“The pity and contempt were for me. You wanted your blood in me to control me, you wanted to use me to hurt Bill. I wanted you to want ME, Eric. I wanted it to be about me. I pitied myself that the dream of that would be forever out of my reach and I felt nothing but contempt for not being able to stop wanting a man who did not want me in return.” I nearly dropped her to floor in shock. “It was a game to you. It was a game then and it’s a game now. You shame me with my desire for you, Eric. I can’t let you do that again. Not again.”
Before I could speak she disappeared from my arms, leaving me for a moment in the basement with Yvetta behind me, and only the scent of her to prove that she had ever been there at all. Before I could think, the room was bathed in lavender light and I was standing there fully clothed wearing what I had had on earlier when I took to the sky to find her. I still had the scroll clutched tightly in my hand and behind me Yvetta had become Sarah Newlin. She was whimpering and whispering to a ghost that only she could see about being thankful for nothing.
I thought for the second time in as many days that she had lost her mind.
Perhaps I could ask her where to find mine.
Come With Me Now- Bleeding In The Dark
Needing to distance myself from the waves of crazy that were rolling off Sarah I moved quickly up the stairs and to my office. I sat down behind the desk and replayed what I had just learned. She had wanted me all those years ago. Before I lost my memories. She had wanted me, too. I ran my hand through my hair, angry at having lost so much time, at having missed so many chances, at having misunderstood so many things. Pride had always been my downfall.
No, that’s not right. I had offered her everything, humbled myself for her over and over again and she had spurned me. Even before I could speak the words I offered my body and my blood for her, and she didn’t want them! My hand came down on the top of desk, splintering the wood. It creaked and collapsed on my legs. Kicking it across the room in frustration I stood and started to pace. I always paced when I was feeling this way, it lent the illusion of action and made me feel at least like I was doing something. It made me feel like I was taking some action to right whatever had gotten fucked up this time.
She was gone. AGAIN. I had no idea where to find her, and I was less than certain that she wanted to see me again. Perhaps she needed some time to think. I needed time to think. I stopped pacing and stood frozen in the room.
How many times have I come to the edge of this and backed away to think. To stop feeling and get my strategic planning on? Every time. It was how I worked. Emotion overwhelmed me. Cold logical thought was how I functioned, so when she overloaded my senses I pulled back, every time.
AND THAT HAD NEVER WORKED.
I had to try and push on now. Logic, while being pushed aside demanded that I try something different that MIGHT work, as opposed to doing what I knew had NEVER worked.
I looked at the scroll in my hand, still somehow intact despite my supernaturally strong hold and jerked my arm unfurling it.
“Tell me what’s next!” I demanded as though it could answer me. To my surprise it did. It shimmered and before me more beautiful violet calligraphy appeared on its surface.
“Mr. Northman, won’t you please come in?”
“Hrphm!” I said, not knowing whether to laugh or break more furniture. Another stellar night for me. Slowly, I rolled the scroll and moved toward my office door, headed for the next destination. I opened my office door and stepped out into the grave yard, where I found myself in the middle of shoveling a grave back in. I hesitated but a moment as I adjusted to this change and then, as I had then, continued to dig and explain.
“The grounds already disturbed, so no one would think to dig again.”
“So much for keeping him alive so we could question him.”
“Well, that’s what I was planning.”
“But then you saw his brand.”
“It brings back many memories. Unpleasant ones.”
“If you’d given me a chance to listen to his thoughts-”
“You have no concept of how dangerous werewolves are! They’re virtually silent. They have no fear of death. And when they have had a bit of our blood their strength can be a challenge. Even for me.”
“Was it hard for you to show me that weakness?”
“Wha-” I stopped. I had almost forgotten again, gotten too caught up in remembering, in saying my lines. This was not happening, was happening, was always happening? Was I always just saying my lines? I stopped and focused on her question.
“Yes.” I stuck the shovel in the ground and moved to face her, needing and wanting to be close to her. As she had been that night she was back in work uniform, little black shorts and a tight white t-shirt. Merlotte was such a pig dressing and parading her this way. I always meant to kill him for showing her such disrespect.
“Why? If you wanted me, why was it hard to show me your true face?”
“A thousand years of hiding it? The fact that I wanted you to see me as the hero and look at me as you did Bill, like there was nothing I couldn’t do? The fact that I was reeling from feeling anything at all for the first time in a very long time and I didn’t know how to process it? Perhaps…” I stopped and swallowed. Each suggestion of why it had been hard for me to reveal myself had brought her a step closer to me and I could feel the warmth of her body now just hairs breadth from own.
“Perhaps?” she prodded gently.
“Perhaps, I was afraid you would laugh and lose confidence in my ability to protect you.”
“But you did it anyway?”
“And you didn’t appreciate in the slightest.”
“I DID SO!” She was glaring up at me now, but she had not moved back.
“No, you didn’t. You started talking about going to get, Bill. You were always talking about Bill.” She scrunched her face up at me, like she did sometimes when she was faced with an unpleasant truth that she did not want to accept.
“You said you weren’t a liar,” she answered softly, looking up at me.
“And I am not.”
“You opened this night by confessing that you had lied to me at Fangtasia when I came to ask about the runic symbol on the werewolf’s neck. Have you told so many lies that you had forgotten this one?” Now I took a step back.
“You won’t distract me by talking fast. I do not deny that I did lie to you, once. But the fact that I am not a liar by nature brought me to your doorstep to confess my transgression almost immediately. Now, admit that you did not appreciate my admission in the slightest.” She took a step to me and closed the distance bringing us back to where we had been.
“You confessed because you wanted to have passionate primal sex with me.”
“Yes. I won’t deny that.” She sighed, but didn’t move away.
“Games. It’s always games with you, Eric.”
“No. It’s not a game with you It was NEVER a game with you!”
“Sure it is. You told me that you were risking everything to tell me about the Nazi werewolves, and that the goal had been to protect me and when I pressed you to explain what those pulse pounding heart breaking words meant you started talking about fucking me to distract me. And when I pointed that out to you, you told me that you had already distracted me!” I smiled slightly at the memory she evoked.
“Yes, I did confess to you again. And it meant nothing. A moment later you started talking about Bill and how you were still his.”
“So, what? I was still his.”
“And you never ever once got tired of fucking reminding me of it, did you?” She dropped her gaze and looked at the ground. Again, I barely heard her reply.
“I was reminding myself.” My hand came up catching her chin and making her look at me.
“Yes.” Tears were slipping down her cheeks now.
“Why did you need to remind yourself that you belonged to Bill?”
“Because that night on the porch I wanted you to kiss me so bad it hurt. You had to feel my pain, Eric.”
“Yes, I thought-” I stopped. Gathering myself I pushed on, “I thought it was pain from missing him, and not knowing where he was or what had happened to him.” She laughed.
“It should have been. I should have been thinking about nothing else. I was only thinking of you though. I wanted you to kiss me, but I knew that you never would. I knew you were just making fun of me and the stupid girly crush you knew I had for you, so, I reminded myself that I belonged to Bill. That at least someone wanted me, even if that someone was not you.”
“Stop saying that! Every time you say that it is killing me just a little more inside!” My fangs came down then, completely unbidden, but in response to the pain in my chest as she revealed another layer of herself and her pain to me. Her tears were running faster now and I could feel her getting ready to run. “Stay, please, Sookie! Don’t go yet, there is so much more to say!”
“Like what? How foolish I am? How ridiculous I was with you that night. God, I feel sick when I think of what a fool I made of myself with you over and over!” I threw my head back and roared my anger and devastation into the night. I had tricked my blood into her and our tie had done nothing but mislead me from the beginning. How could I have missed so much? How could I have gotten so much wrong? I fell to my knees in front of her, beside the freshly re-dug grave and felt my own tears slide down my cheeks.
I was such a fucking fool.
“Please, Sookie. Please stop. I love you. You know I love you. You know I have always loved you. You words, they burn me. Please stop!” She dropped to her knees in front of me, her hands cupping my face, making me see her and her pain.
“I thought that, too, Eric. I thought that how I felt for you would kill me it was so big and scary and confusing. It burned me so fucking bad that all I wanted sometimes was to cut you out of my heart and out of my soul. I thought that, too. But when I knew you felt me and you didn’t fucking care, I began to accept that pain doesn’t kill you because day after day and night after night I survived. Every night you did not come to me I survived! That you would turn this around on me now, is the worst thing you have ever done, and you have done some terrible things to me, Eric.”
“No! Never, I never…” but as I wanted to deny her accusations I remembered that there had been things. Things that now shamed me and my love for her. Things that I had justified to myself and never explained to her at all, because I thought she didn’t care either way. All she ever spoke of was Bill. It was easy to be the villain since she would never let me be the hero in our little fucked up story.
“I’m so sorry, Sookie. So very fucking sorry that I ever hurt you.”
“Then why did you do it? If you’re sorry, if you loved me, then why did you do it?”
“I think I…I think I found it easy to do what needed to be done, to make the hard choices because I thought that you would be happy as long as Bill was the hero. As long Bill could be your hero, what happened to me didn’t matter. What you thought about me didn’t matter. Maybe I was just happy for you to think of me at all, even if you couldn’t think well of me.”
Her thumb came up and wiped the blood from my face and she looked me oddly turning her head to the side as if she was trying to understand what I had just said.
“In the moments I had to myself, in the quiet times, in every breath, I thought of you from the moment we met. When I saw you at Fangtasia for the first time I was struck dumb at your beauty, at the feelings you brought out in me when you talked to me, when you looked at me. I remember thinking, ‘someone like that would never be interested in someone like me.’ Every time you tricked me, pushed me away, and did something terrible to me, I knew I had been right.” She stood then, looking down at me. “You’d think that I would get some satisfaction out of being right, but it hurt like a mutherfucker every time.”
I watched as she disappeared again, running away to I knew not where, and I lacked the heart to chase her. I had done enough. Lost in my own pain I had missed hers and read things wrong at every side and turn. I thought she could see me, but I had never shown her anything that she could see. I thought she had left me, had rejected me, but from her perspective it had been a very different story.
As soon as she disappeared the night shifted around me and I was still beside the grave where we had put the were, but now grass covered its surface showing that much time had passed since that night so long ago. I could sense dawn only a short time away. I thought about digging into the grave for the day but then I remembered that the last time I had seen Sookie she had said I could come in if I wanted. Perhaps that was still true.
When I landed on the porch I pulled the boards off the door and found that she had not rescinded my invitation after that night. For some reason that eased the ache in me a little. For as long as she had been here she had still been hoping that I would come back. She had still wanted me to come back. The cubby was musty but it would do for the day. I lay down on the bed, the lights were not working because the power was off but I didn’t need them.
I could bleed in the dark.