Relapse: Chapter 2

Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.

 

This chapter is short. Just warning you now! I stayed up entirely too late one night thinking about this story and realized I needed to rewrite this chapter (and the rest of the story), so I did. It’s still short, but I’m much happier with it. I hope you enjoy reading!

 

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Chapter 2

 

Sookie’s POV

 

Sookie laced her fingers through Eric’s and held onto him tightly as they walked up the front steps toward the palace. Her ankles wobbled in her new heels and she became lightheaded.

“Breathe,” Eric whispered, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

She nodded and took a deep breath, feeling remarkably better. One step after another led her to the front doors. A vampire guarded either side, wearing the same uniform the vamp at the gate had. The woman held a wicked blade in her hands and a long curtain of black hair hid half her face. With her visible eye, she observed Sookie with keen interest. The man attempted to keep his focus on Eric as they exchanged greetings, but failed miserably. Sookie leaned against Eric, wishing she could hide behind him and disappear, and then he started moving inside.

A lavish hall sprawled ahead of them. Fine carved furniture lining the walls while an enormous chandelier hung overhead, the multitude of crystals throwing colored light on the creamy white walls. As if making an entrance in an epic film, a young woman sashayed down a curved, glossy staircase at the end of the hall.

“Welcome,” she called, her silk gown flowing around her as if it weighed nothing.

Eric took a step away from Sookie, released her hand, and bowed. “My queen.”

She smiled. “I see you survived the wilderness, Eric. And this must be Sookie Stackhouse.” The queen finished her descent and floated toward them. Her small frame didn’t diminish her strength; instead, it seemed to enhance it. Like a fine Japanese sword: delicate, beautiful, and deadly. “My, aren’t you lovely?”

Sookie shifted from foot to foot under the scrutiny, the familiar heat of a blush creeping up her neck. Finally remembering her manners, she curtsied. “Ma’am.”

The queen tittered. “Please, call me Sophie-Anne.” The accent that had been hiding behind most of her words emerged when she spoke her name. She gestured to a door leading to an extravagant office. “Please, sit.”

Sookie passed Sophie-Anne as she went into the room. The queen inhaled deeply and gave Eric a satisfied smile. Sookie sat on the edge of a chair that looked like it belonged in a museum. She held as still as she could, afraid it might break under her. The queen sat in a chair nearby, but Eric remained standing between them.

“Eric, I am most pleased with the outcome of your work. Your debt has been paid. I hope you will consider taking a position here, with me.”

A smile fluttered around the corners of his mouth and then disappeared. “Thank you, Sophie-Anne.”

Debt? Eric owes her something? He never mentioned that. Sookie knew well enough to keep her mouth shut. She could ask him later.

“You may leave,” the queen said.

“I would like him to stay,” Sookie said.

The queen looked from Eric to Sookie, raising one perfect eyebrow. “You’ve become attached, I see.”

Sookie nodded slowly and straightened her back hoping Eric wouldn’t leave. He didn’t. He stood next to her. That simple thing, not leaving, filled her heart with hope. Maybe he wasn’t just using me.

The queen narrowed her eyes. “You are very interesting. Do you know why you’re here?”

Sookie glanced at Eric, who still hadn’t moved. “Eric said you wanted to talk to me about something, but not until Bill’s blood was gone.”

“Bill.” Sophie-Anne scoffed. “I sent him to do one little job and not only did he fail me, but he seems as though he were trying to undermine me. If that’s the case—”

“What job? Sheriff Pam mentioned something like that the first night I met her, but it’s all a little foggy, what with being drugged and all.” She lifted one eyebrow, waiting for the queen to respond.

“Bill is – was my procurer. He was sent to acquire you, but apparently he had other plans. I keep waiting for him to admit his guilt, but he hasn’t said a word. The night he took you to Fangtasia was the first time I knew he had found you. Imagine my surprise finding that he’d claimed you.”

“Claimed me?” Her forehead creased. Never mind the fact that the queen had just referred to her as if she were property. The queen also spoke about Bill as if she’d seen him recently. Maybe she knows where he is!

“He gave you his blood. Quite a lot.”

She almost defended him, praising how he had saved her from the Rats, but she knew that wasn’t the whole truth. He had saved her, but only because he’d probably arrived late on purpose so she would need to be saved. She couldn’t complain about having Bill out of her system, but that didn’t make the queen’s actions right. “Why would him giving me his blood undermine you?”

The queen relaxed into her chair. “Well, you see, when a human has vampire blood, it creates a bond. It’s weak at first, but full strength with the third exchange. It influences your brain, your emotions, and your decisions. Bill had influence over you the moment you took your first swallow.”

“And you didn’t want his influence?” she guessed.

“Exactly.” Sophie-Anne smiled. “It was obvious I couldn’t trust him after such a grievous error.”

Sookie leaned forward. “So I had to pay for Bill’s mistake.”

Eric flinched.

“I wouldn’t look at it that way,” the queen said, her smile tightening.

“Wouldn’t you? I was treated like a prisoner. Tied up, handcuffed, and drugged because I had Bill’s blood inside me.” Sookie gripped the arms of her chair to keep her hands from shaking. “Why didn’t you just tell me what was going on and let me make a choice about what to do?”

The smile fell from Sophie-Anne’s face. “In my experience, humans aren’t willing to listen.”

“I’m not a regular human, am I?” Sookie asked, challenging her.

“No, you’re not,” she answered, shifting forward and reaching toward the desk. “In fact, you are a descendant of Niall’s,” she said with awe.

Sookie frowned. Who’s that? Why is she acting so weird?

Eric took a step between them, his hands balling into fists, preparing for a fight.

“Relax, Eric,” the queen commanded before lifting a folder. “Here is the information I could find about your fairy heritage.”

Sookie’s mouth hung open. She reached out and took it. Newspaper clippings, handwritten notes, and old photographs poked out of the edge. She had no idea what she might find in that folder, so she put it on her lap, determined to read every last scrap of paper on her own. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“You’re welcome.” When the queen relaxed into her chair, Eric took his neutral position between them. “Now, let’s get on with things. I would like to offer you a job where I can benefit from you telepathy.”

Sookie had been expecting that and countered with, “What are your terms?”

“Oh!” Sophie-Anne laughed, noticeably delighted. “I am willing to pay two hundred thousand a year.”

Sookie nodded, pretending that two hundred thousand dollars wasn’t a big deal. Working at Merlotte’s had barely covered utilities, and not for lack of effort. She worked until her entire body ached for next to nothing. Now, she was being offered a job that paid ten times as much. How could she say no? “Hours?”

“They will vary. I’ll need you to be available for meetings and when I travel. We can discuss that more fully when we draw up a contract.”

The queen’s presumptuous statement put Sookie off. When we draw up a contract? When?! As if I don’t have a say in this! “Before I agree to anything, I’m going to need an apology,” she stated, waiting for the shock to disappear from the queen’s face and ignoring the tension in Eric’s body.

“An apology?”

She nodded. “For my treatment. I don’t blame Eric. He was following orders and made every effort to take care of my needs. You gave those orders and I want you to apologize.” She held the queen’s eyes with her own, never wavering, no matter how fast her heart hammered against her chest or how light-headed she became.

Sophie-Anne took her time, but eventually said, “I am sorry for your distress.”

“Distress?” Sookie asked. “Do you have any idea how painful that spell was?” She narrowed her gaze. “It felt like my body was being ripped apart from the inside.”

“I apologize,” the queen murmured with more feeling than her previous statement.

“My personal life is my own business, including whomever might be influencing me.” She couldn’t stop. All the anger, pain, and bitterness about how she had been handled came to the surface and forced its way out of her throat. “Don’t ever assume to know me.”

“Understood.” The queen nodded once.

Sookie was breathing hard and her hands shook, not from fear, but from the power of standing up for herself. Eric took a step between Sookie and the queen, his entire body coiled tight. Fear radiated from him. She took a deep breath and tried to calm down.

Sophie-Anne frowned. “This is not what I expected of this meeting.”

“Sookie has been through a lot and is still recovering,” Eric said.

She stood behind him, angrier than ever that she wasn’t included in the conversation anymore.

“Perhaps we can meet again, once she’s had a chance to rest more fully,” the queen said. “Please let me know when she’s ready.”

He bowed slightly and pulled Sookie against his body. Despite her position, she didn’t feel peaceful in his arms. She wanted to fight for her rights and make sure the queen understood how pissed she was, but Eric ushered her out of the room before she could open her mouth.

At the door, she finally broke free. “I want to see Bill,” she blurted.

The queen’s eyes met hers again. “I’ll be in touch.”

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Originally, I had written Sookie going with the flow and accepting the job outright, but after I thought about it long and hard I decided that she needed to be angry … angry enough to stand up for herself and hold the queen accountable for her actions. I was inspired to make the changes because of a comment Meridian made about Detox. Thanks for planting those seeds in my brain!

On to Relapse: Chapter 3

51 thoughts on “Relapse: Chapter 2

  1. ericluver says:

    It’s good to see Sookie standing up for herself…but she needs to be careful. Great chapter! Wonder what she’ll have to say to Bill?

    Like

  2. switbo says:

    Love strong Sookie! I love when she actually stands for herself about being wronged instead of just taking everything out on Eric and blaming him for everything that’s gone wrong in her life. There were times when I reading the books or watching the show that I amazed she wasn’t blaming him for the rain. Ugh.

    Can’t wait to read more. QSA is getting a rude awaking I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying her. 🙂 I feel the same way about book and TB Sookie. Not only is she a doormat, but she’s terrible about putting blame where blame is due. QSA is going to have to rethink how she ‘handles’ Sookie. 🙂 I’ll post a chapter first thing in the morning! Thanks so much for reviewing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mom2goalies says:

    Yes, Sookie should be angry and I’m glad she stood up for herself. Gotta admit I’m looking forward to Eric’s reaction though! Lol

    Like

  4. jules3677 says:

    You made the right decision with the angry and hurt Sookie. Her standing up to the Queen may also allow for better treatment of humans, far far far into the future if she realises that the humans have feelings too – that is if their race wants to ‘get along’ with the humans. Like how you had Sookie so outraged at her hurt and not only blaming Bill but also the Queen who instigated his presence in her life. Looking forward to reading the next chapter. 🙂

    Like

    • I’m so glad you enjoy the changes I made. Sookie needed to say something or it would’ve killed her inside. No one should treat her like that. Bill’s awful, but the queen was ultimately responsible. 🙂 Next you’ll get Eric’s POV. Thanks for reviewing! More coming soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ljhjelm says:

    I like this Sookie and Eric will protect her with all that he is.
    Linda

    Like

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying them, Linda! Eric is definitely protective, and Sookie is bold and can’t stop saying what needs to be said. I gave her the courage I wish I had when people shit all over me. 🙂 If only RL was as satisfying as writing FF! 🙂 Thanks so much for reviewing!

      Like

  6. VictoryInTrouble says:

    Wonderful! I love that Sookie got angry and stood up for herself. I’m looking forward to Eric’s reaction and her possibly putting him in his place too!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ashmo2000 says:

    That’s right Sookie, stand up for yourself! Sophie Ann is a queen of vampires and last I looked, Sookie isn’t of the blood sucker persuasion.

    Like

  8. lcrafts says:

    Sookie doesn’t realize what leverage she has as Niall’s great granddaughter. I can’t wait to see how Eric navigates his way between these two…lol

    Like

    • She also has all the power since QSA desperately needs/wants a telepath. Being Niall’s kin just gives her another layer of protection. Eric is the first layer. Always keep your first layer close, right? 😉 Thanks so much for reviewing! I love hearing from new readers!

      Like

  9. cari1973 says:

    It seems that Sookie will need a good lawyer and Eric going to have to explain what she can expect to be in court to not be deceived in the palace.

    Like

  10. valady1 says:

    Her position with the queen will be much stronger if there is mutual respect between them, and that starts with just what you have Sookie doing here. Poor Eric must have scared crappy about the way Sophie Ann might react to the demand for an apology.

    Like

    • Yep. You’re totally right about Eric. You’ll see in the chapter I post tomorrow. It’s his POV (finally). Sookie needs credibility and strength if she’s going to deal with vampires, so that’s what I’m going to give her. 🙂 Thanks for reviewing!

      Like

  11. Meridian says:

    Sookie needs a really good lawyer…

    I’m glad Sookie called the Queen on exactly what she had caused to happen to Sookie – and I hope it helps in terms of future treatment both for her and future minions the Queen will inevitably want to collect.

    A stronger, smarter Sookie who is willing to stand up for herself, but who does so intelligently, is an amazing sight to behold! LOVE IT! ♥

    Oh -oh – will we get to see Sookie cramming avocados up Bill’s ass? Turnips? METAL REPLICAS OF PORCUPINES?? PEEEEEZE?? I’VE BEEN GOOD!! 😀

    Love how she realizes that – at least initially – Eric’s actions weren’t taken because of what he, himself, would have preferred to do. I hope Eric is proud of her for standing up to QSA but then nicely explains to Sookie how the vampire hierarchy works, even though she’s actually a princess of the Sky Fae and not governed by ANY vampire monarchy…

    Will Sookie have a chance to talk to Niall?

    Answers, madam…we need answers…

    Like

    • Metal porcupines up Bill’s ass? That escalated quickly. LOL.

      I think we all need a stronger, smarter Sookie who will stand up for herself even in the face of someone as powerful as the queen. She must be held accountable.

      QSA doesn’t have any leverage. Eric doesn’t work for her anymore, she wants Sookie more than anything, and she’s got no way of making that happen. Poor queenie.

      Eric is going to have a nice conversation with Sookie about just how dangerous that situation was, but not until they get cozy at his house. I’m SURE nothing lemony will happen. Sure of it. 😉 Sookie’s going to figure things out right quick about how much power she really has, which will only benefit everyone we care about. Also, Bill’s going to wish he kept his mouth shut (Oops. Spoilers…). Thanks for reviewing and making me laugh out loud again. 🙂

      Like

  12. patsy1965 says:

    I’m glad Sookie gets to own her feelings. To many times I think we swallow anger or hurt or disappointment. Get mad, hurl china, push your brother in the mud (or is that just me?) I like that Sophie Anne is a spoiled child and understands Sookie’s anger. Great chapter. 😉 patsy

    Like

    • Thanks for the lovely review, Patsy! Sookie’s going to own her feelings and discover the power she has over the queen. It’s great to write something so satisfying. I’m all for standing up for myself when someone hurts me physically (doesn’t happen so much now, but when I was younger it did.), but when someone insults me or manipulates me, I struggle to remain in control. It’s so easy to roll with it and let them do what they want, but they don’t deserve us, do they? At least I get some sort of catharsis from writing…if nowhere else. 🙂 Thanks again!

      Like

  13. tleel says:

    I love that you have Sookie speaking up for herself. Can’t wait for the next chapter. Long or short if a chapter says what it needs to the size does not matter and this chapter said what it needed to.

    Like

  14. murgatroid98 says:

    I agree that Sookie shouldn’t just accept things, that she has reason to be angry and frightened. Her choices were taken from her, first by Bill, than by Eric on the queen’s orders. I’m glad she expressed her feelings. Sophie Anne seems reasonable, though. I hope she is. I curious about what is in the folder.

    Like

    • That folder is more than she can think about…for now, but finding the power she holds over the queen will be very empowering! Bill’s going to pay for being such a dick to her, and Eric is as loyal as ever. I think you’ll enjoy where I’m going to take this story. I hope so! Thanks for reviewing!

      Like

  15. that went better than expected. no one died. heheheheh

    Like

  16. teachert99 says:

    I love that Sookie is angry- I would be and like her, I would have a hard time standing up for myself and it would come out in fits and bursts. She may not have confidence in this arena, but it doesn’t mean she won’t/can’t develop it. I wonder if this Sophie-Anne will come to respect a Sookie who demands to be seen, heard, and respected.

    Like

    • Thank you so much for reviewing! I love hearing from new readers! Sookie is very angry, but she has no idea how much power she has over the queen. Eric will enlighten her. And you better believe she’s going to develop confidence over the span of this story. QSA is going to have to learn how to play nice and be happy with whatever Sookie is willing to give her. 🙂 Thanks again!

      Like

  17. redjane12 says:

    Very pleased you’re writing a continuation to Detox… As Detox ended it felt as if the story ‘wanted’ to be continued beyond…

    Love Sookie being more critical and demanding… Not only it’s good to see her not being a pushover (even if that’s a tiny bit risky at court… But subconsciously I think she knows Eric wouldn’t let anything happen to her) but it makes sense in this context where: 1) she’s free from bill’s blood 2) she hasn’t gone through the trauma of her gran getting murdered and 3) she’s had an opportunity to meet Eric without bill poisoning her mind… Of course this Sophie Ann is also less nuts than the TB version and wiser than the SVM one as shown by the fact that she wants her telepathic asset to be full of any one vampire blood influence… Especially a snake like Compton…
    On that note I look forward to Sookie meeting bill and hope his mind games do not work on her now…. Though Sookie’s insecurity about Eric isn’t helped by Eric keeping his plans so closed to his best…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I felt the same way about Detox. That it needed to be continued, but as a new story with a new arc. Eric does keep to himself a little too much, but Sookie will be able to see how he feels about her if she just pays attention! QSA realizes she has no power or control over Sookie, and honestly, I can’t believe CH and the writers of TB would overlook the dangers of QSA acting so rashly in light of Sookie’s relations to Niall. QSA has no rights to manipulate Sookie, it should be completely forbidden. It’s one of the many problems I have with the books. Bill was a terrible influence, and he’ll pay for what he’s done. I always like rewriting the beginning of the books so nothing bad happens to Sookie’s gran. I like her too much to let her die.
      Thanks so much for that lovely and lengthy review!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow……I love that QSA really was sorry and said so. Sookie being pissed at the right person is very different. I like how this is going.

    Like

  19. sluggysmom says:

    Oh YES! Love that you made Sookie angry….she needed to be! Good for her for sticking up for herself and demanding an apology. Love it!

    Like

  20. YvonnA says:

    Hi hi…
    Remember me? Been so busy it’s crazy. But I’m so glad to be away for a while cause now I have a bunch of chapters to catch up to. And let me tell you that I’m glad Sookie was angry. Show Eric she no one to be push around with. Ok I’m cutting this review short since I still have a lot of catching up to do. I might just review at the very end.
    Can’t wait. I’m still a big fan even tho I haven’t been by for a while. BTW hope you had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year.
    YvonnA

    Like

    • YvonnA, I’ve missed you! I did have a wonderful holiday season, but I’m glad to have my regular life back. 🙂

      I’m so glad you’re loving the story so far! I’m happy you have so many chapters to read while you’re catching up. Waiting sucks for sure! Thanks for reviewing!

      Like

  21. theladykt says:

    Surprised SA apologized at all and didn’t try to just “keep” her.

    Like

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