Rising was nothing if not peculiar.
My mind felt like there was something missing… If it hadn’t been for the fact that it had been so long since I’d been drunk, I’d swear that I was hung over.
I remembered the night before in a blur… like watching someone else’s life through a rain drenched window…
Something was going to have to be done. Whatever that Witch had done to me, I’d find out. The last thing I remembered was watching myself snap the neck of Hallow’s ultimatum delivering underling to prove a point… the point that no one would get anything from me unless I was willing to give it. Hallow wanted a percentage of Fangtasia’s profits without any effort on her part except for her poorly executed blackmail plans.
Losing my temper.
Breaking the Witch’s neck.
Rising at home… and next to Pam no less.
I seemed to be without injury.
The ghost of a recent meal flavored my lips.
As I stirred, I found a piece of paper in my hand. Neatly folded and smelling foreign yet familiar.
“When you’re up, I’ll be waiting for you upstairs in the study with my fingers crossed.
What the fuck is a Sookie?
I hadn’t intended to wait a second longer than necessary to solve the mystery of what the fuck a Sookie was and why the fuck it would be in my house. When I reached into my closet to grab a shirt, I noticed writing on my palm…
“She cared for you when you had nothing. Remember her. Trust her. She’ll love you forever.”
It was in my script, but I didn’t remember writing it…. When the fuck did I write it and… Who? Who the fuck cared for me? …and why the fuck would I trust anyone, let alone care if she loved me?
I couldn’t get to my study fast enough.
The first thing I saw was a blond ponytail. A tiny thing slumped over my desk, arm crooked under her head as a pillow with an open book inches from her face.
The room was ripe with a familiar scent, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was or where it came from. At the very least, I could call it sweet, if not welcoming.
That must’ve been a Sookie.
I circled the desk, eyeing the tome her tiny fingers were curled around… Seven Plays by Sophocles? I couldn’t help but wonder if she’d understood a word of it. Then again, I could’ve been underestimating her intellect based on her wardrobe. My tank top and boxers made me curious about anything but her mind…
How the fuck did she end up in my house… and my clothing?
I studied her for a moment before taking another step. Watching her purr in her sleep with a curious combination of a grin and damp eyelashes… her legs twisted up underneath her.
The closer I was, the stronger the scent of daylight became… closing my eyes, I could fool myself into thinking that I was basking in a field of sugar cane.
How did Sookie smell so wonderful? And where the fuck could I find more of them?
Amazed and leaning closer… I was only inches away when she cooed and my fangs sprang out. Her smell was more tempting than I would’ve thought possible. It was a chore to keep from touching her. It was a stark contrast to my usual repulsion to humans.
Her eyelids rolled open slowly to expose magnificently bright blue eyes. She surprised me with a wide grin as she lifted her head, putting her hand to my cheek. She purred, “You look different.”
“Different from what exactly?”
Her thumb whispered over my cheekbone. “I don’t… your mind feels busier than ever… I guess, your eyes are older. Before they were so fresh, innocent even…” Her smile spread even wider. “You got yourself back, didn’t you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Her chin puckered, lip trembling, eyes watering. “Oh sweetie, Paulette said that it could take a while. Don’t give up.” Sweetie? Give up?
“Paulette who?” I only knew one Paulette and Pam was the only one to know about my involvement with her.
“Paulette Simonette, your housekeeper in New Orleans… we called… Eric?”
“How do you know who I am?”
The fear I’d expected to see when she first woke appeared as suddenly as a lightning strike. She jerked out of the chair and ran backwards until she’d cornered herself against the shelves. The smell of fear was usually an amusement, an enjoyable appetizer to a meal, but the smell of Sookie’s fear was acidic… She screeched, “PAM!” She knew Paulette. She knew Pam. She knew me…
“Why don’t I know you?”
She sobbed into her hand. “I’m sooooo sorry… I don’t know what went wrong! The spell should’ve…!” Spell? She was a Witch?
I didn’t have the chance to react to the idea that there was a Witch in my home before Pam sped past me to put herself between us.
“Sookie, what is it?”
She was hyperventilating. “He… he… he doesn’t even… something went wrong… so wrong… now he doesn’t even know who… who I am.” Why the fuck would I?
Pam turned, pushing her back to Sookie as though she was protecting her. “Eric? How are you feeling?”
“Just like always.” What the fuck was she expecting? Seasonal allergies? Arthritis flare-up?
“I’m not in the fucking mood for games, Pam. Why don’t you explain why the fuck there’s a Witch in my home after the ultimatum that was delivered last night.”
“Last…?” She looked defeated as she turned to Sookie. “Calm down, dear. You stink.”
Sookie sobbed, “Stink?”
“Your fear. It’s disgusting. He won’t harm you…”
“I know THAT! But he doesn’t remember…”
“We were aware this could happen…”
“He asked me who Paulette is… then how I know him.”
Pam turned back to me. “Do you know who I am?”
“Of course I do. You’re the high maintenance brat who asked permission to turn Christian Louboutin so that he could be your personal cobbler forever.”
“Then why don’t you know who Paulette and Sookie are?”
“I know who Paulette is. I was asking the little Witch how she knew Paulette.”
“She isn’t a Witch… she’s the girl who hid you from the Witches.”
“I don’t fucking hide.” She knew that.
Pam turned back to Sookie and used her calmest tone. “What he’s regained is most important. We can work on the rest. In contrast he’s only lost a blink.”
“One of you will start explaining… NOW.”
When Pam turned to face me again, Sookie took her hand. The oddity was that Pam allowed the contact.
“Fuck the formalities. Facts. NOW.”
“What do you remember from last night?” More games.
“It’s hazy. I remember another annoying night kicking cattle until Bridget arrived with the message from ‘High Priestess’ Hallow. I snapped the cunt’s neck. Then I rose in my bed.”
“Eric, what was the date?”
“December 31st. I don’t remember that ridiculous countdown or the usual subsequent ‘New Year’ noise. Just rising downstairs.”
“It’s March 26th.”
“That’s absurd… How could I not remember nearly 3 months? I remember everything.”
Pam forced a long breath. “The Witch, Bridget, was booby-trapped.”
“Very funny. Glamour the actress and send her home in a cab. I have work to do.”
She shook her head and took a step towards me, still holding Sookie’s hand. “Somehow your memories were erased. Amnesia. Sookie’s grandmother, Adele, took you in. When Adele died, Sookie continued your care. Hallow put a bounty on you, but the Stackhouses… Eric, you didn’t know who you were, so they kept your secret…”
“Marvelous. How long did it take you to dream up this practical joke?”
“I was so scared, I almost sent for your maker. I felt you, searched Bon Temps for you, but every time I got close, you ran.”
“Were you nagging for a new fur?”
“I’m not joking, Eric. You’ve been living in Bon Temps, waiting for your memory to return for 12 weeks.”
“Then how was I rescued?”
“You called me accidentally.”
Not that it had been amusing in the beginning, but that was more than too much. “Stop. I’ll burn your storage units.”
“I’ll pour the gasoline myself… We… there’s a video. Watch it…”
“You’ve already shown me Two Girls, One Cup and if you think I’m going to let you startle me with another ‘Flying Car’ commercial…”
“You need to watch it.” She finally took her hand from Sookie to reach across the desk and open my laptop.
“If I had no memory, how did you load a video on my computer?”
“You… remembered your password.”
I rolled my eyes as I typed my password, hoping like hell that Pam’s punch line was on the way… I paid no attention to the fact that my taskbar date had been reset. I could’ve done that myself.
I sat in my chair, still warm from the sweet little actress and no sooner than I did, Pam began leading Sookie out of the room. “I’m going to take her to dress and eat. You’ll need some time. We’ll be back.”
“You don’t want to stay and see my reaction?”
“No.” That was the precise moment that I believed her. Pam wouldn’t go to the trouble of plotting out a joke as involved as hiring an actress without staying to indulge in her reveal.
I watched myself, sitting on the sofa with a Sookie on my lap, while a practically retarded version of me stood in the background… a duplicate Sookie as well.
One of me was ‘Eric’ another was being referred to as ‘Jan’.
‘Eric’ was supposedly bonded to the Sookie on his lap.
Sophie-Ann and Andre shouldn’t be told about Sookie, but why would they have an interest?
Fucking for hours past dawn was a new concept and one I was tempted to explore.
Memory cards loaded with journal entries.
Sookie’s brother had been jailed for murder and ‘Jan’ had offered to help.
It was all very vague. Nondescript. Very few details.
Eric and a Sookie said their goodbyes… that Sookie had been the one to write on my hand. How she managed to duplicate my penmanship was beyond me… Even more puzzling was her remark about how her other self would ‘feel’ her leave. How the fuck was that at all possible?
Pam had remained off camera, but her voice was heard.
When the remaining Sookie took a place on the sofa, ‘Jan’ followed and sat stiffly, if not nervously, next to her.
She pet his hand where it rested on his knee. “Paulette’s the ‘expert’ here. I guess we wait.”
He huffed, “Wait… I’ve been without my memory for months.”
She frowned sympathetically. “I’m sorry. If I’d known… We didn’t have any clues about who you were… and Sam put up a reward poster in the bar. I couldn’t risk going to anyone. I didn’t want to…”
“I’m not… No one blames you. You were smart to keep my secret. I’m just frustrated.”
Sookie and Jan turned their attention to Pam. “Gee. I wonder why you’d be frustrated. Could it be that your Area has fallen to shit while you froliced with your geriatric baby sitter or that you could’ve been getting laid while your responsibilities are in ruin?”
While Jan looked on, Sookie gasped, “That’s horrible! Don’t be like that. As soon as he heard there was a way to fix it, he acted. It’s not like he liked sleeping in the crawlspace of a dilapidated house. You saw him! He wasn’t living it up! The first live blood he’s had the whole time he’s been gone was tonight. His life sucked too. At least you had your own clothes, some kind of information network. He’s been wearing WalMart sweats and memorizing tombstones. Be fair. None of y’all have been in the lap of luxury.”
Jan nodded. “Pam, since my memory hasn’t returned… I can’t very well return to my duties as I am…”
Pam barked, “Don’t. You. Dare. Threaten to make me sheriff.”
“Call the Queen. Inform her that you used the full moon to enable separating the coven and slaughtered the Witches singlehandedly to seek retribution for your maker. You’ll offer to act in my stead in preparation of my homecoming. If my memory returns, I’ll explain my sudden return to service truthfully, omitting the part about Sookie’s assistance.”
“If. It. Doesn’t?”
“We’ll give it time. If it doesn’t return, then you’ll step down and we’ll move on.”
“You can’t stay here.”
Sookie offered, “You can come back to Bon Temps with me. I know my house isn’t much, but… you’re still welcome there.”
Jan smiled at her. “The quiet of Bon Temps pleased me… I might just do that, but I wouldn’t burden you. I might purchase the plantation I’ve been staying in. I’d be close to Shreveport if Pam needs me…”
Pam interrupted, “Isn’t that precious! Am I to call the Queen tonight?”
Jan didn’t hesitate. “Yes. You don’t want news of the fire at Fangtasia to reach New Orleans before your call. Go. Make the call now.”
Pam only appeared in the frame for a moment on her way out of the study.
I watched Sookie inch closer to Jan on the sofa and lower her voice. “That was… pretty decisive… are you sure nothing’s coming back?”
He shook his head slowly. “At best, I’m sensing that I should be quite used to how difficult Pam is.” He hadn’t seen the half of it.
“I don’t know about that. If I had to guess, I’d say that she loves you more than anything and seeing you like this has to be hard for her.”
“You’re defending the way she’s speaking to us?”
Sookie nodded, inching closer again. “She’s seen you without a memory of her and another you who cares more about his Sookie.”
“It’s sweet of you to consider her feelings.” Astounding would be the more fitting word.
“I think when your memories come back, she’ll be better… when you remember what she is to you… I’m sorry. Jan…”
He corrected, “Eric… I suppose I should get used to it.” So bizarre.
She nodded. “I guess you’re right… I’m sure everything will be fine. Either way, you’ve got her support. Mine too if you want it…”
“I’m sorry that you’ll miss work tomorrow.”
She rubbed his shoulder. “Don’t worry about that. I won’t have any trouble catching up the bills now that the other Sookie made me her favorite charity case… And I’m gonna call that detective in the morning about getting Jason’s case reopened. Without his bills to worry about once he’s out, I’m gonna be just fine. Don’t you worry about me.”
He disappeared from the frame and the only thing to be seen was Sookie’s watchful posture… the only thing to be heard was the opening and closing of desk drawers.
When he came back into the frame, he knelt at her feet. A human’s feet. Never.
“Take this to be sure.”
She wore a puzzled expression as she took the check from him… she gasped, ripping the check to shreds. “No.”
“Sookie, you’d have made that by turning me over to Hallow. It will keep you…”
“I won’t hear of it. Stop. I’m not going to be some war-profiteer. I’m not…”
“I know you didn’t do it for the money. Secure your finances. Donate the rest to the library in Adele’s name. She didn’t like that you were working so much. She’d be beside herself if she knew you almost worked yourself to death.”
“I can write checks faster than you can tear them.”
She giggled and put her hands on his face. “But I’d still have to deposit it or spend it. Nice try. I’m not taking your money.”
“I’ll glamour you to take it.”
There was a mischievous twinkle in her eye when she giggled again. She leaned forward to kiss his forehead. “You can try.”
“Why did you pretend? You let me think I glamoured you.” How the fuck? Had he been unable to glamour too?
“It was better that way. It would’ve been too tempting to keep you company. There aren’t any other Vampires in Bon Temps, so I couldn’t play off the scent if anyone came looking for you.” Sookie was definitely smarter than my underwear had implied.
“I promised to repay the favor to Adele. Sookie, let me take care of you.”
“You can repay the favor by getting your memory back. Gran just wanted to see you get better.”
He growled a more menacing growl than even I thought was necessary and ran out his fangs.
It only made her laugh. “Not scary.”
“Now that you’ve seen me kill, it should be.” Who did he kill? I was anxious enough, involved enough that I was reminded of how Pam behaved when she watched Big Brother.
“I’ve also seen you hurt…” Unbelievable. She gasped as though she was surprised and seemingly stared into nothing for a moment. “Eric, they’re… they aren’t in your room anymore.”
“Where did they go?”
“Nowhere. They’re… I swear, their minds were like watching a candle flicker out.”
“That’s interesting… Just gone?”
She nodded. “Just gone. Just like that… How bizarre is this?”
“This being that I’ve been cursed with amnesia or this being that we were just given a walkthrough of our lives from ourselves from another dimension who are practically married? Judging by Pam’s reaction to their bond, I’m not prone to having pets.” That was a gross understatement if ever I heard one… I’d never kept pets. Ever.
Sookie’s answer was giggled. “Do I have to pick just one?”
He chuckled, “No, I don’t imagine you do. You’re handling this very well for a human. I was impressed enough that Adele was willing to offer shelter…”
“Sweetie, I’m a telepath…” A what? No. Way. Possible. I backed the video up to make sure that my hearing hadn’t started failing me with my memory… “Sweetie, I’m a telepath…”Again. “Sweetie, I’m a telepath… And I had another version of me show up already. I’ve done my tossing and turning over this stuff.” Telepath. I wasn’t hearing things. She was a fucking telepath… I backed the video up to watch for Jan’s reaction as well. Nothing. He’d known.
“Sookie, before I forget… I found her… It was just after sunset. She hadn’t been dead long, but…”
She tearfully choked, “Gran?”
He nodded. “I’d have healed her if I’d gotten to her in time. She was already gone.”
Sookie sniffled and leaned forward, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I’m so sorry.”
“I didn’t want you to find her. The only thing I could think to do was put the phone in her hand and call 9-1-1.”
I watched her smooth her hands over his back as though it had been his grandmother who died… “That must’ve been so horrible for you… The only person you knew. Oh sweetie…”
Their conversation was interrupted when Pam returned. Jan moved back to the sofa as she stomped into the room. “Sweet. While you two were making out, the Queen gushed over my diligence and loyalty. She’s hopeful that you return soon and I’ll be the Sheriff until the hypothetical time when my maker returns to relieve me of my duties.”
Jan sighed, “Good.”
“Has anything come back?”
He shook his head and reached for the laptop, until then I hadn’t been sure that they’d remembered that the webcam was still recording. “There was another version. An Eric that was cursed as I am, who was found immediately. His memory was affected as well…”
Sookie nodded. “The first Sookie I met said that she was there when it happened and followed him. He only lost 3 hours though. As near as they can figure, he was flying and trying to figure out where to go.”
He nodded. “So it’s possible that I might not recover my memory of the time that I was in Bon Temps?”
Pam snarled, “Wouldn’t that be awful.”
“Pam, in light of that, see to acquiring a lawyer for Jason Stackhouse…”
“I’m only mentioning it because I don’t want to forget… Sookie has refused to be compensated in any way. I want any and all debts in Jason and Adele’s names to be paid in full so that she’s no longer obliged to pay them.”
Sookie gasped and slapped his arm. “You jerk! You know that…”
He smirked at her. “What? I know that both mortgages were taken by Adele to pay for Jason’s legal fees? That most of the bills are in their names?”
She rolled her eyes and lifted her chin as she crossed her arms under her breasts… I almost didn’t notice that he’d been preoccupied with the action because I was too.
“I still have a debt to settle with you, Sookie, but that’s how I can repay Adele. I don’t want to ignore the debt by forgetting it.”
She blew a raspberry at him. “You spent too much time with Gran. You picked up her worst habits… sneaky and stubborn. Good thing she didn’t smoke.”
Pam began cackling, “Sweet, naïve Sookie. You haven’t seen the tip of that iceberg. Eric has been a hardheaded bastard for no less than a thousand years.” Thanks Pam.
Jan looked offended, but Sookie began giggling again. “I guess I’ll find out soon enough.”
Pam crooned, “So very hopeful.”
Sookie nodded with an air of absolute certainty. “All I have left is hope, Pam. We’ve lost everything in the past few months. His memory, my brother, your maker. Hope is what we’ve got tonight… So… I guess y’all should go first. I can add my ‘skippy thingy’ experience to that journal while y’all are dead for the day, but y’all should go ahead, right?”
Jan nodded. “I’ll take you to find something to eat while Pam takes her turn. There won’t be much to my contribution.”
“As comfy as this is, I’m not dressed to go out… I didn’t even bother trying to wash my clothes. They were covered in Witch bits and petrol… straight in the garbage.” That would explain how she was in my underwear… I preferred how my imagination put her in them.
He chuckled, standing and offering his hand. “You’ll need something to sustain you for the day. You haven’t been well. I owe you at least a meal. Come along.”
As she slid her hand into his, I inspected my own hand, smelling the residual sweetness left behind by contact with her. That scent was the only thing that gave me any connection to the ‘Me’ in the video.
It was almost too much.
Pam spun the laptop around as Sookie left with Jan and rolled her eyes at the computer complaining about being immortalized in a video when she’d been without her makeup.
Her update encompassed the time she’d been in hiding since my disappearance… most of which was read from scrolling through her phone as she’d been keeping a thorough diary. She’d imprisoned Bobby so that anything he knew about me couldn’t be gotten from torturing him. She’d kept him for 5 weeks before she ‘downloaded’ all of the information she could and ended him.
In just 12 weeks time, Hallow had found, drained and executed more than 400 Vampires in my Area. Staggering. The other 187 had migrated, gone into hiding or been added to the list of unconfirmed deaths. The idea of Vampires hiding from something as pathetic as a Witch galled me… but considering that she’d erased my memory it was wiser for them.
Bubba had been among them. Compton had been sent to stand in for me, but a puddle including the key to his Cadillac had been found next to his parked car at Fangtasia the morning after he arrived. The Queen had offered to send help, but she’d spun the Witch infestation to buy her some time to ignore her unwanted proposals from Arkansas.
It was going to take years, if not decades, for Area 5 to recover from what happened in my absence.
Pam spent a fair amount of time debriefing me on our retaliation. Two of Me alongside Pam had seemed like it would be enough, but the idea that there had been two Sookie’s fighting with us awed me. Pam had decided that the other Sookie would be called ‘Uppity-Sookie’ for the sake of the play by play description and the Sookie who’d cared for Jan was nicknamed ‘Sookie-With-Potential’. They’d both shielded the three Vampires in their company from silver netting and stakes. Uppity-Sookie had been more helpful since she’d had substantial amounts of Vampire blood, leaving Pam (and me) far more impressed with the Sookie-with-Potential’s devotion and grit.
I was further impressed when Pam mentioned that earlier in the evening, Sookie had been found with a fever ‘high enough to cook her brain’.
The fact that Sookie provided shelter to a strange Vampire with no intention of accepting anything in return wasn’t the only inspiring thing about the girl.
Pam was pointedly describing the frustrated encounter she’d first had with ‘Eric’ and focusing on how he’d tended to ‘Sookie with Potential’ while she was still unconscious when Jan returned with Sookie.
She was giggling, “You didn’t have to glamour the girl… Geez.”
“She wouldn’t have made a fresh sandwich for you otherwise.”
“Thank you… Hey… I got a question.”
“What would that be?”
“Have you read all of these?”
“I should think so…”
Pam moaned, “Yes. He’s queer for books… always has been.” Thanks again, Pam.
Sookie giggled again. “That would make him right up Gran’s alley… So Eric… I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest…”
Pam moaned and made a wretched face, but the off-screen silence was pregnant. Finally Jan muttered, “Much… Much Ado About Nothing… yes?” Sookie had quoted Shakespeare to test his memory.
Sookie’s voice was light. “Read that since New Years, did you?”
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
“Anna Karenina. More.”
She quickly decided, “Water, water, everywhere, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”
He didn’t pause. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Coleridge.”
She hummed for a moment while she thought of another quote. “When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people.”
“The Importance of Being Earnest.” He didn’t seem at all surprised that she could so quickly quote classic literature, just excited to remember something from before his curse. I couldn’t blame him.
Pam rolled her eyes, but she looked encouraged. “Not bad, but you’ll have to play the Double Jeopardy round carefully. The Daily Doubles will get you every time.”
Sookie offered a laugh. “Shut up.”
“It not wise to tell me to shut up, Sookie.”
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
Pam fought to resist smiling. “Do you think you can win me by quoting Coco Chanel?” Yes. She could. Quoting Chanel could most definitely soften Pam.
“Maybe… Alright. I’m going to take your lit awareness as a good sign. Can you hand one to me? I don’t want to stand on your shelves to reach…”
“It’s in Greek.”
“Nuts… how ‘bout Sophocles then. Ajax is one of my favorites. I haven’t read it in a while…” Mine too. “Thanks… I’m gonna take this to the patio. I don’t want to stink up your house with people food. I’m sure y’all need to talk.”
There was what sounded like a kiss just before Jan asked, “What was that for?”
“Congratulations, I guess… You didn’t look at the shelf before you knew your copy of the Iliad is a Greek printing.”
“How did you know it was?”
“Lucky guess. It’s right next to Odyssey.”
Pam’s eyes followed Sookie out of the room. “You have feelings for her.”
“I don’t know you. I doubt I’d discuss it with you if I did.”
“You’re right about that. You’d tell me to shut up. It doesn’t change the fact that you feel something…”
“Is that all?”
“If it hadn’t been for Adele and Sookie Stackhouse, I would most likely have met my end. The least I feel for them is appreciation. I owe them and will continue to for a very long time.”
“You aren’t like this.”
“Sentimental. And you aren’t like the other Eric either… he was far more affectionate than you are usually.”
“He was bonded to his Sookie.”
“No. He was very obviously in love with his Sookie. I wouldn’t think it’s possible, but that little creature on your porch is quite possibly the only thing on this God forsaken planet that you, Eric, could be in love with.”
“Do you have a point?”
“What did he tell you about her?”
Pam’s eyes followed his as he seemed to sit as he groaned. “To quote, ‘Bring her to your side. Be patient. Don’t lie to her. She’ll be the best thing that ever happened to you.’ He went on to say she’s, ‘the human who took a second job instead of selling you to Hallow. The human who provided for you and extended an invitation without any promise of reward. The human who fed you so that you’d have the strength to execute the bitch who cursed you and then cried when she saw that you had a flesh wound... Not random slag. Not a pathetic, materialistic pet. That human is better than you… Sookie is braver and more loyal than anything or anyone I’ve ever met. That human will love you and forgive your faults and demons because she knows, she knows too well, that every man has them. If you give her the chance, that human will make you love and need and laugh and fight and question yourself, but more importantly, she’ll make you happy…’ They met under different circumstances though.”
“I’m not sure that makes a difference. In the case that you don’t remember the time you spent in Bon Temps, I want to know… Do you want to be reminded of that? Do you want to be reminded that she’s got potential?”
“Yes.” There wasn’t a single thing in his voice to leave anything to the imagination.
Pam gave a nod and waited a moment before standing and leaving the camera’s view. “If you don’t get your memories back right away, I want you to know how happy I am to have you back… I’ve been dying, but I never gave up.”
“I’ll go keep Sookie company while I can. Thank God she loves to read. Otherwise, she’d go bonkers waiting for sunset.”
I watched Jan take the seat Pam had used and adjust the laptop’s camera for his height.
“There isn’t much that I can offer to this account. Since the early morning hours of January 1st, I’ve been in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Adele Stackhouse initially discovered me. With her forethought and knowledge of the area, I began staying in the former home of their recently deceased neighbor for the day and while her granddaughter was working or sleeping, which was most of my waking hours, Adele and I would keep one another company…”
“Why did you stay in Bon Temps after she died?” As soon as I asked, I was grateful that Pam had left. If she’d heard me talking to a video, I’d never live it down.
“…Adele only wished to care for her family. I’m speaking in terms of not remembering what she did for me… I have every intention of doing everything I can to help them. Now that I know that I have the means, I want the remaining Stackhouses, Sookie especially, to enjoy a more charmed life. She’s turned down loans from friends. She’s turned down the offer of roommates. Sookie took a second job to pay the mortgage on her house as well as her brother’s on the slim chance that he’d need a house to live in if he’s exonerated. She is proud and stubborn and insistent upon working for everything she has. I can only assume those traits came gift-wrapped from Adele because that woman was just as adamant about taking care of herself. I stayed in Bon Temps even though Adele passed away because I began watching Sookie for entertainment. Between anecdotes from Adele and what I witnessed on my own, I’ve been continually amazed by the girl. That carries over to my discovery earlier tonight. I’d believed that I’d been glamouring her to purchase True Bloods for me since Adele’s passing. After meeting the other, more demonstrative, Sookie, I was told that a side effect of telepathy is an inability to be glamoured. For more than a month, she’s been buying True Bloods that she couldn’t afford to make sure that I was fed… willingly. What’s more, as we rode from Bon Temps to Shreveport to confront the bitches who cursed me, she gave her own blood so that I’d have the strength I’d need in battle. Apprehensive as she was, her hesitation was based on being afraid of the pain… And when I received a slight burn from a silver weapon, she offered a second feeding. She’s spectacular. I’d be wise to pursue her… vehemently.”
Without any other information, Jan reached for the computer and stopped the video.
The next segment began with a view of the top of Sookie’s head with Jan’s waist behind her until the angle was adjusted again. She needed help controlling the camera and opening a new document so that she could type her notes.
He stooped next to her and helped her along and I watched his nostrils flare several times at her scent during her tutorial.
“…And when you’re done, just close the lid.”
She giggled, “K. I think I’m all set.”
“Sorry. It just occurred to me that I was raised in the technology age and I’m getting computer lessons from someone born before the printing press.” Jan and I both chuckled at the irony.
“I should go. The sun will be up soon.”
She nodded and grabbed the notepad on the desk. She scribbled quickly and handed the note to him. “Maybe put that somewhere you’ll see it. Pam said you don’t have company often… If you don’t remember who I am when you wake up…” That note’s handwriting had been vastly different from the one used on my palm… leaving me to wonder if the other Sookie and Eric were that closely bonded that she’d adopted the style or if she’d simply seen it often enough to duplicate it…
I watched Jan fold it and thank her before he disappeared from the camera’s scope.
Sookie sat back in the seat, then leaned on her elbows. She looked over the room. She huffed out several deep breaths.
Finally she spoke, motioning between the computer and herself with a slight cringe on her angelic face. “I… Eric, I’m sorry, sweetie, but… this is really weird. The camera is freaking me out a little bit now that it’s just me, so I’m gonna end up typing beaucoup notes for ya. I just want to say one thing really… Thank you. You don’t have any way of knowing what was going on in Gran’s head. You meant so much to her. I mean… you meant so much to her that she hid you from me to protect you. She loved you as much… as much as she’s ever loved anyone. You were really special to her. Life was so screwed up that I was working so much. It made me so happy that you were there to keep her company… and it… it…” She stopped to cover her mouth, wipe tears away, fan her eyes, laugh at herself… “It breaks my freaking heart to think that… I hate that you might not remember her. I know you’re old and you’ve seen a lot of folks come and go, but… she’d be so happy that you got your life back… You don’t know how much she thought about it… so… yeah. I think that’s that… Thank you for being there for her to talk to when I couldn’t, for being sweet to her…”
She was holding her chest when she reached for the computer to turn of the camera.
The video was an account of my ‘missing’ 84 nights… from multiple perspectives.
I’d learned that…
- Adele Stackhouse had spared me from final death.
- I’d been dying every morning in the ancestral home of the idiot sent to replace me as Sheriff without realizing it.
- Telepathy existed.
- Pam could be a twit no matter the circumstances.
- And Sookie Stackhouse seemed to be altruistic to her core.
I spent a few minutes reading through her notes and the journal entries from the Sookie and Eric that we’d met to see the differences in events and they were too vast to track with so many other things to think about.
I had more pressing matters… While I was better off remembering a thousand years as opposed to 12 weeks, I still didn’t like that I’d forgotten anything.
Memories first. Skipping later.
The video was playing for the third time before I stopped thinking of myself as Jan… And I’d just started watching it a fourth time when Sookie and Pam returned.
They both entered the study with questioning looks on their faces.
Pam asked, “Well?”
“Do you remember…?”
“I remember everything from being turned to New Year’s Eve…” Sookie’s eyes began to well. “I believe this though.”
Both replied in unison, “Really?”
I nodded. “Truly… Sookie, is your offer to let me stay with you still good?”
She tilted her head inquisitively. “Sure.”
I closed my laptop and stood up. “Thank you. Pam, send out the message to your population. Let them know that you’ve cured Shreveport’s cancer and that I am still missing. Don’t offer a reward.”
“You said that you’d relieve me once you have your memory back.”
“I still don’t remember anything of the time I was in Bon Temps. I need some time to recalculate my options… Join us in a few days once you’re on solid ground. Keep me posted.”
“You’ll be doing what exactly?”
“Jogging my memory until I’m discovered.”