Bill moved to take the seat on the couch where Eric had been just moments before. Sookie sat up straight, abandoning her more relaxed pose from when she’d been talking to Eric. It was remarkable how comfortable she had become just talking to him over the course of the last two days. If she didn’t know any better she might think Eric was a completely different person. He hadn’t been too pushy with her, and he had answered her questions honestly and with an unbiased opinion. In fact, he hadn’t offered much in the way of an opinion at all.
There had been no attempts, at least that she could recall, of Eric trying to sway her emotions one way or another. He had spoken unfavorably of Bill, which was something that had to be difficult for him. That was something Sookie would take into consideration later on, but for the moment she needed to focus on the other vampire sitting in front of her.
“First of all, I want to start by apologizing to you,” Sookie started, her hands resting primly on her knees. “I lied to you about working late the other night.”
“Were you with Eric?” Bill asked with fury in his eyes.
“It wasn’t like that,” Sookie said quickly in hopes of defusing the situation. “I went to see him because a friend of mine came to me with some pretty startling information, and I needed some answers.”
“Why didn’t you come to me?” Bill challenged.
“Because the information I was given was about you, and I didn’t want to believe that it was true but…” Sookie trailed off.
“But what?” Bill leaned forward.
“But I wasn’t sure if I could trust you to tell me the truth,” Sookie confessed, and saw pain flash in Bill’s eyes. “You’ve lied to me before about some pretty important things, and this time I couldn’t take the chance that you would lie to me again. I needed answers and Eric was the only vampire I could think of that might be willing to tell me what I needed to know.”
Bill scoffed at that and said, “And try to steal you away from me in the process, no doubt. How could you be so foolish, Sookie? You know he only wants-”
“Stop!” she held up a hand. “Don’t say whatever it is you’re plannin’ on sayin’ to slander him. Eric has been respectful, honest and hasn’t once tried to talk me out of bein’ yours.”
Bill looked surprised by that. It also seemed to take some of the wind out of his sails, and he relaxed a bit. “So what was this information that you were given that you couldn’t discuss with me?”
Sookie glazed over Bill’s question and instead asked, “Bill, have you told anyone about my telepathy?”
Bill’s eyes shifted just the tiniest bit, but Sookie noticed it as he said, “No, of course not!”
“What about your relationship with the queen? Do you work for her?” Sookie asked him.
“Sookie, where is this coming from? What has Eric been telling you?” Bill retorted, trying to turn the tables on her.
“Answer my questions, Bill,” Sookie ignored his attempts to change the subject. “What is your relationship with Sophie-Anne?”
“She’s the queen of Louisiana, which you already seem to know,” Bill started, and shifted uncomfortably on the couch, his eyes on the move as he spoke. “I wouldn’t say we’re particularly close, but I have spent some time in her court. Because of my knowledge of computers she’s given me some tasks to do there.”
“That’s all?” I asked him, giving him his first chance to come clean and tell me the truth.
“Yes, that’s all. Sookie, I—”
“What does a Procurer do, Bill?” she cut him off.
Bill’s eyes flashed what Sookie had come to know as his ‘busted’ look, but quickly went back to normal. Her heart sank at the knowledge he was going to try and lie his way out of whatever it was he had been doing. She could practically feel the spin coming at her while he scrambled to come up with a believable story.
“Where did you hear that term?” Bill asked.
“From the friend who came to me with information, now quit stallin’ and answer my question,” Sookie said stubbornly.
“A Procurer is a position in the queen’s court. If you know what it means to procure something, then you can figure out what the position entails,” he said rather snidely.
“Does the Sophie-Anne have a Procurer in her court, Bill?” Sookie asked him.
“How would I know that?” he responded, and Sookie kept her expression emotionless. “Sookie, I don’t know what you’ve been told, but-”
“How about the queen’s favorite pet? Do you know her?” Sookie asked, and decided she would intentionally fudge Hadley’s name to see if Bill slipped up and corrected her.
“Of course not!” Bill’s anger was beginning to mount. “Sookie, I don’t understand this. I’m not under the direct employ of the queen, and I certainly don’t know her pet. What is this about?”
“What about blood bonds?” Sookie asked, switching topics since talking about the queen didn’t seem to be getting her anywhere.
“What about them?” Bill asked with exasperation.
“Were you plannin’ on bondin’ with me?” Sookie asked him. “Why didn’t you tell me what a blood bond was?”
Bill sighed, and Sookie knew she was trying his patience but she didn’t care. These were all things that Bill should have been upfront with her about but he hadn’t been. He had systematically hid information from her, keeping her in a cage in some regards, and dependent on him to protect her instead of giving her the information to make decisions on her own.
“I didn’t tell you what a blood bond was because it didn’t seem important. I thought, perhaps, once we were married it might be something we would consider doing, since it would cement our relationship in my world. I saw no reason to bring it up until the time was right,” Bill answered, and that was actually an answer Sookie could accept as truth.
“When we were in Dallas you told me that Eric would be able to feel my emotions, but you never told me that you could feel mine,” Sookie said, and Bill opened his mouth to speak, but Sookie lifted her hand to stop him. “Have you ever tried to use your blood to influence my feelings?”
Bill looked outright insulted at Sookie’s question and said, “I have no reason to do such a thing. I love you, Sookie, and you love me. What good would it do me to try and manipulate your feelings?”
“Maybe you ‘helped’ me fall in love with you faster,” Sookie suggested.
Bill was in front of her in the blink of an eye, that pathetic, pleading look in his eyes. He raised his hands to cup her face gently and said, “Sweetheart, you know how I feel about you. Before I met you, I thought I would spend the rest of my life in the darkness but you have brought me back into the light. I love you, Sookie, you know I do.”
Tears filled Sookie’s eyes and she squeezed them closed for a moment while she took a deep breath, and then asked her last question. “Bill, have you ever had fairy blood?”
Bill’s cool hands left Sookie’s face and when she opened her eyes, he wasn’t looking at her.
“Bill…” she urged him.
“Once, but it was long ago,” he said quietly.
“So you know what fairy blood tastes like,” Sookie sniffled as more tears fell from her eyes.
“Yes, I know what it tastes like,” Bill agreed.
“You told me that I taste different from other people,” Sookie said between gasps for air. “You let me think it’s because I’m a telepath, but you knew the truth, didn’t you?”
Giving away the truth about her bloodline hadn’t been in the plan, but it didn’t really matter since Bill already knew about it. Pools of red started to form in the inner corners of Bill’s eyes, and Sookie didn’t know if she felt badly for him, or if those were just more crocodile tears he was whipping up to gain her sympathy. That, right there, was the reason why their relationship wasn’t going to work.
“I swear, I didn’t know,” Bill squeezed her hands in his own. “I knew it was a possibility but—how did you… have you always known that you’re a fairy?”
“No,” Sookie took her hands back and wiped her cheeks. “You’re sure you didn’t know Hadley?”
“I told you, Sookie, I don’t know the queen’s pet,” Bill said, but then realized his mistake a moment later.
“I didn’t say she was the queen’s pet,” Sookie said, and quickly scrambled out of her chair. “Tell me the truth, Bill. Please, if you love me as much as you say you do, then tell me the truth.”
Bill remained quiet, not offering a single word in his own defense.
“You didn’t come back to Bon Temps just because your ancestral home was vacant. You came back here because your queen told you to. She knew I was a telepath and decided she wanted me for herself, so she sent you back here in order to make that happen. Nothing you have said to me from the minute we met has been the truth. Our entire relationship has been a lie,” Sookie seethed, staring Bill in the eyes as he stood up.
“That isn’t true, Sookie; I love you,” he said, and took a step closer to her but she backed away.
“Then tell me the truth, Bill. Start at the beginning and tell me everything,” Sookie pleaded with him. “Were you sent here by your queen to procure me?”
Bill had a moment of internal battle before finally his shoulders slumped, he hung his head and looked at least a little bit remorseful for his actions. Sookie could see him taking breaths he didn’t need to take, almost as if he was trying to look like a human man calming himself down. It was all for show. Bill didn’t need to breathe and Sookie knew that. Did he really think she was going to forget he was a vampire just because he forced himself to breathe?
“Sookie, you have to understand that when the queen issues an edict, there is no way around it. I was ordered here. I had no choice but to do as she commanded,” Bill said, obviously planning on playing the victim.
“And what stopped you from telling me the truth, Bill? Why didn’t you tell me this yourself? Why did I have to find out from someone else that you’ve been lying to me from the start?” Sookie demanded.
“I don’t know how Eric found out, but-”
“Eric didn’t tell me!” Sookie shouted at him, but she was relieved to find out that Eric didn’t know. That was something she hadn’t really given much thought about up until that moment, but seeing as how Eric had been continuing to make plays to get her for himself she didn’t think he would defy his queen that way.
“Then how did you find out?” Bill asked.
“No, no, you’re the one with explaining to do here, not me,” Sookie shook her head fiercely.
“The queen’s pet was your cousin,” Bill admitted.
“Keep going,” Sookie said when he didn’t say anything else for a minute.
“She told Sophie-Anne that you were a telepath, and that there was fairy blood in your family. The queen has been searching for a way to add a fairy to her retinue for centuries. When she found out that you were a telepath in addition to being a fairy, she decided that you must have the spark that your cousin didn’t. So she sent me here with the order to do whatever was necessary to bring you to her,” Bill said.
“So why didn’t you just throw me in the trunk of a car and take me to her? Why did you build a relationship with me if all I was, was an assignment?” Sookie demanded.
“Because at first, that’s what you were to me, but then as I got to know you I began to fall in love with you. Sookie, you have to believe me when I tell you that the way I feel about you is not a lie,” Bill pleaded, and Sookie shook her head.
“How am I ever supposed to trust you again, Bill? Even if I can somehow find it in my heart to believe your side of the story, how can I ever know for sure that you’re telling me the truth in the future?” Sookie asked him sadly.
He reached for her, but Sookie stepped out of the way. In fact, she went across the room and opened the drawer of the small table where Eric had been looking at pictures when he first arrived. Sookie lifted out the small box that contained the ring Bill had given her. She hadn’t anticipated that it would be so painful to give the ring back, but she knew she had to. She didn’t want it, and she wouldn’t keep it.
“Here,” Sookie held the box out to him. “I can’t take your ring.”
“Sookie please…” he pleaded.
“I can’t marry you, Bill. I can’t trust you. I don’t know you,” Sookie cried as she talked. “You don’t know me because if you did, you wouldn’t have lied to me like that. I’m no longer yours, and you are not mine.”
Blood tears leaked from Bill’s eyes, and Sookie put the box in Bill’s shirt pocket when he didn’t take it from her.
“I want you to go now,” Sookie said.
“Sookie, we can work this out,” he insisted.
“No, we can’t,” she said with a shake of her head while she wiped her tears. “Bill Compton, I rescind your invitation.”
The front door flew open and a force that Sookie had never witnessed before propelled Bill toward the door. He tried to hang on to the jamb, but it was no good. He flew off the porch and landed hard on his back, pleading with Sookie to change her mind. In spite of every reason she had to slam the door and never talk to him again, there was an ache in her chest that stopped her from doing so right away. No matter how Bill felt about her—and she would never truly know for sure- she had loved him. He had been everything to her.
But that was what made breaking up with him that much more painful. Her feelings had been real. Or were they? Because of his blood she had no idea if she really felt as strongly as she thought she did, or if Bill had been manipulating her blood to keep her close to him all those times her instincts told her to run. Sookie closed the door and locked it for good measure, even though it wasn’t necessary. She leaned against the door, and cried for a minute before remembering that Eric was outside. She opened her eyes and turned around to unlock the door for him but then heard movement in the kitchen.
Sookie left the front door locked and slowly made her way to the kitchen. Eric sat casually at the table, his face expressionless as ever. He didn’t say anything, which was both surprising and refreshing since Sookie wasn’t sure what she would be able to respond with anyway. She knew she had to pull herself together because Lafayette and Jesus would be arriving anytime, but for the moment she just needed a little time to fall apart.
She stood in the doorway with Eric’s eyes glued to her, and even though she knew she didn’t have to say it she needed to hear the words out loud. “It’s over. Bill and I are through.”