Sookie awoke early feeling as if she had just lived through a bad dream. She laid there looking at the ceiling in her bedroom trying to clear the foggy after effects of the whiskey she had consumed last night, as the early morning light made her curtain sheers glisten. Life goes on she tried to convince herself silently as she laid there. Suddenly she heard a sound in the kitchen downstairs that pulled her temporarily away from feeling sorry for herself. Sookie got up and grabbed the robe from off the window bench to investigate who was making an early morning visit.
Sookie moved down the stairs in her bare feet trying to avoid boards that she knew creaked and would give her approach away. “It’s just me Sookie,” Eric said as he finished his project in the kitchen sink. “I’m sorry if I woke you.”
Sookie feeling relief finished her descent and could see Eric standing at the sink. She stopped short and leaned against the door frame leading into the kitchen. “I guess I didn’t think you would be up at this time. I thought you would be in the cubby by now.”
“Naturally, I shouldn’t be up at this time, but then things aren’t what they use to be, are they?” Eric turned towards the kitchen table and set a beautiful wildflower bouquet in the center.
Sookie looked surprised by the flowers and then read the subtle hint behind Eric's words. Sookie questioned Eric’s intentions, “What is that for?”
“For you, I thought you might need a little happiness to greet the day with,” Eric said with sincerity. He added recognizing her look of disbelief, “It is my way of saying thank you for yesterday.”
Sookie pursed her lips together and then moved towards the stove and the old coffee percolator that sat atop the burner. “Do you have enough time to join me for my morning coffee?” she inquired.
“I am willing to find out.” Eric knew the importance of each baby step his was taking with Sookie and the truth was he didn’t know exactly how long he could stay up any more. Things were not as they had been for the last thousand years of his existence. It was harder to sleep during the day and rise at night.
As Sookie readied the coffee for brewing, she moved about with a grace that Eric took notice of. He had never really had the chance to see Sookie in her own home, going about the things that she would have done on a regular basis. He noted that she seemed to give life to the space, although there was also a bit of melancholia in knowing that she lived in this big house by herself.
“Have you figured out what you'll do? I mean now that your back and with the fact that you may be joining the human race again?” Sookie tossed out to Eric, who sat with his arms on the table and hands clasped in front of him, not looking exactly like he was comfortable.
“I do not,” Eric answered looking down at the table surface, “I guess I begin again, as I have done several times throughout history. With Fangtasia gone, I need to look for something else to do and somewhere else to live.”
“Well with all the chaos, as a result of the HEP-V virus in the vampire community, I'm sure you will find something quickly,” Sookie commented.
“That’s part of the problem, I do not know how long I will remain a part of the vampire community,” Eric replied meeting Sookie’s eyes directly with his gaze.
Sookie looked back at Eric unsure how to answer now. She was saved from trying to come up with one by a sudden knock at the front door and Jason’s voice as he pressed his way into the house saying, “Hello? Sookie, you up? Hello?”
“Jason? What is it?” Sookie turned and headed to the front door as she could hear the concern in Jason’s voice.
“Oh hey Sookie, good to see that your already up.” Jason turned to see her coming from the kitchen. “Well, I came to see if you and Alcide were alright.” Jason seemed upset by something.
“Alcide isn’t here, but I’m fine.” Sookie glimpsed to where Eric was sitting before she looked at Jason again asking, “What’s the matter?”
Eric flew to the door jamb of the kitchen behind Sookie. His sudden appearance caught Jason off guard and Jason pulled his gun on straight instinct. “Jesus! Eric! Damn it, I could have shot you and I’m packin’ wood and silver bullets!”
“Well, I am glad you didn’t then!” Eric said cool and casually.
Jason grabbed his chest and from his facial expression, Jason looked as if seeing Eric had conjured up a ghost, “When the hell did you get back?”
“Yesterday, I just dropped in,” Eric answered giving one of his calculating smiles.
“Well…I never got to say thanks for saving me in that prison camp…so...thanks!” Jason stammered and he was starting to sweat. Jason didn’t know if his mind was playing tricks on him again like it had after Eric gave Jason his blood. There were visions of Eric that Jason had been afraid to tell Violet about, should she think he might be turned on by homoeroticism.
“Jason! Focus Jason, you were about to tell me about something!” Sookie had to regain her brother’s attention.
“Yeah, right! There was another attack from marauders again last night at the Bellefleur home. I guess they must have gotten a whiff of Ad…” Jason stopped short realizing that he was in the presence of a vampire.
“I already know that Adilyn Bellefleur is part fairy, like Sookie, Jason,” Eric added hoping it would help Jason finish what he was saying.
“You Do! Oh right! Anyways, Andy is okay and he, Adilyn, and Holly were able to get away. They took out at least one infected vampire. However, Jess did not fair to well!”
“Jessica? What happened to Jessica?” Sookie saw that tears were starting to well up in Jason’s eyes. She knew Jason still had feeling for Jessica, even if it now was only friendship.
“She…she ahhh…she got hurt real bad. She got bit by one of the infected vamps Sook!”
Eric’s posture changed, but there was nothing he could do as the sun was now creeping in through the door and he knew the bleeds would start soon.
“Wait a minute…how the hell is he still up Sook?” Jason suddenly realized that Eric Northman was wide awake and standing there well after dawn.
“I’ll explain later Jason. We need to focus on Jess right now. Where is she?” Sookie distracted her brother.
“Oh…yeah…Andy and I took her to Bill’s,” Jason finally finished.
Eric thought quickly, and grabbed Sookie by the back of the arm as he headed for the cubby. “Eric!" Sookie protested, "Let go of me!"
"Sookie, I know you. I don’t want you going over to Bill’s without me. This could be extremely dangerous. We will figure out a way to help Jessica and hopefully we will have more time than Nora did.” Eric opened the doors to the cubby. “I have to rest for a while, but I’ll be back up before sunset,” Eric said trying to hold back his true reason for making the suggestion to Sookie.
Eric made his way down the ladder and into the safety of the cubby. He knew that time was limited, but come evening he would need to pay an old friend a visit. If he was correct about Agneta’s blood, he might have just found his chance to negotiate a trade with Bill Compton. Eric knew word would get out now about his return and Sookie’s break-up with Alcide. It was just a matter of time before Bill Compton would arrive at the door trying to win Sookie back. Jessica’s misfortune may have just become Eric’s ticket to having Sookie all to himself.