“What do you mean I can’t marry Bill?” Sookie asked as they sped along the highway.
Lafayette took a deep breath and the pulled over to the side of the road. They were fairly effectively in the middle of nowhere. Only the occasional car was passing them by, but Sookie had her shields down just in case. Lafayette put the old Suburban in park and turned on his hazard lights before shifting in his seat to look in her direction.
“Can I talk to her, Lafayette?” Sookie asked, figuring it was worth a shot.
For the last five years or so Sookie, along with the rest of her family, had assumed Hadley was dead. The last anyone heard from her was when she had called Gran, begging for money so she could get into rehab. Gran sent the money via Western Union and that was it. There was no thank you call, no follow up information telling anyone what rehab she had checked herself into.
No one said it out loud but she knew exactly what they thought. Gran felt guilty for giving Hadley the money that could have paid for her last fix, the death blow, so to speak. Jason was a little angry at Gran for giving money to a junkie, but kept his opinion to himself since he knew Gran felt badly enough about the decision. There was the chance that Hadley really did want to get better, and Gran wouldn’t have been able to live with herself if she didn’t do what she could to help her grandchild.
Sookie didn’t know quite what to think, although she had been plenty angry at Hadley for disappearing like she had in the first place. They were like sisters growing up and then one day Hadley just left town. There was no warning, no note left behind telling anyone where she was going or when she would be back; she just disappeared. It was months before anyone heard from her. Every now and then people around town would claim to have spotted Hadley somewhere, but when they saw how painful it was for Gran to hear those sorts of things, they stopped sharing their stories.
It had been years since Sookie heard anyone even think of Hadley. To know now that she really was dead wasn’t a terrible shock to the system, but it hurt all the same. There had been a part of Sookie that had assumed Hadley would show up unannounced one day, looking for a handout or a place to stay. Mostly, Sookie just wanted her cousin to be alive because her family was getting smaller and smaller.
“If we was someplace safer I’d try channelin’ her for you, but it ain’t a good idea behind the wheel of a car. That’s how come I got that curtain up in my mind. Let’s the spirits know I ain’t open for business,” he explained.
“So what did Hadley say, exactly?” Sookie asked nervously.
“She told me that after Katrina she got taken in by a vampire named Sophie-Anne LeClerq. That mean anything to you?” Lafayette asked, and Sookie mulled it over.
“No, I don’t think so,” she said.
“She’s the vampire Queen of Louisiana, and she’s down in New Orleans,” Lafayette said. Sookie nodded and he continued, “Hadley needed a place to go and Sophie-Anne got a taste of something she liked. Hadley quickly became Sophie-Anne’s favorite pet, and moved into the Queen’s compound down there. Now there’s two things you need to know that are extremely important and this is where I need you to trust me.”
“Okay,” Sookie nodded.
“The first is that you ain’t all human,” Lafayette said and Sookie looked at him like he was crazy. “I know, I know, you think my cheese done slid off my cracker, but Sook, I’m tellin’ you the truth. Hadley said something about a box of letters up in your attic that she came across when you was kids. They’re letters to Gran from a man named Fintan. Fintan is your real grandfather and he was a fairy.”
“Nuh uh!” Sookie said, immediately jumping to Gran’s defense. “Gran would never in a million years cheat on my Grandpa Earl! Hadley doesn’t know what she’s talkin’ about!”
“Baby girl, just go home and look for the letters. Hadley says they’re still in the same old footlocker they were when she found them years ago. She never told your Gran she found them, so as far as Gran knew, her secret was safe,” Lafayette explained.
Sookie shook her head fiercely, unwilling to accept that Gran would do such a thing. Gran had always preached the importance of being faithful in a relationship, especially in a marriage. Gran was a lot of things but a hypocrite wasn’t one of them, and Sookie refused to believe that Gran would have not only cheated with another man, but bore his children as well. It just wasn’t possible.
“So what’s the second thing?” Sookie asked bitterly.
Lafayette gave a heavy sigh and said, “This one you’re gonna want to brace yourself for.”
“You just told me my Gran cheated on my Grandpa? How much worse can it get?” Sookie glared at him.
“Hadley told me that while she was living in the compound Bill was there to. His official title in the Queen’s court was a ‘procurer,'” Lafayette shifted again in his seat. “You know what that means?”
“I know what it means to procure something,” Sookie said in a feisty, annoyed tone.
“Well, once the Queen found out that there was fairy in your lineage, she decided to send Bill up to see if he could lure you down to New Orleans. She told him to use whatever measures were necessary in order to secure you,” Lafayette said as gently as he could.
Sookie’s stomach dropped.
“Bill was sent here specifically to get you under control for the purposes of turning you over to the Queen, Sook. Hadley said that Bill isn’t to be trusted, and that if given the chance Sophie-Anne will turn you without thinking twice,” Lafayette said.
“How did Hadley die?” Sookie asked since her mind was still reeling from the news that Bill’s reasons for coming back to town were all lies.
“Hadley said that the Queen has a menagerie of interesting pets and supernatural beings milling around the compound at all times. She wanted Hadley because of the fairy in her blood, but Hadley didn’t have any of the power that most fairies have. Apparently the Queen has been researching fairies for quite some time, and because you’re a telepath, she believes that you have whatever magic the fairies have. She wanted Bill to get control of you so that she could someday harness that power for her own. When the Queen discovered that Hadley didn’t have those powers, she killed her,” Lafayette recited as if he’d read it from a script.
This was too much. First Hadley was dead, then Gran was a cheater and now Bill… Sookie’s stomach turned and she quickly unbuckled her seat belt, opened the door of the car and leaned outside to throw up. She wanted to give Bill a chance to explain his side of the story, but in her heart she already knew that Lafayette was telling the truth. There had been too many moments where Sookie’s instincts told her to run in the other direction.
More than once she had suspected that something wasn’t quite right with Bill. He had lied to her on several occasions, even after promising her that he wouldn’t. He hadn’t come for her in Dallas when she needed him and he hadn’t been entirely truthful with her about what vampire blood could…
“Oh my God,” Sookie covered her mouth and her stomach turned again.
“Sook, I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you all of this,” Lafayette leaned over and opened the glove box to reveal a small pile of napkins, all of which he handed to Sookie.
She wiped her mouth and then the tears that were falling down her cheeks. Her head was swimming with a million thoughts and she had no idea where to go, or what to do. How could she confront Bill with this information? She needed something more concrete, more solid, and she was going to need protection when she did it because she was sure that if Bill was capable of lying to her like he had been, then he would stop at nothing to fulfill his promise to his Queen.
“Laf, can you take me to Shreveport?” Sookie asked once she got herself calmed down.
“What about your car?” he raised an eyebrow.
“It’s best if it stays there. For all Bill will know I went over to Sam’s for a drink or to talk, and I ended up fallin’ asleep there. Right now I don’t really care what Bill thinks. I need answers, and I need them from a vampire,” Sookie sighed, hating the fact that she was going to have to go to the one vampire she didn’t think she would ever be able to trust.
“Who you goin’ to see?” Lafayette asked as he put the Suburban back in gear and pulled onto the highway.
“Who else? Eric Northman,” Sookie said bitterly and stared out the window.