Eric took one last look at me and walked away at human pace. The amount of pain I felt when he walked away really shocked me. Logically, there was no reason to be in pain. I knew he had to rest during the day and see to the breach in his home. I knew I had no right on him. In fact, he seemed to be even farther away from me, than he used to be before. But last night and then right now, why did I feel like never letting him go? I tried looking away but I could not.
I wanted to run after him. But could I do that after turning him away so many times?
All my restraint and pride was tested to its limit there. I was transported in mind to that fateful night at Bill’s house, when I had walked away from both Eric and Bill, and it felt as if I was standing outside that door again, torn in two. Funny how often I thought about that night and couldn’t get past it. Getting away from the two people I loved so much had been the most difficult decision I’ve had to take. I couldn’t even begin to explain it to myself now. I just wanted to spare all three of us the pain I had been causing since the day I drank a few drops of Eric’s blood. Something broke inside me when I saw both of them kneel in front of Marnie, ready to die, for me. Sooner or later, I would have attracted some more trouble and then I would have gotten the two of them in that spot again. I couldn’t let that happen. And there was my ever present confusion between the two.
I just had to get away. And the moment I started to walk from that door I shut on myself, I had to keep walking. I could not stop for even one second. I could not let it affect me as much as it was.
Truth be told, I had been walking away from Eric since that night, since two years now. I say only Eric, because somewhere on my way, I left my love for Bill behind. It just went away, little by little, till I didn’t feel anything for my first vampire boyfriend. The need to be with Bill just fell away, partly because of his behavior after drinking that cursed blood and partly because I finally understood that Bill had been a placeholder for my heart. I was trying to fill up the hole Gran left in my life and he crossed my path.
Years afterwards, I now know relationships don’t work like that. You can’t fill a hole in your life, in your heart that way. Maybe drinking his blood compelled me to seek him out. Maybe I was scared of loneliness. But grief should not be handled that way. A relationship should never be a crutch. I should never have run to Bill the day gran died. I should have been stronger.
I loved him. And I hated him and then I loved him more. I connected with him on a level I could never get to with anyone else. He threw away conventions, denounced set standards and brought out feelings in me that scared me to death.
Could I give so much power to one individual who could destroy me?
I didn’t know…
Was it even in my hands anymore?
I guess not…
Could I now run to him after everything? Would it be running away from my loneliness again?
His blood could not be affecting me because I hadn’t had any in so long. This was so confusing! And I would never go after him until I didn’t work through all my confusions. I could not hurt him any more than I already had because I wasn’t sure about what I wanted. I owed that much to him. And I still had to deal with Alcide.
I felt some pressure on my shoulder and turned to see Niall’s comforting smile. We were alone in the corridor. Eric was gone. It was time for me to leave too.
It was almost nine in the morning by the time Niall and I reached our suite at the hotel. We had to drop Adilyn at her hotel and then decided to grab some breakfast. Niall was quite all the way. He looked to be chewing on something in his mind. He was also shielding his thoughts from me and I didn’t know what he was contemplating. I decided not to pry and turned back to myself. I could hardly believe so much had cleared up in my head in a day.
My phone buzzed and I reached into the huge pockets of my pajamas. That was when I realized I was still carrying that knife I had found on the floor after the thief ran away. I had completely forgotten about it. I could have turned it to Eric. He would know what to do with it. Maybe it was Eric’s and the thief nicked it with the sword. I put away the thought of the dagger for the moment and looked at the call in my phone. Alcide!
It felt awkward, taking his call so soon after last night’s fiasco. I didn’t want to answer but a wise voice inside my head told me that not talking honestly to him about my feelings would be the dishonorable thing to do. I had missed that voice since forever. I wouldn’t let it disappear again. So, I did what my instinct told me was right and pressed the call button.
“Sookie…I…uh good morning…”
I realized that he was feeling as uncomfortable as I was.
“So…I as wandering if you wanted to have lunch with me?”
I really didn’t want to see him at the moment. Plus there was the luncheon this afternoon. But I did need to talk to him. It was better to resolve things as soon as I could and not keep him hanging. I had to explain it to him that I wanted to end our relationship. And it wasn’t just because of last night. Things just had kept piling up and I didn’t see him as my partner any more. We weren’t right for each other. He would be angry but I needed to do this. And I had to do this right.
“Ok…Where do you want to meet?”
He took a relieved breath. “I’ll pick you up. 11:30 good for you?”
“Yes that would do. But you don’t have to pick me up.”
“I want to Sook…Please let me do this. Look I can guess what you are going to say. But I…just let me do something right for you, ok?”
Yes I could let him have that at least…
“Alright Alcide. See you at 11:30 then.”
“Ok…bye Sook…see you…”
Niall quirked his eyebrows at me, “Are you sure about this? After last night?”
I sighed and sat down next to him on the couch. “Yes great granddaddy…I need to talk to him and the sooner the better. I can’t go on with him. I have been going round and round in circles and if I keep doing this, I would never reach anywhere in my life. So much has gone wrong… So much that I want to change…”
“What’s stopping you to change it honey?”
I tiredly looked into his eyes and saw so much understanding, so much care in them. I could not help it when a tear escaped my eyes. Niall took my hands in his and wiped the lone tear away. “Why are you so scared Sookie?”
I was not expecting that. Trust great granddaddy to get right to the most disturbing issue. I didn’t know how to answer him.
“I don’t know how to answer that. I have been lonely all my life. I have been in some rough spots that just changed me. And I have lost so much. I am afraid that if I fix my heart on something, I’ll lose it too. Then I’ll be lonely again. I am scared that my heart won’t survive it if someone else breaks it again.”
“Sookie you can’t live with that fear. You can’t change your fate. It would catch up to you whether you like it or not. That is the way of life and you can’t change it.”
I snorted. “Fate is a bitch…”
Niall smiled wryly and gave my hands a squeeze. “Yes she can be bitchy sometimes. But she is a cunning and misunderstood bitch.” He tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t get a choice for what happens to us. Everything that is thrown our way has the potential to make us happy or crush us. But we can choose not to get crushed. When I look at you great granddaughter, I see so much of me in you. Fate robbed my family too. I was very young when that happened. But the bitch could not crush me. I chose to stand on my feet and fight. I chose to love again. I chose to fight for that love even if I knew fate could eventually take it away from me, just as it had taken away everything I had before. That fear could not rule my life.”
Did he think I hadn’t fought for my love? “But I have been fighting all my life too.”
Niall grew serious. “You have been fighting all the wrong things Sookie. I am very old and very perceptive. I have observed the way you think and act for some time now. Your instincts are all perfect. But you never listen to them. You act in the way you think a normal human would act, but you are not a normal human. Even normal humans don’t act like normal humans are supposed to act these days.”
I knew what he was saying made some sense but the stubborn girl in me would not let this go without defending herself. “But I am human Great granddaddy. And I need to live with humans. I am not nearly as old as you but I have always tried to be as honorable as possible.”
“You are certainly not human Sookie. You can’t live by human standards and then expect to be happy with it. There is a reason why supes have their own standards, their own laws and their own way of life. We are different. We need to recognize it and adapt. But we are digressing from the big question here. You have my blood flowing in your veins. You are a fighter by heart. But you keep fighting for your grandmother’s human ideals. You keep fighting for people who don’t care about you and discard you from their lives the first chance they get, all because of some Christian notion of forgiveness your gran preached. You fight people who want to stand by your side and turn them away, because of a skewed version of the human standard for independent women in your head. You think the supernatural world is dangerous and avoid it like a plague. But you keep coming back because you are a supernatural creature too. You fight your very nature and want it to go away. But it is who you are and it will never go away. It will only grow within you.”
I was bristling now. He didn’t have to look down on me for trying to live by gran’s ideals… He didn’t even know her. Gran had been everything to me. She sheltered me when there was no one else. She raised me. Made me the person I was now. How could I not follow her ideals?
“Do you have a problem with humans?”
Niall smirked and shook his head. “Of all that I just said, you picked that one to fight?”
“I love my gran. I can’t let you speak disrespectfully for her.”
“I am not being disrespectful of anyone Sookie. I am just asking you to stand up and fight for the good in people, not the bad in them. I am asking you to stand up and fight for your happiness again. I want you to think on why at thirty you have more regrets than I have had in centuries. There must be something wrong you are doing there.”
I was silent for a while. I didn’t know what to say. Fighting for my happiness should be the right thing to do. But my damned one track brain could see only one thing that would bring back the happy in my life. And I had fought against that one thing for so long
“What if I left all my happiness behind?”
Niall scoffed. “Where do you get these fool ideas from girl? There is no such thing as leaving your happiness behind. Happiness is not a trinket you lose. It is a way of living, a way of seeing things. It can’t be lost.”
“What if I did manage to lose it?”
“Then you find it. And find it soon young lady. Your mood swings are too much for my old bones.”
I had to smile at that. Bless him. And thank the lord for sending him to me at my hour of need. Even if he liked to argue the life out of me, he still was the best great granddaddy ever. Maybe what he said was right. Maybe I could still find a way to happiness and true love…
“I know what I want. But I am afraid I can’t have it anymore. I am afraid I am too late. I can’t live with it and I can’t live without it and the confusion is killing me. I won’t ever let someone else in my heart and I won’t get what’s in there already. I was always lonely and I am going to die lonely.” I pressed my hands to my throbbing head and looked at my feet dejectedly. “With the number of conflicting questions in my head, one of these days I am going to have a full scale nervous breakdown.”
Niall slid closer to me on the couch and placed his hands on either side of my face. He looked at me sternly and shook me gently. “You are not lonely. You have a family, whatever is left of it. You have a few good friends. There are people who love you and care about you and would never quit on you.”
I teared up again. “I know…And I am thankful for everyone in my life, every day. But…” I desperately looked for the right words to say this. There were none. I hid my face in my hands and pressed my temples.
I folded my hands on my lap and looked squarely at great grandfather. Hiding wouldn’t help. “But I want someone I can’t have.”
Niall raised an eyebrow in an all too familiar expression and my deviant mind filled up with images of Eric doing the same whenever I gave up and threw a pity party.
“I am guessing that would be Northman?”
“Huh?” I felt my stomach fall and my eyes pop. How much had Niall noticed? He removed his hands from my face and smirked. Again, a very familiar thing to do, which again reminded me of Eric.
Niall winked at me and grinned. “My old eyes have seen a lot kid. You are clearly smitten. I would say that holds for the vampire too. It is messed up but it is what it is. You can’t keep running away from the issue. Why don’t you two stop giving grief to everyone around you and do something about it?”
What? My fairy great grandfather was winking and giving me relationship advice and telling me to get together with a thousand year old vampire! Wasn’t I like too old for adventures like that?
I was speechless…And I was blushing to high heaven…
He gave my hands another squeeze and rose from the couch. He walked towards his bedroom, muttering under his breath. “Fairies and vampires huh…fate’s a real bitch…”
I silently laughed. As far as I was concerned, he was absolutely right. Just before he closed the door to his room, he looked at me with that contemplative expression again. “I have a permanent position with the Supernatural Council now, representing the fae. The headquarters are here, in New Orleans. I have already bought a house here and would shift when it is ready. If you feel like extending your vacation, you are most welcome to join me.”
I really wanted to stay but I had another life too. My real life…”I’d love to stay some more time but I have a job in Bon Temps. Arlene would not take too kindly on me going on unplanned vacations.”
“Just think on it. No pressure ok?”
I smiled…”Ok great granddaddy…I’ll think on it.”
Lunch with Alcide went as expected. I tried to explain why I wasn’t happy and why things weren’t working out for us. He wouldn’t listen. He was sure I was back with my vampire craziness. I could hear him cursing vampires in his head. He just didn’t come around to understanding that we just didn’t have anything keeping us together any more. He didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand him. Maybe he could find happiness elsewhere. I told him to try and he told me to not bother with what he did from then on. Fine by me…
We didn’t part like best of friends. I wasn’t sure we could ever be friends again.
But when all was over and he was gone, I sat in the restaurant with a cup of coffee and in a very long time I felt like I had done something right with my life. I felt a big weight go off my shoulders. I felt hope…It made me smile…
The young waitress approached me politely, to ask if I wanted anything. It was already ten minutes to one and I had to get back to the hotel. Alcide had already paid the tab, so I stood up to leave and tipped the girl. She thanked me with a bright smile.
That is when I felt a jolt in my body. A powerful force pulled at my heart, right upto its breaking point…
I clutched at my chest and fell to my knees, gasping for air. Only, my frazzled inexorable brain wanted something more than air for my lungs…It wanted Eric!
My eyes snapped open in the dark. I knew it in my blood that the sun was high up in the sky. I should not have been alive at this hour.
My blood was telling me something. An urgent need was waking up inside me.
Suddenly, wave of longing crashed onto me and I felt an intolerable desire to have Sookie by my side. I tried to calm down but my blood won’t let go. I sat up and clutched on the sheets, desperately trying to make the need go away. But I wanted Sookie. With every particle of my being, I wanted Sookie. It made no sense…
One moment I was on my bed and the next instant, I was standing in the middle of the room, ready to break the door and go find her…
My thinking caught up with my actions and I realized what I was doing No…No no no…I have defeated this before…I can’t give up now…I can’t go…Its daytime for Pete’s sake…
The need grew and a foreign sense of panic invaded my being. Next instant I was clutching the door knob, with all my strength, trying not to open the door.
Minute by agonizing minute, with everything I had in me, I shored my self-control. The pull was very strong. As strong as a maker’s call. That was not possible. Godric was dead. He couldn’t call me now. No one could call me that way now.
I pinched my eyes close and concentrated on my blood rebelling in my veins. With my thousand years of experience, I began to sift through every bit of emotion going through me. There was panic…exultation…yearning…adoration…fear…urgency…love…a lot of love…and a light flowing through me…
I swear I felt my own heart stopping…But that was not possible again. My heart was already dead, long ago. Then what was this feeling? I pushed all my thoughts towards the light and clutched at it. Gradually, the knots began to loosen up and my mind inched towards coherence again. With that came the realization that I was feeling a lot of emotions that were not mine. Sookie? Was I feeling Sookie? Was it her heart that I felt before?
As soon as I started separating Sookie’s emotions from mine, my pain eased. And simultaneously, I felt her pain ease up too. I gathered all the calm I had and pushed it to her. She felt better. With her, I felt better too.
I took a calming gulp of air to fill my lungs and staggered back to the bed to sit down. Somehow, without a blood exchange, I magically felt being a part of Sookie and she felt…well she felt just mine. If this was some kind of sick joke the Goddess had decided to play on me then it was the best sick joke of my entire fucking existence.
I lay down again and reveled in her life force mingled through mine. Slowly, the day took me under its sway but I sure died a happy vampire…