Chapter 10: Everything Can Change
“Wake up, Suzy,” I heard a voice whispering to me.
I was groggy and said in confusion, “What?”
My eyes finally opened enough to take in the sight of a woman sitting beside me on a massive bed. I jumped back a little in surprise.
“Did you forget where you are, Suzy?” the woman asked with a kind smile.
I started to correct her, but then I remembered that as far as anyone was concerned, I was Suzy now. I nodded and quietly asked, “What time is it?” Looking around I could see that the curtains to the oceanside patio were wide open revealing a deceptively bright, sunny day.
“It’s almost noon, sweetie. I would have let you sleep longer, but I figured you should probably get up and try eating something if you can. I had them bring up a variety of breakfast foods,” Marci told me, gesturing towards the dining room. I marveled at her appearance. Her clothes still seemed plain, but at the same time, she gave off a feeling and look of elegance. She was wearing white Capri pants with simple flip-flop sandals and a short-sleeved pink button up blouse. She looked like she would be at home on the beach or cheering from the bleachers at her kid’s soccer games.
I slipped out of bed and followed as Marci led the way to the table. I was grateful that I didn’t feel so sick that I needed to throw up as soon as I woke and got up. There was a huge assortment of almost any kind of breakfast food available. Surprisingly, Marci took a seat and helped herself to some French toast. She saw my surprise and chuckled, “I’ve always loved breakfast. I’d eat it for every meal of the day if I could.”
I took a seat beside her and struggled to control my nausea. Deciding that I couldn’t handle anything very heavy, I helped myself to a bowl of fruit.
“Still struggling with morning sickness?” Marci asked with a smile.
“Yeah, I don’t think my stomach could handle very much yet.”
She nodded in understanding. We sat and ate in silence for a while, but the silence wasn’t uncomfortable. It was pretty easy to be around Marci too. Her thoughts weren’t overpowering and most of what I did catch was pretty light and inconsequential. Even in her thoughts, Marci was very kind.
“So, Suzy,” Marci said in a light tone, “have you tried getting a hold of your boyfriend at all?”
I shook my head. “He made it pretty clear last night that he wanted nothing to do with me,” I said quietly, looking down at my hands in my lap.
Marci waved it away and thankfully moved on without pressing, sensing that I didn’t want to talk about it. “Well, do you have any way of getting home?” she asked.
“I don’t really have anywhere to go any more,” I admitted.
There had been a chair between us at the table, but Marci moved into it, took one of my hands, and put her other hand under my chin to gently force me to look up at her. “Well, would you like to stay in Monterey?”
Her tone was so gentle and kind that several tears escaped before I could stop them. I shrugged. I was pretty sure Monterey seemed like an expensive place to live, but it wasn’t like I had any other great prospects and I had no money to go anywhere.
“What did you do for a living, Suzy?” Marci pressed.
“I was a waitress at a bar and grill,” I admitted. For the first time in my life, I felt embarrassed by how I made my living, but I could help it when I was sitting in front of this elegant and kind woman.
Marci nodded with a pleasant smile. “Well, I’m sure that’s something you could do for a while, we can find you a position with the restaurant here at the hotel if you’d like, but eventually we should find something different for you. You won’t want to be on your feet that many hours a day when you start showing and your feet start swelling,” she said with a sympathetic laugh.
I hadn’t really thought of that before. I had been assuming that wherever I decided to go, I would just find somewhere to waitress at to make money, but Marci did have a point. Heck, it had been pretty difficult the past week at Merlotte’s with my morning sickness. “I hadn’t thought of that,” I admitted quietly.
She squeezed my hand in sympathy. “Is there anything else you have training in or that you went to school for?” she asked hopefully.
“I’ve done a little office work, but I only graduated from high school,” I whispered.
“Well, I didn’t go to college until after I’d married my husband, so don’t you fret. There’s still plenty of time for things like that,” she assured me. “Would you like to work and stay here for a while, until we figure out what you really want to do?”
More tears spilled over, but I squared my shoulders and said with determination, “You really don’t have to do all of this for me. I can figure things out on my own and find my own place to stay.”
Marci grinned. “I’m sure you can, Suzy. I have to admit, I think you’re handling your circumstances extremely well. I’m sure that you could figure something out, but why not stay here until you can get your feet under you. Take a few days to rest, when you feel up to it, you can start working, and then we’ll go from there,” she said with just as much determination.
I could see that she wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Shaking my head, I said, “Is there any way I could start working today? I don’t want to have to sit around and think. I do better when I can stay busy. I promise you won’t regret giving me a chance,” I vowed to her and myself. I would do anything in my power to repay this caring woman.
Marci looked skeptical, but then she acquiesced, (a past word-of-the-day, that I vaguely remembered) “Well, if you’d like to start doing something today, I could have you help Jeremy. He’s the hotel concierge and he’s actually needed an assistant to help him for some time.” She looked thoughtful for a moment. “Yes. I think that’s a much better idea than having you work in the restaurant.”
I was instantly worried about being out of my depth. “I’ve never done anything like that before. Do you think I’d be able to?”
Marci smiled in an almost motherly way. “Of course I do. I’ve always had good instincts about people, and you seem like an earnest, hardworking young woman. I’m sure you would do just fine. Come with me,” she said, taking my hand and leading me back to the bedroom. She spent the next several minutes going through the closest to find me something suitable to wear. Most of her clothes were too long for me, but she managed to find a plain but professional looking cream-colored skirt suit that fit fairly well. The skirt went further down past my knees than it would have on her, but no one else would probably notice. I was surprised to find that for as tall as she was, Marci actually had pretty small feet, so I was able to even find a pair of cream-colored peep-toe pumps to wear as well. I pulled my hair back into a French braid and was ready to go.
Before I had much time to dwell on whether or not I was getting in over my head, Marci had taken me down to the front desk and led me into the office behind it.
Jeremy stood from his desk as we walked in. “Good afternoon, ladies,” he said pleasantly. I wondered if it was just the two of them that were so kind and pleasant, or if it was a California thing. I hadn’t really met anyone else yet, so I couldn’t say.
“Good afternoon, Jeremy,” Marci said. She turned to me with a flourish and said, “I think I’ve finally found you a proper assistant.”
Jeremy looked surprised for all of about a split second before he was smiling pleasantly again. I could tell that he was a little apprehensive about me, but he figured if Mrs. Dell wanted to hire me, he’d give me a try and that he’d try his hardest to teach me what to do if for no other reason than to make her happy. I was in awe of the loyalty Marci’s kindness seemed to inspire.
“I’m sure Miss Sanders will make a wonderful assistant,” he replied with a smile. I dipped into his head and saw the he was actually pleased to have a female assistant, and not for the reason most men would be. Jeremy was pleased with it because he knew his boyfriend wouldn’t be as likely to get jealous if his assistant was a woman. I tried to hide a smile myself at the revelation; it made me feel surprisingly better to know which way Jeremy swung.
“Please, call me Suzy,” I said, feeling a genuine smile cross my face.
“Well, I’ll leave you two to your work,” Marci said. “Now you don’t work Suzy too hard on her first day and see to it that she tries to eat plenty,” she told Jeremy as she leaned over and hugged him. She turned to me and hugged me as well, and I was surprised and pleased at the action. “Now, my husband and I have a dinner party we must attend,” she said with an exaggerated eye roll. “So I’ll come check on you in the morning to see how your day went. This is a slow week for us, so there’s no need for you to start early until you get used to the swing of things. Why don’t we have breakfast again tomorrow at 9?” She let go of me and started walking out before I could respond, saying over her shoulder, “I’ll see you in the morning!”
I stood staring after her for a moment, not knowing what to say.
Jeremy saved me from trying to figure out what to say. “She’s quite cheerful, isn’t she?” he said with a laugh.
“Yes, she is. But she’s pretty wonderful,” I said as I turned back towards him. He nodded in agreement.
“Well, like Marci said, this is a pretty slow week, so why don’t I show you around the hotel so you can see what amenities we have and I can fill you in on what my duties are and what yours will be,” he said as he gestured out the doorway.
As we were walking through the lobby, I was surprised to see what looked like some pretty beefy security guards standing by the entrance. Jeremy saw my look and explained, “We have several suites and one whole wing that are set up to accommodate the needs of vampires, so of course during the day we post extra security to ensure their safety.”
I nodded, I hadn’t been focused enough to sense them last night, but even in the daytime, I could sense several voids in the hotel. Most of them were down what I assumed was the vampire wing, but I was surprised to find one was somewhere near Marci’s suite. I idly wondered where the vampire I’d talked to last night was. I cast my mental net out, and could tell that the guards were weres of some kind too. I wondered if Jeremy knew that.
For the rest of the afternoon, Jeremy showed me around the hotel and described to me what he did and what he would want me to do as his assistant. Basically, he told me that he was like the manager of the hotel, but mostly he dealt with guests. He explained that it was his job to make arrangements and reservations for guests for anything they desired, from clubs and restaurants, to spas and parties. Jeremy explained with a smirk that it was his job to supply anything under the sun for their guests. Back in his office, he showed me his “book” of contacts for things guest might request, and it was definitely a book. He told me that he would probably have me find contacts in the book and call and make arrangements for all but the most delicate requests. Those he said he would handle himself.
I found myself really enjoying my afternoon with Jeremy. By late evening, after we had completely toured the hotel and gotten a quick bite in the restaurant, (though I still couldn’t stomach much) I was feeling almost completely comfortable with Jeremy. He’d really loosened up too, and had been escorting me around the hotel with my arm wrapped around his as he playfully told me amusing stories from his years working there. I was grateful for the opportunity to keep my mind off of my troubles and not have to think about much of anything that had happened before today. Thankfully, Jeremy seemed to sense that I didn’t want to talk about my past and so he didn’t ask.
It was still a while before the sun went down here, but I could tell the instant it had gone down in Louisiana. I felt the blood rush from my face as my hands pressed over my stomach. I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of Eric’s emotions, and didn’t have the barrier in place between us to soften the blow. Getting up from the table I was sharing with Jeremy, I excused myself, explaining that I was feeling unwell. I had felt so comfortable with Jeremy that I had already explained to him earlier today that I was pregnant. (I figured he’d have to find out sooner or later anyway.) Jeremy called out to me that I should call and let him know if I needed anything, and that he would see me in the morning.
As I let myself back into Marci’s suite, I closed the door and collapsed against it, gathering my knees to my chest as my resolve gave way to sobs. I guess Eric was still pretty pissed. After I was able to get the barrier between us up again to soften his emotions a little, I was able to calm myself a bit. I had successfully put off thinking about anything but today until now.
Now, I couldn’t think about anything else. My heart ached for home and everyone I knew there, but then I thought about the kind of life I had grown up with. I had been an outcast at best, but to most, I was considered a freak. I knew that even if my children—and somehow I just knew that I was caring twins—even if they were born normal, (something I doubted) I knew they would be tainted by my stigma. Even if they weren’t, there were too many people that wanted to use me and there would probably be even more that would want to use my children if they were different too.
Still, I found myself wanting to check in back home. I knew I needed to be careful of who I called, so I finally just decided to call my cell phone and check to see if I had any messages. The first one was from Sam shortly after I’d run out of the bar, asking if I was all right. I was surprised to hear the next one was from Pam.
“Sookie, I have no idea what you have done to anger my master in such a way and he has not yet spoken of it, but I fear for you my little friend,” Pam said sounding slightly frantic, something I’d never heard in her. “I have told you before that my master loses all sense of reason when it comes to you, but this time I think he has taken leave of his all of his senses. I am not sure what is going on nor am I sure what you have done, but I think it would be best if you stayed away for now. Stay wherever you are. Based on the anger I am feeling from my maker, I do not think he would be able to control himself right now if you were to return.” Then Pam actually sighed. “I owe you a great debt for saving my life in Rhodes, Sookie, it is for that reason I warn you now. Take care, my telepathic friend,” and with that, she hung up.
I felt more tear leak out at her warning.
The next message was a frantic one from Bill.
“Sookie! Call me immediately! I felt our connection sever and I cannot get a hold of Northman to find out what is going on.” He paused for a few moments and said quietly, “Please do not be dead.”
I felt awful at his words, but I knew I couldn’t involve Bill. He’d nearly died saving me from the fairies, I couldn’t ask for more from him.
The next one was from a worried Jason.
“Sook, Jesus, your place looks like a tornado went through. Nearly every tree around the house is uprooted and torn to kindling. What the hell happened? I can smell Eric all over the place though, did something happen with you and him? Give me a call, sis.”
It was the last message. I stood clutching the phone for a long time, not even registering the automated voice that kept repeating my voicemail instructions. I finally hung the phone up, not knowing what else to do. I wanted to call Jason at the very least to reassure him, but I was afraid of someone being able to trace the call and find me. I knew I would have to consider it for a while before I tried anything. As I collapsed on the couch by the phone, I wondered how my life had come to this point.
I noticed that the sun had finally set here as well, so I got up and changed into another tracksuit of Marci’s. I would have rather worn some sweat pants, but it didn’t look like Marci had any. I had felt weak and dizzy several times throughout the day, but chalked it up to symptoms of my morning sickness. As I walked through the kitchen to get something to drink, another wave of dizziness hit me. Suddenly my vision swirled, my breathing became ragged, and my body felt almost boneless. I barely registered that I was falling forward until I saw the edge of the marble countertop coming into the corner of my view.
I thought I heard a loud thumping noise, but I couldn’t focus on seeing or hearing anything. The noises all seemed to echo as if I was underwater, and my eyes felt sticky as I slowly blinked them. I couldn’t figure out why everything looked red, why my face felt sticky and wet, or why I couldn’t move. The questions piled up and my mind couldn’t sort them out, so I closed my eyes and felt myself float away.
Someone was licking my face and forehead, and I had the strongest feeling of déjà vu though I couldn’t remember why. I managed to lick my lips and realized they tasted like blood.
My head still seemed to be in a fog, and my body wasn’t listening very well to me, but I managed to finally open my eyes and saw that a handsome dark haired vampire had gathered me in his arms and was licking me. “Bill?” I asked in confusion, thinking that this had happened before. But his face didn’t seem right, it didn’t seem familiar.
“No little one. My name is Robert,” the dark haired vampire told me.
I still felt like I was trying to breathe underwater and my body felt weak. I wanted to stand up away from the vampire, but I couldn’t make my body respond. Nothing was making sense to me. I didn’t know who this vampire was or where I was.
“Suzy! What is wrong with you, little one? I have given you some of my blood, but it is not healing you, as it should. You are pale and cold, almost as though you were drained. Please tell me what I can do to help you,” the vampire told me. It almost seemed like there was a frantic edge to his voice.
My body felt completely wrong, I couldn’t control it, but somehow my emotions felt calm—or maybe subdued. “Oh, that’s not good,” I said quietly and calmly, as I blinked and looked up at the vampire.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew I should be upset and worried. There was something I should be worried about, or maybe worried for. Maybe something I was supposed to be concerned about. Something small.
I blinked again slowly as my mind cleared a little and I remembered. It became even harder to breathe as I gasped, “I’m pregnant!” I found some strength somewhere as I moved my hand to grasp the vampire’s and said, “I think something’s wrong!”
My eyes closed again as darkness began to overtake me.
A/N: Well, how was this for getting another chapter out pretty quick? I’m on a roll!
If you’ve read my story An Ode for Cruelty, than you’ll begin to recognize the character of Robert. It was only a one-shot type story, but he’s been nagging me ever since wanting to get a little more story action. So, here he is, we’ll get to learn a lot more about him in this story.
Like I’ve said before guys, this story is going to get rougher before it gets smoother. It’s not going to be all wine and roses, or fluff and lemons! But keep hanging in there. Also, keep in mind guys, we know what Sookie is feeling from Eric from her side of the bond, but that doesn’t mean she knows what the reasons are. You know what they say about assumptions!
Thanks to everyone for reviewing and adding this to favorites and alerts! As always, let me know what you think!