“It’s done. It’s over,” were the only words Pam spoke before she hung up.
Sookie cradled the phone to her chest as she sank to the floor. Tears streamed down her face as she buried her head in her knees, her heart breaking into a thousand pieces.
It’s done. It’s over.
Eric was married.
Their relationship was officially over, just like that. She couldn’t quite believe it; it didn’t seem real. How could it end just like that? With a phone call, of all things. Even though she knew it was coming, she didn’t think it actually would. Sookie held onto the hope that someone or something would step in and stop it, that they’d have a last minute reprieve. But that hadn’t happened, and now she was facing a life without Eric.
It didn’t seem fair to Sookie, after everything they had been through – all the pain, all the suffering, all the death – for it to just end like that. For them to not get their happily ever after was just not right. Sookie had finally come to terms with what others had known all along: she was hopelessly and madly in love with Eric Northman. She accepted it and him completely – only for them to be torn apart so cruelly. She regretted wasting so much time pushing him away; time, it now seemed, was something she hadn’t had.
In that moment she wished Appius was still alive, or undead, so she could kill him. When Sookie first heard about the betrothal contract she had been furious, not only that such a thing was possible while she was pledged to Eric, but also that Eric kept it from her. It had taken Pam’s constant nagging for Eric to tell her about it, something he wasn’t happy about. A rift began to develop between her and Eric; Sookie breaking their bond caused the first tear and Eric hiding the betrothal contract from her had only widened it.
She hadn’t forgotten how furious Eric had been when she broke the bond. Hindsight being what it was, she knew he had every reason to be furious with her. She hadn’t thought everything through when she foolishly cut that string and broke their bond. She regretted breaking it the way she had, but if any good thing came out of it, it was that she knew without a shadow of a doubt that her feelings for Eric were hers alone; the love she felt for him was genuine and not a by product of the bond. Eric was, is, and forever would be the love of her life.
The events at Fangtasia the night they killed Victor added more pressure to their already crumbling relationship, and for a while Sookie wondered if they would survive. It seemed to Sookie their relationship was sinking faster than the Titanic. Every time they saw each other in the weeks after Victor’s death, they would end up fighting; they couldn’t seem to get on, each of them verbally attacking the other. No topic was left untouched: they had screaming fights about his marriage contract, her breaking the bond, his feeding on fangbangers, her friendship with Bill, and her continued employment with Sam. A few times they almost called time on their relationship, but at the last second something would always stop them. The words would die in their throats, neither of them being able to say the two little words that would end their relationship.
Neither of them could say it’s over.
It hadn’t taken Sookie long to grow tired of their continuing arguments. It got to the point where she couldn’t take it anymore, and she decided to take the bull by the horns. She stopped by Fangtasia one night and laid everything down on the table. She bared her soul to him, telling everything on her mind; she hadn’t held anything back. Tears were streaming down her face as she told him how much she loved him and wanted to be with him, only him. When she had finished, Eric had done the same, opening himself up to her. For the first time in weeks, they talked, really talked. No topic was left untouched, they both felt lighter once they had finished. It had taken them hours to talk everything out, but once they finished, they proceeded to show each other how much they truly loved one another and destroyed Eric’s office with their passion.
With them once again on the same page, they turned their attentions to getting Eric out of the marriage contract. They appealed to everyone in power in the supernatural world, but none were willing to help. Felipe de Castro, the King of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Nevada, refused to help; he openly supported the contract, coveting Sookie and her abilities for himself. He knew that if Eric were forced to marry the Queen of Oklahoma, any claim he had on Sookie would be nullified. By vampire laws, Eric couldn’t have a vampire wife and a human wife, and in all cases supernatural, the vampire wife would take superiority. As soon as the ceremony between Eric and Oklahoma was done, his marriage to Sookie would be broken and she would be up for grabs, and as the King of the state she resided in, he would have precedence over any other vampire wanting to claim her.
They had briefly toyed with the idea of Sookie moving to Oklahoma. Although it wasn’t something Sookie wanted, she considered it the lesser of two evils. Even though Eric would have to consummate the marriage, it was only an annual thing; even though the idea turned her stomach, Sookie thought she might have been able to accept it. There was nothing in the contract that said he had to have sex with her more than once a year, and she couldn’t force him into her bed every night. Sookie hated the idea, but if her only other option were to be Felipe’s pet, she would accept it. Freyda could have Eric for one night if she had him for the other three hundred and sixty-four.
It was Freyda who put an end to that plan. The contract Appius bartered gave her the right to demand the dissolution of their relationship. Eric could have fangbangers, donors, or pets, but he couldn’t under any circumstance continue his relationship with Sookie. Freyda had been adamant the contract be honored; she had lusted after Eric for many years, and she refused to play second fiddle to a lowly human. The queen knew she would never have his love, but she wouldn’t stand by and watch while he gave away so freely to another what she craved. She wanted Eric for herself, and she wouldn’t share him with another. She hated the fact she would have to share him with Pam, his own vampire child. She wanted his full attention. She intended to keep him tethered as close as possible to her and far away from the wife he chose.
Things had been looking very bleak for the two of them when they had almost gotten a last minute reprieve. They had received word from Niall Brigant, Sookie’s great-grandfather. The old fairy heard of their plight and found a solution for them; he crossed back into the realm to present it. He explained that if Sookie accepted and declared her fairy heritage they could annul the contract with Oklahoma. As a descendant of Niall’s and a member of the ruling house of Fairy, her status would have been higher than Freyda’s. Eric and Sookie had been ecstatic, believing their prayers answered.
The two of them had been hours away from declaring Sookie’s heritage and rightful place in the supernatural world, when they received a surprise visit from Mr. Cataliades. The demon lawyer risked his own life to come out of hiding to warn them of the dangers they faced. He had explained in great length that if they declared Sookie’s birthright, as Niall had suggested, they would put her under his complete control, which is what Niall wanted all along. As soon as he took control of Sookie, he would have dissolved her marriage to Eric. He would have never accepted his great-granddaughter being married to a vampire. Shortly before he went into hiding, Mr. Cataliades discovered Niall’s real plan for Sookie; the wily old fairy had been plotting since the night he met Sookie to separate her from her vampire. Up until that point, Sookie thwarted every plan without even realizing it. She refused his offer to kill Eric, and then she hadn’t blamed her vampire for the time when she was captured by Neave and Lochlan. Niall even conspired with Victor Madden to keep Eric from going to her when she was being tortured, hoping she would blame him and cast him aside; instead she sought his comfort. As she lay recovering from her torture, he told her, “The vampire is a good man, he loves you,” hoping it would confuse her, not knowing if he meant Bill or Eric. But Sookie hadn’t even thought twice about it, believing him to mean Eric. He even sent Coleman after her, hoping Claude or Dermot would save her and she would turn her affections to them, but once again his plan had been thwarted, this time thanks to Eric and his maker.
He was ready to give up until when he heard of the contract Appius brokered with Oklahoma. Niall rejoiced at the news, knowing it was finally his time. He sent instructions to Dermot and Claude, ordering them to use their magic on Eric and Sookie to make them more argumentative, thinking he could finally tear them apart. It worked for a while until Sookie broke the magic they placed upon her by going to Eric. In that one act, Sookie had shown that their love was stronger than any magic and Niall finally realized no amount of magic could destroy them; even without the blood bond they were bound tightly together. Niall wanted to isolate Sookie from everyone who loved her, and as much as it disgusted him to admit, the Viking loved her. He wanted her alone and hurting so he could sweep in and offer her love, family, and a place among the fairies. He had wanted to be her hero; he had wanted her to come to him willingly, but he finally realized that as long as there was a chance for her and Eric to be together, that would never happen. She would never willingly give up on Eric, even if he did marry Freyda.
With no other option, Niall gave them the solution to their problem; he knew they would jump on it. He hoped the chance of them being together would blind them from the risks. It almost worked; he had been hours away from finally getting his hands on Sookie when Mr. Cataliades risked his own life to go to them. The knowledge that Niall planned to dissolve their marriage and forcibly take Sookie to Fairy to be a broodmare stopped them from announcing her birthright. In fact, Sookie had gone as far as to renounce it and him before banishing Claude and Dermot from her home. Dermot apologized before he left, claiming he was only following orders. But as far as Sookie was concerned, he was just as guilty as the others.
With no other option, Eric had been forced to honor the contract his maker negotiated. It killed him to walk away from Sookie, but he was out of options. Eric spent one last passion filled night with the wife of his heart before making the journey to Oklahoma. There, Freyda arranged the biggest ceremony she could, inviting monarchs from all states to witness the historic event.
It’s over. The words kept repeating in Sookie’s mind. How could it be over? What did she and Eric do to deserve this fate? Pulling herself up, Sookie stumbled to the window in the front room and looked out over her land. Her vision blurred from all the tears as she rested her head against the cool pane of the window. She wondered what Eric was doing at that moment.
Was he dancing with his new bride? Or did they skip straight to the consummation? Would he kiss Freyda like he used to kiss her? Would he make love to her? Hold her in his arms?
More tears fell with each question that popped into her head. Sookie felt like she was dying inside, the pain unbearable. She longed to feel Eric’s arms around her, holding her tight, his professions of love whispered softly in her ear as she dozed off after a night of making love.
Sookie was drawn from her musings by a void moving over her land, approaching her house. “Not now, please,” she begged as she felt the void step onto her porch. She didn’t even have to look to know it was Bill. He would have no doubt heard Eric married Freyda by now and was here to offer his sympathies. Sookie was well aware he wasn’t sorry; she hadn’t missed the smug looks on his face over the last few weeks whenever their paths crossed. He was happy Eric had been forced to marry Oklahoma. Bill would no doubt pretend he was sorry, but Sookie knew he was just doing it as a way to get close to her again. With Eric out of the picture, Bill would try to reclaim her affections. Sadly for Bill, he had yet to realize he would never hold her heart again.
Any feelings she had for him were long gone. Not wishing to hear his professions of love, “Bill Compton, I rescind your invitation,” she whispered as she backed away from the window. She had just stepped foot into the hallway when she heard Bill knock on the door.
“Sookie,” he called out, “I know you’re in there.”
“Then you should also know I don’t want to see you,” Sookie replied hoarsely, knowing he would hear her.
“I’m not leaving until I see that you’re okay,” Bill said stubbornly.
“Then I hope you enjoy the sunrise,” Sookie said as she walked into her bedroom. She crossed the room and closed the curtains before collapsing on her bed. Taking a deep breath, she shuddered; she swore she could still smell Eric on her sheets.
“Sookie, you’re being childish, now open the door,” Bill chided.
“Go away!” Sookie screamed.
The anger in her voice caused Bill to pause, and he realized she wouldn’t speak to him that night. Deciding to honor her wishes, he backed away from her house, swearing to come back the next night. With Eric and Pam gone, she was vulnerable, and he was the only one she could trust. He would get to her before Felipe had the chance to claim her and take her away from Bon Temps. Bill was convinced in time he could make her forget all about Eric and fall in love with him again. She would soon see he was her best option.
Sookie followed Bill’s void across the cemetery, all the way back to his house. Once she was satisfied he wasn’t coming back, she jumped off the bed and crossed the room to her closet. Yanking open the door, she dug around in the back and pulled out the set of red luggage Eric bought her after hers was lost due to the bombing in Rhodes. Placing the suitcases on her bed, she quickly packed everything she could.
She wasn’t fooling herself into believing she was safe, but she knew it wouldn’t be long before de Castro was knocking on her door. When he did, she intended to be far away. There was no way she could stay in Bon Temps – or anywhere in the state. If de Castro ever got his hands on her, life as she knew it would be over. He would turn her into a whore, exploiting her telepathy and taking her blood and body without permission. Her only hope was getting as far away as possible and hopefully stay off de Castro’s radar. She doubted he would ever stop looking for her, but she was determined to make it as difficult as possible for him to find her.
Before he left for Oklahoma, Eric set up several non-traceable bank accounts for Sookie, and for once in her life she hadn’t argued with him about it when he told her she would have several million dollars at her disposal. While she would have rather have Eric at her side than his money, she knew it was his way of taking care of her, and she wouldn’t fault him for it. Eric had seen to it that money would no longer be a worry to her; it was just her safety that was the issue.
As she packed her suitcase, Sookie thought about all she was leaving behind: her friends and family, her home and job… but the more she thought about it, the more she realized it was a distinctly short list. Her brother Jason and cousin Hunter topped the list. It wasn’t fair that just as she and Jason were developing the kind of relationship she always wanted with her older brother, she was forced to leave. Jason had finally grown up; he was taking responsibility for his life. He found a woman he loved and who loved and accepted him, and he was happy. After everything he had been through with Crystal, he deserved some happiness, but Sookie hated the fact she wouldn’t be around to witness it. As long as de Castro held power in Louisiana, or anywhere for that matter, she wouldn’t be safe or able to return. She wouldn’t get to see Jason marry again or become a father.
Sookie felt terrible knowing she was going to walk away from Hunter; she promised Remy she would be there for him. It killed her to break that promise, but staying would only place him in danger. It wouldn’t take long for some opportunistic vampire to learn of her connection to the boy, and they wouldn’t think twice about using him to make her heel – not to mention what they would do if they learned of little Hunter’s abilities. He would be exploited worse than she ever was. He would be taken away from his father immediately and forced to use his telepathy for whoever took him. She wouldn’t subject Hunter to the fate that now chased her.
The only other people she was leaving behind were Sam, Tara, Amelia, and Alcide, and she wasn’t close to any of them anymore. Tara had her own family to worry about, and the others never approved of her relationship with Eric. Sam and Alcide had been too blinded by their hatred of vampires to see the real relationship between Eric and Sookie. Whenever they set eyes on Eric, they only ever saw his fangs; they never saw the love he held for Sookie, always claiming vampires can’t love. Well, her vampire could, and he did; of that she was certain. Sookie wasn’t even sure what Amelia’s problem was; she seemed to have a deep dislike for Eric, and Sookie had no idea why. Her actions after she broke the bond had showed her that. Amelia had wanted Sookie to live the life she wanted for her, and that wasn’t something Sookie could do. No, Sookie realized as she packed her suitcase, she wasn’t leaving any friends behind, just her blood family.
Looking at the time, Sookie saw it was still hours until sunrise. If she was going to escape Louisiana and the vampire coming for her, she would have to leave at the crack of dawn, just as the vampires were dying for the day.
With her mind set, Sookie made her way into her bathroom. Staring into the mirror above the sink, she barely recognized the sad-looking woman staring back; her eyes were bloodshot from all the crying, and tear tracks stained her face. The happy girl that she was had disappeared in a sea of heartbreak. Turning on the taps, she cupped some water in her hands and splashed it on her face, the cold water refreshing her slightly. Picking up her hairbrush, Sookie swept it through her blond locks, untangling the knots before throwing the brush on the counter and grabbing a pair of scissors. She stared in the mirror as she raised the scissors and cut her hair, taking several inches off and trying her best to make it as even as possible. The last thing she wanted was to end up with hair like the late Debbie Pelt. Once satisfied, she dropped the scissors and picked up a bottle of hair dye. She followed the instructions as she covered her hair with the foul smelling stuff. She cleaned up and disposed of her cut hair while she waited for the dye to work. After rinsing the dye out, she stared into the mirror as she ran her hand through her new shorter style. She couldn’t say it was to her liking, but she needed to disguise herself any way she could, even if it was just by cutting and dyeing her hair.
The next few hours dragged by so slowly. Sookie was a bundle of nerves as she waited for the sun to rise, every little noise making her jump as she wondered if de Castro had come for her so soon. She took the time to write a letter to those she was leaving behind and to secure the house. She was extra careful making sure she hadn’t left any clues behind. As the first rays of the new day were peeking over the trees surrounding her property, Sookie threw her suitcases in her old car. She slipped one of Jason’s old baseball caps over her newly dyed brown hair as she climbed behind the steering wheel.
A tear trickled down her cheek as she took one last look at her family home. “Goodbye,” she whispered before driving down the driveway.