Thank you all :-) Hope you enjoy this one, as short as it may be. Next update will hopefully be far more eventful

Chapter Sixteen

After Eric left, I cried for a good few hours in bed. And I felt no shame in doing it, either.

I knew that had Eric been there in the room, it would have been another story altogether. It wasn't that I was ashamed of my feelings, because I knew we all grieved when things happened to make us feel blue, but I just didn't necessarily want for Eric to have to see me this way. Sometimes it was easier to grieve alone, in the privacy of your own home, without any outsiders eyes staring at you, goading you on into having to explain what was wrong with you, what had happened to make you feel the way you did.

Answering questions was the very last thing I wanted to have to do. So, I kept it to myself, as much as I possibly could.

The next morning work was a necessary, as well as a much welcomed, distraction. I was in such a glum state that I could hardly think about anything, other than work. My feet had a mind of their own half the time during my shift, and they led me mechanically to each table to serve and my face was working right in doing me proud with a fake smile to greet customers with, but I couldn't exactly say there was any feeling involved. I felt all hazy. Hazy, and covered in blue.

I had made a little bargain with myself last night; I would allow myself to cry as loudly and for as long as I really wanted to, all night if I had to in order to let it all out, and then I would not be allowed to cry any more. My name was not Weeping Willa; My name was Sookie Stackhouse, and I knew for a fact that crap happens in life.

My Grandmother often said that with sunshine there also has to be rain.

This was life, and upsetting things were bound to happen along the way. Bad things happen, and there isn't a single thing you can do to prevent it. There has to be some bad times here and there, to get to the real good bits in life; Bad parts that accentuate the good. So I had worked real hard to get myself stuck into that little frame of mind.

The good part of it... was that I had met an unbelievably amazing man. A thoughtful, sweet, and selfless one, who made me feel wonderful however little amount of time we had spent together.

Eric had opened up my mind on things I never believed existed in the world; For one thing, I had learned that fairies were real, and not just made-up mythological creatures. Oh, no. They were real, all right. On another more positive note, I had also gotten to experience sex that was really out-of-this world. Also, Eric had also reaffirmed that there were still a lot of wonderful men out there, and that there was nothing wrong in letting loose from time to time in getting closer to another person, despite how painful it would inevitably be in the end.

He had also taught me how heartbroken a person can get if they become too attached to somebody. I never knew it could hurt this badly, this profoundly. There was this hollow ache in my chest that wouldn't seem to subside, no matter what I did, and no matter how hard I tried to make myself happy and cheerful again.

No decent amount of laughter was able to fill this hollow gap up, because the main depressing issue was always there blaring at the forefront of my mind.

Eric was gone now, which meant no more time spent together. No more time spent being silly and childish. No more time experiencing wonderful sex, and affectionate cuddles. There would just be no more time spent having somebody to come home to after a mundane day, somebody who I could get lost into conversation with, hearing about how they lived and not having to stress about my day and how ordinary it was.

It was there when I woke up this morning, and it was still there when I arrived home from work.

The emptiness of the house. The quietness.

It just made the gaping cavity in my chest that little bit more intense, that I was beginning to struggle on seeing an upside to Eric's absence. It got me so down that I had to think of ways to distract myself. I washed the kitchen floor, something I hadn't done in weeks. Then I made myself a quick dinner, which I had to force myself to eat sternly like a teacher scolding a child and telling them to behave themselves. After I scraped all my greens in the bin and started filling up the sink to wash my dish, I peered outside the window. I saw something move outside behind the trees, and I froze with what I was doing. My heart started pounding, in a very unpleasant way, as I saw something big slither out from the bushes. I didn't know what that something was, I got to thinking my mind was playing tricks on me, but that something looked daunting and scary, like a monster that crawled up walls.

I heard something scrape against the front door next. It wasn't exactly a knock, but something or someone was telling me to come out to the front door to let them in. So that was exactly what I did. I prepared myself, though. I was probably only being suspicious, but I slid open the top drawer in the kitchen cabinet and pulled out the sharpest cutting knife I owned. The front door rattled loudly, and something rustled up against it from the other side. I brought the knife with me, and even went so far as to peep outside the peephole to check and see what was on the other side. Much to my misfortune, that something on the other side was too short for me to see it. All I got was a big glimpse of the dark yard, and nothing more.

I took in a few deep, steadying breaths before I unlocked the door and cracked it open an inch or so to look out. A big pink nose pushed its way in through the crack, and I heard it sniff me out. And then a big, fluffy white paw pushed its way through the crack, and I was being bowled backwards. It was that tiger of Eric's. His pet, and he helped himself inside without trouble. Although I knew all tigers looked the same pretty much, I just immediately had faith it was Eric's tiger. This one belonged to Eric, and he didn't come to harm me. He brushed past my legs and sat on his hind legs by the rug I had near the front door, raising his huge head to look up at me and the knife I was holding through yellowed, bright eyes.

"I can't seem to remember what your name is," I told him, a little nervously. "What was it?"

It was obvious that although the tiger was tame, he still couldn't speak.

He got back up onto his legs, tilted his head, and went sniffing around my bare feet. He was so big and strong he went past my knees; He could have easily knocked me down. After watching him cautiously for a few minutes to be sure he didn't see me as food, I trusted him enough to turn back to lock us inside the house.

"Oh, god. I wish I remembered the name you go by," I said sadly. "Was it... Geoffrey?"

The tiger gave me a real sharp look, and then he yawned loudly, sticking out his big tongue and bearing his humongous sharp teeth to me.

"I guess it isn't quite that," I laughed shakily. "But I know you went by something?"

I was so awestruck with the tiger appearing at my front door that clearly I wasn't thinking about any other potential dangers lying ahead.

The tiger gave a twitch of his nose at me, bringing up his lip so that I could see more of his threateningly yellow teeth, and then suddenly someone sprung up from behind me. Since I was so preoccupied and scared by how menacing the tiger was looking at me, naturally I didn't figure it out until it was already far too late.

I heard someone mumbling in an incoherent language from behind me, and I remembered wondering how it was that a person came to be mumbling in my house, before an intense, sharp pain flew across my scalp and blackness took over my eyelids.