A/N:Dead to the World: What if Hallow cursed Eric so that he lost his memory and ended up meeting Sookie while running down Hummingbird Road…but she had never met him or Bill or any other vampire before? Rated M for later chapters.
My beta, chiisai-kitty, went over this like the doll she is, but I put in some stuff afterwards, so if you see anything it's mine.
Unfortunately, these characters are not mine. I just like playing mind-tricks on them.
The New Year's Eve party at Merlotte's Bar & Grille was finally, finally over, and I was better for it. Working the night shift as a waitress was always tiring for both me and my Nikes, but tonight was extra demanding. Most of the other waitresses and cooks had better things to do on New Year's Eve than deal with drunken rednecks or fetch ketchup bottles, but I wasn't one of them. I needed the money more than a midnight kiss, and apparently Terry, Arlene, and Holly felt the same way.
Plus, I didn't have anywhere else to go, and the thought of me cooking a frozen pizza and watching the ball drop was too much, especially since it was a longstanding tradition I used to share with my Gran, who died of a massive heart attack four months ago. My only living family member was my older brother Jason, whose blonde hair and blue eyes pretty much ensured that he'd never have to spend any night alone, let alone New Year's Eve. I had the same hair and eye color as him, but the boys didn't come running after me like the girls did with Jason. They, along with everyone else in this almost ghost town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, thought I was crazy. And they were probably right.
I'm a telepath. Yep, I can hear what most people think, with the exception of being a few random strangers and my boss, Sam Merlotte. For as long as I can remember, I've always been able to listen in on people's thoughts, for better or mostly for worse. The few dates that I've been on always ended with me yelling at the guy and his wannabe porno thoughts of me.
Hence my being alone on New Years Eve.
Usually I'm pretty good at throwing up mental shields that block out the thoughts, but tonight there were so many people—and their lewd thoughts about celebrating—and so much to do that I was worn out, both physically and mentally.
Thankfully, it was now about three in the morning, and most people had gone home. All of the employees were still here; Terry Bellefleur, the sometime cook and full-time Iraq war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, was cleaning the pots and pans in the kitchen, and Arlene and Holly, the two other waitresses, were helping me sweep up confetti and clean the tables. Sam, the owner of the restaurant, was in his office counting up tonight's grand total, and pretty soon Kenya, a local police officer, would arrive to escort him to the bank.
"What are your hopes for the New Year, girls?" Holly asked as she finished spraying the tables with disinfectant. The blonde was relatively new, coming here from somewhere in Georgia because her boyfriend got a job in the nearby town. She was quiet and her thoughts were nice and mostly about her boyfriend or her best friend, Danielle. That meant a lot for me; one of the downsides of being a telepath is knowing that people aren't always who they seem to be.
"Lordy, I just want to find Mr. Right. And if I lost ten pounds, I wouldn't complain either," Arlene sighed. I chuckled, because Arlene's been saying that for as long as I've known her, which is about five years now. She says she's thirty-six, but I don't know if that's true; no matter how long she's been looking for her Mr. Right, she's certainly found plenty of Mr. Wrongs in her life. She stopped sweeping for a second to tuck her flaming red hair behind her ears. "What about you, Sookie?"
"Oh, I don't know. Some peace and quiet would be nice … and if I lost ten pounds, I wouldn't complain either," I replied with a smile; Arlene and Holly laughed appreciatively.
"What are y'all laughing at? And more importantly, what are y'all still doing here so late?" Sam asked as he walked into the room, his Paul Newman-blue eyes glittering and a smile stretched across his face. Must have been a seriously good haul tonight.
"Impressing the boss and waiting for him to give me my hard-earned money," Arlene answered, reaching out for the envelope with her name written on it that Sam was holding in his hands. "Thanks, Sam," she said as she gave him a quick hug, her artificial red hair clashing violently with Sam's natural gold-red curls. Holly walked over and repeated the process, taking her envelope and hugging Sam as well. Then the two girls went out to the employee room, already chattering with how they were going to celebrate the rest of the night and not thinking twice about leaving me behind with Sam.
He smiled apologetically at me and said, "Here you go, Sookie. You earned it, and you must be tired." I took my envelope and wrapped my arms around his neck, affectionately patting his flannel plaid shirt-covered back.
"Interrupting something?" Kenya called out as she walked through the door.
"Nah, Kenya, just a goodbye hug, that's all. Sookie, you're good to go home now, thanks for all your help tonight. Happy New Year," Sam said as he let go of me. I nodded, and after a quick goodbye to both of them I briskly walked to the backroom to grab my purse and my winter coat. I was so happy to be leaving and going home that I practically skipped over to my car in the parking lot, an old yellow Datsun that I'd been driving since high school.
All night long I had been dreaming of washing my face, pulling on my warmest nightgown, and going to bed, and now it finally seemed like my wish would come true. I even smiled as I turned off of Hummingbird Road to go out to my place, which is about three miles southeast of Merlotte's. Now I was able to relax mentally, because the only thoughts pestering me were my own.
That normally would have been very welcome, but it wasn't when I saw the figure of a man running down the road outlined in the glare of my headlights. Not only could I see not him, but I couldn't hearhim, and that almost worried me more. A strange man, whose thoughts I couldn't hear and whose face I couldn't see, was running down the middle of a dirt road on New Year's Eve—it didn't get any weirder than that.
I slowed down, trying to figure out a course of action. I was a single woman whose only possible means of defense was an old can of mace stashed in my glove compartment. On the other hand, I couldn't let someone suffer without trying to help.
'Screw it,' I thought, 'This is Bon Temps, where the last murder occurred because of a duel in an old saloon like a hundred years ago.' But just to be safe, I reached over and grabbed the pepper spray.
As I lowered the window, I noticed that he was tall, blonde, and only wearing a pair of jeans without a shirt on his back or a pair of shoes on his feet. He glanced at me for a second and continued running even faster.
"Can I help you?" I called out as I got out of the car. He turned and I gasped. I was shocked into not moving or talking or thinking. Not because of his stunning face or chiseled body—he had fangs. He had fangs and they were sharp and pointy and looked very capable of killing me. This wasn't a man, this was a vampire—the first vampire I had ever met since they "came out of the coffin" and revealed themselves a little less than a year ago—and he looked like he was going to kill me. He hissed and I could see that his outstretched hands were tense, like he was going to attack me any second.
"Stay back, woman," he warned me in a low, hoarse voice. "Stay back if you know what's good for you."
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