Taking Action: Chapter 28
Please join me in my gratitude to Charlaine Harris.
I found Sookie downstairs in a foul mood when I woke up. I hadn’t thought about the fact that the realtor might stop by and now Sookie seemed really mad about the whole idea of buying this house. I tried to sway her in the shower to no avail, and then again on the sofa downstairs, and she finally softened (maybe I’m getting a little better at handling her).
We went for a walk on the beach, watched an old (well, old to Sookie) movie and made love until she fell asleep.
I went downstairs to scroll through our photos on the laptop (I never tire of looking at them.) and then read all the real estate flyers and did some reading online about the local beaches. The more I learn about the area, the more I really like it here. I know I’ve scared Sookie a little by moving too fast, but I hate to waste any time with her. I want to get on with our life together and enjoy it while we can. Sometimes she needs to be handled so delicately, and I am used to such a heavy handed approach and always getting my way. I’m glad that we have another week here together so I can continue to convince her how important her happiness is to me. I feel much better now that we have addressed the jealousy issue, but we still have many other huge ones to face.
I read in the hammock for most of the rest of the night and lost track of the time. I decided to make a quick call to Pam to check in before dawn took me. After her report on the bar’s progress, she asked about Sookie. I told her that I was looking into buying the beach house for us and she started giving me attitude about how I was going to scare Sookie away (I didn’t tell her that I had already started that ball rolling). I know that I let Pam get away with a lot, but sometimes she can be just too insolent with me. In many ways we are partners, but she is also my child and often forgets to behave as such. We started arguing about the whole issue of turning Sookie. She loves Sookie, but thinks I’m nuts for trying to live with a human that doesn’t want to be turned. I admitted that, of course, if I had my way, I would turn Sookie and keep her with me, but Pam knows how Sookie feels about that. I was getting worked up, and realized that Sookie was awake (probably for a trip to the bathroom), and then I realized that it was close to dawn (I was an hour ahead of Pam since I was on the coast) so I really needed to get off the phone. Now I won’t have time to write Sookie her note damn it, and then I realized that Sookie was upset (another bad dream most likely, but I won’t have time to comfort her), and so I hung up and started up the stairs. And there she stood, trembling, with tears streaming down her face, and I thought oh fuck.
I woke up and reached for Eric, but he wasn’t in bed. I got up to go find him, and when I stopped at the top of the stairs I thought when will I learn? He was yelling at someone on the phone and I heard him very clearly say, “Of course if I had my way, I would turn Sookie and keep her.” I thought of his sneaking behind my back to try and buy the house. Was this all part of his plan to turn me? I started to feel sick to my stomach, and didn’t even realize that I was crying until Eric was in front of me and I saw the look on his face. Guilt. Caught red-handed. I started to back up and he came up and tried to take my hand. I pulled it away, and started to say something, but it just came out as a sob. He said, “Sookie. Wait. Please. We need to talk, but goddamit the sun’s coming. Please, Sookie.”
I was crying so hard, but managed to say, “I’ve got to get out of here.” I was feeling panicked and wanted to be as far away from Eric as possible.
“No, no, no, no. Sookie, lover, please.” He started to back away from me into his bedroom, and it reminded me of when I had rescinded his invitation to my house. It was as if he had no control. He grabbed my hand as he passed me, and pulled me into the room, but I snatched my hand back as soon as I got past the threshold. He sat down on the bed with his arms held out to me, and said, “Don’t do this. I know what you’re thinking. Please. We’ll talk about this tonight. I love you, Sookie. You know that.” And then he got very quiet and said, “Please close the door, lover. Dawn’s coming.” I stepped back out of the room and pulled the door closed.
I threw myself onto my bed and cried for a long time. What am I going to do? As certain as I am that I love Eric, I am also just as certain that I don’t ever want to be a vampire. Would he really turn me without my consent? I honestly don’t know. I had heard of people being sort of accidentally turned when they were in a relationship with a vampire. Could that happen to me? Would Eric let that happen? I was so confused. Could being bonded to him lead to being turned? Was I a fool to ever trust him?
The sun was up (obviously), so I went downstairs and sat on the porch looking out at the ocean. I saw Danielle and her husband walking along the water’s edge holding hands and talking. I could see in his eyes that he really loved her and I felt happy for her. Was Eric right to think that that’s what I want—a human man? I couldn’t live my whole life with my shields up, so no, I can’t imagine that I would want that. But would I really want to spend all of my days alone? If I lived with Eric, that’s what my life would be. I’d be alone all day every day. I never really thought about that when I was with Bill I guess, or did I? I honestly can’t remember. Bill seems like a lifetime ago.
I called the airline first to find out how hard it would be to change my ticket. There were no flights available today, but I could always fly stand-by. I wrote down the times of the flights as well as connections in Atlanta that would take me to Shreveport. Eric would be asleep all day, so it’s not as if I have to make a decision right this minute. Maybe I’ll just think about it for now.
I wished Gran were here to talk to. Sometimes I just miss her so much. I tried to imagine what she would say to me if I asked for her advice. I went up and put on some shorts and a sweater and went out to walk the beach. Fortunately, there were no people around because I spent a lot of my walk talking out to the ocean, first asking Gran what I should do, and then asking my mother. I don’t know why, but I felt like they could hear me.
When I got back to the house, I was starving, so I fixed myself some toast and a bowl of cereal with berries. I still had plenty of time to make my decision, and I hated the thought of leaving without one more day enjoying the beach, so I went up and put on my bathing suit and found my spot on the sand. Danielle came by with her husband and introduced me (he thought I had nice knockers, but preferred Danielle’s, so at least he wasn’t a complete pig). He said he hoped that Eric and I could come to Asheville sometime for a visit (and seemed to think it was just fine that my boyfriend was a vampire). Maybe people in Asheville were a little more open minded than in Bon Temps. Danielle turned to him and said, “Honey, why don’t you go for that run while I visit with Sookie?” So he said it had been nice to meet me and took off running down the beach.
Danielle sat beside me on the sand and said, “So what’s wrong? You seem so sad today.”
I wondered if Danielle had some sort of supe powers to read people’s moods or if I was just an obvious wreck. I told her that Eric and I had kind of a fight, but I didn’t go into details.
She said, “It must be hard sometimes being so different.”
“You have no idea.”
“Well, maybe that’s true, and then again, maybe not. I have to tell you, Sookie, there’s not a woman on this planet that at some point or other has wondered how in the world we can live with men. Human or not, they are just so different from us. I mean, some of those differences are wonderful and I’m pretty happy about those, but then sometimes I feel like men are an entire other species and we’ll never understand each other.”
“Really? But you seem so happily married.”
“I am, believe me. But I just want you to know that you are not alone. We all have differences and fights, even in the best of relationships. I hope you work things out with Eric. He sounds pretty great to me. But if you ever want to talk, please just call me, okay? You’re not alone.”
I could tell from her thoughts that she was completely sincere, and I was so grateful to her and told her so. Then her husband jogged up to us and they walked away together. She turned around and mouthed, “Call me,” as she walked away.
That made me feel a little better, but I still didn’t know what I was going to do. After a few hours of thinking until my head hurt, I went inside and ate a salad and stood on the porch saying a tearful goodbye to the beach. I sure have loved it here.
I went upstairs and pulled out my new suitcase and set it up on the luggage stand and started to pack. I debated about keeping all of Tara’s new clothes, but then decided that I should. Having Eric find them hanging in my closet seemed too much like a slap in the face to him. And Tara had been so sweet to pick everything out for me. Once I had that suitcase filled I pulled out Amelia’s. But then I thought that I really needed to shower and dress first. When I got out of the shower, I felt so tired. I had only slept a few hours the night before and crying all day had wiped me out. I looked at the clock and decided that I had time for a short nap. I didn’t want to drive to the Myrtle Beach airport sleepy either. That could be dangerous. I pulled off my robe and climbed into bed. I’ll just close my eyes for a minute.