Sookie grimaced at the taste of the foul hospital coffee. After Jake had interrupted her and Eric with the news that Portia was in the hospital, Sookie jumped right up and raced to the door. She didn’t care about her naked appearance; her only concern had been for her sister-in-law. Unfortunately, Jake had told her all he knew. He had no idea what had happened to Portia, only that there had been an accident. Eric had been less than pleased when Sookie told him she had to leave, but once she explained who Portia was to her, he understood. Before Sookie left, Eric made sure they had each other’s contact information. He wasn’t going to lose her again.
A soft smile curled Sookie’s lips as she thought about Eric. When she said goodbye to him six years ago, she never thought she would see him again. When she had walked out of his hotel room that night, Sookie thought that was it; they were over. There had remained a small part locked in the back of her mind that had always hoped she would meet her Leif again one day, but she never fooled herself into believing it. Dreams were all good and well, but she had to live in reality.
Not that Sookie had any complaints in regard to her life since she had left Eric six years earlier, she’d had her fair share of ups and downs, but she was happy with the way things taken place. She had a family, Adele and Hadley aside, who loved her and were proud of her as well as friends that were willing to kill for her. She meant that literally in Warlow’s case. The six-thousand-year-old vampire had killed more than one person for her in the years they had known each other. Finally, she co-owned the hottest business in the Supernatural world. Only at Night had opened many doors for her. No longer was she ‘that strange Stackhouse girl,’ she was now a successful businesswoman.
Of course, at that moment her success with Only at Night didn’t mean a damn thing, not while her sister-in-law was lying in a hospital bed, battered and bruised with her unborn baby’s life in danger. For the hundredth time that night, Sookie cursed the hospital staff for not doing more for Portia. Sookie knew rationally that there wasn’t anything else they could do just then, but she didn’t want to think rationally. She wanted to blame someone, and, unfortunately for the doctors and nurses, the pieces of shit who had broken into Jason and Portia’s house, robbing the place and roughing up the nearly eight-months pregnant Portia in the process weren’t around for her to unleash her anger upon.
Fuckin’ cowardly pieces of shit! Sookie snarled silently. She had seen and done a lot of questionable shit in her life, but Sookie couldn’t even begin to fathom why anyone would tie up a pregnant woman, and then slap her around. One of the bastards had even kicked Portia in the stomach, and for what? A couple hundred dollars and some jewelry? They better make the most of it, cause if I get my hands on them, I’ll fuckin’ kill them!
Sookie jumped in her seat when the voice cut into her musings. She had been so lost in her own thoughts that she hadn’t heard her grandfather approach. Sookie gave Earl a tired smile when he took a seat next to her in the shitty waiting room. “Portia felt a contraction earlier, and the doctors have given her some drug to try and stop them. So far it seems to be workin’, but they don’t know for sure if it’ll continue. It’s just wait and see I’m afraid.”
“Is the baby okay?” Earl asked as he put his arm around her shoulders. He could see the fatigue rolling off her, but he knew better than to tell his stubborn granddaughter to go and get some rest. She wouldn’t leave until she knew for certain that Portia and the baby were going to be okay.
“Jason said her heartbeat was strong,” Sookie replied. “They won’t know if she suffered any trauma until she’s out in the world, but they don’t want that to happen for at least another month if they can help it. Jas is with Portia now; he’s refusing to leave her side.”
“She?” Earl said, having caught the blunder. Both Jason and Portia had wanted to keep the baby’s sex a secret from their families until the birth. They had managed quite well to do just that, especially considering Jason had two telepaths in his family. Earl was sure they were only keeping it a secret to piss off Caroline Bellefleur. The old battle-axe had to know everything, even if it wasn’t any of her business.
“Yeah. Jason kinda let it slip,” Sookie replied with a laugh. Jason had been so happy to hear the baby was still with them that he announced, ‘his girls’ were fine. Once he realized what he said, he had tried to backtrack, but the secret was out. “It’s still supposed to be a secret, so don’t mention it to Gran or Hadley. Speakin’ of…” Sookie frowned when she realized she didn’t see either of them. “Where’s Gran?”
“Adele’s busy and will visit later,” Earl said stiffly. His displeasure at Adele’s absence was plain to see on his face; he wasn’t happy in the slightest that his wife had elected not to visit their granddaughter-in-law with him.
“Busy doin’ what? Chasin’ after Hadley?!” Sookie questioned. Seeing the unhappy look in her grandfather’s eyes, Sookie realized exactly what Adele was doing. She was chasing after Hadley and ignoring everyone else…same as always.
“She was worried about Hadley what with all that happened,” Earl replied, trying to defend his wife although why he even bothered left him unsure. His Adele had changed dramatically over the years. The woman he married would have never behaved the way she was these days. Earl was ashamed to admit that he didn’t know her any longer.
“Yeah, Portia bein’ attacked must’ve done a real number on Hadley,” Sookie snorted. “Them bein’ so close and all. Maybe we should check Hadley in the hospital so she can be taken care of properly.” Sookie couldn’t even feign surprise at Adele’s absence. It wasn’t the first time she had put Hadley before an injured grandchild. Hell, she had only visited Jason in the hospital once when he broke his leg at twenty-two. She had been more concerned about getting Hadley a home-cooked meal than making sure her grandson was fine and didn’t need anything. Sookie had no doubt Hadley was milking it for all her worth. Portia was the one in hospital sick with worry over her unborn baby, but Hadley would somehow end up the victim. “Did Gran even ask ‘bout Portia, or did she not deem her important enough to worry ‘bout?” The old bat is gettin’ worse by the day.
“Watch your mouth, Sookie,” Earl said firmly, hearing his granddaughter’s unspoken thought. “Adele is still your grandmother. You will treat her with respect.”
“Respect is earned, Granddaddy, and Gran hasn’t done anythin’ to earn mine lately,” Sookie replied coolly. She loved her grandfather, but she wouldn’t let him tell her how to think or feel. “In fact, any respect I had for Gran was lost the day she threw me out of the house, a house in which I paid all the bills, I might add, cause I fired Hadley from a job she didn’t want and wasn’t any good at for that matter.”
“She is still your grandmother,” Earl repeated. Despite everything, Earl still loved Adele; he may not have liked her very much, but his heart still yearned for her.
“Yeah, she’s the grandmother who’s put me down my entire life, and then tried to make me feel guilty for bein’ more successful than Hadley,” Sookie countered. She had so much pent-up emotion when it came to Adele, and while it may not have been the right time or place to let it out, she couldn’t stop. “When I quit my job at Merlotte’s due to Sam’s bigotry and rudeness, instead of supportin’ me she went to Sam and apologized for her foolish granddaughter. When I started Only at Night with Lafayette and Jesus, she didn’t congratulate me; no, she told me I was gettin’ too big for my britches, and then strongly suggested I give Hadley shares in my company. I worked my ass off to get where I am. I’ve done plenty of things I know you don’t approve of, but I did those things to pay for Gran’s medical bills, to keep the roof over her head, and put food on her table. I got my first job when I was sixteen, and for the next five years I worked my fingers to the bone to support not only myself, but Gran and Hadley as well. Not once did she thank me. She took everything I did for granted while dotin’ on Hadley and spoilin’ her with the money I earned. Like I said, Granddaddy, respect is earned, and Gran hasn’t done a damn thing to earn mine.”
Earl was rendered speechless by his youngest grandchild. He was aware that Adele had thrown Sookie out of the house for firing Hadley, but he had little to no idea of all else she had done. He knew Adele favored Hadley, but hearing Sookie lay it all out like that had been shocking. It was no wonder Sookie held no respect for her grandmother; Adele hadn’t given her a single reason for it. Like Sookie said, she had done many things for which Earl would never approve, but she had done them with the welfare of her family in mind, and where was the gratitude? She received absolutely none. Adele had taken her granddaughter for granted, expecting Sookie to do everything. “I’m sorry, Sookie,” he said sincerely. “Your grandmother was wrong to treat you like she did.”
“No offense, Granddaddy, but your apology doesn’t mean anythin’,” Sookie replied, giving him a small smile. It wasn’t him Sookie was angry with. “Cause Gran doesn’t think she’s done anythin’ wrong. In her mind, I’m just an ungrateful brat who’s jealous of Hadley.”
“Your Gran is wrong,” Earl told her. “You’re a strong and capable woman, and I am so proud of you.”
“Thanks, Granddaddy,” Sookie replied, dropping her head on his shoulder. At least she had one grandparent who was proud of her.
It was many hours later when they finally heard some good news. Portia’s contractions had stopped and, barring any unforeseeable complications, the doctors were quietly confident that she would carry to term. There was still no sure way to know if the baby had suffered any lasting damage from the attack, but for once, everyone was thinking the best. With Portia finally being out of immediate danger, Earl was trying to convince Sookie to go and get some rest. The telepathic blonde hadn’t left the hospital since she arrived there in the early hours of the morning.
Sookie was just about to acquiesce when she noticed two very unwelcome visitors descending on the ward where Portia was assigned. “You’ve got to be fuckin’ kiddin’ me,” she murmured as she watched Bobby Burnham come strolling down the corridor with Caroline Bellefleur. Sookie shook her head as she tapped into Caroline’s thoughts and realized the old bat was hoping the attack had made Portia come to her senses when it came to Jason.
It was clear from her thoughts that Caroline blamed Jason for what happened to Portia. With no knowledge of the facts, Caroline had decided Portia was attacked because Jason was a police officer. The Bellefleur matriarch was overlooking that her grandson was also a police officer and Portia was a lawyer who dealt with criminals. No, in her mind Jason was solely to blame. Caroline was hoping that Portia would finally leave Jason and take up with the nice Mr. Burnham.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doin’ here?” Sookie spat, blocking Bobby’s path. From the day she had met him, Sookie had detested the sniveling little prick. He had looked down on her family, believing they were nothing but poor white trash, despite the fact that Sookie could buy and sell his ass ten times over, although that sure as hell hadn’t stopped him from fucking Hadley every chance he took. He had been more than happy to get his dick wet in her. Well, at least he had until he had gotten her pregnant. Ever since then he had been avoiding her and trying to deny the baby’s parentage.
“How rude,” Caroline sniffed, eyeing the outspoken blonde with condescension. The Bellefleur matriarch hated that her granddaughter married into the Stackhouse family. Jason was so far beneath Portia in Caroline’s mind. The young man only had a basic education and didn’t come from fine stock, not like the nice Mr. Burnham. “You should really teach your uncouth granddaughter some manners, Earl.”
“People in glass houses, Caroline,” Earl replied coolly. While he didn’t approve of some of the things that came out of Sookie’s mouth, he wouldn’t allow someone as hypocritical as Caroline Bellefleur to judge her. The head of the Stackhouse family had known Caroline a long time, the two of them having grown up together in Bon Temps. He remembered how foul-mouthed the snobbish woman used to be. She had been quite wild before she married into the Bellefleur family, and he knew for a fact she had an affair with a married man before she wed James Bellefleur.
“I ain’t the one who needs to learn some manners here,” Sookie interrupted before Caroline had a chance to say anything more. Everyone else in Bon Temps may have kissed Caroline’s ass and been intimidated by the Bellefleur name, but Sookie refused to be disgraced by a woman who was attempting to tear apart her brother’s marriage. “You need to learn some yaself, and he…” She jabbed a finger at Bobby as she spoke, “needs to learn some responsibility, and care for the woman who is actually carryin’ his baby instead of chasin’ after a married one who wants nothin’ to do with him. She can’t even stand him!”
Sookie shook her head in disgust as she stared at Caroline and Bobby. She couldn’t believe they were actually going to use the attack as a means of convincing Portia to leave her husband of fifteen years, and then to date Bobby. “Do you honestly think Jason’s gonna give up his wife and unborn baby without a fight?”
Baby?! It’s still alive? Fuck, it wasn’t supposed to survive……
Sookie’s eyes narrowed into slits when she heard the thought clearly. A burning anger built inside her, and it took all she had to keep from lashing out and beating Bobby to a bloody pulp. From his thoughts it was clear to Sookie he had a hand in what happened to Portia. The bastard had played a part in the attack! “Granddaddy, why don’t you keep Caroline company while I escort Mr. Burnham out?” she said.
“Now wait just a minute!” Caroline sputtered indignantly. She had asked Bobby to escort her to visit her granddaughter and she wouldn’t let trash like Sookie Stackhouse keep them from visiting. “I…”
“You do not want to piss me off,” Sookie said, her tone deadly calm as she cut off the older woman. “You can look down ya nose at me all ya like and think I’m nothin’ but white trash, I don’t care, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let you try to ruin my brother’s marriage cause you’re a bigoted old bitch!” Fixing her gaze on Bobby, Sookie glared at him, hiding none of her contempt for him. “Time to leave.”
“Sookie,” Earl said apprehensively, afraid she might do something she would regret later. Unlike his granddaughter, he wasn’t aware of the role Bobby played in Portia’s attack; he had been focusing on Caroline rather than listening to Bobby. As far as he knew, Sookie’s anger was caused by Caroline and Bobby’s attempt to split up Jason and Portia. “Don’t…”
He knows who attacked Portia; Sookie spoke telepathically to her grandfather. He was thinkin’ how the baby wasn’t supposed to survive. I want answers, Granddaddy, and I intend to get them!
Earl was torn over what to do next. Just like Sookie, he wanted answers when it came to Portia’s attack, and if Bobby played a part in it, then he wanted him to pay. Earl wanted justice for Portia. However, he knew full well that his definition of justice and his granddaughter’s differed greatly. To Earl, justice meant the police and due process; to Sookie it meant Supe justice, equating to violence and shallow graves. Don’t do something you will regret, Sookie, he replied telepathically. As much as he hated knowing what she would do, he also knew he couldn’t stop her. His granddaughter had been in charge and taking care of business for far too long to listen to him. Earl may have been the head of the Stackhouse family, but Sookie had the power. She was stronger than all of them.
I don’t believe in regrets, Granddaddy, Sookie told him. They serve no purpose. A dark look entered her eyes as she returned her full attention to Bobby. She could see fear in his eyes and she bit back a chuckle. Bobby had been around Bon Temps long enough to know Sookie was considered different, a ‘freak.’ Yet, he had no idea just how different she was, nor was he aware that she was far more connected than Caroline Bellefleur could ever hope or pretend she was. You have no clue what kinda mess you’re in, do ya, ya little prick? You fucked with the wrong family!
Sookie didn’t even bother to spare Caroline a glance as she stepped forward and gripped Bobby’s arm tightly. “Let me escort you out,” She didn’t give him a chance to reply before she was dragging him down the corridor toward the stairs. It was time to get some answers, and whether or not Bobby liked it, he would be providing them.