I hung up the phone with Eric. I was disappointed that his meeting was keeping him from me. The meeting was very important and King Felipe had even made the trip to town. Since he wasn’t able to come help me, he was planning on sending Pam. While I waited, I leaned against the side of my car and hoped that the minutes flew by quickly. It was scary being out here all alone at night.
Images of horror scenes flashed before my eyes once again. As numerous axe-murderers and rapists came to mind. Every little sound that I heard made me jump up and take a look around. Should I wait inside the car?
I heard some kind of rustling sounds coming from the woods. I quickly opened up my car door and climbed inside. No wild animals or insane psychos would be able to attack me from behind in here, I thought to myself. I turned on my ignition and my radio up. At least this way, I wouldn’t be able to hear the creatures scurrying around at night. I used my flashers, to alert other drivers. I kept my headlights on because it was just too scary in the dark and I could see anything coming into view.
There wasn’t even a full-moon. It was cloudy and not a star shone in the sky. It was very dark, with only the lights from my headlights, the only sign of life. Bugs flurried around in the beam of lights from my headlights. Those would be enough to freak me out as it was. I hated bugs.
I tried to relax. The music was happy and made me want to dance, but even still…it was hard to relax. Every time a car drove past me, I hoped that they didn’t slow down and stop. My heart would rapidly beat whenever they got close.
While I wasn’t adverse to having some kind of roadside assistance, I didn’t want it either. I knew that Pam would be able to at least give me a ride home in her car. That was enough for now.
I waited through a number of songs on the radio. I wasn’t sure how long. I noticed in the reflection in my rear-view mirror, a set of headlights pull up behind me. I wondered if it was Pam at last. That was how I had looked at every pair of headlights for the past little while, hoping and praying that it was finally her.
The car slowed when it came near me. It stopped behind me, with it’s headlights on. The driver stepped out. I couldn’t make out much more than the driver’s figure, as they slowly approached the side of my car.
One thing I knew, was that the figure was that of a man. Not a woman and nobody resembling Pam’s coloring. I quickly locked my door, so that the only way the person would be able to talk to me was through the opened window, which I quickly rolled up too. You couldn’t act too cautious in situations like these, I figured.
I heard the driver knock on my window beside me. I glanced up, praying that the person didn’t have a gun or a knife or any other kind of weapon that would be able to hurt me.
I was surprised to see that it was someone that I recognized. I quickly rolled down my window to talk to them.
“Hey, Bill,” I greeted him, as if it was every day that I found myself stranded on the side of the road. I wasn’t sure if I should be cautious or thankful that he had shown up. I was still scared about his recent actions.
“Sookie, what are you doing out here alone by the side of the road?” he wondered, sounding surprised.
“Um…I got a flat,” I explained.
Bill looked down at my wheels, and checked them out. He walked around my car until he could see the one in question. He came back to my driver’s side door once again.
“What happened to your spare?” He asked, acting concerned.
“Um…it’s flat too,” I replied back, grumpily. I was not the most responsible person that made sure that my car was running in peak performance. It cost a lot of money that I didn’t have. I hated to admit that it was due to my own neglect, that I was now stranded.
“Would you like a ride home?” He offered, in a friendly-like manner.
“No,” I shook my head. “Pam’s coming. She’s on her way now.”
Don’t ask me why I didn’t take him up on his offer. There was just something telling me not to go with him.
“Sookie, it would be no problem for me,” he insisted. “We live next door to each other. Pam has to come all this way from Shreveport. You should not have to wait. This is very impractical.”
“Yes, well…” I tried to explain. “What’s done is done. I called Eric and he’s arranged for her to come here.”
Bill looked disappointed. “You really like to create trouble, don’t you, Sookie?” Bill sighed. “I think you should come with me. I can call Pam up on my cell phone to let her know that I picked you up instead.”
I grumbled to myself. Bill was making it impossible for me to refuse. I hated waiting there all alone in the dark. It was dangerous. I was tired and just wanted to get home and climb into bed. Reluctantly, I decided to do as Bill said.
“Okay, but can you please call her right now before she drives too far?” I suggested, hopefully.
Bill nodded his head. He dug his cell phone out of his jacket pocket and dialed Pam’s number. I couldn’t hear what he said to her because he turned his back to me. I hoped that Pam wouldn’t feel like I didn’t appreciate her efforts.
Bill turned around after he had finished his phone call. “It is done. She is going to turn back around and head back to Fangtasia,” he explained.
I grabbed my purse and opened up my car door. I climbed out of my car. Bill escorted me to his. I could feel his hand gently resting on the middle of my back, as he nudged me towards his car. He opened the door in a gentlemanly fashion. I climbed in. He closed it and walked around the car and climbed into the driver’s seat.
Slowly, he drove away. We drove towards both of our homes. I didn’t say very much. Bill seemed to be uncomfortable.
“Sookie, I am very glad that this happened. I did not think that I would have a few moments alone with you to explain.” He tried to broach the touchy subject.
“Look, Bill,” I spoke up, before he could say anything more. “Let’s just forget that it happened, okay? I won’t tell Eric how you surprised me in my bedroom and I will accept your apology. Let’s let bygones be bygones,” I explained, as I held up my hand, warding him off.
“Okay,” Bill agreed, as he nodded his head. “I want you to know that I am still very sorry. I truly only wanted to find out for myself if what Eric had told me, was true or not.”
I sighed. I turned to look out of the window, thankful to see my yard coming up in the distance. It wouldn’t be long now.
“Why aren’t you in Shreveport?” I asked, curiously, as a sudden thought hit me. “King Felipe is in town. Why aren’t you there?” I wondered.
Bill glanced at me, then turned back to the road. “I…It’s a long story,” he hedged.
I felt suddenly suspicious. If Bill hadn’t been called into Fangtasia where the King who he vowed fealty to, was visiting, what was going on? Bill was the biggest money maker and best researcher. It seemed logical for him to be there. Was it a secret meeting that Bill was too low on the totem pole, to be at?
I was thankful when Bill pulled into my driveway and pulled up in front of my house. The only lights that were on were from my outdoor lights. It was a welcoming feeling. Something that I really needed at that moment.
Bill stopped the car, unbuckled his seat belt, climbed out of the car to open the door up for me. I stepped out of the car, pulled my house keys from my purse and approached my front door. Before I opened the door, I spun around to face Bill.
“Thanks for taking me home,” I said, appreciatively. “I really appreciate it.”
“No problem,” Bill replied. He stood on my step, and waited for me to unlock the door and enter my house.
I turned back around to do just that. I entered, knowing from the looks of things, that Amelia must have gone to bed already.
“Would you mind if I had a bottle of Tru Blood?” Bill asked, from behind me.
His presence startled me, not because I didn’t know that he was there, but because I realized that Amelia wasn’t awake. I felt the hairs rise up on the back of my neck. There was something awkward about having Bill inside my home. I just didn’t know why…maybe it was because of what happened the other night? Maybe it was because I still hadn’t shaken my suspicions that he might be stalking me. I wanted him to leave.
But I did owe him for taking me home. It was the least that I could do to pay him back. “Okay.” I walked into my kitchen, pulled out a bottle from the fridge, then heated it up in the microwave.
The phone rang while I was waiting for Bill’s bottle to heat up. I answered it, expecting that it was Eric, who wanted to make sure that I had made it home in one piece. I wondered what he had thought of Pam returning back to Fangtasia earlier than expected. I was sure he hadn’t expected her to return that quickly.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Sookie?” It was Pam. What did she want? “How did you get home?”
I blinked. Pam didn’t know? “Um…Bill came by and picked me up,” I explained, both puzzled and confused. “Didn’t he call you?”
“No,” Pam grumbled and complained. “He did not. I am standing here by your car right now,” she explained. “When I noticed that you were nowhere in sight, I grew worried…mostly because I did not know what had happened to you and I dreaded having to tell Eric about it.”
That Pam, I thought to myself. I rolled my eyes. Her kind-heartedness sometimes warmed my heart. “I thought for sure that Bill called you. He told me that he did,” I frowned. I looked towards the living room, where I knew that Bill was waiting expectantly for his blood.
“No, he did not,” she repeated. I could tell that she was puzzled by this news too. “But you are home safe and sound now, right?” She asked, just to be sure.
“Yes,” I replied back, hoping to put her mind at ease. “I’m going to have a talk with Bill.” He needed to explain to me why he didn’t really call Pam, when he had said that he had. I had thought that I saw him do it, in fact.
“Good,” I could tell that Pam was wanting an explanation too. “Would you mind if still I came by?” She asked.
I knew that she was only doing it to satisfy her own curiosity, but I would allow it. There was something fishy going on. And this wasn’t the first time that Bill had acted suspiciously. It would ease my mind if I had Pam there too, just in case I needed help from someone stronger. “You’re more than welcome to,” I invited her, relieved.
We hung up. I started to think of some ways that I could stall Bill, so that he wouldn’t try anything until Pam got there. I bit my lip in thought.
“Are you having problems?” Bill spoke up from behind me.
I jumped out of my skin. I hadn’t heard him enter the kitchen. How long had he been there? I hoped that it wasn’t for too long. I didn’t want Bill to suspect that Pam was on her way.
“Um…no, here,” I reached into the microwave and handed it to him. “Let’s sit out in the living room,” I suggested. It would also give me a better view of the driveway, so that I would be able to see Pam’s headlights when she entered my yard, I thought to myself.
Bill followed me. I sat down on the couch. I expected him to sit down somewhere else. Somewhere far from me, but he sat down right next to me. He took a sip of his blood, then looked around the room. I wondered if he noticed anything different about it since the last time he’d been there. Probably not, I thought, but then again, the only difference now was that there were pictures of Eric and I in framed photos; scattered around on shelves and tables.
“Pam just called.” I spoke up, ending the awkward silence that had permeated the room.
“Oh?” Bill took a sip from his bottle.
“Yeah, she told me something very interesting…” I stared at Bill, curiously. “I thought you called her, but she says that you didn’t-”
“Would you look at the time!” Bill exclaimed, suddenly, as he looked at the clock on the wall. “I didn’t realize that it was quite so late. I am sorry, Sookie, but I really have to go.”
I stared at him, very puzzled and confused. I was disappointed that I wasn’t going to get to the bottom of things tonight.
Bill stood up and quickly left, leaving his bottle half empty on my coffee table. He was acting very strange, I thought.
It wasn’t long before Pam showed up at my door. I quickly answered it. Pam stepped in and took in the empty living room before turning back towards me, with her eyebrow raised. She must have noticed the half empty bottle of Tru Blood on my coffee table too.
“Bill left?” she asked, suspiciously. She stared at me, while she waited for me to answer.
“Yes…it was very strange,” I frowned. “I mentioned something about how he didn’t call you and he…left.”
“You are right. That is very strange. Even for Bill,” she agreed. “Tell me.” She insisted, somehow knowing that there was more to this story than I was telling.
I sighed. Did I have any choice? What if she mentioned something to Eric?
“Ok-ay, but you have to promise me something first,” I replied, anxiously.
“Fine, what do you want me to promise?” Pam asked.
“That you won’t say anything about this to Eric,” I explained.
She stared at me, as if pondering whether or not she could do it. She was his child. He could, after all, just order her to tell him and she would have no choice in the matter. Her curiosity and concern won out, however. “Okay, I promise…I will not say anything about it to Eric,” she vowed. “Unless he orders me to,” she added, just in case.
It was as close to a promise as I could get and I knew it. I decided that it was better than nothing. I began to tell her about all of Bill’s actions. The notes. The flowers. My suspicions. Everything. Her eyes grew round at the end of my tale.
“I do not understand why you will not tell Eric,” she frowned, after I had explained everything. “He loves you. He would make sure that you were kept safe. He would protect you. He would have no problems dealing with Bill. That is his job as Sheriff.”
“True, but what if Eric couldn’t control himself? What if he let his feelings get in the way and he does something that he would regret?” I pointed out to her. “I couldn’t live with myself, knowing that Eric did something to someone who vowed him fealty and would have to pay the consequences for it.”
“But that is the price that a vampire has to pay if they overstep the boundaries. Especially if they mess with their Sheriff’s bonded,” Pam explained. “All of us vampires expect such punishment. We know the rules. If we break them, then we know that we have to accept the punishment for what it is. The magistrate would probably see it as such too. They would accept it. I have no doubts that Eric would not be punished for any action that he may have to do, as a result,” she tried to reassure me. “Besides, it is not as if Bill’s maker is still alive. You killed her yourself.” She eyed me, pointedly.
I knew that she was trying to reassure me, the only way that she knew how. But it was easier said than done. Even if Eric didn’t have to pay a stiff penalty, I would have to live with the knowledge that Bill (a former lover and my first love) had been punished because of something that had to do with me. I didn’t think that I could live with the guilt that would bring. I decided to drop the subject for now.
“As long as you’re here…would you like a Tru-Blood?” I offered, graciously.
Pam looked towards the steps leading up to the attic, where Amelia slept. “Amelia’s awake.” She replied instead. I knew that she could hear Amelia, with her powerful hearing.
I heard Amelia come down the stairs, in her nightgown. She blushed, when she noticed Pam standing there. “Pam, what are you doing here?” She asked, curiously.
“I am here because…” she glanced at me before answering. “I was under Eric’s orders, but now, I am here under my own.” Her eyes glittered at Amelia, taking her in. Pam licked her lips in anticipation. “Would you care for some company?”
Amelia nodded her head. Pam followed her up the stairs, leaving me alone in my living room. I didn’t really want to think about what the two of them were doing. I locked up the doors and turned off the lights, then headed into my bedroom.
I laid down in bed, trying to figure out what I should do. Should I tell Eric? Do I dare trust the magistrate? What if Pam was wrong? I wouldn’t be able to live with myself either way. I was damned if I don’t, and damned if I do. I didn’t see any way out of this. I was going to have to think long and hard about it before telling Eric anything, I thought.
Even if he wasn’t punished by the magistrate, I still didn’t want Eric to have to deal with Bill. It was my problem. Bill and I had a history. He would listen to me. I could handle it on my own.
I only hoped and prayed that this wouldn’t interfere with my adoption of Hunter.