Author's Notes: So, I was driving home on the Fourth of July and this song by Jason Aldean called Crazy Town came on the radio. Instantly my mind went to, "Gosh, Alcide would make a hot country super star." Got home, mentioned on twitter, LindsayK was all, OMG YES! So I emailed her and we brainstormed and this was born. So many thanks to LindsayK for not only helping me flesh out this idea, but also for beta'ing this story for me. Any mistakes are my own since I fiddled with this after she beta'd. This is a straight up romance story, with a dash of drama and more than enough angst. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own SVM or the characters, more's the pity. I do not mention any songs mentioned in the fic. I just own…well I have a 3 year old, that's about it.
I was a dreamer before you went and let me down
Taylor Swift ~ White Horse
It was getting dark and I was usually out of the office by this time, but thanks to an emergency with a cat and a porcupine, I was running behind. Why someone wanted to keep a porcupine as a pet baffled me, but Mr. Porcupine decided that it didn't like the cat of the house and treated it to a dose of quills in the rear. Both cat and porcupine were fine and I sent the owner home with a very strong suggestion of giving the porcupine to a zoo or wildlife preserve. When would people learn that wild animals did not make good domestic pets?
I was cleaning the exam room when my best friend Amelia burst in. She literally radiated excitement so I stopped scrubbing the table with disinfectant and looked at her. I wasn't expecting to see her here since it was her turn to cook dinner. "Just what has you all up in arms?"
Amelia brushed back a lock of chestnut hair that had escaped the ponytail and fallen in her face. "Sookie, I have some really great news, but I'm not sure how you will take it."
I laughed and swiped the table one last time before pitching the towel into the dirty linen bag. "What, Tray finally proposed and you are moving out?" She furrowed her brow and I felt my heart sink. "Oh no, he did propose? Amelia, that is great news! I am so happy-"
I stopped because she held up her hand. She leaned against the counter that held all my supplies and studied her nails, obviously trying to think of a way to tell me whatever news she had. I was getting nervous, but I didn't know why. I knew it wasn't something life threatening because she wouldn't drag it out like this.
Finally she looked up. "Look, I didn't want to tell you, but Tray said I should. I was going to give them away, but, well, I just can't."
"Ames, you aren't making much sense you know," I said as I rearranged the instruments on the counter.
"Yes I know that, it's just, Sookie, I don't want you to be upset or anything," she replied quietly, her eyes on me.
I turned to face her and gave her a quick hug. "Short of telling me that you are moving out tomorrow, you won't upset me, whatever your news is, so spill."
Amelia nodded. "Right, might as well just say it." She drew in a deep breath and said so quickly that I had trouble discerning the words, "IhaveticketsforAlcide'sconcertonSaturday."
"What did you-," I asked but stopped as my brain put the proper spaces in the sentence she just rolled off. "YOU HAVE TICKETS FOR WHO?"
My shouting had Amelia flinching back but I couldn't feel bad for that. My best friend and roommate just told me that she had tickets to see the one man I thought I'd never hear from again. Her words were like a punch to the gut. I didn't know what to feel or what to think.
"I won them, on the radio. I wasn't even really paying attention to who the tickets were for," she babbled. "It was one of those inane trivia things, actually it's quite ironic because the question was 'What is a capon?' and seeing as you are a vet, I knew that it was-"
"A castrated rooster," I finished for her. "Yeah, ironic on so many levels, don't you think?"
I think she missed the sarcasm in my voice because Amelia just went on. "Yeah, exactly, so I got it right. It was only after I was the winner, I realized what I won. Don't hate me."
The last was said very quietly. I hated that Amelia would think that I would hate her for winning a radio contest. If it had been anyone but him I would be so excited for her. But it was him and that changed everything. Amelia knew our history, knew what I had gone through for him, so he could live his dream. She had held me when I cried, soothed me when I didn't think I could make it, and gave me support when I needed it most.
I looked at her, saw pain in her eyes. Pain because it hurt me to even think about him. I wanted to just collapse on the floor at the mention of his name. I wanted to wail about the injustice of him returning now. Why couldn't he have just stayed in Nashville?
"Sookie?" Amelia's tentative voice cut through my self pity.
I shook my head. "I don't hate you. It isn't your fault. You like his music, you should go."
"You like his music too," she stated.
I sighed, "Yeah, ain't that just a kick in the head."
"Sookie, it's just a concert." Amelia offered the words up like they didn't mean anything. Which was a lie, they meant a whole lot. A whole lot more than I was willing to risk.
"You know that isn't true," I replied quietly. "It would never be just a concert." I straightened up and glanced around to see if anything else needed tidying. It was getting late and I did have other responsibilities. "So, you and Tray are going?"
This time when Amelia looked away, I knew that something more was up. She had that look in her eye that meant she had an idea and I wasn't going to like it. She looked back and offered me a wavering grin. "Actually, Sookie, I was thinking that you and me could go."
My eyes almost popped out of my head at that suggestion. "Oh please tell me you are joking."
"I'm not!" Amelia shook her head slowly. "We never go out together anymore."
"Don't play that card on me," I said with an eye roll, "You know very well why I don't go out. Even if I did go out, it wouldn't be to that concert. No way, forget it."
"Please Sookie, do it for me."
I gave another shake of my head. "No, I promised myself five years ago that I wouldn't repeat the same mistakes twice. I won't risk him seeing me. It's bad enough that he'll be in Shreveport. He may decide to come visit his old stomping grounds. I'm actually considering take a week long vacation with Justin."
"You would actually take a week off and run away to avoid him?" Amelia asked me as I started towards the door.
I nodded and opened the door leading out to my lobby. "Yes, I would. I don't want to see him. I went down that road before, remember? You know what happened."
Amelia followed me out into the lobby and over to the receptionist desk. "That's just insane, Sookie. You have to stop running."
"No, I don't. I have to do what's best for me, and for Justin." For Alcide, I thought to myself as I fought the urge to cry.
Amelia slammed a hand on the desk, causing me to jump at the noise. "You can't let your past with him keep holding you back, Sook. You've been so wrapped up in finishing school, getting your practice off the ground, and taking care of Justin that you've forgotten that you're allowed for you to live. You don't have to be vet and mom all the time. You don't have to be the dumped childhood sweetheart of Alcide Herveaux that no one knows exists. You have to remember that with all that other stuff, you are still Sookie, still a woman. So come on, throw it back in his face, come with me. Remember what it is like to just be free."
It stung, hearing what everyone has been telling me for the last five years being said again, only this time by the one person who has never pressed the issue with me. Amelia had always been on my side, had always stood by my decisions when Jason and Tara disapproved. Now she was repeating what they had been telling me for years. It more than stung, it hurt. It always made a lot of sense, coming from her.
Maybe she had just worded it different. Jason always demanded I come clean. Tara always made me feel a little guilty for my decision. Amelia had said it all in a way that made me realize that I had been closing myself off to the world. That I had been setting myself up as the focus point for two things, my job and my son. She was making me open my eyes and see that I couldn't just be a mother and a vet, I had to be myself as well.
The only thing that had me agreeing with her completely was the fact that it was Alcide. We had been apart for almost ten years, except that one little slip five years ago. One little slip that neither of us intended to make. A slip that gave me the greatest joy in my life.
Amelia sorta drifted to the background as I bit my lip and thought back to all those years ago when it felt like my life was over.
I was waiting for Alcide to come over after his band practice to study for finals. There was only three more weeks of school left and we were coming down to the final hours of cramming. I wanted to do well on my exams because a full ride scholarship to LSU was depending on them. If I didn't get that scholarship, I wouldn't be going to LSU, Gran and I just couldn't afford full tuition, despite the fact we'd been saving for years.
I was sitting on the front porch, my advanced chemistry book balanced on my knees as I conferred with my notebook when I heard the truck bounce up our driveway. Garth Brooks' Friends In Low Places was blaring from the speakers and I smiled. Alcide did love Garth Brooks. His truck stopped in front of the house and I put my book aside to go and meet him.
He climbed out of the truck, his boots crunching on the gravel. I stopped a few feet away just to look at him. I did love to look at him. He was tall, with shoulders that had yet to fill out completely. He wore a tank top to beat the growing heat. It was a dark hunter green and looked great against his tan. He wore his usual Wranglers and when he turned to shut his door, I took a moment to admire his firm ass.
His long dark hair was almost brushing his shoulders and he'd have to get it cut soon, if he didn't want to start wearing it in a small ponytail. Personally, I hoped he didn't cut it. I loved him with long hair, loved running my fingers through it as we cuddled or pulling on it when we engaged in really hot sex. I threw myself at him and relished in the feeling of his arms closing around me and holding me close.
His bright green eyes were dancing with excitement and I wondered what good news he had today. Maybe he finally got his acceptance letter to LSU. He had applied late, and only at my insistence, so we were still waiting to see if he got in. "What is it, Alcide? Did you get your LSU letter?"
Instead of answering me, he planted a steamy kiss on my lips. I forgot all about the LSU letter and our study date as I melted against him. Our tongues brushed against each other as I tried to get even closer to him, though if I had gotten closer, we'd be doing it in my front lawn. Thinking of that, and the fact that Gran was in the house, had me pulling back and panting.
"What was that for?" I asked breathlessly.
"I just got the best news, Sookie," he replied with a wide grin.
"Oh!" I exclaimed, "You did get your acceptance letter! Oh Alcide, I'm so proud of you!"
"What?" He shook his head and put his hands on my shoulders to stop my bouncing. "No I haven't gotten the letter yet. I just found out that I get access to that trust my granddaddy left me when I graduate."
"I get to start using that money he left me," Alcide explained, "It's enough to support me for at least a couple years."
"Support you?" I was really confused now and I just didn't know where he was going with this. Alcide wouldn't need to use the trust fund money for school since his daddy's construction business did well enough that they could afford tuition without scholarships, grants, or loans. We'd be spending the first year in dorms, so he wouldn't need it for living expenses. So what did he need the money for?
"Nashville," he answered and then he picked me up and spun me around.
"I..." I clung to him because I didn't have a choice, I didn't want him dropping me. "I don't understand. What's in Nashville, you applied to LSU?"
"I only did that because Dad was insisting I go to college. Now because the trust is finally available to me, I don't have to go to college. I can go straight to Nashville and start trying to get famous on my music."
"What?" I screeched and pulled away from him. "I thought you wanted to go to college to be with me, Alcide! What is this nonsense about going to Nashville, you never said anything about it before."
"I didn't have a reason to mention it before, Sookie," Alcide snapped, "I didn't think I'd be able to do it, since my father was so against it. And it isn't nonsense, it's what I want to do with my life."
I felt the sting of tears in my eyes and blinked rapidly to keep them from falling. "I thought you wanted to go to college with me. If that is something you wanted to do with your life, don't you think you should have at least mentioned it in passing to me, you know, your girlfriend."
He looked a little ashamed and I was glad. I was mad at him, and hurt, because he never bothered to mention this alternative to going to college before. If he was so set against going to college, then why had he even filled out the application and sent it in? A small voice whispered to me, 'because you made him.'. I didn't like that voice.
"Sookie, I just didn't think that it was important, that was all."
"Wrong answer, Alcide! It was important enough that you are all excited about getting money to do it." I had a horrible thought, "Wait, do you mean that you aren't going to go to LSU with me? That you are going to go to Nashville now?"
He nodded slowly. "After graduation."
I felt the world spin and I think I staggered a bit because he had me in his arms and cradling me against him. Normally I'd have been all hot and bothered by his show of strength and from being so close to him, but not now. All I could think was that he was leaving. Leaving me.
My voice came out muffled and tiny against his chest. "What about me?"
I felt him shift and he carried me to the porch. He sat on the steps just like I had been before everything started to crumble. His large hands stroked my hair, tucking it behind my ears. "Well, you can come with me."
"I can't! I'm getting a scholarship to LSU. They have a veterinary school." I shook my head and fought back a sniff.
"I looked into things before I came over here, Sookie. The University of Tennessee in Knoxville has a vet school too."
I looked up enough to give him a withering look. "Knoxville is almost three hours from Nashville, that isn't going to be with you."
"So, we'll be a day drive apart, we can work things out." Alcide gave a little shrug that I took to mean, there, there don't be silly.
I stiffened and wrestled out of his grip and sat beside him. I glared at him. "No, we won't. For one thing, I didn't get a full ride scholarship to the university in Tennessee, I got offered one from LSU. For another, I don't want to leave Louisiana, I like it here. I want to be close to my Gran. And, well, it's just insane to want to go to Nashville. It's a stupid risk."
Alcide stiffened next to me. Good we could be a matched pair. Especially when he started glaring back at me. "It isn't a stupid risk, it's my dream. You know that I love singing and songwriting. I have for years. I want to take this chance to go and try and make a career out of it."
"So come to college, major in music," I said harshly, "You know you don't have to leave me to make it your career."
"Hey now, I wanted you to come with me. You are the one being stubborn and refusing to go. And I don't want a major in music. That won't help me be a country music star. That's what I want. The only way to get that is to go to Nashville and try for a record deal."
"I'm not being stubborn!" I shouted and jumped to my feet. "You are the one being stubborn. I have to go to LSU, it's the only college that gave me a scholarship that meets my needs to be a vet!"
"The University of-"
I cut him off. "I am NOT going to some stupid university in Tennessee just because you want to go to Nashville. I'm not going to go give up what I've worked so hard on just so you can go on and on about some silly dream!"
Alcide jumped to his feet at that and got in my face. "Oh, and being a vet isn't a silly dream?"
That hurt, a lot. I'd been planning on being a vet since I helped my first injured animal, a baby bird that fell out of it's nest. "No it isn't. It's a well respected career and one I've given a lot of thought to. Unlike your stupid career choice."
"I've given this as much thought as you've give yours, Sookie. Don't sit there and belittle my dream just because you are so...so...snobby!"
"SNOBBY? I'm snobby? Well at least I'm not delusional! I thought you loved me, Alcide Herveaux! But it was just a lie since you are oh so willing to just run off and dismiss all we have!" I screamed in his face. Tears of anger and pain were rolling down my face. I couldn't take this. It was too much, all of this at once. I couldn't find my balance.
He ignored the tears, his own anger turning his handsome face red. "I do love you, Sookie. But maybe it is you who doesn't love me because you aren't willing to go to an alternative school that offers all LSU does. You are just being a selfish bitch."
I gasped and stumbled back. Alcide blinked as if he just realized what he said and took a step towards me, his face contrite. "Jesus, Sookie, I didn't mean that. I just thought that you'd be happy for me. I already had this fight with Dad and I didn't expect it from you."
"Well maybe,"I said coldly as I stepped back to avoid his touch, "if you had told me before, when we were talking about college and careers and what we wanted to do after graduation, we wouldn't have had this fight. Maybe if you had cared enough about me to share your feelings, like people in love do, I would have been more understanding." My words hurt him but I didn't care. He hurt me and I wanted to hurt him back. "I can't stand to look at you. Get out of here. I don't ever want to see you again."
Alcide looked like I had just stabbed him. I felt a tiny bit of guilt when he struggled to speak. "You don't mean that, I know you don't."
"Do you really mean to go to Nashville after graduation?" I asked in a tiny voice, praying that he'd say he didn't, that it had been one big joke. I wanted it to be a joke. I could be pissed that it was a joke because the pain that was tearing at my chest would be gone. I stopped breathing, I think, as I watched his face for some sign, some clue of what he would say. It was the worst moment of my life, not knowing.
Alcide's face tightened up and he nodded. "Yes I do. I won't give this up. I've wanted it for too long."
I straightened up and struggled not to cry. My heart felt like it had just been frozen then pounded with a hammer until all that was left was tiny pieces. "Then I meant it. I'm done with you! I hate you, Alcide, I hate you!"
I turned and slammed into the house before he could say anything. Gran came out of the living room to ask what all the shouting was about but I was already crying too hard to answer. I just slammed the front door and locked it so Alcide couldn't come in. Then I went and threw myself into Gran's arms and sobbed.
"Sookie?" Amelia's soft voice drew me back from the memory. Her fingers were soft on my face as she wiped away tears I hadn't known I was crying. "What was it, Sookie?"
I buried my head in her shoulder. "I was thinking about the first time he left me. I can't do this, Ames, I can't go. I can't see him. It hurts just to think about it."
"Oh, sweetie," she crooned and led me to the soft plush chairs in my waiting room. She sat by me and held me as I sobbed, reliving the past over and over again. Each time I saw Alcide's face as I screamed that I hated him, I felt like a piece of me died. I didn't hate him, I just hated the fact that he loved his music more than he loved me.
"I'm sorry, Ames, I know you want me to be strong and to get past this, but I just can't. I love him too much. I did then and I still do. It would just break me all over again to see him," I whispered.
"No, no it wouldn't." Amelia's voice was firm and I looked up at her. She wiped away the tears. "Sookie, you are the strongest woman I know. You got past your Gran dying, you gave birth to a beautiful little boy and raised him all on your own, you finished school and got your degree and license. You've built this practice and you still have time to make that young man of yours happy. You've done so much that you can't let this get you down. Screw Alcide. Just go to the concert because you want to have fun. Don't go because it's him, go because its a concert, an adult outing, not going to ChuckECheese or the park."
I snorted and laughed at that. I really couldn't remember the last time I went out with just the adults. Not since I passed my vet exam. God, over a year. I was pathetic. I sniffed and wiped my nose. "Maybe, I just don't know."
Amelia rolled her eyes at my hesitation but got to her feet and pulled me up. "Listen, it's Thursday, you have two days to think about it. Really think about it. If you agree to go, I'll get Tray to watch Justin. You won't have to worry about anything but having fun."
I looked at her and arched a brow at the suggestion of her boyfriend babysitting. We both started laughing when we thought of big bad Tray Dawson chasing around a very active four year old. I was clutching my stomach by the time I finished laughing. "Oh that is just to die for. I may agree to go just to get Tray to babysit. We can set up hidden cameras and put clips on YouTube."
Amelia died laughing again, which set me off. I was glad I could laugh. It kept me from thinking about other things. This time when we stopped laughing, Amelia made me promise to think about it, which I did do. Then we locked up the clinic and parted ways, Amelia to go home and start dinner, and me to pick up my son from his sitter's. I had a lot to think about and to consider. Somehow, I just knew that going to the concert wouldn't be it. I knew that if I made the decision to go, I'd be making the decision to let Alcide back into my life, mine and Justin's. I just wasn't sure if I was ready for that.
Author's Notes: There you have it, my new little story. I've already gotten four chapters written, so there shouldn't be delays in the weekly posting of chapters. LindsayK has been amazing on helping with this, if you aren't reading her stories, then what are you waiting for? Go do it! Leave some review love and let me know what you think, I'll do my best to respond. Thanks for reading.