The sun, shining through the window, woke Sookie the next day. Her body ached in ways she never thought possible, the slightest movement causing her intense pain. But it wasn’t the cuts and bruises that hurt the worst, it was the ache in her chest where her heart used to be. In the space of a few days, Sookie’s her world had been brought down around her. The one thing she thought she could always count on, had been proven to be nothing but a lie.
Part of her wanted to stay where she was forever. She wanted to stay wrapped up in her bed and ignore the outside world. A world that had shown her time and time again it was fine without her. As much as she wanted to, she knew she couldn’t do that, as soon as the sun set vampires, like a plague of locusts, would descend her on. She needed to be gone by the time he rose, because if she was honest with herself, it was him she didn’t want to see.
Dragging herself out of bed, Sookie winced as her abused body objected. Walking into the bathroom, she looked longingly at the bath. Soaking in a hot bath appealed greatly to her, but she was well aware it would next to impossible for her to do it. Settling for a shower, she stripped off the outfit she fell asleep in last night, and climbed under the spray, washing away the dried blood and dirt.
She wished she could wash away everything that happened as easily, but knew she couldn’t. The hot water felt great on her sore muscles and she lingered longer under the spray, using up nearly all the hot water.
She forced herself to eat a small breakfast, despite not being hungry. After washing the dishes she found herself at a loss at what to do, she was in no condition to do any work, with nothing to occupy her mind she thought over what she was going to do. When she fell asleep the night before she had her mind set, and nothing or no one was going to stop her, but in the harsh day of light doubts had begun to creep in.
Could she do it? Could she walk away from everything and everyone she ever knew? It wouldn’t be easy, of that she was sure, but the more she thought about it, the more she wondered, what would she actually be leaving behind? A town that had ridiculed her and dubbed her crazy Sookie. They were all quick to go to her when they needed help, but once the problems were sorted out they shunned her again. And since she had gotten involved with vampires their scorn had only grown.
There were few people in Bon Temps she actually considered friends; Sam and Tara, but even they had no problem judging her for getting involved with vampires, which was quite hypocritical of Tara given her recent involvement herself. Then there was Jason, part of her wondered if he’d even notice she wasn’t there, she had no doubt he loved her, but he’d never been much of a brother to her. He’d only notice she was gone when he ran out of food.
She was sure quite a few people in Bon Temps would be happy to see the back of her; the Bellefleurs would be top of that list, the only objection Andy would have to her leaving would be that she didn’t take Jason with her. So she asked herself again, what was she sticking around for? She could think of a hundred reasons to leave, but only a few to stay.
It’s funny, it was only last night that Eric was accusing her of running away when things got hard, and there she was not even twenty-four hours later proving him right by thinking about running. She wished she was stronger, but she had been beaten down too much, there is only so much a girl can take before she breaks. She knew, if she asked him, Eric would protect her, but she couldn’t do that. It would have been so much easier if she could, but she had lost so much already. She couldn’t give up what little control she had left. Besides all Eric could do was protect her from the physical type of abuse, and Bill had shown that he was more than capable and willing to hurt her emotionally and mentally.
As much as she hated to admit it, Eric was one of the biggest reasons for her to stay; she had grown to like him in ways she never thought possible. He was the only person who could make her smile when she felt like crying. She knew he wanted her; he had never made any secret about that. He had taken great pleasure in taunting Bill with it, and she couldn’t say she wasn’t ever tempted. Eric would tempt a nun if he showered his full attention on her. Sookie couldn’t help but wish Bubba hadn’t interrupted them at Russell’s mansion, at the time she had been grateful, but looking back she wished he hadn’t. But as she thought about it, she knew she couldn’t give Eric what he wanted, she wasn’t even sure what Eric wanted, or if he knew either.
Bill had taken something from her in the trunk of that car, and it wasn’t just her body, he took her heart, her trust, and her dignity. He took part of her and until she got that back, she knew she couldn’t move on, and she was more sure than ever that she could do that around Bill. He wouldn’t allow her, he wouldn’t allow her to heal and move away from him, he would want to keep her broken so she relied on him and only him.
She was pulled from her musings by a knock at the front door. Sookie grimaced as she pulled herself to her feet and dragged herself to the door, stumbling as she went.
“Oh Jesus Christ,” Alcide said in lieu of a greeting as she pulled the door open.
“Come in,” Sookie invited, seeing him holding her suitcase. She walked slowly into the living room and lowered herself gently down onto the sofa.
“What happened?” he asked as he sat down next to her.
“I had a welcoming committee waiting for me when I got home last night,” she said. She spent the next few minutes telling him everything that happened since she had left his apartment.
“What are you going to do?” Alcide asked once she finished.
“You don’t want to know.”
Alcide regarded her carefully; she could see him weighing the options up in his head. Shaking his head,” You’re gonna do something stupid, aren’t you?” he asked.
“Probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever done,” she admitted honestly, “even more stupid than getting involved with Bill.”
“Any chance I can talk you out of it?”
“I’ve been trying to talk myself out of it all morning without any luck, so I doubt it.”
“What are you gonna do?”
“The less you know the better.”
“Oh, hell no,” Alcide growled. “Whatever you’re planning on doing sounds crazy, not to mention dangerous; there ain’t no way I’m letting you get hurt again, not if I can help it. I figure I owe you after all that Debbie shit.”
“Alcide, it’s too dangerous,” Sookie implored. “If I get caught I’ll be in a hell of a lot of trouble. They might even kill me. I can’t drag you into this.”
“Tough. I’m already involved and I’m not walking away from you, so you either tell me or I’ll follow you everywhere you go. And from the looks of you, you could use the help.”
“Insulting a lady’s appearance? That’s hitting below the belt,” Sookie pouted. Seeing that he wouldn’t be put off, she sighed. “If you wanna help, you can see if my car is up to a long journey. The last thing I need is to break down halfway there.”
“Fine,” Alcide grumbled. “But don’t for one minute think I haven’t realized you didn’t answer my question.”
Sookie watched as Alcide walked out the door, grumbling as he went. The last thing she wanted was to get him involved with what she had planned, but she couldn’t see how to get away without telling him. She believed him when he said he would follow her anywhere she went. In one way, having him involved would help her out a lot, but she wasn’t lying when she said how dangerous it was. She had already seen the lengths some people would go to for it.
She thought she probably needed her head examining for what she was going to do, but she had her mind made up. She needed to start planning what to do next. The first thing she decided was to pack, she needed to take everything she would need with her as she doubted she would be able to return for a long time, if ever. She hated having to leave so much behind, but there was no way she could take everything.
Grabbing her old suitcase that Alcide had returned, Sookie hobbled into her bedroom and emptied the contents onto the bed, before filling it up with clean clothes. Grabbing another bag from the closet, she shoved more clothes into that as well, before finally placing a few things of her Gran’s that she didn’t want to leave behind on top.
She heard Alcide moving through the house, his footsteps heavy on the floor, “Sookie, where are you?”
“I’m here,” she said as she walked into the hallway, she didn’t feel right having him in her bedroom.
“Your car isn’t going anywhere,” he said gruffly.
“What’s wrong with it?” she asked.
“Well, for starters, it’s missing the spark plugs, the battery has been removed, and you have two flat tires,” he told her.
“What? How the hell did…” she trailed off as she realized just how that had happened, “Bill,” she growled her anger spiking. He had never taken rejection well, but she couldn’t believe how low he had sunk, damaging her car so she couldn’t go anywhere was just pathetic.
“Why would Bill sabotage your car?”
“My guess is so I can’t go anywhere,” Sookie said, a hint of sarcasm in her voice. “I rescinded his invitation last night; he wants us to talk so we can sort out our problems. Or rather, so I can forget everything he did and forgive him.”
“You don’t want to talk to him?”
“Not really. I’ve heard all his excuses before and they don’t make a bit of difference. It’s over between me and Bill, he just won’t accept it.”
“What are you going to do?” Alcide asked.
“I don’t know, I can’t afford to replace two tires, battery, and the spark plugs. Which Bill no doubt is aware of,” she said, letting out a sigh of annoyance. “Without my car I’m stuck here, with just a cemetery between me and my ex.”
“You set on getting away?” Alcide asked.
“I am; he’s never gonna leave me alone if I stay here, and I don’t have the strength needed to deal with him now,” she told him. “He’ll wear me down eventually and I’ll hate myself for it. I need to get away from him, from Bon Temps, from everything.”
“Where were you going?”
“Honestly, my first stop was going to be Jackson; I have some stuff I need to finish up there. After that I don’t know.”
“That’d be one of the things you don’t need to know about,” Sookie said.
“How dangerous is it? This plan of yours.”
“Very; it’s why I don’t want you involved, Alcide,” she said. “I’m willing to take the risk, but I can’t ask you to.”
“You’re not asking. I’m volunteering,” Alcide said. “Now if you want a lift to Jackson I’ll be happy to take you. You can even stay at my place.”
“What about Debbie?” Sookie asked. The last thing she wanted was for Alcide’s insane ex-or maybe that should be current girlfriend- to hate her more than she already did. She had already locked her in the trunk of a car with a starving vampire. God knows what she would do if she thought she was actually living with him.
“Fuck her,” Alcide spat. “I told her I never wanted to see her again after what she did to you. She wasn’t happy about it, but I don’t care.”
“Are you sure about this?”
“Fine,” Sookie huffed, “a ride to Jackson would be great.” She had no intention of staying at Alcide’s or staying in Jackson at all. She hated to mislead him like she was, but it was the only option. “Can you carry my bag out to your truck?”
“Sure. You wanna leave now?” he asked.
“Just give me a few minutes to freshen up,” Sookie replied.
“I meant you don’t want to say goodbye to your brother or friends?”
“No. If I go see them, they’ll only try and get me to stay. I’ll ring them later; they can shout at me just as good over the phone as they can in person.”
“Okay, where are your bags?”
“I’ll get it for you,” she said as she walked back into her bedroom. Grabbing the suitcase and bag, Sookie dragged them into the hallway, her body protesting fiercely with each step. She watched Alcide pick her bags up and walk down the hallway. She listened as he walked outside; once she was satisfied he was outside, Sookie ducked into the spare bedroom and hobbled over to the closet. Opening it, she carefully knelt down and lifted the hatch to the hidey-hole. Reaching in, she pulled out the boxes that belonged to Bill. She carefully took everything out the box and put them in another bag, she shoved the now empty box back into the hidey-hole and closed the hatch. Dragging herself to her feet, Sookie picked up the bag and made her way out of the bedroom.
She took one last look around her childhood home. She hoped she would be able to return one day, but she knew it wouldn’t be possible for a very long time. Heading outside, Sookie made sure the house was all locked up before walking over to Alcide who was waiting by his truck.
“You ready to go?” he asked.
“As I’ll ever be,” she replied as she struggled to climb into the truck.
Hugging the bag to her chest, Sookie smiled as Alcide pulled out the driveway. She was almost sorry she wouldn’t be able to see Bill’s face when he realized not only has he lost her, he’d lost his precious database as well.