This is my first fanfic. I haven't written any fiction for a very, very long time. I'd like to start writing again on a regular basis and I thought this could be a fun place to start. This is an experiment in writing for me and I know it is not perfect, but hopefully you all at least won't hate it. :-)

All characters are owned by Chalaine Harris. I just want to play house for a while.

Chapter 1

After three weeks of working double shifts trying to cover while Sam was taking care of his mother, I was exhausted. I was glad that Sam was going to be back soon. It had been a rough night. After working so many shifts in a row, I was having a difficult time blocking the thoughts of the customers. At times it felt like people were shouting their thoughts to me. People were thinking about work problems, fights with their girlfriends, sex, getting drunk and blah, blah, blah. It's always the same.

"Come on Jane, your son is here." Jane Bodehouse was one of our regular drunks and the last customer of the night. We usually had to call her son to take her home and tonight it had taken an extra long time for him to get there. I felt awful for him as I overheard his embarrassment at picking her up again. He had a new girlfriend and he wasn't sure how she was going to take it when he told her about his mom. 'Maybe I'll talk to her about treatment again,' he thought.

Jane stumbled into me as she tried to get out of her booth. She tried to catch her balance by grabbing onto my arm, almost pulling me down with her. Tray was by our side in an instant. He put his arm around her and helped her son carry her out to his car. Tray's extra strength as a werewolf was useful when it came to things like that. Plus he made a pretty good bouncer for the unruly drunks.

Once Jane was out the door, I started the closing chores. I wiped down the last of the tables and started putting the chairs up for the night while Terry and Tray finished cleaning up the kitchen and behind the bar. They turned up the country music and we all sang along (and I'll have you know, none of us can sing a note). It wasn't pretty, but it was a lot of fun. I even had a quick dance with Terry when he came to help put the last of the chairs up. Terry is a bit damaged from his time in the war, but he's a nice guy. It's not his fault and I feel bad that he has to deal with all those memories. His head is an extremely scary place and I do my best to stay out of it. I wish there was something I could do to make him forget that time and feel happy again.

As they were walking out the door to leave for the night, Terry and Tray ganged up on me to tell me that I was taking the next two days off. Normally that would have irritated me since I hate people telling me what to do and changing my schedule on me, but I was dead on my feet and I just didn't have it in me anymore to argue. I figured that since I had worked every single shift for the past three weeks, it probably wasn't a bad idea to have a couple days off.

I decided that I would get some paperwork done tonight since I wouldn't be in for a couple days. Even though I was exhausted, I sat down at Sam's computer, paid some bills online, got the payroll taken care of, and the food and liquor orders ready for someone else to call in tomorrow. I had hired one new waitress to replace Arlene, but she wasn't able to work as many hours as Arlene had, so I looked through the stack of applications again looking for another prospective employee. I finally found three I decided to call in a couple days when I came back. This had all taken a lot longer than it should have. I was having a hard time concentrating. I finally shut down the computer and locked up the bar for the night.

I sighed in relief as I breathed in the fresh air. It was a cold night, but the cool air felt good and even a bit refreshing. I'm normally not one for the cold, but tonight I was feeling perfectly content to stand outside for a couple minutes. I flashed back to the night I ran over Sigebert in this very parking lot after he had tied up Eric, the new vampire King, and Sam. I still feel terrible that Sam got dragged into that whole mess and that it happened at his bar…all because of me. Sometimes I wondered if I should find a new job because of all the problems I'd caused Sam over the past couple years. I felt really bad about all of it…that night with Sigebert, the night of the Were war, and all the times I'd had to take time off work with little notice. I know he'd watched over me more than he should have had to. I'd never meant to drag him into these things with me and it just wasn't fair to him. He just wanted to live his life and run his bar in peace. I was starting to think that maybe I should find a job somewhere else and protect him from the trouble that always followed me. But I did like my job and it was something I was good at. Sam was a great boss and he'd been a great friend to me. I wasn't sure he'd let me quit, if I gave that as my reason for leaving.

I sighed and got into my car. I was going to fall asleep right there if I didn't go home soon. When I turned off my car, I didn't quite remember how I'd made it home. I'd heard that driving tired can be just as bad as driving drunk and I agree that I probably shouldn't have been driving. However it was 4:00 in the morning and I just wanted to get home. I sighed as I leaned my head back on the headrest of my car and closed my eyes for a second.

Suddenly I heard a sharp knocking and I jumped awake as my heart raced in my chest. I was trying to think of what I might have for a weapon, expecting an attacker, so of course I looked over to see Bill looking in my car window. Bill was my neighbor and first boyfriend. He was also the man who betrayed me, lied to me, cheated on me, was paid to seduce me in the first place, and even almost drained me and raped me when I got stuck in a trunk of a car with him. That last bit I don't entirely blame him for since he had been starved and tortured and the blood lust and sexual lust are so closely connected for vampires, but it did happen.

I took a deep breath and opened the car door. "What are you doing here Bill? You know I hate it when you sneak up on me," I scolded him. I scowled as I tried to collect myself and then got out of the car. I didn't want to mess with Bill tonight. I wasn't in the mood to fight. I just wanted to get into bed.

"I'm sorry if I startled you. I was returning from a walk in the woods and I saw you sitting in your car. I wanted to make sure you were alright before I take shelter for the day," he said with a cold expression on his face.

I looked at my watch, surprised to see that it was almost time for the sunrise. "Wow. I guess I must have fallen asleep in the car." I shook my head to clear it and started walking sluggishly toward the back door of my house. I paused fighting both irritation and appreciation as I thought about Bill watching my house. Appreciation was winning…for the moment. I unlocked the door and as I opened the door and flipped on the light, I turned back to Bill, who was still silently watching me.

"Thank you for watching out for me Bill." I paused and he took a step toward me, looking like he was about to say something, but I really didn't want to deal with that. I didn't want to hear him profess his love or say that he wants me back. I would never go back to Bill. I didn't hurt as much as I used to and I now understood that he may not have had a lot of choice in seducing me on the Queen's orders or by answering Lorena's call. But that didn't make it all better. That didn't make the betrayal hurt any less. I did still care for him and I knew he said he would give his own life to save mine, but he would never be able to be anything more than a friend to me. So I didn't want to talk about how much he loved me and how sorry he was, yet again. Yes, irritation was definitely winning now.

Before he had a chance to speak, I said, "Goodnight Bill," and I closed the door behind me.

There was a note from Amelia saying that she was staying at Tray's house. That would make it a lot easier to sleep in tomorrow, or I guess I should say today. Octavia finally got her FEMA check and was able to move to her own apartment which was a relief. She wasn't a bad roommate, but I didn't know her very well so I was happy she had found her own place. I was surprised to feel a bit of sadness the day she left. She had been packing in the morning when I left for work and when I'd gotten home that night, the room was empty and she was gone. Amelia was upset for several days, but we'd gotten back into our groove. I was glad that Amelia was still there. When she first moved in, I was surprised with myself that I didn't mind her being there and I'd really grown to appreciate her friendship and companionship. It was nice not coming home to an empty house day after day, although in the last couple weeks I hadn't actually seen her much other that at Merlotte's when she helped fill extra shifts.

I took off my coat put it on the hook by the back door and left my shoes on the rug. I sighed as I closed my bedroom door behind me. I was hoping for a long night (well actually day) of dreamless sleep. I had been having a lot of nightmares lately, but I usually slept better if I was extra tired like this. I climbed into bed, still in my Merlotte's uniform, smelling of stale beer and greasy food. I took a deep breath, curled up under the blankets and closed my eyes. I tried to clear my mind, but that's easier said than done.

It was probably just the exhaustion, but I simply felt broken inside. I was tired. Not just from working so much. I was just…tired…of everything. As my body started to relax I started thinking (which is not always a good thing). I wondered sometimes if I was broken or if I'd ever be truly happy. I had moments of happiness. I had a couple good friends, I had a house, a car, a job that I liked and I was good at, and I was healthy. I had plenty to happy for, but I still was not truly happy. God help me, I missed Eric. I didn't often admit that to myself. Sometimes living in denial is easier. I had been doing my best to avoid the truth. Being exhausted from overworking myself helped a lot…for the most part. Before Sam left, it was harder, because I wasn't working so much. It was much more difficult to handle my emotions when I had time to spare; when I had time to think and time to remember. Even with all the hellish things that went on that week in January last year, I had my piece of happiness. I had someone to come home to that accepted me and made me forget the horrors happening all around me.

I had someone that made me happy.

Maybe I should just talk to him. But then again, I thought I'd prefer to just avoid the whole subject. As sleep overtook me again, a couple tears may have escaped.

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