Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest. All mistakes are my own.
Hold on, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. Trigger Warning: this chapter depicts violence and sexual assault.
The bruises she had gotten in Dallas were finally gone, so when she got ready for the big game, she felt pretty for the first time in weeks. Eric always made her feel attractive by surrounding her with lust every time they were near each other, but he never made a move. Of course, he made plenty of comments. He had a quick wit that she always enjoyed, even if he was saying something suggestive. And now they had a date to the football game. Her date: Eric, the six foot four Viking god. If people in town didn’t already talk about her, they would after that night.
Her sleepovers began out of necessity. The nightmares from being in Dallas took their toll on her, and being around Eric soothed her more than she cared to admit. As her mind and body healed, her reason for being near him changed. Sure, she was safe around him, that didn’t change, but there was something else too. She liked him, and he appeared to like her too.
She curled her hair and dressed in a warm black and red sweater and matching black pants and boots. She leaned close to the mirror and put on lipstick and smiled. “Pretty good. Pretty damn good.”
The stands brimmed with people. It seemed as though everyone from Bon Temps had turned out for the game. Sookie scanned the bleachers, trying to find Eric’s face amongst the crowd, but it was no use. He wasn’t there yet, but some of her friends were. Tara flagged her down.
“Hey Sookie! Looking cute!” Tara grinned. She sat with her fiancé Eggs and their mutual friend JB du Rone.
JB smiled at her and whistled. “You are lookin’ mighty fine.”
Sookie returned the compliment, which wasn’t hard to do, considering how easy on the eyes JB was. “Scoot over, will ya? I’m waiting for a friend, but I don’t see him yet,” she said to JB, who happily made room for her.
Eggs gave her a sloppy smile. “Wanna drink?”
She could smell the booze on his breath. “No thanks. How ya’ll been?”
“Great! Business is going well and Eggs just got a promotion at work!”
“Good for you, Eggs.”
Just then, the game started. They cheered along with everyone else in the crowd. JB inched closer and closer, showering her with compliments. She could tell from the few thoughts in his head that he had his heart set on another woman, but he clearly enjoyed the company of someone in the flesh. She could relate.
She scanned the crowd again looking for Eric, and found Bill instead. He glared at her. Portia had her hand on his knee and squeezed it to get his attention. The crowd let out a collective yell, “Touchdown!” and Sookie took the opportunity to rip her eyes away and pay attention to the game. Seeing Bill was unsettling, but knowing Eric would show up any minute made her feel a little better.
She managed to ignore Bill every time she searched for Eric, always averting her eyes from the section where he and Portia sat. The game went on and on, but Eric never showed. The disappointment crushed her. Maybe he’s not as interested in me as I thought he was.
Before they parted, JB gave her a peck on the cheek. It was sweet and simple, just like him.
After waiting for her turn to leave the high school parking lot, Sookie stopped and got gas, chatting with Arlene’s cousin Derrick for a few minutes about the game. By the time she pulled away from the pump, most of the cars in Bon Temps had made their way home.
As she unlocked her front door, Bill came out of the darkness. Without a word, he grabbed her by the back of the neck and kissed her. His teeth scraped her mouth, pain shot through her as her lip split. She tried to scream for help, but he squeezed and his fingertips dug into her windpipe, making her choke on her words.
“You smell like him,” he growled and then he ripped her sweater off. His free hand moved roughly over her breasts as he pressed his manhood against her.
Sookie raised her fist, but he saw it coming and batted it away like an annoying fly. And then he hit her, sending her stumbling into the front room. Stars burst behind her eyelids. Free from his grasp she took a deep breath and held onto the back of the couch.
Bill was on her again and then he ripped her bra. The useless piece of material hung off her body as he pushed her forward. He pulled her pants down and spread her legs forcefully. Ziiiiip.
She squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head. Tears stung her eyes. “No. Stop.”
Bill positioned his dick against her opening, but before he could go any farther, Eric burst through the front door.
“Get off her!” Eric shouted.
Bill turned toward him leaving Sookie scrambling against the couch, wiggling back into her pants. She had to find something. Anything she could use as a weapon. Her fingers fell on her crossword book, and more importantly, the pencil wedged between the pages.
Sookie spun with the pencil held high. Bill had his back to her, snarling at Eric, with his hands curled into claws. She let out a scream and plunged the pencil through the left side of his back. Bill’s arms went slack and then he exploded.
When she opened her eyes, Sookie’s dinner forced its way out of her throat, only adding to the disgusting pile on the floor. She fell to her knees, fighting another wave of nausea. What have I done?
“Sookie?” Eric whispered. He squatted next to her.
She blinked several times before she focused on him. “He was hurting me. He was going to, going to…” She was breathing too fast, and then she saw stars again.
The first thing she noticed when she woke was how sore her throat was, and then the other aches in her body made themselves known, the most painful were the twin abrasions under her breasts from where her bra had dug into her.
“Hi,” Eric whispered. “I’m glad you’re back.”
Sookie’s eyes fluttered open. She was clean and wearing her favorite nightgown. “How did I…?” She looked up into his face from where she’d been sleeping on his lap.
“You passed out, so I cleaned you up and brought you to bed.”
A tear slid across her cheek, but before it could finish tracing the contour of her face, Eric wiped it away.
“It was self-defense. I can attest to that.” Eric frowned. “What happened before I got here?”
“He saw me at the game. I was talking to my high school friends. I guess he got jealous.”
Eric’s jaw clenched. “And I wasn’t there to protect you.”
Sookie put her hand on top of his and wrapped her fingers around his cool palm. “Yes you were.” If Eric hadn’t shown up at that crucial moment, Bill would’ve raped her and then killed her. She was sure of it. She had never been so terrified, and that’s saying a lot.
“We got raided tonight. Pam and I spent two hours answering questions for the Shreveport PD.”
“Sorry I wasn’t there to warn you.” She offered a weak smile.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t here. I missed our date.” His voice rose as if it were a question.
“Don’t worry. There will be more.” She squeezed his hand and then closed her eyes.
The next time she woke, the clock on her nightstand told her it was after five in the morning. She’d been asleep for hours, but it wasn’t enough. Eric sat in the chair on the other side of the room, concealed by shadows.
“I have to go.” Regret filled his voice.
“Please stay. Stay with me.” She needed him more than ever.
“It’s not safe. The sun…” The bed creaked under his weight as he sat next to her.
“I have a spot. In the other room. A hidey hole.” She pushed herself up and showed Eric the false floor in the closet. “I can put stuff on top of it so it looks more natural. Can you fit?”
He tilted his head and narrowed his eyes. He stepped into the spot and folded his body. “It appears I can.” He smiled. “It’s a little tight.”
“You are much taller than B…” Bile rose in the back of her throat. To think she had loved him. Trusted him. Given him everything. The room spun and then she was in Eric’s arms again.
“Shh.” The light from the closet glowed around his body, illuminating his blond mane. And then he kissed her slow and gentle.
Sookie opened her mouth to him and winced. Her lip was split and swollen. “I’m sorry. I’m not in the best shape for kissing, I guess.”
“Then we’ll sleep.”
“Here, so I can be near you.” She pointed to the floor under them. Eric put her down and she pulled a pile of blankets out of the linen closet and arranged them into a makeshift bed. He sat down first, and then stretched out and held his arms open for her.
She crawled into the spot in front of him and rested her head against his arm and spooned her back against his chest. She pulled his arm across her body and brought it up to her chest. He stroked the bruises on the side of her neck. “You won’t oversleep?”
“No.” His breath kissed her ear. “Get some rest. See you tonight.”
That horrifying scene near the end of LDID was the driving force behind writing this story. I’ve never killed Bill before, so I hope you all still love me, despite the violence!
On to Stay: Chapter 8