Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Chapter 1

Sookie Stackhouse watched as Tray and Amelia kissed as the minister pronounced them husband and wife. After they were presented as Mr. and Mrs. Tray Dawson, Sookie handed Amelia back her bouquet and prepared to walk down the aisle with Tray's best man. She smiled at everyone as the wedding party made their way behind the newlyweds.

It was a beautiful spring afternoon in Bon Temps, Louisiana, perfect for the outdoor wedding her best friend had planned and pulled off without a hitch. Amelia was a transplant from New Orleans, having come to stay with Sookie shortly before Hurricane Katrina. Sookie had figured that Amelia would leave once the trouble or whatever she had gotten into had blown over. Hurricane Katrina had changed all that, and then Amelia had met Tray Dawson. That had been nearly five years ago. Today, they made their life together official.

Sookie stood in the receiving line outside the church, smiling and exchanging pleasantries with the well-wishers. Sam Merlotte, her boss, was moving on to give Amelia a kiss on the cheek, as Sookie turned her head to greet the next guest. She drew in a sharp breath as she was confronted with a broad chest. She looked up into green, green eyes. "Alcide," she breathed.

"Sookie," he replied and leaned down to place a soft kiss on her cheek.

It had been three years since Sookie had seen Alcide Herveaux. They had parted, not on bad terms, but certainly strained ones, after the death of Jackson Herveaux, Alcide's father. "How are you?" she asked, forcing a bright smile. Her insides were twisting.

"I'm well. How about you, Sookie? Are you well?" he asked. He'd taken her hand and seemed to be oblivious to the line forming behind him.

"Sure, Alcide, you know me. I get by." She continued to stare into the deep green of his eyes.

He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it. "I know. I'd like to talk to you, if you have time after dinner?" he asked. Sookie thought he sounded hopeful, maybe even nervous.

"Why, sure I can talk to you for a few minutes. I always have time for an old friend," she replied, trying to downplay to herself the feelings he arose in her. They hadn't actually had a relationship, but they had gone out a few times. Three years ago, she'd hoped that there would be more, but Jackson's death had changed everything. It seemed that fate was always working against them.

"I'll see you soon, Sookie," he said and moved on to give Amelia a kiss on the cheek and shake Tray's hand.

Sookie watched him out of the corner of her eye as she continued to shake hands with the rest of the guests filing out of the church. Her mind wandered, though she smiled and said all the right things to those she spoke with. Her Gran had raised her right, after all, and she was a proper Southern girl.

Sookie spent the dinner portion of the reception reliving her past acquaintance with Alcide. Normally she worked as a barmaid in Merlotte's, Sam's bar. It was a job she enjoyed and it paid the bills for the most part, but it also allowed her time to go to school for her college degree. One of her best friends, Pam, and her husband Eric, ran a real estate business. They had sometimes hired Sookie to help them out. Alcide was a partner in Herveaux and Son Construction. Everyone who was anyone knew who they were. The Northmans had a contract at the time with Herveaux and Son and Sookie been asked to accompany Alcide on a trip to Jackson, Mississippi, as his "date." It wasn't the typical work Sookie did for Pam and Eric, but they had paid her well. She had been dating Bill Compton at the time, but their relationship had been rocky at best. Her and Alcide had taken an immediate liking to one another, but Sookie having a boyfriend and Alcide having a vengeful ex-girlfriend didn't allow for anything to happen. They had tried to remain friends and it had worked until Jackson had died.

Mr. Herveaux died while Alcide and Sookie watched. The three had been out to dinner together that night in Shreveport, at one of the more expensive restaurants. As they were leaving, a man approached them. It hadn't been anyone's fault, except the thug who had shot him after robbing him. The man had been caught, confessed, and had even given the police the murder weapon, but the incident was the end of Sookie and Alcide before they even began. Sookie could see it in Alcide's eyes that he somehow blamed his father's death on her, that he thought that if he hadn't taken her out to dinner, if he hadn't wanted his father to meet her,If he'd never met her, that would have saved his father's life. Outraged by what she sensed, Sookie had demanded Alcide take her home. He had left her at her front door, and she hadn't heard from him since.

Sure, she'd heard about him. He'd been engaged to Maria Cooper. Apparently, she worked for him and had helped him through the difficulty of his father's death. Though it hurt, Sookie had been happy that Alcide was happy. After giving Bill the heave-ho for cheating on her while she was working with Alcide, she had even dated some. Bill claimed it was a mistake, that he loved only her, but how could she ever trust him? So it was over, and after Jackson Herveaux's death, she'd spent a long time alone. She had dated John Quinn for a bit, but that had ended due to his work schedule. He traveled a lot for his job, and Sookie would never ask him to give it up to stay with her. So Quinn left, and Sookie had gone on with her life. She'd made it work for her too, until she'd met those intense green eyes again in the receiving line for Amelia's wedding.

Sookie was pulled back to the present, shaking her head, as she tried to figure out what was going on around her. Amelia was nudging her, that must be what shook her out of her reverie. "Sookie," Amelia hissed. "You need to make your speech!"

Speech. Right. Sookie smiled and stood up, taking the microphone that was being offered to her. Her gaze scanned the crowd, looking for that one face. When she found it she took a deep breath. "Five years ago, a tragedy brought Amelia Broadway into my life," she began, looking down at her friend. "My cousin had died, and it fell to me to wrap up her estate, and clean out her apartment. Luck had it, that Hadley rented from Amelia. Amelia was someone I decided I liked almost instantly. We became fast friends as she offered to help me go through my cousin's things, and when it came time for me to head home, she decided to come with. I never did ask you, Amelia, why you decided to do that, but I am forever grateful that you did. You have become my best friend. When you met Tray, I was so happy it worked out. There is no one in the world more perfect for each other, and I wish you both the best." She raised her glass in toast, and everyone did the same. Before taking her drink, Sookie sat down heavily, but with a smile.

The rest of the dinner passed without incident other than the typical clinking of the glasses for the bride and groom to kiss. Sookie was lost in her own thoughts, and Amelia pulled her aside as they were clearing away dinner and some tables to make way for dancing. "What's up, Sook?" she asked quietly.

Sookie glanced around before looking back to Amelia. She forced a smile, one she was far from feeling. "Nothing, don't you worry one bit about me, Amelia. You just go on and enjoy your new husband!"

Amelia gave her one of those looks. "Sookie Stackhouse, you have been distracted ever since we got here. Now tell me what is going on."

Sookie sighed. "Alright fine. I was taken by surprise, okay? I had no idea that Tray knew Alcide Herveaux, let alone well enough to invite him to your wedding!"

Amelia frowned. "You know Alcide?" Though Amelia had lived with Sookie when she first came to Bon Temps, when it was clear she was staying for a long while she had moved into her own place, and later, in with Tray.

"Yes, I know Alcide, I have for several years. We... didn't part on great terms."

Amelia offered a sympathetic smile. "Don't worry, Sook. It's just one night, and you don't even have to talk to him."

"You're nice to say so Amelia. Now you go on and find your hubby. I have to go refresh my lip gloss, if you'll excuse me." And with that, Sookie made her way toward the ladies room. The truth was, she would have to talk to Alcide tonight. Though she didn't want to admit it to herself even, she was curious of what he thought they had to talk about. And where was his fiancee, Maria?

She had taken her time, to collect her thoughts as well as touch up her make up. She stepped out of the restroom and came face to face once again with Alcide Herveaux. "We really need to stop meeting this way," she said to cover her nervousness.

"I was beginning to think you were avoiding me, Sookie."

"Why would you think such a thing? I was actually just on my way to find you," she beamed. It was a lie, but only barely.

"Come on, lets talk." He grabbed her hand and pulled her toward some chairs that were a ways from the rest of the reception.

Sookie let herself be pulled, but when they reached the chairs she paused. "Alcide... I can't. I... I have to go back to the party. They'll be having the bridal party dance and I have to be there!" she started to back away.

"Sookie..." he sighed. "Save me a dance," he said instead of what he had intended to say.

She knew that he wanted to say something else, but the nervousness she had felt at the prospect of talking to him, of rehashing everything after so long, she couldn't bring herself to call him on it. Instead, she did something she rarely does. She turned tail and ran.

I do not own these characters, they belong to the wonderful Charlaine Harris. I want to thank my wonderful beta, ykkinnikky, my bestest friend, for reading and helping me out with this! I have been a die hard Sookie/Alcide shipper ever since I read Club Dead. Unfortunately, I was left wanting. So here is my attempt at a Sookie/Alcide fic. This is an AH/AU story. I hope you enjoy, and I would greatly appreciate any reviews!