I wouldn’t be able to reach Pam until after dark, which, even though it was late September, wouldn’t be until almost eight. I’d considered just texting her, but it didn’t have the right kind of action to it, and she was more likely to ignore me that way. After the clarity I’d experienced in the hidey hole, I was done with the cleaning projects for the day, which gave me several hours before I could start Operation Viking Hail Mary. At first I thought I might start on the book I’d meant to read last night, but then I recognized that there was someone who needed to be informed of what could be, more than likely, defined as my crazy Sookie suicide plan. I wasn’t fool enough to think that I could enter Oklahoma without Freyda knowing it, and hence killing me. I hoped to get Pam and Karin in on the plan, which upped my chances immeasurably. Don’t let anyone say I hadn’t learned a few things from my supernatural missions. Most notably, I was not the planning queen. I tended to jump in feet first and pray that it all worked out for the best. But I was in a relationship and I needed to act like it. I needed to let Sam know.
He wasn’t going to like it, but at least I knew that going in. It wasn’t a phone conversation, nope: this was going to have to happen face to face, hard as that may be. I was done taking the easy way out. If I weren’t I would simply omit that information from any of our conversations, instead telling him I was going to bask in the Caribbean sunshine with a mai tai in one hand and a trashy romance novel in the other. Asking forgiveness was easier, absolutely, but Sam deserved more than that.
The clock informed me that it was shortly past four, plenty of time to clean up and drive over to his trailer, meeting him after he finished work. It took no time at all to shower and change into jeans and a clean long sleeve T. I grabbed my keys from the hook, not bothering with my umbrella since I wouldn’t be outside for all that long. I locked up and dashed between the raindrops to my old beater car. Shoving the keys into the ignition I pulled out of the driveway, windshield wipers keeping beat to the Springsteen song that sang out of the tinny old speakers. My mood picked up slightly, good music always seemed to be able to do that. Maybe Sam would completely understand. He’d see that I couldn’t just leave Eric in Oklahoma any more than I could have left Sam dead. I didn’t care how archaic vampire society was; slavery had been abolished for a reason. I knew there were folks who thought we should rewind the years, but I wasn’t one of them.
I was feeling pretty good by the time I got to Sam’s. I knocked on the door, but there was no answer. I didn’t want to go into the bar, having taken time off, so I sat on his steps under the lip of the overhang and waited for him. It didn’t take long for him to wander over to me and I jumped up.
“Hey handsome,” I said, greeting him with a warm smile. “How was your day?”
“Hey Sook, it was good. Come on in. Let’s get out of the rain.” I followed him through the door and into his living room area. “Lemme just get out of these clothes real quick. Help yourself to anything in the fridge.” He headed towards his bedroom and I grabbed him a beer and a bottle of water for me.
By the time he returned, I was sitting comfortably on his old couch. He settled on the other end and I leaned forward, handing him the beer and turning my body towards him.
“So what’s up? I’m assuming you didn’t come over here simply to stare at my handsome face and ask about the bar.” Having been friends for so long meant we didn’t need to spend time on too much small talk. He could tell I had something on my mind and I saw no reason to postpone the inevitable.
“Well, I did some thinking today and came to a decision that I need you to understand. We’re together, which means you deserve to know before I go running off, guns blazing.”
Confusion lined his face. “Um okay, so spill. What am I not gonna like about this?”
“Well I’m hoping even if you don’t like it that you’ll try and get where I’m coming from. See, I need to try and rescue Eric.” I paused and looked earnestly at him. “He gave up a hundred years of his life for me, but it’s not right. None of it. He shouldn’t have had to do it at all. I mean didn’t vampires get the memo that we don’t live in the Antebellum south anymore?” I tried to make a small joke, but he wasn’t smiling.
“No,” he said firmly.
“You don’t understand…” I tried to continue, but he cut me off.
“You’re right, I don’t get it. It’s completely ridiculous, not to mention idiotic.” He stood with a huff and started pacing the floor. “I don’t even see why you’d consider it.”
“I know it seems foolish, and quite truthfully, I know it is, but I just can’t let him spend two hundred years as a slave. He might have fought had it not been for me. Don’t you see? He saved me from being forced to move to Nevada. He kept me from being Felipe and Freyda’s pawn, not to mention the countless other times he saved my life.” I rose from the couch to go to him. He crossed the room to get away.
“And how many times was he the reason you almost got killed? I thought you were done with the vampire shit?” He asked harshly.
“That’s not fair and you know it. True, I would never have been in any of those situations had a vampire never walked into Merlotte’s, but then I’d still be the weird girl who didn’t think much of herself, who’d never dated, who’d never known what love was. I would be a smaller version of myself and I’d still be unhappy and insecure. I was in danger from plenty of supernatural creatures including, if you remember, a maenad who shredded my back and left me for dead. I would have died on a back road had it not been for those same vampires.” I gave him a pointed look. “This is who I am Sam, like it or not, and I’m not a woman who can just let a friend suffer to protect me.” I didn’t want to get worked up and cry, but I was getting dangerously close to doing just that.
Fucking Eric, I heard Sam think and my eyes whipped up to meet his. “You heard that, didn’t you?” He asked caustically. “I thought you couldn’t read my mind.”
“I can’t normally, only when you’re really emotional. I didn’t want to admit it because I wanted to believe I could control it.”
“Well great. So you lied to me from the start of our relationship, and now you want to go off and save your ex-boyfriend.” He sat down roughly in the recliner across from the couch and slammed his bottle down on the table. His hands ran through his short hair, making it stick up at odd angles. I moved to him, dropping down on my knees.
“Please understand, Sam. There was so much going on at the time and I wanted the comfort I feel with you. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I really thought I had my telepathy under control. I didn’t think it would ever be a problem. I don’t want to hurt you, but this is something I have to do. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself otherwise,” I pleaded with him.
Through his fingers splayed over his face he asked, “Do you still love him?”
I didn’t want to answer for fear that it would only make things worse, but he had asked and I wouldn’t lie to him anymore. I answered softly, “Yes.”
“Then why are you even talking to me about this?” His frustration poured through his feelings and I tried to assuage his insecurity.
“Because we’re together and I want this to work, which means being honest no matter how hard it is. I’m not asking for your permission, but I am asking for your support.”
“Well I can’t give it to you. I care for you Sookie, but there’s a good chance you’ll die if you do this.” He finally looked at me, “But you know that already, don’t you?” I could see the resignation written all over his face.
I nodded. “Yes there is that chance, but I want to know that if I make it, you’ll still be here, that you won’t hold this against me. I don’t want to fight with you about this. I don’t even have anything remotely resembling a plan yet since I still need to talk to Pam. Please Sam. Don’t just throw away what we have.”
“I don’t have to. You’re doing that fine all on your own. You’re still in love with him and this will throw you right back into his bed.” The bitterness seeped through his words coloring the conversation with the truth as he saw it.
“That’s not what this is about, I promise. Eric and I are done.” But even as I said it I knew very well that I could be deceiving myself. I straightened from my crouch and perched on top of the coffee table, taking his hands into mine. I let out the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding. “You might have a point. Truthfully, as much as it hurts to say, I’m not sure anymore which feelings are mine and which are from the Cluviel Dor and almost losing you.”
A sigh escaped and he said simply, “I know.” I started to interrupt him and he held a hand up placing it on my lips. “If I were a better man, I’d let you go now, but I’m not. I’m selfish enough to want whatever time I have left with you.” With that he took me into his arms and I curled into his lap, placing my head against his chest, listening to his strong, steady heartbeat. It was simple and sweet. I really wanted it to be enough.