Eric picked me up and Joseph manhandled Barry back out of the chair. Barry was terrified. I couldn’t help but blame myself for his situation. If I hadn’t contacted him, he would never have come here; he’d never have been mistaken as a spy or beaten. I had to think fast, if they thought he had brought them that information as a former member of the Fellowship, there would be no saving him.
“Wait!” I shouted to Joseph and he turned around and raised an eyebrow at me. “Bring him back to the table … please.”
Stan nodded and watched me carefully as Barry was, once again, pushed into the chair. I picked up his hand and looked into his eyes.
Barry, I’m so sorry. I had no idea they’d think you were a spy. I’ll try to fix this but … I just don’t know how to do it yet.
Barry just looked at me. His mind was locked up tight; I couldn’t even get an emotion out of his thoughts. But I could from his expression. I saw anger and disappointment. My guilt increased.
“Barry isn’t a spy. I sent him here to let you know where we were and how much danger we were in. He’s just a bellboy.” I glanced at Pam, knowing that she was aware the Barry was also a telepath. She was a closed book, I couldn’t decide if that was good or bad.
Stan eyed me warily. “You sent him? How? Did you have access to a phone in that basement?”
Barry’s eyes widened a little. I rubbed his hand between my own to try and comfort him.
There’s no other way to explain it Barry. I know you want to just hide but … well, sometimes we get discovered. These guys don’t seem so bad … for vampires. What do you think would have happened if the Fellowship found out about you?
His head moved the tiniest fraction. What will they do to me?
Well, when vampires found me they gave me a job. And a place to stay. And the chance to make friends. Now I run my own business. But … I wasn’t as … independent as you are.
His eyebrow twitched a little in question before nodding to me. I breathed out heavily, I had no idea I’d been holding it in. I looked Stan in the eye and straightened my shoulders.
“Barry is also a telepath. I was able to communicate with him.” I tapped my head for emphasis. “And send him to you with a message.”
Stan looked shocked, as shocked as a vampire could be anyway. “Another mind reader?”
Barry and I both nodded and Stan looked so excited I thought he would pee himself, except vampires don’t pee, but if they could – Stan would have done it, right there at the kitchen table. He looked at Isabel and started assessing Barry’s injuries. Isabel didn’t seem pleased about that, for some reason. The reason became apparent when Stan helped Barry out of his seat.
“Isabel, I believe we owe this man a healing. This will go some way to making up for allowing Hugo to live among us and pass information to his … group.”
Isabel stood stock still for a second, glancing at Stan like she expected him to change his mind or say it was just a joke. When all he did was look back at her expectantly, she grabbed Barry by the arm and hauled him out of there.
Sookie? Where is she taking me?
She’s going to heal you Barry. Vampire blood can put you back together quicker and better than anything a doctor can give you. You’ll need to drink from her.
What?! Gross! I’m not doing that! I don’t wanna be a vampire!
You won’t become a vampire. Isabel will be able to sense some of your feelings and your … uh … sex drive may get a little crazy but you won’t become a vampire. I promise.
I turned to Stan. “Will Barry be okay with Isabel?”
He seemed to mull the question over for a while before answering. “Healing him is the first step. Now we’ve found another telepath, it would be idiotic to let him wander off again. Hopefully he and Isabel will get on well and she can bond him to her.”
I felt Eric stiffen next to me, as if Stan had said something I shouldn’t have heard. I wasn’t surprised when he changed the subject completely. “What will you do with the other vampire that came in with us? Godric.”
Stan tilted his head to the side in thought. “He wants to meet the sun. We will arrange this for him in a way which doesn’t endanger any other vampires or humans.”
“The fellowship had robes for him and they had invited the press.” All the vampires in the room looked at me as if I’d just told them I like to eat shit with my biscuits. “I don’t know if Godric wanted to make a big thing out of it or he’d been talked into it by those people.”
Eric nodded. “Then we will return to the hotel. You know my number if you need anything.”
I sagged against Eric in relief. Rest. Finally.
I can barely remember getting into bed. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. My dreams were panicked and anxiety ridden. So much so, that I started slapping at Eric when he woke me about an hour before sunrise.
“Shh, Sookie it’s okay!”
“Guh, Eric. I’m sorry. Crazy dreams. What’s wrong?”
“I wanted to let you know that Godric will meet the sun this morning. He has spoken to Stan about his wishes and they will aid him as long as they can without putting themselves at risk.”
Godric was a wretched creature, like so many that took their own lives. But he was doing it to protect humanity, albeit a little late in the game but his intentions were pure. He was a danger, so he was taking himself out of circulation. He had saved us. Me and Pam. Whether he had saved us on purpose or it had just been serendipitous would probably never be known now. I was still dead (har-har) beat but I swung my legs out of bed and started looking around for something to wear.
“What are you doing?” Eric frowned.
“I’m going to … to … see him off. We couldn’t have made it out of there without his help. The least I can do is keep him company when his own kind can’t.”
“This is something you want to do? Even though Godric is dangerous and has done unspeakable things that most vampires frown upon?”
“This is his way of making up for it. It doesn’t. Not by a long shot. But he’s trying and it deserves recognition.”
Eric nodded and handed me my sweat pants.
Isobel looked worn when she answered the door. I checked the house to find there was only one human inside. I could tell it was Barry, even though he was sleeping. I was led to the postage stamp sized back yard, where I found all of the vampires I’d met at the nest (plus a few I hadn’t). Godfrey was there, sitting in the middle of the yard on a lawn chair. Stan came over and placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Ah! Sookie, I’m glad you’re here. Godfrey would like to … mark this occasion. Apparently the Fellowship had called the media to cover the event. We have no intention of doing the same but we’ve set up a camera and I’ll be making a brief statement. The problem is that no-one here can stay with Godfrey until …”
“It’s over.” Stan nodded. “Okay, I mean I was planning to be here anyway. Just to keep him company but I guess you want me as a … witness?”
I went back to the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee, no point waiting for someone to offer to do it for me, and watched as the vampires came back inside in dribs and drabs. The younger ones couldn’t stay awake as long as the older ones and felt the pull of the sun sooner. Stan stood in front of a small camcorder, held by Joseph, and made a statement about how Godfrey desired to meet the true death because he was a danger to world’s children. He also added that as senior vampire of the area, it was his responsibility to ensure that no vampires harmed humans in Dallas region. I almost choked on the dregs of my cup when my name was mentioned and Stan beckoned me towards the camera. I looked down at my outfit, I wasn’t really dressed to have photo’s taken or movies made, but refusing wasn’t really an option in this case. I tried to look confident as I stood next to Stan and Joseph trained the camera on me.
“Miss Stackhouse will witness Godfrey’s true death on behalf of the vampires from the greater Dallas area. We are in her debt for performing this service.”
I got out of shot as soon as I could and Joseph set up the camera on a tripod with Godfrey on his lawn chair in the centre of the viewer. Time passed and the clouds took on a pink purple hue. Soon only Isobel, Stan and I were left in the garden. I asked Isobel how Barry was. She said he was resting. I wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or worried about that, but I guessed I could always contact him myself, in my own special way, just to check.
I could see the Stan was struggling to stay outside and I knew it wasn’t through any need to pay respects to Godfrey. Stan wanted to make sure he was actually going to do it. I assured Stan that even if Godfrey did change his mind, the chances that he’d be able to get out of the sun quick enough not to be damaged were pretty slim. That seemed to set his mind at ease. I noticed another lawn chair and unfolded it, setting it on the grass a fair few feet away from Godfrey.
“Why did you come to witness this?”
“I owe it to you.”
“I am an evil creature.”
“Yes, you are.” There just wasn’t any getting around that. “But you did a good thing, saving me and Pam from Gabe.”
“By killing one more man? My conscience hardly knew the difference. There have been so many. At least I spared your friend some humiliation.” His voice grabbed at my heart.
“You healed me so we could escape too.”
He shrugged. “My blood helped you; I have no need for it now.”
The growing light in the sky was still so faint that the security light over the patio doors remained on, and by the dim glow I examined the young, young face. All of a sudden, I began to cry. I guessed that the combination of trauma and exhaustion had just worn me down by that point, add in the thought of watching someone die … well I think anyone in my situation would have been a little teary.
“That’s nice,” Godfrey said. His voice was already remote. “Someone to cry for me at the end. I had
hardly expected that.”
He lay back and closed his eyes, stretching out his arms, welcoming his end.
And then the sun rose.
I barely remembered getting back to the hotel, let alone making it to my room and climbing into bed. It was like I had discovered a whole new level of tiredness. I was awoken in the evening by Eric’s cool hand softly stroking my hip through the baggy t-shirt I was wearing. I turned over and bumped against Eric’s evening wood as his hand sneaked towards my breasts.
“How are you feeling tonight?” His voice was so low it was almost a rumble.
“I’m a little achy. No need to ask how you’re feeling.”
He chuckled lightly and continued his exploration. “Not having you near me when I rose the other night reminded me of how lucky I am. Would you let me remind you of how lucky you are? I’ll be very gentle.”
Only a crazy girl would say no to an offer like that. And I wasn’t crazy. Not anymore. For what may have been the first time, I lay passive as Eric stripped me. My only movements were my involuntary writhing and squirming as he brought me to the edge over and over. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
When Eric told me we would have to go back to Stan’s nest that night, I was less than happy. I just wanted to go home. But Eric said it was good politics to make sure Farrell was settling back in and say our goodbyes to the nest. I mulled that over and realised that it would be nice if I could see Barry again before we left. Although I wasn’t sure if he was still at Stan’s, it was easy to check.
Sookie, I heard one of the vampires say you’d be coming here tonight.
That’s right, I am. Eric has to see Stan but I was hoping you’d be there so I could talk to you.
I haven’t left. It’s actually nice here. Stan says he’s got a lot of work for me.
I bet he has. I know it must seem daunting, being just a bell-boy one moment and then the next…
Its okay I felt a mental shrug from him I couldn’t be a bell boy forever right? I’ll see you when you get here.
We’re leaving soon. See you later.
We went downstairs and met with Pam. She had an update on Tray for us, I felt extremely guilty that he’d been so far from my thoughts. The good news was that a group of Weres from the local pack had removed him from the hospital without detection and returned him to Shreveport. The bad news was that he had to have a kidney removed. Tray always enjoyed his beer, now he wouldn’t be able to. I could blame myself, but it wasn’t my fault. The responsibility sat squarely on the shoulders of Steve Newlin and his band of zealots.
I asked Eric if he knew which hospital Tray was in, so we could send flowers and a card, but he’d already taken care of it. He said he knew I’d ask him to do it, so he figured doing it before I asked would earn him some special treats. Pam was immaculate, as always, you would think nothing had happened to her the night before. But that’s how vampires rolled, I guessed. We went outside and got into the car Eric had hired. The previous night I hadn’t noticed what a nice car it was. The interior was indulgent and it could accommodate 5 people, Eric usually stuck to sports cars.
It didn’t take long to get to Stan’s nest but the party was in full swing already. Vampires and humans were milling around, chatting with one another. Farrell was, of course, the centre of attention and looked much better than he had the night before. I spotted Barry across the room and waved, I was relieved when he smiled at me and waved back. I let Eric and Pam know where I’d be and left them to schmooze with their own kind while I spoke with my own kind.
“How are you Barry?” I checked my shield was nice and strong, sure enough I felt a little probing. I raised an eyebrow at Barry and he looked a little sheepish.
“I’m fine. You were right about the … uh … healing.” He looked around, I understood. There were too many other humans around us to discuss drinking vampire blood.
I smiled and nodded. “Did Isobel explain things to you?”
“Pretty much.” He projected his memories of the conversation to me. Isobel had told Barry the same things Eric told me. “She says … she says I’m hers now. Like I’m a pet or an object.”
“Well, that’s how vampires tend to view humans I’m afraid.” I pulled him further from the group we were next to. “She has to do that so no other vampires will try to take you. Try to keep under the radar, my … employer was very open with the fact she had a telepath. It caused me some problems. Stay hidden where possible, and call me if you need anything.”
Barry nodded then stopped and tilted his head slightly. “Why are there so many people outside?”