Having never flown with Eric before, Sookie wasn’t expecting it to feel so invigorating. By the time they landed outside the old farmhouse, Sookie was wide awake and bursting with energy. She laughed softly when Eric put her down. Making her way up the porch steps, she opened her front door, and then paused as she looked over her shoulder. “Eric Northman, won’t you please come in?”
Eric grinned when he heard Sookie issue the invitation and he climbed up the porch steps. He hadn’t been in her house for well over five years. The last time he had stepped foot inside was the night Bill had drunk the blood of Lillith to become Billith. Eric snorted at the memory. Even with the powers of the first vampire, Bill had still been an inept fool. He had done nothing but make speeches about being a God and cry over visions that might have happened.
Eric had bittersweet memories of that night. He had signed the house back over to Sookie, and then she had rescinded his invitation. Despite the pain her words had caused him, Eric had understood the reasons behind them. At the time he had no doubt they would find their way back into one another’s orbit; they always did, but Vamp Camp, Warlow, Hep V, and Nora’s death had gotten in their way.
Over the years, Eric had often wondered what might have happened if he would have gone to Sookie after Nora had died. Would she have turned him away or would she have welcomed him with open arms and helped him heal? Eric shook the thought away. They had too much to deal with now without adding ‘what if’s’ to the equation. That would only complicate their already stressful state of affairs.
“Take a seat,” Sookie added, waving a hand toward her living room. “I’m just gonna change into something more comfortable.” Making her way to her bedroom, Sookie kicked off her sandals, stripped off her dress, and then pulled on a comfortable pair of shorts with a T-shirt. She took a few minutes to gather her emotions as she prepared for the conversation that had been over four years in the making. She knew this was it. It was make or break time. Four years ago, Sookie knew without a shadow of a doubt it would have been break. At that time she wasn’t ready to listen. She wouldn’t have heard a word Eric said. She would have fought with him, and cast him out of her life like the immature brat she was back then. She was ready now though. There was no blood in her body except her own. Her mind was clear and her heart was open. Taking a deep breath, Sookie blew it out and centered herself before returning to the living room. She smiled when she saw Eric standing by the fireplace looking at the pictures she had on display there. “I’d offer ya a blood, but I don’t actually have any,” she said apologetically. “That and I’m not too confident in bottled blood after the entire thing with Tru Blood and Hep V.”
“That is fine,” Eric replied, putting down a framed photo of Sookie when she was a little girl. “New Blood is safe as it can be but, like most synthetic blood, it tastes disgusting. I only drink it as a last resort. I have an arrangement with a local blood bank. I buy bagged blood from them.”
“You can do that?” Sookie questioned curiously as she walked to a chair and sat down. She wasn’t aware bagged donor blood was an option. Bill had either fed on her or had Tru Blood… Well, he did up until he was made King, Sookie reminded herself. Once he was King, his ’I’m mainstreamin’ crap went out the window and he had a house full on donors from whom he could feed.
“For the right price,” Eric replied, turning around and making his way toward the sofa. He smiled at Sookie as he took a seat opposite her. “It can be quite expensive, but it is the safest option as the banks screen the blood for all diseases first. Some humans are still infected with Hep V and, while Dr. Ludwig did manage to develop a cure from Sarah Newlin’s blood and inoculate the vampires who weren’t infected, it is no longer wise for vampires to go around biting indiscriminately…”
Sookie winced at the mention of Dr. Ludwig and Sarah Newlin. “Should I be apologizin’ for that?”
Eric chuckled at her words. “No, you shouldn’t,” he replied honestly. “You did the right thing in telling the Doctor about Mrs. Newlin. I suspect you discovered the original plans in Mr. Gus’ head.” It wasn’t a question, but Sookie nodded affirmatively anyway. “I realized not long after Dr. Ludwig took Newlin that the plan was poorly thought out and could have caused more trouble. Your reasons may not have been altruistic, but ultimately you did the right thing.”
“My reasons were selfish,” Sookie admitted ashamedly. “I saw in his mind how y’all were gonna make millions using her blood as a Band-Aid and I wanted to take that away from ya. I was hurtin’ and wanted to hurt you as well. I’m sorry.”
“I accept your apology even though I do not believe it is necessary,” Eric told her. “Besides, you wouldn’t have been hurting if you hadn’t seen…” The rest of his words were left unsaid and hung over them both. They both knew why she was hurting and the role he played in that pain. As he met Sookie’s gaze, Eric realized it was time for them to talk about what happened that night.
Sookie’s anxiety returned full force as she fought the urge to get up and start pacing. As much as she wanted to say it didn’t matter, that it was in the past and should stay there, she knew she couldn’t. It might not have as much a bearing in the same way it did the night she left, but it was important. It mattered because as long as they didn’t face it, it would hang over their heads like a storm cloud. Neither of them could truly move on until they laid the ghosts of that night to rest.
“I know what I saw that night in his mind, and I know what you told Willa,” Sookie began, her voice strangely even despite the maelstrom of emotions churning inside her. “Why don’t you tell me what happened? No half-lies or condensed versions…” she swallowed hard as she lifted her head and met Eric’s gaze. “Tell me everything…”
Everything… Eric wondered if Sookie knew just what all that entailed. Eric took a minute to get his thoughts in order. He knew what he had to tell her, what she wanted to know, but finding the right words to express his thoughts wasn’t easy. “I know you want to know what happened that night, but before we get to that, I would like to tell you about my history with the Yakuza. I am sure Willa has already told you some parts, but you should hear the full story from me…”
Sookie nodded as she listened to him. Willa had told her some of the story, but it had been a condensed version and she had believed the full version should have come from Eric. “Okay,” she said and she leaned back in her seat.
“I first met the Yakuza in 1985 in France…” Eric explained to Sookie how he had met them, the encounter with Nan Flanagan, and the reckless way he had dismissed her. He held back nothing; he told her everything of his first encounter with the group that would plague his life. “… They captured Pam and made me choose between her and Sylvie…”
“You chose Pam,” Sookie said softly as a frown wrinkled her brow. He chose her. He always does. Sookie remembered Mr. Gus saying those very words to her before she killed him. He always does… “I saw it in his head,” she added, confusion filling her tone as she reflected on the memory. Thinking back now, she should have realized Mr. Gus was too young to have witnessed the first incident. He would have been a young boy at the very most, yet he seemed to have had the memory of Eric choosing Pam. “No, it wasn’t his memory, it was something else, someone else’s…”
“Glamour?” Eric questioned. After learning everything else she had done, Eric wouldn’t have been at all surprised that Pam had glamoured Mr. Gus into thinking about how he had chosen her over Sylvie.
“Maybe,” Sookie replied, although she didn’t sound too sure. It hadn’t seemed like a typical vampire’s glamour… She hadn’t detected any signs of glamour in his mind, but remembering back to that night she had to be honest, admitting that she hadn’t looked for any. “It could’ve been. I guess we’ll never know. So what happened next?”
“I was ordered to Louisiana and made Sheriff of Area Five,” Eric answered. He gave Sookie a brief history of his time in Shreveport before the Great Revelation before moving back to the Yakuza. “When I left here after helping you save your friends, I was preparing to die. I was ready. I was only holding out long enough to get my revenge on Sarah Newlin…” Eric explained how he had tracked Sarah to Dallas. He told her how he was preparing to kill her when the Yakuza showed up again. “I managed to kill some of them when they…”
“Somehow overpowered Pam and used her to get you to do as they wanted?” Sookie guessed, finishing for him. She snorted out a laugh when she realized Pam had more than likely allowed herself to be captured just for that purpose. It seemed as if every time Eric was doing something Pam didn’t approve of or like, the Yakuza would show up and force him into doing something else.
“Yes,” Eric replied, embarrassed that he had allowed Pam to manipulate him time and time again. “I made a deal with them and…” He continued, telling her about the deal he had made at Pam’s behest. Eric told her everything that led up to that night in the basement. Pausing in his story, Eric leaned forward, rested his arms on his knees, and stared at Sookie while he prepared to tell her the final part of the story.
“What happened, Eric?” Sookie asked. “What really happened in that basement after I left?”
Eric raked a hand through his hair as he let out an unneeded breath. He knew the next part wouldn’t be easy, but it was more than past the time that the truth was heard. “After you left, Bill and Jessica continued to throw tantrums,” he began, turning his thoughts once more to that night. Not that he had to think hard; it was never far from his mind. “I was in no mood to listen to their little pity party, so I threw them both out of Fangtasia before deciding I needed some time to myself as well. I left the bar and just flew around for about an hour. I will admit I came to Bon Temps. I should have come to you then, but I foolishly didn’t. I was still smarting over what happened in the basement and, again, I allowed my pride to get in the way so instead I returned to Fangtasia. Once there I spoke briefly with Ginger before going back down to the basement…” Eric trailed off as he thought about what happened next. He couldn’t believe he had been so careless as to fall for Pam and the Yakuza’s little game. He always thought he was much more cunning than he had behaved that night.
“When I got down there, I found Pam chained to the table with silver and Mr. Gus demanding to know where I had been. I tried to bluff my way out of it, but as you know in the end I conceded, telling him that you knew about the cure…” Eric shook his head as he remembered the look on both Pam and Mr. Gus’ faces. It was obvious to him as he recalled the events that Mr. Gus had been made aware, while Pam was just standing by waiting for whom he would choose this time, his progeny or the fairy. “Mr. Gus asked where you lived… and I told him.” Eric’s eyes were red rimmed while he confessed that it was he who had told the Yakuza where Sookie lived. He knew she was aware of this part, but it still filled him with humiliation. “Sookie, I swear to you, it was never my intention to place you in danger. At the time, I honestly believed Pam was in serious peril and I considered her life to be in jeopardy. I never anticipated that they would come after you or that any of them would get their hands on you. I thoughtlessly believed I could reach you long before they had a chance to get anywhere near you. I did not know they were already informed and aware of you.”
Sookie felt tears welling in her eyes while she listened to Eric. She could hear the remorse in his voice. She truly believed he never meant to put her in danger. He had been foolish in his beliefs, but nothing he had done could be considered malicious. Unlike she was originally led to believe, he hadn’t sold her out for a fat paycheck from the profits of Sarah Newlin’s blood-laced cure. She could forgive him that, though truthfully that wasn’t what had caused her the most pain that night. No, it was what came after everything else that had all but destroyed her. That was the truth she needed. It might not have been as crucial a matter as it had once been, but Sookie couldn’t deny it did still matter.
“I believe you,” she whispered. “Nevertheless, I don’t understand what I saw next in Mr. Gus’ mind. I sa…” her voice broke under the weight of that night’s memory. She took a moment to compose herself before she continued, “I saw you and Pam naked on that table. I saw her…” she trailed off, unable to say what she had seen Pam do before they got on the table. “You told Willa ya never… ya never…” she couldn’t even say the words. Tears streamed down her face as she looked up at Eric. “Still, I saw ya.”
Eric could feel his heart breaking while he stared at Sookie’s tear-streaked face. He swore he could feel her pain, and he cursed himself for the millionth time. He would give anything to be able to go back in time and do it all over again. If he could, he would have killed all the Yakuza in Dallas, and then sent Pam far away. He wouldn’t have allowed Pam’s bitterness to influence him. He would have opened his eyes and acknowledged all the warnings he had seen of Pam’s growing obsession with him.
“I know what you saw and I would do anything to change that. After…” Eric choked trying to make the words come out. Telling Sookie what had actually happened that night was more difficult than he had ever imagined. “… I told them about you and they unchained Pam, I was expecting them to leave right away, but they didn’t. I should have known something was wrong then, especially with the way Pam was behaving as well.”
Sookie frowned, not understanding what he meant. Granted she didn’t know Pam well, but from what she did know along with what she had seen in Mr. Gus’ mind, she appeared to be acting like her usually obsessed self. “I don’t… The way she was actin’?”
“She was being clingy,” Eric answered, trying to explain it as best he could. “Once the silver was removed, she practically glued herself to me. Pam was never one to show weakness in front of others so her behavior should have been a warning, a warning that I chose to overlook…” Eric paused as he prepared to tell the final part. He would have given anything to be able to spare her the pain he knew he was about to cause her. He may not have done as she believed, but he wasn’t completely innocent either.
“When Pam started rubbing herself against me, I thought nothing of it,” he continued, his voice hoarse with emotion. “Even though we hadn’t had that kind of relationship with one another for decades, it didn’t seem like anything to be concerned or suspicious over. Truthfully… I barely paid her any attention. I was too focused on the Yakuza. I needed them to leave so I could contact Willa in order for her to get to you.”
Sookie nodded. Willa had told her of the messages he had sent and how Pam had deliberately programmed her number in the wrong way to Eric’s phone. She had trouble comprehending the lengths Pam had gone to in her attempts to keep Eric all to herself. Since she had heard that, Sookie finally made up her mind and had to admit Pam that had started to remind her of Bill. That was the kind of thing he would have done. Both were obsessed to the point of insanity.
Rubbing a hand over his face, Eric attempted to rub away the fatigue he was feeling as the conversation took its’ toll on him. He wasn’t tired in the traditional sense; it was an emotional exhaustion he was feeling. “Pam noticed my uninterested response to her, and she…” Eric shook his head, cursing himself for falling for her bullshit. “… and she became slightly more aggressive. She whispered that the Yakuza were watching and how we shouldn’t make them too suspicious. We should make them think everything was normal…” Eric let out a humorless laugh as he recalled her whispering those words to him. Normal for them was not engaging in anything sexual. “When she kissed me I thought nothing of it, and kissed her back. I was aware that Mr. Gus was still in the basement at that time, and I foolishly believed I was just playing a part, so to speak. I believed he thought Pam was the most important thing to me, so I played that up…”
“It was more than just a kiss though,” Sookie said, trying to control her emotions while she listened to Eric recall those events. She had seen much more than just a kiss. “I saw Pam… I saw her…” She waved her hand around, trying to express what she saw without having to the words.
“You saw her performing oral sex on me,” Eric supplied, using the most clinical expression possible.
“Yes,” Sookie cried, squeezing her eyes shut and trying to erase the image from her mind again.
“I wasn’t… I didn’t…” Eric let out a string of curses in Swedish as his anger at Pam, at his own behavior welled up inside him. “I mentioned how Pam was more aggressive that night. Well, that was one of the things about which she was aggressive. I was not reacting to her in the way she wanted…” He arched a brow at Sookie, hoping she understood his meaning. He didn’t want to outright say that Pam had not made him hard. He couldn’t help but grin when he saw Sookie’s eyes widen as she got his meaning. “My lack of reaction made her become more forceful. She ripped off my pants and… dropped to her knees.” Eric winced when he spoke the last part.
Sookie had seen that play out in Mr. Gus’ head. The twisted bastard had found the whole thing erotic. At the time that was all she had seen; Pam ripping off Eric’s pants and dropping to her knees. She hadn’t really paid any attention to Eric’s reactions nor the state in which he was emotionally. She had been far too consumed with what she was seeing to pay any attention to anything else. Could I have misinterpreted everythin’ I saw.
As she stared at Eric, she tried to recall everything she had seen in Mr. Gus’ head, except this time she was determined to see with her eyes, not her heart. Pulling her lip between her teeth, she chewed on it while she focused on her memory of that night. She remembered Pam ripping off Eric’s pants and dropping to her knees… Eric tangled his hand in her hair and… held her still. He held her still. He didn’t… Oh God! Eric didn’t tangle his hand in her hair so he could… She couldn’t even think the word. Her mouth. He did it to stop her from movin’!
Eric could see the tears shining in her eyes and he feared the worst. He feared it was too much for her. He wanted to stop, but he promised her he would tell her everything and he would keep that promise regardless of how much it hurt. “I pulled her off of me and threw her on the table,” he continued, his voice filled with regret. “Pam tore her own clothes off before I climbed on the table…”
Closing her eyes, Sookie admonished herself for being so pigheaded and foolish. She had seen all that in Mr. Gus’ head, but she had been too focused on her own pain to really see. So much pain could have been avoided if only she had acted like an adult and confronted Eric at that time.
“… I knew Mr. Gus still hadn’t left, so I put on a show trying to prove I wasn’t planning anything. I needed him to leave so I could…”
Call Willa, Sookie supplied silently. What a mess! God, I can’t believe we’ve both been so stupid.
“I know what you saw, Sookie, and I know what you believe…” Rising from the sofa, Eric walked around the coffee table and kneeled at Sookie’s feet. Cupping her face in his hands, he lifted her head slightly and met her gaze, trying to impart the truth of his words. “I swear to you I did not have sex with Pam. Things went further than they should have and I should have stopped her when she kissed me, but I didn’t have sex with her. The moment I heard Mr. Gus and the Yakuza leave, I jumped off the table and raced to my office to message Willa. I knew he had left a few behind to keep an eye on us. I should have come to you on my own. It should have been me who killed them all, not you.”
Sookie couldn’t hold back any longer and she broke down in tears. She sobbed her heart out while she thought of everything that had happened. She had let go of her anger and hatred a long time ago, but she had never let go of her heartbreak. She had clung to that up until now.
Eric felt as if someone had taken silver to his skin while he watched his beautiful fairy break down and he blamed himself. He hated seeing her in so much pain and would do anything to take it all away. If he could carry it all for her, he would.
Sliding off the chair, Sookie went to her knees just as Eric had. Tears rolled down her face as she threw her arms around his shoulders. “I’m sorry,” she cried while she clung to him.
Eric wrapped his arms around the crying fairy without thought needing to comfort her. “You have nothing to be sorry for,” he told her while he held her tightly.
“Yes, I do,” Sookie replied through her tears resting her head against his shoulder. “I shoulda come to you and found out the truth instead of runnin’. I’m sorry, Eric. I was hurt and angry.”
“With good reason,” Eric whispered. He couldn’t blame her for her feelings. If he had seen what she did he probably would have come to the same conclusion. Cupping the back of her head with his hand, Eric gently nudged her asking her to look at him. Even with swollen eyes, a runny nose, and tears all over her face, she was still the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. “Does this mean you forgive me?”
“Eric, I forgave you a long time ago,” Sookie replied, blinking back more tears. “I just needed to come home to learn the truth only to discover there was nothin’ ever really to forgive.”
Eric smiled at her words and pressed his lips to her forehead in a soft kiss. The conversation had gone so much better than he had ever hoped, and he was quite optimistic about their future. He knew it wouldn’t be smooth sailing from here, but sometimes you needed some rough waters to make you appreciate everything more. As he held her in his arms, Eric could only hope the roughest part of their journey was behind them.
Pulling back slightly, Sookie smiled at Eric while she lifted her hand and gently ran a finger over his cheek, brushing away his tears. “I don’t like seein’ ya cry,” she admitted, her voice barely above a whisper.
Eric chuckled softly at her words. “I can say the same for you,” he replied. “I have never liked to see you cry, especially when I am to blame for your tears.” He copied her actions and brushed away her tears. “Much better.”
“Please,” Sookie snorted. “I probably look awful…”
“You look beautiful,” Eric corrected, cutting her off. “You are always beautiful in my eyes.”
“Sweet talker,” Sookie replied teasingly.
“Only for Sookie,” Eric said without a hint of humor in his voice. “I am not good with long flowing speeches of love. I usually let my actions speak for me, but never doubt my feelings for you. You are it for me, Sookie Stackhouse. It has been you from the moment you walked into my bar all those years ago.”
Sookie sniffed and tried to blink back a fresh batch of tears as she listened to him. How could I have ever doubted him? Why was I so blind? He loves me… Sookie was just about to reply when she saw pain flash across Eric’s face. “Eric, what’s…” She let out a cry of shock as Eric lurched forward and fell into her, pushing her back against the chair. “Eric!” She cried, slightly panicked. Getting her hands between them, she pushed on his shoulders, only backing him up a fraction. She shuffled to the side getting out from underneath him. “What’s wrong?” She asked as she pulled him backward while she laid him on his side on the floor.
“Wil… Willa,” Eric grunted. “She’s hurt…”
Sookie’s eyes widened at the news and she felt her heart lurch in her chest. “Jason!” She forced back her tears as she stared down at Eric. Now was not the time to give into fear or start panicking. Willa was hurt, Jason was unknown, and Eric was… Eric was there, in pain, but he was there with her. “Can ya move?” she asked him as she brushed her hand over his forehead.
“I can,” Eric replied through gritted teeth while he pushed himself into a sitting position. “I need to get to Willa.”
“Then let’s go,” Sookie said jumping to her feet.
“Sookie, it’s too dangerous…” Eric started.
“Willa was with Jason, Eric,” Sookie replied, interrupting before he could tell her to stay behind. “I’ve not changed enough to ignore that and not try to help. I’m not as weak as I once was…” Seeing Eric open his mouth to no doubt argue with her, Sookie held up her hand silencing him. “I promise I’ll stay back and won’t get in the way or do anythin’ unless absolutely necessary, but don’t ask me stay here and worry while people I love are in danger.”
“Stubborn fairy,” Eric grumbled, but there was no heat behind his words.
“That’s why ya love me,” Sookie replied.
“True,” Eric mumbled. Forcing himself to his feet, Eric let out a string of curses when he felt another wave of pain come from the bond he shared with his child. He flooded the bond with strength, telling her he was coming, before dulling it slightly. He needed to be able to move and he couldn’t do that if her pain was incapacitating him.
While Eric got his bearings, Sookie raced up to her room, grabbed a pair of sneakers, and pulled them on. By the time she returned to the living room, Eric was upright and ready to go. Heading outside, Eric shook off his leather jacket and threw it to Sookie, silently instructing her to put it on. They would be flying fast and against the wind, and it wouldn’t be as pleasant as their first flight. Pulling her to him, he wrapped her up in his arms and took to the air. He tried to protect her as much as he could from the cold, but having no body heat of his own, he couldn’t do much. As they made their way to Jason’s house, he prayed they would be in time and no one was seriously hurt because if they were, no one would be safe from his wrath.
It only took a few minutes for them to reach Jason’s house. Landing in the yard, Eric put Sookie down and took a step forward when he felt Sookie grab his arm to stop him. “What…”
Sookie held up her hand to silence him as she dropped her shields to scan the house and surrounding area. “There’s no one in the house,” she told him. “There’s a void down by the pond, but no one else is here.”
Eric nodded and raced off at vampire speed to the pond. He could feel Willa through their bond and he could tell she was in great of pain. From the feelings he received from her, he knew she was the void by the pond, but as he cast his eyes over the area he couldn’t see her.
Sookie panted when she came up beside him, having chased after him. “Do ya see anythin’ else?” she asked looking around.
“No,” Eric grunted, fearing for his child. “I can feel Willa. She is here, but I am unable to see her.”
Now she knew whose void it was she was sensing Sookie used her telepathy to lock onto it and find her second favorite vampire. She let out a gasp and her eyes widened in horror when she locked onto Willa. “Eric!” She cried tugging on his arm. “She’s in the pond…”
Eric didn’t even hesitate before he jumped into the pond in search of his child. It had never even crossed his mind that she might have been in the pond. Even with his enhanced vampire sight it wasn’t easy to see through the murky water. He used their bond as a guide. He was grateful that he didn’t feel that she was too far away. It seemed whoever attacked her had simply thrown her in the water and not taken her further out. Finding her, Eric bit back a curse when a burning sensation shot through his hand. Whoever had thrown her in the pond had first wrapped her in silver. Grabbing Willa the best he could, Eric pushed up and dragged them both out of the water. As he stared at his child badly burnt from the silver, he swore he would make the ones who had hurt her pay.
Sookie cried out in shock when she saw Eric drag Willa out of the pond. She could barely believe what she was seeing while Eric laid his child down on the dock built by her grandfather and father. Racing over to help, Sookie kneeled down beside them and ran her eyes over her friend. She felt a lump forming in her throat when she saw the silver burns around Willa’s upper body.
“Sookie, you are going to have to pull the silver off of her,” Eric said, kneeling by his child’s side and pushing her into a sitting position.
Sookie nodded and gripped the end of the thick silver chain wrapped around Willa’s neck. “I’m sorry,” she whispered as she yanked on it and pulled it away from Willa’s body along with a layer of skin.
Willa screamed in pain as she felt the silver come off. Blood tears welled in her eyes and her fangs snapped down as a reaction to the pain coursing through her body. “Jason,” she whimpered looking to her Maker for answers.
Eric shook his head. “He is not here,” he told her reluctantly, not wanting to hurt her. His eyes darkened while they took in the burns that plagued her upper body. Bringing his wrist to his mouth, he dropped his fangs and tore into it before pressing his wrist to his child’s mouth instructing her to drink. As Willa sucked on his wrist, he flicked his eyes to Sookie. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting to find; jealousy, anger, disgust… All he saw was concern and acceptance. Sookie knew Willa was in pain and the blood of her Maker could heal her. She wasn’t selfish or jealous as to resent or object to Eric healing his child.
“What happened?” Eric asked once Willa was done. “I felt your pain and got here as soon as I could. Who attacked you?”
“I don’t know,” Willa admitted. “I was getting something out of the car and was attacked from behind. Whoever hit me was strong… vampire strong,” she told them as she lifted a hand and pressed it to the back of her head where she had been hit. The force of the blow had caved in her skull and taken her out of the fight. “I was wrapped in silver, dragged down here, and then thrown in the water. I tried to see who it was, but I couldn’t see anything at all.”
“First we were attacked at Bellefleurs, and then Willa attacked from behind, and now Jason’s gone… It’s not a coincidence, Eric,” Sookie said, stating just what Eric and Willa were thinking. “Those Weres were after Jason. I saw it in their heads…”
Eric nodded, having come to the same conclusion. He frowned as he looked over the area around the pond. He could smell the scent of Were and he knew it was them who had thrown his child into the water, but they hadn’t been working alone. It would have taken more strength than they possessed, even on V, to incapacitate her in the way she had been. If she had temporarily lost her sight, they would have had to use enough force behind the blow to nearly destroy her skull.
“We should return to the house,” Eric said once he took in all there was to see at the pond. “I never checked when we landed, but the scent of whoever was with the Weres should be present. I might be able to track it.”
Neither Willa nor Sookie said anything in reply. Both of them were too consumed with worry for Jason to engage in small talk or ask pointless questions. It took less than a minute for them to return to the house and Willa led the two of them around the front to where her car was parked. Willa could smell the scents of vampires and Weres all over the area; however, the smell of her own blood and charred skin made it impossible for her to identify them.
Eric sniffed the air while he approached the car. He could scent the vampires on the wind and growled as he recognized the scents. One of the scents might have been easily explained away, but it was the second one that troubled him and had him doubting his own senses. There was no way he was scenting what he thought he was; it just wasn’t possible.
“Eric, what is it?” Sookie asked seeing the disbelief on his face. “Do you recognize the vampire?”
Vampires,” Eric replied, deeply troubled by what he was smelling. “I smell more than one. There were two vampires here in addition to the Weres. I recognize both scents. The first one is Jessica…”
Willa growled at the mention of the red-headed vampire. She should have known Bill’s obsessive nature would have begun rubbing off on Jessica. The way she acted around Jason should have sent alarm bells ringing. “I’ll kill her!”
“Oh fuck!” Sookie cursed, surprising the two vampires. “Earlier tonight, in the bar. I heard Jess on the phone, just before I called you,” she added turning her gaze to Eric. “She was tellin’ someone how ‘She’s back. She just turned up at Bellefleurs like nothing happened.’ I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I guessed she was talkin’ ‘bout me, but I figured she was speakin’ to Bill…” Sookie scolded herself for not thinking about it earlier. Why would Jess hide in the ladies room just to tell Bill I was back? “She must’ve been talkin’ to whoever was here with her! Who that could be, I don’t know.”
“I do. I recognize the scent of the second vampire,” Eric replied as he looked at the woman he loved. He could see the worry in her eyes for her brother and he wished the news he had for her would ease it, but he knew it wouldn’t. The news of who the second vampire was would not comfort Sookie; it would only bring her pain.
“Who is it?” Sookie and Willa asked at the same time.