A/N: Alright, so I am officially the biggest fanficition fail ever. It's been about nine months since I last updated. I wish there was some awesome explanation for why I haven't updated, like I flew to the moon or I got a pet unicorn or something but there isn't much to be said. I hit a block in my writing and it's taken a long time to get past it. Anyway, so to those of you who have stuck with this story, thank you. I appreciate you more than you could ever know.
Before I knew it, finals were over and I back in my hometown, with Sam. As excited as I was to be home and spending time with my best friend, I missed Pam and Lafayette and Eric. Out of all three, I had known Eric the shortest but missed him the most. He and I had become inseparable over those last few weeks of the semester: studying together, eating together, having movie nights together, doing laundry together. He even took me along while he did his Christmas shopping.
Since Eric and Laffy lived together, I was always spending lots of time with Laf. I would never admit this to Sam, but Lafayette was slowly taking over Sam's place as my gay bestie. Laf refused to take shit from anyone and always told you how it was, without sprinkling sugar on everything. It was easy to see why he and Pam were such good friends. Speaking of Pam, she seemed less than pleased that I was spending so much time with Eric. She refused to tell me why, but she clearly did not like Eric. She never joined us for brunch, though she had never been one for brunch, and she refused to study with us if Eric was going to be there or she'd leave as soon as he showed up. Eric never commented on why Pam didn't like him, either.
Because I was spending so much time with Eric, this meant I spent a lot of time in his dorm room. Eric wasn't lying when he called Steve Newlin Ned Flanders. The only different between the two is Ned Flanders, while annoying, wasn't an asshole. Steve was. Bill Compton definitely was a computer geek, though I likened him more to Dilbert than Jon. That promptly gave him the nickname of Bilbert. He was nice, though and a bit on the quiet side.
In all the time we spent at the library, I found myself increasingly attracted to one of the girls who worked at the front desk. She was a little bit taller than me, maybe an inch or so, with long brown hair that was streaked with shades of blonde, red and black. Her style was vintage, hippie, eclectic. Long, flowy skirts, peasant tops, hair scarves, chunky jewelry, tie-dye. She was beautiful. God, I wanted to know her, kiss her, be with her.
Of course, I was way too scared to even think about talking to her.
My month at home passed slowly, slower than I'd like to admit. Of course I had a blast spending time with Sam but I just couldn't wait to get back to school. After a long goodbye from Sam, Jason and I loaded up his car and hit the road. It was early in the morning, around 6 and we'd be arriving at 10. Jason wanted to beat traffic and get home early. I fully expected to spend most of the day lonely, since the dorm wouldn't be filling up until after dinner. Most of the people who lived on campus were only an hour or two from home. They waited til after dinner to come back, I suppose for one last home-cooked meal.
I knew Pam would be late: her drive from Connecticut took anywhere from 7 to 12 hours, depending on how much traffic there was. I was disappointed that neither Eric or Laff had returned my texts asking about their arrivals. It was alright, though. I enjoyed having private time.
Jason pulled his car up behind Becht and put it in park. He looked over to me. "You ready to go back to this, sis?"
"Like you wouldn't believe!" I grinned, opening my door and jumping out the SUV. Opening the back door, I grabbed my laptop bag and slung it over my shoulder before pulling out my one of my baskets of laundry. On the other side, Jason tossed my book bag onto his back before grabbing my huge bag of laundry . With a slam, we both shut our respective doors and Jason locked up. As we picked our way along the sidewalk, careful not to fall on the packed down snow that was icy in spots, we made our way into the building. Inhaling, I relished in the musty scent of the century old building. Usually, the roasting hot lobby's moldy smell disgusted me but today, it felt like coming home. I hadn't realized just how much this place had become my home, especially after finding my group of friends.
Jason shoved open one of the swinging doors for me, holding it against the wall til I passed through. Despite everything I had missed about this building, I did not miss the walk up three flights of stairs to reach my floor.
"How about next year, you get in on a first floor, huh?" Jason puffed out as he trailed behind me. I paused on the third floor landing, peaking down the stairwell. He was two flights below me.
"Listen, brother dearest, it's not my fault your old man legs can't keep up with me!" I laughed as he gave me the finger and hustled up the remaining stairs. "Don't rush on my account!" I teased as I held the door open for him this time. He stepped inside, walking around the corner a few seconds before I did. I released the door, hearing its loud slam moments before running into Jason. He let out a string of profanity.
"Mother-fucking-goddamn-fucking-ignorant-fucking-sons of bitches!"
"Jason Stackhouse! What would Gran say?" I stepped out from behind him and a curse slipped softly from my lips. "Shit."
It looked like the West Baptist church went to town on the door to the dorm room I shared with Pam.
"Burn in hell." "God will punish you." "God hates fags." "You're going to hell." Those were only some of the ignorant statements in the papers that were stapled across the door and nearby tack board
Jason was visibly shaking with anger next to me. I could feel my face flushing with my own anger. As I stepped closer, I could see that the door wasn't latched as I had left it.
"Sookie, I don't think you should…" Jason trailed off as I carefully pushed the door open with my foot. Gasping, I couldn't believe the sight before me. The walls on my side of the room, only my side, had all sorts of hateful words and messages spray painted on them. My bedding was all ripped up, my pillows shredded. The drawers on my desk were pulled out, my chair flipped on its side. My poor printer was broken which made me very glad I took my laptop home. Turning, I looked in the closet, which was open, to see even more destruction. My clothes, the few that I had left behind, were spray painted too. I was so thankful I had taken the majority of it home for break. Like my desk, my dresser drawers were pulled out, the contents spilled on the floor. But nothing, not a single thing, on Pam's side of the room was touched. It was a clear attack on me, based on my sexual orientation. I was appalled that such ignorance existed at a liberal arts college. Spinning on my heel, I walked back into the hall, where my brother had stayed.
"Sookie, you don't have to stay here. We can find you another school-"
"Oh, I don't think so, Jason." A few months ago, I'd have broken down and cried over this. The confidence I had found through my new friends had really changed me. I wasn't giving that up. "This is my college. This is my life. I won't let some ignorant people chase me out of here. I just need to call public safety and get this reported."
After spending two hours with a campus police officer, I had filed a report and been told not to stay in the room as it was considered the scene of a hate crime, thus making it unsafe. By the time the officer finished up his report, Felica, one of my R.A.s showed up. The situation was explained to her and I asked what I should do about my room.
"Do you have anyone to stay with? Housing isn't open until tomorrow and I have no way to fix this, Sookie." She shrugged her shoulders, patting my arm. "Let me call the GM and see what he has to say. I'll give you a call when I find out, okay?" I nodded, giving her my phone number before she went upstairs.
I felt defeated until she mentioned the GM. The GM, or graduate manager of both Becht and our brother hall Ballentine, happened to be a member of Allies. While we weren't friends, Andy was always friendly with me whenever we saw each other. In fact, it seemed like most of the members of Allies always said hi to me whenever I saw them, even if I never spoke to them during the meetings. Like we were members of a secret society or something. I suppose, in a sense, we were.
I turned to Jason, who was sitting on a chair.
"I'm sorry for all this, Jason. I know you wanted to get home early." I didn't have an issue with trying to deal with this on my own, but I was thankful he was here with me. Silently, he got up, walked over to me and pulled me to him in a tight hug.
"You're my baby sister. I'll always be here for you," he whispered into my hair. His words were sweet and so surprising that I had to fight back tears.
"Thanks, big brother," I sniffled, forcing my tears to dry up. "I don't know about you, but I'm starving!"
Jason agreed and we went upstairs, grabbing all my stuff that we just dragged up from his car only to drag it back down the stairs. After stashing it in his car, I called Pam as he and I walked a couple blocks off campus for some pizza.
I told her the whole story, about how my stuff was destroyed, about how her stuff was fine, about how we couldn't stay there for awhile. I knew she really cared about me when her questions came in this order.
"Vandalized? What about Jimmy? Are my shoes okay?" She paused for a moment. "Oh, Sookie! Those bastard destroyed all your stuff? But you're okay, right?"
"Glad I come second to your shoes, Pam, " I chuckled and she snorted.
"Shut up, you know I care about you too! I just care about my shoes more." We both laughed at that. "So where are we sleeping tonight? I should be there in about five hours."
"No idea, but I'll let you know as soon as I do." With that, we hung up.
Jason and I were in the middle of eating pizza when my phone buzzed. After reading the caller I.D., I quickly flipped it open.
"Sooks!" We both squealed like little girls for a few seconds before laughing. "Where you at, girl? My big mountain of a man roommate and I is ready to play with yous!" I giggled, which got an odd look from my brother.
"My brother and I are doing lunch. We're about done. Meet me on the stoop in 15?" Lafayette agreed and we hung up. I shoved the rest of my slice of pizza in my mouth, swallowing as quickly as I could without choking. "You ready?" Jason stared at me. "What? I miss my friends!"
"Uh, right. Sure, I'm done, I guess." He flagged our server down, asking for a box and the bill. After she returned and boxed everything up, we followed her up front to the cash register. I stood next to Jason, tapping my foot impatiently as he paid the bill. "You're really excited to see your friends, huh?" I nodded before grabbing his arm and pulling on him. He chuckled but let me drag him out the door.
The walk back to the stoop of Becht only took a few minutes but felt like forever. I couldn't believe how excited I was to see Laffy and Eric. It was kind of a rude awakening, however. I hadn't felt nearly as excited to see Sam.
"Ohhh, honey bee, I sees you!" Laffeytte's loud voice echoed across the quiet campus before I heard his foot falls. I barely saw him coming out of the corner of my eye before he attacked me in a giant side hug. He picked me up, swinging me back and forth before setting my back on my feet.
"Nice to see you too, Laff!" I panted between laughs, he had really squeezed me!
"Hey, Sookie," Eric said, looking down at me before opening his arms. Stepping into them, I felt myself relax, really relax for the first time all day. Our hug last a little longer than I realized when I heard Jason clear his throat. Eric released me and I took a step back.
"Jason, these guys are Eric Northman and Lafayette Reynolds. Eric, Laffy, this is my brother, Jason Stackhouse."
"Ohhh, girl, good looks run in yo' family, don't they?" Lafayette winked at me as he shook Jason's hand. Jason looked visibly uncomfortable.
"Don't tease him!" I laughed as Jason quickly released Laffy's hand. I had no doubt that my brother was anything but accepting, of all people, but I don't think he'd ever been hit on by a gay man before. He took Eric's hand next and I witnessed something very odd. Jason and Eric's hand shake lasted longer than what was considered customary and they seemed to be sizing each other up. Eventually, they released hands. Was there some weird straight men code I wasn't aware of?
After that awkward moment, we walked into Becht. I instructed the boys to sit down as I explained the room situation. Lafayette had a mixture of contempt and sadness on his face while Eric looked absolutely furious.
"Where are you going to stay then, Sookie?" Eric asked as his clenched and unclenched his fists in his lap.
"Don't know. My RA has to talk to the GM. She hasn't gotten back to me yet."
"Yous gonna stay with me and Eric, Sooks. Pam can stay too." I looked over at Eric, who was nodding in agreement.
"Yeah, of course you'll stay with us. I don't know why I didn't think of it myself."
"That's because yous the booty and I'm the brains, hooka." Laffy winked and Eric just rolled his eyes. My brother yawned uncomfortably and I decided to give him a break.
"Well, I think the boys have me covered. We can just grab my stuff and I'll be out of your hair, brother!"
We all walked out of the building and down the side walk to my brother's car. After the boys grabbed all my stuff for me, my brother and I hugged good-bye and then he climbed into his car and was gone.
The three of us trekked over to the Campus View Suites, the boys carrying all my stuff after they refused to let me carry anything other than my purse. As we walked, I pulled my cell phone out to give Pam an update on our living situation. Obviously, it wasn't a permanent solution but it was good enough for the night until we could sort everything out with housing.
Where Pam and I lived in a building that was a over century old, one of the four original buildings on campus, Lafayette and Eric lived in one of the four newest buildings on campus. Their dorm, or suite rather, had air conditioning, elevators and weren't sweltering hot all the time. Paint wasn't peeling off the walls and it didn't smell moldy and musty like Becht. Plus, each suite had private bathrooms and full sized bed instead of community bathrooms and twin beds like my dorm. Needless to say, I was jealous.
Eric opened the door to their suite, ushering me inside before he and Lafayette followed. Bill and Steve were both sitting in the common area, playing some Mario game on Bill's Wii. As per usual, Steve ignored us but not without glaring first and Bill offered me some Fresca, without looking up from the screen.
"Thanks, but I'll pass today, Bill." I was tired and just wanted to get out of my jeans and bra and into something comfy.
"Okay, Sookie. If you change your mind later, just remember the cans go in the recycling bin."
I murmured some sort of response before following the boys into Eric's room. Generally, when Pam, Lafayette and I spent time together, it was in our dorm room. Whenever I spent time with the boys, it was always in Eric's room. He had a great flat screen TV and this amazing collection of DVDs. Most of them, well, all of them were pirated but it was still amazing.
I rummaged through my laundry basket before finding my most comfy flannel Pjs and favorite sweatshirt.
"While I change, I demand you two find the perfect comedy movie. Nothing sad, nothing serious. Make it happen, boys." Stepping into the bathroom that connected Eric and Laffy's room, I pulled the door shut behind me. I set my clothes on the sink and sank onto the toilet. I needed a few moments to myself.
Today had been stressful in a way I hadn't imagine it could be. Sure, I knew some of the girls in the dorm didn't like me. And yeah, I knew there were people on campus like Steve who believed homosexuals were some sort of demon spawn. What I didn't expect was for anyone to act out, for someone to vandalize my property and personal space. While I told Jason it wasn't going to scare me away from this school or make me change my life, it did scare me. It really, truly did. How could it not? But people like that, people who were cowards, I wouldn't let them get to me. I wasn't raised to be ashamed of myself or to be afraid of other people. I would stand tall, stay proud and refuse to let someone chase me away.
A knock at the door startled me from my thoughts. "Sookie, you okay in there?" Eric asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'll be out in a minute!" Quickly, I did my business and swapped my clothes, grateful to be out of my bra. After washing my hands and rinsing my face a little, I opened the door. Eric was on the edge of his bed, playing with the remote and Lafayette was in one of Eric's gaming chairs. It was one of those weird rocking chair things that I hated them and I refused to sit on them.
"So what did you guys pick?" I asked after tossing my stuff on top of my basket and plopping down on Eric's bed, against the pillows. He had a bunch of oversized pillows. They were what I imagined clouds felt like, so big and fluffy.
"Anchorman," Eric responded, moving back on his bed so he was next to me.
"Good choice!" I nodded. "I love me some Will Ferrell."
Turns out, despite my love for Mr. Ferrell, I was super tired. I was out before the helicopter even landed.
When I woke up, I wasn't sure where I was. After rolling over, I spotted the alarm clock on Eric's bedside table. It was one the morning.
"Pam! Shit!" I fumbled around in the dark until I managed to get Eric's light on. No one was in the room with me, so I went looking for them. After stumbling around a bit in the darkened living room, I managed to make enough noise to wake someone up.
"Sookie? What are you doing?"
"Where is Pam, Eric?" I felt my way over to the couch before sitting down next to him after he sat up, pulling his knees up to his chest.
"She's in with Laf. We were going to let you girls have his room and he was going to crash with me, but you passed out before she got here. Your brother called too, he made it home."
I yawned, still tired. "Why are you sleeping out here?" I stood up. "It's your bed, we can share."
"Are you sure? I don't want to make you…"
I stopped him, grabbing his hand and pulled at him. "It's fine, Eric. I trust you." He allowed me to pull him up and followed me into his bedroom.
As we walked towards his room, I realized for the first time in my life, I was about to share a bed with a man who wasn't my brother or gay.
A/N: So what do we think? I'm not one to beg for reviews, but I'm totally going to whore myself for reviews for this chapter. I'll give you a sneak peek of the next chapter in exchange for a review. Your feedback as a reader really means a lot to me, so don't be shy and please feel free to tell me what you like or hate or ask questions or make guesses about what's going to happen. I can't promise I'll answer everything, but I will definitely reply! Thanks for reading!