The Guilded Cage – Chapter 2 – Meetings & Revenge
The next four weeks were busy, not only in term of my virtual life, but in real life too. My healing was progressing very well, my right leg was fully healed and I was down to a light cast on my lower left leg. My physio was stepped up to help me regain the muscle loss from not using my legs for around six months, I could move around with crutches for short periods of time and was wearing ankle weights for 20 minutes every day while I was in the wheelchair. The care that Blandiferous was paying for really was top notch.
The hardest part about the Bill/CivilWarrior stuff was convincing him that the guild never mentioned him except for telling me that he used to be a member. He still wasn’t happy about meeting at Ragnarock but I just kept explaining that my best friend was a waitress there (What? He’d told me bigger lies than that!) and I didn’t want to meet someone I talked to online in a place full of strangers. ‘Frannie’ had been flirting so outrageously with him I could tell he was practically panting to meet his virtual fuck-buddy.
I’d been having a great time doing missions with Area Five, although a lot of the time it seemed to just be me and Eric online, I wondered if he actually ever done any work! He was fun to chat to while we were taking out the evil overlords and I spent many a night alone in bed imagining what he looked like. On occasion Sam would bring his laptop over to my place and we’d chat while playing. Tonight was one of those nights, we had a massive group mission and had teamed up with 2 other small guilds, it had taken a lot of organising and, thankfully, it was very successful. After it was done all the characters went to the nearest town for repairs.
[VikingGod69 (guild) says: that was fuckawesome! We totally kicked ass!]
[RedTerror (guild) says: Hell yeah!]
[EvilMilkMaid (guild) says: Hey I got healing blood for my vamp talent! What did you guys get?]
[BeerDude (guild) says: Two-natured got enhanced jaw power. Uber cool!]
[Wiccanical (guild) says: Witches got curse of aversion.]
[ConjouralVisit (guild) says: yeah it’s a bit lame with group stuff but good for going solo.]
[VikingGod69 (guild) says: Claude? Sook? What did the fairies get?]
[ImTooSexy (guild) says: we got root burial. Incapacitates a target for 1 minute.]
[SouthernBelle (guild) says: yeah that’ll come in handy for crowd control.]
[Longtooth (guild) says: I’m pumped! I gotta confess all this stuff with Sook and Bill has got me itchin’ to meet everyone.]
[BabeMagnet (guild) says: me too man. Why don’t we meet up before? Chill together before the big humiliation?]
[VikingGod69 (guild) says: that sounds cool. I’d like that. We’re all local and it’s still early …]
[RedTerror (guild) says: I’m up for it. Ragnarock?]
I turned to Sam, excitement making my cheeks pink, he looked unsure.
“Don’t you wanna go Sam?”
“It’s not that Chere, teaming up so you could knock douche boy down a peg or two is fine but this is something different.”
“We’re making friends Sam! Lord knows we spend enough time chatting with them, I know me and Eric have been clocking up a lot of ‘get to know you’ hours doing missions just the two of us. I’m interested to see what everyone looks like, what their voices sound like. Aren’t you?”
“Kind of, we’ll go but I’m only going because you’re going. To be honest I liked the anonymity.” He sheepishly smiled and started packing up his lappy.
[SouthernBelle (guild) says: Me and Sam will be there in about an hour.]
[VikingGod69 (guild) says: I’ll look forward to it Sookie.]
I logged off and went to my room to change, it was so much easier now I could support myself with a crutch. I threw on a sundress and a little make-up, grabbed my crutches and hop/hobbled to the door where Sam was waiting.
“Don’t you want to take your wheelchair Chere?”
“I’ll be fine, into truck, out of truck, onto seat, out of seat. I won’t be on my feet the entire time!”
I was humming with anticipation the whole ride there, not just because I was meeting people I’d been talking to for the last while, but because this was the first time I was going out of the house to socialise since I got put in hospital. Sam parked in the gravel lot behind the bar and ran round to help me get on my feet. He walked slowly at my side, wincing at the effort I was making, when we got to the door there was a long line.
“Shit Sam I can’t wait in this line! I need to sit down.”
“No worries Chere follow me.” He walked up to the front of the line to the bouncer and looked him in the eye. “We’re here to see Pam and Eric.”
The bouncer spoke into a small radio then asked our names, he repeated them into the little black box on his lapel nodding when he got an answer. The rope was lifted and we were ushered through. It was very busy and I was scared of someone bumping into me but everyone moved out of my way when they seen my crutches. Sam got to the bar to order drinks and I looked around. AC/DC were being blasted out of large speakers in each corner, I’m surprised the barman could hear what Sam was ordering. I spotted a blonde head bobbing around, searching for something, I wondered if it was Pam and she was looking for us? I turned to Sam and saw the barman waving to the blonde woman. She rushed over, knocking a couple of drinkers out of the way and stopped in front of me.
I nodded and smiled “Pam?”
“Yes! Oh and this must be Sam – oh my … yes well … shall we? Everyone else is here! This is so exciting!”
Sam laughed and shook his head, carrying his beer and my coke over to three tables that had been pushed together. He put the drinks down and pulled out a chair for me, which I gratefully took, as Pam started introducing everyone.
“Everyone! This is Sookie and Sam.”
She stood behind a very large bald man with eyes that looked purple – I hoped it was just the lights in the bar, purple is a fucked up colour for eyes. “This is Quinn – BabeMagnet.”
Next was a cheery looking girl with a chin length blonde bob and chubby cheeks “Wiccanical – Holly.”
A burly guy with a mess of red hair “RedTerror – Clancy.”
A huge guy, tall and wide and very handsome, with curly black hair and what looked like green eyes “Longtooth – Alcide.”
Another very handsome man with long black hair and perfect features “ImTooSexy – Claude.”
Rather than standing behind the next member, Pam rubbed her hands on the girls’ shoulders. She was about my height as far as I could tell, with brown hair cut in a pixie style and a cute button nose “ConjouralVisit – Amelia.”
Then my eyes settled on the last member to be introduced, you could see that he and Pam were related. The long blonde hair, the twinkling blue eyes, but while Pam was petite, he was huge. Broad shoulders, strong arms, big hands … oh the hands “VikingGod69 – Eric.”
Viking God was right! I thought it had perhaps been ego when he chose that username, but now I see it’s simply truth. I tried not to stare at him while we all swapped stories and everyone asked me about my legs and how I was healing up, the interesting thing was, more often than not, every time I looked at him – he was looking at me. I would be lying if I said that he wasn’t the reason I wanted to come tonight.
The amount of time we’d spent running around killing evil things just the two of us had given us a bond of some sort, we lol’d at the same things, liked the same music and movies and I’d been flirting with him almost as much as ‘Frannie’ had been flirting with Bill. Sam left his seat next to me to go back to the bar for a round and Eric swooped in, pulling the chair as close to me as he could.
“Wow Sookie! I’ve tried to imagine what you look like so many times but …”
“Hey me too! Except with you of course.” Fucking shoot me now.
“Funny how we can always find plenty to say to each other in game but now it feels a little strange.”
“Yes, a little.” Because I want nothing more than for you to rip my clothes off and fuck me right here, right now. “I’m sure it’ll pass – probably just the shock of actually having to speak face to face!”
“Shock, yeah, maybe. So are you nervous about this whole thing with Bill?”
“Not right now but I probably will be I’m just so angry at him! I can’t thank you guys enough for backing me up; I wish I’d known what an asshole he was before …”
“Looking back never does any good Sookie. For what it’s worth he’s a fool, treating a gorgeous girl like you as if you were a pet? He deserves worse than a little confrontation!”
“Well confrontation is all we can do right now. He hurt me, my heart, but eventually he’ll dig a hole for himself with his douchery.”
“Douchery! Hah!” Eric laughed and what a laugh, deep, rumbling and warm. The kind of laugh that makes people turn and stare – which is what everyone was doing. I admit it’s been a while since my girl parts made themselves known to me, crushed legs and all, but upon meeting Eric they were begging to be put to good use. I had been attracted to his personality first so it didn’t make me a bad person to lust after his perfect specimen of male sexiness, right?
All too soon the night came to an end, I’d had a chance to meet the people I’d been spending most of my days and nights with on FaWN. We hugged and kissed cheeks, I saved Eric until last which was odd because he seemed to be doing the same. I balanced on my crutches and tipped my face upwards
“I can’t wait to see you again Sookie.”
“Me either, except with you y’know.” Fuck!
He grinned and stroked a thumb across one of my cheeks before planting a sweet kiss on my lips. I stood with my eyes closed for a few seconds, just enjoying the closeness of a beautiful man but was jerked out of my thoughts by someone clearing their throat.
“Sam is going to bring the truck closer to the door so you don’t have as far to walk.”
“Oh he’s such a sweetheart! I’ll see you guys later!”
I slowly made my way to the door, turning once before I walked out into the night, only to find Eric still standing in the same spot I’d left him in, looking right at me.
It was Friday and I was back at Dr. Ludwig’s for more x-rays and a review of my pain meds. The good news was that both legs were now structurally sound enough for me to start rebuilding my muscle mass. My wheelchair was now optional but I was advised to stay off my feet as much as I could until I was stronger so I decided to keep with it when I was at home so I could still move around instead of sitting in a chair and asking other people to get me stuff.
It had been almost 5 months and it would still take a while until I was able to run, jump and skip to wherever I wanted to go but Jason had installed handrails in the shower and lots of other things that meant I had more independence. After looking after myself for so long before I got hurt, it was nice to not rely on so many people. The one thing I was really looking forward to was getting Dr. Ludwig and my physio’s clearance to drive again, then the world would be my oyster!
As Jason was driving back into town I stared sadly at the abandoned building that used to be Merlotte’s. I asked Jase to slow down so I could read the sign that had been put out front; it was going to be sold at auction, who knows what kind of person would buy it up! Bud, the Sherriff, had been bitchin’ to anyone who’d listen about how his work was harder since nobody in Bon Temps had anywhere local to drink and hang out. I knew that Sam missed it, I missed it, Tara missed it, everyone in Bon Temps missed it. Maybe having a bar out here just needed proper marketing? Eric and Pam’s bar was hopping even though it was in a strip mall out of walking distance to anything else … I wondered if maybe I should talk to Sam about this.
I didn’t get to clock up a lot of game-time the next week, me and Sam were busy with bank managers and financial advisors and, eventually, the company auctioning off the old Merlotte’s site. We were allowed access to view the bar and both of us came out very angry, it had been trashed, totally, with no signs of unauthorised entry. The auctioneer, Mr. Burnham, told us that it had been passed to them in that condition and that they had had some interest but potential bidders had withdrawn after seeing how much work would have to be put in to the interior. The auction was in 8 days and we were the only interested party.
We went back to my apartment to discuss what we’d seen and heard. Now, not only would we have to factor in the cost of buying the site and marketing but it would need an extensive refit into the bargain.
“Sook, the bar’s previous clientele didn’t provide me with enough to keep it going, I don’t know if this is worth pursuing.”
“Well, a big problem with the old bar was transport right? People didn’t want to drink too much and have to drive home and cabs are few and far between in Bon Temps.” Sam nodded solemnly “What if we provided a way for people to get home?”
“Like a shuttle bus like they have at the airports?”
“Yeah! Maybe we could even get sponsored by the Sherriff’s office in the interests of public safety!”
“It’s a great idea Sook; I guess I could swing by and ask Bud about it.”
“Even if we don’t get their approval or endorsement, it would just be the cost of a van and gas, we could ask for donations towards it too.”
“I’ll speak to Bud and call you tonight. Oh! I need to speak to Lafayette and see if he’ll come back to make his burgers – we could make that an advertising point.”
“Best burger in Northern Louisiana!”
“No doubt about that! I’ll talk to you later Chere.”
I saw Sam to the door and wheeled back to log on to FaWN. Not much of a surprise but I had a PM from Bill, I also had one from Eric. I read that one first as it made me giddiest!
Hi Sookie, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed meeting you last week. You’re more beautiful than I could have imagined and I hope you’d like to spend more time with me in person now we’ve gotten to know each other so well. I like your sense of humour and how you’re not letting what happened with Bill and your accident bring you down. I like you. Eric x
Wow. I wasn’t sure how to respond to that. I liked him too. A lot. I clicked the reply button and chewed my lip for a while trying work out what I wanted to say to him. This was different from when Bill had started showing an interest in me, the attraction was based on physical attributes then we got to know each other but I knew I was interested in Eric before I even knew what he looked like, he would have had to look like Jabba The Hutt for me to lose interest – fortunately he didn’t.
Hi Eric, I’ll see you when I confront Bill and also Sam & I are re-opening his bar and would like your input but I’d like to see you again without all of that stuff. Just us. I like you too. Sookie x
I chewed a little more before I hit the send button, did it sound okay? Did it sound hokey? Did I sound like a bitch? Argh! I figured his response would let me know what I sounded like, if he responded at all. Crap! What if he didn’t? Try not to think like that Sook! I shook off my lack of confidence and read the message Bill sent me.
I can’t wait to meet you any longer. I’m not happy about meeting at Ragnarock due to the owners being my former GM’s but I’ll agree to your terms. I can’t wait to introduce you to my little warrior and bury him inside you. Saturday 4pm while the bar is still fairly quiet, I’ll book a room at a motel nearby.
I actually felt nauseous after reading that. Sex was all he was interested in, not that this surprised me at all. After I relented and we finally had sex it was all he wanted to do but it was always the same, missionary, very little preparation and if I actually came it was just a by-product of him getting his jollies. For a long time I lied when gossiping with the other waitresses, why of course he went down on me, I loved being on top, his fingers could do the most amazing things … more denial that our relationship was on the outs.
I sent him a reply confirming the day and time, told him to bring protection and included the number from a disposable cell phone instructing him to text me when he was almost there as my friend would be busy and I didn’t want to sit alone for ages waiting for him. I also asked that he wear a blue flower on his jacket so I could recognise him.
The one thing that really hacked me off with Bill was his continual insistence that I go on the pill so he could ‘have the full experience’. I always refused because not only was I unhappy about having my hormones messed with but it was just too expensive for someone on my pay bracket with as many outgoings as I had. A couple of times, when he’d offered to pay, I’d almost given in, knowing what I know now I was glad he never succeeded, Lord knows what I could have ended up with!
Saturday was 2 days away; I went to the guild website and sent a PM to all members.
Saturday 4pm. Time to shake him up. Sookie x
I went and got myself something to eat and watched some TV. Sam called me and said that Bud would sponsor a ‘beer taxi’ if he could but the county wouldn’t approve funding for it no matter how much it was in the towns best interests. I suggested a leaflet campaign to let townsfolk know what we were planning and seeing if we could partially raise the funds from donations, when not in use for the bar it could be used as a community service. Sam agreed and told me he’d work on a leaflet and show me tomorrow.
“I got the PM. Saturday huh?”
“Yeah. I guess I should think about exactly what I want to say to him.”
“It would be a good idea Chere. Don’t worry; nothing could keep me away from having that stupid shit-eating grin wiped off his face.”
I laughed and then we said our farewells, then I checked my PM box. Every member of the guild had replied saying they would definitely be there; I pulled out a notepad and started listing all the things I wanted to say to him.
Friday was spent sending messages back and forth to Eric; eventually we decided it would be better to just talk on the phone so I gave him my cell number. 30 seconds after I sent it to him, it rang.
“Hi Sookie, it’s good to hear your voice.”
“Oh … umm … it’s good to hear yours. Is everything set for the meeting?”
“Yeah. The plant is looking forward to it and I’ll make sure the camcorder is ready and charged. It’ll be good to see him taken down a peg or two, I mean I got my fair share but I never made fun of them or boasted about them to people.”
“Uh … sure, yeah his attitude stinks.” He got his fair share? Why did that make me jealous as sin? He was gorgeous; he probably had to wade through adoring women to get to work every day, what guy wouldn’t take advantage.
“Are you okay? You’ve gone awful quiet … oh shit! I’m sorry I shouldn’t have talked about …”
“No. No, Eric, it’s fine. So … uh … oh yeah! Sam and I are re-opening the bar together, business partners but we were wondering if you could give us some tips on how to market it, get feet through the door y’know.”
“Okay, I can do that. I’d need to wait until the place is open and you know what kind of place you want it to be.”
“That won’t be for a while yet, the place is a wreck.”
“Oh … I was hoping I’d see you again sooner than that.”
“Well I don’t just want to see you for business stuff or game stuff; I was hoping we could go on a date, sometime, if you want.”
“Yeah I’d like that. So … um … maybe we can arrange something when we get together on Saturday?”
“That would be … really nice. I should get going … bedtime and all.”
“Sure, I’m at the bar so I won’t be going to bed for a while, I’ll be thinking about you though … uh … not when I’m in bed … well probably when I’m in … shit!”
“It’s okay, I … uh … think about you too.”
“Sometimes.” All the time, every night, my fingers were in danger of being permanently pruney. “I should go, bye Eric.”
“Okay bye Sookie.”
That was possibly the most awkwardly cute conversation I’ve ever had. The fact that we were so flirtatious and willing to talk about what we thought of each other online but not in a more direct fashion worried me … a lot. What if the game was all we had? No, we didn’t talk about the game all that much, we talked about what we’d done that day and our plans for the next day, what new movies we wanted to see, what we were listening to, you get the point.
I just had to figure out how to actually say those things rather than type them. Probably easier said than done, much like confronting your douche bag ex-boyfriend who emotionally blackmailed you while dropping trou for whatever internet floozy PM’d him and lied about where he was working so he could probably carry on cheating instead of coming to see you. I settled myself on the mattress and pulled my comforter up to my chin, putting all Bill-centric thoughts from my mind and focussing on Eric, blonde hair flowing in the breeze, on a horse … no, no … a motorcycle, wearing tight jeans, gripping the handlebars with his big, big hands … mmmmm.
Saturday came sooner than I was ready for, Sam was driving me to the bar even though Jason had offered, I figured Jason being there would be overkill considering what we had planned and he had always had a lack of control with his fists if provoked – which Bill would probably do. We’d decided that everyone involved should meet at 3pm, giving us an hour to have people in their proper places and the hardware set up.
When Sam and I walked in, it was quite busy but not packed. There were a few free tables and no-one was standing around except at the bar area, our group were easy to spot and we made our way over.
“Hi guys! We ready for this?”
“Sookie, Sam.” Eric nodded at Sam and came over and kissed me on the cheek, which got some interesting looks from everyone else except Pam and Sam, I guess we’d been pretty obvious about our interactions to those closest to us.
It had been hard finding the perfect person to pose as Frannie, but the entire guild rallied and we managed to procure the services of a dancer from a little known speciality club. It was Quinn who found Buttercup, through a friend of a friend apparently, that was his story and he was sticking to it. We crowded round a few tables and went back over the plan again. The phone on the table buzzed annoyingly, I accessed the message, everyone crowding round to see what it said.
B there in 10. Hope u feel sexy. Bill
I swallowed the little throw-up I produced and typed my reply.
I feel so sexy I brought 2 grlfrnds with me. We gonna party. Fx
Once I quietened everyone’s snickering, Alcide and Claude went to Pam’s office to get changed. Eric and I hid in a booth with the camcorder. We were squished pretty close together so we were covered by the fake leaves of the bar’s decor, god he smelled good, my legs weren’t in the best of positions so Eric suggested I sit in his lap. He had a very comfortable lap; I could have stayed there for a good while.
Buttercup sat at a table next to the bar, Alcide and Quinn sat at the table behind with their backs to the door. Pam was standing by the bar watching for my signal, Sam, Holly and Amelia were standing nearby, they didn’t need to do anything but wanted to be here for support and to see Bill’s face. Then he walked in, popping the collar on his jacket and grinning like a fool. I nodded to Pam; she went to Buttercup’s table and put a drink on it, whispering about the blue flower.
Bill scanned the room, back and forth; Eric hugged me tightly to him which made concentrating a little difficult. Buttercup waved to get Bill’s attention and blew him a kiss when he looked over.
“Hey hot stuff. You lookin’ for me?”
“Uh … no.”
“You are Bill? CivilWarrior?”
“Ye … es. Frannie?” His eyes were bugging out of his head as he took in the 6 feet 2 inches of lean muscle wearing a hot pink spandex vest, pvc shorts, a leopard print neckerchief and full glittertastic make-up.
“Does this look like the kind of bar I just hang out in? Of course I’m Frannie! Sit down, have a drink, you made yo’self sound so interestin’ online, I want to have a good look at you with your clothes on before we go back to that motel room you booked!”
Eric put a hand over my mouth to stop my giggles being heard when I saw how pale Bill got.
“I thought you brought a couple of girlfriends? Are they here?” Buttercup clicked his fingers and Alcide and Claude stood up and walked over to Bill, Alcide really didn’t do well as a drag queen but Claude pulled it off no problem. They flanked him and practically shoe-horned him into a chair at the table. “They’re not girls.”
“Is there something wrong Bill? Did I not say I was gorgeous? Did I not say my chest was perfection? Did I not say you would have the experience of a lifetime with me?”
“Uh … yes. I suppose you did say those things, I just wasn’t expecting you to be so … male.”
“Well you never asked if I was a girl! What the hell? You know if yo’ cruisin’ fo’ ass online yo’ need ta make dayum sure yo’ ask the right things boy!”
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
Yep, nothing like 3 huge drag queens bein’ angry to make a homophobic, womanisin’ asshole shit his pants! The three fabulous ‘girls’ stood up and crowded round him, getting all up in his face.
“You should be more careful Bill; right now I could take you out of here and have my way, that’s the danger of meeting folks online when you don’t ask more about them.”
“You won’t though right? Take me out of here?”
“Sugah, you ain’t worth the energy it would take to get a hard on for yo’ weedy ass. Girls! Let’s go!”
Buttercup, Alcide and Claude sashayed out of the bar and Pam went down the staff only corridor to let them back in through the employee entrance. Bill was still reeling from his online hook-up faux pas. I wriggled on Eric’s lap, trying to get closer to my crutches for the big surprise, he let out a groan and when I looked at him his eyes flashed with mischief. Just as Bill stood up, I made my move, hopping out of the booth and calling for him.
“Bill? Is that you?”
“Sookie? What are you doing here?”
“Just meeting a close friend, I met him online.”
“Well you’d have to with you being damaged and everything can’t see you getting much interest in the real world.”
“Nice to see you haven’t changed Bill, you’re still an asshole. What brings you here all the way from New Orleans?”
“Uh … I was meeting someone too.”
“Oh? Those drag queens? I didn’t think that would be your scene, but maybe that’s why you were always such a disappointing fuck – I didn’t have the right parts under my dress.”
“It was a mistake, I … I also met he … him online, and I’ve never had any complaints from the women I pleasure so you can stop being a bitch.”
“You haven’t had any complaints because it’s not worth talking about, and speaking of other women – I know about how you fucked your way through at least 20 girls while you were accusing me of cheating on you. I know about how you boasted about keeping me on a leash for when you didn’t have any hook-ups on the go. It’s not nice to know that you’ve been humiliated in an online community Bill but then you’ll find out all about that soon.”
I turned to the booth and Eric came out, trying to hold the camcorder steady. He walked over to me and put an arm around my shoulders.
“You bitch! You set this whole fucking thing up!”
He lunged for the camcorder but Quinn caught him around the waist before he could get there.
“Yes Bill, I did. A woman scorned and all that. This little show will be uploaded to you-tube and linked on forums of all kinds. You have a nice day now, ya hear?”
I watched as Quinn and Sam ‘escorted’ him from the bar and our group reconvened to discuss what just happened. We rewatched the whole scene on Eric’s laptop, laughing our asses off at Bill’s horrified facial expressions and using some free-to-download editing program, we added comments on the screen like ‘This guy used FaWN to arrange sex and cheat on his girlfriend’, ‘What happens when you’re so desperate for a hook-up you don’t ask questions?’ and ‘Meeting online friends in RL can make them realise how stupid you are’. It was uploaded to you-tube and we linked it in every forum we were members of and tweeted it for maximum exposure. Today had been a good day.
“Chere? You ready to go home? You’ve been on your feet for a good while.”
“I know! I’m starting to get a little sore, maybe we should get going.” I stood and leaned heavily on my crutches “I wanna thank you all for being here for this, I’d never have had the courage to do this on my own.”
“It was a pleasure Sookie.” Eric stood too and pulled me carefully into an embrace “I was wondering if you’d let me take you home? We could pick up some take-out on the way there and have dinner?”
I looked at Sam; he was wearing his ‘You’d be stupid not to do it’ face. He knew how much I wanted to spend time with Eric; I would be stupid not to do it.
“Sure Eric! That would be great!”
“Oh thank god!” Pam rolled her eyes “For a second I thought you were going to play hard to get!”
Everyone laughed and Quinn slapped Eric on the back “I was wondering when you’d stop fucking around re-doing missions so you could have an excuse to chat to her and grow a pair.”