Chapter 2: The Lion and the Antelope

Day 2

When I woke up this evening, I heard the voice of another man. He was talking about a couple who got stuck in a ditch on the drive home the night before. He offered to pick up things from the store for Sookie. She asked him to get more of that godawful synthetic blood and some clothes for me. I had no problems being naked, but obviously, Sookie didn’t feel the same.

I climbed out of the hole in the closet floor and found a brown robe on the bed. It smelled of another vampire, although I couldn’t say who. If I had to guess, I’d say it was probably Bill. Did Sookie only date vampires? Was there a large vampire population in Bon Temps? I’d learned where I was from looking at some of the unopened mail on the kitchen counter. I didn’t open any of it; I just looked at who it was addressed to. There were bills and advertisements addressed to Sookie and a few catalogs addressed to someone named Adele Hale.

I walked out to the living room and spooked the man I’d heard talking. When he whipped around to look at me, I realized I was most likely face to face with Jason Stackhouse. I scrutinized him, expecting him to be infirm or physically damaged in some way, but I could see he was quite strong and capable.

When he asked who I was, Sookie tried to brush it off. Was she ashamed of me? I introduced myself and shook Jason’s hand, much to Sookie’s chagrin. Why wouldn’t she want me to know her brother? Was he dangerous? It made no sense to me.

Jason warned me not to put Sookie in danger, as if I would do such a thing intentionally. Besides, I’m confident I could effectively defend her if I did. I didn’t intend for any harm to come to Sookie. Jason, on the other hand, didn’t seem to mind her being in danger, on account of her being out so late. She had been driving home unescorted when she found me. Where was Jason when his sister was picking up strange men in the middle of the night?

I didn’t hesitate to tell him my feelings on the subject. He looked shocked, while I felt Sookie’s extreme amusement at my suggestion Jason take her in and care for her. Jason recovered quickly, but paid no mind to my judgment. Instead, he stood beside me and compared the size of our feet in attempts to gauge what size shoes I might wear. He asked some question about an old saying that I didn’t get, but made Sookie slightly uncomfortable. The follow-up joke Jason made didn’t ease her one bit.

Jason left after that and I learned quite a bit in a matter of minutes. First, that she wasn’t ashamed of me so much as she was trying to protect her brother from being pulled into whatever trouble I was in. I also learned that Sookie and I weren’t lovers. Even if I wouldn’t have felt it, I would have seen the sadness on her face as we spoke. I didn’t like seeing her sad, and resolved to do whatever I could to make her smile.

I discovered I was right about the robe. Sookie didn’t say much about it, but she made it clear Bill was in her past and not a part of her present. I detected sadness and anger there, which led me to believe this was a recent change in her life. I was curious as to why Bill would let her go, but I also hoped his loss would be my gain.

I then found out I did hold an official rank amongst vampires. I am a sheriff. Something tells me it’s not like being an Old West sheriff, but an authority all the same. I learned I knew Bill because he lived in my area, which was area five. Her eyes caught my reflection in the mirror and I felt lust rise in her blood again. I wanted to toy with her just a little and I wasn’t disappointed. She knew I could feel her.

After that, she tried to give me more information about my life. I found out I’m not only a sheriff, but I also own several businesses, the most popular being a bar in Shreveport called Fangtasia. And, apparently, I make Sookie do things for me, but she was short on details. I’ll have to get back to that later. She appears to be a very stubborn, strong-willed woman. I find it hard to believe anyone can make her do anything she doesn’t want to do, which tells me I’m either very intimidating, or she’s a big faker. I hope it’s option one, even though I don’t particularly like the idea of intimidating her.

Before I could ask any questions, Pam and Chow arrived. They were coming to take me back. Back to a place I didn’t know, to be with people who expected me to be their leader. They would take me away from Sookie. I couldn’t leave her. If they took me, I decided I would just come back. The thought of leaving Sookie put me into a bit of a panic. She was what I knew. She took care of me. I felt no connection to this Pam person. I stayed in Sookie’s room, breathing in her familiar scent, until she called for me.

I’m not sure what I expected, but what I saw wasn’t it. I think I expected Pam to be bigger, and not the waif of a woman I saw. Chow wasn’t what I expected either, with all the tattoos on his arms. They both greeted me with respect. They admitted to working for me and owing fealty to me. I panicked again when Sookie tried to slip out of the room. I trusted her. I wanted her with me. Maybe it was because I could feel her. If she felt I was in danger, I would know it. I had no reason to think she would lie to me. The same couldn’t be said for Pam and Chow, even if I would normally trust them with my life.

I didn’t care for Chow’s reaction to Sookie. I wondered what the animosity between them was about. Were they always like that with each other? Sookie definitely wasn’t Chow’s number one fan either.

There was a bit of a commotion when Jason returned. I assumed Pam went out to ensure Jason had returned alone. I heard the struggle when she snuck up on him, and then his empty threat to smack her upside the head. I think I would have enjoyed watching him try. Jason revealed there were posters up all over town offering a fifty-thousand-dollar reward for my safe return, and judging by the reactions of Pam, Chow and especially Sookie, this wasn’t a good thing.

It was obvious Chow wanted to kill both Jason and Sookie to relieve any further threat. If they thought they were going to so much as displace a hair on Sookie’s head, they were mistaken. I would kill them both to protect her. I would keep Jason alive, if only because his death would hurt Sookie, and I couldn’t bear that.

I intervened before Chow could get too set on murdering either human, and demanded Pam explain what was happening. I was furious at her for thinking Sookie would trade me for money. Jason, I wasn’t sure was trustworthy, but I knew Sookie was. If she wanted money, she wouldn’t have called Pam like she did. I wished she hadn’t, if I’m to be completely honest. I didn’t like Pam or Chow very much.

Although, Jason mouthing off wasn’t wise, and Sookie let him know it. We all ended up in the living room together. While I would have enjoyed putting Sookie in my lap, I knew she wouldn’t have allowed it. I sat on the floor in front of her, completely prepared to act as a human (relatively speaking) shield if the need arose. I followed the ebb and flow of Sookie’s emotions, trying to gauge how my own demeanor should appear. Being closer to her made me feel better. It was starting to bother me that I didn’t know if I always felt that way about her.

Then Pam explained how she thought I’d ended up in the mess I’m in. Witches had come to my bar demanding a large portion of my profits and I had refused them. Both Pam and Chow had wanted me to reconsider, especially when Hallow- the head witch in the coven- made an alternative offer. She had suggested she would only take a fifth of my business instead of half, if I would ‘entertain’ her for seven nights. It didn’t take someone with a fully functioning mind to figure out what that meant.

Was I that good in bed? I had no idea what the loss was Hallow was willing to take in exchange for my skills, but fifty percent to five percent was a big cut. Damn. I really had to wonder when I felt Sookie’s emotions change. She’d gone from being curiously interested to something akin to an emotional eye roll. It probably didn’t help that I grinned up at her and she just looked resigned. What was that about? She’d told me we weren’t lovers, but did that mean maybe I’d spurned her advances like I did Hallows?

Why would I do such a thing? It seemed I had a good head on my shoulders. If I was such a reputable lover, why would I turn away someone like Sookie? It made absolutely no sense to me. She was beautiful, sweet, strong-willed and smart. Yet another thing that made no sense to me.

I learned that I’d simply vanished without a trace from my office. I had no recollection of anything. I had no idea how I went from my office in Shreveport to the side of the road in Bon Temps. It was like the world didn’t exist around me until Sookie appeared. I was empty, trapped in a black hole of nothingness. I had no life until her. I was only half listening when Pam revealed Chow had attacked the witch Hallow had sent with the counter offer. I may have been rubbing up against Sookie like a man-cat.

Discussion began on what to do next, but no one consulted me. All I would have said was, “I’m staying right where I am.” It was safer, all things considered. If the witches were looking for me, it made the most sense for me to stay where no one knew me. The witches couldn’t cast another spell to locate me since they couldn’t find any of my personal property to do so.

Pam commented about no human having my blood in their system, but that wasn’t true. Either she didn’t know I’d given Sookie my blood, or she was protecting her from Chow, who would be all too happy to eliminate the threat. I looked up at Sookie and hoped my expression was enough to tell her she would be safe with me. It was Chow’s opinion that a locating spell wouldn’t work anyway, since we were technically dead. Personally, I didn’t want to risk it.

Sookie stroked my hair and it took all the will I had not to lean into it. She covered my ear, although I don’t know why,since I heard every word she said. I covered her hands with my own as she spoke. Her skin was so warm and soft. It was quite the contrast to my own skin. Sookie wasn’t in favor of keeping me. I felt her worry and doubt over her ability to protect me.

When Jason suggested Sookie should be paid the amount on the posters for keeping me, I wanted increase the amount ten fold, while Sookie was embarrassed at the idea of seeing a dime of the money. Her hands pressed even harder on my ears and I rubbed circles on the insides of her wrists with my thumbs. Jason’s idea, while probably seeded in greed, wasn’t out of line. I listened to the negotiation until the amount of thirty-five-thousand-dollars had been reached.

Jason seemed pleased with his negotiating skills and promised to bring Sookie a shotgun. I was happy when they all left a short time later, after Pam, Chow and I had one of those bloods Jason bought. I was going to be staying with Sookie and I was very much looking forward to a little alone time with her. I had more questions and I wanted to know that she was okay. She surprised me by asking how I felt. She wanted my opinion on the decisions everyone else had made for me.

Truthfully, all that really mattered to me just then was being with Sookie. But in taking her out of the equation, I came to the conclusion it was a good thing Pam and Chow cared. They could have left me to fend for myself. It was good to know they took their fealty pledge seriously and didn’t disappear when there was trouble. It was through Sookie that I discovered I am rather intimidating when I’m myself. She tried to backpeddle and say I’m okay, but I don’t mind people finding me to be intimidating.

Sookie, being the good hostess she is, covered me with a the most hideous blue, green and yellow quilt I’d ever seen- or so I assume. We settled in front of the fireplace and had a nice conversation. She told me about her relationship with Bill. She was surprised I asked, but she was still essentially a stranger to me and I was curious.

I tried not to judge as she told me how Bill had left her for another woman. He claimed to love Sookie, and yet, he left her. I couldn’t remember vampire protocol, but it seemed rather convenient Bill would blame mystical rules for his infidelity. I didn’t remember him, but I didn’t like him.

To make matters worse, it seemed I ordered Sookie to go to Jackson to find Bill and bring him back. Why would I order a human to fetch a vampire I was responsible for? While she was there, she was being guarded- rather ineffectively, as it turned out- by werewolf named Alcide. She got hurt on the job. Correction, she got staked on the job. It was impressive to hear she’d survived since I would have been ash.

When she told me of how she was healed, I noticed the flush in her cheeks and the desire in her blood. Something must have happened between us, and I very much wanted to ask, but it wasn’t the right time. She showed me the scar from where she was staked, and once again, I felt those tingles when my fingers grazed the shiny new skin of her scar. Not much time had passed since it happened.

I asked after the fate of the “Vampire Ho,” as Sookie called Bill’s… other woman. Just when I thought I couldn’t be anymore surprised, I found out Sookie had killed the woman. I knew Sookie was tough, but I didn’t expect that. We got into a discussion over the ethics of murder. While she was trying to be ashamed of her actions, her words touted self-defense. If all it was was self-defense, I couldn’t fathom why she would feel guilty or ashamed of herself. I seriously had to question her self-preservation instincts. I began to wonder who would be doing the protecting while I stayed with her.

I found it fascinating that she was so hard on herself for killing to save her life, but gave vampires a free pass since we “kill for food.” She compared my kind to wild animals, which was a mistake, and one that could cost her dearly. She grew uncomfortable when I pointed out the flaws in her logic, although I didn’t mean to threaten her. I was merely trying to educate her. I couldn’t offer much wisdom, but what I could, I would gladly pass on. How had Bill not already corrected her on this issue? I was liking him less and less.

After looking at my new clothes- cheap jeans and a sweatshirt- and having a bottle of blood, Sookie got me started on a show about vampires. The way their foreheads wrinkled when they were about to attack, or feed, was ridiculous. It was all wrong. Vampires being awake- much less going out- during daylight hours wasn’t possible. One of them smoked cigarettes and drank whiskey. And Buffy, the Slayer, wouldn’t have lasted two seconds with a real vampire, even a newborn. We would be far too fast and strong. It was fun to watch all the mistakes vampires made in the fight scenes before they were inevitably staked and poofed, yes, poofed, into ash.

I kept an ear out for Sookie after she went to bed around midnight. I listened to her heartbeat and her restless movements. I could feel she was struggling with the changes in the last twenty-four hours. She was a little overwhelmed with the responsibility that had fallen on her shoulders. I started to feel guilty for enjoying myself when she was having a hard time. I stopped the tape and went back to her room.

If I wouldn’t have heard her heartbeat and breathing, I would have thought she was asleep. As it was, I got into bed with her. I knew she knew I was there. She tensed briefly. I snaked an arm over her stomach and breathed in her scent. She relaxed and so did I. I let myself go into this in between, trance-like state. It was nice to ‘sleep’ beside Sookie. It felt natural, like I belonged there. I don’t imagine I would let many humans get so close to me when I was in a vulnerable state, but after the talk we had, I knew I could trust her.

If Sookie wanted to be rid of me, she would have insisted Pam and Chow take me away. I wondered if the situation were reversed, would I do all of this for her? Would I go out of my way to take care of her and keep her safe? I wanted to believe I would, but all the things I’d heard about the regular me made me think otherwise.

So, I’ve come to a decision. When I get out of this mental purgatory, I’m going to take better care of Sookie. She deserves it, and she shouldn’t have to be alone so much. She should have someone she can count on, and I want to be that person. If she’ll let me, I’ll start at sundown.

6 thoughts on “Chapter 2: The Lion and the Antelope

  1. F.Y.I. – I forgot to make mention of an error that I found that needs to be fixed.
    ‘… and a few catalogs addressed to someone named Adele Hale.’ [“Adele Hale” ought to be “Adele Hale Stackhouse”]

    I’m sorry that I forgot to point it out to you the first time around.
    😦

  2. i have read another story from eric’s journal and it wasn’t nearly as good as yours. keep up the good work.

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