Darkness. Water. Fear.
It was maddening.
"I'm coming for you, you bitch. I can sense you. I can smell you…" A harsh voice snarled in her mind, causing fear to almost paralyze her.
Sookie abruptly opened her eyes, instinctively gasping and gulping huge amount of air. It was so real. Like it was really me. My own feelings, my own thoughts…my own fear.
Sookie sat up just as soon she had taken control of her anxiety. Taking deep steady breaths, she stood up and opened a window. When she finally calmed herself, Sookie went to the bathroom to wash her face and clear her mind.
Claude was right about having to need the energy for that, it really did take a toll on her. And the side-effects were bad. Like random thoughts would just swim around her, which is something she needed the least.
She remembered a time when Godric would help her out with her telepathic powers as a child. Sookie would cry when her head hurt too much, from the loud noise of their thoughts and then Godric would calm her with his silence. When she told him he needs his silence at day time too, he helped her train with her powers every night for months. It was easier now for Sookie to control it, not perfectly, but better.
Like having to close a heavy door. Once she gets pass through that mild headache of shutting people out, it was complete silence. But that would depend on her mood and energy.
She got out of the bathroom and finally took in her bedroom. The room was stylish and definitely comfortable. There were books lined up in one side of the room and in the other was a walk-in closet, filled with any kind of clothes for every occasion possible. Pam really did ready everything for her arrival.
Sookie smiled when she found pictures above her bed, there were pictures of her family.
It stung when she had forgotten her human family. She felt terrible, but if she tried pieces of them came back. Especially of her Gran. She got up and grabbed her bag, searching where she had hidden her other family's picture. Finally finding it, she looked at it again. Marking their faces in her brain and hoping to one day see them in better circumstances.
What were they like? How's Gran? How's Jase and Ma and Pop?
She scanned through her mind, especially focusing on Claudine's. Concentrating on them causes her to feel and know the atmosphere, the emotions and even hear the thoughts of what the subject is reading. She was not in control of the body but she was present in their minds.
Sookie didn't know what to make of it, but compared it to watching movies and television.
Only glimpses of her family were shown, but she relished in them. She took about an hour and a half, scrolling through the memories given, too engrossed in what she was doing that she forgot what time it was, until everything was interrupted by her cell phone ringing.
Shit! Sookie got up and ran to her phone, already knowing that it was Alcide calling. He sent a voice message that he was on his way. Sookie checked the time and saw that it was already 11 o'clock. She ran to the bathroom and took a quick shower and changed to a sundress and white keds. She grabbed a white matching cardigan and put her hair in a bun after drying. Almost forgetting to pack her cell phone and bag.
After going through Eric's maze of a house with security locks in every corner, she finally got out. Alcide shot her another text asking where he could pick her up. Not wanting to give away Eric's address (not that she didn't trust Alcide, but it was just a standard security thing) she texted him that she'd meet him in a diner that was two blocks away. She jogged around until she got there.
She saw a familiar light blue pick-up truck (from Alcide's photos) parked in front and entered the diner. When she saw Alcide sitting on a booth alone, his hair cut short, tall and ruggedly handsome, she took a deep breath before walking up to him. Seeing him in person was very different but altogether, it didn't feel awkward for her to approach him. Suddenly, his eyes locked unto hers, and he smiled. He chuckled and stood up, all 6'4 of him. His big arms enclosed around her and picked her up. They hugged and got back to a place in their friendship 10 years ago. Reminiscing and making fun of each other, sharing secrets, just the usual antics they've done.
They ordered lunch, and ate and caught up. But when Sookie was talking about Eric's punishment for Pam after she brought her to a bar when she wasn't even legal, Alcide interrupted her, "What happened to you and Eric? Thought you and him were warming up to each other?" Although Alcide did had reservations about vampires, he trusted and respected Godric to take real care of Sookie. But when it came to Eric, he just didn't like him, maybe because Sookie was starting to have feelings for him that just rubbed the wolf the wrong way.
Sookie shrugged while taking a sip from her iced tea. She put the glass down and slowly chose her words out. "He uh…kind of changed."
"Changed?" Now that piqued his interest as Alcide leaned closer across the table. "How?"
"Well, when I turned twenty, he just turned all flirty, arrogant, cold and bossy. Y'know? Fangtasia Eric."
"What tuned him out?"
"No idea. He just kind of switched." She snapped her hand in front of Alcide. "Poof! Just like that."
"Ain't no way a man like him would switch like that. Maybe Godric didn't want you with him?"
"Maybe. I don't know. All I know is, Eric is an asshole and maybe he was just showing the real him. Which is a good thing, right?"
"You tell me."
Wanting to change the subject, Sookie brought out a picture. "You remember this?"
Alcide groaned, "Sookie…not this again."
"Please Alcide. I need to know. I see them in my head again, I just need to see them. Alive and safe. And happy."
For a moment, Alcide considered Sookie's request. When she sent him an email with an attached picture before she left England, he knew it was a bad thing going behind Godric's back, and he told her over and over again. Eventually he gave in when she called in tears, and it was for his best friend. "If I get in trouble with Godric..."
"You won't. I promise you."
Alcide sighed. "It wasn't easy. Stackhouses live in a real small town. Bon temps ring a bell?" When Sookie shook her head, he continued. "Can't blame you. It's a real tiny thing. A few miles away from Shreveport but its one of the smallest town probably in America."
"Do you have directions?"
Alcide sighed. "Yes. But like I said, we can't. It ain't smart and it's dangerous."
"I need this, Cid." Sookie whispered with her eyes focused on her trembling hands that rested on the table. "I need to see them. I don't care if they see me. I want to know that they are safe and happy…so I won't always have to live wondering if leaving to keep them and I safe was a good idea. I know what I'm asking you is too much and crazy, and I will make up for everything that happens later, just please…Alcide. Please."
He understood, not that he ever experience a road not taken, but he could imagine wanting what it was like. Something that would leave him wondering about them, regrets and what ifs, what could be. He didn't want to have something like that over his shoulders and he especially didn't want that on Sookie. "Alright. I got a map and everything. But we still have to ask directions to the Stackhouse residence."
Sookie gasped in relief and smiled at him, "Thank you Cid." She stood up and ran to hug him from behind.
He rolled his eyes. "Yeah…thank me when I live through this after today." He mumbled, as he paid for the meal.
"Don't be so dramatic." She laughed and looped her arm around his as they walked out of the diner.
"Are you sure we took the right turn?" Alcide asked Sookie for the nth time.
"Yup, I think so." Sookie replied resignedly. They've been driving along the unknown road for about twenty minutes now, going through an unknown path that was said to lead to the Stackhouses. "Just keep going Cid."
From the bits and pieces of memories from Claudine, she could remember a few of these places. But that was a long time ago. Sookie wasn't entirely sure of where they should have headed. They passed through a bar and restaurant called Merlotte's, and got directions from a very very friendly (mostly to Alcide) man named Lafayette.
There they stopped by to the first house they saw. Relieved that they weren't lost in the middle of nowhere. "Cid, I think this is the Compton's house."
"You sure? It looks like somebody still lives in it." Alcide leaned further against the wheel to get a whole view of the house.
"Well, he did just pass away."
"Hmm. Maybe. But for an old man living alone, this house looks well-kept. Even though it looks like it was made a hundred years ago." Alcide commented while he parked his truck on the driveway. When they both got out, a man came out from the house. "Well hello there!" He looked to be in his early 40's, wearing a plaid shirt and jeans with boots. "You folks need any help?"
Sookie looked at the man, sensing a familiarity there. But she wasn't sure what memory it came from. It was all just too confusing. She smiled at him and shook his hand. "I'm Soo—" Stopping herself and feigned a cough. "Soo glad to find a house here. I'm Susan, Susan Herveaux. This here is my husband, Alcide."
Alcide walked towards him, shaking his hand confidently. Even though he was firing all kinds of confused thoughts to Sookie. What the hell, Sookie? The man smiled at them. "I'm Corbette. Corbette Stackhouse."
SHIT. Both Sookie and Alcide thought in unison.
"Are ya'll lost?" He asked, dusting off his gloves and shoving it in his back pocket.
He's my dad. My Dad. Wow. He wears plaid! And he gardens! And fixes up the house! Like any other dad. Wow. He seems like a real nice guy. I can't believe it. My Dad. Sookie couldn't seem to talk, her head in a whirlwind and Alcide took over.
"Me and my wife was informed that there was a house that was about to go on sale. We just wanted to check it out."
"Oh, the old Compton house, I presume?"
Alcide pulled Sookie closer to him by putting a gentle hand on her waist. Sookie shook herself before nodding. "Yes, that's it." Sookie smiled.
"That's the house across the cemetery." He pointed to the forest, and it took Alcide and Sookie longer to realize that there really was a cemetery. Corbette watched the young couple. "I hope that don't scare ya'll off though."
Alcide laughed. "Not really."
Corbette smiled. "Good." He nodded and led them inside the house. "But it ain't for show yet. They need a real estate agent who's willing to get it."
"Oh." Sookie faked her expression into sadness. But in truth, she was happy, happy to see her father up so close.
Corbette watched the lady, seeing her all sad made him sad for some reason. He wasn't sure what to do next, but he knew he just wanted to make this young lady smile again. "Well, I hope ya'll didn't go a long way."
"We just came from Shreveport." Alcide spoke up as they ascended the porch steps. "We don't mind taking a road trip."
"Oh. Well lemme just offer you folks some lemonade and a few things to eat. I'll introduce you to my wife and my mother."
Sookie's eyes widened. Should I really do this?
Alcide knew that they were lurking into dangerous water, "That's real nice of you Sir. But we can't possibly take more of your time."
Corbette laughed. "We don't mind at all. Besides, if you are still considering the house, we might as well acquaint our selves with our future neighbors."
Alcide looked at Sookie, and Sookie nodded. "We'd love to. And thank you so much."
Sookie's dad smiled at her, finally happy to see that the young lady seemed fine now. "You're welcome. I just finished fixing up our back door, and my wife makes the best lemonade. My mother makes the best cakes."
As they entered the house, Sookie was taken aback with how everything just hit her all at once. The designs, the furniture and even that weird quilted blanket on the couch. To her disappointment, she couldn't find any pictures of her. But why should she? She was wiped out of their lives. As a kid who was lost in the forest and presumed to have drowned in a swamp or something. "Your house is very lovely."
"Thank you." Corbette nodded and called for his wife. "Michelle? Mom? We have guests."
Momma…Gran. Sookie took a deep breath and held it. Slowly, a woman came out, smiling.
Corbette grinned when he saw his wife and gestured to Sookie and Alcide. "This here is my wonderful wife, Michelle. And this young couple is Susan and Alcide Herveux. Did I say that part right?" He chuckled as Alcide nodded.
"Welcome. I'd shake all your hands but as you can see my hands are quite dirtied up." She laughed as she showed her hands. Covered in flour and sugar. "Ya'll new in town?" She asked wiping her hands in her apron.
"Yes. Well, we're hoping to be part of this lovely town. We just settled in, me and my husband."
Another woman came out of the kitchen, "Well hello there. I'm Adele Stackhouse. But everyone just calls me Gran." Sookie wanted to rush to both of them and hug them all.
They were happy and care-free. Sookie's heart tugged and she tried to keep her tears at bay. Wondering, what it would be like if she'd stayed with them. Would she be happy as them?
Sookie then imagined herself, coming out of the kitchen too. In a sundress preferably in the color blue, her hair fixed and coming out with a plate of cookies. Chocolate chipped cookies. She baked them with Gran's help while her mom fixed up her lemonade.
Alcide noticed Sookie's shift in her mood and took over. "It's a pleasure to meet both of you. Mmm. What is that amazing smell?"
Gran and Michelle grinned, absolutely thrilled that they had new stomachs to feed with their baking. "Apple pie, lemonade and chocolate cake."
They all laughed when Alcide's face turned absolutely to pure joy and anticipation.
Sookie feigned her laugh, but again, was struck with how easy it was to get along with them. Gran had noticed that this young woman seemed sad, her eyes were teary. "Oh, Dear. Are you alright?" Adele brought out a handkerchief she kept in her apron pocket and handed it to her, while Alcide rubbed Sookie's back.
You okay, Sook? Alcide asked her telepathically. Sookie nodded and sniffed, trying to calm herself.
Sookie took it gratefully and dabbed her eyes. "Thank you. I just…hormones from being pregnant and all."
Alcide's eyes widened and internally groaned. He was really digging himself his own grave, if Debbie finds out about this, he'd be dead. Corbette shifted uncomfortably, not really sure what to do, while Michelle and Adele understood perfectly well.
"And seeing you all happy and laughing, makes me want to have a family like this." Sookie continued, tears falling freely. "It just touches my heart."
Adele sympathized and gently held Sookie's hand. "Aww, c'mere darling." She hugged Sookie. "I can tell from you that you can have a family like us. Not that were all that great. But happy? Yes. You seem like a real nice girl, and I am a good judge of character." Adele whispered in her ear, her voice calming Sookie.
Sookie never wanted to lose that feeling.
Adele gently laughed when she let go of Sookie, wiping the young woman's tears with her thumb. Something about her is very familiar, Adele thought to herself. In which Sookie heard.
They continued their conversation in the living room. With Adele, telling her stories about how she'd met her husband. And Michelle and Corbette reliving their love story too. They told stories about their family, but completely avoided their Sookie.
That was what Alcide noticed, when they kept mentioning their son, Jason. He was a high school football hero but that is until he just for some reason, gave up on it. After high school graduation he was a mess. But then they talked about how proud they are of him, having to finally wake up from his playboy and drinking days and taking life seriously, and it all ended with him engaged to a beautiful and charming woman, named Summer and becoming the Sheriff's deputy.
Nothing about Sookie. The lost girl in the woods.
But what Alcide noticed too, was that Sookie didn't seem to note on that fact. She was just too happy to be listening in all these.
"When Gran fell down the stairs, we moved in to help her out, and permanently stayed when Jason got engaged." Michelle said and held Gran's hand. "But I'm glad she made a full recovery, she broke her hip, but no one could break her spirit not to come back walking again." They all laughed and even talked about pregnancy tips. While the two men, walked around the outside of the house to talk about exterior designs.
Alcide got sucked into this and completely enjoyed his stay with the Sookie's human family. They were nice and he felt an easiness with them. They were invited for dinner, while Corbette asked if Alcide could help him fix the roof up, to which Alcide agreed.
They stayed longer than what the two best friends expected, but even the Stackhouses loved having them. Adele, Michelle and Sookie cooked together in the kitchen, while the men talked drank their beers and watched sports.
For some reason, Sookie and Alcide forgot about their lives for a while, and just lingered in the house. Knowing that the moment they got out, it would mean the end of this made up life. Maybe it was because of the fact that Sookie loved the flow of how comfortable she was with them, while Alcide took pleasure in talking with her dad and guy stuff and the food Gran and Michelle cooks, just made Alcide want to stay there too.
They ate dinner and shared stories of anything that just came up. They had fun and ate delicious food. It was the perfect combination of what felt like family bonding. When it was time for Sookie and Alcide to leave, they bid their goodbyes.
It was bittersweet for Gran, Michelle and Corbette when it came to saying their goodbyes to the young couple. But they would see them again, and they just really loved their company. The two men shook hands, while all the women hugged their farewells.
Michelle went back inside to clean up and Corbette went to help out.
"Ya'll don't be strangers now." Gran called out as Sookie and Alcide walked down on the porch. Sookie turned around and hugged Adele one last time.
Adele laughed when she noticed that Sookie's cheek got wet. "Hormones again, I presume?"
Sookie nodded solemnly. "I'll see you all soon, Gran." Alcide waved his goodbye while he waited for Sookie. Alcide put his jacket over her shoulder and kissed her forehead.
"Goodbye, Gran!" Alcide waved and led Sookie to his car.
They drove in silence, as Sookie wiped silent tears away from her face. Alcide held her hand to comfort her, knowing that leaving that family was painful for her.
"It was so stupid of me to come back, huh?" Sookie sniffed.
"Not really, Sook. At least you won't be wondering anymore about them anymore, now that you've seen them."
Sookie nodded and squeezed his hand gently before letting go. "But now I know what I'm missing."
He looked at Sookie for a while before turning his gaze at the road. "Do you regret it? Coming here?"
"I don't know. Not really?" Sookie shrugged. "But in the few hours that we got to know them, I'm starting to fall in love with the idea of being together with them. But I do know, that I don't regret Godric saving me from Warlow and saving them from his path."
Alcide agreed with that. "They are lovely Sookie. Your families are great. Both of them."
They both looked at each other in the eyes, with a silent what if. What if they had that life, settling with Alcide. And having them as their family. Involuntarily, Alcide gave into those thoughts and imagined being married to Sookie and having the kind of life.
Sookie saw it all, sighing that she too would have loved that. "Maybe in a different life Alcide...we could have."
Alcide completely understood what Sookie meant. And continued driving in silence, that is until a blond blur appeared in front of them.
Suddenly, Alcide swerved and stopped abruptly. "Son of a bitch, Eric!"
Eric swaggered towards the car, looking cold and lethal. Sookie already knowing the reason why.
DISCLAIMER: I DON'T OWN ANYTHING.
A/N: I'd like to thank everybody for their reviews, follows, favorite and continuing support. You guys are totally amazing. Anyways, I know I wrote the last update with Alcide and Sookie's lunch date going baaaaad? Yeah, I changed it, cause I didn't want this to be a cliché with Eric getting jealous or anything like that.
Sorry if I keep changing it. But I hope you guys like this chapter.