This is a sequel to my first story "Only Human." I highly recommend you read that story before reading this one if you have not done so. If you have, welcome back! I hope you enjoy this story and I just want to remind you that I truly appreciate every single piece of feedback and review I get and it really helps me while writing. That being said, let's get going on Sookie and Eric's next chapter! Thanks everyone!- R
The house was small but comfortable, with ivy growing on one side and a shelf of flowers beneath the front window. The branches from a tree hung low and heavy before the cottage, not quite obstructing, but giving the appearance of hidden getaway. The glow from the windows stood in stark contrast to the enveloping ink of the night around the land. Dusk came early here at this time of year, and a gray stream of smoke wormed lazily out of the chimney. Cream curtains were secured back with ribbon, giving a direct, if unintentional, view into the private abode.
A petite blonde woman bustled around the kitchen, her mouth moving rhythmically in what could only be song, although no noise could be heard from the front yard. She looked young and healthy, her hair swinging loose around her shoulders, and she donned a red shirt tucked into khakis. She was rushing, it was easy to see, as she skipped in and out of view, doing a full spin at one point as she searched, and successfully found, some misplaced item. All the while her mouth moved in melody, serene and cheerful, despite the hurry, unaware of the shadowed figure watching her from afar, oblivious even as she bounded outside and to her car that someone was listening to her song and quietly, so very quietly, humming along.
She wasn't hard to follow but her stalker remained outside the tiny dinner for fear of being made. The restaurant had a rustic and purposefully 50s style to it, a tin trailer that rocked slightly as customers entered and exited and waitresses dashed from table to table.
The blonde woman wore a checkered apron and her hair now swung at the nape of her neck in a ponytail. The silent observer watched while a customer, a beefy man with a patchy beard, yelled at her. His bellows made his face turn red and the veins pop in his neck, and even from a distance it was clear his anger was inproportionate to whatever issue about which he was complaining. The woman stuttered and turned pink in the cheeks, but held up her hands in surrender, whisking the apparently toxic meal away from the man even as he continued to howl at her back.
It went on this way for a long while, and the shadowed figure was amazed both by the casual cruelty of humanity as well as their resilience as he watched the woman soothe one impatient customer after another.
After hours of this, the watcher allowed himself to be swallowed more fully by the shadows as the waitresses performed the last few obligatory chores and the lights switched off in the trailer. The ancient container groaned as the help hurried out, calling half-hearted goodbyes to each other.
The woman's car was parked a good distance away from the others and she paused when she was alone to shift her weight on her sore feet and tilt her closed eyes toward the sky. Snow had begun to flutter down some time ago, but in such casual intensity that it had only just begun to stick to the grass, leaving the world feeling quiet and beautiful without the realistic worries of commute problems that so often accompanied such weather.
The woman held out her hands and sighed contentedly, her breath swirling around her in a puff of white. The snow glittered on her hair and in her lashes making her appear at once as an angel and as though she were weeping.
Her guard was down and the man prepared himself to act, certain with no one around that this was the moment he had been waiting for, but as if hearing his thoughts, the woman straightened and walked hurriedly to her car, leaving behind the calm moment in the parking lot without a second glance.
The grocery store was next and the follower waited impatiently in the parking lot for her to emerge. Unwilling to risk exposure by entering the store, her twenty minute disappearance set him on edge. He wanted this done now.
She emerged with two bags, the weight of which dragged down her arms. Snow was still falling lightly, no closer to becoming a nuisance, but the time for romantic lingering was over and her walk back to the car was brisk.
As she stepped out of the vehicle in her driveway, the moment seemed at hand and he stepped forward to grab her. Just as he was upon her, however, the front door swung open and he retreated in a panic back to the shadows.
Annoyed at the interruption, he watched through narrowed eyes as a man emerged from the house. He folded the woman into his arms and she placed a kiss on his cheek. He took the bags from her and ushered her into the warm of the home, shutting the door behind the picture of the perfect couple.
The outsider shifted uncomfortably. This was unexpected. He had anticipated ease in getting her alone. The presence of this man was…unfortunate.
The opening of the door interrupted his thoughts and he willed himself closer to the darkness. The couple reemerged and the woman dug into her purse to hand the man some cash. Cash? Risking his position, the watcher craned closer to get a better look. The man vaulted down the steps without any further goodbye besides a chaste wave and drove away in a previously undetected Prius. The watcher sneered and turned back toward the house.
Not lovers then. Friends? But why was he in her house alone all night? Why the exchange of money?
The watcher straightened abruptly as the woman reappeared in the kitchen window. Not much had changed. She still wore her uniform, her hair still swung in a high ponytail. Now, however, she was not alone. Now, she carried the smiling form of a blond toddler.