“Oh. My. God. You’ve got to me kidding me!”
“What did I tell you about your ability, Sookie?”
“Yadda, unique yadda. Blah, valuable blah. But this is just ridiculous.”
The crowd of waitress applicants had been nothing compared to the completely silent mass of well behaved vampire/pet sets. Lined up as though they were waiting to board Noah’s Ark, a large section had to move so that I could get into my parking spot. “This is just the rush.”
“Like Black Friday?”
She forced a smile. “It’s a shopping thing. Pam would get it.” No doubt.
I was watched carefully as I got out of my car and went around to open the door for Sookie. Pam opened the back door for us and it hadn’t latched before the murmurings began.
Pam led the way to my office. “Since you’re running late, I went ahead and connected your new keyboard and mouse so that you wouldn’t need to wait for the drivers to install and pulled up the disclaimer so that you can make any last minute changes and approve the additions I thought of before printing… the bartenders are doing well, the waitresses seem fine and the bar is at capacity without any of Sookie’s customers since we were closed for so long. I had the line reverse so that the beginning is in the back. That way they can be led straight to your office. I’ll go out as soon as we have some forms done to pass them out.”
Of all the complaints I have about Pam… inefficiency isn’t one of them. The rug she’d bought for my office was…
She put her hands on her hips and snapped, “You’re welcome.”
“You are an amazing second, Pamela… but, what the fuck? Turquoise? Swirls?”
Sookie giggled. “I’m going to the bar to get a drink and look for problems while y’all fight about interior design and print stuff. K?” She kissed me, then Pam’s cheek and whispered that she liked the damn rug.
As soon as the door was closed, Pam snarled at me. “It’s not like it’s flowery. It’s mostly brown… cappuccino and robin’s egg… do you at least like the sofa?”
I sat on it, laid on it, gave a bounce or two… “I don’t hate it… the brown leather should be easy to keep clean… the rug isn’t horrible either. It’ll grow on me.” I went to my desk to look at the form.
“It’s a futon… it slides down in a second to a full sized bed…”
Fuck the form… I went back to the sofa and lifted the edge of it and it practically became a bed by itself. “Genius!”
“I thought it might make up for the rug.” Oh… It did… and then some.
I laughed. “What rug?”
She started to chuckle, enjoying her small victory. “I’m happy that you’re happy. Now stop playing and get to work.”
Once the bed was a sofa again, I snarled at Pam jokingly. “Just because I want to get done with work.”
“And Sookie can help with christening your new toy. You call me predictable… Your tardiness, is there something to be concerned about?”
“Not really. I spent a few minutes getting an update from Alcide. The errand running went well today. The bulk of the early evening was taken by a death in the family. Adele’s brother died.”
“Oh no! What happened?” Genuine concern?
“I killed him.”
She gasped. “You killed Gran’s brother?”
“I’ve been planning to for a while now, but our trip to New Orleans delayed it. He molested Sookie when she was a child and as it turns out, he’d done the same to Hadley and made an attempt at Linda.”
“If they ever find out…”
“They know. Sookie knew that I’d killed someone when I returned last night. She’d felt it. When they got the news today, she put two and two together.”
“She was only upset until she discovered that I’d done it… You added a signature line for the pet?”
“To cover our asses. If some weird legal loophole opens up they can’t say later that they didn’t know. Who cares if their master glamours them?”
“When they come in, all you have to do is take their IDs and copy them. There’s a box of folders at your feet.”
I smiled at her. “You’ve thought of everything… I could retire.”
“Don’t even joke about leaving me as sheriff! I’ll run away and change my name!”
I laughed, “Again?”
She rolled her eyes, and changed the subject. “You said that the Were is working out well?”
I nodded and started the printer. “He made a minor mistake and let Sookie be alone with her riled former employer, but he didn’t defend his mistake. He seems to get along well with Sookie and Adele. He had some helpful suggestions in regards to Hunter… As long as he keeps his fucking paws off of Sookie, I think he’ll do just fine.”
“Flood called about an hour ago.”
“I’ll have to call him later.”
“It’s already 10.”
“Shit. Go check on Sookie for me?”
She gave a nod and turned to leave…
When I was done explaining to Flood that his Were hadn’t been hired as a ‘meat shield’, I took the stack of forms out to the bar…
Sookie was sitting at the bar, chiding one of the new waitresses for not brushing her teeth after a cigarette… “If I can smell it, your vampire customers are gonna be repulsed and there go your tips. Even if you don’t give a fig about tips, have some common courtesy. Go wash your hands and suck a lemon from the garnish tray. That smell won’t be as nasty to them. Damn.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry.” The waitress lowered her head and walked away and I couldn’t help but be impressed.
One of the new bartenders leaned over the bar. “Much appreciated, ma’am.”
Sookie smiled at him. “Anytime, Hamilton. Any complaints?”
“That’s the only thing I’ve noticed.”
She nodded. “She’s one of the new girls. They know how to wait a table, they just aren’t used to being around y’all.”
“Obviously.” He pointed over Sookie’s shoulder to one of the other new waitresses who had made herself comfortable in a booth with a vampire.
Sookie cut her eyes up at me and huffed as she slid off of her stool. “Y’all should have drained Ginger a long time ago. That bimbo skipped info that could get the new girls in trouble.”
I laughed as she stomped away to deal with the ‘Waitressing a la Hooters’ and found Pam to give the forms to her.
“It’s a shame she’s a telepath. She’d make one hell of a bar manager.”
“You’ve been listening?”
She nodded with an entertained look. “While you were on the phone, she found a coed with a fake ID and someone with a stolen credit card. She bounced them herself.” Amusing, but dangerous.
“You let her?”
“They were human and I was watchful. They didn’t put up a fight.”
“I don’t like it. That kind of bullshit is secondary to her safety… Pull rank next time.”
“Alright. She’ll be difficult though. Don’t forget she used herself as bait for a serial killer.”
“That’s why I’m concerned.”
Sookie dragged a chair behind my desk and made herself comfortable at the corner with a pad of paper and a stack of Post-Its while I made sure that the printer had plenty of paper.
“Are you ready for this?”
She huffed out a deep breath. “I don’t know. I guess we’re about to find out.”
“If you need a break or want to just quit, say the word. Charity is the only thing keeping you here.”
“If it hadn’t been such a long day, this’d be a cake walk. You know that.”
“My timing with…”
“Not just Bartlett. Sam’s crap, worrying about Hunter, poor Alcide…”
She frowned. “He doesn’t like vampires in general. He’s never seen a situation between Weres and vampires that worked out well. The only reason he took the job was because of his dad’s debt… His dad gave him a really hard time about taking the job… Told him it’d serve him right if something happened to him. And because he’s guarding me, his girlfriend is giving him a hard time too. All of that going on and he still isn’t crappy towards us. Even his thoughts. The grouchiest thing he thought all day long, except for at Merlotte’s, was that maybe if the pack ended up needing me for something they’d back off… I kind of hope they do.” Lovely. I hadn’t figured he’d be a fucking pussy.
“What did he think at Merlotte’s?”
She snorted. “I’m not repeating it. He re-invented the profanity dictionary while Sam was standing at the table being a jerk. His brain was a mess of violence, but he behaved so he wouldn’t make a scene.” At least he was capable of behaving protectively.
“You really shouldn’t go back to Merlotte’s. Sam could hurt him in fight. If you feel like you have to go, wait for night and I’ll take you. You shouldn’t have flicked Alcide for mentioning it.”
“I didn’t flick him for that! Big jerk. I’m gonna do more than flick him the next time I see him. He told me that he’d call in dead the next time Merlotte’s was on the list of errands and that he wasn’t taking me out of the house again dressed like an N’Sync groupie…”
I snorted out a laugh. “An N’Sync groupie? What were you wearing?”
“A tank top and some dukes… He got flicked when he told me that ‘spoken for’ girls only dress ‘like that’ for their man and then Jason high fived him.” I felt better about Herveaux already… worse than the friend zone… the brother zone.
Sookie’s first customer was one of the vampires from my area. Darius had brought in 3 of his boy toys for screening and Sookie found 2 of them to be clear of general deceit, but one of them was selling street drugs and turning a respectable profit while using his car… In the scheme of things, the pet’s source of income was of little matter, but as Sookie so eloquently put it, Darius’s car being used for drug delivery could ‘come back to bite him in the ass, pun intended’. Darius left feeling as though he’d gotten his money’s worth…
And it had taken Sookie 7 minutes to earn $3000.
An hour and 14 satisfied vampire customers later, Sookie had read (and cleared for the most part) 19 more pets, day guys and accountants.
Sookie had just taken a break to use the restroom and order dinner since she’d slept through it and when she was done ordering, she didn’t wait for introductions to be made before she stared a hole into the vampire entering the office.
“King Edgington could have just called the Queen to confirm my ability. That’ll be $1000.”
The human in company gasped, “Holy shit!”
The vampire smiled at her. “I volunteered to have my pet screened when the King mentioned his curiosity, sheriff.” Right… It was far more likely that he’d been in the vicinity when Edgington heard the gossip about Sookie and was handed an assignment…
I nodded and invited the lying asshole to take a seat. Once he’d paid the fee and signed the agreement, Sookie proceeded to pick the pet’s brain more deeply than she had the others… She revealed a plethora of details… useless information really… The only flavor of gum she’s allowed to chew is Double Mint. The sofa in her master’s house has purple pillows. He feeds in public and fucks in private. She went to Blanchette High School and her first boyfriend had freckles everywhere…
By the time Sookie was done, Geoffrey and his pet’s mouths were hanging open.
“Is there a reason I was tested?”
It took him a moment to collect himself. “No. The King is the pragmatic sort. He was curious so that he might consider your services should a need arise.”
She nodded. “Let him know that any questions he has can be answered by emailing Master.”
He nodded and left. He was probably dialing Edgington on his way through the parking lot to happily report that Sookie’s existence wasn’t just a rumor. That would be another contract for Sookie. He’d pay through the nose to be 2nd in line for the use of her ability.
Her next client was Dennis Williams. While his name was boring as fuck, he was known as one of the cruelest sheriffs in the Americas. While I had the distinction of being considered ‘ruthless’, was brutal as sport. He’d come all the way from his area in Missouri to have his nasty blood bags read… and they were… all four of them looked as though they’d just been bailed out of prostitution charges…
He hadn’t bothered with their names, a trend that had already started to wear on Sookie’s nerves, and when he sat he swatted one of their legs because she wasn’t far enough behind him.
Sookie scribbled notes quietly as her agitation grew and Dennis became impatient.
“The chat outside is that you’re pretty good at this shit. You’re not much for show though. Are you already…”
He snarled at her. “Who do you…”
She huffed, “Fine, Mr. Patience. Since you won’t shut up… You dress them like whores and beat them like dogs. Last night you loaned 2 of them out and they hate you… but they’re afraid to take off.”
She shrugged and went back to scribbling notes. “They think you’re so mean because you aren’t packing much.”
“Packing…!?” He whipped his head around to snarl at them.
“They can’t help what they think. Besides, even if they weren’t terrified of you, us girls don’t tend to bring that stuff up. I wouldn’t have if you’d been nicer.”
“Is that it? They’re scared of me and think I…”
“…Have a penis small enough to be considered ‘cute’? Yeah… I could go on but it think you get it without hearing that… Do you know what a ‘Fraggle’ is?”
The look on his face when he spun around to interrupt Sookie was almost as ‘cute’ as his dick. “I get it!”
“They call it the ‘Fraggle Rock’… you know…” Small, furry and annoying?
He growled and stomped out of the room, slamming the back door and leaving his pets there to stare at Sookie.
She gave them a sympathetic pout. “I know, but he won’t kill you over it.”
As they left, Pam arrived at the door with a paper bag and a disgusted look on her face. Sookie’s smile brightened and she raced over to Pam to take the bag and close the door…
She leaned against the door and whispered, “I lied.”
“I could tell. What were you lying about?”
“There’s still time to catch up to him if you want… they take his blood while he’s dead for the day.” Why the fuck…?
“And you covered for them?”
“They don’t sell it or drink it or you know I would’ve busted them and reminded him not to kill them in your Area like I did with the one from earlier… but it’s kind of fitting considering what he does to them… they take it to a children’s hospital and give it to kids with autoimmune disorders… you know, because it makes humans stronger.”
Pam laughed, partially at the do-or-don’t look on my face. “Do vampires get to have moral dilemmas?”
I might have been more inclined to go after the prick if Sookie didn’t feel just as torn as I was… appalled that they’re taking his blood when he’s defenseless/seeing a karmic humor to the fact that the bastard was doing something charitable whether he knew about it or not…
“What is your reason for not just telling him while he was here?”
“It’s not like they’ll hurt him. They’ve been doing it for a while and he doesn’t know because he takes so much from them… He’s going to find out eventually and he’ll kill them, but what’s the harm in letting them get some payback and doing something generous in the process?”
Pam added, “…And he’s a pompous stack of shit.”
I laughed at them. “Of course there’s that… I should go tell him, but he’s not in danger and he’s almost certainly too embarrassed about being hung like a smurf to talk.”
Sookie blushed and giggled. “Fraggle.”
Pam stayed in the office to pry while Sookie ate her sushi… Since she’d waited until so late to order, her choices had been limited. She’d ordered a salad as a precaution, but wanted to try sushi since she’d never had the chance… Rather, she’d resorted to having me order it for her since the woman to answer the phone had a limited knowledge of English and had no idea of what Sookie meant by ‘sampler’.
While Pam twitched every time Sookie took a bite, I couldn’t help but be entertained. She’d lift the item to her nose first then test it with a nibble. She’d only found one type that she wasn’t fond of and the squid was completely ignored. She’d tested the accompanying sauces and dips with her finger first and when she was done she took her purse and her leftovers to the locker room…
She’d enjoyed the wasabi enough that her lips were tingling… Not only could I feel it, but the way she unconsciously nibbled at the odd sensation was getting to me…
I’d felt her mood improving while she ate. It wasn’t as though she’d felt hungry, simply run down. The improvement was obvious when she returned. Her eyes and smile were lighter, less weighed down.
She’d brushed her teeth, gotten a soda from the bar and given her salad to Ginger… And she returned to her seat determined to get through the rest of the waiting line without taking another break.
Over the next hour we saw more of the same. Another 20 pets and servants came and went. And, yes, she did find another pet that was taking blood from his master during the day and reported him. While Sookie felt sorry for the vampire, I had no sympathy. That was the kind of shit that would be prevented if he’d simply rested secretly…
One vampire had passed a note to Sookie when he introduced himself. He’d driven up from Baton Rouge because he suspected his pet of stealing from him. Why a bloodbag was worth $1000 and a 4 hour drive was beyond me. It would have been far easier to just trade her in. She wasn’t stealing… her sudden ability to pay her own bills came from selling the clothing he was buying for her after she’d worn them…
I found that I felt as though I was watching a horrible vampire soap opera.
The occasional vampire who entered my office was justifiably having Sookie read their Bruces and Bobbys… but the pets… they annoyed me. There wasn’t a single ‘special’ thing about them that would make them irreplaceable.
It reminded me why I didn’t keep pets.
It was just after 1 when Pam led the last of Sookie’s clients into the office. Knowing that it was almost over brought a wide smile to Sookie’s face as she quickly told Bernice that her 17 year old pet was only with her to be turned and informed her that she should’ve known better since he has a ‘Twilight apple’ tattooed on his back.
They hadn’t even reached the back door before Sookie was on my lap sideways with her hands resting on my neck.
“You know, I really do love you.”
“What brought this on?”
“Not that I needed another reason, but all of that crap makes me appreciate you all the more.”
“You’re the pet of a bastard vampire mercenary sheriff and you’re happy?”
She giggled. “It’s not like you bring work home with you.”
“Ah, but I take you to work.”
Her thumbs skimmed back and forth lightly and her mood shifted. “Speaking of work, we should settle up.”
I pulled her closer. “What are we settling?”
“Rent… I used your office all night.”
I slid my hand up her thigh… under her skirt… and found that she’d taken off her panties… I growled, “You already know what I want.”
She breathed against my neck, “I can’t read your mind.”
My eyes rolled back as she started to nibble and I slid my hands over her thigh. “But you can feel it.”
She bucked when my fingers grazed over her clit. She whimpered, “I’d feel more if we weren’t wearing so much.”
I grabbed her hair to push her mouth to mine and she started to unbutton my shirt as she squirmed in my lap.
“Dammit! I was hoping to catch you before… well, before.” Pam’s intrusion was only slightly less annoying because the door was left open. It was only a matter of time before something interrupted.
Sookie hid her face against my neck, embarrassed that we’d been ‘caught’, but the way she’d suddenly crossed her legs had trapped my hand. The heat in her face could be felt through my shirt. I gave an extra flick of my finger and she twitched and punched my shoulder simultaneously.
I rolled my eyes at Pam. “What?”
“I was just… there’s a couple of loners out there. They’ve been here for a while. I was wondering if…”
Sookie interrupted, sighing without taking her face away from my neck. “Where are they?”
“At the end of the bar by the ATM and booth 6.”
Sookie concentrated, becoming completely still. Since I wasn’t embarrassed, only irritated… I continued to play and rubbed my finger over her clit again… she responded with a turn and bit my shoulder through my shirt…
Pam rolled her eyes as she waited.
Sookie finally cleared her throat. “The one at the end of the bar was stood up and she needs a cab… The one in the booth is looking for Long Shadow. He owed his master money.”
Pam gave a satisfied shrug and turned to leave, locking the door and thanking Sookie along her way.
“Where were we?”
She lifted her flushed face to scowl at me. “We were about to have sex in an open room.”
I went back to rubbing her, watching her eyes fight to fake her upset. “I can go open the door if you want.”
She squeaked when I lifted her, taking her to the couch and she gave me a wicked smile when I lowered it to a bed.
The futon again…
For the next two hours we ruined my office to the point that it would reek of fucking and her blood for a while…
Sookie had collapsed on top of me, still gasping for air somewhere under the sweaty tangle of hair when there was a knock on the door.
“Enjoying the futon?”
Sookie chuckled in between gasps. “Pam, you’re full of awesome.”
Pam cackled in the hall. “All closed up. I’m leaving. I’ll stop by your house to drop off Bubba’s dinner and those boxes.” Boxes?
Sookie lifted her head to look at the door. “Awww, thanks.”
“Call if you need me for anything.”
Sookie waited for a few minutes before testing her legs… She unsteadily searched the room for her shoes.
I hadn’t budged. I was still considering staying a while longer… now that the bar was empty.
She stood with her hands on her hips, waiting for me to take her dress down from the light fixture. When I didn’t get up, she huffed and stomped over to my desk chair, then stepped onto my desk to grab it herself.
“Coooome onnnn… Don’t be a turd. We need to get home.”
“What can we do at home that we can’t do here?”
“Have sex until the sun comes up.”
She shimmied into her dress and pulled her panties out of her purse to put them on. “We could do that here.”
Sookie came over and took my hand, pulling and leaning with everything she had. “If we did that, Gran would worry because we’d be stuck here all day.”
I laughed at her attempt. “You’d be free to go home at dawn.”
She dropped my arm and gasped. “I wouldn’t leave you here!”
“Why not? I’ve rested here before.”
She plopped down on the edge of the futon next to me. “Oh. My. God. That’s so… so… so stupid! What if some jerk decided to burn the place down on the day you stayed here! Nuh-uh! If I’m not allowed to take chances then you aren’t either.”
“Oh really?” I couldn’t help but be amused that she’d order me to do anything.
“Really… I’ll guilt you if I have to, but you’re lucky this place hasn’t been fire bombed already.”
Her eyes welled. “I couldn’t stand it if something bad happened to you.”
“Ah, the Baptist on Sunday routine.”
She slapped my stomach, taking on an angry look. “Fine! Screw you too then, buddy! Do whatever you want.”
She stood up and grabbed her purse… and stormed out. “Where are you going?”
“I’ll walk home.” She promptly slammed the back door shut to punctuate her little tirade.
“YOU WILL NOT!” I jumped up and grabbed my pants, wrestling to get the fucking things on without pulling them apart…
By the time I opened the back door to go after her, she was out of sight and her heels were angrily stomping away.
I had to go back for my keys and when I reached her, she didn’t look back.
I rolled down the window. “Sookie, get in the car.”
“No.” if she was trying to piss me off, she was doing a spectacular job.
“Get in the fucking car.”
“Leave me alone.”
“You’re acting like a child! Get in the fucking car.”
“Go to hell.”
“You don’t have a choice. Get in the fucking car or I’ll put your ass in it myself.”
“Oooooh, big shocker. Eric’s going to do whatever he wants anyway.”
That was it. I’d had enough. I slammed my car into park and got out. She hit me when I scooped her up and had to remind myself that I didn’t want to hurt her when I put her in the car, but when I slammed the door shut, the fucking window shattered.
Eight miles of seething silence that was only broken by the sound of the broken window peppering around inside the door.
Sookie hadn’t even waited for the car to stop. Her door was open and she picked up on her stomping where she left off before I killed the engine.
She stopped in the laundry room and filled her arms and then walked away…
She walked past the door that would take her downstairs so I followed her…
Her destination was the room she’d stayed in when she first came to stay with me…
…And closed the door.
What the fuck?
Another reason to not have pets.
After getting rid of Bubba since Adele had already gone to bed, I sat on the couch in the den and found myself watching the stairs… pathetic. Even after the way she’d acted I was still hopeful to get an explanation.
I listened as she showered and climbed into the bed… disappointing by itself that she was going to leave me to try and figure out what the fuck had broken in her brain to make her behave like she had…
Worse still was that I could hear her crying.
I wasn’t going to do it.
There was no fucking way I was going to sit there and listen.
I went down to my room, knowing that there was something that I needed to do, but too distracted by half an hour of inexplicable insanity…
As much as I pride myself on my memory, it actually took a moment for me to remember that Hadley hadn’t been informed of Bartlett’s death.
Two birds, one stone… I needed to speak to Sophie-Ann anyway…
“Northman, I wasn’t expecting to hear from you. Everything is well?” Not even close…
“I actually have a couple of things to discuss. First and foremost, there’s some news regarding a member of the Stackhouse family. Adele’s brother died last night.”
“Adele’s brother? Bartlett?”
“Hadley’s spoken of him?”
She paused. “Not fondly. How did he die?”
“I killed him. I glamoured him to step in front of a truck on Interstate 10.”
“Why would you have done that?”
“Sookie shared Hadley’s fondness for their uncle.”
“He’d abused Sookie too?”
“Well… Nicely done. Are there to be services?”
“There will be… something. Adele is helping Jason make arrangements. It seems he wasn’t aware.”
“I’ll let Hadley know. You said there was something else.”
“As things are underway to prepare for Hunter’s arrival, Sookie and Adele have been gathering suggestions from outside parties.”
“Oh, yes. Quite understandable. It’s been a while since Adele had one so young around. Tell me, what have they learned?”
“That Pam enjoys shopping for children’s shoes as well as pumps.”
She laughed. “Shoes are shoes, Northman. Only a woman can truly understand that. What else?”
“One of the waitresses at my bar reminded Sookie that he’d need a safety seat for travel… Pam and Sookie spent a while last night ordering bedding for his rooms… Sookie’s guard has a nephew the same age and suggested bedrails. Most of the suggestions have been taken care of but there are some things that have come up that perhaps you could help to arrange.”
“To my understanding, Andre was planning to glamour the father to forget Hunter ever existed, yes?”
“It seems reasonable. There’s been another suggestion?”
“Sookie isn’t confidant that, in Hunter’s circumstances, the deception would help the boy as much as harm him.”
“We intended to glamour him as well. The plan was for him to believe that Sookie is his mother.”
“Majesty… We don’t have any faith that glamour will affect the boy. Sookie can’t be glamoured. What’s more… She feels the attempt and can hear the evidence left in the minds of those who’ve been glamoured.”
“Nooooo.” I’d had the same reaction myself, but I can’t say that it wasn’t amusing to hear the shock in her voice.
“Yes ma’am. Sookie has thought of an alternative. She hopes that Andre would glamour the father to give him over willingly in the child’s best interest. Hunter would have the opportunity to visit and speak with him on occasion instead of feeling abandoned. She believes that the boy would be more trusting of her if she didn’t hide such matters since he’s quite likely to find out soon enough. I see the logic.”
“Sookie intends to let the boy keep in touch with his father… what of Hadley?”
“He’d know about her too. Even though he’s not likely to find out from one of us, Jason and Adele are completely readable. Sookie still intends on going through with the adoption… becoming his legal mother, but understanding how Hunter is makes her very leery of lying to him. It would only be a matter of time.”
“But at his age, how much of this can he handle?”
“We have no way of knowing. I’m hoping that he isn’t too preoccupied with details and is distracted by meeting another telepath.”
“One can hope.”
“What does the boy know of Hadley?”
“That she died. Andre didn’t elaborate. Remy believes that the gifts and help the boy gets are from her family though.”
“The news that she’s a vampire would be a shock, of course.”
“Perhaps. That family has surprised us. Hunter may be no different… It seems that there are a lot of variables. I hate variables.”
“As do I. Sookie has adjusted to the concept of taking him in relatively quickly, but the ‘what ifs’ are causing a lot of anxiety.”
“Wednesday.” She spoke as though ‘Wednesday’ was the answer to the meaning of life.
“I’ll have Andre visit the father on Tuesday to explain and handle those details and we’ll fly up at first dark on Wednesday. I don’t see a difficulty with trying Sookie’s method. If the father becomes an issue later, we can handle the problem then. We’ll bring Hadley, of course, but she’ll return with us so that Hunter has the opportunity to adjust before a longer visit with her.”
“A solid plan. I’ll make sure the houses are ready for him.”
I spent the next three hours wallowing.
As I worked through the bullshit of managing my bar by paying accounts and scheduling employees as well as emailing Bobby and Paulette, Sookie’s mood needled at me.
There was no telling what was going through her mind, but it caused one miserable mood swing after another. Anger close to rage, exasperating frustration, distress to the degree of pain.
Once finally finished with playing catch up to the mountain of work that had piled up, I realized I’d just been waiting for her…
…Waiting for her to calm down enough to tell me what the fuck caused her break.
I wasn’t about to let her have the last word…
Since Adele was sleeping, I opened the door to Sookie’s room quietly rather than knocking.
“And closed doors mean nothing to you either, huh?” She was curled up on her side with her back to me and I only went far enough into the room to close the door behind me.
“I knew you were awake as much as you knew it was me.”
She breathed a heavy sigh. “What do you want?”
“I want you to act like a fucking adult and tell me why you tried to run off, but I came to tell you that I spoke to the queen. She’s having Andre glamour the father to cooperate rather than forget. If it doesn’t work out for some reason, they’ll re-glamour him. Hunter will be here on Wednesday.”
“That’s it? ‘Okay’?” Like pulling teeth…
“What do you want me to say, Eric? We’ll make sure to be ready for him.”
“You’re not going to say anything else?”
“I don’t think so. I’m just going to wait for you to say you’re sorry.”
“What did I do to be sorry for? You walked out on me without an explanation.”
“I told you that I was scared for you and it’d break my heart if anything happened to you and you made fun of me.” Oh, you’ve got to be kidding!
“I was joking! I wanted to stay at the club and keep fucking since we were alone.”
“You suggested staying there. Resting in the open…” She trailed off and buried her face in her pillow, pressure building in her chest.
“Sookie, you’re not being rational. I’m not as old as I am because I’m an idiot.”
“Uh-huh… and when you tell me something like that, I take you seriously… because I trust you to keep me safe… You completely dismiss the fact that I spent the last few years hearing vampire hate and seeing staking fantasies… Just leave me be.”
“You mean just leave you to be pissed at me because you took a joke the wrong way.”
“It wasn’t a joke and you know it. You’d have stayed there all night.” That wasn’t the point.
“Please, Eric. Just leave me alone.”
There was no winning the argument, not without hours of discussion that not only did I not have the time for, but patience was scarce as well…
When I finally put myself in bed, I was impatient for sunrise for once…
The longer I lay there, the more irritated I became…
Partially because she’d blown things so far out of proportion…
Partially because I was starting to realize that I hadn’t taken her concern seriously…
I fucking missed her.