I woke up to the smell of coffee and one hell of a hangover. Slowly opening my eyes I frowned. Where was I? Oh yes, Tara and Willa’s place… Or actually one of Eric’s many safe houses. After picking up Lafayette, Tara had driven us to a secluded mansion just outside of Shreveport. Mansion isn’t even a good enough word to describe the house, it was a freaking manor! A manor specifically built for vampires, according to Tara, with a light tight shutters system and enough security gadgets to make James Bond’s Q green with envy.
“Good mornin’ baby girl!” said a very cheerful Lafayette, handing me a cup of coffee. “‘Though it’s more good afternoon now…”
“Not so loud, Lafayette” I groaned. “I feel as if I had a jackhammer in my head…”
“I sure hope you do, girl, you out-drank Lala last night! Ain’t a surprise if you’re feelin’ bad today!”
I closed my eyes and tried to remember anything about the previous night… Everything was a blur. I remembered crying my eyes out before doing shots after shots of the Tequila Lafayette had brought.
“You ain’t rememberin’ anythin’, right? Well, let Lala give you the recap. Previously on ‘Sookie’s life sucks’…”
“Alright… You is one scary lady when you drink, little girl. You at least remember callin’ Arlene and tellin’ her you was quittin’?”
“I what? I quit? You let me…”
“You was pretty sober when you called Arlene, you know. You said you was goin’ to look for your Viking and that you was quittin’. Arlene tried to talk you out of it, she called back but you was already drunk as a skunk. Speakin’ of your phone, you better look at it, kept ringin’ all night long…”
I sighed and searched for the damn phone. Empty bottles of liquor were scattered everywhere. No surprise I was having the mother of all hangover. I finally found my phone and the sight of 10 voicemails, 30 missed calls and nearly a hundred text messages made me groan. Most of the texts were from Alcide and I decided to delete them all without even bothering to read them.
The first voicemail, no surprise, was from Bill.
“Sookeh! I saw you leaving with Tara and Eric’s Childe… Are you in trouble? You know you can always come to me…”
Delete. Of course Bill had called and inquired about my departure… The next two were from Alcide. I took a deep breath and listen to them.
“Sookie, babe, where are you? I just came back and the house is empty! Call me back ASAP.”
“What the fuck, Sookie? I just found your note! Are you out of your fucking mind? Going after Northman? You better call me back!”
Delete. I hadn’t expected him to be happy about my breaking up with him through a note, but he seemed to take it better than I thought.
“Sookeh! The wolf came to my house spewing nonsense. Are you really going after Eric? Eric?! Eric who abandoned everything? You mean nothing to him! All that matter to the great Eric Northman is Eric Northman. He even left his newborn Childe! Tell me you’re not stupid enough to believe…”
Delete. I wasn’t going to listen to Bill Compton if he was going to insult me. I couldn’t believe I once thought myself in love with him, Mr. Holier-Than-Thou… Bill Compton who had been sent to seduce me and to bring me to the Vampire Queen of Louisiana as a telepathic slave. Bill Compton who had me beaten to a pulp just to get me to take his blood. Bill Compton who had lied to me time and time again. Bill Compton who had nearly drained me to death. Bill Compton who had nearly sent Eric to his True Death by pure petty jealousy. Yeah, as if I was ever going to listen to him anymore.
“Answer your damn phone, for fuck’s sake! Compton told me you left with Tara and that other girl… I thought you were done with fangers’ business. I’m telling you, you’re going to get yourself killed!”
Tara and that other girl… That other girl who had quickly become a dear friend of mine and who my dear boyfriend hadn’t took the time to remember the name.
“Hey Sook, Alcide just called me saying you dumped him to go after Eric… Look Sook… I may not ever win the best brother of the year award, but… Good luck, sis. I don’t care what Alcide says ‘bout Eric and all… I know he’s one of the good guy. I mean, he was going to die for you during the whole thing with the witches and he did heal me when I was at Vamp Camp, so… Go for it, sis. And keep me posted.”
At least my brother was on my side.
“Fuck, Sookie, answer when I fucking call! You really think you can just up and leave me? You’re a fucking crazy bitch! I gave up everything for you! I’m fucking pack master! I could have my pick of any were-bitch, but I choose you, a fucking telepathic non-were! You think you can leave me for a fucking fanger? For Eric Fucking Northman? He doesn’t love you, bitch! He doesn’t even know what love is. He only wants you for your blood! You know what? Go fuck your fucking fanger, that’s all you’re good for and that’s all you’ll ever be: a fucking fangbanger!”
That last message was really hard. The fact that he sounded quite inebriated didn’t make it less hurtful. No, I had seen enough drunken people in my career as a waitress to know that the truth came out more when they were deep in their cups. I took a deep breath before listening to the last message, expecting the worse.
“Sookie, babe… Please call me back… I’m begging you, please. I love you, babe. You’re the only one for me! Please, I’ll do anything! I love you!”
From angry drunk he went to the sobbing drunk. I hit the delete button, not feeling any remorse. The last couple of messages were from Arlene, begging me to reconsider my decision and even offering me a promotion. No, I wouldn’t back down. I was going to find Eric and bring him back. But would he agree to come back? Would he even want me back? No! I couldn’t think like that. I needed to stay positive.
“You is done listenin’ to all those messages?” asked Lafayette, bringing me a refill.
“Big, tall and dark not too broken hearted?”
I sighed. “You don’t want to know.”
“Lala always wanna know.”
“Well, let’s just say he wasn’t too pleased. But it doesn’t matter.”
“Want Lala to go all Brujo on him? Could curse his truck like I did your piece of crap you called a car.”
I laughed. “He’s not worth the trouble. Honestly, I don’t know why I dated him. I mean, a were is still a Supes, right? It’s no better than vampires.”
“You was lonely, little girl. The big bad wolf filled the void tall, blond, dead and sexy left. ‘Cause it was always him, right Sook?”
I nodded. Yes, it was always Eric. Even when I was with Bill, I always had this attraction for Eric. But Bill’s blood was clouding me. If I had met Eric under different circumstances, without having ingested Bill’s blood, I might have fell for him sooner than later.
“Good. ‘Cause I kinda like the fucker. Even if he can still give me the creeps once in a while. ‘Member when he drank Roy’s blood from his heart like it was a juice box? That shit was badass! But I also remember how he was willin’ to die for you. That, Sook, is true love. And tall, blond, dead and sexy loves you. Shit, I just admitted that Eric Fuckin’ Northman loves! The fucker who hold me in his dungeon for two fuckin’ weeks!”
I smiled. Yes, there was love in Eric. It brought me back to the first blood dream I had about him, back in Dallas. I said something about him having love in him and him answering that it was only for Sookie. After the witch curse I tried to kid myself by telling me that the amnesiac Eric wasn’t the real Eric. But how wrong had I been. The curse had only taken the walls he had built around himself. Eric Northman was more than able to love and he had loved me… And I hoped he still loved me.
The doorbell rang and I frowned. Who would be coming to a vampire’s house during the daytime? Sunset wasn’t until nearly 7:45PM…
“Did you tell anybody where we were?” I asked Lafayette.
“I didn’t even know where this house was before comin’ in. Must be that lawyer Tara called last night. ‘Member?”
The previous night was still fuzzy, but I kind of remembered a call to Eric’s attorney. I got up, looked at myself in the foyer’s mirror before opening the door. A tall, middle aged man was standing in front of me, carrying a big briefcase.
“Miss Stackhouse, I presumed? Desmond Cataliades. Miss Thornton called me last night.”
I lowered my shields and for the first time got a strange signal. This man wasn’t human.
“I’m a daemon, Miss Stackhouse. I imagine I’m your first?”
“I’m sorry… How do you…”
“Daemons, like fairies, are telepathic.”
“How do you know I’m…”
He smiled warmly and just with a smile I knew I could trust him.
“My being a daemon gives me the ability to… how could I say it… to determine from which species people are. Your friend here, he’s a medium, right? With a bit of Brujo if I’m not wrong.”
“Wow, you’re good. Excuse me, Mr. Cataliades, please come in. I… I’m sorry for the mess, we… we had quite the night in.”
“Don’t worry, Miss. I’ve seen worse. Ever been to an orgy before?”
“We were once at a Maenad orgy” answered Lafayette. “Lafayette Reynolds, the medium slash Brujo.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Reynolds. Now, how about we get down to business.”
We sat down on the couch with Mr. Cataliades sitting in the armchair. He opened his briefcase and took out several files.
“I’ve brought the information about Mr. Northman and Ms. Swynford De Beaufort different holdings worldwide. As you will see, they hold properties pretty much everywhere. I’ve also brought you a credit card, linked to Mr. Northman’s account under your name, Miss Stackhouse.”
I frowned. “A credit card? But I have my own money, Mr. Cataliades. I would feel bad about taking Eric’s money…”
“You don’t need to worry yourself, Miss. Mr. Northman had this credit card put under your name a little while ago. Actually, Mr. Northman had his will redone in November. Up until then, in the event of his True Death, his sole heir would have been Ms. Swynford De Beaufort, but he changed that just before leaving the state. Now, I know that we don’t have any proof that Mr. Northman met the True Death, but if you were to find evidence of such an unfortunate event, you, Miss Stackhouse, would be the primary heir to Mr. Northman’s fortune and holdings.”
“I don’t understand… I…”
I couldn’t breathe. Why would he do such a thing?
“Take a deep breath, baby girl” said Lafayette, soothing my back.
“Seems like Mr. Northman held you in high regards, Miss.”
“I can’t… I can’t accept that! I…”
“Look at it this way, Miss. From what Miss Thornton told me last night, you want to find Mr. Northman. Since he has been missing for more than 6 months, I have the authority of allowing you use of his assets until his True Death is either proven or refuted. I know you have your own money, but you realize that travelling with two vampires could be quite expensive. I imagine that both Miss Thornton and Miss Burrell are going to come with you on your journey, right?”
“Yes, of course they will. Eric is Willa’s Maker and we think that Pam might be with him, so Tara is coming along.”
“Then take the money, Miss Stackhouse. Mr. Northman’s jet has been made available for your personal use.”
“Jet? As in private jet?”
“Shit, that fucker is more loaded than we thought!”
Mr. Cataliades smiled at Lafayette.
“Mr. Northman is more than a thousand years old, Mr. Reynolds. He had centuries to accumulate quite the fortune.”
The lawyer handed me the stack of files and prepared himself to leave.
“Wait, I don’t even have a passport!”
The daemon smiled. “Don’t worry, Mr. Northman had that covered. You should find your passport with the files I gave you. Good luck in your search, Miss Stackhouse.”
I couldn’t believe it. Why would Eric even do that? If he changed his will before disappearing… after I had rejected him… Why?
“I know what’s goin’ on in that pretty head of yours, Sookie Stackhouse.”
“Who’s the telepath now?”
“I just know you well, baby girl. I guess I better call Arlene and tell her I’m also quittin’…”
“Lafayette, you don’t need to…”
“I ain’t lettin’ my three favourite girls travelin’ across the globe in search of the hottest vamp alone. Give me 2 or 3 hours to get my things in orders and we’re outa here, Sook.”
And so, while Lafayette went back to Bon Temps to settle his things and grab his passport, I decided to use my time alone until Tara and Willa woke from their day rest to go through the files Mr. Cataliades had brought me. I had a lot of things to plan and I better start planning them now.