Chapter 11: The Games We Play
The following night, I decided to go to Merlotte’s and check on Sookie. I could feel that she was working and slightly annoyed, though nothing I was concerned about.
I entered the bar quickly, but slowed down as I neared Sookie, not wanting to startle her. I could tell that the eyes of every human and the shifter were on us. I had a strong desire to claim Sookie as my own, but knew she would not approve. I settled for bringing her hand to my lips and placing a gentle kiss on the back of it.
“How are you this evening?” I whispered to her, enjoying the sight of her shiver at my words.
“A little …” she couldn’t seem to find the right words.
“You can tell me later,” I told her. “When are you through?” I questioned. I had thought she might be done by now.
“Just as soon as Susie gets here,” was her answer.
“Come to my house.”
“Okay,” she said with a smile. The moment I had entered the bar, her scent had nearly overwhelmed me, and I could not keep my fangs from running down. Nor could I put them away with the sight of her blood pooling so deliciously beneath her skin. I allowed myself to only place a gentle kiss on her cheek, and made to leave.
As I was about to walk out, Diane and Malcolm walked in, throwing the doors open with great force to draw attention to themselves. Not that their attire wouldn’t guarantee attention on its own. Malcolm’s leather pants and chainmail shirt and Diane’s one-piece jumpsuit was not the normal attire for Bon Temps. I dreaded whatever reason they were there for, but knew that with all of the humans present, I would have to tread carefully.
Both of them came forward and kissed me on the mouth, not an altogether out of the ordinary act between vampires, but I could tell humans were upset by the act. However, I kept still, hoping to keep the peace and get them to leave quietly. I carefully moved to Sookie’s side and put my arm around her, to not only show Diane and Malcolm, but to also show the humans that I aligned myself with Sookie.
“So your little waitress is still alive,” Diane said loudly, trying to draw everyone’s attention and trying to goad me. “Isn’t that amazing.”
Knowing Diane’s cruel nature towards humans, I saw my opening and decided to take it to make sure the local humans felt no sympathy for Diane or Malcolm. “Her grandmother was murdered last week,” I said quietly.
Diane took the bait. “Is that right?” she asked and laughed loudly. I felt the humans bristle. Adele was very well liked and I knew Diane had gone too far.
Moving closer to Sookie, Diane ran her fingernail under her chin and said, “When’s someone going to kill you, baby?” Sookie swatted her hand away, and though I was ready to intervene, Malcolm grabbed Diane before she could launch herself at Sookie.
Still holding Diane, Malcolm said offhandedly, “Bill, I hear this town is losing its unskilled service personnel at a terrible rate. And a little bird in Shreveport tells me you and your friend here were at Fangtasia asking questions about what vampire the murdered fangbangers might have been with.”
I wondered what Malcolm’s true concerns were. If he was worried Sookie might uncover the death of humans at their hands, a fate I’m sure “Jerry” had met, or if perhaps Northman had sent them here. We had only questioned Long Shadow and Eric and Pam. Was Northman sending them to watch me, or did he send them in the hopes of driving Sookie from me?
With a more serious look on his face, Malcolm continued, “You know that’s for us to know, no one else. Some of us don’t want to go to —baseball—games and …” Malcolm seemed to cast about for another human activity, “barbecues! We are Vampire!” I could see and feel Malcolm placing a subtle glamor over the bar, but before I could speak or act to stop it, Sookie stepped forward and stomped on Malcolm’s foot. Had it not been so dangerous, I might have smiled at Sookie’s bold move. Nevertheless, Malcolm’s attention was diverted to baring his fangs at Sookie and the glamor was broken.
“Why don’t you just get outta here, mister,” one bold human spoke from his place at the bar. I think it was the human who Sookie said was once married to and once again dating the redheaded waitress. The humans were becoming increasingly agitated and I knew Diane and Malcolm would have to leave now. I carefully placed myself in front of Sookie again to prevent her from further angering Malcolm and to protect her from Diane who was still glaring at Sookie.
“Well, if we’re no wanted …” Malcolm said, struggling to keep his voice calm. Things had not gone as he wanted, and I could see the rage in his eyes. “These good people would like to eat meat, Diane, and do human things. By themselves. Or with our former friend Bill.”
“I think the little waitress would like to do a very human thing with Bill,” Diane started, but Malcolm shoved her out of the bar before she could further upset the humans.
“I think maybe it’s best if I leave,” Sookie told me quietly. I nodded my agreement, not wanting her to stay with Diane and especially Malcolm in foul moods. I made a quick circuit around the bar to assure myself that they had actually left. I wanted to drive Sookie to my house, but knew she needed her car and settled for having her follow me there.
As we went into the house, I showed Sookie the progress that was being made in restoring the house. I was pleased with the new ceilings, wallpaper, and floorings. I could see that Sookie was impressed with the progress as well. Sookie was astonished by the size of the bathroom and looked at me questioningly. I had increased the size of the original bathroom by taking out the pantry, for which I had no need.
“I like to shower,” I said in answer to her look. I pointed out the clear shower stall in the corner. “And I like to lie in warm water,” I explained, pointing to the large tub in the center. I had added potted plants which added pleasing scents to the room, especially in the humid air.
“What is that?” Sookie asked in awe.
“It’s a portable spa,” I told her, proud that she was impressed with my improvements thus far. “It has jets you can adjust individually so each person can get the right force of water. It’s a hot tub,” I clarified.
“It has seats,” she said as she looked in.
“Maybe we can bathe together?” I suggested. I had been picturing her in this tub since I picked it out. I could see Sookie’s cheeks flush and I could hear her heartbeat increase, as I smelled her desire.
I stepped closer to Sookie, and began pulling her shirt from her shorts. I had been craving Sookie’s blood and her warm touch since the moment I woke. “Maybe now?” I asked her.
“Oh, well … maybe,” she demurred.
“Have you missed me?” I asked, wanting to know that she missed my touch as much as I missed hers. I began to unbutton her shorts and pull them down.
She answered with a prompt, “Yes.”
I laughed in delight at her honest answer. “What did you miss most, Sookie?” I asked as I knelt and began to untie her shoes.
“I missed your silence,” she answered without pause.
“My silence,” I said. I was surprised how much it upset me that she did not miss me or my touch.
“Not being able to hear your thoughts. You just can’t imagine, Bill, how wonderful that is.”
“I was thinking you’d say something else,” I said, trying to keep the disappointment from my voice.
“Well, I missed that, too,” she admitted.
“Tell me about it,” I said, needing to know that she desired me as I desired her—disturbing though the thought was. I ran my hands up the warm, smooth skin of her thighs and pulled her panties down.
“Bill! I’m embarrassed.”
Indeed, I could feel her embarrassment, but I was determined to see that she would be more comfortable with me. “Sookie, don’t be embarrassed with me. Least of anyone, with me.” I stood and pulled her shirt from her body, followed by her bra. I began to lightly caress her breasts, relishing their softness and warmth.
“I’ll try,” Sookie conceded, looking down.
“Undress me,” I commanded, desiring to feel her hands on my skin.
She began to unbutton my shirt, and removed it easily, but her hands began to tremble and she had difficulty removing my belt and unbuttoning my pants. In her frustration, she tried to move her fingers faster and faster.
I moved her hands to my chest, saying, “Slow, Sookie, slow.” The feel of her hands on my chest was heavenly, and as she relaxed and became bolder, she began moving them slowly about and caressing me. As her hand found my nipple, I carefully placed my hand behind her head and pressed her to me, desiring more of that delicious pressure and pain. Almost without my noticing, her hand returned to the button on my pants and they slid to the floor.
I eventually helped her into the tub and settled her in front of me. “Shall I bathe you first?” I asked her.
“No,” she said as she turned around. “Give me the soap.”
I decided I would spend the next evening taking Sookie out. I knew Sookie had been spending much of her free time at home since Adele’s murder or working and I decided it might be best for Sookie to have something else to focus her attentions on. A more pleasing diversion.
Shortly after first dark, I went to Sookie’s door and found her moving boxes about.
She smiled almost shyly. “Hi,” she said quietly as she motioned me through the door.
“I thought perhaps I might take you out to a movie tonight,” I informed her.
I was surprised at how much it pleased me to watch her face light up. “Sure, that sounds like fun!” she said excitedly. She hurriedly left for her bedroom to change. I watched her change from her doorway, and had to fight a smile that threatened to pull at my lips when she caught me watching her and flushed deeply. She made no comment however and gently took my hand to lead me outside. I had driven my car over, and Sookie lead the way to it. I gently placed her in the passenger seat and drove towards Ruston to the movie theatre there.
The movie was a sci-fi about aliens. I found the plot to be very weak, as were the special effects. Having lived and seen more terrors than most humans could comprehend, I found the entire experience of the movie to be rather pedestrian and was disappointed that more efforts had not been made to use computer animation. Great strides had been made in technology in recent years and I had been hoping to see them showcased more.
After the movie was over, I took Sookie to a restaurant to supply her nutritional needs. It was unsettling to watch her eating that which I could never again taste, but it was unfortunately necessary. The smells of the foods she was eating were overwhelming to my sensitive senses, but I continued to ignore the offensive smells that seeped through my nostrils.
It was surprisingly satisfying to play the part of engaged and interested “boyfriend” with Sookie. For the first time since my turning, I thought it might be possible to live a relatively “normal” life—whatever that sentiment meant. I found myself for the first time since my human life also feeling something else. Hope. Not only did it seem possible to have a normal life—I hoped for it.
After dinner and our movie, I drove straight to my house. As I parked the car, Sookie quirked her eyebrow at me questioningly. With a smirk, I said. “My new bed was just delivered during the day, I had hoped you would help me inspect it and see to its comfort level.”
“Okay,” Sookie quietly responded.
I got out of the car and moved to Sookie’s door at vampire speed to help her out. She didn’t say anything but she shook her head at my sudden appearance. Taking Sookie’s hand, I slowly led her through my house and up the stairs. In preparation for this evening, I had already made the bed with flowered sheets. I remembered that my wife had been fond of soft colored calicos and floral patterned fabrics so I hoped it would appeal to Sookie as well.
This time Sookie was a little more forward in her actions, but was still hesitant. I could see that it would not be long however until she was more comfortable with her natural skills. She was still shy and flushed when I removed her clothes, but with trembling hands, she hesitantly moved to remove my own clothing.
Later, after both my hungers were sated, and Sookie was sated along with me, I lay on my side trying to think of inconsequential things to talk about. Some of my fondest memories of my wife had been of quiet conversations we had in our bed, after the trials of the day were over. I knew we often spoke of weighty matters, but mostly we had spoken of little things. We began by talking about the movie we had watched and I shared with Sookie my memories of the various movies I had seen since their inception.
Then we began speaking of local political matters. Sookie had seemed surprised when I told her I planned to vote in the upcoming parish elections by absentee ballot. I was looking forward to participating in the democratic proceedings of the area. Vampires did some things by democratic vote, but mostly the sovereign of the area was the ultimate ruling power.
Eventually I turned our conversation to our youths. Living in my family home again had brought about many long buried memories of my human life. At times, the memories were haunting, but I was learning to embrace and even enjoy these memories. Knowing Sookie was only in her twenties, I knew she was much closer to her youth than I was to mine. I wondered what her childhood was like so many years after my own.
“Did you ever play ‘show me yours’ with your brother?” I wondered remembering the games children of my area had played. “They now say that’s normal, but I will never forget my mother beating the tarnation out of my brother Robert after she found him in the bushes with Sarah.”
“No,” she responded quickly, but her voice sounded off and I could feel her anxiety and fear at the question.
“You’re not telling the truth,” I said.
“Yes, I am,” she said. But I could feel that there was more to her statement.
“Not your brother, then. Who?” I questioned, knowing that someone else was the cause of her fear.
“I don’t want to talk about this.” I could see her hands ball into fists and her fear and loathing ate at me. It surprised me how much I wanted and needed to know who had caused such feelings in Sookie.
“Tell me, Sookie,” I coaxed, wishing once again that I could glamor the girl. I ran my hand along her stomach in a soothing manner.
“I had a … funny uncle,” she finally answered, her nervous smile straining at her lips. I did not understand why a humorous uncle should be the cause of such feelings in her.
In a distant voice, she explained, “That’s an adult male relative who molests his … the children in the family.”
My thoughts raced to my own children and to my younger sister. I had been taken from my own family, unable to protect them. What if such horrors had happened to them? I was unable to do anything for my own family, but I would do everything in my power to avenge Sookie.
“And someone did this to you? How old were you?” I questioned through clenched teeth. Even in my vampire life, I had thought it inexcusable to harm children.
“Oh, it started when I was real little,” she explained, her breathing hitching. She slid onto her side and drew her knees up to her chest. I was surprised at how small of a ball she curled into. “I guess I was five,” she said, speaking faster and faster in a panicky voice. “I know you can tell, he never actually, ah, screwed me, but he did other stuff.” Her hands were pressing in front of her face, shielding her gaze from me in her fear. “And the worst thing, Bill, the worst thing, is that every time he came to visit, I always knew what he was going to do because I could read his mind! And there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it!” Her hand clamped over her mouth as she sobbed, and then she rolled onto her stomach.
I wasn’t sure if she would welcome me touch in comfort, but I couldn’t stop from placing my hand on her shoulder. It was as much to comfort and calm myself as it was to comfort her. I wanted to know more, so I continued questioning her. “This was before your parents died?”
“You told your mama? She did nothing?” I asked, trying to keep from sounding as incredulous as I felt.
“No. She thought I was dirty minded, or that I’d found some book at the library that taught me something she didn’t feel I was ready to know,” she answered, still not looking at me. “I wonder that she and my father seemed happy,” she continued. “They were so different.” She rolled back onto her side facing me. “As if we aren’t.”
I wasn’t sure if she was trying to change the subject, but I brought her back to the subject at hand. “Did you tell your father?”
“Yes, right before he died. I was too embarrassed to talk to him about it when I was younger; and Mother didn’t believe me. But I couldn’t stand it anymore, knowing I was going to see my great-uncle Bartlett at least two weekends out of every month when he drove up to visit.”
“He still lives? I found myself needing to know. I knew in that moment that if the man still lived that I would end him.
“Uncle Bartlett? Oh, sure. He’s Gran’s brother, and Gran was my dad’s mother. My uncle lives in Shreveport. But when Jason and I went to live with Gran, after my parents died, the first time Uncle Bartlett came to her house I hid. When she found me and asked me why, I told her. And she believed me.” I could feel Sookie’s relief, and I was surprised at how much relief I myself felt that Adele had protected Sookie.
“So he’s a Stackhouse, too?” I questioned, needing to know his name so I could find the man.
“Oh, no. See, Gran became a Stackhouse when she married, but she was a Hale before.”
I began to plot how I would find the man. Surely, it would not be hard to find him on the internet or to glamor a few locals and find him. Though I could not explain why, I found myself vowing to avenge Sookie’s suffering.
“Here, I’ll leave,” Sookie suddenly said as she slid out of bed. She began bending down and picking up her clothes. I couldn’t bear the thought of her leaving right now. I could feel her inner turmoil and I needed to sooth her.
Taking the clothes from her hands, I said, “Don’t leave me now. Stay.”
“I’m a weeping ol’ thing tonight,” she told me as two tear trickled down her cheeks, the first and only ones to fall, I noted.
I wiped the tears away, and then traced their tracks with my tongue, savoring their sweet taste. “Stay with me till dawn,” I told her. I needed to take away at least some of the pain she was feeling.
“But you have to get in your hidey hole by then.”
“My what?” I asked, surprised.
“Wherever you spend the day. I don’t want to know where it is!” she said, holding her hands up. “But don’t you have to get in there before it’s even a little light?”
“Oh, I’ll know. I can feel it coming,” I promised her, feeling touched by her concern.
“So you can’t oversleep?” she pressed.
“All right. Will you let me get some sleep?”
“Of course I will,” I told her, giving a mock bow. “In a little while,” I continued with a smirk. She lay down on the bed and held her hands out to me. “Eventually,” I assured her.
What is it about this woman that drives me to such protective needs? Surely she shall be the death of me.
A/N: Happy Fourth everyone! No matter where you are or where you’re from, I hope you have an awesome day!
Sorry it took a while to get this out. I want to kind of take my time with this story and make sure I get it just right.
If you’re reading my other story, A Change Is Gonna Come, hopefully I’ll get another chapter out before too long. I got kinda bogged down with work, family and the holiday.
As always, let me know what you thought.