When they pulled up to Sookie’s house, she reached over and grabbed Eric’s arm before he could get out of the SUV. She’d had some time to think things over while he drove, although not as much as she would have liked since Eric seemed to be allergic to speed limits. Eric paused and looked over at Sookie who had a slight frown on her face.
“Eric, I don’t want you to think that I don’t appreciate everything you’re doing for me and all of the offers you’re making. I just need for you to understand that this is really overwhelming for me. A lot has changed in the last couple of days and I know it isn’t going to get any easier, but I just need a little time to adjust,” Sookie explained rationally.
He nodded and said, “I understand. You are being tested right now and it’s smart for you to prioritize everything and deal with the most important things first.”
“Thank you,” she smiled with relief, but then added, “For what it’s worth, I do like the idea of finally going to college. If I can find a good use for this disability of mine then it’ll all be worth it.”
She could tell by the way he scowled that Eric didn’t like that she referred to her telepathy as a disability, but she had already explained to him why she felt that way. She supposed, in a few ways it was like being immortal. It might seem great to go on year after year after year, but it also had to be incredibly lonely. Eric wasn’t invincible, and he could still die. Just like with anything else there were pros and cons, but for the majority of Sookie’s life she had been conditioned to see being a telepath as something to be ashamed of, as something that kept her separate from everyone around her.
Most people didn’t believe in her gift until they thought they could use it to their advantage. Sookie had seen enough episodes of The Twilight Zone or The X-Files to have a pretty good idea what her life would become if anyone with any real power found out about her disability. It turned out it wasn’t just humans she needed to be afraid of, although their methods of testing her would more than likely be much more invasive than the sort of tests a vampire would make her endure.
As they got out of the SUV Sookie considered the possibility of running. No vampires had their blood in her. She could change her hair, her name and she could hide. But where would she go that vampires couldn’t track her down? How long would she really be safe before she had to pack up and find someplace new? Even if she faked her own death she was sure she would get caught at one point or another.
Besides, Gran didn’t raise her to be a coward and shirk her responsibilities. Sookie would stand tall, fight for her life and make Gran proud of her. It wouldn’t be easy, but it had to be a better choice than running. At least by sticking with Eric she would know who was friend and who was foe. There was a lot she could learn from him and there was one more very important factor that needed to be weighed—she cared about him. She couldn’t say that it was love, necessarily, but she definitely cared for him.
But she could feel it moving in that direction, and that was something worth sticking around for. Sookie told herself to slow down. While her feelings for Eric were definitely changing, she was still nursing some wounds where Bill was concerned and it was going to take a while before she could say with absolute certainty that she was over him. They hadn’t made a whole mess of plans for the future, but there had been a few. When she thought about it as she walked to the house with Eric at her side, Sookie realized just how foolish some of their daydreams were.
Bill was never going to be human, as much as he liked to see himself that way when they talked about the future. They would never have children. More than likely Sookie wouldn’t be joining a sewing circle or book club for human spouses of vampires. She laughed at herself as she walked into the house that she thought maybe someday she and Bill would share—the house he had bugged with surveillance equipment so he would know what she was doing at all times, and who she was with.
“About time you two showed up,” Pam smirked, her arms folded under her breasts. As per usual, when she wasn’t on duty at Fangtasia, Pam was dressed in a pink velour tracksuit with matching ballet slippers.
Sookie tilted her head to the side and teased, “You look like a marshmallow Peep.”
Pam lifted an eyebrow and her eyes shifted to Eric, who looked down at Sookie. “A marshmallow Peep?” he asked.
Sookie burst out laughing and said, “Google it.”
The hilarity was obviously lost on the vampires, since they remained quiet while Sookie continued to laugh hysterically. She was surprised, however, when instead of speaking about what they were planning on doing, Eric and Pam began to text their conversation to each other. It was a pretty sneaky way of doing things, but then Sookie gestured for them to follow her outside onto the porch so they could have an actual conversation instead of flashing their cell phones all over the place.
“Won’t it tip Bill off if you guys destroy the devices?” Sookie asked once they were outside.
“That’s the whole point,” Pam said as if Sookie should already know this.
“Right, but won’t that just encourage him to come over here and start snoopin’ all on his own instead of just listening to the bugs or watching the tapes?” Sookie pointed out. “I don’t want him showin’ up at my doorstep every night, or followin’ me to work to try and talk to me, or worse.”
“You don’t want your life impacted, correct?” Eric looked down at her. “The alternative would be for you to stay in Shreveport until the bond is complete.”
“Bond?” Pam’s eyes went wide. “You’re bonding yourself to her?”
It was obvious by Pam’s tone that she didn’t approve of the bonding at all. Eric’s fangs dropped and he looked at Pam.
“Yes, and this is not up for discussion,” he said in an authoritative tone.
Pam didn’t back down her expression, but she didn’t say anything else on the subject either. There was definite tension in the air and everyone was trying to pretend it wasn’t there.
“You’re welcome to stay in Shreveport as long as you like, Sookie, but I know you would rather be here. That’s why Alcide will be with you during the day, you have Moli, the protection spell and there were be a vampire stationed in the woods behind your house when I can’t be with you or when you can’t come to Shreveport. Bill will have a very difficult time getting to you once we remove the surveillance equipment from your home since he won’t know where you are,” Eric reassured her.
Sookie nodded, and then followed Eric and Pam back into the house. Pam walked them around silently, pointing out where the cameras were while Eric collected the listening devices that had been planted in some pretty sneaky places all around the house. The most upsetting camera location had been her bedroom since it meant Bill had video of them having sex. To say she felt violated was the understatement of the century, and Sookie had to excuse herself for a minute.
She went outside to get some fresh air and felt the overwhelming urge to run across the cemetery to Bill’s house and stake him herself. He knew about what had happened to her as a child, and the things that Uncle Bartlett had done to her. He had avenged those crimes on her behalf, and then he went on to put cameras in her home so he could watch her when he couldn’t be there himself. It was so far beyond betray Sookie didn’t even know how to express what she was feeling.
“Sookie?” Eric came around the side of the house to find her leaning against it.
“Yeah,” she said with a sniffle, and wiped her tears from her face.
“The cameras have been destroyed and Pam is going to dispose of the listening devices. We should be moving on to your brother’s house now,” he said quietly. “Are you okay?”
“No, I’m not okay,” she answered honestly. “I can’t talk about it right now though. If I start I won’t stop and Jason is already fired up enough.”
Eric nodded but said nothing else as he walked away to give Sookie a little more space.