Once I had settled, I fell asleep, quickly. When I woke up the next morning, that’s when I realized that Eric never did tell me who he had visited and why. Damn it! Why was it that whenever I was with him, the things I really want to talk about never happened or would come into our topics of conversation at all?
I wanted to bang my head against the headboard, but knew that it was pointless. I wanted to wake Eric up, but remembered how hard it was to get him awake when he was asleep. He may as well be dead, I thought to myself, angrily. I hoped that my meeting with Agatha went okay because I really wanted to talk to Eric about not telling me everything. It had to stop, if our relationship was going to work. But if my meeting with Agatha didn’t go well…then this was all pointless.
I looked over at Eric, who laid in the bed, next to me. He was asleep. He looked like someone who had died and was displayed in their coffin. He looked peaceful and had a slight smile on his face. I wondered if I had something to do with that smile being there.
It was dark in the room, since there were sunblocking blinds on the windows, so that the vampires were able to sleep and not burst into flames when the sun rose. Other than the time appearing on the clock beside the bed, I had no clue what time of day it was. I hoped that I had a little bit of time to sight-see and pick up a souvenir or something for Amelia and Octavia. I had a feeling that this would be the only amount of free time that I had. I wanted to make the most out of it.
I climbed out of bed, showered and dressed, then headed down to the lobby to get myself some breakfast. I entered the dining room, noticing the fancy high ceilings and the elegant displays of flowers.
Hotel Mimosa really went all out to make the atmosphere in the room an inviting one, I thought to myself.
I was seated by a hostess, handed a menu and looked over the selections. There weren’t any prices, that I could see, so I wasn’t sure what I should order or not. I didn’t want to eat anything too expensive.
I flagged down a waitress passing by and asked her. “Excuse me, ma’am, but there doesn’t seem to be any prices listed. Can you please tell me how much this is?” I pointed at my selection on the menu.
“Don’t worry about the price, ma’am,” the waitress explained. “We bill your hotel room, unless you have a credit card.”
“Oh, okay, thank you kindly,” I replied back, while the waitress quickly left. My waitress appeared and asked if I was ready to order. I ordered my meal. The waitress took the menu away from me and walked away.
I looked around the elegant dining room at all of the other patrons.
“Sookie Stackhouse, is that you?” I heard a voice behind me exclaim.
I turned around behind me to see who it was that knew me. I was surprised to see Mr. Cataliades approach my table.
“Mr. Cataliades!” I exclaimed, in surprise. I hadn’t seen him for a long time now. Not since Rhodes. He was a half-demon lawyer, who had done some work for Queen Sophie-Ann, while she’d been alive. “What are you doing here in Las Vegas?” I asked, astounded to see him standing there.
“I’m here on business,” he answered. “The question is…what is Miss Sookie Stackhouse doing in Las Vegas?” I could tell that my appearance in Las Vegas had really surprised him. I guessed that maybe it was the furthest place from where he’d thought I’d ever be. I remembered that I’d always told people that I didn’t ever want to come here, but I couldn’t remember who.
“Oh…same,” I hesitantly answered. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust him, it was just that I didn’t want the world to know what Eric and I were up to. “King Felipe invited me, so I decided to come and see the sights,” I explained.
I could tell that this surprised him too. “I hope you didn’t come here all alone,” he commented, with concern in his voice.
I shook my head. “No,” I replied, “I’m here with a…friend,” I decided to not reveal Eric’s name. Not because I thought he would think less of me, but because I wanted to keep Eric’s presence a secret. The less people who knew he was here, the better. I had a better chance of being rescued, if it came to that. Eric had a lot of power, even though he had to answer to King Felipe, just because he ran the largest area in Louisiana. I knew that there were a number of people who would love to have the same kind of power that Eric had. Even though Mr. Cataliades was a demon and running a vampire area was the furthest thing that he’d want to do.
“That’s good,” he replied. “Would you mind it if I joined you?” he asked. “We have some catching up to do.”
“Sure,” I waved my hand, indicating the seat across from me.
Mr. Cataliades sat down. A waitress came by shortly after and took his drink order and handed him a menu. We were silent while he decided what to order.
“How are things going in Bon Temps?” he asked, after the waitress had come back and had taken his order.
“Oh,” I shrugged. “It’s still the same as ever,” I replied. “I’m still working at Merlotte’s. Still living in Gran’s house.”
“Oh, so you haven’t…?” he cut off his question quickly, as if he realized that it was an inappropriate question.
“What?” I prompted him to continue.
“Nothing…I don’t mean to pry. It’s just that I’ve heard that you’re Eric’s now,” he replied. “I had wondered if you had moved to Shreveport or not.”
This took me by surprise. Not that Eric hadn’t hinted that that was his intention, judging by the fact that he had bought a house with me in mind and had made other plans. But I’d had no clue that other Supes knew about it too.
“No,” I shook my head. “Things are still the same. Eric is still running Fangtasia and I’m still working at Merlotte’s.”
“I’m sorry,” he apologized. “It’s only yours and Eric’s business. You see, I had heard some rumors indicating that it had grown to being more than just a normal vampire bond between the two of you,” he explained.
For some reason, I didn’t want to share with him my true feelings. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that they were still too new and too scary. I was barely getting used to the idea myself. The thought of someone like me, with someone like Eric, really intimidated me.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t really talk about it. I can assure you that I’m taking my time before really jumping into anything though,” I offered.
We stopped talking about Eric and my relationship with him and began to talk about other things that we’d been up to. Soon, I realized that time was passing by quickly. If I wanted to do some shopping, I would have to hurry. Making my excuses, I bid Mr. Cataliades farewell.
Luckily, there were stores in the hotel. I headed into one of the ones that sold gifts and souvenirs. I picked out some nice little knick-knacks that I knew Amelia, Octavia and Tara would love. I even found something for Sam.
Which made me wonder how he was doing. I dug my cell phone out of my purse and headed towards a quiet part of the lobby. Sam’s phone rang for what seemed like an eternity it seemed before Arlene picked it up.
“Merlotte’s,” she greeted into the phone.
“Hey, Arlene, it’s Sookie.” I could hear her telling herself in her mind that she wasn’t happy that it was me on the phone.
“Hey Sookie,” she replied, reluctantly. “How are things with you? When are you coming back to work?” She asked. Like I care if you ever come back, you fangbanger.
I was surprised that she would think this because she would know that I’d be able to hear it. I decided to ignore it. “I’m not sure. Things have been real busy,” I explained. “Listen, is Sam around?” I asked, hopefully, wanting to end my conversation with her.
“No, he took off. I’m not sure where, but he left late last night and told me that he’d be gone a few days,” she replied. “I’m running the bar today, and it’s extremely busy. If you wouldn’t mind…I’ve really got to go.”
“Oh, okay, no problem,” I replied back, disappointed that I hadn’t been able to get a hold of him. “Take care. I’ll see you when I get back.” I quickly hung up the phone before I could hear Arlene once more call me a fangbanger in her mind.
I wondered where Sam had gone off to? I hoped that everything was okay and that it wasn’t an emergency or anything.
I looked at the time on my phone and decided that I’d better get ready to go meet Agatha. I wanted to get there early so that I could plan a way to escape, if I had to. I headed back up to the hotel room that I was sharing with Eric. I turned on the bathroom light so that I could see in the darkened interior. I walked over to my suitcase and tried to decide on what I should wear.
What would you wear to a meeting where it could be your last? Should I wear jeans and a t-shirt, so that if I had to, I could run away easily? I preferred wearing dresses in this kind of heat though. Deciding on a t-shirt and my pair of capris, I went into the washroom to change.
I brushed my hair back and pulled it up into a ponytail, deciding that would be easiest and wouldn’t get in my eyes, if I was trying to run away. I had to think practically. I didn’t want my clothing getting in the way of any kind of escape. I didn’t know if I’d have any back up or not. As far as I knew I was on my own.
Taking a last look in the mirror, I turned off the light, then grabbed my purse. I walked over towards the bed where Eric lay, peacefully. “Goodbye, Eric,” I whispered in the darkness. Tears sprang to my eyes. “I’m not sure if you’ll get there in time but…” I couldn’t finish the sentence, as I got choked up with my feelings.
How do you say goodbye to the person that you love?
“I want you to know that I really appreciate everything that you’ve ever done for me. How you would make me laugh. How you would make me cry. How you were always there for me when I needed you. I always knew that I could rely on you to help take care of me.” My tears were silently flowing down my cheeks now. “I even appreciated the way you would always try to get me in the sack when we first met,” I chucked a little at this, but it was an odd, shaky kind of laugh. “You always were able to take my mind off of my troubles. I never did thank you properly for paving my driveway and for buying me clothes and the things that I needed. If anything happens to me…I want you to move on and…be happy.” At the thought of it, I felt my words die in my throat.
I wanted to live with him for a long time, I thought. I want him to watch me grow old and tease me about my wrinkles. I wanted to spend every last day of my life with him.
But I couldn’t tell him all of that. It hurt too much. Instead, I leaned over and kissed his brow.
“Goodbye, my lover,” I spoke softly to him. “I want you to know that…I love you.” I slowly lifted my head, gazed at him for a few moments, memorizing every single detail about him, then backed away from the bed.
Before I could chicken out and run back to him, I left the suite closing the door behind me.
I took a taxi to Cashman Field. Mostly because I didn’t know where I was going and I didn’t want to take a limo from the Hotel. It would look too flashy for my tastes. I wasn’t that kind of person. I paid the driver, stepped out into the dry, warm desert air and closed the door. The taxi drove away, leaving me standing there in the swirling, settling dust.
I looked around. It was a bright, sunny day. The kind of day when I should’ve been at home sunbathing. I wished I was there now. I noticed the stadium and headed towards the entrance to the park. Agatha never did tell me exactly where at the park we were supposed to meet. I figured that it must be inside.
I was surprised and pleased to realize that I wasn’t the only one there. In fact, there was a baseball game going on. There was a crowd sitting in the bleachers and fans screaming for their favorite team. I was glad that I hadn’t worn a dress because I would have been terribly overdressed. It reassured me that if I needed it, help wouldn’t be too far away.
I paid for a ticket at the gate, thankful that I’d been thinking and had brought my purse. It was a good thing that the team was a minor league team because I had enough money in order to pay for it. Inside the stadium, I approached the steps that would take me to my seat. It was blessedly cool in the darkness from being outside.
How will I ever find her? I wondered. There were many people around and she could easily blend into the crowd. I hoped that I’d be able to spot her, before she spotted me.
I climbed the steps and looked for the row and seat that my ticket read that were mine. Of course, it was in the middle of the row, so I had to maneuver my way down the row. Apologizing for stepping on feet and interrupting their line of vision, it seemed like I did it over and over again.
I finally sat down and took a look around. The players were out in the field. I could see the scoreboard off in the distance. I’m not a big sports fan, but I understood what an inning and a home run were. The score said that the home team was in the lead, in the bottom of the seventh inning. They were up to bat. The crowd cheered loudly, hoping that the hitter would make a hit.
People’s minds buzzed around in my brain. I could pick up lots of thoughts about the game in my head. Some male fans thought about the legs or bosom of female fans in the crowd. Others thought about how they would celebrate after the game. All of their thoughts and attention were on the game.
I watched the game for the next couple of innings, until it was the bottom of the ninth. Glancing at the time on the scoreboard, I knew that it was time to meet Agatha. I got up from my seat and maneuvered my way down the row again. I climbed down the steps and walked into the shady interior of the stadium. I stood around, not knowing where to go or what to do.
I could hear the muffled cheers from the crowd. The home team must’ve scored, I thought to myself. I walked towards the washroom, intending to use the facilities, then freshen up. After following the signs instructing me on where to go, I found the washroom and entered.
There were many stalls in the washroom. A number of sinks and mirrors lined the wall. I quickly used the facilities, then walked to one of the sinks to wash and dry my hands. Looking in the mirror, I only had the slightest warning before Agatha appeared in the reflection.
Startled, I swirled around, knocking my purse off of the counter and on to the floor. The contents spilled out from inside it.
“I see you’re on time,” Agatha said by way of greeting. “Come, follow me. I know of a place where we’ll be more private,” she explained, then started to leave the washroom.
I scrambled to pick up my purse and tossed my belongings back inside. I quickly ran to catch up to her. She walked out of the stadium and out into the parking lot. Many cars were parked, their owners still in the stadium, watching the game. I wondered where Agatha was leading me, but she purposely kept her mind blank. We approached a white van. She stopped once we reached it.
“Inside,” she ordered, after she had opened up the sliding door and held it open for me.
“What makes you think that I’d climb into your van?” I asked her, amazed that she would think I would be stupid enough to do that. “Isn’t that how kidnappers grab their victims?”
Agatha turned towards me and gave me a dirty look. “Okay, fine. We’ll talk out here,” she reluctantly agreed.
“What do you want?” My patience was wearing thin. “Why are you after Eric and me? What did we ever do to you that you would want to hurt us the way you do?” I demanded, wanting to get our meeting over and done with.
“My, my…so many questions,” she replied, smirking. “My dear, don’t worry that sweet little head of yours. Your questions will be answered shortly.”
I didn’t reply, but glared at her angrily. It didn’t seem to affect her at all.
“I see that help has arrived,” Agatha spoke up, as she spotted something behind me.
I spun around to see what she was looking at, but it was someone that I didn’t know. I turned back around to face her with a curious look in my eyes. I suddenly got a sick feeling in my stomach, as I realized that it wasn’t help for me, it was help for her.
“Did you get it?” Agatha asked the man who approached.
The man nodded his head, then glanced at me. “Is this her?” He jerked his head towards me. “She doesn’t look as powerful as you said she was.” He looked disappointed that I wasn’t what he had pictured in his mind. “This should be a cake-walk,” he commented, making his view of the situation known.
“Look…what is this about?” I interrupted their conversation. “Maybe we can come to some kind of understanding and then we can start over fresh?” I suggested, hopefully.
“No, it’s too late for that,” Agatha answered, shaking her head. “Too much pain. Too much loss. Time for vengeance is now.”
“What vengeance?” I repeated, my fears now rushing forth, making it sound in my voice.
Agatha gazed at me for a few moments. She stared at me for so long that I began to fidget under her intense stare. “You really don’t know what you did, do you?” She asked me after a few minutes, full of surprise.
I shook my head, no, figuring that if I spoke, she might not continue to explain herself.
“Then, I will tell you. I will tell you what you took from me. I will tell you what I’ve lost,” she reached into the van and pulled out her purse, which must have been sitting on one of the seats. She pulled something out of her purse.
It looked like a photograph. She held it up, until it was inches away from my face. “Take a good look. This is what you took from me. This is who I’ve lost,” her hand shook as she held it. “You took them from me…now, I’m going to take something that you love away from you.”
I was stunned speechless when I realized that I recognized the people in the picture.