Chapter 11: It's Like an Angel Sighing
Six weeks later
I cradled the cup, hearing the dice shake inside before dumping the contents on the table. I saw my numbers, nothing special, and recorded it down on the small piece of paper. I glanced up at Hadley who was staring at the Queen, nervously. The Queen was pleased to see that I didn't get a full house or Yahtzee. As always, Sophie-Anne was in the lead. I looked across at Bill who looked stiff and...empty. He looked like that often.
"It's clear who's going to win." the Queen said. "It's sad, but I truly do wish that someday one of you will beat me. It won't be today...but perhaps tomorrow." Her lips were pulled over her teeth and her smile wasn't sweet. I refrained from sighing out loud. If we had to play games I would prefer it was a different one. Yahtzee was the Queen's favourite though. I hated it a little more every day.
"William," the Queen spoke up. "Your turn." Bill mindlessly shook the cup of dice and turned it over. We all stared at the numbers. With dread, I glanced up at the Queen. Her displeasure at Bill getting Yahtzee was evident. With a childish scream she swiped the table clear and stormed out of the day room in a huff. I froze; my heart beat loud in my ear. Sophie-Anne was terrifying.
Today was an unfortunate one...the Queen had decided to take interest in Hadley and me. Mostly, she left us alone. She had yet to use my telepathic abilities although she praised them daily.
I looked over at Bill, his eyes on me. They were sad, regretful, and apologetic. I couldn't look at him for too long before my heart grew heavier. I stared at my hands in my lap, feeling defeated.
"We could play just the three of us," Hadley suggested. I remembered why my cousin was so damn annoying growing up. I'd had to listen to her talk and talk about how amazing Sophie-Anne was for six weeks now and how she was so glad I was with her. I blamed her. She blabbed her stupid big mouth and now I was confined. She'd caused all of this. I missed my friends, my family – God, I couldn't even imagine the kind of trouble Jason was getting into.
All of them had been informed, formally, that I would not be returning to Bon Temps anytime soon. My first week at the palace, there had been a huge scene with Jason trying to get past the guards. I had worried for him so much,and finally, I was allowed to go out and see him and say goodbye.
"Sookie," Jason's face was contorted into anxiety and disbelief. He touched my face and tears immediately sprang to my eyes. "What's going on? I just – I'll get you out of here, I swear it. Are you okay? Are they treating you okay? I'll kill them if –"
"Jason. I need a hug." I cried, and he pulled me tight. I never felt safer than for those brief moments hugging my brother. He was yanked from me and I saw tears streaming down his face. I'd only seen my brother cry once before and that was when we were in Dallas and we talked about Gran.
"Sookie, don't worry! I'll think of something!" He shouted. I cried harder until I was pushed back into the arms of Bill. I found myself curling up against him and weeping until I couldn't stand anymore. He carried me back into my room where I stayed in bed until dusk the next day and Sophie-Anne ordered me out. I hadn't cried since that first week.
Now I was bored out of my mind playing pointless games where I lost each time.
"I could give you a pedicure," Hadley brightened. She grabbed my hand and dragged me out of the day room. I let her because I had nothing else to do. I wasn't sure why the Queen insisted that Bill and I hang out with her, we were the most lifeless and boring people in the castle, and she was annoyingly perky, all the time.
I let Hadley babble on about her fantastic sex life which was far too much information for me. I nodded and hummed at the appropriate times. Was this her bright idea? She got me here and this was fun to her? I was completely miserable and nothing could make me feel differently, except getting the hell out of New Orleans and being back in Bon Temps.
"So what about you?" Oh God. I hated when I had to think about answering a question.
"Sorry?" I asked.
She grinned. "With Bill?"
"Oh!" I knew my eyes were as wide as saucers. "Oh, no. I'm not with Bill anymore, he's just a...friend." I couldn't even wrap my head around Bill and I. Our relationship was weird. I'd noticed just how torn he was being under the thumb of The Queen. He was heartbroken. I was heartbroken. Together we meshed because we had nothing else – no one else.
"But you guys did...you know." Her eyebrows danced and I felt sick to my stomach.
"Yes, we did." I grumbled. I know most people could confide and have a loving relationship with their cousin, but now, with her like this, she was revolting and petty. I loathed her. "Not anymore."
"But you and Eric?"
That was like a stab to the heart. I closed my eyes and put my head down. I got an instant headache at the mention of the sheriff of Area 5. I had done my best not to think about him. How he hadn't been able to save me. How I had hoped and wished and thought that if anyone could get me out of here it was him. But I had to think of it logically. He was punished and from the rumours I heard around the palace, his fangs had been yanked from his mouth. This was his Queen, he couldn't disobey her. Russell was after him in a murderous vengeance, so perhaps he was in hiding. I didn't know what to think other than that I was...disappointed.
"Yes, me and Eric."
Hadley squealed with delight. "Look at you, Sookie. You used to be the biggest virgin ever and now you've banged two fangs." Oh yeah, it was just fucking hilarious. I breathed in deeply trying to calm myself. "So, who was better?" I really wanted nothing more than to punch her in the face. I wondered if it was the remainder of Eric's blood in me that gave me these violent urges. "So?" Nope, I think it was just Hadley.
"I don't like talking about my sex life."
"I've never done it with two different vampires. I imagine they're both skilled in their own way." She gasped. "Was it at the same time?" I was getting pissed now, ready to up and leave her. "Gosh, Sook, I'm just trying to get to know you. It's been so long. We've missed so much." That sparked something in me. I remembered how devastated Gran was when Hadley ran away all those years ago.
"We have, Hadley," I said, my gaze fixing on hers. "And whose fault is that? You up and left with Gran's money."
She looked away guilty. "I feel awful about that."
"Well, you should. Gran was nothing but kind and gracious and she loved you, blindly. Look how you rewarded her." I snapped.
Hadley looked annoyed now. "You didn't tell me she died."
"I didn't know how to contact you," I said clearly. I slammed my hand on the vanity and stood up. "I can't handle this anymore. I can't handle you." I whipped out of her room and stormed down the hall, glaring at each guard I passed.
I was becoming quite the angry woman.
"Sookie." I turned sharply to see Bill coming from the shadows of the dark hall. We hadn't actually had one-on-one time where we talked about everything that happened. This situation with Bill was just too weird. It was only two months ago we were in love and happy. Or so I thought. I didn't greet him. I just stared back at his withdrawn, pale face. "It takes around three months for a vampire's fangs to grow back."
A flash of Eric invaded my mind. "Why are you telling me this?"
Bill did a dramatic sigh and I'd come to associate it as him trying to make me feel comfortable and yet also stupid. "I know you're probably very upset with Eric for not saving you. I want you to look at it from his perspective."
This was not what I wanted. I did not want advice on my other man from Bill. "What? Bill, please, stop." I took a step back.
"You may be trapped for now, but this is Eric..."
"I don't know Eric." I had to stop myself when I nearly stomped my foot childishly.
"And yet you slept with him?" I saw the leer in Bill's eyes, as if I had made a mistake.
"Well, I didn't know you when I had sex with you. I guess we can see a pattern," I spat out, my arms crossed in front of my chest. Bill visibly flinched and I had to admit I didn't feel apologetic about that jab at all.
"Regardless. Eric lost. He does not like to lose." I saw a flicker in Bill's eye that set off warning bells.
I was now stepping closer to him. I lowered my voice. "What does that mean?"
"It means when I saw Eric three days ago, he had nowhere near forgotten your position Sookie." My heart jumped into my throat.
"You saw Eric?" I asked softly. I didn't mean to get all defenceless. I straightened my back and stuck my chin out.
"He is healing...in some ways."
"And in others?" I gave Bill a challenging look. He had better not lie to me.
"He has received an infliction that has been unforeseen...or perhaps, the Queen hoped for it." All of a sudden Bill looked reluctant to spill. Or he was just playing mind games with me. I didn't want to participate in a ploy to play with my emotions.
"I don't know what you and Eric have planned, but I'm not in the mood to hear it." I said. I couldn't help the shake in my voice. I turned sharply on my heel and continued down the hall, feeling rattled.
I found myself believing in what Bill said. I couldn't imagine Eric took losing well.
Instead of heading for my room, I decided to get some fresh air. I walked out into the Queen's elaborate garden. I had never seen anyone actually working in here, landscaping and gardening, but it always looked impeccable. The flower arrangements, the fountains, the artwork – all of it could take your breath away, if there were enough humans around to enjoy it.
I sat on one of the stone benches and closed my eyes. I felt better when I escaped here. It was like my brain would blank and I could stop thinking about everything that worried me and brought tears to my eyes, which was most things these days. In the garden, I could be an empty being with no attachments, no thoughts and no feelings.
Unfortunately, it never lasted long. As soon as I opened my eyes, they all returned. Forever was an awfully long time. My body felt numb and tingly, almost as if I could feel the vampire blood fading away. I was becoming purely human once again. That's who I was. Sookie Stackhouse from Bon Temps, a barmaid at Merlotte's.
Except, that wasn't me anymore, was it? Now, I was Sookie, prisoner in New Orleans with my vampire ex-boyfriend trying to make nice with me and his crazy Queen who planned on using my freak abilities to better her land of Louisiana. Oh, and I'd fucked a thousand year old Viking.
I didn't think I was that special. I wasn't sure if she really knew what I could do – which was something I wasn't so sure of , myself. I apparently was more than just a telepath. The Maryann debacle proved that.
I thought, for all the times Eric pondered over my origin, I wondered how he never figured out what was really up with me. Surely, a thousand year old being could solve a mystery or two.
I looked at my hand and stared at it hard. Maybe I could get it to do that glowy thing if I concentrated now, when I was completely relaxed. I felt myself pushing, or trying to, energy in my body toward my hand – and nothing happened. Maybe I had to be really angry or anxious...
I whipped around to the direction of my name being called. I saw Andre, the Queen's creepy henchman, minion, flunky – whatever you wanted to call it, he was a shadow. My happy place was darkened and I braced myself for his advancement.
"You have quite the night planned."
I swallowed nervously. "I don't have anything planned." I stood up and moved from him. "In fact, I was going to go to bed." He didn't buy it. In an instant he was in front of me, my arm in his death grip.
"The Queen wants to see you. It's already been too long." I wasn't sure what that meant, but he tugged me out of the garden. I stumbled over my own feet and was brought into the Queen's day room. She seemed much calmer now. She had changed her clothes and Bill was back to standing next to her.
Dread filled me. I had no idea what was planned, but it felt as if the six weeks I had been waiting for something to happen and it was going to happen now. Andre stopped in front of the Queen, with me still being held captive. She smiled at me and I stared at the small round coffee table that had a vase filled with fresh flowers. As if she cared about nature's beauty.
"Sookie. Are you comfortable?" The Queen stared at me with appraising blue eyes. Andre's grip tightened.
Was she kidding? "No."
"I gave you six weeks." She raised a brow, shaking her head.
"Six weeks for what?" I snapped. I wasn't going to sit idly by playing more games with her all night. Especially when I felt it with every instinct that I had – I needed to get away.
"To get used to this life. It's yours now, forever. So, we must make it permanent. I was trying to be considerate of your human feelings, but I guess that was a bust. Now you have the option of it being me or Andre," she said. My eyes widened and I looked at her in confusion.
"What are you talking about? Can you let go of me?" I snapped at the small man who looked to be younger than the Queen even. His horrible, lifeless grey eyes bore into mine. I gasped, dizzy from its endless pit.
"Well, I can't have you just flitting along as if you have a choice. We must bond. Tonight. At least we'll start. You were already painfully close to forming a bond with Eric and I'm going to make sure that never happens again. Now. Me or Andre. Choose."
"Please, your majesty," Bill stepped forward. "What if I –?"
"I would like her to take my blood, my grace." Andre spoke. His low, scratchy voice was near my ear and I shivered in disgust.
The Queen smiled looking from Bill to Andre. "Very well, Andre." Suddenly I was whipped around, my chest pressed against his. I struggled as hard as I could but I was no match against a vampire. "One day, perhaps, you'll be a vampire. I'm a tad uneasy about what the repercussions against your telepathy would be, however. We'll see."
I screamed and he pushed me back lowering me onto the coffee table, my struggle becoming animalistic as I fought for my freedom. No way. The coffee table dug into my back making it harder to move. I lashed out and my nails made contact with his cheek, producing blood. He growled and put a hand over my mouth to silence my screams. I reached out and grabbed the vase. I smashed it over his head and he let go for an instant, while I fell to the floor and slithered between his legs. I didn't have time to get on my feet. I crawled for about five feet before he grabbed my ankle and dragged me back. My eyes widened and I saw the Queen peer at us on the floor curiously. Bill was shaking in rage, his eyes wide and frightful.
"Let me go! You bitch!" I cried. Sophie-Anne laughed harshly. I hated her. Andre pushed my neck to the side, his weight, dead on my body. I tried to move some more, but I was locked, trapped. He withdrew before plunging his teeth into my shoulder. I let out a wail as he sucked down my blood for a second, biting with no regard for my comfort. Surprisingly, he sat up his expression dumbfounded. He held me still while I twitched from the pain.
"Andre, what is it?" The Queen looked just as troubled by Andre's swift halt. He turned back to stare at her. Bill looked between the three of us in astonishment.
"My Queen," Andre's voice was hoarse. "She is part fae."
I groaned under him, trying to move again. I looked at the Queen who's mouth hung open. Andre turned back to me, the look in his eyes causing a tremor of fear through my body. I glanced at Bill whose face was one full of horror.
My blood turned cold. Fae?
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