**A/N: Thank you for your support – it’s been overwhelming and totally awesome! 😀 Now, on with the story!**
Willa waited for a few minutes to see if any of Sookie’s guests would go check on her, but when none of those so-called friends even noticed that she was gone, she shook her head. They sure didn’t mind stuffing her food down their faces, though. She rose and went to check on Sookie herself. Couldn’t they tell she was upset?
The selfishness of most people, be they human, Were, shifter, or vampire, never ceased to amaze her. Early in her life she’d realized that while her family loved her, that love came with conditions. She hated having to act as if she bought into the family bigotry, but so long as she did, things were more or less fine. As time went on, she was often the means to an end, too. While her family was never so crass as to prostitute her body, they did often ‘prostitute’ her smile and congenial nature during fund-raisers and other political events to lure in the support they wanted from older well-established male constituents. There toward the end, though, she couldn’t even act the part any more.
At first Eric had been a godsend. He was tall, gorgeous, and courageous, his presence carried for miles…and he was a vampire. But before too long, even his ‘love’ had proven conditional. When he had no further use for her, he had abandoned her as if she had never existed.
Maybe that was why she cared about Sookie. In a way, they’d both felt dumped by Eric. Sookie might be right in thinking that had never been his intention, that he hadn’t meant to make his own child feel abandoned, but he had.
Several years ago, not too long after Bill had finally died his protracted death, she’d run into the telepath at the new gas station in Bon Temps. They had both arrived at the New Blood display at the same time, and had struck up a conversation. She figured that Sookie must have felt sorry for her when she invited her over to the farmhouse for a small get together with Jessica and Hoyt that evening – no doubt she’d looked as pitiful as she’d felt that night.
Not having anything better to do, Willa had followed the blonde back to her house. She was curious about the woman Eric had been so crazy over, and Pam had been so jealous of, and it wasn’t as if she had anything better to do. Looking back over everything that had passed since then, she realized that was one of the best decisions of her life, dead or not.
Sookie never asked her for anything except honesty, never pressured her to do anything on her behalf, and in fact was an excellent listener. When she gave advice, it was with Willa’s best interest at heart.
At some point Willa had started feeling a bit bad about how she’d treated Eric. She was still very pissed at him for abandoning her so soon after he’d Turned her but eventually curiosity had her asking Sookie about him. The blonde had cried with her the night that she had told her about Eric releasing her. Willa was still furious with the tall blond Viking for only Turning her to piss off her father, no matter what he had said when he officially let her go, and she was grateful to Sookie for understanding that even while encouraging her to at least have some sort of contact with him if that was what she wanted.
Even though he had released her, she still felt a strange pull to him, but figured it must be some sort of an ingrained-in-the-blood pull toward her Maker, some weird part of that Maker/child thing he never bothered explaining to her.
With Sookie’s support, she had finally taken the step one night to call the Big Bossy Blond himself, and was gratified by how he had immediately asked if she needed anything, clearly going with the assumption that his “ex-child” was in trouble and needed help that he was obviously quite willing to give. He had seemed very pleased to discover that she was only calling to…talk. They had spoken on the phone a couple of times now, and while the conversations still weren’t anywhere near casual, they were oddly…comforting. She just excused it as a remnant of that Maker/child thing.
Less than three steps away from the table, she could clearly hear Sookie’s quiet sobs.
This wasn’t good.
She vamped to the closed bathroom door and knocked softly.
“Sookie? Sookie, are you ok?”
Fuck, she cursed to herself, of course she’s not ok.
“Sookie, can you let me in? It’s Willa.” She leaned her head against the old door and waited. Finally she heard Sookie blow her nose and give a muffled reply. Eventually she heard the toilet flush, too, and smiled a little. She felt bad for the heavily pregnant woman who could never be more than 50 feet away from a bathroom now.
When Sookie opened the door, Willa carefully wrapped her arms around the still obviously distraught woman and hugged her.
“What’s wrong? And don’t give me that ‘I’m just being a preggo’ nonsense.”
Sookie laughed once, then started crying again. She gasped when Willa effortlessly hauled her up in her arms and walked carefully toward her bedroom.
“First of all let’s get you off those swollen feet, then we’re going to talk. You’ve helped me, now it’s my turn to help you.”
Sookie felt strange being carried by someone smaller, and much lighter, than herself, but was glad to be off her feet. All the cooking and baking she’d had to do the last two days had a lot harder on her than she’d told anyone.
Once ensconced on her bed, in between hiccuping sobs and mopping her face, she told Willa about how things really were with Steve. When she first met him, she wasn’t sure what he was, but she couldn’t hear his thoughts very often at all. Mostly what she heard from him could best be described as an echo of nothing, and that intrigued her. Back then, everything was fine.
She was pretty much over the horror that had been Bill since well before his Lilith days, and since Eric hadn’t even once tried to contact her once he knew she was free, she figured why not go out with a new guy?
He was tall and muscular, he said all the right words, and it was all sex, all the time. Who could ask for anything more, right?
When they found out she was pregnant, he had surprised her one evening with a small but respectable engagement ring, but the whole occasion had an obligatory feel to it that ruined any joy she might have felt. But, Steve Campbell was determined to be an honorable man, so she went with it.
The real problems began when the pregnancy started to show. His consulting business required him to travel some, and before the pregnancy, when he returned home from one of his trips a sex-fest was almost guaranteed. That was the real reason she had quit waitressing – Steve had demanded that she be available for him when he came home from his travels so they could ‘have their time together’, and her schedule just wasn’t flexible enough to allow for that. At first she didn’t mind; there were more than enough odd jobs needing to be done around the old farmhouse to keep her busy, and he made more than enough money so that they could afford it. But after a while she resented not having her own money and the feeling of independence a job gave her. Now she couldn’t take a job if it was offered on a silver platter.
As soon as her body began to swell, however, things changed. His trips became more frequent and lasted longer, and when he would return, more often than not he would be in a foul mood or there would be some other excuse to not have sex with her. Citing her “big fat baby gut,” several months ago he had finally moved into one of the other bedrooms. By that time Sookie was glad. She put on a front to her friends but was absolutely miserable inside.
“It’s funny how he gave such great foot and back rubs until I started needing them,” she ended with a sniff.
“He sounds like a complete asshole,” Willa agreed, her anger at the bad smelling man rising exponentially. She would bet money that he was whoring around on Sookie. “Have you thought about leaving him?” That seemed to be the only real course of action she could see for her friend.
“Yes,” Sookie replied instantly, “all the fucking time, really. I’d love to just throw him out of here tonight! But I don’t have any way of supporting myself. Hell, I don’t even have a damn job!”
This time her tears were caused by anger and self-disgust rather than heartbreak.
Willa thought about the money that Eric had settled on her after he’d returned, and smiled a bit evilly. Fuck Steven fucking Campbell. She could have that smelly bastard out the door in a human’s heartbeat.
“Sookie,” she asked, her voice weighted with feeling. “Do you really want to get rid of that asshole tonight? I mean, is that what you really want to do?”
Her friend stared back at her, worried but now slightly confused brown eyes meeting her own calm, thoughtful expression.
Sookie then closed her eyes and gave serious consideration to Willa’s question. After a few minutes, she nodded firmly.
Enough was enough.
Even as the moon abandoned him to slowly make way for the sun, still Eric reclined on his cheap lawn chair, his eyes slowly becoming accustomed once again to the light of false dawn. He checked his watch which revealed what his blood already knew – he had managed to stay out almost 30 seconds longer this morning.
Eventually, however, self-preservation forced him up, and with heavy steps and drooping shoulders he headed toward the secret room in the basement of Fangtasia. Granted it was fire-proof with its own sprinkler and ventilation systems, and was decked out in the finest that Pam could buy, but it was still just a room…just a place to die yet again for yet another day.
**A/N: Ok, dearest readers, what did you think? Remember – Sookie’s smarter than she was, but still…**