A/NThis first chapter is pretty short. I just wanted to get the ball rolling, and then I'll really dive in and get things moving starting tomorrow. Enjoy!!!

As I walked from my office to the conference room for our weekly staff meeting, I went over my mental checklist of things to establish with a new case. It had been quite some time since we had any new residents, and I wanted to make sure I would be thorough with my new assignee. I had only been working at Hope House, the state run halfway house in Shreveport, Louisiana for 6 months. Before that, I'd been doing the same thing in New York, but, some unfortunate events made it necessary for me to go back to where I grew up. In the time I'd been here, I had been assigned five parolees to work with. Four of them had been released from the halfway house about a week ago, and three were thriving. One still had two more months in our facility to go, but, sadly, the fifth had already landed himself back in prison. A 75% success rate, in my field, is pretty good, especially when compared to New York. But, I never got used to having someone go back to their troubled ways.

I arrived at the conference room, noticed that I was the last to arrive, and took a seat so the meeting could begin. My boss, Sam Merlotte, had been a close friend of mine all growing up. I felt very comfortable around him, and we had a great working relationship.

"Alright everyone, since we're all here let's go ahead and get started," Sam said, calling the meeting to order. "Now as I'm sure you all have heard, Faith House has been having some problems, so, the state parole board is going to start sending all new cases our direction." Faith House, the only other halfway house in the area, had been embroiled in scandal recently. It was front page news when the state attorney's office announced that they had discovered two of the case workers there were using their parolees to peddle drugs and prostitutes for them. The two case workers in question were fired from their jobs, and promptly arrested. The state had decided not to shut down the entire facility because they didn't have a place for the other 25 current residents, but, they felt it would be prudent to stop sending new residents there until things calmed down.

"The prison escort will be here in an hour or so with 5 new residents for us, and, since we have 6 case workers, it's been decided that Sookie, Amelia, Hoyt, Tara and I will each take on one new resident, and since Holly already has three with her right now, she'll just stick with those. I've got files here on all of the newbies, so let me pass them out, and I expect you to be familiar with your new case by the time the prison bus gets here in 2 hours. Let's see, Amelia, you will be working with Terry Bellefleur, Hoyt you can take JB Durone, Tara can have Lafayette Reynolds, and Sookie, you can take Eric Northman." He handed each of us the file on our new case, and said that we were free to go back to our offices to prepare for our new assignees. I opened the folder containing the information on Eric Northman, and I immediately stood, walked to Sam, and said, "Oh no you don't, Sam Merlotte. I am not taking this guy! When I agreed to come help you out I told you no violent crimes."

"Sookie, I know. But, you're the only one who's been state certified to be able to handle this type of case. I didn't have much of a choice, here. Besides, even though the clinical side of the crime looks violent, it actually wasn't. I swear this one's different."

"Fine, I'll meet with him and see how it goes. But in a week's time if I don't feel completely comfortable, he will be reassigned to you, got it?" I didn't wait for a reply, I just went straight back to my office. I sat down and opened up the file in front of me, and began learning everything I could about Eric Northman. He was 35 years old, and had been living in Louisiana for the past 10 years. He'd been born and raised in Sweden at a US Air Force base. His mother had died of breast cancer 15 years ago, and his father had suffered a fatal heart attacked four years later. He was an only child, and his only living family was some distant cousins living on the West Coast somewhere. He'd spent the past five years in Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary near the Louisiana-Mississippi border. He was sentenced to 5-7 years for First Degree Manslaughter for shooting a man 10 times in a parking lot. Sure, Sam, not violent, huh? How could shooting someone ten times be considered Manslaughter and not murder? But, as I continued reading, I discovered exactly why that was. The man he had shot had just received a tiny slap on the wrist for a terrible crime, simply because he was a trust-fund baby and his daddy had been able to use some political clout. The man that Northman had shot had been driving 100 miles an hour down the wrong side of the interstate, his blood alcohol level five times the legal limit. He had hit a minivan head on, killing Northman's wife, 3 year old daughter, and 9 month old son. Oh boy, this was going to be a difficult case to take on.