Finding Sookie’s heartbeat was the first thing on my mind as I rose and if it hadn’t been so close, searching would have needled me to no end.
Sookie was where she was when I died for the day, but she’d rolled to face me… Even better, she’d been awake enough to have something sweet to drink.
I could smell Brandon, but he was the only one to leave his trace in the room… I couldn’t imagine how the fuck the rest of the Stackhouses had kept their distance from Sookie.
I pulled her closer, monitoring her to be sure I wasn’t hurting her…
She cooed sleepily and slid her hand up to my shoulder.
If I could only forget what happened the night before, I could have been perfectly content…
She nodded, keeping her eyes closed.
“How many injections have you had?”
She shook her head.
“None? When did you regain consciousness?”
She sighed and leaned back slightly, opening her eyes to reveal she’d suffered hemorrhages in both. Little pools of blue in blood red orbs…
She whispered, “Don mick fun.”
“Of what? Your eyes will return to normal with more of my blood. They’re just bruised.”
Her lips pulled into a straight line. “I soun’dwunk.”
“I prefer this to the alternative…” I took her hand from my shoulder and laced our fingers together. “Strength? Fine motor control?”
She squeezed, but not with as much strength as she had before the accident. “Stew whacking.”
She nodded, frustrated with her impairments.
“You aren’t in pain. Swelling perhaps?”
She shrugged, feeling miserably insecure.
“More blood should heal your eyes as a minimum. If swelling is causing your…”
She blurted, “Oh ahm bain damished!”
I dropped my fangs and offered, “More blood it is, then,” before opening my wrist and putting it to her mouth…
Maybe it was because she wasn’t suckling last night, or it was because of the urgent need to heal her… but as soon as Sookie’s lips wrapped around my wound I nearly ripped through the sheets with my idle hand.
Need. Just the feeling of her taking my blood caused more temptation than her sunny scent or sweet traces of sugar and honey…
The sensation was only enflamed by the fact that she seemed to be suffering from the same affliction.
Once my wound healed, she lifted her chin to nibble my lip… and I didn’t realize how quickly the need escalated until I was clawing at her panties…
It wasn’t as though she’d given me any hints she resisted.
Pulling back, reeling myself in, actually hurt.
She looked at me, pouting her lip… her eyes were just as beautiful as they were before the accident.
How the fuck would she have come to that conclusion?
I shook my head and growled, “Who the fuck said you’re ugly?”
She frowned. “Me.”
“You’re not ugly… I just don’t want to hurt you… We need a distraction and I’m curious about what I missed during the day.”
She cringed. “Ess a wot… Ah…”
“Do you want to call Brandon and have him speak for you?”
She nodded and whimpered, “Fank’ew.”
It wasn’t until I heard footsteps moving in our direction that I realized Sookie’s leg had curled behind mine.
The door to the room opened as I posed her leg in a more modest position… My mood wasn’t going to change while she was still pressed against me… She clung to me instead of moving away when Brandon walked in to stop at the foot of the bed.
She tucked her head under my chin, feeling grateful.
Not knowing if she was hiding her eyes from Brandon, I offered, “Your eyes have healed already.”
Brandon grinned as he approved, “That’s good. They upset Mom and Gran. It was killin’ Sook… So, you want a progress report, but she doesn’t want to give it, huh?”
“She’s frustrated with her speech. Are her thoughts affected?”
“No. She sounds fine in her head.”
If I’d ever been willing to use the word ‘miracle’ with a straight face…
“Food, drink, movement… a general update.”
“The Sookie Report… Her eyes were open when I came in to do the first injection. She’d been asking every few minutes if it was time yet. She had enough control to flip me off with both hands when I reminded her being conscious meant no more blood. Mom and Gran made a big breakfast… shut up, Sook… Dad cut her steak for her because she could barely hold her fork. She barfed it all up though… Didn’t mix well with the blood, I guess…”
“I don’t smell vomit.”
“I carried her upstairs… We set her up on the sofa, so she watched a couple of movies. She held lunch down though. Sookie can sit up just fine, but we haven’t tried her legs yet… By the way, it’s a really good thing Sookie’s never sick. She’s a bitch to take care of.”
“Her mind is perfectly sound while her body is failing her. She’s allowed to be frustrated.”
“Yeah well, me and you might be the only ones who get it. Seeing her cry just tears everyone else up… She started trying to talk a couple hours ago. That just made everyone feel sorrier for her. She opted for doing her napping down here instead of getting a salvo of pity. I think you know her well enough to know how much she loves the fuck out of laying low, but they were driving her nuts… Dad was the only one who didn’t try to watch her watch TV.”
“She’s allowed to be frustrated and it’s understandable they’re rattled. They know enough about Vampires to realize if Corbett hadn’t arrived when he did, Sookie wouldn’t have lived.”
Brandon nodded. “See Sook, I wasn’t just ‘keeping the peace’… In other news, Mom and Dad are all healed up. Pam sent a vial of her blood to take care of their scrapes. I had your bags brought over so you could have your own things and I called for more donors. They’ll be here in a bit… The drunks affectionately known as Earl and Tommy were treated for minor injuries and released to police custody. They’re being held on the DUI and public nuisance charges for now, but they’re looking at three counts of murder.”
“The cop and both of y’all… The blood therapy thing… anyone injured so severely they wouldn’t survive without the assistance of Vampire blood is considered a murder victim. Any Vampire who’s injured to the point that a Human wouldn’t have survived, is considered a murder victim. It protects Vampires from being attacked by yahoos who figure they’ll just heal themselves, also known as ‘suicide by Vampire’, but it also offers protection to newborns if they were unwillingly brought over. The real reason is that politicians needed a way to protect the valuable resource… i.e. they realized how much they could get in campaign contributions from just a little ass-kissing and they were probably glamoured. Anyway, Dad already made his statement about your condition. You’ll need to make one about Sook’s.”
“What about my condition? A Human wouldn’t have died from broken legs…”
He raised his eyebrow. “Um… When Dad got there, your ribs were poking into your shirt, your collar bone was sticking out and there was a huge hole in the side of your neck. Good times. If Sookie had been driving, she would’ve been toast.”
“If Sookie had been driving, we wouldn’t have been pulled over. I ignored the red light at Pete Harris Drive…”
I stopped… Sookie had already tensed against me and Brandon started shaking his head.
“Wow… ummm… He would’ve pulled you over anyway because of the car. Every cop in Shreveport was looking for a blue Viper because the Mayor’s was stolen. Alcide brought the car back because he got pulled over twice. He was just planning on hanging out until y’all got back, but his baby was already waiting.”
“The cop asked if the car would be listed as stolen…”
“Yeah. Mom beat Dad’s ass when he finally owned up to getting one of his warnings, but it’s not like he could’ve hid it. The later it got, the worse he got, pacing like a caged animal. She dragged him to bed and he was tossing and turning so much, she couldn’t sleep… She was reading when he shot out of the bed and ran out. Old man needs to be on a Wheaties box. We’re pretty sure he did a four-minute mile to get to y’all…”
Gobsmacked. Between hearing what happened last night was a better scenario than if Sookie had been driving, and the curiosity of Corbett’s ability… His sepulchral sensation was inspired by the sound of Sookie’s car in the driveway and reached its climax very near the time of the collision.
Brandon continued, sparing me from having to think of something to say. “Fuck you if you think you’re going to work tonight. I’ll deal with Compton. Eric, tell her.”
She had to be joking.
“Brandon’s right. You aren’t going anywhere.”
After a moment, he said, “She wants to go to the boathouse then. After dinner. She wants to get away… She says no one will argue with you and then you can take off and do whatever.”
That was a much more reasonable request… She’d started her negotiation with an extreme intentionally. When she realized I knew that, she giggled.
“Then we’ll go to the boathouse after you eat… but I’m not leaving you… Brandon, let your family know anyone who wants to visit with her needs to do it before she’s finished eating her meal. I’ll bring her upstairs at sunset.”
Brandon snorted, “I don’t love you enough for that…”
What the fuck?
“What objections could you have to that?”
“Not to what you said. No problems at all with her getting some quiet. I know what she’s been dealing with… She told me to thank you for her, for being the ‘bad guy’.”
The blow job exchanging. Cute.
I swatted her ass (lightly and through a blanket) and chuckled, “I’ll take a rain-check.”
Brandon nodded approvingly. “Good. I’ve got a gag reflex like a little girl…” Sookie chuckled against my chest. “What should I know about Compton?”
I offered, “He has an impossible disposition. Talking to him is as productive as licking a wall and he has no sense of humor. His Maker is a daft, social-climbing whore. She’s convinced him he’s the epitome of Vampire excellence. Case in point, he presented himself to an Imperial super-power, soliciting for Knighthood before he was fifty years old. His only sponsor was his Maker and she’s been exiled from every Kingdom worth dying in. Compton’s Maker and Gwen Roth share a Maker. That is nepotism.”
He started laughing, “Fuckin’ hell. You’re sharing a brain now.” Sookie giggled again.
“What did Sookie tell you?”
More impressive was how he managed to absorb both conversations.
“Same but different… ‘Compton is what happens when Vampires try to polish a turd. That pompous fucktard only has a job because no one else will work for his greedy Aunt or go near his lunatic Maker. Perfect example of Darwinism since Area 2 is Louisiana’s short-bus, keeping the rejects and morons away from the general population’…”
I liked her version better than my own… it was certainly more colorful.
“I’m gonna head out so I can update Klaasje before I deal with the fucktard…”
“She may want to join you. The walkthrough will amuse her. She doesn’t enjoy being idle, but I’m sure she’s worried about Sookie too. ”
“And you… Hearing that you called Pam… That didn’t bode well for any of us… I’ll see y’all later.”
When Brandon left, I listened, knowing Sookie would monitor the reactions of her family…
Brandon didn’t hesitate to begin, so I could imagine the looks of anticipation waiting for him.
“They’re both up. He gave her more blood. Her eyes are better now so maybe one of y’all can look at her without bursting into tears. He’s taking her out to the boathouse after dinner though. Visiting hours are over as soon as she puts her fork down.”
Someone gasped, “Brandon Emery Sta-”
He groaned, “Gran, don’t give me a hard time. I warned you that the doting was getting to her, now I’ve got the backup of the guy that saved her life. And again… I’m reminding you… Whoa! You put that spatula down!”
When Brandon ran, Sookie started laughing through her nose and shaking against me.
Linda argued, “Momma, he’s right…”
Adele used a warning tone, “Are you going to tell me Sookie got her stubborn streak from me too?”
“Are you going to put the spatula down? ‘Cuz you aren’t exactly proving him wrong.”
Brandon offered, “Thanks. That’s the first rational thought you’ve had all damn day… He’ll take care of her, for God’s sake. She wanted me to take her to work and he shot her down. Even if Eric’s having a damn Massengill moment in his head, she can’t hear it… To recap, he’s not scared to put his foot down and she can’t hear about how she almost died on a loop, or see how fucked up they both were in his head. Holes in the plan on the count of three. One… Two… Three…”
Sookie giggled when no one answered him. “Air gonna kill ‘em.”
After another moment Brandon’s feet began moving again and he yelled, “Would you pussies help a brotha out for once!?”
Sookie giggled, “Daddy an Shack,” to explain who her brother was calling for help.
Speaking was already less of a struggle for her… Considering that I was more seriously injured than I thought, my blood basically only kept her alive. Now that I’d fed from several donors, Sookie would recover quicker with each feeding.
“Are there still curtains on the kitchen windows?”
Sookie nodded. “An iss cwoudy.”
I kissed her cheek and chuckled, “Perfect. I’ll be back.”
She said, “Uh oh,” and I could feel how amused she was while I rifled through my bag to find a shirt and pair of jeans to replace Brandon’s comically short sweats she’d given me last night.
When I arrived in the kitchen, Linda, Adele and Julie were glaring at Brandon from the opposite side of the island, all of them armed with cooking utensils.
“Is there a problem?”
Julie and Linda’s eyes bulged and they set their weapons down (a wooden spoon and a whisk), but Adele harrumphed in my direction.
She actually took a step towards me… narrowed eyes, hand on her hip, shaking her spatula at me. “Yes. I think there is a problem. I think it’s pretty selfish of you to keep Sookie to yourself out there.”
“If I wanted to keep her to myself tonight, I’d take Sookie back to the hotel, check into a room under a pseudonym, and glamour the clerk to forget us. Sookie doesn’t need to be tempted by work and she shouldn’t be required to maintain her shields just to be spared from her family’s melancholy. The isolation the boathouse has to offer makes it the perfect place for her to convalesce.”
“What in Hades do you know about what’s best for Sookie? We’re her family!”
“I’m confused. Do you mean the family who homeschooled her so she could concentrate on her studies instead of being distracted by the thoughts of classmates, or the family who’s now ignoring someone with the exact same ability, as he tells you she’s upset by your thoughts in regards to her near-miss?”
Adele snorted, “Are you going to let Vampires visit her?”
“If she’s feeling up to company, yes. She can’t hear Vampires’ thoughts and making Vampires leave will be less of a chore for me than convincing you to respect your granddaughter’s wishes… Sookie knows you all love her dearly. In spite of her own comfort, she humored your need to dote over her today… I want to point out…”
Adele interrupted, “Are you going to call me stubborn too?”
I shook my head and chuckled at the feisty little matriarch. “I was going to mention how hypocritical it was for you to suggest I’m acting selfishly when you’re forcing Sookie to endure your angst-driven, aggressive mollycoddling. I’m sure it makes you feel better to tend to her every need, but it’s not helping her.”
While Adele gasped, Brandon whispered, “Run Eric, run.”
Adele argued, “I’m not a hypocrite!”
“You might not be hypocritical habitually, but you’re arguing to force Sookie to dwell on what happened to her rather than helping her recover from it… Tell me, how many times did you offer her something to eat or drink today?”
When the woman’s face pinched together, Brandon answered, “Stopped counting at a million… Sookie looked like an ant hill today.”
I assumed as much. “Did you offer anything to help with her dexterity? Did you wait patiently for her to try to speak or did you become weepy when her speech was slurred? Did you watch her eat, hold her glass, try to wipe her face? Was she given any privacy in the restroom?”
Adele cringed, closing her eyes as though she was wishing she hadn’t started the confrontation.
Brandon offered, “You hit the nail on the head with all of that.”
I snorted, “Mrs. Stackhouse, since you’re at a fragile age, you should be more careful than anyone else here. One broken hip/heart attack/stroke, and Sookie will have fun reciprocating what you’ve done for her… Are we quite finished establishing how likely it is that Sookie inherited her independence and sass from you?”
I disarmed her while I waited for an answer.
She finally shook her head. “I used to like you.”
Brandon laughed and slapped the counter slowly… ten times. “The Vampire wins in one round by KO. Ladies and gentleman, the reigning champion, Adele ‘The Infallible’ Stackhouse has finally lost a ma-”
When she whipped around, she was already reaching for another spatula.
Brandon darted from the kitchen calling back, “Late for work. Love y’all! Bye!”
Once the door slammed behind Brandon, Linda asked, “Are you done pickin’ on my Momma yet?”
“Yes, but I’d like to point out that the telepath was asking his uncle and father for support. Why would the mind-reader fish for supporters if he didn’t know they were like-minded? That being said, I want to offer a productive way for you to help Sookie. Her babysitter for the evening hasn’t eaten in a while. If you wouldn’t mind gathering a few things for her to eat… easy for her to handle and for me to prepare… That would be most appreciated.”
Julie grinned at me and nodded. “Yeah. We can do that…” She walked towards me and wrapped her arms around my sides. “Let us know if y’all think of anything else you’ll need out there. Sookie’s fridge is full of milk and fruit.”
Sookie began giggling as soon as I entered the safe-room. “Cee dozen avva cue.”
“I can explain what we’re going to do with the milk if you want.”
“All things considered, I’m impressed… You’ll have more blood after you eat.”
“Is it wrong that I want to go thigh-diving? You usually shout incoherently, so I seriously doubt you’d sound different.”
She cackled and swatted my leg…
I couldn’t help but smile. “Your laugh hasn’t suffered. Bright as ever… Are you ready to go upstairs yet?”
She thought about that for a moment before sighing, “Ah wanna wok.”
I shrugged. “Then walk.”
She smiled and took a deep breath as she began pushing her body from the mattress.
Once I stood and pulled the covers back, she managed, without any assistance from me, to sit up, and swing her legs over the side of the bed…
But she hesitated, staring at the tops of her legs.
She nodded and tugged at the nightshirt her mother had chosen last night. “Fews ike ah osp… ospi…”
She smiled. “Beano.”
Lucky me. I was learning to speak ‘Brain Injury’.
She pawed and fumbled with the sweat pants, using her thumbs as hooks to pull them up her legs to her thighs…
Instead of taking my hands, she put her fingers into the front of my jeans… determined to use her own strength.
Once her feet were under her and she pulled the pants over her hips, she beamed. “Iss fews guuuuuuuuudd.”
“I’m sure… Do you want to borrow the shirt too?”
It would probably be just as baggy, but at least it wasn’t close to the same color as scrubs.
She nodded eagerly. “Peas.”
She was already tugging on the nightshirt when I reached for the black T-shirt I’d died in.
As difficult as it was for her to remove it, she completed the task… her eyebrow twitched when she took the other shirt from me.
Frustrated and trying to remain positive.
When she was finished, she held her arms out and asked, “Beddah?”
I thought about that for a moment before making a couple of adjustments…
I ripped the shirt up the center and tied it, and then rolled the waistband of the pants down. She watched me, giggling as I worked to tighten the clothing and expose her stomach.
“This looks more like you, I think.”
She nodded. “Er so smart. Ah ahmmos few ike me.”
One careful step at a time towards the steps leading upstairs… I stayed behind her with my hands on her waist ready to catch her for any reason. She giggled at herself when she realized her arms were out as though she was walking on a tight rope, and put her hands over mine.
She balked at the stairs, staring up as though it was impossible even though I was almost sure she’d surprise herself.
She conquered the first three steps slowly, but finally asked me to carry her to the den. She’d proven she could climb, but she didn’t want to press her luck… and she was excited to be set on the floor again as soon as I cleared the steps.
I could only imagine how miserable she’d been during the day. I would have taken someone’s head for looming over me.
Adele, Linda and Julie were still in the kitchen and they’d been joined by Corbett and Jack …
The Stackhouse’s dinner was spread out over the island in buffet fashion… nothing about it smelled unpleasant, but something made Sookie growl.
Her growl caught Julie’s attention and when she turned from the sink, she gasped as though Sookie was taking her first steps ever.
Sookie grimaced. “Ah toll ew ah cud wok, Mom.”
Julie whimpered, “What?”
I offered, “She told you she could walk.”
Julie nodded and took a plate from the counter and reached for one of the bowls on the counter. “You just look much better… Why don’t you get comfy and I’ll bring you a plate.”
Sookie shook her head. “Ow do et…”
Sookie walked towards the counter and continued speaking as she took a plate from the counter. She ranted while she filled her plate, waved something fried in the air, carefully poured a drink from a full pitcher, and spooned something into a bowl. She was clumsy and slow, but she was determined.
Her family watched her, shocked by her mobility… granted, it had probably improved once I gave her more blood again, but their jaws were sagging.
When Sookie was finished, her family looked to me for a translation.
I explained, “She said you were too busy treating her like she was paralyzed earlier to give her the opportunity to prove she isn’t. She’s annoyed that you presented dinner as a buffet as though she can’t dine at the table, and offended that someone made chicken tenders as though she can’t manage her fork well enough to eat roasted chicken. She likened tonight’s bill of fare to an assortment of baby food. She knows you were all scared, but she’d know you love her even without the extra babying you’re doing. She loves you too and next time she almost dies, she’d prefer it if you used your nervous energy to make another afghan.”
Linda chuckled and kissed Sookie’s temple. “Can I just make one for you for Christmas instead?”
Sookie’s eyes lit up when she nodded.
Adele asked, “Is that all she said?”
I nodded. “I think so…” Other than the litany of expletives she’d peppered into her monologue. “But she did ask if I’d mind carrying her food to the table. She doesn’t trust her hands completely… She thinks she’s proving that she would have asked for help if she needed it, but I know better.”
Sookie stuck her tongue out at me for exposing her little ploy… and then excused herself to use the restroom ALONE.
I carried Sookie’s meal to the dining room for her and she was just sitting down when Adele asked, “How do you understand her?”
I pushed Sookie’s chair in and sat next to her. “Pam says I have a hidden gift for languages… but it’s rare to find a Vampire who speaks their seed language on a regular basis. Most of us have accents. I have a Lord who makes every language he speaks sound like Polish, another who reverts to Mandarin whenever she has a chance, one Lord who rants and raves to himself in Old Welsh, and two Lords who continue English syntax and sentence structure in other tongues. They’ve spent most of their lives in America though.”
I nodded. “You make a good point… and I’m watching ‘Brain Injury’ become English again too. More improvements.”
She smiled and used both hands to lift her glass… She wasn’t proud yet, just less frustrated.
After a few minutes, Sookie grinned, seemingly for no reason, but then she called out, “Mon in!”
The front door opened and closed quietly and a female Vampire peeked around the corner into the dining room. She chuckled and waved to everyone as she walked in, taking a vacant chair and pulling it over to sit next to Sookie.
Dressed simply in jeans and a green blouse, dark shoulder length hair and eyes… and deep scars on her forehead.
“Sweet baby Jesus… I’m gonna get Bran good for this. He actually had me convinced you were hurt, Hoss.”
Corbett raised his hand. “Oh! I got this one… She isn’t hurt anymore because Eric healed her, but her brain’s still kinda scrambled… Patsy, you met Eric, right?”
Patsy. The scars… I didn’t recognize her without her stage makeup and wig.
She raised an eyebrow. “The Eric?”
I nodded. “And you’re The Patsy. Pleasure to meet you.”
She smiled and cooed, “Likewise…” and raised her hand. “Here’s to scar-free car crashes then.”
I’d forgotten she’d been in an accident… I hadn’t followed her career, but I had watched the movie in the past few months.
Sookie gave Patsy a maudlin smile and high-fived her. “Ah guess so.”
Patsy chuckled, “Damn right… If you’re gonna suck at anything, suck at being dead, kid… Die every morning or don’t do it at all…”
I agreed, “Good advice.”
Surprisingly, everyone else at the table offered, “Amen.”
Patsy leaned forward and urged, “So, tell me about your brother’s arm candy and the window-licker he was touring around our playground.”
Sookie pointed at me, so I asked, “Can you describe them?”
“Ravishing ginger Vampire with incredible stems… and the window-licker has a face like a cat’s ass and bangs.”
Sookie dropped her fork to cover her mouth so food wouldn’t fall out when she laughed.
“The ravishing ginger is my Lord High Steward, Klaasje Van Baaren. She’s visiting with me… The cat’s ass is Bill Compton, Deputy Sheriff of Area 2. He’s added hotel security to his list of failures and needs a tutor.”
Patsy rolled her eyes and huffed, “That explains why he was arguing to be loaned a Witch…”
I nodded. “Probably. His Maker had an hourly rate. Why wouldn’t everyone else?”
Patsy shrugged. “Brandon told him if he asked a woman for a recipe he’d ‘get directions, not a free meal’… Screw him if he’s expecting handouts, Hoss. You know Brandon. He’s not going to let anything slide… Want me to go spy on him for you? I need something to do tonight.”
Sookie was nodding when I answered, “No. She isn’t working tonight. No business and that includes office gossip.”
Sookie looked at me like she wanted to end me.
“What? There isn’t a shortage of individuals at the hotel who are qualified to tell Compton to fuck himself. You’ll relax tonight.”
Corbett stopped chewing… the whole family watched as though they were expecting a bomb to detonate.
“I’m aware of that, but you aren’t completely healed yet either. I know you love The Palace, but it’ll be waiting for you once you’ve recovered fully.”
She whimpered, “Fuck yer point,” and pouted…
It hadn’t taken any effort, but I won the short debate.
Adele snorted and left the table with her plate, muttering, “If that don’t beat all… nice to see someone can make her cool her jets… I’m hiding his passport…”
Sookie snorted, “Ahm not that bad, Gan.”
Patsy shoved herself back, sliding her chair more than a meter away from Sookie.
When Sookie gave Patsy a dirty look, she shrugged, “What? I don’t know what lightning does to Vampires. Better safe than sorry.”
As Patsy was leaving, Alcide was arriving… He had swollen knuckles because the Neal, the valet on duty last night, was supposed to tell Sookie to call him before she left the hotel. He didn’t call because he didn’t want to interrupt anything. Even if Neal’s message wouldn’t have made a difference, punching him made Alcide feel better. That was the important thing.
Then four donors arrived in a cab… Just like the ones from the night before, I didn’t waste any amount of time with courtesies. I fed on the porch.
Then Trey arrived with a Human detective to take my statement… The ‘poor souls’ who’d nearly killed Sookie had been hospitalized again and weren’t expected to recover after a random jailhouse brawl, but my statement was needed for the record. As it turned out, inmates weren’t afforded the luxury of blood therapy.
It was nearly eight o’clock when I finally carried Sookie to the boathouse. Her parents followed us to carry my bag and Sookie’s care package, but they didn’t linger.
As soon as Sookie made herself comfortable on the sofa, they kissed her and told us to let them know if we needed anything.
No sooner than the door was closed behind them, Sookie pushed herself to her feet and walked to her room…
I followed, wanting to stay close just in case she needed anything… She pulled back the blanket and laid down.
“I doubt you slept well today.”
She shook her head. “Not with alluvum tryin’ ta give me nigh’mares.”
“Then you’ll take more blood and then rest.”
She nodded. “Good pan.”
She pushed herself to sit up again when I sat next to her.
Fuck. No distractions.
“I’ve given you enough blood to bring you over. I’m surprised we aren’t bonded yet. This time may very well be a tipping point.”
She gave me a surprised look. “I fought we were ah’eady.”
“Can you feel my emotions?”
She bit her lip and nodded slowly. “Sins lass night. I could bock Mom an Dad, but ew… Ewwww…”
I was as anxious as I’d ever been.
“I was why you were scared.”
She nodded. “Affer a bit… wons ew pu’me in bed.”
Once I ran out of things to do.
I dropped my fangs and offered, “Since the damage is already done,” before biting into my wrist.
Being upright helped, maybe being able to brace myself was a factor too, but I still came close to shredding Sookie’s comforter while she took one long pull after another.
By the time my wrist healed, she was breathless and just as affected as I was.
And the way she stared back at me wasn’t helping.
I said the first thing that came to mind, “I honestly don’t know how any Vampire has ever endured… waiting three nights to know if they’re a Maker or if they killed someone they care for…”
Tourette’s, I think. The disorder that causes uncontrollable lapses of the Freudian variety.
I said, “Say something,” hoping she’d ignore my slip.
She rolled her tongue in her mouth and then over her lips before offering, “You mean admitting that I fucked up and promised not to tell anyone what a sap you are?”
Fuck. Of course she’d go back to that… At least her speech had improved. She was speaking slowly and over-annunciating, but everything she said was clear as a bell.
“You sound much better. You should be feeling like yourself after one or two more…”
She gave me a very level stare. “Already feeling a big difference.”
“Good. I’ll get the milk.”
“What did you mean by ‘care’?”
She wasn’t going to let it go… I should have known better.
And she knew what the fuck I meant…
I cared enough to want to kill someone when I thought she’d been cursed…
I cared enough to want to keep her by any means rather than let her die…
I didn’t have to say anything… She lifted both of her arms to shove my shoulder. “ASSHOLE! You weren’t supposed to start caring!”