Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
Elphaba17, thank you for all your wonderful ideas, one of which I wrote into this chapter. Another little part was inspired by BlahBlahVampireEmergencyBlah, maybe it’s not exactly what you had in mind…but Eric has to be reasonable, so threatening is second best…right? So many of you have given me so many good ideas, and they are beginning to shape the upcoming chapters…so thank you for sharing your brains with me.
SeriousCrush is officially on maternity leave at this point, so please be patient with my spelling/content errors!
That’s the Problem with Bloodstains
Eric’s POV (in Sookie’s body)
As Sheriff of Area Five, there wasn’t a lot that happened in this part of Louisiana that I didn’t know about, including the Queen’s interest in a telepath in Bon Temps. I knew that Bill was sent to procure her, and that she had encouraged him to use any means necessary. I had little interest in the situation…until Bill opened his mouth. Bill had bragged about his telepath openly, which piqued my curiosity. The night that I summoned him to Fangtasia had been a thinly veiled attempt to meet her. My expectations were high. She did not disappoint. I found it impossible to stop thinking about her, and used my position of power to keep an eye on her, even when she wasn’t in my Area. (I definitely hadn’t gone to Dallas for Bill.) So I assumed, when I saw how angry Sookie was, that Bill had opened his mouth.
Bill was trapped under my body, and Sookie was beating him thoroughly. She was not a skilled fighter, despite the way she had expertly pinned him to the ground, and I was tempted to give her pointers on how to do some real damage, but when I looked at my face I knew she wasn’t really there. She was blinded by rage and controlled by anger. Bill didn’t stand a chance. What Sookie didn’t know was that the rules of the vampire world would have made both of our lives miserable if she actually killed him. I had only met his maker once, and I did not care to meet her again, let alone bargain with her over the worth of her progeny.
Bill tried to talk, and only managed to sputter and make a gurgling noise as his throat filled with his own blood. I knew my body was strong enough to end him, and if Sookie hit him like that much longer, she would. I walked up to them and touched my back. Sookie did not respond right away, so I started talking to her. Finally she responded by letting my fists fall slack by my sides. I could hear the pain in her words as she spoke to Bill, and I watched to make sure she got in the house before I talked to him.
It took him a while to heal enough to get up, but eventually he did. “Bill.”
“Eric?” he said, his voice was rough.
“You have hurt her for the last time. As Sheriff of Area Five, I banish you from my area,” I said.
“You can’t do that…the Queen…”
“The Queen will support my decision. She is more reasonable than you know. If you’re not interested in leaving, I can get Sookie to come back out here…with a stake.”
Bill’s eyes darted to the door Sookie had just walked through and then back to me. I thought I saw fear, but it was quickly replaced with his usual calm. “I will leave. As you wish, Sheriff.” Bill said.
“You will collect your things and be gone by sunrise. It would be in your best interest to keep our situation to yourself.” I put her hands on her hips and stared at him, waiting for him to leave. Bill scurried away, like the pathetic rodent I knew him to be.
I could hear Sookie crying through the door. “Sookie, please let me in.”
Sookie was covered in blood, and I knew she would want a bath. I made it extra hot so that the mirrors would be fogged over enough that she wouldn’t be able to see the sorrow on my face.
While she soaked, she cried, and as much as I wanted to be with her, I knew that this was not the time. The idea of wanting to comfort her was shocking, but after what she had done for me last night, this was the least I could do. I put out a fresh change of clothes and rifled through her closet, looking for something to wear that was the exact opposite of the black dress I was still wearing. I found a pink flannel nightgown, complete with a tiny satin bow in the center of the neckline folded neatly near the front of the closet, so I exchanged the slutty dress for comfortable soft sleepwear.
The need to apologize to her was nagging at me, so I took her silence to mean that she was listening, and proceeded to quote Pam and thank her while apologizing. It was easier than I anticipated, and when I was done, the heaviness in her chest lifted. It felt right. Did having a human body suddenly give me a conscience?
Without that distraction, I realized that I was starving, and made my way into the kitchen. I had no idea what I was looking for, and since I had polished off the prepackaged containers of meals the first day, the fridge looked empty, despite the full shelves. Pickles were familiar, but after Sookie warned me about them, I put them back and reluctantly let her prepare a meal for me.
Once the smell of the food filled her nose, I stopped protesting, and watched closely as she deftly moved around the kitchen. She served my food and made no move to join me, so I waited for her, fighting the temptation to devour the plate of hot eggs, bacon and biscuits in front of me. She got the hint and warmed up a bottle of blood and then sat next to me, hitting my knees under the table. We ate in relative silence…well at least she was silent. I couldn’t stop commenting on how good the food was. I could tell that Sookie was pleased by my compliments.
I wasn’t surprised that Sookie didn’t want to talk about what happened earlier, but I was surprised that she wanted to watch a movie with me. I sat on the couch, hoping that she would sit with me, and although she wasn’t as close as I would have liked she did sit near me. I could see my body relax as she became engulfed in the movie. Sookie’s presence in my body had softened my features, it was almost as if I could see her peeking through. Her mannerisms – the way she talked with her hands, touched her hair, and laughed with her eyes closed – were all there, in my body. I wondered if anyone else noticed it too.
Before the movie was over, the warmth of the room and the late hour started to challenge my ability to keep her eyes open. I fought it at first, determined to stay awake, but it was impossible. I was so exhausted that I didn’t realize Sookie had carried me into her room until she put me down on her bed. I tried to thank her, but I’m not sure the words came out clearly.
The sun was streaming through the windows when I woke up, and after glancing at the clock I realized it was just after noon. Sookie’s bladder reminded me that I should visit the bathroom immediately. As I sat on the toilet, I noticed the blood splattered clothes on the floor. I thought about burning them, until I remembered how good I looked in those jeans. They were custom made for me, and there was no way I could burn them. How was I supposed to get bloodstains out of clothes? My day man always took care of this sort of thing. He would probably be able to tell me.
As I was getting dressed, the phone rang. It was Sam.
“Sookie?” Sam questioned.
“Try again!” I answered in a perky voice.
“I don’t suppose you’re coming into work today?” Sam asked again.
“You are correct! You’ll need to find a replacement,” I answered. I definitely lacked Sookie’s loyalty. Sam sighed. “Sam…how do you get bloodstains out of clothes?”
“Bloodstains? What’s going on?” Sam sounded worried.
“Bill showed up last night and said something unpleasant to Sookie…let’s just say he lost a lot of blood.”
“Sookie hurt him?” Sam asked with disbelief.
“Yes, pretty badly. The unfortunate part is that he lost a lot of blood on my jeans, and I want to clean them, but I don’t know how.”
“Oh shut up about your jeans! Is Sookie alright?”
“She wouldn’t talk about it, so I didn’t push her.” Sam was silent. “Can you help me, or do I need to call someone else?”
Sam sighed again. “Soak them in cool water, and then scrub the spots with a bar of soap and a splash of hydrogen peroxide.”
“Does Sookie have those things?”
“Check in her medicine cupboard. Hydrogen peroxide will be in a dark brown bottle…I hope you know where the soap is…” Sam trailed off, and then going one step further added, “I think she’s got an old top loading washing machines, so you’ll want to select the heavy duty cycle and pull out the knob until the drum fills with water, it should take care of any blood stains that you miss. Follow the directions on the bottle of detergent. Don’t add too much!”
“Okay,” I said a little irritated that he was explaining this to me as if I were a child.
“Anything else? I gotta bar to run. Alone.” I ignored Sam’s attempt at guilt.
“I’m sure I can figure it out.” I hung up the phone and then went in to the bathroom, plugged the tub and filled it with a couple of inches of cool water. After emptying my pockets, I soaked my jeans for a few minutes and then started rubbing a bar of soap over the material. The water in the tub was pink and cloudy, so I drained it and rinsed my jeans off. They looked fine, but then I remembered Sam’s suggestion to use hydrogen peroxide. I opened her medicine cupboard and found a dark brown bottle. I flattened my jeans out in the tub and splashed the hydrogen peroxide on the material and gasped when the surface of my jeans started foaming white. I was worried that the chemical was eating through the material, but Sam was too smart to piss me off. Eventually the foaming stopped and my jeans looked intact.
I carried them down the hall and out onto the porch where her washer and dryer sat side by side, leaving a trail of water behind me. I felt her face distort with disgust as I looked into the washer. The drum was rusty and the knob was held in place with a piece of silver tape. How was this piece of shit going to clean anything? I reluctantly put my jeans in the washer, and after a few minutes, the machine filled with water and started spinning.
On my way back through the kitchen, a closet next to the fridge made some sort of groaning noise. I opened it and found an impossibly small water heater in the large space.
While I waited for my jeans to wash, I cooked myself some eggs – just like Sookie showed me, showered and got dressed. The shower was a little on the cold side, which I blamed on the tiny water heater.
The machine beeped, telling me that my jeans were clean. I inspected them, and then opened the dryer. It was in worse shape than the washer, and I struggled to get the door closed because the hinges were so bent. This was ridiculous.
I grabbed my keys and my wallet and stopped at the phone on my way out of the house. The number for Merlotte’s was next to the phone. “Sam, where can I buy a washer and dryer?”
“The home improvement store on Main,” Sam said. “Sookie’s machines not good enough for you?”
“They’re not good enough for anyone! I had to kick the door of the dryer to get it to close!”
Sam laughed. “Yeah I’ve heard her complain about it before!”
“I can see why…and it ends today.” I hung up and headed out the door.
Val’s Hardware was not a large store, but the staff was very helpful. I found the laundry appliances in no time, and after listening to the salesman explain the benefits of front-loading machines, I decided that I would buy her a top of the line set. They looked similar to the set I had, and although I had never used them, Sookie had…and she seemed to like mine. The man helping me was thrilled with my choice and offered me the extra platform and storage drawer, which he assured me would be easier on my back when doing several loads. If there was one thing I knew, it was that Sookie could use all the pain relief she could get. I was sold.
“While I’m here, can you show me to the water heaters?”
“Right this way Miss. What size were you looking for?”
“The bigger the better.”
“How about this 50 gallon model. It’s got a double wall of insulation, and it’s real quiet. With this beauty, you’ll be able to shower for two hours!”
“It’s the one I want,” I said, dreaming of a long hot shower.
I followed the salesman to the register, where he typed in all of Sookie’s information. “When can I schedule a delivery?” he asked.
“Ms. Stackhouse, if you want these appliance delivered today, you’ll have to pay extra,” he said, lifting his eyebrows.
“Fine with me,” I said opening my wallet. I peered at the screen to find the total and made a tidy pile of one hundred dollar bills on the counter next to him. His mouth was still open as he watched me recount them.
“Thank you so much!” he said. “Our delivery guys will be by your place between four and six o’clock.” Giving me just enough time to go grocery shopping.
With a paper grocery bag filled with bottles of blood and eggs in the passenger seat of my corvette, I made the short trip back to Sookie’s house. My car was definitely not made for grocery shopping trips.
The longer I spent in Sookie’s body, the less I understood her. Why did she stay in her lonely house, work a demeaning job, or deal with people that treated her like a freak? She couldn’t possibly enjoy any of those things. I would have to ask her later.
I changed into her bikini and sat on a lawn chair in a sunny patch. The sun penetrated her skin, warming her to the bone. It was a glorious feeling. Some time later, the sound of crunching gravel forced her eyes open. Two young men stepped out of the delivery truck and walked towards me with a clipboard.
“You Sookie Stackhouse?” the tall one asked me.
I nodded. “Do you have my new appliances?”
“Yes, ma’am,” the short one answered. He was blushing as he took in the sight of Sookie’s abundant breasts spilling over the top of the bikini.
“Let me show you where they need to go.” I turned and walked to the back porch, feeling both of their eyes on her body. “Will you set them up for me?” I asked, leaning casually on the doorframe. It was fun to play the part of a helpless woman, because I had no intention of helping them.
The short man nodded with glazed over eyes. “Yes ma’am. We install the new ones and remove the old ones.”
“Good. I’ll let you get to work then!” I turned and went back out to the lawn chair, determined to enjoy the rest of the evening sun. The two men worked for an hour hauling appliances back and forth. Finally, they called me inside to inspect their work.
Sookie’s old washer and dryer had already been removed, and in their place was a new set of shiny machines. They informed me that the water heater was set up and ready to go, and that I should adjust the water temperature to suit my needs.
“We left the stickers on the washer and dryer in case you wanted to show your…boyfriend?” the shorter man hinted.
“Yes, my boyfriend should be here any minute now. He’s a vampire. A big one…so you might want to get on your way before he wakes up.” I winked at them and they both looked like they were about to shit themselves.
“Thank you ma’am for shopping at Val’s!” They said in unison just before they sprinted towards the delivery truck.
I laughed and went into the kitchen, checking on the new water heater on my way. It filled the small closet.
I was rummaging through the fridge again when Sookie woke up.
“How did you sleep?” I asked.
“Like the dead,” she said, almost smiling.
“I’ve got a surprise for you,” I sang.
Sookie shook my head. “Oh no. I don’t think I could take any more surprises!”
“You’ll like this one. I’m sure of it.” I held her hand out to her, and when she didn’t take it, I motioned for her to follow me.
“Eric! I can’t afford these!” Sookie shouted as she stared at the new washer and dryer.
“No! But I can!” I shouted back. Of course I knew she couldn’t afford these, or anything, for that matter. I had inadvertently found her stash of tips tucked inside a pile of bills on top of her dresser. As impressive as the stack of cash looked, it was only a couple of hundred dollars, exactly enough to pay the bills.
I had expected a big scene, where she hugged me and kissed me and then lifted me up and fucked me on top of the new machines…but no. That is not at all what was happening.
“So, you just went out and bought me new appliances…out of the goodness of your heart?” She raised my eyebrows skeptically.
“I don’t appreciate what you’re implying. I can do something nice for you. I have before…”
“When?” she demanded.
“Dallas.” I said. “You think saving your life is nothing?”
“Oh, that. No, I mean buying me stuff. You can’t just throw your money around and buy me stuff…I work hard for the things that I have!” She turned on my heel and went into the kitchen, ripping open a bottle of synthetic blood and chugging it.
“You are being ridiculous!” I shouted after her. “I thought you would be happy…”
“Because I’m a woman, and I love to do laundry? You’re a pig Eric!” She stormed down the hall and slammed the bathroom door behind her. The shower started seconds later. Why did Sookie have to be so damn stubborn?
I tried the knob but it was locked. My cell phone rang and vibrated against the nightstand where I left it.
“Master. Still no luck breaking the spell?” Pam snickered.
“Does it sound like we broke the fucking spell?” I snapped. “Why are you calling?”
“To let you know that you have a meeting tonight. With the Sheriff of Area One.” Her voice had lost the lightness it had moments before.
“What?” Sookie’s heart was pounding and her mouth went dry.
“Apparently, the Sheriff of Area Five banished a vampire from his area…” Pam said, waiting for me to explain what happened. “I take it from your silence that Bill is telling the truth? Fuck me…” Pam paused. “He’ll be here at midnight. You better be here! Both of you.” Pam’s voice was serious. She knew better than to fuck with Andre. We both did.