Hello everyone! :D
It has been a while! I have been holding off on posting this, but I decided to anyway. I have no beta atm for this, since my beta and I are going over DL and a few other things, so it'll take us a while to catch up to Dying Heart, so please forgive any and all mistakes, I promise I'll get around to correcting everything soonish.
I'm not promising regular updates, since my life is upside down right now, but I will try to get things done and up as quickly as I can.
I hope you enjoy this story as much as you enjoyed DL, well, maybe more so!
If you haven't read the one-shot I posted a while back, do, it's does flow into here.
Anyway, I'll stop blabbering on and let you have fun now!
Disclaimer: CH and TB own all the cannon characters. I make no money from this.
Merlotte's was flat out tonight. Every table occupied with people wanting to eat, or drink and in most cases both, plus gossip. I didn't mind the running around because my shift would fly by in no time.
"Order up!" Lafayette's ducal tones called out from the kitchen window.
I came over to get the chicken wing basket for JB. He and Tara were sitting in my section, having dinner. While we had both been friend's with him in high school, this renewal of their friendship seemed a little odd, but not wholly unwelcome. I was just glad that she was finally getting over Eggs and trying to live again, and JB was sweet. I knew he fancied her was easy enough for me to read, his mind simple, it was the reason I enjoyed spending time with him. If it wasn't for the fact that I would simply get bored with the guy, I'd have tried to date him. He was the only one who's thoughts I could tolerate for any length of time.
Tara and I weren't really speaking all that much these days, me being the reason why the love of her life had died, but at least she wasn't being an outright bitch, or sending me accusing looks like she used to, not that I really could blame her. I've settled for lack of interest from her, rather than covert hostility. Hoping that one day she'd forgive me enough to resume a semblance of our old friendship. We haven't been at odds often, and this new coldness between us hurt me more than I've been letting on to everyone. Only Eric and Godric knew the truth, which was the reason they weren't very fond of Tara. I couldn't really blame them, or her, I did blame myself a little, when those two weren't around to read my feelings.
Lafayette was dressed in a tight purple vest that matched the eye-shadow he was wearing. I smiled at him as picked up the basket.
"You lookin sexay sista." He winked at me. I winked right back before sauntering off, my mood suddenly fluttering higher after his compliment.
Don't get me wrong, Lafayette was as gay as God could make them, but the compliment was sure nice. I did take a little extra time than I normally would with my make-up tonight. I was going to meet up with Eric and, hopefully Godric as well, at Fangtasia later. Apparently, or in this case according to Pam, they were planning a surprise. She didn't tell me what, but she did say to look nice.
I smiled at JB when I placed the chicken wings in front of him.
"Did you want anything else?" I asked.
He smiled back. JB was almost always happy. He was a simple man, I should know, I can read his thoughts.
I looked over at Tara, she didn't even acknowledge me. Sad as it was, I knew she was feeling mostly guilty for blaming me and didn't know how to turn things around. I just wasn't sure if they could after all this time.
"No, thank you, Sookie. We'll call you if we do," JB said with a lesser smile, even he noticed the tension at the table.
I nodded before moving away. Maybe JB will have a calming influence on Tara.
Truth be known I wasn't happy working at Merlotte's these days. It used to be great. It was the first job I've held for longer than a few months. Thanks to my disability it wasn't all that easy to find a job. I was pretty, sure. Now a proud size six. My natural blond hair highlighted thanks to the intake of vampire blood that had yet to wear off, or it could have been the after effects of whatever it was that Lexie did to me that 'unbound' my powers, which have yet to make themselves known.
My boss, Sam, was a friend. He used to have a thing for me, but lately that has cooled. He's been seeing someone for a couple of weeks, and I couldn't be happier for both of them.
It was the fact that I barely made a ripple in my bank account with the wages from Merlotte's.
I worked for Eric full time as a telepath. I made more money, but I also worked fewer hours, and the ones I did work were not spent serving people. I was respected in his world, the world of the Supernaturals. Valued. I wasn't valued here. Not by anyone. Well, that wasn't entirely true I chided myself. Sam valued me, but with the new waitress starting to take over more and more of my shifts-who he just happened to be dating as well- it didn't seem like he needed me all that much too. Not because he'd ever fire me, no, but I didn't think I'd be serving drinks for that much longer though.
"Sookie." I heard a cool voice behind me say my name, and stiffened.
I knew that voice. It was Bill's voice. I steeled myself as I turned around, reinforcing my shields just in case. People in this town loved to gossip, and this was gossip worthy material. He looked good, but his charms were lost on me. I stopped seeing him as attractive around the time when he confessed to taking my virginity on his Queen's orders. Bastard.
He was also here with a date. She was taller than me. Her hair was styled, short and brown. She was also about as happy to see me as I was her. Not that I minded that Bill dated, because I didn't, but that he had the gall to bring her here. That I did mind. I minded that a lot actually. Surely there were classier places to take a date to? Or come on a night I wasn't working, it wouldn't be hard, I mean I only worked one or two shifts a week these days.
I felt the smile on my face brighten as they both took me in.
"Hello, Bill," I said, and was pleased with the evenness of my own voice.
"Sookie, what a pleasant surprise. I'd like you to meet Selah Pumphrey. Selah this is Sookie," Bill said.
I fought to keep my temper in check. No, it wasn't jealousy, it was annoyance. I looked at Selah, she was the complete opposite of me. Well educated, well to-do, and well dressed. The last was something Pam has been working hard to rectify for me too, but in my Merlotte's winter uniform (black pants and long sleeved white shirt and black Reeboks) style wasn't an option.
She obviously thought so too, because her lips curled slightly, and not in a friendly way.
"A pleasure to meet you, Sookie," Selah said her voice pleasant as can be, the smile on her face didn't reach her eyes though.
"And you too. Now, can I get you menus or will it be just drinks tonight?" I smiled the biggest and craziest smile, and turned to lead them to a table. I didn't hold out hopes that Bill would be nice enough not to sit in my section. I was right, because they followed me to a booth and sat down.
"I think drinks, for now, would be fine, unless you are hungry?" Bill asked with a concerned look at Selah. I was proud to say that look being directed at someone other than me did absolutely nothing to me. Almost.
Selah smiled at him, it wasn't the strained, nasty, smile I'd received from her moments earlier. "Some wine would be lovely."
"A glass of red wine and a True Blood, please." He looked at me, and for a moment I saw something flare in his eyes. I ignored it.
"I'll be back in a jiffy with those." I said before walking away from them in the least rushed way I could manage.
Sam was behind the counter pouring a beer when I got to the bar, he was scowling in Bill's direction.
"Is that recent?" I asked moving my head to indicate the happy couple in the booth. Well, Selah was smiling at Bill in an adoring kind of way that made me want to vomit or say something nasty, and Bill had his usual neutral expression.
Mysterious vampires my behind.
Before I got to knew Eric better, and Godric, I used to think vampires were brooding, mysterious and generally morose. They're not. Actually, that's not true; most are, probably because that's what is expected of them. I didn't think the general public was ready for the Wii matches, name calling (in dozens of languages), or the pranks that happened behind the ultra suave façade. Maybe I got very lucky when I started dating two that had a sense of humour.
Pam was hilarious in her own way, when it didn't involve painting grisly scenes in my head, or play with my hair like I was her own personal Barbie doll. You try to explain to a two hundred year old vampire, with shiny and very much deadly fangs, that you didn't find her joke all that funny, or that my hair was just fine the way it is. Yeah, I didn't think it was such a good idea either.
"He's been bringing her here for a few weeks. So far, you've missed the happy occasions." Sam wasn't that fond of vampires as a rule, after I told him what had happened in Dallas, his opinion of Bill Compton took a deep dive and never resurfaced. I've been trying to take day shifts as often as possible, so I could spend my nights with the vampires, which is probably why I haven't bumped into Bill all that much. Sam was all too happy to help me out.
I got the bottle of blood out of the fridge, it was O positive, Bill's favourite (I didn't feel any pride in regards to still knowing that), and stuck it in the microwave to heat.
"It doesn't matter." I told him and got a loaded look back in answer. "It doesn't. Maybe he'll move on now." From the quiet stare I was receiving from the booth in my section across the bar - I felt it on me without needing to check - I knew I was wrong. "They seem better matched anyway."
I was pretty sure that Sam was going to reply, but the microwave beeped then, and I went to take back the drinks.
For the last half hour of my shift I was acutely aware of dark eyes following me as I served and cleared my tables. When I peeked into Selah's head a few times, she was getting frustrated with Bill's obvious inattention to her, and his more than obvious covetous looks at me. It was with a wave of relief mixed in with excitement that I went to get my bag from Sam's office and after waving Sam a quick goodbye headed to my car with a bounce of building excitement in my step.
Bill Compton can date whomever he want, I had my own date tonight, and I wasn't about to let him ruin my mood.
It felt like the drive home took forever, of course I was getting used to my vampires driving me these days, and neither of them cared about human speed limits much. Most of the work I've been doing lately has been using my telepathy to screen people and usually I had someone else drive me. It wasn't a choice, the jobs involved stressful situations, or long hours of me listening in on people that would leave me drained physically as well as emotionally, so my vampires didn't want to risk me driving myself. After the first few times I had reluctantly conceded the point in their favour. So, the only driving I did was to Bon Temps, and I felt every pothole of my gravel driveway as I neared the house.
I've been saving up my money for a new car, but the driveway needed work. It'll be next on my list. Just because I spent less and less time here didn't mean I didn't love my house.
As I entered the clearing where the family house stood I slowed down the car to better admire it. The lights were on. I've had a few outdoor lights installed, as well as a motion detector on that flooded the back area whenever I drove in after a shift.
The newly painted walls and gleaming windows gave me a bit of a start every time I noticed. Lexie, my newly found and very much non-human aunt, had repaired the house after all the damage the maenad had caused a few months back, and the house looked better than it had in decades. Since she had done it in a sneaky supe way, in a matter of hours rather than the weeks, and possibly months it'd have taken me, I was more than grateful. She completely stonewalled me on paying any recompense saying that her father, my grandfather, would flay her hair if he heard that she took so much as a penny. I couldn't really argue with her, it had been nice to have family take care of you.
"Hello." I called out into the forest as I got out of the car.
No, I wasn't talking to animals.
"Sookie!" A warm voice answered. There was laughter and comfort in it that never failed to make me feel happier.
Phedre stepped out from the trees. She was wearing a long skirt and cotton blouse. Her feet were bare and her hair flowed around her face in pretty curls.
I smiled at her as I often did simply because she was a nice person, and she was someone I considered a friend.
"How are the trees today?" I asked.
"Cheerful. They missed me last night. They're getting very needy now that winter is coming." She said as she stroked the trunk of the nearest tree.
Phedre is a dryad. She came to our neck of the woods when her home was deforested. She's from somewhere in France and has been alive for longer than I care to think about. I met her at the Halloween party a month ago and we became friends after. She'd often come to Eric's house since the woods around there were never trespassed by anyone save the ones that were allowed past the wards. I could tell though that she was unhappy about living in the city, even one that was relatively small like Shreveport.
I spent less and less time in Bon Temps, so the idea of someone living in my Gran's house came to me one evening, an unasked but welcome epiphany. Eric had been dropping hints, but he let me take my time with it, and I appreciated that.
Eric is not known for subtle approaches when he wants something done, so his patience with me is almost a miracle in its own right.
That's how I ended up with a dryad living in my old room at the Stackhouse homestead, and picking up more and more of my shifts at Merlotte's. From what I've been hearing (not just with my ears mind you), she and Sam were getting along well as well. I was happy about that. Sam's like liked me for a while. He's cute, in a shaggy type way, but not for me. I've always seen him as my boss first. Cute as he was, and he was nice as well, I just never really saw him in that way.
I had a strict policy of not dating my boss, until Eric, but he's more of a manager than a boss, and, well, it's complicated.
Phedre was older than I don't know what, well, she was sure older than Bill and Pam, and they had a few centuries in age between them. She didn't look it at all.
With all these supes I've been hanging out with lately, I felt like an infant half the time. Most of the people surrounding me were well over a few centuries in age, though they hardly looked it, and I have been glad that they hardly ever treated me different from each other. I'm not the most educated person, or smartest, but I wasn't stupid, and just because I've been alive for a quarter of a century rather than several of them doesn't mean I don't know anything. My telepathy made sure of that, I've lived through plenty of people's experiences just by seeing their thoughts, in my eyes that put me, and all the older folks around me, on a more than an even footing.
"I'm glad you're here to take care of them, I'm sure they're enjoying the company." I told her, not entirely understanding how trees talked, but happy to see her so at peace again. "Have you had dinner yet?"
She shook her head, the hair bouncing all over the place. "No. I was waiting for you. I did make a chicken salad."
I was salivating just at hearing the words. "Let's go eat then."
She chuckled as she walked up to me. "You even sound hungry."
My stomach answered her in a loudly. I blushed as my left hand flew to cover it as though, somehow, it would make the sound quieter.
Dryads aren't known for their political correctness, but I'd learnt that didn't mean they would make fun of you out of spite. The humour of each species (and I'm in regular contact with a variety of non-human ones these days) is very different.
It was nice to share a meal with someone once in a while. I didn't get a chance to do something like this that most people considered mundane save when Phedre ate with me, or Lexie dropped by. Jason spent too much time chasing every available skirt in the surrounding towns having exhausted all the opportunities here in Bon Temps, and had little time for his baby sister, so I enjoyed the simple routines of sitting down for a meal with a companion and being able to talk about your day while both of you enjoyed the food.
The salad was delicious, and there was little conversation while I was trying to stuff as much of it as I could in my mouth without appearing savage, I missed lunch so I was extra hungry.
Phedre smiled as she watched me almost inhale the food. "You know, there is plenty left in the fridge."
I smiled ruefully as I chewed through another mouthful.
"Do you think I can take some with me for tomorrow? It's delicious." I asked. Gran would have been proud, after scolding me for my poor table manners of course.
She laughed at the pleading look on my face, I loved to cook, but eating great home made food was something I never turned my nose at. Phedre was a pro, she had centuries of practise, and knew recipes I've never tried before. Like this salad. I made a mental note to ask her to write the recipe as well before I leave.
"You're more than welcome to take it all with you, I'll make more next time you're here. When is your next shift? You'll be heading to Shreveport tonight, yes?"
I nodded since my mouth of inconveniently full, again.
"I've got a few jobs in the next couple of days, and Eric has been extra sneaky about something - I think he may be planning a surprise for me - then there are the training sessions." I rolled my eyes at the last one.
Pam's been coming over more often during my sessions with Lexie since she was going to take over them for the next few months. I was learning hand-to-hand combat and weapons on the insistence of everyone around me I needed to learn self defence. Between the vampire blood I took from the guys, and Lexie unbinding whatever powers I inherited from my mother's side I had more strength than normal, not as much as most supes, but Lexie promised that even that will improve with age.
Lexie had presented me with a beautiful pair of daggers and she was teaching me how to use them. The idea of actually using them to injure, or kill, someone had my stomach in knots every time I thought about it. Lately, though, I've come to realise something about myself, something I wasn't sure I was proud of as yet. If I was ever in a situation that made me choose between my life or someone else's, I'd pick mine. I'd been raised to be a good Christian, but no matter how much guilt I felt over knowing that I'd probably kill if I had to, it didn't dampen the fact that I wanted to live. Nowhere in the Bible did anyone warn you about the monster that lived with us, the monsters that wanted to kill you for who you are, and who you are with.
"Pam's idea of training needs to be re-defined." I huffed. She worked me to the point of complete exhaustion. She didn't see the need to take it easy just because I was more, or less, human.
"You are getting much better." Phedre pointed out kindly.
I rolled my eyes as I scooped up another bit of food. "Sure, I'm only half blue by the end of each session," I said with sarcasm.
"It is better than being all blue, no?" Her eyes twinkled over the glass of water at me. I really enjoyed spending time with Phedre, and the thought that I'll miss this time I had with her regularly settled in my mind. We've spent many an evening since she moved in just talking. She'd tell me about her life, and I had been happy to find that she was much more open about it than vampires were. I decided that it was more the case of habit; she's never had to be as secretive about things because dryads were solitary by nature and didn't have the political problems that vampire society brought into my life, or maybe because her life had a lot less death and violence in it.
I envied the simplicity of Phedre's existence. It must be nice not to be in constant danger.
"Have you given any though about my offer?" She asked after a brief lull in the conversation.
Phedre had offered to teach me a little about the ways of the dryads. She had explained that without the innate magic of a dryad I probably won't be able to do much, but we could still try.
"Sure. I've thought about it, but with the heavy schedule I'm in right now would not be a good time to add to it. Can we hold off on it for a few months?" I didn't want to offend her, the offer was very generous. When Godric had found out that Phedre had offered to teach me the ways of her people he was shocked. Do you know how hard it is to shock someone who is well over two thousand years old?
"But of course it is no problem. I understand that Pamela wants to make sure you have improved considerably under her care."
I groaned in answer, Pam's dedication to my training may prove to be fatal to me.
We both finished eating and I took the plates to the sink, washing them and stacking on the side to air dry. The familiar routine gave me a chance to think about how to approach the next subject. Phedre was making some sort of herbal tea concoction.
She's been picking herbs all over the property and drying them on the back porch. I had no idea what some of them were, but her teas were absolutely lovely.
"Have you been enjoying living here, Phedre?" I asked as I watched her.
"Yes. Your house reminds me of my own very much and the woods are just enchanting. They are very friendly here." She said.
"What about the job? How's that going?" We haven't really worked the same shifts since she started.
I saw a blush creep into her cheeks "I enjoy the work as well."
"And Sam's nice?" I asked, watching her squirm like that was just too cute.
She gave me an arched brow look before her face to broke out into a grin. "He is a good man, is he not?"
I nodded. "The best I know. I'm glad you like it here."
She cocked her head to the side before asking. "Why all the questions, Sookie?"
"Well, I've been thinking a lot about my working hours and the fact that Sam doesn't really need me at the bar any more, and that I don't really need the extra income from the bar job. And, I've been spending a lot of time commuting..." I realised I was rambling and that Phedre had a small smirk on her face.
"You are saying you wish to stop working at the bar?" She clarified.
I nodded. Boy, will those two be happy when they hear about this. Eric has been pestering me about my bar job for months, and while Godric didn't do it in as much of a cocky manner, I knew he didn't think much of the place too.
"You wish to move to Shreveport then, permanently?"
I nodded again, then thought to add. "I won't sell the house, or anything. You can still live here, we'll split the utilities and I'll pay for the upkeep." I tried to breathe past the tightening in my chest. I was talking about moving out of my Gran's house, the Stackhouse's have lived here for generations. "You're the first and only person I wouldn't mind to live here, you see... I like the idea that Gran's house will be in the hands of someone who loves it almost as much as a Stackhouse."
My smile may have been a little wobbly and there might have been moisture in my eyes, but Phedre didn't comment on those facts, and I was grateful for it. She came to me and enveloped me in a tight hug. The smell of trees, sunshine and spring surrounded me and I felt calmer. I hugged her back, because she was one of the few people I could truly call a friend these days. And because, out of those few even fewer were girlfriends. Although such term seemed funny when applied to someone who was definitely not a girl.
"I would be honoured and very grateful." She whispered in my ear, before kissing my cheek.
"Thank you." And if my voice was more emotional that I'd care to admit, or if there was moisture on my face I didn't own up to it just then.
It took me another half hour or so to get ready. I wanted to look nice tonight, but since I was told to dress casual I opted for a pair of stretchy jeans, that hugged me in all the right places and a soft cashmere jumper, in turquoise blue. I wore matching pumps, with pretty flowers on the outside of the shoe.
My hair was up in a loose bun with small tendrils escaping to frame my face, Phedre had styled it for me, she's very good with hair. I touched up my make-up, making doing it smokier than usual around my eyes and making sure my lipstick was a perfect glossy red.
I looked good. Great. Sexy, but without trying too hard.
Phedre gave me a hug as we said our goodbyes and she headed back into the forest, something I was getting used to seeing. She spend a lot of her free time in the forest surrounding my house. I slid into my car, my mood sky rocketing as I turned my thoughts towards my destination and the vampires waiting for me.
I was almost on the outskirts of Shreveport when I heard the ominous sound. My heart plummeted into the soles of my feet and I took my foot of the accelerator as the car slowly rolled to a stop on the gravely curb.
"Please don't die on me now" I turned the key in the ignition, but apart for some more pathetic chokes there was nothing left in her.
I slumped forward resting my head on the back of my hands. This was not happening. My car didn't just break down in the middle of nowhere, and in the dark too. Godric's words from the Halloween party echoed in my head.
This stretch of the woods was empty of housing of any kind, I must have been alone for a goof ten miles in either direction.
I thought about the smug look of satisfaction on his face. No. He wouldn't be smug, he would be upset. Irritated. And maybe a little worried.
I had managed to convince Godric that I should only have protection while I was working, that was by telling him I would act smart. Eric has been a little less severe on the subject, so it was Godric that needed convincing.
Gingerly I pulled out my mobile phone. I still had credit on it, thanks to the Dallas vampires. I've been back to see them just a few weeks ago, it was a business trip, but we managed to have some fun as well. I even had a girls night with Isabel.
"Fangtasia, where all your bloody dreams come true." Pam's bored voice answered after a couple of rings.
"Hello, Pam." My own was soft enough so that there was less of a chance that I'd be overheard on the other side. Vampire hearing was very acute.
"Sookie? You're late."
I checked my watch. Sure, I would be late if I didn't get there in the next ten minutes. I didn't think that was physically possible unless I had inbuilt Lexie transport. I didn't. "Thanks, Pam. I know."
"What is it that you need from me?" She practically purred the words. Why did Pam find the idea appealing?
I gritted my teeth. "I have a small problem I was kind of hoping you might be able to help me?"
There was a brief pause and I heard heels clicking.
I rolled my eyes at her abrupt manner.
"My car just died." Ironic to use that particular turn of phrase in present company.
"I am not a mechanic. Even if I knew anything about cars, why would I try and salvage that piece of pre-historic crap?"
"Pam, I'm not asking you to salvage it, I'm asking you to salvage me from being stuck in the woods on an empty road."
The laughter that followed was pure evil. "Priceless." She still chuckling, I really didn't have anything to say to that. "You know what's coming then?"
"Just come and get me." I growled, then decided that wasn't the best way to speak to my vampire rescuer. No matter how friendly we were, Pam was one of the undead, and deadly. "Please."
"I'm on my way."
The line went dead before I could say anything else. I glared at the phone, not that it helped, and then threw the damn thing back into my bag taking out my frustration over the whole situation on the phone, the bag, anything that didn't have fangs. I didn't think Pam would really try and kill me, but she was my trainer for the next three months, she could and might may my life hell.
Since there was nothing left for me to do but wait for my rescue to arrive I looked around.
There were no street lights on this stretch of the road, it was in the middle of the forest and unlikely to receive any foot traffic. Memories of the last time I was in the woods came back to haunt me. Bill and I arguing, storming off, getting my back shredded by a crazy maenad, Fangtasia, and Eric...it all felt like a lifetime ago.
Bill tonight, like any other night he'd managed to catch my shift at the bar, was irritating with his underhanded techniques. I wasn't sure why I thought he didn't really care for his new 'girlfriend'. It wasn't vanity speaking on my part. Who'd bring their new flame to a bar where there was a possibility of running into his ex, unless he deliberately wanted to.
Not that I should be surprised, not after Dallas, and specially not after what I found out. I wasn't sure what bothered me more, that he thought that I'd forgive him, or that he thought I'd be jealous, or that he thought for a second that I could possibly want to go back to him when I was obviously happy with where, and with who, I was with now.
Any lingering feelings I felt for Bill Compton had nothing to do with lust, or love, or anything even remotely friendly these days, not after Phedre mentioned that she's smelled him more than once in the woods surrounding my house. The idea that he was stalking me was disturbing. What Eric and Godric might do to him if they ever found out left me shuddering. I might think he's a bastard, but I didn't think he needed to die.
I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that it took me a little while to come back to reality. An uneasy feeling came over me as my thoughts brought me back to my present.
Something was watching me.
I peered into the dimness of the night, but there was nothing there. Shivering I checked the locks on the doors again before going taking out the knives from under my seat. They weren't as nice as the set I had from Lexie, but they'll were the best you could find on earth, or so Godric told me when he gave them to me.
I preferred knives to a gun these days. Less noise for one. I might not be as fast as a vampire, or as strong as a Were, but I could throw with deadly accuracy now, besides, not everything could be killed by a gun wound. Knives did more damage.
The watched feeling was still there. I shivered. Sending a fervent prayer that Pam would get here soon I dropped my shields. When I heard the red snarly thoughts my heartbeat jumped to a crazy rhythm.
God, how many were there? A dozen...no less, maybe ten. Jesus Christ, Shepherd of Judea, I was getting better with the knives, but I couldn't possibly take out ten Weres.
"Pam, where are you?" I muttered. My options limited, I listened in on their thoughts while trying not to betray the fact that I was aware of their presence.
Were and shifter brains were harder to read unless they thought directly at me. All I could pick up from was the idea that they needed to get me somewhere. I gulped at the idea my fingers reaching into the bag which I had so recently abused so I could find my phone. Just in case.
They were getting closer.
My heart was in my throat and I was dialling Pam when I saw headlights. My lack of shields alerted me straight away to the fact that the driver was undead. I could have cried.
"I am here."
"Werewolves. In the woods. Ten." I whispered.
"You are so much trouble." She tisked as I watched the car do a crazy swerve and pull up to a perfect stop in front of mine. "Are they still there."
Silence. I waited. "I assume you have your knives?" I nodded, she could see me in the mirror. "Fine. Let's make rugs then."
I didn't give myself a chance to think twice about it, I was out of the car almost as fast as Pam. I held the knives in my hands, blades down, but ready. My arms tense, ready to strike, as I moved into the middle of the road. Pam was already there her fangs drawn and looking into the woods. She could probably see them, where as I could only see trees and darkness.
It wasn't full moon tonight, not that it would have mattered since the sky was covered in a haze of clouds; whatever light we had came from the cars. I squinted trying to see something in the shadows where I could feel the Weres.
The cool night breeze pushed strands of hair into my face and I fought not to twitch, knowing that any distraction could prove fatal. This wasn't practise where I could call a halt. I was about to fight for my life. Until now the training had been all fun for me, I didn't think about the real possibilities of my being a target for this sort of thing.
Stupid really, since I've already been in more than one life-threatening situations since I've been hanging out with vampires.
"Don't get hurt." Pam muttered to me as she shifted onto the balls of her feet. I could feel that several of the wolves were getting closer to her. I didn't look behind me to check, my eyes scanned the forest in front of me again.
The first one stepped out to my left. He was large, shaggy and scary as hell. I gulped. While I've heard plenty about Weres, event met a few; I've yet to actually see them as their wolf selves so to speak.
They were huge.
I looked on, while trying to calm my erratic breathing, as a few more dark shapes stepped out of the shadowy forest and onto the road effectively surrounding us. My confidence in our ability to come out of this unscathed went down a notch or two.
From behind me I heard a growl and then the beginnings of a struggle. I didn't get a chance to wonder how Pam was doing, or how many wolves were targeting her because the first wolf jumped towards me and I stepped sideways, narrowly avoiding the clawed paws swinging my way, as I swung my right hand.
The dagger entered the wolf smoothly, silver coated steel deadly combination for a Were or vampire. I twisted and quickly pulled it back. The spray of blood as I pulled out the knife made my stomach churn, but I was already watching the rest of them. Howls pierced the night as he flew down onto the road.
I didn't have a chance to think about the fact that I made my first kill before the next one jumped at me. My vision was filled with fur and teeth as I fought off the attack. Blood sprayed onto my new jumper when I slashed at his chest.
Then I was falling. Pain seared my back as it hit the road tearing a gasp out my throat.
The Were on top of me stared at me with widened eyes that were full of angry pain and I realised that the dagger I had pushed between us while falling was now in his chest. The knowledge gave me little satisfaction as I heard more growls right next to me.
I was stuck under an injured Were, with more coming after me and no way to defend myself. I've gotten stronger, but trying to move the mountain of wolf on top of me was not something I was capable of doing even with the extra strength I still possessed from the vampire blood. I was pretty sure Pam had her hands full, so she'd be no help to me right now. Fuck.
I watched, unable to bring myself to look away, as the eyes above me dulled to a glassy black, life slipping out of them while I counted down the moments until mine would be taken just as easily.
Then someone roared. It was such an angry, frightening sound that I turned towards it thinking maybe this was it.
Godric stood in the middle of the road, fangs extended, blood dripping down his face. I've never seen him look more like the vampire that he was. He's always been so civilized, so human, that I hardly ever remembered that he had it in him to be just as lethal and brutal as caring and affectionate.
He roared as he launched himself at the wolf between us. The head was gone before I had a chance to blink, and within moments the heavy Were was being lifted off of me.
I gulped a lungs full of air as the pressure eased off my chest.
"Sookie, are you okay?" Godric said as he bent down to look me over. His eyes too wide, too feral held a concern as his fingers gently inspected my body. The light brown sweater he was wearing now dark and soaked in blood. His mouth was covered in blood and his fangs still peeked through his lips. I gulped as he finally made eye contact. But he didn't say anything. I wished he would. The look in his eyes combined with the silence was infinitely worse than the scolding I had expected.
"Is Pam okay?" I asked, noticing that my voice as shaking.
"I'm fine, but Sookie, did you not understand when I asked you to not get yourself hurt?" She drawled from behind my head.
Gingerly pushing myself up I looked over at her. She didn't look any cleaner than Godric, but she had a satisfied smile on her face and glint of excitement in her eyes.
"Pam, I tried, I even...killed two." My voice slipped into a whisper as that particular realisation hit me. I had killed. The feeling of Godric's eyes making a hole in the back of my head reminded me not to start falling apart right now. I wasn't sure what kind of mood he was in, but it was not something that needed to be aggravated by my hysterics. I pushed away the thoughts of my own lack of morality as Pam replied, her words almost like a purr they were so full of satisfaction.
"I know. I'm very proud of you." Her fangy smile showed just how much. "You managed to kill two Weres the first time you've had to fight. I'm not a big fan of wolves, but they can be a pesky nuisance. You should be very happy with yourself."
I looked at her to see if she was kidding. She wasn't. I looked back at Godric, and unlike her, he didn't look pleased or happy at the news.
"Enough of this. Pamela, call Eric and let him know we'll be going to the house to change first. Then, we will see if Sookie is well enough to go to Fangtasia. We'll need a clean up team here, and a tow-truck for Sookie's car. Someone needs to make sure it wasn't tampered with." he said. His eyes never left mine and the tone of his voice was cool enough to make me shiver, though I wasn't really cold. Dirty, bloody and in pain from my unexpected close encounter with the ground and a couple of wolves, but not cold, not until I looked at him that is.
He picked me up without a word and carried me to the car. Pam held the door open as she spoke into her phone. I didn't really try to listen since it was way to fast, and probably in a language I didn't know anyway.
It took them less than five minutes to dispose of the bodies. While help was on the way a stray car, or God forbid police, would definitely disregard a lone car parked on the curb, but arms, legs and a couple of human torsos for a little harder to turn a blind eye on.
We left my car on the side of the road. There wasn't much in it by way of valuables. I had an old blanket I kept in the boot for game nights, but apart from that it was clean. Pam had gotten my bag and the salad Phedre had packed into a container for me. My stomach turned unpleasantly when I saw it. I hoped like hell I'd be able to keep down my dinner.
Silence reigned in the car as Pam drove us to Shreveport. While I could understand why Pam was quiet, after all she was the younger vampire, and although they didn't follow protocol often Godric was her grand-sire. When a vampire as old as Godric was upset, you kept quiet and stayed out of the way, something Pam didn't do even when she should, and when she did it made me worry. If Pam was keeping silence, then Godric must be really upset.
I had fully expected him to be angry, maybe shouting, but he sat in the passenger seat, silently staring out the window. A worse treatment than heated arguments. I didn't know what to think. Try as I might to fight off the panic, my stomach was clenching with painful uncertainty. Was he so angry that he might not want to be with me any more?
I sat on the cream leather seat in the back of Pam's car as she sped her way towards Eric's house. The silence weighed down on me almost like a physical presence. Vampires didn't need feel the need to fill in silence like humans do. I felt that difference between our species right now like a huge crater.
Silence was something that I didn't want right now.
My mind kept replaying the events like a bad horror flick re-run on late night tv. The feel of the blade as it hit and then slid past the thin barrier of skin and meat. The light dimming in the eyes above me. I saw those eyes staring into mine every time I blinked, I tried not to blink too often. The hunger in them slowly dying as death took hold. I had killed him. Bile rose with deadly accuracy, burning its way up my throat. I heaved, covering my mouth just in time to stifle the first retch enough.
"Stop." It came out distorted and I for a moment I panicked thinking maybe they wouldn't understand me. Pam's quick reflexes saved her expensive interior and I managed to get the door opened just in time as the remnants of Phedre's salad made it's way up my throat and onto the gravel of yet another strip of road.
"And you were doing so well, Sookie." Pam said as she watched me with undisguised revulsion from her seat.
I felt cool hands brush my hair back, and when I managed to pry my eyes open I saw black lacquered shoes, covered in grey dirt and now the contents of my stomach. I didn't get a chance to feel embarrassed as another wave hit me and I was heaving up bile.
Fingers stroked my hair. "It's all right. You'll be okay, ma petite. I'm here." But for once Godric's soothing voice did nothing to calm me.
When I was sure my stomach was done. I breathed, tasting the bile in my mouth. I felt worse than I thought would be possible. My arms shook from the strain of holding my body while I heaved over the side of the seat, my back was still sore from the fall earlier, and the rest of me shook from the efforts of my stomach cleansing rituals. Rene's head rolling away after I pushed the shovel through his neck blinked in front of my eyes as though it had just happened now, not months ago. And the only thing my mind played over and over was the fact that I was a murderer.
I had killed twice now.
What made me sick the most wasn't the fact that I've had to kill again in order to live, no, that was something I could talk myself around, but the fact that I didn't feel at all sorry that I've done it. Now that thought scared me shitless.
"I killed, again." The words came out broken and barely above a whisper. My throat hurt as I tried to form a more coherent sentence, and failed. The first shudder racked through my body so strongly that I barely managed to keep myself upright, and the tears that had been slowly slipping down my cheeks broke through the damn.
Then Godric was cradling me.
His cool arms surrounded me as he lifted my shaking body puling me into his lap. I sobbed into the folds of his shirt not caring any more about trying to hold back, or showing a weakness, but simply grateful; grateful that he was there, and grateful that I had a shoulder to cry on.
Grateful for the knowledge that I wasn't alone right now.