Back to Normal: Chapter 6
Sookie and I remained in peaceful bliss on our beach while my hand healed. It was very painful, but it only took about a month for it to begin to look fairly normal. I knew that I wouldn’t have full use of the fingers for at least a few more weeks, and still wanted to wait to return to Louisiana. I was not certain what I would find there, and knew better than to face the unknown without being ready for battle.
After much discussion, it was decided that when I returned to Shreveport Pam would come to the beach to stay with Sookie. Felicia could help with the bar in Pam’s absence, and Sookie would be protected. Pam was also looking forward to enjoying the beach.
We were watching TV on the sofa one night when there was a knock at the door. We looked at each other puzzled. I opened the door to two vampires that I did not know. One said, “Eric Northman?”
“You are under arrest for the murder of Victor Madden. Please come with us.”
I turned to Sookie and said, “It’s okay. Call Pam. And Bill. Don’t worry. It will be fine.” I pushed calm through the bond and gave her a smile as the door closed behind me.
Eric was arrested for killing Victor Madden. I tried not to panic as some scary looking vampires took him away. I immediately called Pam and told her and she said she’d find out what was going on and call me back. Then I called Bill. While I was talking to Bill, Pam called me back and I took the call of course.
Apparently, there was going to be a trial in Shreveport and Eric was accused of murder. He was given a choice of court locations and he chose Shreveport.
I packed my bag and drove straight to the airport and was in my house in Bon Temps by noon the next day.
I left messages for Pam and Bill to call me when they woke. I could feel Eric was asleep and close—probably already in Shreveport. (It was amazing how I was able to read the bond so much better after a little training from Eric.)
Amelia and Octavia were so sweet and happy to see me. They offered any help that I needed and I was grateful that they made me feel like I wasn’t alone. At dusk Bill came over and filled me in on what he had learned the night before, which was that the trial would take place at a rented hotel meeting room in Shreveport in two nights. If Eric was found guilty, then he would be staked. I tried not to think about that. While Bill and I were talking, Pam arrived. I told them both that I had killed Victor myself, and I saw by the exchange between them that they didn’t believe me. I told them the story exactly how it happened, and still they didn’t buy it. I guess to anyone that wasn’t there, it does seem more likely that Victor was killed by the big scary Viking vampire rather than the petite human woman, but that’s not how it happened. I could see that if Pam and Bill thought I was lying, so would anyone else.
I was just kind of thinking out loud when I asked how anyone actually knew that Victor had been killed. We all looked at each other, and Pam said, “That’s a good point. We all thought he was killed when Stan Davis took power. Who knew that he still lived? And who knew when he really did die?” We needed to get a lot of answers in a very short amount of time.
Pam left to find out if she could see Eric while he was in custody. Bill set up his laptop and started to email people and was also on the phone a lot. I called Quinn and told him what had happened and he said he’d be here the next morning. I told him that that wasn’t necessary, but he insisted, saying that someone should really be here to watch me during the day. I gave up and thought I should accept as much help as anyone was willing to offer.
I fell asleep on the sofa while Bill was on the phone, and when I woke up, it was morning, and I crawled to my bed. I cried myself back to sleep so scared for Eric. When I woke at about noon, Quinn was sitting in my living room with a glass of sweet tea. (Thank you, Amelia.) I got dressed and filled him in on what little I knew while we ate lunch.
Quinn spent the afternoon on the phone making inquiries. I called Jason and let him know I was home and what was happening. Then I did the same for Sam. They offered their help, but I had no idea what they could possibly do except be there for me if I fall apart.
At dusk Bill arrived and shortly after that, so did Pam. Bill had learned that a human woman was the one who reported Victor Madden dead. She was a fangbanger that was known to frequent the home of the king as well as some other political vampires. Apparently, she told a vampire magistrate that she thought Victor had been recently killed, and the magistrate started an investigation. It was determined that Victor had not died during the coup, but afterwards, but it wasn’t clear how this information was obtained. As soon as Eric surfaced and registered in South Carolina, he was apparently being investigated and we didn’t know it. It was common knowledge that Eric and Victor were enemies and so he was their prime suspect as soon as he resurfaced. His own faked death seemed fishy I suppose and, well, I had no idea what kind of evidence they had. We left a bloody boat floating in the water and goodness knows what else Eric left in his wake when he came to rescue me.
I wanted to speak to the human who made the disclosure. If I could get into her head, maybe I could find out what was going on. Bill got to work trying to find out her identity. Pam sat down and took my hand when she told me that Eric was going to plead guilty. I started to cry, but shook myself out of it to hear the rest. I had to be strong for Eric. He told Pam that he had killed Victor and that I was lying to protect him. I could see in her eyes that it didn’t really matter to her who was telling the truth. She knew that neither of us would give the other one up. Because he was going to cooperate with the court, his sentence may be lessened, and so at least there was some hope that he would survive. I hated to think of what his alternate punishment might be though, and became more determined than ever to figure all this out and get him off.
I wanted to speak to Stan Davis but Pam and Bill explained that a human, even a telepath that was in his retinue would never be allowed to speak to him on such short notice. I tried to call his residence, and asked to speak to him anyway, but I was hung up on.
It’s funny, you don’t realize how little you can get done from dusk until dawn until you live in the vampire world. By the end of the night, we had very little accomplished and I went to bed as frustrated as ever. The next day, Quinn came over and stayed with me all day. Sam came by as well and offered his support which meant a lot, but I was just at the end of my rope and felt helpless, frustrated, and exhausted. As planned, Quinn and I drove to the hotel where the trial would be held that night and met Bill and Pam in the lobby. The whole lobby was filled with vampires, mingling and talking about the trial. I was talking to Bill when I saw Stan Davis walk through the door with an entourage of about ten people. One of them was Barry. I said his name in my head and I saw him turn to me and smile. I wasn’t smiling, but took it as an invitation to approach the group. I asked a stream of questions as Stan Davis went by. I felt like some kind of rabid reporter like I’d seen in the movies or on TV. Nobody answered any of my questions, but I sure picked a lot of information out of Barry’s head before they all disappeared behind the closed double doors. I turned to look back at Pam and Bill with my mouth open, wondering what I could do with the information when a vampire that I didn’t know came up and roughly took me by the arm. Pam and Bill were by me in an instant.
“You need to leave.” The rough vampire was speaking to me.
“I beg your pardon.”
“You have assaulted the king and are not welcome in these proceedings.”
“No, no. I am the bonded of the accused. I have to be here. Please.”
“No. Out. “And he started to escort me to the front doors.
Bill stepped in front of him and said, “Excuse me, but this is a public lobby. You may prevent her from entering the courtroom, but she has a right to be here in the lobby.” Pam stepped up beside Bill and Quinn was right behind her. The vampire backed away, and disappeared through the double doors.
I sat on the sofa with Quinn while I watched all the vampires make their way towards the doors and then we were alone in the lobby.
After about an hour, Pam came out and sat beside me and took my hand. I braced myself for the bad news. “Just say it.”
“He will lose his fangs and be bound by silver in a coffin for five years.” I started to cry. “It’s really not that bad, Sookie. It could have gone much worse.” She patted my hand and then went back towards the doors. She and Quinn exchanged a look before she was gone.
I sat with my head in my hands and sobbed quietly. Quinn rubbed his hand along my back trying to console me. Then I stopped and looked up at him. “I’ve got to go in there.”
He just nodded and I knew he understood. Sitting on a sofa crying wasn’t helping Eric at all, and I had to do something.