The Rhodes Less Traveled: Chapter 6
I woke to pain. My entire body was wracked with pain. I opened my eyes and I was at home in my own bed but had no memory of getting there. The last thing I remembered was going to bed in my hotel room in Rhodes with an angry Sookie in the bathtub. No wait, there was another dim memory. Pain again and fear and calling Sookie and Pam to me. And then nothing.
Sookie appeared in the doorway to our room in a flash. “You’re awake! How is the pain?”
“Pretty bad. What happened?”
Sookie told me about the explosion as she opened the bag of donor blood she had in her hand. I drank while she explained what had happened to me. Apparently, I had many broken bones including my spine, but I would heal in time. Pam had already healed from her wounds and was at Fangtasia. Sookie was uninjured thanks to her decision to sleep in the bathtub after our argument.
She told me how the were tiger had rescued her during the day and taken her to safety and then carried Pam and myself out of the wreckage after he and Sookie found us the following night. I was amazed at his courage and devotion to Sookie and promised her that I would thank him personally when I had healed. I told Sookie that I was sorry for the things that I had said to her in the heat of our argument the night before the explosion. I was jealous of the tiger, but regardless of his motives, he had proven to be an invaluable ally to Sookie and consequently to Pam and to me. I clearly owed him my life as well as the lives of the two people who were the most important to me. Sookie gently kissed my lips and I felt a cool blood tear drip onto my cheek from her eye. We told each other we loved each other and I had never meant it more.
After a few more days of healing, I was able to tolerate the pain enough to contact the palace in New Orleans to check in. We had lost two vampires in the explosion—a man named Gervaise who was the Area Four sheriff in Baton Rouge that I didn’t know very well and Andre Paul. The other Louisiana vampires had been injured but all were expected to recover except for Sophie-Anne. She had lost her legs and it was not yet known whether she would be able to heal from such severe wounds. She remained unconscious and heavily guarded I presumed.
Of course, many other vampires and humans perished in the bombing, and it would likely be months before all people were accounted for. I felt very lucky to be safe at home with Sookie and Pam.
I told Sookie of Gervaise and Andre’s final deaths and felt a twinge of guilt from her at the mention of Andre. I decided that there was no reason to keep Andre’s plans for her to myself any longer and so I told her all about the meetings in Rhodes where Andre had planned to marry her to another state. I told her that I’d feared it would just be a matter of time before he would have taken her from me even though I would have fought for her until my final death. She sat and listened to me with a blank expression and then simply said, “Then I’m glad that I staked him.”
“You must never repeat those words to another soul, Sookie. But for what it’s worth, I’m glad that you did as well.”
She told me the story of how Andre was crawling towards me and she took the splinter of wood from him and drove it into his chest. My heart swelled with pride and I told her that she was the most magnificent creature I had ever known and that I would never stop loving her. Her loyalty, her honor, her fearlessness—all these qualities made her so special. I couldn’t believe that she was mine and vowed to cherish her for all time.
I could see that Louisiana was in a vulnerable state with our queen out of commission and possibly permanently disabled. Her second in command was gone, and although personally I was pleased about that, it made our state that much weaker in the eyes of other, more opportunistic vampires. As much as I feared for Sophie-Anne’s future reign, there was little I could do about it in my present condition. All of my energy and efforts were focused on my recovery, maintaining the status quo in Area Five, and protecting Sookie and Pam.
The future of the state was up in the air. Who knows what lies ahead for any of us. But as long as Sookie and I are together, I am confident that we will prevail. The night I turned her in a moment of heartbroken grief, I had no idea that I was creating my perfect mate and possibly the most unusual and important vampire of our time. Sookie is stunning in many ways and I look forward to my future with her forever by my side.