Stolen Beauty: Chapter 3
I don’t remember falling asleep, but I was awakened by an unfamiliar discomfort. It took me a few seconds to remember where I was and what had happened to me and then I identified the discomfort. I got up and urinated in Sookie’s toilet without turning the light on. My eyes preferred the dark. I shuffled back to bed and got under the warm covers and began to drift back to sleep when I became aware of something happening in the room. There was something vaguely different about Sookie’s room and I managed to climb up out of an almost sleep and open my eyes.
The room was lighter. I looked at the light fixture in the center of the ceiling, but it remained dim and then it hit me: the sun was rising.
I threw the covers back and stood before the window. The side yard was lit in an orange glow. I turned and ran out the back door and the cold of the early morning hit my body, but I didn’t care. I stepped off the porch into the cold wet grass and walked into the center of the yard. I stared at the trees before me and then slowly turned and studied the tool shed, Sookie’s car in the back apron, the house, the flowers and bushes along its side. Every color was altered and seemed to continue to change with each passing moment. There was an abundance of yellows and oranges and no true whites at all. I walked closer to the screened-in porch and studied the screen itself. No longer a dull black mesh of metal, it glowed a coppery tone. I followed a wide plane of copper until it turned a dull black again. I reached out to touch the black part and realized that it was my own shadow on the screen. I stepped aside and watched the same spot flash the beautiful coppery color.
I heard Sookie coming out onto the porch, but I couldn’t tear my focus away from the screen in front of me to acknowledge her. I caught sight of her in my peripheral vision coming into the yard and approaching me with a large object in her arms. When I felt her at my side, she gently spoke. “What’s the matter, Eric?”
I turned to face her and the sight of her beautiful face lit up in the orange glow took my breath away. I reached out and touched her cheeks with both my hands and then registered the concern on her face. It wasn’t until then that I realized that I was crying. “The sun. It’s the sun.” I couldn’t speak without my voice breaking.
She nodded, smiling sweetly, and her own eyes filled with tears. She unfolded the object in her arms which I realized was her grandmother’s quilt and draped it over my shoulders. She turned and disappeared into the tool shed but then emerged shortly with two folded aluminum chairs. After setting them up in the center of the yard, she turned to me and held out her hand. We sat side by side, still holding hands, facing the east and waited as the miracle unfolded.
I could have sat there all day, of course, but eventually I started to get hungry. Sookie offered to go in and fix us some food. I kissed her hand as she left me, completely content in the moment in spite of my new circumstances. I returned my gaze to the east and relaxed, entertained by the sites before me until my reverie was broken by a piercing yelp from inside. I felt immediate concern until it was followed by an angry, “Eric Northman! Jesus Christ, Shepherd of Judea!”
I ran into the house to see what was wrong and found a very angry Sookie standing at the bathroom door. “Were you raised in a barn?” I didn’t even bother to answer, surmising that her question was rhetorical. “You peed all over the toilet seat!” I stepped into the bathroom as she angrily gave me a tutorial on using a modern toilet and then showed me where the cleaning supplies were underneath the sink.
I began my assigned task as she stomped away, mumbling about how it was bad enough that she would have to wash the sheets after my “little stunt last night.”
I got the toilet and floor cleaned up where I had sloppily urinated and made a mental note to be more careful in the future. I followed the scent of food into the kitchen and saw Sookie bending over, peering into the oven. Even in her flannel gown, the curves of her perfect ass were alluring. She stood and sensing my presence, turned and immediately blushed and looked up at the ceiling. “Oh god, Eric. Oh dear. You’re going to have to put some clothes on. I can’t have you pointing that thing at me all day.” I realized that I was erect again after studying her ass.
“I’m sorry. But, you’re just so lovely. I know, I know–I’m not anymore. I must disgust you.” I looked down at my inadequate member, even at full attention.
“No, honey. Oh dear. No, it’s not that. It’s just all so strange. You look like someone else. Someone I didn’t even like. It’s like seeing a stranger naked in my kitchen. I’m sorry.”
Before she finished apologizing, I went into the bedroom and found my pants and stepped into them. Returning to the kitchen, I found Sookie setting our plates down at the table and we enjoyed our biscuits and sausage gravy, politely avoiding the subject of my unappealing new body.
After breakfast, I showered and shaved with a disposable razor I found still in the package in a drawer, cutting my chin badly. I watched the blood droplet form and felt nothing for the first time in a thousand years. It stung. Well, that’s obviously not nothing. But I had no desire to lick the blood even though I recognized the scent as a human’s. Very odd.
Sookie said she found some of Bob’s clothes in Amelia’s laundry basket upstairs and would have them clean as soon as the sheets were finished. At her suggestion, I put my clothes from the previous night back on and went out to watch the sun some more. I couldn’t imagine that ever getting old.
After an hour or so, Sookie joined me, clean and dressed in jeans and a sweater. She was such a beautiful woman no matter what she had on. “I called Sam and asked for some time off. I didn’t give him any details, but he seemed fine with it.” She settled into her chair beside mine. “I left a message for Amelia to call me. There’s really not much to be done until after dark. We can go to Shreveport and see Pam and ask her what to do.” I nodded, dreading explaining all of this to my child. “But until then, we have the day ahead of us. A whole day of sunshine. Why don’t we make the best of it and enjoy? What do you say?”
I felt a wave of gratitude for the suggestion and wanted to kiss my beautiful Sookie, but I stopped myself, realizing that she most likely would not appreciate my advances. I just thanked her and smiled instead.
I changed into some jeans and a sweatshirt, warm and fresh from the dryer, and savored the sensation. Then Sookie and I set out to enjoy a day outdoors in the sun. We picked up some fried chicken and potato salad and found a secluded meadow in which to have our picnic lunch. I spread out the blanket from Sookie’s trunk and after our bellies were full, we just lay together side by side, staring at the blue sky. I was content in spite of my predicament. I decided to try an experiment and thought directly at Sookie. I know you can’t feel me anymore, but can you hear my thoughts?
“Yes.” She turned her head and I felt her smile at me.
Thank you for this, lover.
“You’re welcome, Eric.”
I watched the sky until I felt Sookie’s breathing slow beside me. I turned and found her sleeping like an angel. I didn’t want to disturb her and so I stood and walked away from our blanket. I found a path at the edge of the meadow and followed it until I came to the bank of the lazy river that snakes beside Bon Temps. I sat on a rock and watched the light playing on the water. I breathed in and out, relishing the cool fresh air that filled my lungs. I stood and peed into the river, amused at the pattern the spray made on the water’s surface. As disturbed as I was at losing my body, I was overjoyed at being able to experience the sun again. It felt strange to both hate and love what I had become, but then I thought: hasn’t that always been the case? Now I just have different things to hate and love.
I found my way back to a sleeping Sookie and quietly lay beside her. I had spent many hours watching her sleep, but never in sunlight. The shadows on her face, the highlights in her hair—it was all just too beautiful. I knew it was wrong, but I leaned in and pressed a gentle kiss on her cheek. She didn’t move and so I lay back and simply watched her some more. Yes, what had happened to me was horrible and I didn’t know what my future held, but I was also making the best of it. And what could be better than this?