33 When One Door Closes
I ran my hand over the black dress I'd chosen to wear to Terry's funeral. I hadn't known him well, but he had always been kind to me. He was one of the few that hadn't treated me like I was some whore after it became public knowledge I was dating a vampire.
I walked across the cemetery towards the plot that belonged to the Bellefleurs. A large group of people had already taken their seats but I was not the only straggler. Arlene was standing in front of the casket and I walked up to her. "I'm sorry for your loss, Arlene. Terry was a really good guy."
She nodded. "He thought you were a lovely girl." To my surprise she gave me a hug. "Thanks for coming." She gave me a sad smiled.
I spotted Sam and wandered over to him and squeezed his arm. "Hey, Rachel." He gave me a half hug. A pretty girl, who I didn't recognized smiled at me. "Oh, this is Nicole."
"Nice to meet you," I told her.
"You too, I've heard a lot about you and your sister."
"Oh, well, hopefully nothing too awful." I gave her a quick mental scan and noticed something odd. I leaned towards Sam and whispered, "Is she pregnant?" He nodded. "Is it yours?" He hesitated but nodded again. Nicole glanced at us and I smiled at her, she turned back to the woman on the other side of her. "Oh my god," I whispered.
"Emma is alright, just so you know," Sam told me. "She's with her grandmother, but they left the pack."
"That's good, I'm glad she's okay." I opened my mouth to ask a question but then stopped myself.
"If you are wondering about Alcide, he's okay too. He isn't packmaster anymore, he actually helped me get Emma back."
"Oh," was all I could think to say.
"He's not a bad guy."
As the sun came up, I had to admit I was scared. I had seen Warlow and I knew his blood would let vampires walk in the sun. He was a hybrid and so was I. He could walk in the day, and the assumption was that I could to.
When we reached the facility the sun was fully up. I stopped running and stood in the daylight, as Eric killed the guards. Russell had been right I was a day walker. Eric ran into the building and I followed him.
This Eric was a stark contrast from the Eric that I'd last been standing in the daylight with. It wasn't that I missed the Eric that had lost his memories; I just missed the Eric that had been protective and kind. I couldn't help but feel like it was my fault that I had lost him.
Once inside the building I ran straight to gen pop one to free Tara, Jessica, and Pam. I was too fast for the guards and any that tried to stop me were killed before they could. After breaking the neck of the guard outside the door, I used his arm to open the gate. "You're all free to go!" I called to the women inside, they flooded out. None of my friends were among them.
"Lil?" Someone asked. I turned and saw Jason sprawled out on one of the benches.
"Jason?" I rushed to his side. His neck was covered in bite marks. "What the hell happened to you? Why are you here?"
"I came to help," he told me. "I'm real sorry for the way I treated you before. I wasn't myself."
"I know, I could read your mind. You were pretty fucked up."
"So we're cool?"
"Yeah, of course. Do you know where Jessica and Tara are?"
He nodded. "Yeah, they took all the vampires away that knew about the poisoned TruBlood. I'll take you to them." He started to sit up but faltered, I caught him before he could fall off the bench.
"Hold on, let me heal you." I bit my wrist and held it to his mouth. "I guess you've done this a few times, you know how it works."
He sat up. "Yeah, I'll have dreams about you for a little while. The usual." He paused. "That made it sound like I usually have dreams about you, I don't. I mean sometimes I dream about Rachel, she looks like you but-"
I burst out laughing, cutting him off. "Why don't you take me to the others, before you embarrass yourself anymore?"
"Yeah, that's probably a good idea."
I spotted Sookie sitting alone with two empty chairs. Sam had started talking to Nicole so I slipped into one of the seats next to Sookie before the service started. "Is one of these for me?" I whispered.
"Yeah," she said. "The other was supposed to be for Jason."
"I haven't seen him in a few days," I told her.
"Yeah, me neither."
"I'm sure he's fine."
"Alcide is here," she informed me. I looked around in surprise and my eyes landed right on him. He looked great, certainly better than the last time I'd seen him. He gave me a half smile and I turned quickly back to Sookie.
The reverend cleared his throat. "Thank you all for gathering today to pay your respects to Terry Bellefleur. He was a great man who loved his family more than anything in this world." He continued on and then invited some of Terry's closest friends and family to speak. I watched as people I knew told stories about how Terry had touched their lives.
Midway through Portia Bellefleur's story about a swing set, I found my mind wandering. I wondered whom in my life I could possibly love as much as these people loved Terry. Certainly Lily, and probably Bill. I would most likely be able to write up something sweet about Sookie too. But truthfully being supernatural hadn't left me much time to be human.
"Arlene needs me to say something," Sookie whispered to me. She stood up and left me alone with two empty seats. "Hi, most of you know me. You've probably figured out that I'm a little different. That's because I'm a telepath."
Alcide sat down in the empty seat to my right. "Are you doing alright?"
"I didn't know Terry that well," I told him.
"That's not what I meant and you know it."
"I want to talk to you, but can it wait until after the service?" I asked. "I'm not going to try and avoid you, I promise." He nodded and we both listened to Sookie's story in silence. She returned to her seat and Arlene took her place at the podium.
I pulled a tissue out of my purse and handed it to Sookie. She took it and blotted at her eyes. "Thanks."
I squeezed her shoulder. "I'm here for you."
Jason led me into a room with double-sided glass overlooking the white room. Down below I saw Jessica, Tara, Pam, Willa, and a few other vampires I didn't recognize. "How do I get in there?" I asked. Jason pointed to a door and I ran towards it.
"Allow me," Bill said, stepping up behind me. "They will drink my blood and they will walk in the sun as we do." I nodded and he opened the door. I watched as he instructed the other vampires to feed from him.
"That's fucking gross," Jason mumbled.
I shrugged. "Well, if it gets the job done."
"The door is open, why don't they just run?"
"They'd be trapped inside until morning, who knows if anyone called for reinforcements. Plus drama, obviously. Bill would never pass up an opportunity to be the savior."
Eric came in with Ginger, and the psychologist every level one had to meet with. The doors above the room slowly opened and sunlight spilled into the room, but the vampires inside didn't even flinch. "It worked," Jason said. Steve Newlin ran around the edges trying to push his way into the circle of vampires feeding on Bill.
"Watch him," Eric instructed me, leaving the psychologist and heading into the room. He grabbed Steve and pushed him into the sunlight. "Every time someone I loved has died, you have been right there. It is time that ends." Steve struggled but Eric held him firmly in the sunlight until he caught on fire.
Ginger screamed and I plugged my ears. "Jesus Christ, Ginger."
The other vampires reveled in the sunlight, laughing and dancing with each other. I made my way into the room and crouched down next to Bill. One of the women I didn't recognize was holding him. "Is he still alive?" I asked.
She looked at him but didn't say anything for a moment. "Thank you, whoever you are, for the gift of the sun."
"He's my blood," I told her.
"He's your maker?" She asked.
"No, we're family."
"He saved us all." She laid him down softly.
The woman left me alone with Bill. I wiped some of the blood from his face. "Please don't die on me, Bill. Not now, not after all of this." I looked into his mind and I saw women that looked like Lilith standing in front of him. "Don't go with them, don't do this to me."
"I'm not going anywhere," he said.
There was a banging on the glass and I looked up to see Jessica. She ran into the room, followed by a man. "Is he dying?"
"I don't know, I don't know what happens when a vampire loses this much blood."
"They're coming for me," he whispered.
"Who is?" Jessica asked.
"Lilith," I explained.
"What do we do?" She asked.
"Feed him," the man suggested.
"Vampire blood doesn't heal other vampires, James," Jessica said.
"It just did," James reminded her. He pulled back his hair to expose his neck.
"Actually, I might be better suited. Since I'm a hybrid." I pulled my hair around to one shoulder and leaned towards him. "Drink, Bill. This better work, otherwise I'm getting Lafayette to summon your sorry ass back here so I can yell at you for leaving me." He sank his fangs into my neck and drank.
After a few moments he stopped. "Did it work?" Jessica asked.
I looked at him. "His color is coming back."
"I am feeling much better," he said. He pushed himself up. Jessica and I both hugged him and he wrapped his arms around both of us.
"Let's go outside," Jessica said.
"I'll follow you," he told her. I helped him to his feet and we walked outside. "I am sorry for everything."
"It wasn't all your fault, Lilith was pretty persuasive."
"I acted like you weren't important to me," he said. "You, your sister, and Jessica are the only things that matter to me."
"Well, you have many years ahead of you to make it up to us," I told him. He smiled and we walked out into the sun. The other vampires smiled and clapped when Bill joined them.
"Come on y'all, let's take this party back to our place!" Jessica said. I watched the celebrating vampires and fell to the back of the pack.
"Where's Eric?" Pam asked me.
I shrugged. "We aren't exactly in a good place right now." She looked around the compound and finally her eyes landed on him. I followed her gaze to the other side of one of the silos.
He met my eyes and I read his mind. "I'm sorry."
I looked away but Pam didn't. "Don't you dare leave me." I didn't have to look back to know he had flown away.
"Do you want to walk back to the house with me?" I asked Alcide.
"Are you living with Bill again?" He asked.
"No, I'm staying with Sookie actually."
Sam walked up and tapped my shoulder. "We're getting ready to head out. Are you coming by Merlotte's to eat with everyone?"
"No, I think I'm just going to head home. I'd a feel a little out of place."
Sam looked at Alcide before nodding. "Since I'm back in town I don't need you at Merlotte's. You've been a big help."
"Are you sure you don't need someone now that Terry…"
"I think you probably have bigger things on your hands than working at my restaurant." He glanced at Alcide again and then smiled at me. "See you around, Rach." I gave him a hug.
"Hopefully I'll get to know you better," I told Nicole.
She smiled. "I'd love that, I don't know anyone here."
"Ready to go?" I asked Alcide. He nodded and we walked away from the funeral together. For a neither of us said a thing. "So, what happened with your pack?"
"We didn't see things the same way," he told me. "When Rikki found out I let Sam and Nicole live and Emma and Martha leave the pack, she tried to overthrow me."
"So you didn't chose to leave, you were kicked out."
"I chose to do the right thing. I could have killed Rikki and stayed packmaster but I didn't."
"You aren't a killer."
"I screwed up, I know that. But Rachel, you've got to know that isn't who I am. I never wanted to hurt anyone."
"I know. I've just been waiting for you to figure that out." I shook my head. "But it's not you I'm worried about. That girl Danielle, I hurt her because I wanted to and I was glad I did it. It wasn't self-defense it was just mean."
"That's my fault, I never should have put you in a situation where you felt like you had to hurt someone to keep my attention."
"Don't blame yourself for my mistakes."
"Rachel, I love you. I know that I can't change these last few weeks but I will do anything to make them up to you."
I looked at him, really looked at him. In his eyes I could see the truth in his words. Not only that, but I could see the person he thought I was, and that woman was exactly who I was striving to be. I nodded, "I love you too. I don't want this to be the end of us."
He reached into his jacket. "I know this is awful timing, but I'm not sure if there will ever be a right time. I'd been carrying this thing around weeks before everything went to hell. I don't think I can wait any more." He pulled out a small black box. I brought my hand up to cover my gaping mouth. He got down on one knee. "Rachel, you are the best thing that has ever walked into my life and I would be a fool to let you slip away again. I know we're not perfect, but with you I'm the best version of myself. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"
I was speechless, completely caught off guard. So I just nodded and offered him my hand shakily. I could feel the tears springing to my eyes, even as I tried to hold them back. He placed the ring on my finger, it was dainty and modest, not the huge jewel I'd imagined as a little girl but I already couldn't imagine my finger without it. He stood up and I threw my arms around him and hugged him tightly. "I'm going to snot all over your nice suit!" I apologized.
He laughed and rubbed my back. "I love you."
I laughed through my tears. "I love you too."