shifts at the Grabbit Kwik. The interesting thing was that Sam and Maudette had started dating almost immediately after that.

No longer pining for me, thanks to the fact that I told Sam that “we” weren’t ever going to happen, Sam had shifted his attentions elsewhere.

Within a few months, Sam had told Maudette his secret, and she took the news really well. She’d even watched him shift a few times, according to Sam. Not long after that, Sam asked her to marry him, and they were expecting their first child.

“She can’t come back till about a month after the baby’s born,” I told Gran.

Gran frowned. “How is that baby of hers doin’?” she asked with concern.

“Okay. I visited Maudette during my break, though, and she’s about ready to go nuts!”

“Poor thing,” Gran sighed. “I couldn’t imagine havin’ to be on bed rest for so long.”

I nodded in agreement. Maudette’s blood pressure had been elevated since she’d reached her sixth month of pregnancy, and she’d stopped working a few weeks after that.

“Do you think she’d enjoy leaning to knit?” Gran asked offhandedly, even as her own surprisingly nimble fingers picked up her knitting needles and continued her currently project, which was a little baby cap for Sam and Maudette’s little one.

“I’ll ask her,” I smiled, bending down to give Gran a hug and thinking about what a kind human being she was.

But Gran wasn’t thinking about Maudette.

She was thinking about how she’d given up on me having kids. Or finding love for that matter. Eric’s face flew into her mind and landed there as she wished that I’d been able to keep hold of him.

She wondered what I’d done to drive him away.

If she only knew.

Keeping my own sorrows from my face, I pulled back from the hug. “I’m gonna shower and hit the sack,” I said lightly. “Don’t stay up too late,” I added.

Gran hummed out a noncommittal response about not needing as much sleep as a “young person” as I hurried from the room and away from her worries about me.

Her concerns for me had only grown during the previous months—no matter how happy I’d tried to seem.

My shower helped me relax a little, but it was many hours—long after Gran was dreaming—before my own thoughts allowed me to sleep.


MONDAY, JULY 3, 2005

ERIC POV

Dawn Green was pleasant company. She had what Pam called a “bubbly personality.”

And she was an excellent source of blood on the nights that Fangtasia wasn’t open.

I’d taken her out to a few vampire-friendly restaurants in our time together. To please her, I’d also given her a few small gifts—clothing and small pieces of jewelry. Impersonal items that Pam had gotten for me.

I’d considered moving her into one of my more “public” homes and making her a “pet” officially, and I knew that Dawn would go for that. It was clear that she’d be open to someone taking care of her needs.

But—truth be told—I had been growing bored with Dawn, despite the fact that her blood was better than average. The sex was also better than average.

And that’s why I’d kept her around for so long as I had.

But the conversation? Not good.

She’d never made me laugh.

Or feel anything—for that matter.

In the past, I’d hire dancers at Fangtasia who would be my “go-to” feeds and fucks when none of the fangbangers appealed to me. Once I tired of them, I’d glamour them to start looking for other work. If they became clingy—as a few did—I would glamour them to quit immediately and to forget all about me.

Dawn was unique in that she was ready, willing, and able to come to me on the nights Fangtasia was closed. If I took her out, the conversation was light. If I didn’t have time for a longer encounter, she seemed fine with a quick fuck and feed before going on her way.

She didn’t expect me to be involved in the other six nights of her life, though she seemed quite proud that I’d made an arrangement with her. Any small talk we had was about pop culture: songs and movies. If she spoke of her work, it was in generalities. I knew that she was a waitress, but didn’t want to be one for the rest of her life. I knew that she had a coworker getting an online degree and was wondering if she could do the same. I knew that her boss’s wife was pregnant.

It occurred to me—as soon as Dawn said the name “Sookie” for the first time—that my weekly meal wasn’t one to mention “proper” names at all. In fact, during the many months we’d spent time together, Sookie’s was the first name she’d spoken.

Sam Merlotte had been termed “my boss.”

Sookie had been identified as “another waitress.”

Arlene Fowler was “that bitch at work.”

Bon Temps was “Bumfuck” in Dawn’s vocabulary, so I hadn’t even known the name of her hometown. If I had, I would have never made my arrangement with her.

As it was, Dawn was in the thrall of my glamour for the first time as I questioned her about whether she ever talked about me with Sookie.

She didn’t. Apparently, Dawn felt sorry for Sookie because she’d never had a boyfriend. So Dawn didn’t bring up the subject of guys around Sookie because she didn’t want her to feel bad.

I was pleased by that answer.

Then I asked if Dawn ever “thought” about me at work.

I was not pleased by her response to that question.

Dawn conveyed that—since her job was monotonous—she did spend quite a bit of time daydreaming, and apparently, I was a common source of her day dreams.

I asked how often she worked with Sookie.

At least three times a week.

Regret filled me. Unwittingly, I’d been subjecting the one woman I truly wanted to spend my time with to the thoughts of a woman I’d made an arrangement with only for the sake of my convenience.

It was my own fucking fault too! As soon as I had decided to make Dawn a “regular,” I’d told Pam to investigate her—as I did with all my “regulars.” When Pam had offered me her report, I’d waved her off and just ordered her to summarize.

Her summary had been succinct.

“Redneck waitress from Bumfuck. No Fellowship affiliation. Parents dead. No siblings. Not quite dirt poor, but close. Mud poor. Rents an apartment. No credit cards. Great ass, great tits. Smells decent. Better than your normal regulars.” Pam had even joked that she would have asked me to share Dawn if she wasn’t going through a blond phase.

I closed my eyes and pressed my fingers against my brows, frustrated by the fact that Bon Temps was apparently called “Bumfuck” by every fucking person in the state!

Except for me.

I regretted that I’d not read Pam’s report and vowed to never accept a summarized version again. And then I finished Dawn’s glamouring.

We would not be meeting anymore.

She could tell her friends that we broke up if she wanted.

She would sell the jewelry I bought her.

And, finally, she would not think about me anymore. In fact, she would remember no details about me—not even what I looked like.

Dawn left immediately after she had dressed, and I flew to one of my actual safe houses—the one that I knew Sookie was aware of.

I stared at the painting Sookie had known about for hours—the one I’d painted based on my memories of being at sea as a human.

Generally, I tried not to think about Sookie Stackhouse and the two encounters I’d had with her. Of course, that was difficult since I was often contending with information she’d told me about. I’d made headway with eliminating some of the threats, but not nearly enough to risk Sookie by doing what I wanted to do.

By going to her.

As I stared at the rough waters I’d once painted under the direction of Vincent Van Gogh himself, I allowed myself to feel my longing for a woman that I barely knew in this life, but had been pledged and bonded to in another.

I allowed myself to feel regret that she’d had to endure Dawn’s thoughts. Even if Sookie didn’t want me in her current life, that didn’t mean that she would enjoy seeing the face and body of “her Eric” in the daydreams of a coworker!

“Fuck!” I yelled aloud.

I didn’t like having feelings!


A/N: I know that a lot of you didn’t want me to do the Dawn thing, but it was needed in some ways for the story to advance and for Eric to understand just how much he cared about Sookie’s feelings, despite their brief interactions (from his perspective).

I hope you aren’t too mad at me.

Until the next,

Kat

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70 thoughts on “Chapter 12: The Second Hand Unwinds

  1. This chapter made me sad for Sookie, but glad for her school grades: I wonder what Eric has left to fix, hopefully he finds away to end Appius and Alexie soon.

    1. He does have his reasons for staying away. And I figured it would be out of character for him to become celibate after he met a woman for two nights. However, it’s also out of character for him to “care” that Sookie would hear. I hope you’ll focus on that before you do too much shoveling. 😉

  2. I didn’t want Sookie to “see” Eric in Dawn’s thoughts but seeing Erics POV here has made it slightly easier to bear – now she needs to “overhear” Grans letters!!!

  3. I’m so sad for both of them. Granted Eric found a ‘stand-in’, but somethings I wonder is since he was the ‘wisher’, why didn’t he retain his memories? His wish was that he had the time to make things safe for her, not that he go to the beginning. I could imagine Sookie loosing her memories because of the wish since she was the recipient, but not him. And since Sookie was the recipient of the wish coming from a fairy token, wouldn’t a side effect of a fairy token being used on her, be that it added to her ‘fairyness’? After all, both of them were warned to make their wish carefully because there was no way to determine how the fairy token would determine what the wisher meant and it could make the wish literal. I don’t know if you’re going to do a cannon Sookie or a TB Sookie, but wouldn’t it be a trip if she all of a sudden went through a magical puberty this time around as a sort of ‘side effect’… After all, wouldn’t Sookie going through a type of magical puberty because an accidental enhanced spark because of the fairy token be a type of side effect? Besides, Gran needs a reason to tell Sookie about Fintan, and if Sookie started doing ‘odd’ magical things, she’d have to tell her; light coming out of her hands and body is a bit more telling that she’s not exactly human and is a supe herself than the mind reading. Ok, I think I’ll stop while I’m ahead and tell you that you created another wonderful chapter. Please update soon!

    1. I’m keeping her an SVM Sookie–no other enhancements. As for Eric’s wish. He wanted time to make her happy and safe. I thought a lot about which one would have his/her memories. (I didn’t want for both of them to). In the end, I felt that Sookie would need the lessons learned from Life 1 more than Eric would. For her to “give him time” (or the time of day), she needed her memories. I think that those memories also bolster Sookie in some ways (they make her sad in others). But this time around, she gets to understand her value. Anyway, that was my thinking. Thanks so much for the feedback!!!

      Kat

    2. IMO, I think if Sookie didn’t remember she would act the same towards Eric. Maybe even worse than the first time around. She would run far away from him if he tried telling her all this stuff. She believed Bill when he told her that Eric was dangerous. (If this was from the beginning again).

  4. Well I understand why you made Dawn Eric’s pet but…when will Eric start to seek out Sookie!?
    Like how Gran and Eric have bonded;so happy for Sookie’s first report card.
    Now Sam and Maudette together…I didn’t see that one coming!
    Jackie69

  5. Very sad that Sookie has to suffer, not good. I would like to see Sookie find some fun and intimacy with someone before you start getting them back together. Not impressed with life 2 Eric.

  6. I have to say Kat, for the first time *ever*, I skimmed one of your chapters. I had to stop and pace around a little and rant when I got to the part about him actually “dating” Dawn. I think I might have thrown up in my mouth a little. 😖

    I felt slightly better and stopped calling Eric “dick”, when I got to his PoV and the part where he didn’t realize that the skank worked with Sookie. At least he wasn’t intentionally callous of her feelings. Still, I find it very out of character for him to have “dated” Dawn. That seems like something that Eric would never have done until he started his relationship with Sookie. Making her a regular FandF – sure, but not taking her out to restaurants, etc. Perhaps I’m confusing things with fan fiction, but my impression was that Eric never kept “pets”.

    I’m absolutely heartbroken for Sookie that she had to endure that. i know these two are idiots for not talking, but no one should have to go through constantly “seeing” the love of their life screwing someone else. *Feeling* it from Dawn’s PoV in her memories. For the first time ever, I’m wishing for a hint to what’s happening next. I know we’ll get our HEA, but I think this chapter bothered me in a way that nothing you’ve ever written before has.

    1. I know. I know. It was hard for me to put it together too. I saw the Dawn thing in two ways: 1. Eric was using her so that he’d not have to deal with fangbangers so much. 2. She was–ironically enough–Sookie’s fault. I felt that his interaction with Sookie would have made him rethink things. Maybe “humans” were worth “getting to know.” Maybe having some kind of relationship wasn’t a horrible thing. After all the “other” him had done it. That being said, Dawn was a convenience to him–one whom he didn’t mind spending a little time with. If it makes you feel better, Eric didn’t think twice about dropping the “relationship” as soon as he knew she was from Bon Temps. This situation was a “step” for “this” Eric in my mind.

      Anyway, I promise that I won’t be mentioning any more of Eric’s “ladies” during this piece. 🙂

      1. It’s not so much the relationship that bothered me, although I did think it was out of character for him – your explanation helped with that, it was more that Sookie had to see and hear it from Dawn’s mind.

        Perhaps it’s my own personal demons because when my first serious relationship (of 4 years) ended in his infedelity, I can still remember thinking “don’t puke, don’t puke” and all I did was find out about it, I never even saw the other woman or knew what she looked like. The thought of Sookie having to witness the love of her life having sex with another (from Dawn’s PoV no less, complete with feelings and thoughts) three times a week for the better part of a year, just kills me. If I were Sookie, I don’t think I could ever look Eric in the face again, much less resume (begin) a relationship with him.

        You know I love your writing 😘 and I’m sure that the rest of this story will be wonderful, and in fact, it was wonderful up to this chapter, so I’m just going to pretend I didn’t read this chapter since it resonated on such a personal level for me and eagerly look forward to the rest! As always, I cannot express how very much I appreciate you sharing your wonderful stories, the time, effort, and passion they must require, so please do not take my comments in any way personally.

        Sincerely, Switbo.

        1. P.S. I do understand that this is *not* infidelity since they are not together in this life and Eric is free to do as (who) he chooses. 😜 It’s just the having to *see* it. Because of that, in a lot of ways, this would be worse than Freyda, at least Sookie didn’t have *watch* that.

          I also worry for how her already fragile and suicidal psyche would handle it.

      2. Rereading this story in binge mode and picked up something about Eric’s behavior here that I missed before. Sookie had told Eric that she had a coworker named Dawn!

        “René killed two Bon Temps girls—girls who had had relations with vampires. Maudette was the first one. Then one of my coworkers, Dawn.”

        Eric really should have remembered that when considering being with a waitress named Dawn from a small nearby town who liked to be with vampires! Obviously I still love this story (or I wouldn’t be rereading it!), but this just jumped out at me this time around….

  7. I feel sorry both of them, they both want the other but are too stubborn to react to what they want. life sucks but damn these two are too pigheaded for their own good. Yeah the Dawn thing, wasn’t thrilled but at least he learned from his mistake. and a big HUGE one it was. if only he would do a fly by to make sure she is safe, look in on her by the window pane. general checking up on. I am sure if she got into her car she would navigate herself toward him or one of his houses without even thinking twice about where she was going KY

  8. I feel bad for both Dawn and Sookie. Dawn felt wanted if not loved and Sookie loves someone she thinks she can’t have.

    I understand Eric staying awake from Sookie because he doesn’t have everything taken care of. He’s done a lot. Too bad he can’t find out where Appius and Alexei are and expose them as a menace. Or can he?

    It’s nice to see Sookie getting her degree. Great chapter.

  9. I have to admit that reading this made me want to throw up and my heart ache for Sookie, but I totally get what you’re saying regarding Eric needing to see how much he cared about Sookie’s feelings.

    On a very positive note, I am so happy that Sookie is going to college and doing so well! Also the idea of Sam & Maudette made me smile. Made me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy to learn that Gran and Eric write to each other….which brings me back around to my heart aching for Sookie for enduring “thoughts” of her Eric.

  10. Sookie’s 2nd life seems worse in ways than life 1. She’s so lonely. She might have saved people but did she really save herself? That was Eric’s wish right? For them to be happy.
    So now that Eric knows he kinda screwed up a little with Dawn, I hope he goes to Sookie now. Apparently she won’t go to him. She would still think he’s either with Dawn or someone else. Maybe there was a hint, Pam is going through a blond stage. Hmmmm.

  11. I feel like Sookie is pushing everyone away, closing off any feelings, so sad, and being subjected to Dawn’s thoughts of Eric. I’m glad Eric finally found out Dawn worked with Sookie and her having to hear Dawns thoughts. Glad she won’t be seeing him anymore or thinking about him. Time for Eric to make a visit to Bon Temps and see Sookie and Gran. Love it, looking forward to tomorrows chapter..

  12. I like this take on things even if our favorite couple isn’t together yet. Sookie has accomplished so much that she wasn’t able to do in ‘Life 1,’ and though she’s very lonely, she’s not putting herself down as she would normally in the past. She’s prevented quite a bit from happening this time around as has Eric, who seems to be trying his best to stay away even as he realizes how much he wants to be near her or with her. I’m wondering how long it will take for them to throw caution to the wind and just say “the hell with it!” I love that Eric’s kept in touch with Gran and I wonder if that might play a part in bringing them together…Gran, the matchmaker! LOL! Great chapter, ladies!

  13. First off, let me just start off by saying , Thank you. I know you put alot of hard work, and time into each one of your stories. Along with your beta Kleanhouse and banner extraordinaire Serphina. So having stated that , I hope , I don’t sound rude or ungrateful to you, and your team, for your fics. I just can’t , quite understand one overall theme to them? Why, is it that Sookie must always be, a self loathing, and insecure martyr. Especially, in this story about time, and having a chance do it all over again? I mean, she can’t ever, and I mean never ever, have anyone, be a true romantic interest other than Eric? While he has several? Yeah , Eric doesn’t have true feelings for Dawn, but look at how he treats her. He thought, Sookie having the idea of him actually courting her to be crazy. Yet, he took Dawn out to dinner, considered moving her into one his safe houses,making her a pet, and so on. Yet, Sookie is left with heartache, and will only have any happiness with Eric? Shoot even Gran, thinks what “she do” to ruin things with Eric. No wonder, that girl doesn’t see how amazing,and Beautiful she is ,through, and through. I want, so much, for her to be strong. So strong,she is brave enough, to want, more not just education wise, and to be better off fiancially. I want her to be brave enough,and willing enough to go out there, and date make a real life for herself. Just quit, trying to make everyone else happy, and live. Do anything, other than let this kill her. That light, she has, I feel like it’s dwedling. What happens when it’s gone? She is already reliving the first life at night,only to be stuck in the purgatory of this second one. Like is that , all that will become of her ,until Eric comes around ? While Eric,continues on the way he always has? I just don’t get it at all? Like why can’t she have any happiness other than with Eric? He’s not hurting without her . He is as, he always was expect for what he knows. And what ? The simple fact , that he feels something for Sookie, other than lust which, he has for every feed and fuck. So, can’t Sookie live and experience life truly, while still loving Eric? I mean wouldn’t her truly loving him,be for her not, to waste the gift of this life? After, all Eric did wish for more time. Maybe, that time could be for Sookie?To be more for herself , and to love herself , and to have the time to experience life ,and then still chose him this time around. Sorry ,about being so worked up Kat, I just don’t get it? How will this all work out? Why O, why can’t Sookie be happy, even just once? Even if its without Eric for a little while? I mean wouldn’t it mean more, to chose Eric having known happiness without him? Like not just him, being a cure all for her, not having another choice at happiness. Look forward to the next chapter.

    1. You make good points. I see Sookie in several ways. She is focused on trying to right the wrongs from life 1 without stirring up a hornet’s nest.

      She is acutely aware that one vampires could be “real” mates to her b/c of her telepathy. Maybe the two-natured too. But the Sam thing was settling, and she doesn’t want that again. She wouldn’t want to open up the Alcide can of worms. Hotshot is its own can. And other vampires? It just wouldn’t be smart, and this Sookie has gotten smart. She has taken agency over her schooling, and I think that that plus Gran still being alive is making her as happy as she can be. At least that’s how I look at it. But I do see your frustrations.

      Personally speaking, I was lonely for a long time before I found my hubby. I’m glad I didn’t settle in the meantime. I’m also not the kind of gal who does “casual” well. If I’m in, I’m all in. Sookie wouldn’t risk her safety for short-term happiness with a Were, for example.

      Anyway, I hope you will stick with me.

      1. I definitely, don’t want Sookie to settle. Anyone who ever does it never turns out well for them. I just want her to date, like a demon hybrid or something? To experience, life. To love herself enough, to try, and be who she truly is. To try, and date surely there’s even descent men ,in Louisanna, maybe even sheveport? Since, I honestly,don’t see her being happy. She is just existing. While, Eric is trying his hand at dating, and Dawn of all people. Who might be pretty, and all, and have a bubbly personality, but then for me, I think that’s where it ends. Just thought there’d be more for Sookie in this new life? Also, I understand completely about being a all in kind of gal. Glad you didn’t settle, and you have your hubby. 🙂

  14. Oh myyyyy. They really have themselves in a pickle don’t they? I love how Eric still is kinda in touch, but this whole neither is going to make the first step, but by neither doing so, they both think the other doesn’t like them thing has gotta end.

    I wonder how he is going to take care of Appius though…… Hmmmmm

  15. Oh Sookie. That numbness has me worried. That is really not good!
    And Eric, you dufus! Guess we can’t be upset with Pam, she wouldn’t know Sookie yet, or the fact that she was in Bumfuck. Silly silly Eric.
    Sookie is cutting herself off, even from Gran. If Eric doesn’t start letting her know that he will be coming back, I don’t think he’ll find her there. Best case scenario, she moves physically away, but really, her mental health isn’t a whole lot better this time than it was when she ended her life the first time.
    Life one ended when she had no one left.
    Life two…. She is cutting everyone out. Soon she will have no one left that she is close too.. Not. Good!

  16. Gran is a bit unobservant considering how well she would know Sookie. Sookie would have changed overnight in many ways, going from a sunny care free young woman to something more introverted. I can’t believe that Sookie could hide those changes. So why is Gran just sailing on? Liking the story very much. Thanks

      1. But this a woman who has spent every spare moment with Sookie since she was six. Sookie has only every really had Gran for a friend. Wouldn’t she know that Sookie is hiding something? Unless she never really tried to get close to her Granddaughter because she was frightened she would find out the truth about her infidelity? 🙂

        1. Hmm…good point. I didn’t write a Gran POV in this piece, but it is interesting to contemplate. I just kept thinking that this Sookie is so focused to protect everyone and so determined and she’s keeping herself busy. I can imagine Sookie blaming school and the pressures of juggling people’s thoughts. But–then again–I always felt that some of her seeming bubbliness was an act on her part. We don’t see much of her interactions with Gran in the books, and many of those are influenced by her “falling in love” for the first time. It’s interesting to contemplate just how Sookie and Gran interacted. Interesting comments! Thanks for them.

  17. Here are my exact thoughts, in order, as I read that chapter.

    SPOV:

    Wtf?!?! More months and she’s still avoiding him! Idiot!
    Yay gran!
    Yay for school!
    Ew Maudette? Wait. Book Maudette. Not show!
    Dawn?!?! Wtf! Oh I am mad and grossed out!
    Wait! Maybe it’s on purpose! Maybe he’s using Monday’s to get Sookie info he can’t get from gran!

    EPOV
    Wtf?!?! He’s with her coz he ‘likes’ her? Barf
    Oooh so now he figures out who she is. Moron!
    Wait! He is glamour ing her for Sookie info! Not the way I thought but close!
    Yay he loves Sookie!
    Morons! Both of them! I’m 36 years single. If I knew there was an Eric out there for me, I’d freaking drive the ocean if I had to. Morons!

    So one could say I enjoyed it but can feel the angst frustration already tensing me up. Then it has been a shitty week at work with bitch manager.

    1. LOL at your reactions. I know they are frustrating. But Eric has a reason to stay away, and I sort of think Sookie is still grieving and freaked out from Life 1. She was “scared” to be happy as I was writing her here.

      1. I hope you never think I am frustrated at your writing or what you write. I don’t know about others but for me, when I read, characters come alive, Eric and Sookie particularly so since I’ve been immersed in their story through fanfiction and whatnot for the last 4plus years, and when I comment my frustrations, I am commenting as though they were real people making the decisions themselves. I forget that a real life person is actually crafting them. So apologies in advance and retroactively.

        Meanwhile, I do understand both of their positions. Sookie is afraid of restarting Life 1 incidents and Eric believes she deserves a new life, as devoid of supernaturals as she can get, since it was supernaturals who ripped through her previously. They are both stubborn and it drove me nuts in the books and show. So many times I’d scream at whichever medium, “Oh FFS! Talk to each other morons!”

        Again, I forget other people wrote them and they aren’t real. Except for the last book. Can’t forget CH f***ed that one up…………

        1. I’m actually sort of okay when people tell me their frustrations. It means they are invested. Honestly, I’m worried about this fic b/c i don’t think I did everything like people would prefer, but we’ll see. Fingers crossed. And–keep the comments coming. From thoughtful readers, I don’t mind hearing frustrations. 😉
          Kat

          1. I’ll admit I’m a bit surprised Eric left her alone so long. One thing which always seemed to be a theme was that he was opportunistic. Someone with Sookies’ talents, and current knowledge, would be a feather in anyones’ cap. Even if he believed she deserved a life as devoid of grief as she had previously, this Eric essentially has no clue who this woman is. She is pretty much a stranger; a stranger who could tell him future events but a stranger nonetheless. I honestly thought the angst would come from him treating her like an asset while she was very much in love with him.

            So pleased, but baffled. 🙂

            1. You know—you should write that story!!! I’d read it! That’s not the direction I went in. I think I was hoping to leave things ambiguous. What Life 2 Eric really Life 1 Eric–without his memories, but with an essence of them? I always thought so in a way. After all he wishes that “he’ll” have time. To me, it was that underlying possibility which kept him from exploiting her–as well as my belief that, at his core, Eric is honorable. Anyway, it would be cool for someone to write a time traveling story where the Eric is treating her like an asset while she loves him. Talk about angst!!!!

              1. Hahaha! Which is why I’d never be able to write it! Angst.

                I’ve been sitting on a story idea for the last three years. Every time I start to write, voices of people telling me I’m crap, my ideas are ‘evil’, start to bubble up. I stopped writing over ten years ago because the church I used to attend, (have since left), pretty much told me repeatedly that I was bad at it and my ideas were not ‘God-worthy”. Bad, despite the fact I aced English from Primary to High School, won awards in writing competitions, was almost published until they found out my age, (15 and needed a parent to sign paperwork but at the time I didn’t want anyone to know I’d written a book), etc. Because it has been so long I worry I have lost it. The ideas are all still there, in my mind, as real as the day I imagined them, but so very dusty. I suffer from depression, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue as well as PCOS. All of these conditions make me foggy and forgetful. I already know that my grammar and spelling is not up to par with where it once was.

                Yet, despite all of this, whenever I fill anything out that asks for “hobbies”, I always start with “reading, writing”. I wanted to be a writer since my first story was ‘published’ at six. (A wrote I story for class which the school liked so much that published it and put in the library). But I am so afraid. And the idea I’ve been sitting on is an Eric / Sookie fic. There are so many amazing writers, I fear it would be swallowed up, hidden or ridiculed in comparison. Yet in my mind its freaking awesome what I have planned. But I can’t seem to write it. Yeah, my self-esteem is non-existent.

                Anyhoo, sorry for that vent.

                Love this story. Love where you’re taking it. Ignore me. 🙂

              2. I wouldn’t dream of ignoring you. Depression and Fibro are my friends too. Zoloft is lovely, but every day, I have to give myself a pep talk even to work. That being said, I hope you will write. Writing makes a difference in my life–makes it better, even when it’s just for me. I can’t tell you that it doesn’t sting when I get negative comments (from fanfiction.net mostly), but I can tell you the I’m glad I “published” my stories. I teach college writing. Trust when I tell you that I can tell–even from your reviews–that you’d do well. Your grammar doesn’t suck. And you are thoughtful in your comments.

                I’d suggest that you begin with something small–just a moment in your story that seems vivid in your imagination. Write it and see what it makes you feel like. The best thing about fanfiction is that there are no deadlines–and no bosses to fire you if they don’t like it. There’s just you and characters you love. And–when you love them–the readers come.

                I wish you well. And I hope you will write your story. I would read it. 🙂

          2. I love your writing! I wouldn’t worry about this story your writing things I would never would have thought about.. Thank you for so many wonderful stories.

  18. I forgot to ask this before. A year has past, how or did Rhodes happen? Sookie and Bellboy saved a lot of vampires and people. Especially Eric and Pam.

  19. Finally we got to see Eric again. Poor Sookie! She can’t seem to get it right no matter how many chances she gets, but to watch your husband with another like that must be heartbreaking. Hopefully Eric will make contact soon as we all know Sookie is to stubborn. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

  20. I’m glad Sookie decided to college and make a few wise investments through betting.

    As for Eric, I take it that last line means he’ll get his head out of his ass soon and talk to Sookie ..I love that while you changed circumstances here you still kept them as the stubborn characters with major communication issues.

  21. I’m so glad we got POV in the end and found out he wasn’t doing that to be cruel. Sookie can’t save everyone she needs to live her life and she isn’t right now. She needs to embrace who she is too. I’m so curious who will make the first move. Damn you too both care for each other. Amazing story .

  22. I caved. After only two chapters. I HAD to know what was happening and now I’m so sad for Sookie. She may be pleased that she’s doing well at uni, but she’s just existing otherwise. She’s not really living.
    The “Dawn” thing made me want to cry.
    But Eric’s POV made me feel a little better because at least he feels bad about Sookie knowing what’s been happening with Dawn. And he misses Sookie obviously. So I’ll keep reading and waiting patiently for you to do your magic and bring them together. 😀

  23. Yep the Dawn episode was painful to read but of course nowhere near as painful as for poor Sookie to have to ‘hear’… Yikes yikes… I hope Eric realises how painful this has to have been for the woman who loves him (or a version of him)… Even if he didn’t intend this…. Last thing Sookie needs while she lives her simple clinical life….
    I like Sam + Maudette…
    Slightly worried about Sookie living even just one second upon waking up on Life1… I hope there’s no way for the time travel to get undone?

  24. In life 1 Sookie lost everything. All of the people that she loves. All of her remaining family. And then Niall sold her off to DeCastro who I am not sure was not behind Madden keeping Eric from helping her when thing 1 and 2 had her. Sookie KILLED her self. We know that DeCastro could have voided the contract that sent Eric to Freyda but did not. I still think that she is in mourning. It has been only a year. Sookie is doing every thing she can think of to keep everyone safe and alive. I cannot even fathom the anxiety that she must live with on a daily basis. What small pebble will roll down hill to cause her life 2 to go to shit. Eventually she will get to a point where she has no fore knowledge. I think at that point she will start living again. It may be slowly but it will happen. I do not want her to be with Eric until she can work past all the guilt that she feels. She is still very broken. I see that she is slowly putting the pieces of herself back together again. It has been only 1 year. Great story. I love this path and can see that at the end she will be strong and hopefully love herself.

  25. Well, this just sucks! They want to be with each other but she thinks he doesn’t want her and he thinks he still needs to do stuff before he can be with her. If he feels he hasn’t changed enough for it to be safe for her why can’t he wrote her like he does Adele? They could learn so much about each other without feeling there’s danger…

  26. I feel bad for Sookie, but I do take it as a good sign that Eric rectified the situation as soon as he figured out what was going on. He obviously doesn’t want to hurt her.

  27. I had an “oh barf” moment when I read about Dawn. No, I don’t expect Eric to be celibate but I also don’t expect him to be this stupid. He “dates” the loudest broadcaster (aside from Amelia) and is so surprised when Dawn shares that she thinks about him while at work?? Seriously? Dude, after 1000 years, you are still pretty dense.

    And, my heart aches for Sookie. I am dealing with my depression and I can see how I have separated myself from people and things I enjoyed so, yeah, I hope she gets past this and finds someone to date or something that will bring back her “spark” (yes, pun totally intentional).

    I trust you. I just hope these two idiots have a conversation very soon. If not, let Sookie have some happy.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your depression. It’s not easy. Trust me when I tell you that Zoloft is my friend. As for Dawn? In Eric’s defense, he had no idea she was from Bon Temps and couldn’t have any conception of her loudness. 🙂 Thanks for the trust. I’ll try not to let you down.

  28. Though its frustrating, I can understand why they both are hanging back. Sookie is afraid that she’ll cause the things that happened in Life 1 to happen again. Eric is trying to “clean up” some of the things that she’s told him before he approaches her again in order to make things safe for her. Because they are communicating neither of them realizes that the other cares.

    In Eric’s defense, he had no idea Dawn was around Sookie. He has no reason to be celibate, especially since he has no memory of their time together in Life 1. As soon as he realized his mistake he did something to fix it. Now we’ll just have to see where they go from here.

  29. Poor Sookie, still being so hard on herself. She needs a hug. Preferably a big Viking one.
    I agree with desireecarbenell in that she is still mourning what was lost in Life1 and she needs time to come to terms with the reality in which she finds herself now.
    Eric is still essentially Eric and so I was not too bothered about the Dawn episode.
    Vampires gotta eat and your reasoning about their involvement made sense within this story.
    Eric knows that his other self loved Sookie and I cannot believe he would intentionally do anything in this life which would hurt her even though they are still relative strangers to one another.
    I love that Eric is writing to Gran and sending her flowers. Such a charmer that one. By doing so he is also retaining a discreet link to Sookie in the event that she might need him.
    Looking forward to what happens next.

  30. I cried for Sookie. A second chance is really a smack in the face of love. I hoped Eric was staying away for a reason and not just dodging the bullet that is Sookie Stackhouse. Now that Eric realizes his error, I hope he’ll at least write Sookie or call her. I know he’s trying to protect them both, but still.

  31. I just knew Eric wasn’t going to Sookie because he doesn’t feel it’s safe for her yet. He’s always thinking of her first, which is why there’s no way he knew Dawn worked with Sookie. He would have never subjected her to Dawn’s porny thoughts about him! My heart was breaking for Sookie, hearing her describe Dawn’s thoughts about her Viking. Those two need to talk again. ASAP!! And can I just say how sweet Eric is, writing letters to Gran once a week?? 🙂

  32. I felt so sad for Sookie. I completely understand the feeling of being lonely while surrounded by work, school and other people that rely on you. Her self inflicted penance is just heartbreaking. As brave as she as been and continues to be, perhaps at some point she will find the courage to let go – of the guilt she has been carrying, the shame she feels of her actions in Life 1 and find her way toward some happiness no matter how crooked or narrow. Thanks for such thought provoking reads.

  33. I’m truely sorry for Sookie, but – Eric loves her. We only have to wait a few chapters.
    Great. great story. 🙂

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