There was no confusion. There was no moment of blissful ignorance.
When I opened my eyes I knew exactly where I was and why I was there. But as I looked at the sunshine that had triggered my breakdown the night before, I no longer felt the need to grieve. It was almost as if my soul had used the time I was unconscious to soothe my mind and work towards acceptance. As I turned onto my back and stared at the ceiling, I could tell my eyes were swollen from my sobbing last night. I had let every emotion I had about my fate overtake my body and, as painful as it was, I felt better for it today. That might change as the day and night went on, but right now I felt strong, calm, and able to face whatever came my way.
It was probably Eric’s blood helping me feel stronger, but at the moment I was happy to accept that side effect of our blood sharing last night.
Glancing at the bedside table I noticed that it was already almost 4:00PM. If the events of the evening were to start at 8:00 then I needed to get a move on.
After taking care of my morning necessities in the bathroom attached to my room, I made my way back down the stairs in search of the kitchen. It wasn’t very hard to find. In the daylight I could see that it was just off to the right of the Great Room we were in last night. I was surprised to see that the kitchen was rather large and appointed with everything you would see in a normal human kitchen. I wondered why he would have a kitchen like this but figured it might be to keep up appearances or help resale value.
I knew I was going to need to make my dinner soon so I decide to just eat some cereal that I found for breakfast. While sitting at the table eating, I looked around the kitchen again in more detail but this time I noticed the cell phone on the center island. My hand paused with my spoon half-way to my mouth. I closed my eyes for a second and took a deep breath before returning back to my breakfast.
After cleaning up my dishes, I thought about waiting until I was done taking a shower and getting dressed before making my calls. However, I knew I needed to give them all time to arrange their schedules to meet me. Plus, as much as I was determined not to be a coward and start facing the consequences of my decision, I couldn’t help but be apprehensive. No one wants to hear their family and friends yell at them and tell them how stupid they are. I was absolutely certain that was how my night was going to go.
Deciding to just get it over with, I picked up the phone and dialed Merlotte’s before I had a chance to think about it anymore.
“Merlotte’s. What do you want?” Crap! I was hoping to start with Sam not Tara. Plus, she obviously wasn’t in a great mood.
“Tara, its Sookie. Can . . .”
“Sookie!” she interrupted me before I got further. “Damn girl we’ve been worried about you. You okay? What did those bloodsuckers do to you last night?”
“Tara, I’m fine but can I talk to Sam?”
“Not until you tell me where you are? I know you didn’t come home.” She said stubbornly. I loved Tara and the fact that she was protective but I would rather save the lectures and questions until tonight.
“I’m in Shreveport. Can you come over to my house tonight at 11:00? I’ll tell you everything then.” Maybe this way of asking her over would make the invitation easier at least. By easier I mean not arousing more suspicion.
“Well, since Arlene’s party is most definitely a no-go . . . Oh wait, do you know about that?” She countered.
Shoot, how could I have forgotten about that. Acting time. “No, what happened? Are they rescheduling? They didn’t breakup again did they?” I asked all this with the voice of a concerned friend.
“No honey.” She paused. “Rene’s the one who killed Gran. He confessed to all the murders today.”
“OH MY GOD! RENE?”
“I know. Everyone here is in shock. He just walked right in to Bud’s office and said he couldn’t take the guilt anymore. Turns out Rene isn’t even his real name. The bar is packed with all the people gossiping.”
“Wow. I don’t even know what to say.” That was true. I wanted off this topic so I could stop pretending I didn’t know it all already. After a short silence, “Tara, I know its bound to be busy there and all, but can you meet tonight? I really need you there?”
“Fine. Okay, I’ll get there, but you will tell me everything.” She commanded. Boy, she had no idea.
“Don’t worry. You’ll leave knowing everything.” I promised. More than she’d wished she knew actually. “Hey, is Lafayette there? I need to talk to him too. Why don’t you bring him with you?”
“Yeah, that bitch is here. I’ll bring him.” She agreed. Well, that’s two down. “Do you still need Sam?”
“Yes, is he there?”
“Just a second. He’s in the office. He’s being an ass today” she warned before she left to tell him to pick up the phone.
A few seconds later Sam picked up, “Chere? You okay?”
“Hey Sam! Sure I’m fine, but I have some stuff going on and I won’t be able to come in tonight. I know its horrible timing because the bar will be busy tonight with Rene’s confession and all, but it really can’t be helped.” I took a deep breath before continuing. “And actually, I was hoping you could come over at 11:00 so I can tell you about it.”
“Sookie, what’s going on? Are you in some sort of trouble? Do you need me to come get you? I told you that vampire would be nothing but trouble!” he growled the last part. I couldn’t argue this time though. He did warn me.
“Sam I’ll tell you everything tonight. Tara and Lafayette are coming too so that I don’t have to tell the story over and over again. I know it means you’ll all have to leave the bar when its busy but it won’t take too long.” I was rambling a little now. I wanted to get off the phone before I let something slip. “Can you come over please?”
“I’ll figure out a way to keep the bar covered while we’re all gone. Chere, you know I’ll be there if you need me.” My heart clutched a little at his statement. I was fairly certain he wouldn’t feel that way for much longer based on how he felt about vampires.
“Great. Thanks Sam that means a lot to me.” I was trying to keep emotion out of my voice. “I’ll see you tonight. Bye”
I hung up the phone with a sense of relief. One phone call took care of three people – that was luck. Now, I just had to track down my brother. He would be the hardest to get there. Especially if it meant breaking a date with one of his lady friends and I’m sure he would be wanting to celebrate getting the police off his back for the murders.
I dialed Jason’s cell phone but it went to voicemail. He was probably still at work. “Jason, it Sookie. I really have to talk to you tonight and it can’t wait. Please meet me at my house at 11:00. You won’t be able to call me before then. I’m not at home and my cell phone’s dead. Please make sure you’re there.” I paused for a second trying to figure out what to say to make sure he was there and didn’t blow me off. “You’re the only family I have. Please come. I love you Jase, I’ll see you later.”
I ended the call and put the cell phone back on the island with a little more force than necessary relieved that my task was completed. But as I was leaving the voicemail for Jason, I had an epiphany (Word of the Day on my calendar last week).
I wasn’t dreading telling them all because I was second guessing my decision or even because I knew they would be mad and think I was stupid. I wasn’t even afraid of the thought that Jason might lose his head and try to slap me again like he did when Gran died.
No, it wasn’t the yelling, crying, grief, or anger I was trying to avoid. That was all to be expected. I’d experienced my fair share of each last night and into the dawn.
So, what was I afraid of?
I was afraid of their rejection.
Even though I’d stood behind each of them when they made mistakes or the town ridiculed or rejected them and even though they had done the same for me (mostly), I wasn’t sure they would still do the same for me once I was a vampire. If they truly loved me, then we should be able to move past this. Right? It would be hard and there would be disagreements, but we could still be a part of each other’s lives in some ways. At least I hoped so. I mean I wouldn’t cut them out of my life if the situation were switched. But . . . somehow I didn’t think it would be that simple for them.
So, tonight I would find out who my real friends were and who would be walking out of my life forever.
Having depressed myself some with the new understanding of my feelings about the meeting tonight, I decided to stop thinking about it and get ready for the night ahead.
Having showered, I dressed in my jeans and a short-sleeved red scoop neck fitted t-shirt. After I had finished applying some basic make-up, blow drying my hair, and pulling it up into a ponytail, I made my way back into the hallway outside my bedroom. I was on a mission to find Eric’s office. I needed pen and paper.
While I was getting ready earlier, my mind continued to work over my situation. I mean, what else would I be thinking about with only two more days of my mortal life remaining?
This morning, I had felt calm and a level of acceptance had set in, but as my day went on I started feeling the fear seep back into my body. I guess it was unrealistic to think I’d banished it completely. Still though, the longer I thought about it, the more afraid I started to get. At one point, I’d even felt my inner “flight” instinct trying to kick in and I’ll admit that there were a few seconds where I started to feel my breathing get out of control while I considered ways to avoid the guard Eric had stated would be watching me.
I won the fight though. I would not run. I was a Stackhouse and we kept our word. I couldn’t – no I wouldn’t – back out now. Jessica’s life still depended on me.
So, I decided that I needed to find a way to beat back my fear. I wasn’t a coward, but I was still afraid. The distinction being the difference between running from what you fear versus finding a way to defeat or face your fears.
This is why I needed to find Eric’s office. I realized that, like most people, my fear was largely based on the unknown. I had never seriously considered becoming a vampire but now that it was only two days away I had some major questions. Can I keep my house? Will I be able to stay in contact with my brother? What about my friends?
And these were the simple questions.
So, the longer I thought, the longer my list got in my head. Therefore, I needed paper. Eric had a way of getting you off subject or messing with your head. So I was going to write down my list and make him go through each one with me. Well, try to make him go through each one. Maybe when some of the unknowns were out of the way I could keep the fear at a manageable level.
Last night Eric had stated that his office was upstairs. So, I took a left down the hallway and started opening doors. The first three doors I opened were more bedrooms similar to the one I was staying in but decorated in different color themes. The fourth door, or the third door on the right side of the hallway, was his office. Really though, I would call it a library with all the books on the wall. I quickly glanced around and noticed very old books along with newer looking ones, English titles next to foreign books, and in the middle of the walls of books stood a large dark oak desk with intricate carvings. That looked like a good place to start.
I sat down in the large black leather swivel chair that was behind his desk and easily found a pen. However, he didn’t have any paper on his desktop. Upon trying each of the desk drawers, I found them all to be locked. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Vampires are extremely secretive.
“Well shoot” I muttered as I slumped back into the chair and looked around. Where was I going to find paper now? Just as I thought that last thought I noticed his printer on my right side. “Bingo!” I opened one of the compartments for paper and pulled out a couple of sheets. Mission accomplished.
Glancing at the clock on Eric’s desk, I saw that it was 6:30. So, I took my supplies downstairs to use while my dinner cooked. While I was looking for my breakfast earlier, I spotted a frozen pizza in the freezer. I thought that would be the easiest thing to cook, as it would allow me time to make my list while it baked.
So, that’s how I spent the rest of my daylight hours, cooking my pizza, eating, making my list, and waiting for the vampires to rise.