The next few hours flew by. We started out watching Forrest Gump, but we both kept talking so much that Sam finally muted it. He told me all about his family, more than I’d ever expected to hear, and he had all kinds of stories about when he first started shifting. Most of them probably hadn’t been funny at the time, but they were certainly laughable now. In turn, I told him stories from my own childhood…the ones that weren’t sad, at least. We talked about my Gran and her cooking, and how even though I had all her old recipes I never could get things to taste quite as good as when she had made them. We even talked about my exes for a little while.
I told him the real reason why Bill and I had broken up. Not the whole story, of course, and I really wasn’t sure how much Sam already knew, but I did explain that Bill was called away by his maker. Sam knew just enough about vampire hierarchy to understand what that meant, and I was glad that he didn’t ask where Lorena was now. He asked about Eric, the Eric that had stayed with me, and I told him about how easy and simple it had been. Sam had laughed at that part and asked me if I ever really thought my life would be simple. When the conversation turned to Quinn, I could tell Sam was a little upset, and he admitted that he’d initially had trouble with the fact that I’d finally stopped dating vampires, only to go out with another troubled supe. As it turns out, the real reason Sam now had a problem with Quinn was simply that Quinn had placed me in the line of fire, inadvertently or not, during the takeover, and he’d been cowed into standing against me. While Sam had never been fond of Bill or Eric, he at least knew that they tried to protect me. I tried to explain that Quinn had tried to protect me, too, by just leaving me out of the whole mess, but Sam wasn’t buying it. Since Quinn had stood in the enemy line that surrounded by house that night, Sam had no use for him.
In the end, we turned to lighter topics. I offered to set him up with half the girls in Bon Temps, but he kept laughing and telling me what was wrong with each of them. He had me in stitches when, with the most serious of expressions, he started insisting that Arlene was the only woman for him. It was going on four in the morning when he finally caught me yawning and insisted I get some rest. I hated to leave, but I had taken up more than enough of his time, and I was just grateful that he’d given me a temporary out. I could tell that Eric was still waiting outside, but with any luck, Bill would have given up and gone back home.
I grabbed my purse again and stood to leave when Sam’s expression suddenly changed.
“He still out there?” he asked.
I nodded. Not only could I detect a void that could only be a vamp still lurking outside, but I’d been pushing down feelings of extreme irritation, even rage coming through the bond for the last few hours.
“There’s the shower, there’s the bed,” Sam said, pointing down the narrow hallway behind the kitchen. “Help yourself to a t-shirt or something.”
“But, Sam—" I protested.
“No arguments,” he said, throwing back at me my own words from earlier.
Then he stretched out on the sofa, closed his eyes, and started making the most God-awful snoring noises I’d ever heard. He opened one eye and smirked when he heard me giggle.
I awoke to the smell of bacon and homemade biscuits, and for one joyous moment I was in my small bed, in my old room, while Gran puttered around in the kitchen. But when I opened my eyes, I was greeted with reality and an unfamiliar room. I’d been so tired when I finally went to bed that I hadn’t paid much attention to my surroundings. But the moment I remembered where I was, it all made sense. I was lying in a big bed in a tidy masculine room. Not only was he the cleanest man I’d ever met, but it smelled like Sam could cook.
After a quick run to the restroom, I made the bed and headed for the kitchen.
“Good morning,” Sam said when I rounded the corner. “Thought you might be hungry.”
He’d just pulled the biscuits out of the oven and was removing the last of the bacon from the skillet. And good lord, he’d even made gravy. For a second, I was a tiny bit jealous of the lucky girl who would someday win his heart. He was going to make a great husband.
“Wow, Sam. I feel like I’ve just spent the night at a bed and breakfast!”
“Collie Cottage, I like to call it,” he said with a grin.
“In that case, I might just have to make a reservation for my next day off,” I said as I hopped up on one of the stools by the counter.
His expression became serious, and he turned to look at me. I immediately regretted my words, thinking that my jesting had probably just hurt him deeply. So his next words surprised me.
“Sookie, you know you’re always welcome here, right? I know your feelings for me are just friendship, and I don’t have a problem with that. I just want you to know that if you need someone to talk to, or a place to hide out and not watch movies…whatever you need, I’m here, okay?”
I smiled and nodded my head, not trusting myself to speak. Part of me wanted to burst into grateful tears and hug him, and part of me was wondering where I’d gone so wrong. Sam was exactly the kind of man I wanted, the kind who was selfless and kind, honest and generous. Why couldn’t I have fallen in love with him instead of chasing after lying, cheating, self-important jerks?
Sam cleared his throat and turned his attention back to the stove. An uncomfortable silence lingered for a minute, but it was swept out of the air when he turned to me with a plate of the most delicious looking breakfast I’d had in quite some time.
We sat across from each other at the little table, stuffing our faces, talking about the weather and gossiping about most of the people in Bon Temps. It felt so much like the breakfasts that I used to have with Gran that I just wanted to put the moment in a box and keep it forever. But all too soon Sam’s phone rang, and I was jolted back into the real world.
“No, she’s right here…I don’t know…Yeah, she’s fine,” I heard him say. “Sookie, it’s Amelia,” he said, handing me the phone.
“Everything okay?” she asked.
“Yeah. We were just having breakfast.”
“Did it ever occur to you to call and let me know you weren’t dead? Or eloping with a vampire?” she asked, irritation ringing in her voice.
“Oh, gosh, Amelia, I’m so sorry. We were just up late talking and everything, and I completely forgot. Bill and Eric didn’t give you any trouble, did they?”
“Actually, no. Bill was still out there when I went to bed, but I never saw Eric. Why? Was he supposed to come by?”
“No, neither of them were, actually, but good luck convincing them of that. So is everything else okay?”
“Well, Tray just left,” she giggled, her annoyance with me disappearing the moment she thought of her beau. “I was hoping to go into Shreveport and get a mani-pedi. Wanna come?”
“Can we make it Monroe instead?” I knew better than to think I’d run into Eric in a nail salon during daylight hours, but better safe than sorry.
“What? You don’t have any vamp stalkers in Monroe?” she teased.
“Not yet,” I laughed. “Okay, give me a few minutes to clean up here and I’ll be home.”
We said our goodbyes and I got up, intent on at least doing the dishes after all Sam had done for me. But the table had been cleared, the counters wiped down, and the dishes loaded in the washer, all while I’d been on the phone.
“Okay, Superman, I get it. You’re domestic. Couldn’t you at least have left something for me to do?”
“And be a rude host?” Sam asked. “Never.”
As much as I didn’t want to leave, the thought of being pampered in a salon was just tempting enough to send me home. I was still wearing the t-shirt I’d slept in, along with my work pants from the night before, and Sam insisted I wear the shirt home. When I protested, he reminded me that my Merlotte’s shirt probably smelled like burgers and cigarettes, and I couldn’t very well argue with that. I promised I’d return it, washed and good as new, and headed outside to my car.
“Sooooo? Quit holding out on me Sookie,” Amelia pleaded. “You have to give me something.”
“If there was something to tell you, I promise I would,” I said. But you know as much as I do right now.”
“I didn’t know Eric came by,” she said.
“Well, now you do. He brought Pam, too, but I think she had more sense than to wait around all night for me.”
“What did you and Sam do?” she asked, wagging her eyebrows suggestively.
“Amelia!” I chided her, unable to keep from laughing. “We talked and watched a movie. And he made me breakfast.”
“That man’s got it bad for you, girl!”
“It wasn’t like that. I mean, I know he’s got feelings for me and all, but I swear the whole night was just about friendship. It was really nice actually,” I admitted. And it had been nice. Sure, Amelia was my friend, and I could always talk to her, depend on her, confide in her. But Sam just knew me. He’d known about my ‘ability’ before I’d ever discovered what a coveted commodity it was. He’d known Gran, too, and it was nice to be able to talk about her with someone who just knew what I meant when I mentioned her cooking or her old-fashioned and always good advice. Even though Sam was a supe, he was more human to me than the rest, and what he knew about me, what he liked about me was human, too.
“Think Tray will like it?” Amelia asked, waving her dark red nails in my face.
“Do men actually notice these things?” I asked her.
“Tray does,” she said proudly.
“Then he’ll love it,” I told her, instantly envious for the umpteenth time. Eric had noticed my nails once, too. I quickly pushed the thought away. What did it matter if Eric noticed my nails when he he’d just ignored me for months?
To be continued…