Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
All mistakes are my own.
Thank you for your patience!
Sookie resisted the temptation to arrive at Fangtasia as soon as it opened. The vampires wouldn’t be there that early. More importantly, Eric wouldn’t be there. She needed to talk to him.
When she pulled into the parking lot, she spotted his car. She smiled and got in line with everyone else. Her good mood slipped away as the frantic thoughts of the patrons engulfed her.
She walked inside and found him, but he was busy dealing with tourists, so she waited. It wasn’t easy. Sitting there surrounded by the commotion. Doubt crept into her mind. I shouldn’t be here. I don’t belong here. What if he didn’t mean what he said last night? Why was he so nice?
But before she could leave, he walked over to her and whispered, “Come with me.” His voice wasn’t sweet like it had been the night before. It was all business.
She followed his lead and slipped out the back door behind the bar. Long Shadow watched them with keen interest but didn’t try to stop them.
Eric stayed a few steps ahead of her and walked a distance away from the bar, away from the parking lot, and away from the noise.
“I’m sorry to pull you away from your work. I wanted to—”
“Don’t apologize. Are you more comfortable out here?” he asked as he slowed down and waited for her to come up alongside him.
“Yes. Thank you.”
“I hoped to see you tonight.”
“Thank you for last night. I mean it. I was really fucked up. Emotionally.”
“How are you now?”
“Better. Because of you,” she added.
He stopped and faced her.
“A little kindness goes a long way. It’s been a long time since anyone has been nice to me. I’ve never met anyone willing to listen, talk, and take care of me. You did that and you don’t even know me. Why are you so nice?” she echoed the question from the previous night.
“I told you.”
“And you expect me to believe that you had no ulterior motives. That you’re just nice for the sake of being nice.”
“Oh, I have ulterior motives.” He grinned. “I want to do bad things to you. That can wait though.”
Blood rushed to her face and made her hot. “For what?”
“You. You’re not ready.” He put his hand on her forearm and stroked her healing wound with his thumb.
She winced and pulled away so she could rub the tender skin around the swollen incision.
The faint moonlight fell on Eric’s frown. “That doesn’t look like an accident.”
She shook her head and looked down. “I wanted to… I was…” She wanted Chad to care. To love her. It hadn’t worked. “It doesn’t matter what I wanted. It was a mistake.”
“May I?” he asked bringing her arm to his mouth.
She nodded and watched in fascination as he kissed and then licked the wound, healing it just like he’d done to her palm. “How do you do that?” She marveled at the new skin.
“I cut my tongue and used my blood to heal you. It doesn’t take a lot for a wound so small. I use the same technique to hide bite marks after feeding.”
A chill went down her spine. “Do you feed … often?”
“Mostly for pleasure,” he admitted as he flashed his dazzling, wicked smile. In the blink of an eye he buried his face in the crook of her neck and inhaled deeply. A tiny tremor moved through his body and then he groaned. “As much as I’d like to taste you right now, it’ll have to wait for another time because Pam just stepped outside and is looking for me.” He nodded his head to the back door where a petite vampire waited. “I have to go.” He pecked her cheek and then moved in a blur toward the back door.
Sookie stood there for a few minutes, too stunned to move.
* * * *
The hours passed at work the next night without much excitement until Eric arrived.
“Welcome to Brews,” she announced as she approached his table. “How did you find me?” she added in a whisper.
“The paper at your house.”
“Clever.” She nodded. “Can I get you something?”
He didn’t respond with words, just a smile. “Don’t mind me. I’m here to work. No one knows me here. I don’t have privacy like this in Shreveport.” He flashed his cell phone and opened it to make a call.
She tilted her head. Had he come to see her or not? She couldn’t offer him anything to drink since they didn’t stock synthetic blood, and she didn’t dare offer anything else. As she tried to figure him out, a raucous group of men took a seat in her section.
Wouldn’t you know it? It was Chad and his buddies.
It had been nearly two weeks since the last time she’d seen him and Sookie struggled to maintain a neutral expression. She had been so preoccupied with her thoughts that she hadn’t bothered to listen for him.
“Shit,” she muttered before she turned casually and slipped into the bathroom. She glanced in the mirror and swore. Her eyes were already red with the effort of holding back tears. She didn’t need him to show up and remind her that he no longer wanted her. She took a deep breath and blotted her eyes with a damp paper towel before returning to work.
“Hey, we’re thirsty!” one of Chad’s friends shouted. “Can we get some service?”
Sookie straightened her back and willed her body toward their table.
Chad ordered a round of his favorite beers and winked at Sookie. Her heart fluttered. It was like the first night they’d met. He had made her feel like the only girl in the room.
She wanted to believe he still felt that way. That he still wanted her, but after her stupid stunt, how could he?
Later, on his way back from the bathroom, Chad lingered by the bar where Sookie hustled to fill a tray for another table.
“It’s been a while,” Sookie stated.
“I thought you might need time to…” He looked away as if he was too embarrassed to say it. To say that she needed time to heal from cutting herself.
She hid her arm behind her back. “I’m sorry about that. I’m so stupid.”
“I’ll let you make it up to me,” he said as he moved his hands to the button of his jeans.
“Your friends are looking,” Sookie whispered.
“Bring another round, will you?” he said louder before walking off.
She got back to work more confused than ever. Did he forgive her? Could she have another chance with him?
“Still working?” Sookie murmured as she approached Eric.
He held his finger up and then nodded and spoke into his phone.
She backed away. I guess that answers my question. He didn’t come for me.
When Chad settled his tab at the end of the night he sauntered up to the bar, left a big fat tip, and said, “Later?”
Sookie bit her lip. “Um, I…” She wanted later more than anything and he knew it.
“Come on, baby. What could you possibly be doing?”
“Me,” Eric said from behind him, appearing suddenly. “Now fuck off.”
Chad sized him up in two seconds and backed off just as fast.
The moment he was out of sight her shoulders sagged. Eric just ruined the first chance she’d had in weeks to be with Chad!
“Is it over?”
“Why do you care?” Sookie asked as she snatched her purse from under the bar and stormed outside.
Eric followed. He grabbed her shoulder and forced her to look at him. “He’s using you.”
“You don’t know him!” she shouted as anger flared inside her. “He loves me!”
“Is that what you think?” Eric let out a nasty laugh. “I should’ve killed him and put an end to this.”
That snapped her out of her self-pity. “I thought you said you weren’t that kind of vampire.”
“No, I said I wouldn’t kill you. He’s a prick. He’s manipulating you.”
“No he isn’t,” she protested.
“I should’ve ended him.”
She gasped. “Please don’t.”
He held her shoulders fast. “Why are you in love with him?”
She squeezed her eyes shut. “It’s none of your fucking business!” she shouted.
He took a step back and walked away without another word.
What’s wrong with me? She slid onto the ground next to her car and cried. Her anger had gotten the better of her and pushed away the only person who had ever been decent to her.
* * * *
Sookie sat in her car for another hour before heading home, drained from her emotional evening. What right does Eric have coming out here and assuming things? He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know Chad. She parked outside her house, looked at herself in the rearview mirror, and gasped when she focused behind her. Chad’s car was pulled off the shoulder of her driveway, partially hidden by the trees. Her heart skipped a beat and she couldn’t help but smile.
She fumbled with the car door before she rushed to Chad. Something was off. She could feel it. Sure enough, when she opened his door, a half dozen empty bottles spilled out onto the gravel under her feet. Chad’s eyes opened into tiny slits.
“Hey baby,” he slurred.
She’d never seen him this drunk. “What’s going on?”
“I’m going to fight you for him.” He burped and shook his head. “I mean him for you. Who does he think he is making moves on my girl?”
Her pulse sped up. She wanted to tell Eric he was wrong. Wrong about everything. But Chad wasn’t done.
He swung his legs onto the ground and reached out to her but didn’t seem to have the strength to stand. “I’ll fight that fucker. Whoever he is.” He brought his fists up and then groped her butt. “He can get his own piece of ass.”
Piece of ass? She frowned.
“Unless you already fucked him. Did you? Huh?” His cheeks flushed a deeper red and his fingers dug painfully into her flesh.
“I haven’t been with anyone,” she said with hurt in her voice.
“Good girl.” He slumped against the seat and released his grip on her. “You’re mine.”
Her frown deepened.
“Why don’t you crawl in here with me and I’ll show you what you’ve been missing?” He patted his crotch with clumsy hands.
“You’re drunk. You need to rest.” She stepped backward out of his reach.
“Don’t tell me what I need. That’s not how this works. You do what I say.” He stared at her with his bloodshot eyes. “Now, why don’t you get on your knees and suck my cock?” He unbuttoned his pants, pulled his dick out, and sat up again. For a moment it looked like he might be able to stand, but instead he burped and threw up.
Sookie jumped backward farther, avoiding the foul stream coming out of his mouth. “As tempting as your offer is, I’m going to say no.”
He hiccupped and puke dribbled down his chest and all over his crotch. “Get me a towel or something,” he snapped, his words slurring a little less.
She bolted for her house, grabbed one of the towels hanging from her oven door and ran back to him.
“Took you long enough!” he barked.
“Why are you being so mean?” she asked handing him the towel.
He scowled at her and didn’t take it. “That’s a stupid question. Now clean me up.”
She scoffed. “What? No. Clean yourself up.” She dropped the towel on his lap and glared at him.
“This isn’t like you,” he murmured.
“How would you know? You don’t know the first thing about me.”
His confidence came back. “I know plenty. I know you like it when I suck on your nipples and that you come when I do that thing with my hips.” His dick roused next to the towel.
“What’s my favorite TV show?” she asked.
“Or my favorite pie?” She put her hands on her hips.
“Who the fuck cares about pie?” he slurred.
“I do!” Tears welled in her eyes. “He was right about you. You don’t care about me.”
“Come on, baby. You know I care about you.” He flopped against the seat again and closed his eyes.
“Do you love me?” she whispered. She listened really hard to his drunken brain and picked up enough information to get an answer before he passed out. “Eric was right about everything.” She turned her back on him and walked away. She locked the door behind her and crawled into bed. She couldn’t sleep right away, despite how exhausted she was and when she woke in the morning she felt like a truck had hit her.
She glanced at the spot where Chad had been a few hours ago. All that remained was a pile of empty bottles.
* * * *
Sookie worked hard through the lunch shift, but couldn’t shake the disappointment from last night. She didn’t want Eric to be right about Chad. She hated that he was right. Anger fueled her all the way to Shreveport.
Chad had been jealous of Eric. He had been ready to fight him for Sookie, but for all the wrong reasons. How had she been so blind?
Once she got into Fangtasia, she found Eric just inside the entrance. She stormed up to him and poked his arm to get his attention, interrupting his conversation.
“How does it feel to be right?” she spat.
Eric frowned. “Please excuse me,” he said to the man he had been talking to before taking Sookie by the arm and guiding her out the front door.
She pulled away from him. “It must make you feel good, huh?”
“Right about what?”
“Chad,” she said as she fought tears. “He was waiting at my house last night.”
“Did he hurt you?” A frown settled into his forehead.
“Yes. He told the truth.” Tears slid down her cheeks.
A smug smile replaced his frown. “See? He’s a user.”
“What do you want? A medal?” she screamed.
Eric reached out to her. “Sookie—”
“Don’t touch me!” she shouted, smacking his hands away. A group of people waiting outside the club gasped. “Mind your own fucking business,” she yelled in their direction before turning her attention back to Eric. “You ruined everything.”
“I ruined everything?” he echoed. “I didn’t make him an asshole, I merely pointed it out to you.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel better?”
“Yes. Because now you can see him for what he really is and move on.”
“I didn’t want to move on. Everything would’ve been okay.” Tears flowed freely down her face.
“Is that why you wanted to die? Because everything was okay?”
She slapped him hard across the face. He didn’t respond. He also didn’t try and stop her when she turned and left.
She got a block away before she pulled over and bawled. Anger and sorrow overwhelmed her. She leaned against her steering wheel and cried long and hard. For the second time in as many nights, she had hurt the only person who had ever cared for her.
She wiped her eyes and nose, turned her car around, and headed back to Fangtasia.
One big ol’ chapter left to make amends. Are you ready? Read on: She Courts Calamities: Chapter 4