Payback: Chapter 5
I was on a plane headed for Shreveport before I even had time to think about what I had done. This is how I used to handle problems in my relationships. I thought I had progressed beyond that, but here I am, regressing back to my old self and not happy about it. I looked at my watch. Eric wouldn’t have time to follow me home tonight. Did I want him to? I don’t know. I was so confused. When I saw him and he had clearly just had someone else’s blood, I was just filled with anger and jealousy. I know how vampires react when they drink from a human. Would he have sex with someone else? It was too upsetting to even think about. I had trusted him, and yet he had clearly gone against his word to me. I know what he is. Can any vampire be trusted? Have I made a mistake marrying Eric? I felt the tears start and looked out the window at the black night.
I wanted to have a chance to explain to Sookie what had happened, but needed to get her out of the bar first. Unfortunately, she realized that I had clearly been in a fight and had fed on humans and she lost her temper. There is a huge difference between feeding during an attack and feeding while feeling sexual pleasure, and I assumed that Sookie understood that, but maybe I was wrong. I sensed jealousy through the bond as well as anger. Surely she didn’t think that I had been unfaithful to her. As she stormed off, I watched her run into that actor that she likes and I know she wanted him. I wanted to level the room and it took all my willpower not to drain the motherfucker. I saw how he looked at her.
I waited at the bar with Compton until I had time to cool off. I wanted to speak to Sookie, but I knew that we were both upset and should wait until our moods had leveled off a bit. I watched that actor to make certain he hadn’t followed Sookie, but soon he was back in the V.I.P. room dancing on a table. Idiot. When I sensed that Sookie had calmed down, Compton and I went back to the hotel. I walked into the room and saw that her suitcase was gone and put my fist through the wall. I thought we were past that childish stunt, but apparently I was wrong.
When I walked into the baggage claim area in Shreveport, Pam was waiting for me. I felt a dejavu since I had dreamed something like this once a long time ago when I was at the beach house.
“Thanks for coming, Pam. I guess Eric called you.”
“Yes. I am sorry to see that you have had a disagreement.”
“Yeah, you could say that, but I don’t think I want to talk about it.” I was thinking that I didn’t want to talk about it with another vampire, but saying that would be rude.
“As you wish. Let me just let Eric know I have you and we can be on our way.” She was texting as we walked to the car.
I cried myself to sleep in the blue room feeling very lonely and very sorry for myself. Was marriage this hard for everybody, or was it just because I married a vampire?
I slept half the day the next day, but then dragged myself out of the house, needing to see my girlfriends. I drove to Bon Temps and fortunately, Amelia was home. Octavia was at the library. I told Amelia what had happened and cried on her shoulder while she said a lot of there-theres and patted my back. She made me some soup and listened like a good friend. But then when I asked how things were with Tray, her face lit up and she went on and on about how great things were. Her brain was practically singing with joy and the mental images of great sex all over my house were starting to gross me out. When she told me it was time for her to pick up Octavia, I took that as my cue to leave. I started to drive to Merlotte’s but then I thought I can’t exactly cry on Sam’s shoulder about Eric. A guy, even as good a friend as Sam, is not going to commiserate the way a girlfriend can. I turned around and started driving to Tara’s house. I thought I should try and call her first, but then saw that my phone battery was dead. Oh well. Maybe she wouldn’t mind a surprise visit.
Fortunately, JB was still at work and Tara was home. I was so happy to see her. We hadn’t had a good heart to heart in awhile and I wanted her advice. She had been involved with two different vampires in the past and I knew if anybody could see things from my perspective, she could.
She poured us each a cup of tea and we sat at the kitchen table while I told her what had been going on with Eric. I told her that I wondered if I could ever really trust him and that I was even having doubts about the fact that I had chosen to marry a vampire. They are co consumed with revenge and violence and it all seemed so completely foreign to me. She listened like a good friend, but when it came her turn to speak, she just started to cry.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Oh Sookie. I wonder if I made a mistake marrying JB. Maybe all marriages suck, I don’t know.” And she put her face in her hands and sobbed.
“What do you mean? I thought things were great with you two. What’s going on?”
She stopped crying and looked me in the eye. “I think he’s having an affair.”
“No! I don’t believe that. Why would you think that?”
“He’s out a lot at night. He comes home late from work. At first when I asked him about it, he said he was just working late, but then once I called him there and he wasn’t working. So when he got home two hours later he said he had been at a political meeting. A political meeting! Can you see JB at some kind of political meeting? I doubt if he even knows the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. I knew he was lying.” I knew he was too. JB was never exactly the sharpest tool in the shed and I just couldn’t see him discussing political issues with anyone.
“He’s also been obsessed with asking me about my relationships with vampires. He knows that I dated one and was abused by another, and he’s become consumed with the subject. I keep telling him that all that is in my past and means nothing to me now. But honestly, I think he might be having an affair with a vampire.”
“JB? I don’t believe that. I don’t even know of any female vampires around here. I mean there are quite a few in Shreveport…but no, I just don’t believe it.”
“I’m telling you, Sookie, a woman knows when something is going on.”
I stayed awhile and consoled Tara, and suddenly my problems didn’t seem so bad. Gran once told me that if you put all your problems in a bag and set it in the center of a circle of your friends and all your friends put their bags in the center too, you’d want your own bag back. I was starting to see what she meant.
It was dark by the time I left Tara’s and I started to make my way back to the main road to go home. As I was pulling out onto the road, I spotted JB’s truck and started to honk, but then stopped myself. He didn’t turn to go home, but headed away from his house. Instinctively, I turned and started to follow him.
He wound through some little back roads, and I dropped back so I wouldn’t look suspicious. But then I remembered it was JB and he was very unlikely to catch on that he was being followed. Poor guy—not too bright.
He pulled onto the old Stetson property that was an abandoned farm. The house had been torn down years ago but the barn still stood. I had always heard the property was “tied up in probate,” although I have no idea what that meant. Was JB meeting his new love interest in the barn for a tryst? I parked by the entrance to the farm, and left my purse in the car and keys in the ignition in case I wanted to make a quick getaway. I tiptoed through the overgrown weeds and as I approached the barn, I saw about ten cars parked around the side and the barn itself was lit with lanterns and I heard men’s voices. This was not a tryst.
I got a little closer and squatted down in the tall grass. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, so I closed my eyes and lowered my shields. Some were thinking how stupid JB was, but how valuable he had been. Some were thinking how good it felt to kill vampires. I started to shiver. Then I heard some sort of garbled thought that ended with the word Mina. That did it, and I turned and started to run back to my car as fast as I could. Before I reached it, headlights turned into the drive and I knew whoever was in that car had seen me. The car stopped and a man in combat fatigues got out. I stood still in a panic for a second before turning to run in another direction. It didn’t take him long to catch up to me though, and as he grabbed me from behind, I let out a yell. I watched in horror as more combat ready men started pouring out of the back of the barn, running to me with excitement in their eyes. I was the catch of the day. I tried to break free from my captor, but he was too strong. As the group approached, one man who seemed to be the leader walked up and put his face close to mine. “Well looky what we got here. Ain’t she pretty.” He roughly pinched my nipple as he smiled sadistically.