Sookie Stackhouse was a very private person. Content with her small world in Bon Temps, with her gran and Jason, her job at the local bar, her few friends and her world of books. For most of her life, reading books gave her all the adventure she asked for. Of course she wanted to travel the world, actually see the places she read about, but there was no money for that, nor the time. Growing up without parents with just Gran’s retirement fund did not leave breathing room for realizing her fantasies. So she taught herself to drown in those fantasies and live them in her dreams, in her thoughts and in her books. Whatever the family lacked in resources, they made up for that in love. Adele loved her grandchildren dearly and even after coming to know about Sookie’s telepathy, never felt anything but fondness and love for the girl. She cared for her, became the lost mother and father, became her missing friends, taught her everything she could, scolded her when Sookie was wrong and embraced all her quirks.
But Sookie grew up. In her lonely life, stepped Bill Compton and she thought she got her own fairytale, her own love story, just like those women in her books. Sookie threw herself into the love she found. But it was not really like those fairytales, was it? Something was wrong… One trip to Fangtasia and her heart would not listen to her anymore, her soul was not where she expected it to be. Sookie tried everything; double shifts, gran’s sewing circles, more time with Bill; but the shifts left her bone tired and then she became more vulnerable to the feelings she was trying to suppress. The sewing circles which used to be a drag became positively dreadful. Being with Bill became more and more torturous everyday till she could not decide she was feeling guilty because of not feeling for Bill or was she guilty towards herself for fooling around with Bill.
Then that dreadful evening visit with Andre happened.
That was the proverbial last straw. Now Sookie wanted nothing more than wiping out Bill from her life to retain her sanity. But, it was not easy to forget and move on. Especially since Bill simply refused to acknowledge the fact that Sookie had moved on. He would come by every once in a while and insist on speaking to her. He constantly sent her flowers that awkwardly arrived in the middle of her work shifts, making her more the center of attention she was trying so hard not to be. That got to her the most and by the end of a week of this freak show, Sookie was totally leaning towards staking Bill if he so much as uttered the following –
‘Sweetheart I am sorry…’ Stake to the dead heart
‘Darling you don’t understand…’ Hammer on the head and then stake to the dead heart
‘I insist you talk to me…’ Shove the ‘insist’ in your ‘you know where’! Follow it up with stake to ‘you know where’ too…
The worst however, ‘You are mine!’ Seriously? Someone please stake me instead!
Sookie rescinded Bill’s invitation to her home and Sam banned him from Merlotte’s. As far as going to work was concerned, she just stuck to day shifts and carried a gun Jason gave her, with silver bullets.
One evening Adele found her cleaning everything she could reach, in a daze and on the verge of hysteria. Gran sat her down and asked what was bothering her and Sookie told her about how she was almost killed by her boyfriend and his friend and how she felt angry and used at the same time. Sookie repeated her promise that she would never let anyone make a fool out of her, ever. This brought tears of pride to her gran. What was more was that Sookie had enrolled into the special self-defense classes, held by the sheriff’s department on Sundays and had started practicing shooting with Jason again, whenever the two could get together, a couple of times a week… She might have been brought down once, but she was not wallowing on the ground. Her special little girl had stood up to her hurt and was handling it really well.
While Sookie’s view towards life in general was crashing and altering constantly, everything around her, was still the same, the usual; Home and gran, Jason and his shenanigans, Merlotte’s and the daily crowd. Everyone went on with their lives. Everyone had some things they needed to do and some things that they wanted to do instead. Gran wanted a new driveway but there was seldom anything to save. Jason was running around with two girls from town, but deep down wanted to be swept away and in love with one special someone, whoever that was. Each and every person walking into Merlotte’s had some inner strife. They were all living their own lives, fighting their own dilemmas, having hopes and fears. Sookie’s job was to listen to what they said they wanted, get them their choices, make sure they were comfortable and then clean up after they left. Sometimes they rewarded her with a good tip, sometimes not.
That was her job.
Her curse was to inadvertently listen to what they really wanted when they were saying something else. She tried not to interfere or listen to their secrets lest she be tempted to do something to help them get what they wanted deep down in their hearts. She could not comfort someone drowning in misery, because they had not shared that misery with her. She cleaned up the soiled tables after them but forgetting everything she heard from them was a different matter, not so easy to clean up from her mind. And there was no reward for this inhuman burden. That is what telepathy had always been to Sookie, a burden and a curse.
Despite carrying the burden all her life, Sookie never complained, never lost faith in humanity, never treated anyone with prejudice and tried not judge. She tried her best to be a normal girl next door, a good sister, a loving and responsible granddaughter. Listening to all kinds of thoughts all her life forced her to grow up much sooner than the other girls her age. She never seemed to make friends with them after a point. She tried very hard to mingle but it wasn’t easy and she usually ended up feeling like an outsider. When vampires came out in the world, she felt some affinity for them because they were considered outsiders as well, just like her.
Then she discovered the wonderful quite she could have by being close to vampires and she got addicted. Being with Bill was like a well-deserved vacation of silence and rest after a lifetime of thoughts banging on to her like jackhammers. She jumped into that peaceful rest without thinking and got burned.
She never got the time to feel it though.
Maybe she was emotionally already far away from Bill or she was blessed with vampire speed healing where her heart was concerned or she had a really good distraction. The reason did not matter. Before Bill stopped being her concern, she never realized that there was just one threadbare reason holding her back from jumping headlong into a fate she couldn’t even dare to admit was possible if she just took one step in its direction. Now without even the guilt for Bill crowding her head, she slowly and steadily became whole heartedly obsessed with the incorrigible Eric Northman.
What was it about Eric? Thrice…Sookie just met him thrice and he found his way right inside her head, messing up everything. She did not notice when this happened or how? She just noticed that she slept near that corner of her bed where she had woken up to find him sitting. She noticed that when she needed a break, she just got in her car and started driving, realizing after moments that she was driving towards Shreveport, towards Eric. She didn’t even know where to find him or where he lived. She didn’t know anything about him, other than the fact that she had to get near him somehow.
Congratulations on becoming a fangbanger at last! All of them wanted to get near him that evening in Fangtasia…Shame on you Sookie Stackhouse!
So then she controlled herself and turned back.
She noticed she felt a strange longing rise inside her as soon as the sun went down. She noticed that she looked up every time someone walked into Merlotte’s, finding that she was disappointed as soon as it wasn’t a certain someone who had no reason to be there. And Sookie got tired of looking up and not finding him there. A day passed, then another and then a week and another, and Sookie started feeling actual pain, as if she had been separated from her lifeline.
“Oh stop it. I can’t take it! I can’t go out there looking for him and he is not gonna come looking for me. He already saved my life twice. He is not my F-ing fairy godmother. Not that I am exactly Cinderella though. Would I go to him if he were the prince charming of the ball?…Oh stop nonsense…I just had to see him once and he ruined everything. No! No one has that kind of power over me. No one rules me like that. I won’t let him do this to me. I am a twenty six year old grown up woman, not a teenager for Christ’s sake! Stop this madness Sookie or you’ll actually become the crazy Sookie he called you.”
He also saved you…twice…He held you like that…twice…He played with your hair…sigh!!
“And he is gone for good! He is practically a stranger to me! I don’t know him. I can’t think about him all the time.”
She made another effort of getting her mind on something else and went about taking orders and delivering the same old fries and beer to the same people who came to Merlotte’s every day.
Nothing was working. Not even the townsfolk, the people that comprised the Bon temps social circle, who had not been happy about her involvement with a vampire to begin with, were helping in any way as far as distractions go. You would think they could at least be supportive when she broke up with Bill Compton. But turned out, people were just as caustic as before. A day didn’t pass when someone didn’t make a rude comment for her at Merlotte’s. Out of Sookie’s fellow waitresses, only Holly was non-judgmental and was merciful in her thoughts. Arlene got downright bitchy in her enjoyment for Sookie’s heart break, always trying to stuff her up with more ‘I told you so honey, vampires are blah blah blah…’ stuff. That was very annoying to swallow. Although Sam did not comment on her relationship status, he was gloating about being right about godamn vampers and a freed up Sookie and thought Sookie would get weak and lonely and seek his company. His thoughts drove Sookie farther away from him.
Every thought, every action and every emotion she felt, turned to that one place she feared to go. She stood on the threshold fighting it out, testing herself, calling out to her desire, waiting…always waiting. What if he did not come and proved that he forgot her the next day? What if she met him somewhere and he did not look at her the way she wanted him to look at her? What if she did the crazy thing and went out there to find him? She became a walking bunch of questions and he did not come…It had been three weeks since she saw Eric and although it felt like just yesterday when he became her knight in shining armor and saved her, it felt like a long long time since she had seen his face. In her heart, Sookie started to accept that it was only a matter of time before she would give in to temptation and foolishly walk up to him, her heart on a shining silver platter for him…Her heart on a silver platter? Ha! If that wasn’t ironic enough!
She had to force herself to stop thinking and sleep that night. Merlotte’s would swamped tomorrow, because of the Halloween holiday and she would need all her energy for her double shift, morning and night, because of the extra rush expected and not to get distracted by the vampire costumes around. What if a real tall, blonde vampire came swooping on her when she was alone on the road? Mmm…that would be some Halloween to remember…she smiled at that fantasy and played with it in her mind. Sookie finally fell asleep late that night, still thinking about silver platters, hearts and swooping vampires.
Sam did a double take when he took in Sookie’s Halloween dress up for the evening. She was wearing an angel’s halo headband and small white lacy angel wings on her shoulders. Sookie ditched her plain white T-shirt for a lace white camisole top coupled with dark blue denim shorts. The wings and headband were incongruous with the shorts but strangely looked heavenly on her when she smiled. You couldn’t get her glowing angelic skin and heavenly smile in a costume shop for sure.
Everybody was in a festive mood. Arlene had zombie stickers of fake blood on her face and arms and an honest to goodness severed fingers necklace. Holly was looking the exact opposite with her tinkerbell headband of sparkling flowers and sparkling earrings shaped as bells and stars, with her usual Merlotte’s uniform. Sam was wearing claws! Really? The star of the show was Lafeyette though. You couldn’t beat a pink cape, pink fake fangs and a black fitting body suit.
Apart from the usual drunken mess, everyone laughed, enjoyed themselves and made friendly remarks on each other’s costumes.
Someone yelled from the corner booth. “Sookie hon’, be a real angel and get me some large fries wouldya.”
“Coming right up Andie…” She smiled, wrote down the order and turned to go towards the kitchen window at the back, to pass on the order ticket.
She turned and gasped in disbelief.
“What the HELL!”
The kitchen window was not where it was supposed to be.
Her customers were not where they were supposed to be.
Merlotte’s was not where it was supposed to be!
In place of everything, there was a big dark red hall filled with dim dancing lights and smoke, with a platform in the end, a spotlight on a throne, smack in the middle of the platform. On the throne sat a vampire, her vampire, who she had wished all of her previous night to swoop in on her.
“I’ll be God damned!”