Finally, Amelia spoke. “Okay…fine,” she sighed. “But Sookie, I don’t know anything about kids. I really don’t. Don’t count on me to change any diapers or anything, okay? Do you have any experience with them, other than babysitting?” She asked, curiously.
“Not very much,” I had to admit. “But how hard could it be? Besides, Hunter is a little past the diaper stage and he really wants to move in with me. I could really help him.”
“How so?” Amelia wondered.
“Well, as I told you, he’s staying with Remy’s cousin. I met them at the funeral. I wasn’t impressed with them. They think that I’m crazy and that I’m out to get them.”
Amelia burst out laughing.
“It’s true! I heard it in their minds,” I exclaimed. “And there’s another thing too…but you have to promise me that you’ll keep it a secret.”
“I will,” Amelia vowed. She crossed her heart and hoped to die with her hand movements.
“He’s a…telepath.” I confessed. Amelia’s eyes rounded when she heard that. “Anyways, Hunter told me that they’re very bad people. I think that because he can read their minds, he knows what they’re really up to. I suspect that it’s something illegal. I promised him that I would try to get him out of there,” I explained.
“He’s a telepath? How do you know?” Amelia hit herself in the head with her fist. “I’m sorry, of course you’d know since you can read minds too.”
“He’s going to really need my help with it later on. If he stays with them…he’ll be lost in more ways than one. He’s already scared. I don’t want him to feel even worse.”
“I can understand that,” Amelia mulled over what I had said. “And you’ll put him in the spare room, I take it?”
That could be a problem, I thought to myself. I hadn’t really thought about which room he might be staying in. Amelia had pretty much taken over the upstairs. The spare bedroom was the only other option. The problem would be when Eric came to visit. He might wake Hunter up when he retired into his hole in the floorboards. I frowned, trying to come up with a solution.
No wonder Eric hadn’t like the idea, I thought to myself. Our privacy would be even more compromised than it already was.
“I hadn’t really thought about it,” I confessed.
“I could move some things out of one of the bedrooms upstairs if you want,” she offered, coming up with her own solution. “But how often do you think Eric might come to visit you once you have this kid?” Amelia shook her head. “I’ve never really pictured Eric around children.”
I smiled, at the picture in my mind of Eric around children. “No, I’ve never pictured it either,” I confessed. “But I can feel that he’s starting to warm up to the idea. He won’t admit it, but I think he’s looking forward to it. At least, that’s what I can tell from what he’s feeling,” I shrugged.
“I guess it’s perfect timing,” Amelia sighed. “I was planning on moving out soon anyways. There will be a lot more room in this old house once I leave. I was going to tell you sooner, but my house is almost ready,” Amelia explained.
“It is?” I asked, surprised.
Amelia nodded her head. “Yeah, even though the good-looking foreman is trying to rake more money out of me. It should be ready in the next couple of months.”
“That soon?” I asked, surprised. “This custody case might take a long time anyways,” I shrugged. “Mr. Cataliades warned me that this wasn’t going to be easy or very fast. The family courts move at their own pace, so rest assured that you won’t have to make any drastic changes right away.”
“That’s good,” Amelia replied. “But don’t count me in as a built-in babysitter. I’ve never really looked after anyone’s kids before in my life. Who is going to watch him while you’re at work?”
“That’s another thing that I haven’t really thought about,” I admitted, then blushed at my own oversight.
“Well, I’m sure you’ll find someone,” she offered, hopefully. “Maybe Arlene might give you a few names.”
I didn’t want to tell her that those names wouldn’t be names of babysitters. More like, name calling.
“It’s been a long day. I have to work tomorrow. I’m going to bed.” I told her, standing up from the couch. “Goodnight. I missed you and I’m glad that you’re back.”
“I missed you too. Goodnight Sookie,” Amelia replied back.
Together, we both hugged, then I walked into my bedroom, full of plans and ideas about Hunter. I was stunned and alarmed to see Bill sitting on my bed.
“When did you get here?” I cried out, alarmed and surprised. Why was Bill here? What did he want?
“Just a little while ago. You were so busy talking to Amelia, that I came in through your bedroom window. You must not have heard me knock. Sookie, you really should lock it when you’re not around. Anybody could get in,” he reproached.
“I was…” I started to explain, but then again…as if Bill needed any kind of explanation from me, I thought to myself, angrily. He was the one who had invaded my personal space without my permission…or Eric’s. I wondered what Eric would think if he knew that Bill had shown up here in my bedroom. “Listen…I don’t know what you want from me, but I’m tired and I’m going to bed. I would appreciate it if you would leave…please.”
I tried to move towards my dresser to pull out my pajamas from one of the drawers, but Bill stood up and stepped in front of me, blocking my way.
“Is it true?” He asked, staring down at me, coldly. If I didn’t know any better, I could have sworn that he was accusing me of something. But I couldn’t think of anything that I had done lately that would offend him or anyone.
“Is what true?” I countered, curiously. I stared up at him, wondering what he was talking about.
“You know…” Bill looked pained and full of hurt. “You and Eric.”
“Well…we haven’t really kept that a secret…I’m sure most of the vampire world knows about us by now,” I replied, densely.
“No, you don’t understand…” Bill moved away from me and began to pace. “Is it true that you and he…that you and Eric, of all people…are adopting a child?”
I stared at him, stunned. Where had he heard that from? But then, I realized that I knew. Eric must’ve told Bill about my plans. “Yeah, so?” I asked, totally unrepentant. “What business is it of yours what we do?” I asked.
Bill growled, his fangs extended. I could tell that he was suddenly very angry. I grew scared. He grabbed me by the shoulders and gave me a hard shake. “You were mine first…” he growled.
Eerily, I remembered similar words on two hand-written notes. Was it Bill? I tried to move away from him by pushing at his chest. “Let go of me…” I begged and pleaded.
“No,” Bill replied back, still really angry. “You’re mine and no one else’s. You don’t belong with Eric. All you have is a blood bond. Why can’t you see that? Why won’t you forgive me?” He pleaded. Suddenly bloody tears rolled down his cheeks.
I didn’t know what to say to that. “I have forgiven you, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten,” I replied back, hesitantly. I realized that I would say anything to Bill, if it meant that he would leave me alone in my room in peace. “You hurt me a lot.”
“And Eric hasn’t.” Bill guessed. He nodded his head in understanding. “What would you do if Eric were suddenly gone?” He asked, curiously. “What if he suddenly…disappeared?”
I stared at him, suddenly horrified. Was he planning on doing something to Eric? I started to look at him in a new light. It was like I never really knew who he was until now. Would Bill hurt Eric and all because of me?
“Never mind,” Bill waved it off, as if he hadn’t just threatened Eric’s life in my presence. “I just wanted to find out if what Eric had told me was true or not. Wow, you are planning on adopting a child. You see, I had to find out for myself. I see that he was telling me the truth. Knowing Eric as I do, I wondered if he had been lying to me. Times have sure changed.” Bill shook his head and sighed. “I remember when we were together and in love-”
“We were never in love,” I was quick to interject.
Bill stared at me with soulful eyes, then quickly climbed outside through my opened window.
I watched Bill leave, stunned speechless. That was a side of Bill that I had never seen before. It scared me. I raced over to the window, slammed it shut and locked it. I closed the curtains, and hoped that they would give me more privacy. If I had felt violated before…this was a hundred times worse. I didn’t know if I could ever trust Bill again.
I wanted to call Eric, to tell him what had happened but I knew that the only thing that would accomplish would be Bill’s demise. I didn’t want to be at fault. Besides, Eric had his own problems going on at Fangtasia. No, I had to keep this a secret for now.
I climbed into bed and tried to go to sleep, but it was very fitful. I tossed and turned, waking every so often, half-expecting to find Bill in my bedroom once again.
The next day I was about to leave for work when I opened up my door, surprised to see a bouquet of flowers laying on my doorstep. I picked them up and smelled them. They were a dozen pink roses. I figured that Eric must have placed them there as a way of apologizing to me for not coming by to see me the night before. Which I was kind of upset about because I wanted to talk to him about hiring Mr. Cataliades without my knowledge or consent. And now, a part of me, wished that he had been present when I had found Bill in my room. Although, I knew what those consequences might be, I was still afraid of what Bill might do. I was pretty sure that Bill would not have been brave enough to show his face in my bedroom like he’d done if Eric had been there.
I put the bouquet of roses in my Gran’s crystal vase and placed them on the dining room table. They were beautiful. I checked the bouquet, to see if there was a note from Eric or not. There was none. I figured that he must have forgotten to put one in or had decided that I would know who they were from.
I stared at them for a few moments, made a mental note to send Eric a thank you card, then proceeded to leave for work.
The day passed by uneventfully and quickly, which was good. At the end of my shift (my shift ended at seven) I noticed that Bill sat at one of my tables, which was not. I groaned when I noticed him. I was thankful that Holly had taken over for me.
The sight of him made me very uncomfortable. I hated to be in the same room with him. Seeing him, reminded me that he had used me. It reminded me of how gullible and naïve I used to be. It also reminded me, clearly, vividly and eerily, what had happened the night before. I grew scared.
I picked up my belongings from Sam’s office and headed towards the rear exit. I wanted to avoid Bill at all costs. How quickly I had forgotten that we had exchanged blood too. He knew what I felt and knew that I was avoiding him. When I headed out to my car, Bill was standing there waiting for me. I hesitated in my steps.
“Good evening, Sookie,” he greeted me, with a cold smile on his face. While Eric’s smiles had always seemed warm and flirtatious, Bill’s had always felt cold and calculating. It was funny, that I was only noticing that now.
“Good evening, Bill,” I replied back, automatically. Ever the southern lady, that was me.
“You weren’t even going to say hello?” He asked.
“Um…I’m in a hurry,” I tried to explain. My thoughts were scrambled, while I tried to come up with some sort of excuse. “Now, if you wouldn’t mind…” I motioned for him to move so that I could get into my car and drive away.
“I’m sorry, am I keeping you from something?”
“Yes,” I replied. You are keeping me from getting away from you, I added in my mind. “I have plans tonight so…” I again motioned for him to move.
He didn’t seem to take the hint.
“I have to apologize about what happened last night. I’m very sorry,” he replied. “I didn’t mean to scare you. It was ungentlemanly of me and it won’t happen again.”
I wasn’t sure if I should believe him. I stared up at him, curiously. “I have to leave,” I pleaded with him.
“Please, you have to believe me,” Bill pleaded once again. “I am terribly sorry. I’m offering you my sincerest apologies.”
I ignored him, hoping that by not answering him, that he would get the hint that I didn’t want anything to do with him.
Finally, Bill got the hint and slowly moved out of my way. I climbed into my vehicle and started up the engine.
“Eric will never love you the way that I do,” Bill spoke to me, through my open car door.
I closed it shut, hoping that he would let it drop. I didn’t want to hear it. I rolled down my window wanting to get in one last parting shot in before I drove away.
“I seem to recall that while you pretended to like me…Eric was always there for me…unlike you. I know for a fact that he loves me more than you ever will,” I replied back, angrily.
I backed out of my parking space and drove away from him, leaving Bill staring after me. Unfortunately, we were neighbors and he was living in Eric’s area, so I knew that I would have to see him again eventually.
When I returned home, I called Eric up at Fangtasia. I hoped that by hearing his voice, that I would feel better. At the very least, I was going to thank him for the flowers that he had sent me.
“Fangtasia, where all your dreams come true,” Pam spoke in a bored sounding voice.
“Pam,” I greeted her, happy to hear her voice. “How are you?”
She seemed relieved to hear my voice too. “Hey, Sookie,” she replied. “I suppose you want Eric?” She assumed. Her voice suddenly became cheerful.
“Yes,” I laughed. “How did you know?” I asked.
“I’ll go and get him,” she replied. I heard her carrying the phone, the sounds in the background were kind of muffled. “Tell me…how did you like the present that Eric gave you? Did you enjoy your date?”
“It was a great date until…”
“Yeah, sorry about that. It couldn’t be helped. We had some issues to work out,” she tried to explain, evasively. “I hope you’re not mad?”
“Why would I be mad?” I asked. “I know that Eric is a busy man and that he has many responsibilities. Besides, it was just as well…Eric and I aren’t your typical couple.”
Pam laughed. “I’d say not,” she agreed. “Here he is.” I could hear her hand the phone to him, with a muffled, ‘It’s Sookie’.
“Is this my lover?” I heard him greet me on the phone. At once, I felt happy and my heart started to race. Suddenly, thoughts of Bill became distant memories of the past. “I trust that you had a good day?”
I could feel his sense of deep satisfaction at the thought. I knew that he was pleased that he had found me a lawyer that would take my case. Which reminded me that I had something to clear up with him, but first things first…
“Yes,” I replied back, grinning. “I wanted to call you to thank you for the flowers.”
He hesitated before answering. “For…what?”
“For the flowers,” I repeated. How could he have forgotten about them already? “It was a very nice gesture, even though you really have nothing to send me flowers for.”
“Flowers?” he repeated, sounding very confused. I knew that he was trying to figure out when the last time that he had sent me flowers was.
“Yeah, you know…this morning. You really shouldn’t have. But they’re very beautiful.”
“My lover…” he paused. I could tell that he was trying to find the right words. “I didn’t send you flowers this morning.”
“No.” I could sense him shaking his head.
“Then, how did they end up on my doorstep?” I asked, curiously.
“I don’t know.”
“Maybe they’re Amelia’s?” I wondered aloud. Yeah, that had to be it, I thought to myself. Maybe that foreman that was giving her troubles had sent them to her?
“Was there a note?” Eric asked, trying to figure it out.
“No,” I answered. “There was nothing.”
“Then, that proves that it definitely wasn’t me. I always write you little love notes when I give you gifts.” I could feel Eric’s sense of pride about that. He liked to write them, just to see what kind of reaction he would get. That’s why he tried to be as obscene as he could be in them.
“I suppose…” I still wasn’t convinced. Maybe Eric just wanted to do a nice thing and not be complimented for it? But that didn’t sound like him either. He always was the first to admit to something like that. Now I was very confused. “I’ll have to tell Amelia when she gets home.”
Eric paused. “She’s not there with you now? You are home all alone?” He asked, curiously.
“Yes,” I replied back. I could read his thoughts now. He was debating whether or not he should take advantage of Amelia’s absence or not. “Are you thinking of keeping me company?” I teased.
“Yes,” he replied. “But I have some things to do around here. Very important things.” Eric sighed. I could feel that he was torn between doing something he wanted to do and doing something that he should.
“Don’t feel like you have to be here, just because I’m all by my little ole self.” I told him, softly. “I can take care of myself and I know that you have many things that you’re responsible for. But…if you want to make up for your absence last night…I’m open.” I hinted that I would love it if he came.
“Alright.” He replied. He purposely kept his thoughts to himself, but judging by his feelings, I knew that he had made his decision. “See you soon.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. It was so typical of Eric. We hung up and I prepared for our night together.
Before I knew it, Eric was at my door. I pretended that I was shocked to see him. He stood there, grinning wickedly.
“I thought that you had important things to do?” I asked, making sure that my voice sounded surprised.
“I did…I do,” he replied, standing on my doorstep. “This is only one of them.”
He took my face in his hands, leaned forward and plastered his lips against mine.