Chapter 5 – Discovery and Loss
SB Electrical – Entrance
Sandy Sechrest held her head high as she walked purposefully to the front door. Clearing her throat, she stopped in front of the security guard and spoke loudly so that all the other customers nearby would hear her.
“My laptop is having some problems; can you tell me who might be able to help me?”
Quinn raised an eyebrow at the blonde woman in front of him and bent down a little to reply to her. “Lady, I ain’t deaf, so there’s no need to shout. You can take your laptop to the Geek Clique desk; one of them will be able to help you.”
Sandy narrowed her eyes at him and turned to walk away but stopped when he spoke again.
“And it doesn’t do any harm to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ either.”
She bristled but grit her teeth and carried on without retort. Felipe had told her that he wanted Sookie made out to be incompetent but Sandy couldn’t help but wonder why. She wondered if Sookie was out to take his job as head of the Nerd Squad, but when she saw the polo shirt that said ‘Sookie Stackhouse – Technical Support Manager’ she put that idea to the side.
Is Felipe maybe gunning for this girl’s job? It’s a busy store, I can see the appeal. But it’s entirely possible he’s hurting about the fact she’s younger and becoming more successful than him. Either way is money in my pocket.
Sandy smiled widely as she approached the desk, ignoring the nudges and nods that the others at the Geek Clique centre were giving her. Before Sandy could open her mouth, Sookie spun around and faced her.
“Well, hey there. What can I do for ya?” Sookie looked at the case Sandy was holding. “Oh! Is your laptop sick?”
“Uh …” Sandy blinked at Sookie’s over-dramatic pout and placed the laptop on the desk. “Yes, I don’t know what’s wrong with it.”
“Sounds serious. Let Doctor Sookie have a look.”
Sookie took out a pair of elbow length, bright yellow rubber gloves from under the desk and pulled them on, making a snapping noise with each glove as she tugged then as far up her arms as they would go. She then produced a plasma ball and a set of swimming goggles. Sookie nodded to Pam, who put on a pair of oven mitts. Pam nodded to Bill, who took out a deck of playing cards and fanned them across the desk. Sandy watched as all of the staff at the desk prepared in some way or another. Sookie bit her lip to stop giggling at Sandy’s perplexed expression. Clearly, the visitor was not as prepared for the procedure as the SB Electrical staff.
“Are we ready to start?”
“Yes, Doctor Sookie. Weave your magic.” Pam and Bill said in unison, their voices monotone and robotic.
Sandy took a step back from the desk as Sookie removed the laptop from the bag. She placed it on the desk and bent down, running her nose along the hinge at the back. Sookie nodded and repeated the process on all sides of the laptop. She stood straight and wafted the scent of the laptop towards her before frowning and cocking her head to the side.
“We’re going to have to perform a nicky-noodle-ectomy.” Pam gasped and Bill thumped his fist against the surface of the desk. “Assume the positions.”
Pam covered her ears with her mitt clad hands and chanted ‘nicky-noodle’ over and over again in a low voice while Bill chanted the same words as he waved his hands over the deck of cards. Sookie took a deep breath and placed one hand on the plasma ball and the other on the laptop. By this point, the spectacle had drawn quite the crowd. Many of them sniggering, some of them looking for hidden cameras but most of the customers were more interested in Sandy’s reactions.
“What the hell are you doing? How is this going to fix my laptop? Are you all incompetent? Are you all crazy? I knew I should have gone to Felipe at Buy Everything!”
Sookie smiled at Sandy and pushed the laptop towards her. “We’re just kidding around. But if you really want to take your laptop to Buy Everything then that’s up to you – maybe Felipe will be able to fix it, seeing as he’s the one who broke it.”
“How did you … I mean, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Sandy spoke loudly and clearly for the benefit of the surrounding customers.
“Look, sweetie, I know Felipe was trying to prank me but, right now, you’re the only one getting punked.” Sookie narrowed her eyes. “You take this back to him and you tell him that if he wants a war, he’s got one.”
Buy Everything – Shreveport
“And when he turned around and asked me if USB drive was a new type of transmission for his car – I swear, I thought I was going to die laughing!” Felipe turned away from holding court with his minions to answer his phone. “Hi, Sandy, how goes the mission?”
“It’s a wash, Felipe. She put on some big show with rubber gloves and oven mitts. She didn’t even look at the laptop, when I complained about what they were doing she told me to take it to Buy Everything.”
“Rubber gloves? I don’t think I want to know, but one thing I do know is that it sounds like you failed miserably.”
“I didn’t fail – I did exactly what you asked me to do. She knew I wasn’t an honest customer and she knew you’re the one who sent me.”
“But how could she? The only place someone might have overheard something would have been at Vic’s.”
“Well, maybe you need to check the place for bugs … or spies. Why is it so important to make this girl out to be useless?”
“You don’t really need to know that.”
“She’s no idiot. I don’t know what game you’re playing, Felipe, but it’s too rich for my blood. I don’t know what kind of revenge she’s cooking up, but you’d better watch your ass.”
Felipe was speechless. He hung up on Sandy and went to speak to his minions.
The Ravenscroft Residence – Shreveport
Eric ran his fingers through his hair as he waited for Pam. He thought, for a second, that Andre would be telling him to get it cut soon. But then he smiled, because Andre could never tell him that again. He could grow his hair with no fear of reprisal. It was a small victory but important. The yelling that signalled Pam’s imminent exit from the house she lived in with her parents was Eric’s cue to start the engine. Pam liked to getaway as quickly as possible after waking and spend as little time with her parents as she could these days. He was moving the car down the drive before her seatbelt was fastened.
“What were they scolding you for this time?” The good natured smile fell from Eric’s lips as he watched Pam angrily wipe at her eyes with the back of her hand.
“My Mom had the bright idea that if I wasn’t going be a career woman that I should concentrate on finding a rich man to marry.”
“Ah … and let me guess – she’s set you up on some hokey date with one of Uncle Joseph’s high-fliers?”
Pam nodded and angrily blew her nose. “I get that they want me to do something with my life – but there’s a huge canyon between being a criminologist and being arm candy at the firm’s Christmas party.”
“Why don’t you tell them you’re already seeing someone? Tell them you’re dating Jason or something – it’ll get them off your back.”
“Jason? Did you have a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster before you came to pick me up? He’s completely un-dateable.”
“It was just a suggestion. You know if you explained the situation he would go along with it – and Sookie would quite happily gush to your parents about you being almost a sister anyway. But I guess it wouldn’t matter what you came up with – Sookie would back you up 100%. She’s that kind of person isn’t she?”
Eric withered under Pam’s harsh gaze and tried to think of something different to talk about. No matter how hard he tried not to think about quizzing Pam on Sookie, he always came back to it. He found her very interesting; he liked her sense of humour and how she seemed to care about so many people – even if they had hurt her before. Jason had been very forthcoming on information about Sookie’s childhood years but didn’t know much beyond Sookie – the girl. Eric was more interested in Sookie – the woman.
“So, what was it like, living with Sookie for three years?”
Pam smiled. “It was a lot of fun, we like a lot of the same movies and TV shows. We read the same books. It was like living with a larger breasted, more computer orientated version of myself.”
“I bet you guys liked to party in college. Sookie seems like the type of girl that has one beer then you can’t get her to stop dancing.”
“That’s pretty accurate.” Pam chuckled. “But we didn’t party much. Most of the guys were complete assholes, which is why I ended up batting for the team who wears comfortable shoes and Sookie only went out with, like, three guys.”
“What were they like, the guys she dated?”
Pam narrowed her eyes. “Oh no! I’m not doing this. If you want to know all about Sookie’s love life, you’ll need to date for the requisite 3 months before the ‘ex’ conversation.”
“What? Date? Who said anything about dating?”
“Eric, let’s look at the facts shall we?” Pam turned in her seat so she was facing him. “You obviously like Sookie. You ask too many questions about her for you not to be interested. She’s hot, fun and smart – you’d be a fool not to like her. But she’s your boss, so you can’t mess her around – if you want to act on your attraction to her, you have to date her. Woo her.”
“Woo her? Seriously?”
“Yes, seriously. And you can begin by stopping the ‘cool salesman’ act – I know there’s more to you and so does Sookie. So geek up, Eric, show Sookie your true colours. Her super-power is being able to smell bullshit; honesty is a big turn-on for her.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Really? Did you know that your shirt has ridden up and I can clearly see the waistband of your Incredible Hulk boxers?”
“It’s wash day. They were a … a gift.”
“Sookie mentioned how well you can mimic Will Riker. What’s your excuse for that?”
“I … I caught all the reruns when I broke my ankle.”
Pam shook her head sadly and leaned toward Eric, her voice low and deliberate. “You can’t begin to imagine the life you denied yourself.”
Sookie skedaddled out of the residential area near Buy Everything with her ‘Kill Batman’ grin in full effect. Felipe had no idea who he was dealing with.
The Compton Estate – Bon Temps
“Take my love, take my land Take me where I cannot stand I don’t care, I’m still free you can’t take the sky from me”
It wasn’t often Bill sang, let alone singing first thing in the morning before he’d had his coffee. But today he was convinced that this would be the day that he turned Sookie against Eric and began his quest to win her back. The information he’d found on the internet the previous night had made him smile with glee. A blog entry that just begged to be printed out and put on the staff bulletin board Chuckling, Bill poured his coffee and looked at the paper in his hand for his favourite line – for the fourth time since waking.
“Eric will say anything to seal the deal, no man has ever made me so many empty promises.” Oh, Sookie. When you read this you’ll be disgusted by him and who will be there to chastise this awful treatment of a woman?
Bill was so absorbed in his plan that he was halfway through his Lucky Charms before he realised his Dad wasn’t in the kitchen eating breakfast too. This was very odd as the Comptons always ate breakfast together. Bill wondered if maybe his Dad was having a lie in or maybe had to leave the house early for some reason. He finished his breakfast and started looking around the bottom level of the house for a note. When a note couldn’t be found, he went upstairs to check his Dad’s room.
“Dad?” He knocked lightly on the bedroom door. “Dad, are you in there?”
Frowning, he opened the door slowly and peeked into the room. Sure enough, his Dad was still in bed. But something was wrong. Instead of being nestled under the covers, Jesse Compton was lying fully clothed, diagonally across the mattress on top of the comforter.
“Dad?” Bill spoke louder and walked toward Jesse’s form on the bed. “Daddy?”
When Bill touched Jesse’s hand it was stone cold and looked grey in the dull light of the room. Jesse’s eyes were closed and his face looked saggy – like there was more skin there than there had been the day before. When Bill grabbed at his dad’s shoulders to try and shake him, the scent of urine assaulted him, the weight and stiffness of Jesse’s body made it almost impossible for Bill to move him in his heightened emotional state.
“No, no, no, Daddy! You can’t do this Daddy. You can’t leave me!”
But Jesse Compton was gone. He had been for hours.