Chapter 4 – My Brother’s Keeper

September 20, 2003

Bon Temps, LA

Sookie Stackhouse threw her car into park and ran into the Bon Temps, LA farmhouse she shared with her Gran. She had just returned from Jason’s house, trying to get any clues on his whereabouts.

“GRAN!”

“Out back Sookie.” Sookie approached her Gran as she was weeding in her garden. “Did you find anything Sookie?”

“Gran, I found Amy’s purse, and some really weird stains on the floor in the basement. …. nothing that really helps. I’m gonna call Tara and see if she found anything at Lafayette’s.”

“Damn your brother trying to make me sick with worry. If he just shows up having spent some days away with a woman he’s gonna get a whoopin.” She spent a moment in thought and Sookie waited. “Jason and Lafayette went missing at the same time, right?”

“Yes Gran, both of them gone for 5 days now.”

“Damn our Police Force. Personal friends with the Sheriff and he refuses to help. I know Jason can be flaky, but he never misses work. Something’s really wrong.”

“I never liked Jason’s new girl, Amy; she had something to do with this.” Sookie turned her head, “Gran, it’s the phone ringing, maybe it’s news.”

“Hello, Stackhouse residence.”

“He’s back Sookie.”

“Lafayette?”

“Aha.”

“Jason?”

“No, sorry, and Lafayette says he has no idea where Jason is. Believe me, I grilled him about Jason. Lafayette told me he just got caught up in some drug party and lost track of time.”

“Damn, I figured their disappearances were related.” She stopped to think for a moment. “Can I come over, talk to him?”

“He’s going to Merlotte’s to work, says he needs the shift and Sam already said yes.”

“Well, I guess I’ll see him at work then.”

Sookie filled in her Gran then went to go dress in her waitress uniform. “Gran, I’m working the close, so I’ll be late tonight.”

“Ok honey, I’ve been so worried about Jason I’m tired. I’ll likely be asleep when you come home.”

Sookie left the farmhouse and made the short drive to Merlotte’s Bar and Grill, pretty much the only restaurant and bar in the small town of Bon Temps. She parked in the back and walked into the owner’s office. “Hey Sam! I hear Lala’s back.”

“He is. I’m kinda pissed that I was so worried and he was off partying, but glad he’s back all the same. He’s coming in for a shift, should be here soon.”

“Great. Can’t wait to see him and give him what for.” She adjusted her pony tail in the mirror then turned back to Sam. “Well, I’m getting on the floor so Arlene can head home. See ya out there.”

“You bet.”

Sam watched as Sookie walked through his office and out the door. He groaned at the site of her perfect ass going through the office door. ‘God she is beautiful. I have to work up the courage to ask her out and soon.’

Merlotte’s was quiet, the lunch crowd had left and the girls on the floor were just straightening up, filling salt shakers, and gossiping. Sookie heard her flamboyant friend’s voice coming from the kitchen and she ran to greet him. “LALA! You bad boy! You had all of us worried.”

“I knows Hookeh, I knows. Cummere and gives Lala some love.”

Sookie ran into the kitchen to hug Lala. “At least we have one of you back.”

“Yeah, Tara tol’ me about Jason. Wes weren’t together, I swear.”

“Lala, do you think it’s possible you just don’t remember Jason being with you, if you were so high I mean.”

“Daaum. That could be. Can you find missing memories? May you should check.”

She narrowed her eyes at her friend. “What do you mean, check?”

“Shoot, wes all knows you can read minds. My cousin Tara confirmed it for me years ago when Is asked.”

“Tara confirmed it?”

“Yep – so are we gonna talk bouts it, or is yous gonna check?”

Wow, he’s asking me to read his mind and most folks won’t admit to knowing I have the ability.” “Lala, to confirm you are really asking me to read your mind? You want me to see if I find memories of this party and Jason?”

Lala nodded his head.

“Ok, I’ve never looked for missing memories before so to help I’m going to touch your arm”

Sookie and Lala sat and she placed her hand on his bare arm; then started probing. She saw what she expected to see: Lala wondering about what she was seeing, Lala wondering how he could have left Terry, the backup cook, in his kitchen at Merlotte’s for 5 days – the place was a mess. She was surprised to see black spots. ‘I’ve never seen that before. What are they?’ She probed further into the black spots and was terrified by what she saw. Jason and Lafayette both were being bitten by a tall blond vampire. The same vampire staring into Lala’s eyes, questioning him about someone named Eddie; then she heard his answer – something about an arrangement and trading sex for vampire blood. Jason on his knees in front of the vampire saying ‘Yes Eric’? Was that his name? – Then Jason being hit and told to call him Master. What the fuck!

“Lala. I found stuff with Jason. It’s hard to see it. Can I ask you questions and maybe it will help me focus?”

“Sure, yous look tired, you OK?”

“Yeah – I want to do this, I see him, Jason I mean. You don’t remember?” Lala shook his head. “Lala, before I go back in, do you remember being bitten by a vampire?”

“Um, well, I know a vampire named Eddie, he’s bitten me.”

“Tall, blond?”

“No, average height, balding, glasses.”

“Ok, let’s try it again.” She placed her hand back on his arm then asked questions. “Lala, do you know who Eric is?” She explored the blanks further as she asked the question, and the tall blond appeared, fangs exposed and blood dripping from his chin. ‘OK, so Eric is a vampire, no doubt.’

“What was the arrangement you had with Eddie?” She saw Eddie agreeing to have blood drawn in exchange for sex with Lala, ‘ewww, I don’t need to see that‘.

Quickly she asked to change the subject. “Do you know more about Eric?” This time the image changed to a slender blond woman talking to Eric about Fangtasia. Then she started hearing screams, but they weren’t from the memory. She was startled by a hand grabbing her arm to remove her from the grasp she had on Lafayette. She looked up. “Sam, what’s going on?”

“You tell me Cher. I come to the kitchen to see you holding Lala with a death grip, and him screaming.”

“LALA! Are you OK?”

“I am, but shit, I remember some stuff, and I weren’t high.”

“No you weren’t. We should explore more.”

“NO. I mean, I wanna help Jase and all, but that shit hurts, plus, Is don’t like the memories you found.”

“No, I don’t either.”

Sam had waited long enough. “Would one of you tell me what’s going on?”

Sookie was relieved she didn’t need to explain her telepathy – she and Sam had already discussed that secret before. She just answered him with the facts. “I don’t know. We thought he remembered something about Jason and just forgot ’cause he was high. With Lala’s permission, I used my telepathy to search for the memories and instead found weird black spots and probed. He was with Jason, but not at a party. There was a vampire, big blond one, and a mention of Fangtasia, you know that vampire bar in Shreveport?”

SHIT, vampires, and the local vampire Sheriff to boot. Now she’s going to want to play hero and find Jason. If Eric released Lafayette already, Jason is likely dead. I have to’…. Sookie’s next sentence stopped Sam’s thoughts.

“I’m going there tomorrow after I’m done my dinner shift. He’s the only lead I have on Jason.”

“No Cher, you’re not going there. It’s too dangerous. Think logically, if they released Lala, Jason is probably already dead.”

“NOOOOOOO!”

He wrapped her in a hug. “I’m not happy to tell you that, but think about it. You want to go to a vampire bar asking about a prisoner, you’re going to get killed. I’m not losing two Stackhouses to bloodsuckers.”

Hugging Sam made his thoughts clear to Sookie. ‘This is strange, usually I only see red swirly with Sam, but I can hear him clearly now. Of course, he is desperately thinking that he needs to keep me safe and away from vampires. I’ll appease him for now, and go to Fangtasia tomorrow anyway.

OOOoooOOOooo

The next night, Sookie drove out to Fangtasia to gather information. She decided to park close to the building, along the side and almost to the back and just listen. She wasn’t stupid enough to walk in and demand her brother. Facts, that’s what she needed.

She stretched her mind as far as she could. ‘Ewww, sex, biting, sex, drinking, sex, nudity…lovely. Glad I’m not in the bar. Wait, what’s this?‘ She focused in on one mind that was watching the blond vampire. ‘A throne? He is walking onto a throne? What a pompous ass. Look at him drinking in all the attention. And actually, WHAT A GORGEOUS ASS. STOP Sookie, you’re on a mission.‘ Sookie stayed there switching the human minds to change her focus for about two hours. She kept checking in on Eric and noticed him on a phone most of the time, looking bored. ‘Oh, he’s leaving with that blond woman from Lala’s head, and some other guy. Shoot, now I need to try to find one of them to hear what’s going on. Wait, what are these voids? Why are the three of them? Finally, I can see both the vampires, I guess I found the guy. Wonder why I can’t get into the vampire heads? Oh, this is boring, some business deal.’ She continued to listen in to the meeting, and found that the vampire was just like she figured any other man was in business. They were talking about a holding company he owned, Norse Enterprises.

The meeting broke up and the female escorted the gentleman out, she guessed the female was a vampire given her complexion. Sookie sensed some excitement back in the main floor of the club and found the mind of a woman who was now walking back to the office with the female vampire. She was thinking about being chosen, hoping that he would like my taste ….. when she wondered if he is into anything kinky Sookie put up her shields and left the parking lot in a hurry. ‘I don’t need to see that.’

Once home, she pulled out paper to make a plan.

*Jason was not at Fangtasia, or if he was, he wasn’t conscious. I’ll drive there during the day and listen again to be sure.

*Eric owns Norse Enterprises so I’ll get the address and go fill out a job application and listen for Jason.

*Eric has bitten Jason and it looked like they were in a cell, so he is either holding him, or at least he knows where he is. I have to follow him, but carefully. I’ll see about trading around cars and such and be very cautious.

With her plan in place, she felt more hopeful than she had since Jason first disappeared. She spoke to her cat, he only bed companion, ever. “I’m going to find him Tina. I’ll bring him home.”

The next day, Sookie turned out of the Bon Temps library parking lot with the address for Norse Enterprises in hand. She worked on a fake personality for the application and reviewed the details as she drove. About 45 minutes later, she was in the parking lot, pretending to search for something in her purse but listening to the minds in the building. ‘Too many, there are just too many in this area, but I don’t hear Jason.’

In the building she spent time doing her application so she could listen again from the lobby and the restroom she asked to use. ‘No Jason.’ What she did hear was thoughts from the other business people in the lobby waiting for meetings. She was surprised to hear that while many had been afraid to work for or with a vampire initially, Eric Northman (as she learned was his last name) was a fair man who excelled in many areas of business. ‘I’ll just tuck that tidbit away for later.’

Application complete, she left the building to head to Fangtasia. The parking lot had other businesses that were open during the day so she was able to spend time checking out Fangtasia without suspicion. As she figured, she did not hear Jason’s thoughts in the area. ‘Hmm, it’s dusk now. Perhaps I should wait to see what kind of cars go to the back of Fangtasia where the employees park.’ Her patience paid off. About an hour after full dark, a red Corvette pulled around to the back of Fangtasia. The driver was Eric Northman. His size and the length of his hair made him all too easy to identify, even from her parking spot further down the strip from Fangtasia. Pleased with her progress, she pulled out of the strip mall parking lot and headed home.

To her surprise, Sookie found Dawn Green, Jason’s on again/off again girlfriend waiting for her on the porch, crying. “Sookie.” She sobbed. “Tell me you know something, anything about Jason.”

Hmm, too soon to share anything, can’t imagine what all the crying is about though.‘ She hugged Dawn and replied, “Dawn, no, I’m sorry but Gran and I have no idea. The police won’t help saying his truck is gone and he left a note. As a grown man, they say he is allowed to go off on his own.”

“Soo…Sookie, I just don’t know what to do.”

“Dawn, I miss him too, but weren’t y’all broken up when he left?”

“Yes, but something happened, I mean, I’m. What I’m saying is.” She paused to gulp in some air. “Sookie, I’m pregnant. Jason’s the Daddy.”

“Shit.”

“You said it.”

Sookie considered sharing her leads with Dawn, but how could she expose Dawn to any danger, especially being pregnant? ‘Course, having an extra set of eyes and another car to use for the tails would help.‘ Having decided to share, Sookie turned to Dawn and spoke. “Dawn. I think I have a lead.”

“WHAT!?”

“It’s a stretch and how I got the information is kinda hard to explain, so just hear me out, OK.”

“OK.”

“Dawn, you know how I can read minds?”

“Yeah, the townsfolk have been saying that for years, it’s really true then?”

“Well, you’re thinking I’m not sure I should believe crazy Sookie, not sure why I came here for help.”

“Geez.”

“Now you’re wondering if we should play the lottery based on my abilities. NO Dawn, I’m not a psychic; I can only read what you are currently thinking.”

“OK OK, I believe you. So how did you use this to find Jason?”

Sookie explained what she found with Lala, casing Fangtasia and Norse Enterprises, and discovering the car that Eric Northman drives. “Wow, you discovered all this in the past two days?”

“Yep. Next I want to start following that vampire and find where he lives or goes when he’s not at Fangtasia. Maybe I can find Jason then.”

“OK, but you can’t get caught.”

“I know, so I need your help.”

“ME?”

“This is what we’re going to do.” Sookie shared her plan with Dawn knowing that having another person to share reconnaissance would get them to Jason faster. The plan was to follow Eric only for a few turns per night, then using a different car; they would pick up the Vette from the last turn on the prior night. Wigs and glasses would be used as disguises to ensure their safety. With any luck, Eric would only live a short distance from Fangtasia and he would only ever go to one place from the bar. If he didn’t they were prepared to do this as many nights as was needed. “You want to do the first run together tonight?”

“Sounds good.”

“Gran’s out at a Descendents of the Glorious Dead meeting tonight. How ’bout you stay and have dinner with me? I don’t have anything fancy, maybe just grilled cheese?”

“Sounds good.” She paused, “Sookie, just what is the Descendents of the Glorious Dead? I didn’t grow up around here so I always wondered but never asked.”

Sookie laughed and looped her arm through Dawn’s. “Essentially, it’s a group of folks that study, discuss and relive the Civil War. Come on, I’ll tell you more while we cook.”

About 1AM, they got in the car and headed to Shreveport. Sookie remembered the direction from which Eric’s Vette arrived so they started up the street in that direction. “How long do you think we need to wait?”

“I don’t know. The bar closes at 2AM, and maybe they have a closing procedure? So maybe 3AM at the latest, I hope.”

“OK, so about an hour. Do you mind if I close my eyes. I should have napped before; the baby is making me so tired, but you had to go and watch the first two Lord of the Rings movies. You kept me up.”

“Sorry, but I am so excited about the final installment; I wanted to be all caught up and Gran isn’t really good company for fantasy movies.”

“Yeah, well you usually have your head in a book; I was shocked when you pulled up OnDemand to rent them.”

“Well, I did read the books, and wanted to see that world come to life so to speak. Plus, I make an exception for Orlando Bloom.”

“Doesn’t everybody?” They both laughed and almost missed the Vette speeding by. “Wow, earlier than we thought. Let’s go.”

They stayed a few cars behind and followed him for only three turns; then turned off after noting the intersection. “Ok, that’s one night under our belt. Let’s get some sleep.”

After repeating the process with success for ten days, they hit a snag: Eric had gone to a home in a gated community. “Well, shit.” Dawn exclaimed.

“Indeed, but we can’t lose hope. Maybe we can figure out a way to check out the Community during the day. Flower delivery or something?”

“OK, we stay the course and keep following him until we figure that part out.”

“You’re right. We’re both working the closing shifts at Merlotte’s this weekend, what about Monday?”

Dawn pulled out her pocket calendar, and said, I’m closing, you?”

“I’m off. I’ll try to pick him up from where we met him tonight and hope he doesn’t come back here.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

OOOoooOOOooo

“Dawn.”

“Who…who’s this?”

“Ahh, I’m sorry I woke you, but it’s Sookie and I’m calling you for a good reason.”

“Sookie, what time is it?”

“It’s 3:30 AM. I found him Dawn! I found where Jason’s being held.”

“Oh my God! Really?”

“Yes, I could hear his thoughts. He’s in a warehouse. I don’t have to work ’til the closing shift tomorrow, so I will try to see what I can find out while it’s daylight. When are you off next during the day?”

“Wednesday.”

“Ok, we’ll plan tomorrow and go get him on Wednesday before sunset.”

“We’re really gonna do this, aren’t we?”

“You bet, he’s my brother and I’m getting him back if it’s the last thing that I do.”

On her reconnaissance the next day, Sookie drove around the warehouse and eventually parked in a far away lot. There was no traffic or other cars in the area and she could see some people moving around; she just didn’t want to risk being seen. Earlier that day, she stopped at Jason’s and got his binoculars out so she could try to find out as much as she could. ‘Two guys walking around outside. Could there actually be guards? Ok, we’ll need to deal with that. We have to be able to knock them out. What can we use? I don’t want to hit anyone with a bat and hurt them permanently….I know, Mr. Yuka at the school and his dumb bug lab. He uses Chloroform to anesthetize the bugs for mounting. I’ll have to run over there before school is out today.’ She observed some more. ‘Oh – this is good, one is leaving to walk around the property and I guess those woods. If that is a pattern, we’ll only have one to deal with. I’ll need Jason’s lock pick kit and I’ll need to practice tonight. I’ll give Sheriff Bud one last chance to help me before I go to Merlotte’s tonight, but otherwise, Jason, I’ll be back for you tomorrow.’

OOOoooOOOooo

“Bud, I told you, I know where he is, please help me.”

“Sookie, I can’t get a warrant to check out a warehouse based on your comments that you heard your brother’s mind.” He shook his head to emphasize his comment. “Sookie, look, lots of folks kinda think you got something goin’ on in your head, but I cain’t make a legal plea based on the rumors about your mind readin’.”

“Bud, this is my brother we are talking about. My BROTHER! Please help me.”

“Sookie, I can’t help you.”

She stormed out of the Sheriff’s station and drove off to work hoping Sam would help.

She barreled into the back entrance of Merlotte’s calling for Sam. Dawn ran into greet her. “Sookie, what’s wrong?”

“Damn Bud won’t help us. Where’s Sam, we need him.”

“He’s off, out of town for the night.”

“DAMMIT! That means it’s just going to be us.”

“Ok, but we planned for that, are you chickening out?”

“What? No. I got the Chloroform from Mr. Yuka, and pepper spray. Did you buy handcuffs?”

“Buy? Oh, um, yeah, I have them.”

“DAWN!? You HAD handcuffs?”

“Maybe, and rope.”

Sookie chuckled at her co-conspirator. “Well, enough about that. I have to get to my tables. I will see you tomorrow 10AM?”

“Yep, I’ll be ready to go.”

“And we’ll get Jason back.”

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6 thoughts on “Chapter 4 – My Brother’s Keeper

    • I try to make time to put them in often – It’s hard though to find that time. Maybe I’ll ask for a reader who wants to help on my next post. Thanks for mentioning – gives me an idea.

      M

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