After a few moments, the sky began to lighten and fill with differing shades of red, blue, orange, and yellow as the sun began to peek over the horizon. When the warm breeze came in from the ocean and blew my hair around my face and shoulders, I felt comforted by my surroundings, and calmer than I could ever remember being.
More importantly, I felt ready.
As I lay on the beach watching the sunrise, I let my mind replay the last several days.
I thought about the tribunal, my confrontation with my brother and my friends, and the revelations about my heritage. Mostly though, I thought about my life before the events that occurred in the junkyard and contrasted it with the time I’d spent with Eric and Pam.
My life in Bon Temps was simple. I took care of my friends and family while doing what I had to do in order to keep Gran’s house up and running.
Before I met Bill, I didn’t really have any focus in my life other than Gran and work. After meeting Bill, it was as though he took over my life. I was always thinking about him, seeing him, or dealing with some vampire mess he dragged me into. I reveled in his silence and the opportunity to be close to someone physically for the first time, but I could see now I was still isolated and lonely.
I always felt alone because I was so different from everyone else. One would think Bill would have understood that feeling, but hindsight made it clear that Bill never accepted his vampire nature. He obviously still had his own issues to deal with regarding his turning.
I think that was why I still felt lonely around Bill. He always wanted to talk about my telepathy, and how it made me so unlike other people. Maybe my differences made him feel less alone.
With Gran, she was always there for me, but she couldn’t really comprehend how I felt since she was neither telepathic nor ostracized by everyone around her. Of course, she accepted my wishes not to talk about my little secret; so it was an unspoken rule in our house that we didn’t.
While I had asked for the silence on my quirk, it was also another way that I felt isolated. I didn’t even have anyone to talk with about my struggles.
I didn’t blame anyone for not understanding. It was just impossible to ‘get’ if you didn’t experience that feeling of being an outsider and seeing how everyone else viewed you. It was impossible to explain to others how you wanted to talk about your differences with them but at the same time not be treated as if you are different. I had accepted that I was in this world alone when it came to my otherness.
At least, that was how I felt until three days ago..
Pam and Eric obviously didn’t understand what it was like to be a telepath. However, it was clear that they also didn’t see me as disabled or crazy. They knew more about my quirk than most people, and they were also the only ones to know about my Fae and witch blood. Yet, they didn’t treat me as different in any way.
Well, except maybe the occasional snide remark from Pam about me being a mutt.
Eric and Pam seemed to understand me better than anyone else I’d ever met. They didn’t take excuses from me; they challenged me to be better.
And I hadn’t felt lonely since that first night at Eric’s home.
My decision was made.
I would be a vampire.
And it was my choice.
Although the events of the last few days could have gone any number of ways, the important part was that the outcome was my decision.
Some people might believe that I was forced into the decision I was making but I don’t see it that way.
Every day people make the choice between cream and sugar, right and wrong, and life and death. Perhaps we think it’s unfair sometimes that we can’t have the best of both worlds, and that we have to make a choice at all, but that is a fact of life. Choices must be made and we have to live with their outcome. All we can hope for is that we get to make an informed decision, and that we have the serenity to accept the things we cannot change.
I choose to be a vampire.
I could leave the island now and hide from everyone; Eric would let me go. I could call on Fintan to come take me away, and he would hide me away from everyone, and protect me. I could call the police and tell them I am being forced into vampirism. I could swim into the ocean until I became too tired to continue, and drown in its unforgiving depths.
These were all choices I could make and they would all have consequences.
But I am choosing to become a vampire.
I will miss the sun and food. There will be pain involved when I outlive those I care for. I know that I will fight with Eric often, and he has warned me that I may hate him at times.
But I will never be alone again.
That was his promise to me on my first night in our home.
And I believed him.
With my decision made and reaffirmed, I laid back down on the blanket Eric had placed on the beach for me. I stretched out in the early morning sun with a slight smile on my face and I fell into a peaceful slumber.
“Hmmm.” I hummed as I curled onto my side.
“Ms. Stackhouse?” The male voice said again but with a little more volume.
Slowly, I opened my eyes to see a young man with short, sandy, blonde hair standing over me. He was about six feet tall with a slight build and he was wearing what appeared to be a white waiter’s outfit.
I immediately sat up and looked around while I tried to get my bearings. It only took a moment for me to spot a small yacht docked a short way down the beach.
“Ms. Stackhouse,” the man spoke again “My name is Andrew and I will be your waiter throughout the day. Would you like to eat on the beach or inside your cottage?”
“Ummm.” I stuttered for a moment as I tried to shake off the last few cobwebs from my nap. “I’d like to eat on the beach if that’s alright.”
“Of course.” Andrew answered with a smile. “We have been told to provide whatever you like. I will have your breakfast set up momentarily, and then we can discuss your menu for the rest of the day.”
Before I could say anything in response, Andrew was walking back towards the boat and I was alone again.
Well, that was interesting.
I reached out with my mind to scan the boat and everyone on it but I didn’t get anything other than six minds going about their duties. Feeling safe in my surroundings, I stood up and stretched towards the sky.
Immediately I felt the grittiness of the sand that had made its way all over my body.
Looking down the beach, I saw that Andrew was only then coming ashore from the boat with a small table. I figured I had enough time to run into the cottage and wash off the sand.
As I entered the cottage, I realized the trees surrounding the building kept out most of the natural light and I automatically reached for a light switch, before I remembered that the island didn’t have electricity.
Which made me conscious of the fact it probably didn’t have running water.
While I considered washing and other bathroom issues, I noticed a small hurricane lamp that was still lit. As I walked towards it, I saw a small note with my name on it.
When in the world did Eric have time to write me this?
Taking the small note in my hand, I walked out of the cottage and onto the sunlit path to read my message.
As you have probably noticed, the island does not have bathroom facilities. Do not worry. The yacht is at your disposal for bathing and your other human needs. Simply ask Andrew to show you around whenever you are ready to go onboard.
A second boat with Pam’s gift should be arriving shortly after your breakfast. This boat is also at your disposal.
Enjoy your day. I hope to see you at sunset.
“That man really does think of everything.” I said with a shake of my head.
“Excuse me ma’am”
I jumped in surprise as Andrew approached me.
“I apologize. I did not mean to startle you.” He said with a small bow of the head. “I only wished to let you know that breakfast will be ready in fifteen minutes. Would you like to come aboard the yacht to wash up?”
I sighed in relief that I wouldn’t have to be the one to bring up my bathing issues.
“Yes, please.” I said. “Just give me one moment to grab my bag.”
After grabbing the bag Pam had packed for me, I started back towards the path. I just hoped it had what I needed in it.
As I walked out of the cottage, Andrew stepped forward.
“Miss, let me take your bag.”
Before I could protest, he already had my bag and was leading me back towards the shore.
We were silent as we walked the fifty feet to the boat and I enjoyed the sound of the waves crashing into the beach. When we reached the gangway to board the yacht, Andrew led the way.
I was in awe as he showed me around the living compartments of the floating home. There were two small bedrooms and one master bedroom with a master bathroom. Of course, the master bed and bath were not as huge as the ones at home, but they were still much larger than I would expect to find on a boat.
“The Chef says your food will be ready in ten minutes and the Captain says we are to expect the second boat in about forty-five minutes.” Andrew informed me as we finished the tour in the Master Suite.
“Thank you Andrew.” I said graciously. “I’m going to clean up and I will be outside in just a few minutes.”
“Of course, Miss.” He bowed again. “Please let me know if you need anything.”
As soon as Andrew left, I locked the bedroom door and turned to investigate my carryon bag.
After five minutes of pulling everything out, I realized Pam could not be trusted with my clothing.
All she had packed for me were extremely revealing bikinis and a note stating, “You don’t want tan lines following you into eternity.”
I didn’t even know I’d keep any of my tan.
Well, there was something to make me smile since I loved my golden skin tone.
Luckily, Pam had also packed a sarong to match my chosen bikini. The bikini tied behind my neck and the matching sarong was white with large red flowers. I had to admit it looked amazing, but I would rather have worn more clothes to breakfast.
After putting my hair in a loose bun, and taking a quick shower to wash off the sand; I threw on my bikini and sarong and made my way back to the beach.
If the wonderful smell of breakfast on the boat was any indication, then I was in for a real treat.
Andrew greeted me as soon as I stepped off the boat and he pulled out a chair for me to sit at the small table he had set up.
I’m sure my mouth was gaping open at everything I was seeing. Not only was the table set with fine china and roses, but also the food looked absolutely amazing. The table was crowded with eggs, bacon, grits, sausage, biscuits, and pancakes that looked as fluffy as Gran’s had always been.
“I hope everything meets your approval.”
“It looks wonderful.” I beamed. “You didn’t have to go to this much trouble.”
“It was not too much trouble and I don’t mind going to any amount of trouble for a man trying to impress his woman.” Andrew said with a small smile.
I blushed at his assumption but that wasn’t what was going on here.
I decided to think more about that later and I dove into the buffet in front of me. I moaned when I took the first bite of the pancakes.
Then I yelled for Andrew to come back.
“Is something wrong Miss?”
“Andrew, these pancakes taste so much like the one’s my Gran used to make. Please tell the chef that I’m in heaven.” I’m sure I had tears in my eyes. I hadn’t had the courage to make her pancakes since her funeral.
“Well, Ms. Stackhouse, it is your Gran’s recipe so . . .”
“WHAT?” I interrupted him in surprise.
“Yes. Mr. Northman was able to get copies from your home I believe.” He said as he patted his jacket. “Oh yes, here is the note I was to give you after breakfast.”
After I took the note, Andrew walked away to get me some fresh coffee and I opened the folded piece of paper.
I know you enjoy traditions and simple things more than expensive or meaningless items. Therefore, I thought you might enjoy having your Grandmother’s recipes cooked for your final meals.
The Chef has a copy of all the recipes Pam could find in your kitchen. He can also make anything else that you may know the recipe for. All you need to do is tell Andrew which items you would like to have, and they will be made for you.
However, if you prefer, they can also fix you something more glamorous like steak, squid, or lobster.
Whatever you wish is their command.
Enjoy your day!
I was so touched I didn’t know whether to laugh, smile like a loon, or cry.
My body seemed to make the decision for me as I laughed until I cried.
I think I scared Andrew.
“Ms. Stackhouse?” He said tentatively.
“I’m fine.” I said hoarsely. “I’m just touched by his thoughtfulness.”
Andrew only nodded in response and I realized he was waiting for my lunch and dinner order. I thought about it for a minute and decided just to list my favorites, even if they were a little too heavy to be having all in one day.
It wasn’t like I was going to be gaining weight.
“I’d like jambalaya for lunch and fried chicken for dinner. The chef can pick the sides. I’d like my Gran’s apple pie for desert.”
“Wonderful choices! I’ll let the chef know.” Andrew answered ceremoniously. “I believe we may have all the ingredients we need without having to return to the mainland.”
“Oh. Good.” I responded automatically before he walked away and I returned to devouring my breakfast.
While I enjoyed Gran’s pancakes and the biggest breakfast I’d had since her passing, I lost myself in my thoughts again as I considered all of the things Eric had done for me.
He had been taking care of me since the tribunal. He had let my brother and Lafayette live when I’m certain he would have killed any other humans that had committed similar offenses. He had been patient and caring with me regarding the revelations from my past, and he had been attentive in giving me one last day to enjoy my human life.
It made me wonder how he would have treated me if the whole mess with the tribunal had never happened and if I wasn’t with Bill when we met. Would he have tried to woo me or would he have just treated me as an asset, or fangbanger? Was he only doing all of this because I was going to be his child, or to get me into his bed?
I shook my head and stopped the doubts from creeping back in.
The whys didn’t matter anymore because Eric would soon be my bonded Maker. Of course he would want me happy, because we would always be together. We would be miserable if one of us was always pulling the other one down.
Thinking about Eric brought back the memory of my feelings from last night. When I was around him, I felt warm and safe, but I also felt a great affection building for Eric.
Did I love him?
Not yet anyway.
But I did care for him.
And based on my lustful reactions to him, I knew I wanted him.
Consequently, I was quickly realizing that I was fighting a losing battle when it came to my attraction to Eric. Even more so, I was beginning to realize that I was fighting my attraction to him for no real reason.
So, before I could start thinking of arguments against it, I found myself lost in lustful daydreams involving Eric, the beach, and myself. Unfortunately, my steamy thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a boat approaching our location.
I looked over my shoulder and saw another vessel, smaller than the yacht, nearing the beach. Again, I scanned the people onboard and I found nothing to worry about. The three people on the boat were only thinking about the beauty of the island and their jobs. One of them was Rick, he was the Captain, and the other two were Sasha and Mary.
I watched Andrew clean off the breakfast table and carry items back onto the yacht while the smaller boat anchored itself close by. By the time my food had settled, Andrew had finished his task and was ready to resume his post. He told me he would return with my lunch after my spa treatments but I was welcome onboard at any time.
Around the same time that Andrew returned to the yacht, Sasha and Mary came ashore. Sasha looked to be in her early twenties and she had the dark tan of someone who lived on the beach. She had dark brown eyes, curly, chocolate hair with natural, red highlights, and a tall, slender frame. She looked like someone who would live on a deserted island.
If Sasha looked exotic, then Mary was her opposite. Mary looked to be the same age as Sasha, but that was where the similarities ended. Mary was only about five foot six with a small, but shapelier, figure. Her hair was blonde and her eyes were a sparkling blue like the water surrounding the island.
“Hello,” Mary started. “You must be Ms. Stackhouse.”
“Yes, I am but please call me Sookie.”
“Sookie. I’m Mary and this is Sasha. We were hired by Ms. Pam to do your hair and nails, along with some waxing and a full body massage.”
“Wow. She really went for the works.” I laughed.
Usually, I would have protested such pampering, but I was having a good time today and I was willing to enjoy all the new experiences while I could.
“Ms. Pam asked us to give you this note.” Sasha said as she handed me an envelope.
I had to laugh. It was really my day to get notes from the vampires.
After unfolding the piece of paper I pulled out of the envelope, I read its contents to myself.
You will enjoy my gift. I have given very specific instructions to Mary and Sasha to ensure you are in top shape for your turning. You can thank me forever. Shoes and clothing are always welcomed.
P.S. I can vouch for Sasha’s talents beyond hair and nails. Feel free to test them yourself.
My face and body instantly turned red as I blushed from head to toe. I immediately started laughing while I wondered if I’d ever get used to Pam’s mannerisms.
I had a feeling she was going to try to corrupt me more than Eric ever would, and that was really saying something!
When I finally stopped laughing, I realized that Sasha and Mary were staring at me.
“I’m sorry.” I blushed some more. “Pam has a way with words.”
I cleared my throat and stood up before saying, “So, where are we doing this?”
For the next few hours, I was brushed, buffed, and babied. Sasha and Mary led me back to their boat and Sasha started by giving my hair a trim. At first, I was worried that Pam would have my hair cut too short but Sasha had been told to only trim my hair and give me a little bit of a layer at the end of my hair to give a little more volume.
I was okay with that.
While Sasha was cutting my hair, Mary started soaking my feet in some type of solution she said would soften my skin. After about fifteen minutes of this, Mary started buffing my feet until they were as soft as a baby’s butt. Then she started on my toenails.
As Mary was finishing with my feet, Sasha finished with my hair and started soaking my hands and nails in the same solution Mary had used. The whole process started over with my hands, and they were incredibly soft with well-rounded nails.
We didn’t bother with nail polish.
Next came the painful part as Mary led me into a small bedroom and had me strip down and cover with a towel.
I could have done without the waxing.
By the time Mary was done with me, I wondered if I had any hair left on my body.
I think I would have rather shaved for the rest of eternity. As I waited for Sasha to come and give me my massage, I decided that instead of getting Pam shoes or clothes as a thank you I would be getting her a glamoured group of ugly, poorly dressed admirers.
As tense and tingly as I was after my waxing, I was thankful for the full body massage and I was back to singing Pam’s praises by the time it was over. I had never felt so relaxed and healthy. It was perfect.
When all my treatments were over, I put my bikini back on and went back out to the beach, after saying thank you to Sasha and Mary.
As soon as I stepped onto the sand, Andrew was walking towards me.
He really was Johnny on the spot.
“Ms. Stackhouse- “ He started before I interrupted him.
“Sookie, please.” I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten to tell him that earlier.
“Sookie.” He smiled. “I have set up a tent for you on the beach, per Mr. Northman’s request.”
“A tent?” I asked incredulously.
“Yes. He didn’t want you to get sick from the heat or irritated by the sand.” Andrew explained as he led the way to the tent. “There is a battery operated fan along with a large sofa for you to rest on and several towels and drinks. We also brought some of the books he said were gathered from your home.”
I stopped walking and my mouth dropped open. My mind was stuck on one word.
“Did you say couch?”
Andrew’s gave me a knowing smile. “It’s not that uncommon of a request from our clientele, but I do believe Mr. Northman is attempting to spoil you.”
“Well, I think he’s achieved that goal about ten times over.” I mumbled and I heard Andrew laugh in response.
As I stood at the entrance of the tent that looked like it came from the set of some romantic movie, Andrew continued telling me about the day’s plans.
“I will be bringing your lunch shortly, and then you have the rest of the day to enjoy the sun and water.”
“Thank you Andrew.” I said politely. “This is absolutely beautiful.”
As he headed back towards the yacht to bring my lunch, I explored the amazing tent that Andrew had erected near the same spot my blanket had been the night before.
The tent itself was eight feet tall and about ten feet by six feet wide. The roof was white and the poles at each corner were covered with a red silk material. White netting also covered three sides with the fourth side being tied back by a red tie. The brown suede couch Andrew had placed inside was easily large enough for me to nap on and the battery-operated fan was on a stand pointed towards the couch.
A table had been placed in front of the couch and it was covered with some of my books from home, a few towels, a couple of bottles of water in a bucket of ice, and a pitcher of sweet tea. Sitting in front of the tent was a lounge chair for me to use for tanning, and there were several options of tanning lotions lying on the ground next to it.
I felt like I was in one of my romance novels and I half expected to be seduced by a harem of men at any moment.
Seriously, that was how fantastical the whole set up looked.
I don’t know how long I stood there looking into the tent before Andrew returned and broke me out of my thoughts.
“Sookie, is something wrong? I can change anything that displeases you.”
“No. No.” I reassured him. “I’m just not used to this kind of pampering. I guess I’m a little overwhelmed.”
He smiled in response. “Well, let me set up your lunch and you will have the next few hours to relax and adjust to it.”
And that’s exactly what happened.
After eating my Gran’s jambalaya for lunch, Andrew left me alone for most of the day, until dinner. I used the time to relax in the sun and swim in the warm waters. I tanned on the chaise lounge while reading my books and then I spent a little bit of time cooling down on the couch.
I couldn’t remember a time in my life when I had spent an entire day so relaxed and pampered. I knew I wasn’t the type to want to live this way every day, but I couldn’t lie and say I didn’t enjoy my last day in the sun.
The best part about the day was that I felt at peace. There wasn’t one point in time when I felt stressed or scared about what was to come. To be honest, I didn’t even allow myself to dwell on my turning.
I simply enjoyed the warmth, the beach, and the sun.
At least, that was true until dinnertime.
When Andrew brought me my Gran’s fried chicken for dinner, he laid out a table with all the fixins’ and told me he’d be back in an hour to cleanup from my meal.
At the time, I didn’t think anything about Andrew’s comment regarding his return, and I didn’t realize his timeline would soon become very important to me.
Once Andrew left, I walked over to the table set up directly outside of my tent, and began to make myself a plate filled with chicken, green beans with bacon and onions, corn on the cob, and homemade biscuits. I also poured myself a glass of sweet tea and I went ahead and cut myself a piece of the apple pie.
Once my plate was completely full, I sat back down and began digging into my dinner. However, after my first bite I looked up to find an envelope leaning against the glass vase that was holding a single red and a single white rose.
Before I even reached for the envelope, I understood the meaning of the roses. Gran was a true Southern woman and she always told me that any Southern woman worth her salt knew the meaning of flowers.
In this case, some people might believe the red rose symbolized love or that the white rose symbolized purity.
If one kind of rose was given without the other, then that would be very true.
However, when given together, the red and white rose meant something entirely different.
A huge, genuine smile crossed my face as I thought about the symbolism of the flowers. It was perfect since it related not only to my new blood bond with Eric but also to the bond we were about to form as Maker and Child.
He really did have a deeper side to him that he never showed to anyone else, and now I was the one he trusted enough to share himself with.
I felt lucky and cherished. Two things I had never felt before in any measurable amount.
As I turned over the envelope to open it, I paused when I saw what I now knew to be Eric’s elegant handwriting scrawled across the seal.
Please open after you have enjoyed your dinner. ~E
I had to make a conscious effort to freeze my muscles so that I didn’t tear open the note out of curiosity, but my Gran always said ‘curiosity killed the cat.’ Therefore, I laid down the note and dug back into my dinner – albeit a little faster than usual.
When I had eaten enough to feed a small country and determined that I couldn’t eat another bite, I took Eric’s note with me into the tent and sat down on the couch. I quickly opened the envelope, pulled out the folded note, and read.
I hope you have enjoyed your day being pampered and enjoying the beach and sun.
Andrew will be coming to cleanup from your meal at seven o’clock. The crew will be leaving the tent and everything else it contains for your use, but they will be leaving the island as soon as Andrew takes away the dishes.
If you are reading this note, then you have not yet decided to change your mind and walk away. Please understand that when the yacht leaves, you will no longer have that choice. If I know you, then you have spent most of the day avoiding any thoughts about your situation and the decision you have to make. So, consider all your options now.
If you are still hear at nightfall, I will assume that you rationally considered all your options and you have chosen to become vampire.
I hope that you will stay, but be certain in your choice before your inevitable fear and panic set in, as sunset approache,s and your human life nears an end. These emotions are normal reactions when facing the unknown. Therefore, my actions tonight will be based on the choice you made during the day, whilst you were more relaxed.
Finally, I believe you will understand the meaning of the roses that accompanied your dinner.
Do not underestimate the message they convey. If you stay, then we will be united in everything we do from this night forward.
Consider carefully, min milda krigare.
The more I read of Eric’s note, the faster my heartbeat raced.
I was running out of time.
I was about to die.
My throat felt thick and my breathing was rapid.
I was terrified.
I felt caged in and I needed to run.
But I didn’t move.
I was frozen to my spot on the couch, continually reading the letter Eric had written me. Why did he do this? I was perfectly happy and content with my path just a few minutes ago. Why did he have to remind me that my human life was about to end?
I tried to slow down my breathing and my thoughts.
“Think Sookie.” I mumbled to myself as I tried to calm down.
Nothing had changed really. I had already decided that I accepted this path – NO – that I chose this path.
Why was I freaking out now?
Was it what Eric said in his note? Was this the normal reaction that anyone would have when faced with the unknown?
Seriously, being drained until your heart stops beating would freak anyone out right?
Even if they chose it.
Without realizing it, I had stood up and started pacing around the tent frantically, while holding the letter in my clinched fist. My thoughts were no longer based in the rational thought from earlier in the day. I was no longer thinking about how this was the best choice for me, or about how good Eric and Pam had been to me.
No, I was thinking about the fact that I would no longer breathe.
Or have a heartbeat.
Or feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.
I stopped pacing and looked at the burning orb hanging lower over the ocean.
Could I really do this?
I heard Andrew’s voice behind me and I froze.
I was truly out of time.
And I wanted to run.
“Yes, Andrew.” I said shakily without turning around.
“I’ll be taking your dishes away now.” He said politely. “I was told to ask you if you will be coming aboard for our trip back to the mainland.”
Here it was.
The moment of truth.
Stay or Go
My head was spinning and my instincts were screaming at me to go running towards the yacht.
I was truly trying to stay with Eric and stand my ground, but I felt as if my entire being was revolting against my earlier decision and was willing me to walk away.
I turned to look at Andrew with tears in my eyes.
But what I saw were the roses.
The words left my mouth without any forethought and I felt a knot release in my stomach as I spoke them.
I hadn’t run out of time. I had gained a partner for eternity.
This was my choice.
“Then we will be leaving momentarily.” Andrew said with a nod. “It was a pleasure serving you today.”
“Thank you for everything, Andrew.” I managed to respond before he started walking back to the yacht.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
I had decided on my path and it was final.
I opened my eyes and saw that the sun was getting even lower in the sky. It would be dark in the next hour.
Perhaps it was a little strange, but I decided not to watch the sunset. Tonight was about a new beginning and not about an ending. I had watched the sunrise and that was all I needed.
Feeling the weight of the last hour and the past few days, I realized I was tired. It may seem strange to sleep away your last hour of human life, but I decided it was what I wanted. Therefore, I crawled onto the couch and curled into a small ball.
As the fan blew a soft breeze over my body, I fell into a peaceful slumber while waiting on my Maker to rise.
I was ready to start my new life.