Close to Dead

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Chapter 5: Hand in Hand:

I slept soundly. The sound of someone knocking on my door the next morning was what finally woke me up. I sat up in bed, looked at my clock, expecting it to say something in the vicinity of seven am, so imagine my shock when the clock said 9:27 am. I bounded from the bed, ran to the door, the whole time wondering how it was that I slept so long and so soundly, since it was the first time I had done so in weeks.

Before I even got to the door, the answer to my sleep question popped into my head. It was because Eric came to me last night. That was why I slept so soundly.

I looked out the window first, because even though I was well rested, I still wasn’t a fool, and I saw that it was Sam. I remembered that Eric had told me that Sam had something to tell me. I also recalled thinking at the time that was an odd thing for Eric to say, because, since when were Eric and Sam so close that they discussed ‘things’? I was curious last night when Eric told me this, and I was doubly so now. I couldn’t wait to open the door.

“Sam,” I began, “come in, come in.” I moved to the side, opening the door wide. He stepped over the threshold and leaned toward me. He placed a hand on my arm and kissed my cheek.

“Hello, cher,” he said.

I pointed toward the hallway and said, “Do you mind?” He nodded, knowingly, and walked toward my kitchen. I ran down the hallway, to my bedroom. I made my bed quickly, because I couldn’t stand an unmade bed, then I took the quickest shower on record. I dressed in comfortable jeans and t-shirt, brushed my hair, my teeth, and then I looked at myself in the mirror. It really was amazing how much better a visit from Eric, a bit of vampire sex, and a nice hot shower could make a person feel.

I did feel better. How odd was that. What, one visit from Eric and I was cured? Surely not. I would examine my mood swings later. Now it was time to see what Sam needed.

I walked into the kitchen and smiled immediately. Sam turned from the stove and said, “I hope scrambled eggs are okay, Sook.”

“You made me breakfast?” I asked, shocked.

He nodded and motioned for me to sit. He placed a plate in front of me, and it looked delicious. “I would have made bacon, but you’re in desperate need of food.”

“I know, Sam,” I said, shoveling the eggs into my mouth. He poured me some coffee, and then some for him, and then he sat down beside me. He let me eat without saying a word to me. Silence is sometimes bliss, but when a person’s anxiously waiting to hear news from another person, it can be a bitch. Finally, I finished my food, and pushed my now empty plate away from me.

The whole time I ate, I could feel the tangle of his emotions, though I could not decipher a single meaning. I always did find Sam hard to read, but even a non-telepath could tell that he had something important to say, though he didn’t want to say it. He seemed a bit more open today, so his guard was slightly down, so I could tell that much.

“You have something important to tell me, Eric says, and I can tell that you don’t want to say whatever it is, but just know this, Sam, whatever it is, it’s okay,” I said, to give him courage.

He picked up my plate, placed it in the sink and said, “God, Sookie, don’t try to make me feel better, because that will just make me feel worse.” He turned to look at me and leaned against the counter. “Eric came to see you last night, huh?”

“Yes he did,” I concurred.

He glared at me a bit and then said, “You seem to be feeling a bit better, so I guess that’s good.” He sat back down next to me and said, “I’ve been real worried.”

“Don’t worry about me,” I said plainly. “How’s the bar?”

“Same ole, same ole,” he said smiling. He took my hand. “Listen, Sookie, a man came to see me while you’ve been recuperating. He was looking for you. It was right after you came back. He was asking all about you around town, and I guess a lot of people told him that you worked for me, so he came to the bar.”

“Who is this man?” I asked.

“Well, he didn’t exactly give his name at first,” Sam said. “He came to the bar, asked for you, and I told him you were in a bad car accident, since that was our cover story for your injuries. He asked if I knew where you lived. I told him I did, but that you didn’t need anyone bothering you. I asked him if I could help him.”

“And?” I asked.

Sam took a deep breath, and he swallowed hard. “He said that he knew your cousin Hadley. He said, he said…” Sam stopped.

“What Sam?”

“He said, actually, that he was a relative of yours, but that he only knew Hadley. He said that after she died, he found out about you.”

I felt tightness in my chest. It honestly felt as if there was a vise grip tightening around my heart. I could hear Sam’s previously jumbled thoughts clearly now. This man wasn’t a man. He was a fairy. No. No. NO! I stood up. He stood up.

“Does he know how to find me?” As soon as I asked that question, I felt stupid. If he didn’t know where I was yet, he could find out soon enough.

Sam said, “Don’t be freaked out, Sookie. Sit back down, and let me explain everything to you. I didn’t tell him anything at first. I let him tell me some things, and then, because you were so fragile, I told him I would get back to him. I went to see the Viking first, and told him everything the man told me. That was when he told me everything there was to know about you and fairies.”

“You know?” I asked in a small voice, as we both sat back down.

The red rage of Sam’s mind came at me full force. He clenched his teeth, and stood up so quickly I was startled. He pulled me into his embrace and said, “If I had known those fucking fairies had taken you, and what they had done to you…I would have, I would have tried, hell, Sookie, I would have done anything. I’m so sorry.”

Now I felt somewhat sad again, but mostly, I was sad because Sam was filled with sadness and remorse. He was trying to comfort me, but I wanted to comfort him. He continued to rock me back and forth in his arms, and he said, “Eric told me all about your great-grandfather, and how your grandmother met Fintan.”

He pushed me away and we sat back down. I wasn’t sure I wanted everyone to know about my grandmother’s infidelities, but I also knew that Sam would never tell a single soul.

“What did this man tell you? Who did he say he was?” I asked, wanting to get to the meat and potatoes of the story.

“After I spoke with Eric, I agreed to meet this man again. I acted as if I still didn’t know anything about fairies and your connection to them. I tried to get him to tell me what he wanted with you, but he wouldn’t tell me anything, so in the end, I told him he could give me a message for you, and I would give it to you, and that was the most I could do for him.”

“Okay,” I said slowly. “What was his message?”

“He said, ‘Tell her that Fintan had other children.’ I acted as if I didn’t know who Fintan was and I asked him to clarify, but he shook his head and said again, ‘Just tell her that Fintan had other children, and that she has other family, and that I knew who and what Hadley was, and I know what she is, and I want to meet her.’ Then he gave me this card,” he took a card out of his pocket, “and asked me to give it to you. He turned to leave and then said, ‘One more thing. Tell her I know what happened to her, and tell her that I would never, ever hurt her as others have.’ And then he left.”

I looked at this average looking business card for a very long time. As much as I wanted family, which was almost more than I wanted anything, I never wanted anything to do with fairies ever again. I fingered the embossed name on the front of the card. ‘Larkin Talkington’ it said. There was two numbers underneath the name.

I looked up and said, “Does Eric know this story?”

Sam nodded and said, “He has people looking into it.” Sam said the word, ‘people’ with just a bit of disdain and absolutely dripping with sarcasm. “He did tell me that after I told you, in his words, ‘my little tale,’ I was to tell you that you were not to contact this man under any circumstances, unless and until, he told you to do so.”

“Oh really?” I said, trying to sound indignant, although I sounded uninterested instead, though the truth was that I was slightly afraid, and I did not intend to contact this ‘man’. I began to wonder if he would wait for me to call him, or if he would call me first. Sam, though no mind reader, must have sensed my fear.

“Sookie, you don’t have to worry about this man contacting you,” he said.

“How do you know?” I asked. I placed the perfect little, cream coloured, heavy cardstock, lightly embossed, printed card face down on the kitchen counter. If I felt like a self-imposed prisoner in my own home before, I now felt like I was just given a life sentence. I said, “He’s bound to know where I live by now. He could come here any time of the day or night, knock on my door, and even if I don’t let him in, it wouldn’t matter. He’s not a vampire. He wouldn’t have to wait for an invitation, and something tells me he’s more fairy than human, so he probably has special gifts, so how do I know he wouldn’t convince me to let him in? Or maybe, he has super strength, and he could huff and puff and blow my door down!”

I was starting to panic, and I hated it. I backed away from Sam, my hands out in front of me. I was hyperventilating. Sam felt my fear, it rebounded off him, and back toward me, and I felt even worse. I shouted, “When will it end? When will I be safe?”

“Sookie,” he pleaded with his hands out in front of him, as an offer of peace. “You are well protected, and your protection will not cease. Didn’t Eric tell you any of this last night?”

I couldn’t speak, for fear of crying, so I merely shook my head no. “Sookie, there are Shifters and Weres watching you all day long, and Vamps watching you at night.”

“Who arranged all of that?” I asked.

“Eric,” he answered, matter of fact.

Of course he did. I couldn’t feel anger, because frankly, I felt relieved. I said, “This is too much to process right now. Listen, Sam, will you go with me to the store? I need a few things, I mean, unless you need to get to the bar.” I was going to ignore the situation for the moment. I still need toilet paper. I longed for the days when things like that were important and pressing.

“I’m all yours, Sook,” he said with a smile. I could try to read more into that statement, but my plate was full enough as it was. I told him to let me get my jacket and purse. He told me he would wait for me by the front door.

I met him by the door and I scanned the yard as soon as we walked outside. I asked, “Who’s watching me today?”

“Well, I am, of course,” he said. He smiled again, and held out his hand to me. I smiled back, placed my hand in his and we walked that way to his truck, hand in hand.

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