Later that day Sookie stopped by to tell us that Holly had remembered where she had been for the last couple of days, Fangtasia. A plan was put into place to rescue Nicole and Arlene at sundown. I was going to go with them and then head to Baton Rouge as soon as the infected vampires were dealt with.
That night everyone met up at Bill's to prepare for the attack. Unfortunately hardly anyone showed up. "How many of these vampires are we up against?" Violet asked.
"Fifteen, maybe more," Sookie said.
"And this is all the help we have?" I asked looking around the room. "Seven vampires, a shifter, two telepaths, and a human?"
"We called every uninfected vampire we know, and the only ones that responded were Michael and Keith," Bill explained.
"Keith's my drummer," James said. "Bass and guitar bailed."
"I still haven't heard back from Willa," Jessica added. I fought back an eye roll; leave it to Willa to flake out when we needed her most.
"This is our group," Bill said.
There was a knock at the door and I reached out with my mind, I knew immediately who it was and Rachel and I shared a look. Bill went to the door. I followed him. Bill opened it and I got my first glimpse at Eric in six months. My eyes landed on the black veins that peeked out from the top of his shirt, inching towards his neck. I met his eyes and stepped towards him. "I thought I was meeting you in Baton Rouge."
"Aren't you happy to see me?"
I looked away, afraid that if I didn't I'd finally break down completely. As if he knew, he stepped through the doorway and hugged me. I didn't need to hear the apology, but with my guard down I heard the words flicker through his mind. "I'm sorry, too."
I didn't want to let go of him, but I knew there were more important things at hand. Sookie and Rachel had both joined us in the foyer. Rachel made a very pointed effort to not look at his black veins, but Sookie gasped when she saw them. "How far along are you?"
"A month, but I'm still in stage one," he told her.
Pam sighed. "What about Willa? We came here for Willa."
"Of course." He closed his eyes, obviously summoning her.
"The rest of us will get ready to go," Bill told me. "We're ready when you are." He motioned for the others to follow him outside, only Rachel and Sookie stayed behind.
"You knew he was dying?" Sookie asked me.
"She only just told me," Rachel said. "She found out right before Alcide…"
Eric looked at her concerned. "What happened?"
Rachel shrugged, but I could see her eyes were brimming with tears. "He died last night." In a surprising gesture, Eric hugged Rachel. She let out a single sob but then stopped.
"Too strong for your own good," he murmured, too quiet for Sookie to hear, but my vampire hearing picked it up. Rachel stepped back and wiped her eyes. Sookie put a hand on her arm.
"What kind of trouble have you gotten yourselves into?" He asked us.
"A pack of infected vampires have been attacking town," Sookie told him.
The doors flung open and a very pissed off Willa stood in the doorway. "What do you want?" Before he could answer, she continued. "You know I wasn't even two weeks old when you left me?"
As much as I disliked her, she did have a reason to be upset with him. "Yes, I know, and we will talk about that later."
"If you want my help, we are going to talk about this right now!"
"As your maker, I command you, later." Willa frowned. I sympathized with the pain of being forced to do something against your will just because someone commanded you to. We joined the others outside. "Jesus, that took ages," Pam grumbled.
"I understand you are vastly outnumbered," Eric said to Bill.
"We're going?" Pam asked.
"We're going," Eric confirmed. Pam groaned but got in the car with us.
When we returned to Fangtasia I had a pang of nostalgia, from the look on Rachel's face she was having the same thought. I supposed she had more reason to look at the place fondly; I had never been to the bar for fun I'd always been there when shit was hitting the fan.
We went into the back alley, where Eric had explained there was an old tunnel that ran into the basement. We sent Sam in, as a rat, though the grate to make sure everyone was all right. When he returned Eric began to punch a hole through the wall, but, thanks to his weakened state, it was a slow process. "Save your strength." I pushed him lightly aside and punched the wall, the bricks crumbled.
He started towards the hole, but Pam held him back. "Lily's right, you need to save your strength. I'll go with Bill." Eric didn't look thrilled about it, but Pam and Bill disappeared into the tunnel. We waited tensely for them to return. Nicole and Jane Bodehouse emerged from the tunnel followed by Pam.
"Where's Arlene?" Sookie asked.
"Upstairs," Nicole said.
"Bill went after her, we need to get inside," Pam said.
"I'm infected, they'll let me in," Eric said. "Rachel can come with me."
"I'll go instead," Sookie said. "Rachel can't go."
At Eric's puzzled expression, Rachel explained. "I'm pregnant. But I can still go, I'm here to help."
"I'll take Sookie," Eric said quickly. The two of them headed towards the front door.
I grabbed his hand and he turned towards me. "Be careful in there."
"Don't worry, I'm not going to die yet." He squeezed my hand lightly before letting go.
The rest of us headed down the tunnel and through the basement. When we got to the top of the stairs we found Bill waiting. Before we could make our move a sudden explosion cut us off.
"Go, go!" Bill commanded, shoving us back down the stairs. We ran back through the tunnel and into the alley. In the parking lot, the vigilante humans that had been responsible for Alcide's death were shooting into Fangtasia. Infected vampires spilled out of the bar and attacked the humans; while they were distracted we made our move. I fought my way though the crowd, killing vampires and humans alike. I saw Rachel shoot one of the humans with a look of pure loathing on her face; clearly she wasn't carrying any grudges.
One of the humans wrapped a silver chain around my neck and Jason shot him in the head. I looked around, we'd somehow won and part of that had been thanks to the awful vampire-hating humans.
"Where's Eric?" I asked.
Pam looked around. "Eric?" She called. Everyone began looking for him, when suddenly he popped his head up in the window of the humans' van. "You scared the shit out of me."
"I was hungry."
Eric made a phone call and had a clean up crew on the premises in fifteen minutes to take care of all the bodies. He also had light tights coffins sent so we'd be able to travel to Texas, not that I needed one. Pam dragged Willa back inside the bar, I groaned, knowing this wasn't going to be pretty. "I don't give a shit!" She shouted in Pam's face. "I'm not going anywhere with you!"
"You will go wherever your Maker commands you," Pam countered.
"He may be my maker, but he sure as hell didn't raise me." She noticed me. "My own sister didn't even help me! Tara taught me how to feed, how to control my urges. But you left her, and now she's dead!"
"Enough!" Eric shouted. "You're right, I've been a horrible maker to you. You have the right to hate me. Lily and Pam are going to help me kill Sarah Newlin before I meet the true death."
"You can count me out," Willa spat.
"She was practically your stepmother, if anyone would know where she'd go, it would be you."
Willa took a deep breath she didn't need, and walked toward him. "I will tell you what I know, if you release me."
There was a moment of silence, and then Eric stood up. He towered over her; I could see Willa preparing to step down. "Willa Burrell, I renounce the ties of our blood, and my dominion over you as my progeny. As your maker, I release you."
Willa shuddered and gasped like she'd just run a marathon. "Sarah has a sister, Amber Mills. She's a vampire."
"How the fuck does Sarah Newlin have a vampire sister, and the whole world not know?" Pam asked.
"I don't know, I overheard her on the phone one day. She said if Amber didn't stop calling my dad would put her in camp," Willa continued. "The call came from a Dallas area code."
"Do you want me to drop you off at your house?" Sookie asked.
"I don't think I can go back there right now." I hesitated. "Can I stay with you tonight? I'd ask Bill but I don't want to be a bother and I mean I'd stay at Lily's apartment but-"
"You don't want to be alone, I get it." I nodded. "You know Bill would never call you a bother, you're family."
"He wouldn't call me that, but that doesn't mean he isn't thinking it. He's got enough on his hands with Jessica."
She smiled sadly. "Of course you can stay with me, Rachel."
I slept the entire day, I felt like a vampire. A timid knock on the door woke me up. Sookie poked her head in. "Hi," she whispered. "Sorry to wake you, but Jackson is here."
It took me a second to place the name and I jumped out of bed suddenly. "Has he been waiting on me to go to the house with him? How long has he been here?"
"He just got here," she assured me. "I think he went by the house and gathered Alcide's things already."
"Oh." I put on one of Sookie's comfy robes and followed her down stairs. Jackson was waiting on us.
"Hey there, honey." He pulled me into a big hug; it was a little uncomfortable seeing as we hadn't been that close, but I appreciated the gesture.
"Did you already go to Shreveport?" I asked.
He nodded. "I packed up quite a bit. When Alcide's mother died, it was too hard for me to go through her things for a while. So when you're ready me and Jenny will have you up to our place and you can go through it all."
"Thank you." I laid a hand on my stomach. "This probably isn't the best time, I hadn't even gotten to tell Alcide before…but I thought you should probably know-"
"Sookie already let it slip," Jackson said.
I glanced at her. "Sorry."
"Alcide would have been a great father," I said.
"And you'll be a great mother," Jackson said. "I can't wait to meet the little guy."
"It could be a girl," I protested.
"You have a vision of that?" Jackson asked jokingly.
I smiled. "No, but you never know."
"Hey there, Rayray!" Lafayette said as he came in. I turned around and noticed the large spread of food on Sookie's dining room table. James had several more plates in his hands.
Jenny sat a plate down and then ran over to give me a hug. "How are you holding up, sweetheart?"
"Alright, I guess." I looked over her shoulder. "What's going on?"
"Well, Lafayette and I have been cooking all day!"
I looked at Sookie. "You said they just got here."
"I may have lied, a little," she admitted.
"There's enough food here to feed the whole town," I mumbled.
"Well chica, you've got to start eating for two!" Lafayette said. I fought an eye roll. "We invited the whole town over tonight, Sookie approved it."
"You're throwing a party?" I asked skeptically. "Maybe I should've just stayed at Lily's."
"You can leave if you want to, but at least let me pack something up for you," Jenny said.
"Rayray, doll face, I know your sad. But we've gotta celebrate the living!"
"Rachel, you said you didn't want to be alone," Sookie reminded me. "Alcide would want you to be surrounded by your friends."
I sighed. "Okay, whatever, I'll stay."
Lafayette clapped. "I took the liberty of picking you out something nice to wear from your closet while we were there," Jenny told me. "It's in Sookie's room."
There was a knock on the door and I saw Bill outside. I groaned. "Enough people have seen me looking like I just rolled out of bed today. I'll be down in twenty."