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Monday, August 27, 2012

Chapter 17 ~ Game of Chess

A few hours later Eric exited his office after seeing to all his duties. Since he wouldn't be going to Fangtasia tonight in order for him to spend the time with Sookie he'd called Pam and ordered her to look after the bar. Now, however, he was ready to do his hour of training and he was hoping Sookie would join him in the dojo to observe. He knew she was physically attracted him, and seeing him train would only heighten that attraction.

Coming to stand at the end of the hallway by the living area he found her curled up on the couch again reading the book she'd selected from his personal library. Leaning against the doorway he asked, "I'm going to train. Would you like to join me?"

"No." Sookie didn't even raise her eyes to meet his. Not only was she determined to be as unpleasant as possible, but she didn't want to look at his chest again and possibly have the sight affect her decision.

Feeling her ire through the bond and thoroughly amused at her petulance Eric replied, "Fair enough. I'll only be an hour and then I promise to be better company. Feel free to join me if you change your mind." He ignored the muttered response behind him.

An hour later he had finished his training session and went to rejoin Sookie. As vampires didn't sweat he didn't have to worry about taking a shower as humans did after exercising. Truthfully vampires didn't need to exercise but he enjoyed practicing the martial arts he'd learned over the centuries. Striding into the living area he found Sookie in the exact same spot he'd left her in only she appeared to have gotten up at some point to grab a bottle of water. Taking a seat on the opposite end of the couch he asked, "What would you like to do?"

Looking up at him Sookie replied, "Go home."

"Besides that."

Having already determined her plan of action to get back at Eric, Sookie set about ignoring him and went right back to reading. 'If he thinks I'm going to be the perfect little house guest and fall in line with his treatment of me he's got another thing coming!'
Knowing exactly what she was doing Eric kicked his feet up on the table as one arm settled across the back of the couch and said, "Ah … the silent treatment. How very original."

Nothing.

"Sookie you cannot mean to sit here and ignore me all night can you?"

Silence.

"Sookie the next few days will much more pleasurable for the both of us if you stop being so childish about all of this. It's only a few days and then you'll be home…why not try to make the best of it?"

Quiet.

Smirking, Eric decided to give as good as he was getting and simply sat back as he leveled his penetrating stare at her. He knew that she would know he was watching her, and it would affect her. A vampire's stare was a powerful thing after all. He simply sat and waited. Besides looking at her was a distraction all on its own. She was wearing another of his black silk button down shirts that dwarfed her body along with a pair of his black silk boxers, also too large for her. She looked so very appealing in his clothes and he reminded himself not to wash them when she discarded them. He would like to wear them carrying her scent.

She could feel his gaze raking over her…again and again. His eyes were practically boring holes into her. She steeled her resolve and swore not to crack. Forcing herself to focus on the book in her lap she chanted in her mind, 'Ignore him … just ignore him … that's all I have to do. I will not give in!'
Eric could feel her resolve crumbling. Sookie was not a quiet or still person. He knew sitting there and ignoring him was killing her. He had to give her credit for holding out as long as she had, but knew she would be caving soon. 'She cannot resist me for long.'

Thirty minutes pass.

"Damn it! Stop staring at me!"

Smirking at her Eric arched a brow as Sookie spun to face him on the couch while leveling a glare at him and replied, "What else is there to do? If you insist on sitting her and ignoring me than I must entertain myself by observing you. You are a fascinating creature after all."

Slamming the book closed Sookie hissed, "Why do you have to be so overbearing! Why do you always have to get your way?"

Shrugging he answered, "Practice … so have you decided to stop ignoring me yet?"

Tossing her book on the coffee table Sookie asked, "What is it you want to do?" When he got that cocky smirk on his face again she added, "Not that!"

"You are no fun." Reaching forward he picked the book she'd been reading up and looked at the title American Gods. Smiling at her he said, "One of my favorite fiction novels to ever come out. Are you enjoying it?"

Startled by the abrupt change in topic Sookie found herself nodding and replied, "Yeah … I've never read anything like it before … He's Odin, right?"

"Yes … do you like him?"

"He reminds me of you, in a way."

Now that got his attention and Eric asked, "How's that?"

Sending him a smirk of her own, Sookie replied, "Always vague with his answers, using others for his own purposes, and always, always scheming."

Throwing his head back and laughing Eric replied, "Oh, my Sookie … I don't know whether to be pleased or insulted by that assessment. Odin is not exactly painted in the best light in this book … though he is crafty. I'll give him that."

"I thought he was trying to save everyone? Isn't that a good thing?"

"You haven't gotten to the ending yet little Sookie. Wait until you finish it to decide whether or not you still like him. I will say that most of my people would be offended by his portrayal in this book, but I find it utterly refreshing. May I ask why you chose this book out of all the others?"

Shrugging Sookie replied, "Well most of the books in there looked hundreds of years old and I didn't want to risk damaging them, not to mention the majority of them were in languages I don't know. I decided I'd stick to the newer books so that if I spilled something on it or had some kind of accident you could replace it easily. So out of all the newer books this looked the most interesting. I didn't think I'd like it as much as I am though … I like Shadow."

"As do I, perhaps when you are finished reading it we can discuss the symbolism, mythology, and overall message of the book."

A smile forming on her face despite her ire at him Sookie nodded her head and replied, "I'd like that. I don't know a whole lot about mythology but I can tell there's a lot I'm missing. There are so many different gods and belief systems incorporated into this book and I don't think I'm really appreciating it by not understanding them."

Standing Eric said, "Wait here." Using his vampire speed he was in his library and back at her side in seconds with another book in his hands. It was massive, and one of the few of its kind he had in English. Handing it to her he said, "This book contains brief overviews of all the religions and mythologies represented in American Gods. It should clear a few things up for you. There a quite a few other religions addressed, but you can read about those later."

Taking the offered book Sookie smiled at Eric as he retook his seat beside him and replied, "Thank you, I can read this tomorrow while you're dead."

Pleased that she had spoken about staying here with him without getting upset Eric said, "I hope you enjoy it. It's very accurate. It was written by an ancient vampire using a human alias. He had it published before we came out."

"How ancient?"

"Four thousand years old…plus or minus a century or two…it's hard to tell from that age. Time keeping wasn't as good back then."

Her mouth dropping open in shock Sookie whispered, "Uh—wow, I … I can't imagine living that long."

'You will—by my side.' Knowing he couldn't say that out loud Eric replied, "It takes skill, that's for sure."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"My people are every bit as savage and warlike as yours Sookie. We fight amongst ourselves over political issues and personal disputes all the time … not to mention our troubles with other supernatural races. Living that long requires a great deal of skill and survival instinct. Few succeed."

Turning to face him fully and forcing herself not to be distracted by his bare chest, as he was still wearing only his training hakamas, Sookie asked, "Aren't you ancient?"

Laughing softly Eric shook his head, and replied, "No. I'm considered old … not ancient. While it's true few make it to my age fewer still make it to Godric's, and far less to Appius's."

"Appius?"

"The vampire that wrote that history book on world religions."

"Oh, so how many ancients are there?"

Eric was silent a moment as he tallied the number in his head before replying, "There are 30 known vampire's over the age of 3000 years … which is the agreed upon milestone to be considered ancient."

"What do you mean known?"

Watching Sookie move to hug her knees to her chest Eric replied, "Some vampires vanish into seclusion once they pass a certain age. Time is a tricky thing for some, and different vampires react to it in their own ways. There are probably another dozen or so vampires in or around Appius's age that have simply disappeared amongst humanity to escape our world. They will come back into our circle when the urge to be known returns."

Sookie digested this information before asking, "How many are there that are your age?"

"Probably two or three hundred."

"And Godric's?"

"Half that, as I said it is difficult to live to such ages. Most vampires are lucky to make it to 500 before losing their life to our politics or in some squabble with another supernatural."

"Then it surprises me there are as many of you as there are if you kill each other off so quickly. If you guys are so selective about who you turn how do you keep from becoming extinct?"

Shaking his head, Eric replied, "Most vampires are not like me or Pam, or Bill, or Godric. Most vampires will turn a child whenever the desire hits them. They make children based on looks or whatever skill they might require at the time, and as soon as they are bored with them they send them on their way. Few vampires carry with them the standards, skills, instincts or talent for survival and excellence that I have, and that is why the succumb to the dangers of the supernatural word so quickly. Those that think and act rashly, die rashly. This is why most vampires are under 600, and few live to be my age let alone an ancient. Our lifestyle does not tolerate brash behavior or stupidity for long. Only true survivors, or those protected by true survivors stand the test of time."

Cocking her head to the side Sookie asked, "Is your world really that dangerous?"

"Most definitely. Vampires are always moving against each other jockeying for more power just as you humans are, and then there are our disputes with the other races. Surviving our world while dealing with the dangers of yours is a tricky business."

"You keep saying other races like it's a lot. How many other races are there?"

Now it was Eric's turn to look confused, "Did Bill not tell you?"

Shaking her head Sookie replied, "Bill always got really closed lipped anytime I tried to talk to him about his world. The little I do know I know from Sam. He told me about shifters and Were animals … but that's about all I know. Is there more than that?"

Nodding his head Eric said, "Much more. I'm surprised Bill and Sam didn't try to warn you about the supernatural community. They must have known that once your gift was discovered you would be a target. Why they left you so defenseless is beyond me."

"Am I really in that much danger?"

"Not yet, but you will be. The moment your gift became known to our world, you set yourself on the path to becoming a pawn to supernaturals. As more of the supernatural community becomes aware of you, which they will, you will be targeted. That is why I wanted to get you under my protection as quickly as possible. With the Supernatural Council's recognition of you as my personal asset it will deter most from trying to take you. If they do not only will they face my wrath, but that of the Council. Bill should have told you this. Telepathy is an extremely rare gift. Especially in someone that can actively use it and hasn't been driven mad by the voices … and now that supernaturals are being forced to expose themselves in the wake of advancing human technology you will be a much sought after prize. Knowing what humans are truly thinking around is will be very beneficial to our survival."

Sookie was silent a moment before asking, "So what's out there besides you guys, shifters and weres?"

"Fairies, witches, angels, demons, fire cats, Britlingens, and things you couldn't even conceive."

Her mouth dropping open in shock Sookie asked, "Really? There are really and truly fairies and demons and angels out there?"

Nodding his head Eric replied, "Indeed. Though Fairies aren't the sweet winged creatures your American cartoons portray them as. They're no Tinkerbelle. Fairies are vicious creatures and more bloodthirsty than even my kind. Angels are kind as your myths tell … and the rest? The rest you will eventually learn for yourself." He'd observed her closely as he mentioned fairies to see if perhaps that while she was unaware of her relation to the species she did in fact know they existed, but her reaction had been genuine. She was truly surprised at their existence … how very interesting.

'Where are her fairy relatives? They must know she exists so why have they not come for her? With their breeding problems they should be falling all over themselves to snatch up a female containing the essential spark. This is most strange.'

Sitting back on the couch Sookie whispered, "Wow—I … I never thought those stories were real. There are really demons? Not just personal demons … but real and true demons?"

"You've already met one … Mr. Catadalias."

"Shut up! Him? He was such a nice man … aren't demons supposed to have horns and a tail?"

Chuckling, Eric shook his head and replied, "You are going to have to learn to step away from all your human preconceived ideas, little one. While most of your human stories are based on truth, time has warped the facts so you have such fantastical beliefs on the supernatural. The truth is a demon could walk right by you and you wouldn't notice it. As could a fairy or a were or a shifter. Most supernaturals look exactly like you … well, while in public they do. Some creatures wear concealment spells to hide their true appearances and drop them in private … but still you wouldn't know them."

Shaking her head Sookie said, "I knew Mr. Catadalias wasn't completely human. I just didn't know what he was."

Arching a brow Eric asked, "How did you know that?"

Looking sheepish Sookie fidgeted with her hands and replied, "Well when he said he'd known you for a few centuries I looked inside his head, and it was … different."

"Different how?"

"His thoughts were … warm … like physically warm in my head … and foggy. Most people's thoughts stream continuously in a straight line to me. His kind of came in bubbles and were hazy and warm. I knew he wasn't human, but didn't want to ask exactly what he was."

Thoroughly interested now Eric asked, "Can you tell other people aren't human?"

Shrugging Sookie said, "Sam is the only other non-human I've met. His thoughts are different too. They … well they shift funny enough. They aren't straight either."

Eric was silent a moment as he thought, 'This is unexpected. I didn't think she would be able to hear anything other than humans since she can't hear vampires. This could be a problem. Other races won't like her hearing them. Her greatest asset lies in hearing humans…and humans alone.'

Focusing back on Sookie he looked her straight in the eye and asked in all seriousness, "Does anyone else know you can hear more than humans?"

Shrugging Sookie said, "Sam knows I have trouble hearing his thoughts, but that's it. Bill's never asked and I guess I never thought to bring it up."

Leaning forward Eric said, "I will speak with the shifter when he returns, but for now you are to promise me you will never tell anyone you can hear more than humans unless I say it is alright. Ever. Do you understand?"

Seeing how serious he was Sookie asked, "Why? Is it bad?"

Knowing it was best she realize how dangerous it could be Eric said, "Very. If other supernaturals know you can hear them they might consider you a liability. Those that have survived in the shadows for so long value privacy. They might take exception to you hearing their thoughts."

"Aren't you worried that I can hear yours and am just not telling you?"

A true smile forming on his face, Eric replied, "I know you can't hear mine or other vampires. If you could you would have run as far and as fast from me as you possibly could without looking back the first time we met."

Shivering at his words, Sookie whispered, "What if I ever do hear your thoughts?"

Eric was silent for a moment before answering, "Then you will know how often I think of having sex with you … and you will never tell anyone else but me. EVER." Eric knew that if he'd thought Sookie could hear his or other vampire thoughts the first time he'd met her he would have killed her, but things had changed since then. Changed drastically. While he hoped she never did acquire the ability to read vampires, if she did he would make sure no one else found out so that he could protect her.

Sookie was silent a moment before saying, "All right. So letting other supes know I can hear them will get me killed is what you're saying?"

"Yes. Keep this to yourself. Tell no one. Not your roommate. Not Bill. Not Sam. Not Pam. No one."

Cocking her head to the side Sookie asked, "Isn't it dangerous to me for you to know?"

Smirking Eric replied, "No. I want you alive … very much alive. My knowing will only allow me to protect you better, but no one else can know."

Deciding that until she knew more about the supernatural world he was probably right Sookie nodded her head and said, "Ok. Mums the word. So, what do you want to do now?"

Arching a brow Eric asked, "Do you want to play a game? Do you like chess?"

Laughing, Sookie nodded her head and replied, "I do, actually. I played with Bill a few times, but after he lost for the third time in a row he didn't want to play with me anymore. I think he didn't like losing to a girl."

Standing as he laughed as well, Eric took her hand and led her towards his game room as he said, "I could see how it would offend his delicate southern gentleman sensibilities, but I assure you if you manage to beat me I will only be more delighted with you. However I have had centuries to perfect my game so I doubt I will be as easy a victory as Bill provided."

Following after him, not thinking to remove her hand from his, Sookie replied, "We'll see."

As he opened the door to the game room and pulled her inside Eric asked, "Would you like to make a wager?"

"Probably not, but I'll hear it nonetheless."

Smiling at her response Eric said, "If you win I'll take you home tonight, and …"

"Really?"

Holding his hand up so she'd be quiet he replied, "Yes, however if I win you have to give me a back massage."

She mulled the terms for a moment and then, deciding that it was too good an offer to pass up,  nodded her head. "Ok. You're on."

A few minutes later they were both seated in comfortable chairs with a nice marble piece chess set between them as Eric made the first move. As he waited for Sookie to make hers he asked, "Would you like to fulfill our other agreement while we play?"

Moving one of her pawns Sookie arched a brow and asked, "What agreement?"

"You tell me and I tell you?"

"Oh—uh … sure, but you go first."

Making another move Eric said, "Very well what would you like to hear?" He was hoping that she'd agree. He wanted to distract her as much as possible. They'd only made two moves apiece so far but he could already tell she was better than the average player and he didn't want to risk losing. However he was fairly certain he would still beat her. He was a master at chess, and had been for centuries.

Countering his rook Sookie said, "Tell me about the blood debt Ken's family owes you. I asked him and he said he'd only tell me if I passed your inspection next month."

Moving one of his pawns Eric shook his head and said, "No. He's got a good idea. Giving you incentive is a wise choice. I will allow him to tell you of the blood debt his family owes me, and afterwards if you have any questions, I will answer them freely. It won't be part of our bargain so you won't have to tell me anything in return if you don't want to. So pick something else."

Biting her lip as she considered her next move she opened another pathway in her mind to ponder what she wanted to ask him about in order to do both. 'I don't want to ask him about anything to do with Godric yet. He's made it clear those memories are still too painful for him. So what do I ask him about? I could ask him about his life as a human…I still want to know more about that … but I really want to know how he ended up owning a bar in Shreveport.'

As he watched her consider the board he could feel the different emotions in her. Curiosity, determination, wonder, resolve. Finally he asked, "Are you thinking two things at once?"

Looking up at him she nodded and said, "Yeah. With the way you're developing your knights I can tell you're setting me up so I'm playing out the moves in my head while thinking about what to ask you. Why?"

Sitting back in his chair Eric let a broad smile overcome his face as he whispered, "Fascinating." Waving his hand for her to continue he said, "Don't let me keep you." 'I guess distracting her isn't going to work. Oh my darling Sookie you are truly made for me. We will make an unstoppable team you and I.'

Finally deciding on a move she positioned her bishop and asked, "Tell me about how you came to live here and run a bar in Shreveport. You said you were an enforcer for most of your life. Why did you stop?"

Impressed with both her question and her move, he considered the board as well for a moment. While he might not be able to think two things at exactly the same time, his mind could work ten times faster than a humans and he could see many moves down the road. Picking his next action he shifted one of his own bishops and began, "Basically I got bored. As I said Sookie I saw everything this world has to offer. I fought in all the great battles, I carved a name for myself in the history books, I defeated every monster that was claimed to be undefeatable and I decided it was time to stop traveling. About 60 years ago vampires realized that human technology was advancing faster than we had believed imaginable. You were conquering the atom, defining and mapping genes, and so much more. We knew the day we would have to reveal ourselves was fast approaching. So we all began infiltrating your world more than we already had. I decided it was time for me to set down roots as well."

Moving one of her knights Sookie asked, "Where were you before you came here?"

"South America. Making the rounds of all the northern countries."

"So you just decided to settle down and that was it?"

Leaning forward to examine the board as she made a particularly cunning move Eric shook his head and replied, "No. Deciding where to set down roots was a hard decision. Finally I decided that America's tolerance for the unusual was higher than most other countries. Knowing that we would be exposing ourselves before the end of the century I didn't want to be bogged down in an overly religious or superstitious country that would likely react badly to our coming out. As you are aware Vampires in most South American, European and Asian countries are having a much harder time assimilating than US vampires. Anyway, having picked America, I toured the US with Pam for about 15 years before deciding that the Louisiana vibe was more my style. I approached the queen about obtaining a position as sheriff and she was only too happy to have an enforcer with my skills and reputation as a part of her retinue. Once she appointed me sheriff, I glamoured the right humans to obtain a suitable alias for Pam and myself and began building my financial empire so I could transition into the human world easily once the great reveal took place."

When Eric made his own tactical move that resulted in the loss of her first piece, a knight, Sookie leaned forward to examine the board more closely and replied, "That's so weird. You guys were planning the great reveal 60 years ago? That's a long time to plan something."

"Not really. You have to remember vampires are long lived. We tend to look far ahead in the future. The moment humans invented electricity we knew our days of remaining in the shadows were coming to an end. We began forming our plans then, but we knew we had to wait for the right time. We knew that humans would not accept us unless they believed they would be safe with us living among them. We only waited as long as we did because it took awhile to be able to create synthetic blood, which is a vital point to humans accepting our existence. However, once certain advancements were made in cloning the process came together quickly."

Still considering the board Sookie asked, "Were you for or against coming out?"

Letting her take the time to weigh her options in the game he replied, "I was for. There was really no choice. It was only a matter of time before we were discovered by the humans with their advancing technology, and by coming out we were making a preemptive strike. It's always better to be on the offensive concerning survival. Taking up the fight a step behind is never smart."

Finally making a decision she moved her rook and pressed, "Do you like your life now? Or do you miss what it was like before the reveal? It sounds like you're only in the position you're in because of necessity."

Seeing she was setting him up to take his Queen Eric smiled internally and thought, 'Tricky tricky my pet … but I see what you're planning.' Moving one of his pawns to divert her plan, and if he was lucky to trap her bishop he replied, "While I miss anonymity and being able to be Vampire without worrying about who is watching, I find I enjoy not having to hide what I am. I can be a vampire in the open … which does have its perks."

Laughing at this despite being upset he'd obviously seen her intent to trap his queen Sookie replied, "Perks huh? I guess you're talking about all those adoring fans of yours that swoon at your feet whenever you walk past them at Fangtasia."

"There is that, but there are other perks," he said as he watched her capture one of his rooks. He could tell she was hoping she'd take the knight she'd used to do so that she could counterattack by taking his remaining rook guarding his king but he wouldn't be so foolish. He took one of her pawns instead and set up the opportunity for him to capture her queen five moves ahead.

Considering the board Sookie asked, "What other perks."

"Mainly the freedom to be who and what I am and not have to pretend to be something else. It chaffs having to curb your behavior to fit what others think is normal. I enjoy having the freedom now to be what I am and not having to hide it."

Not seeing the trap Eric was setting for her as she was so focused on the one she was setting for him, that he had already picked up on unfortunately, Sookie nodded her head and said, "I know what that's like."

After she made her move Eric captured another of her pieces and said, "I'm sure you do. I've answered you questions so now I'll ask some of my own. Tell me what it was like as a child growing up with your gift?" Immediately he felt a wave of pain and shame overtake her through the bond before she ruthlessly pushed them back.

"You can call it a gift all you like Eric, but it's not. It's a curse and it made my life a living hell growing up." She watched Eric move one of his bishops and finally took notice of his intent to take her queen. However if she wanted to counter she would have to sacrifice one of her bishops and a rook to do so. She studied the board intently to try and find a way out of the trap he'd set her.

Realizing that Sookie was on to him and seeking desperately to avoid having to sacrifice too many pieces Eric asked, "How so? You obviously had those that were willing to look past what made you different. Maybe not many but enough to keep you from being completely alone."

Shaking her head Sookie replied, "Eric you can be in a room full of people that care about you and accepting you, but if they don't understand you you're still alone." Finally deciding she was just going to have to sacrifice she decided her bishop was expendable to save her queen and moved it.

Pouncing on the opportunity Eric snatched it up and said, "Explain."

Shrugging her shoulders as she looked the board over Sookie continued, "It was worse when I was little. Everyone knew I was different but it took people awhile to figure out just how different. Most people still think I'm psychic or something; that I get flashes of things from time to time. They don't want to believe I can really hear every thought inside their heads, and really that's for the best. The less people understand how vulnerable their secrets are to me the less they shun and strike out at me."

Cocking his head to the side as he waited for her to move Eric asked, "People hit you growing up?"

Nodding her head slowly Sookie replied, "I learned it was never safe to be alone. If I wasn't with my parents, or my Gran, or my brother or Tara I was very vulnerable."

"Children can be cruel to one another. I remember as a human that as children the weakest would be picked on."

Wincing Sookie whispered, "It wasn't just children."

Feeling his anger growing Eric pressed, "Adults attacked you as a child?"

Finally making a move Sookie was somewhat relieved when Eric forewent capturing her rook to protect one of his knights as she replied, "Many times. I only had to go to the hospital because of it once, but I learned very quickly that people who don't understand something will strike out at it at the earliest opportunity."

Anger building in his chest Eric asked, "How did they hurt you to put you in the hospital?"

Shrugging her shoulders Sookie replied, "They threw rocks at me."

"They stoned you?"

Hearing the outrage in his voice Sookie waved her hand as though it was no big deal and said, "They were afraid. I was walking past some people fishing by the river on my way home from Tara's house and I made the mistake of telling one of the men that he shouldn't think about leaving his girlfriend, who was standing right next to him, because she was pregnant but hadn't told him yet. There were about six people there and when they all realized I'd read their friends' minds they freaked out. They just started picking up rocks and throwing them at me while calling me devil child. Most of them hit my chest, arms and legs. I tried to shield myself, but one of them caught me in the temple knocking me out cold and when I came to I was in the hospital. Apparently my parents got worried when the sun set and came looking for me."

"And when these people put you in the hospital what did your parents do in retaliation?"

Shrugging Sookie captured one of his pawns as she replied, "Nothing. I told them I'd tripped and fallen … I never told them what really happened."

Snatching her last knight off the board Eric hissed, "Why would you do such a foolish thing? Why would you let your attackers go free? Don't you humans have laws to protect your children? Didn't your parents have the whit to know the injuries you sustained couldn't have come from falling down?"

Wincing at the anger in his tone Sookie answered, "They knew, deep down they knew I was lying, but it was hard for them. They didn't understand why I was the way I was. No one did … well, my Gran was more accepting, but even she was a little afraid of what I could do. I know she had a few secrets she was terrified of me finding out so I always tried to leave the room when they crossed her mind … but my parents…well they tried to do right by me. As for not telling them? In the end I did it because I felt bad. People made it hard for them in town because of me, and I didn't want to make it worse. I learned to keep my mouth shut and my head down; things were easier when I learned how to stay out of people's way. Kind of an out of sight out of mind thing."

After she made her move he said, "Your parents died when you were young did they not? You were 8?"

Nodding, Sookie replied, "It was a few weeks after I got out of the hospital. There was a flash flood and the bridge they were crossing collapsed. They drowned. My brother and I went to live with my Gran after that."

"And you say she was more accepting of you and your gift," Eric asked as he captured one of her pawns.

"Oh yes. Gran always did her best to make me feel accepted. She told me I was special and that God favored me. She told me to ignore what people said about me and to follow my heart. She home schooled me for a year after my parents died, and would take me around people slowly to help me learn to not be bombarded by their thoughts. The following year it was easier for me to be in school…though the children were still awful to me. Gran argued with the school something fierce to get me into Tara's class so that I would have a friend, and my brother would beat up anybody that was outright mean to me—of course, kids just got sneakier with their attacks, but having Jason and Tara made things somewhat easier."

Watching her take one of his pawns and position herself to capture a bishop he asked, "Why didn't you just continue with homeschooling if public school was so hard?"

"I can't hide from the world Eric. If I couldn't handle school with children how was I going to handle being an adult? Gran offered to let me stay home, but I argued against it. I knew if I had any hope at a future I was going to have to learn to live around others, so I stuck it out."

Watching her make a fatal mistake to capture his bishop which freed him up to take her Queen he said, "Check—and I admire you took the hard road. Not many would."

Looking the board over and seeing he had set two other traps for her that would lead to her inevitable end Sookie knocked her king over and replied, "You have me in three moves no matter what happens … so mate, and thank you. Though I doubt you ever took the easy road either."

'And that is why we are a perfect pair my Sookie,' he thought before gathering up the pieces and offering, "Would you like a rematch? If you win the offer to let you go home stands."

"And if you win?"

Smirking at her he replied, "A foot rub to accompany my back massage."

Nodding her head Sookie said, "You're on … and let's discuss something not so sad."

Still replacing the pieces Eric agreed, "Ok … What would you like to discuss?"

As he finished setting up the pieces for a rematch Sookie asked, "Do you like football?"

2 comments:

  1. poor sookie. I would have outlasted him in a silent contest.....he only has himself to blame. wow a chapter with him acutally acting like she was an equal. He really needs to get that "pet" thing under control.

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  2. i liked the chapter even if he is still scheming..... they are learning about one another even if it hurts.... Kristie

    another ooops or a missing item
    missing a comma "Having already determined her plan of action to get back at Eric Sookie set about ignoring him and went right back to reading." between Eric and Sookie

    BTW, if you dont want me to look for oopps let me know and i will stop, but i see you are fixing them its a bad habit since i am one of EricIzMine Beta's

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