Chapter 22 – Gloomy Sunday
It hurt to breathe. Sookie had never hurt so badly, then again, she had never been hit with a belt, he only struck a few times, but he hit her hard and spaced the blows out so her back and buttocks hurt. She was about to lose hope when she saw Bill remove his belt. She feared rape so when he just beat her, she was almost relieved. When he left Tara alone she was relieved. Now she could see the light coming in around the window. It was Easter morning so she took a moment to pray. She prayed for little Robert, still unconscious. She prayed for her girls, that Pam and Eric would keep them safe for however long was needed. She prayed for Tara and herself, for their survival. As a Christian, she should have prayed for Bill’s soul, but she just couldn’t. Instead, she thought back to what Bill had said. He killed Gran, he killed Sam. How could she have not seen the monstrous side?
She could hear movement next to her and she turned to see Robert waking up. “Robert, Thank God you’re awake!”
He started crying, “Is my Mommy OK?”
“Yes honey, she is just sleeping.”
“Do you think we’ll live?”
“I do. We have to have hope; we have to be brave. You were so brave last night Robert. You went out in the dark and tried to save us. I’m so proud of you. Your Mommy is so proud of you. I promise to listen to Bill so you won’t get hit for something I did, I’m so sorry about that.”
“It wasn’t so bad. You fight back if you need to.”
They both heard the door open at the top of the stairs. Sookie looked at Robert and whispered for him to be quiet no matter what.
“Sookie, how are you this morning?”
“Today, I have food and water for Robert and Tara and water for you Sookie. First, I’ll allow you to use the bucket, one at a time.”
“Thank you Bill.”
He started with Sookie and she had some trouble standing. When she fell and toppled his table of tools, he kicked her in the side and thigh. He forced her to pick up the dropped tools while he held a knife to Robert’s neck. Sookie glared at him but did as she was told. Once they were all finished with the bucket, he handed out the water and food to Tara and Robert. He allowed them to eat while he held the knife to Sookie’s neck. He dug in a bit too far a few times causing some blood to drip down the front of her neck. When they were done, he started un-tying Sookie’s arm restraints. She was expecting water but instead he said. “Sookie, I don’t appreciate the glares you gave me. You have to obey me in all actions. I’m skipping your water for now and I’ll be using this detention locking collar-to-elbow binder as a punishment while I’m gone. I hope you spend the time working on your glares, or rather working on removing your glares. I’m waiting to hear from my associate so I can make my next move today. I’ll be back later.”
Back at the inn, the men were up and ready to head out to the police station. Pam was going to stay back with the girls with Russell, Jesus and Hoyt. Since Pam and the girls were clinging to Eric as he got ready to go; Russell and Jesus needed to help them separate so Eric could finally leave.
When they pulled into the police station, Eric and Alcide’s jaws dropped. It was Easter Sunday morning and the group of volunteers was there and next to the volunteers, the ladies of the Parish had set out a buffet. They were told that the ladies were serving breakfast, and planned to serve a supper again at about 3PM for anyone helping. Eric was barely able to speak the words of thanks, his emotions too close to the surface. Deputy Alcee Beck started gathering the volunteers. He was organizing the volunteers to post pictures of Sookie and Bill around Bon Temps and the surrounding cities, including Shreveport. Each team had their posters and a list of locations with directions. Alcide, Max and Eric had planned to each join a group of volunteers until JB DuRone, Tara’s husband ran into the police station shouting, “Tara is missing!”
That news stopped Eric in his tracks. “It’s connected. Hurting a loved one would force Sookie to comply with anything.” Everyone within earshot who knew Sookie agreed. The FBI and police set out to search JB and Tara’s home for evidence. Maxwell called Kahn, the Private Investigator to update him on the new information. With Special Agent Lattesta’s permission, Kahn was permitted to go to Tara and JB’s house.
Eric, Alcide, and Maxwell stayed at the station while an FBI Agent interviewed JB. Eric asked to listen in, and JB had no problems. They were both looking for their loved ones, he couldn’t deny Eric information. When the agent asked when he had spoken to Tara last he sobbed out his answer, “It was last Wednesday when I left. She was mad that I was staying with my parents through to this morning. She wanted me to be home before Sunday for Robert’s Easter bunny arrival.” Almost as though he was explaining it to himself, he continued. “My parents have been so sick and they just wanted me to attend Easter Services with them. So, I left mad and didn’t call her all this time. I have no idea how long they’ve been gone.”
The Agent asked, “Is there any way she actually left you or moved out while you were gone.”
“No, there is nothing missing from the house, including her car. The dishes from some dinner were still on the counter.”
Eric had an idea and he called Pam. “Pam, what did you have for dinner at Tara’s house?”
“Tara is missing, JB said there were dishes in the sink; I’m trying to figure out if we can get any idea on when she went missing.”
“Oh God, let me think. Sookie made everybody pulled pork, I had fruit and yogurt if that helps.”
“Hang on Pam.”
Eric repeated this to the agent who said if the dishes matched, it could be helpful. The agent finished the call with Lattesta and said, “We have confirmation; the dishes were for pulled pork. JB, that meal was Thursday, does Tara leave dishes for the next day, or would she have done them that night?”
JB was emphatic, “Tara never leaves dishes sit, never.”
“Thanks, Pam. That helped them narrow it down. It looks like Tara has been missing since Thursday evening.”
“Oh God Eric, that’s almost three full days ago.”
“I know. Hang on; Maxwell just got a call from the Kahn.”
“Eric, Kahn tracked down the make, model and license plate number of the rental car. It’s getting too dark now, but we are going to find a helicopter and pilot to do a search for the car starting tomorrow morning. The police are putting an APB out right now.”
“Pam, did you hear that – they have a car make and model. It’s getting too dark to do a search now but we’re getting a helicopter for tomorrow.”
Bill returned with water, this time for all his captives. He removed Sookie’s arm bindings but she was cramping so much she could not hold the water. She had no choice but to allow Bill to help her. It galled her to have him do anything helpful, but she kept her face blank, no more glaring. After everyone’s needs were met and they were all tied up again he informed them, “Sookie and I are leaving tomorrow afternoon.”
“What about Tara and Robert, are you freeing them?”
Bill slapped Robert hard across his face. “When will you learn to speak only when spoken too Sookie?”
“Now, as I was saying, Sookie and I are leaving. I regret that we were not able to leave today as planned. Seems my associate ran into problems; The DuRone household is crawling with police so he can’t make it up the road right now. Tara and Robert will be staying here to ensure your compliance. We need to get to Vegas without you putting up any fuss. My associate will be staying with Tara and Robert. If we check in and you have not caused any problems, he will feed and care for them. If you do cause problems, he will start to dismember them.”
Sookie turned her head and vomited. ‘He is insane, but I’ll do what I need for Tara and Robert. I’m certain that the plan is to kill them after I’m locked away, but if I can keep them safe and give them time, maybe someone will find them. Please God.’
Bill filled a clean bucket with water and simply dumped it over Sookie to clean the vomit. “So, Sookie, will I have your compliance?”
As he put the elbow to collar binder back on he told Sookie, “You’re going to love Vegas. You see Sookie; my life in Morgantown was nothing. The money we made from InnKeeper was nothing. I’ve been working for Vegas Royalty since I met some key individuals in the casinos I frequented while we were in Louisiana. Felipe DeCastro owns several large casinos in Vegas and expanded to other states. I was able to perform certain functions for DeCastro and he paid well. All my business trips, they weren’t for InnKeeper, they were for Felipe. Nobody would suspect a veteran, a business man of illegal weapons selling. In fact, my military ties gave Felipe an in with several countries. We kept the relationship going and I have amassed quite a fortune. Now, you and I will be in Vegas where you will never leave our home. Nobody will ever find you. DeCastro is providing me guards for the house, not to protect you as much as to keep you locked in. I hope you all enjoy your night.”
He turned and left, cackling up the stairs.
Eric and the others returned to the inn. The helicopter was going up at sunrise and they planned to be at the police station when it started. An early night made the most sense. The group had taken over the inn at this point, so they were in the living room and he put on some movies for the girls. Pam, Eleanor and Maura were all sitting as close to Eric as possible for the movie. When the girls fell asleep, including Pam, Alcide helped Eric carry them upstairs to bed. He didn’t bother trying to sleep elsewhere, he just climbed in next to Maura and slept.
They were up before 5AM to get showers and head to the police station. The girls insisted on going this time, stating that staying at home was torture. Pam agreed so they all went. Again, the volunteers were there waiting to help. The number of volunteers had not diminished and the ladies of the parish had provided a buffet again for everyone. Eric suggested that the girls might be distracted by helping with the food, so Pam took them over. Again, Deputy Beck organized the volunteers who would be driving street by street looking for the rental car. Pictures of the car (make, model and color) were distributed with the license plate number and a map of the streets each volunteer group would cover. JB, Alcide and Russell each joined a group of volunteers and Maxwell and Eric joined the FBI and local police in the meeting room turned command central and waited for any word.
Bill arrived very early to provide for his captive’s needs. He cleaned Sookie up for travel and she fought him every step of the way. She tried to be good, but he was actually changing her clothing and it disgusted her. He took the opportunity to provide more punishments but she didn’t even care. Most of her body had bruising at this point, but nobody got to see her but Eric, nobody. He put her in the collar to elbow binder again and left her.
About an hour after he left, Robert said, “Aunt Sookie?”
“I hear something.”
“I hear it too, sounds like a helicopter. Tara, do you hear it?”
“Maybe they will see my message.” He whispered.
Sookie raised her eyebrows and Robert just put a finger to his mouth. Sookie smiled for the first time since Bill had grabbed her.
Bill had heard the helicopter too, and then he heard it hovering. He tried to determine its location without going outside, and best he could figure, it was over the field behind the house. Once it moved on, he ran out and saw it. Some had attempted to spell out a word. It looked like it should have said ‘here’. “DAMMIT!”
At that moment, his associate pulled up and he ran to meet him, he explained the helicopter and discussed their two options: Run and get themselves out or Grab Sookie and run after killing the other two hostages. “Sookie will never comply without the hostages; she will give us away before we reach Vegas.” Bill said.
“Then we risk taking all three, at least get away from here with them. The van is enclosed and will hold them all.”
“Let’s move them out.”
In the command room, Eric reflected on the past two hours. The car searches had no positive updates from any other groups and they were almost finished in Bon Temps. A few cars of the same color and make were found, but a quick check on the license plate confirmed none were Bill’s rental car. Eric had high hopes once they identified the car information and he was starting to lose that hope. Finally, they had a live radio feed from the helicopter and could hear some excitement. Agent Lattesta asked the agent in the helicopter to clarify and he replied. “We see something that looks like a word made from sticks. It’s kind of hard to make out – but we think you should check it out since it’s behind the house that’s up the hill from the DuRone house. That’s too much of a coincidence.”
Agent Lattesta quickly made plans to have everyone meet at the DuRone house. He pulled Maxwell aside while Eric went to explain what they discovered to Pam. Lattesta told Maxwell he needed Eric to stay back from the search and what he hoped was the rescue so they could focus on the three hostages. Maxwell nodded in agreement. When they drove out of the police station, they noticed the ladies had formed a prayer circle. Eric bowed his own head in the car and joined them.
They arrived at the DuRone’s quickly and exited the cars. When the agents started up the hill; Eric moved to join them. Maxwell put a hand on Eric’s shoulder and said, “Let them do their job, Eric. They need to focus on the situation, not an additional civilian. We’ll be right here waiting.” Eric reluctantly nodded his head.
JB, Alcide. Jesus and Russell walked up to stay with Eric and Max. They turned to look up the hill and waited.
“Mommy, Aunt Sookie, now I hear footsteps outside.”
“I hear them too.”
Just then, Bill stormed down the stairs with another man. They unchained Tara and Robert and dragged them upstairs. Sookie was screaming the whole time. Bill returned alone; he unchained Sookie from the bed and dragged her up the stairs using the binder holds. Walking was painful, but honestly, she was more worried about the gun Bill had. Since he had taken Tara and Robert out, Sookie figured the helicopter had forced him to change plans and she feared that his behavior would become erratic.
Once they reached the back door, she saw the other captor heading for the woods yelling that the FBI was on the way and that Bill should just make a run for it. Bill turned to see just the helmets of agents coming up the road. If he left now, he could have a few seconds of a head start. He could make the boat at the back of the DuRone property on the lake if they still had it docked there. That could give him a jumpstart to the other side. From there he could make an escape and call for help from DeCastro’s men.
He turned and hit Sookie hard enough to knock her out so she would not divulge his direction and he ran.
The agents quickly circled the house and found Sookie out back. Several agents ran into the woods while others went into the van. Lattesta called to release Eric and JB. Eric reached Sookie quickly then slowed. She was unconscious, her face, arms and legs were all bruised and bloody, there were cuts on her collar, and what was she bound in? Tears formed in his eyes. ‘Two days, he had her for two days and she looks like this? What kind of monster is Bill?’ His breathing hitched when he saw her start to awaken and try to talk. “Bill and another into the w woo ooods. OH GOD, T. Ta.. ara and Robert, the Van! Help – DeCastro Vegas.”
He knelt down next to her. “Sookie, thank God you’re alive.” He noticed the agent starting to release her from the binding and he bellowed, “Get your hands off of her. I’ll do it.” It felt like it was taking hours to undo all the ties and buckles but he did finally free her. Her arms went limp from being in the binds for so long. “Sookie, can I touch you?”
She nodded her head just a bit.
He touched both sides of her head, unsure of where he could touch and she started sobbing. He broke down and gave into the tears. “Sookie, I should have sent guards for you, I’m so sorry.”
Bud had come over and asked, “Sookie is there anything I can get you?”
“They are OK Sookie.” She started crying.
Alcide, Jesus and Russell arrived and knelt down to be close. Alcide had water he tried to hand it to her but she said, “Can’t move arms.” Eric held it for her and she guzzled it then she asked for more.
An ambulance arrived a few moments later and Eric picked up Sookie bridal style to get her onto a bed. She winced at the contact “Sookie, what, what did he do?”
“Later – Back hurts.” Eric acquiesced and didn’t press for details. He gently set her on the gurney sitting up, she winced again causing Eric to grimace.
“Is it better if you lay down?”
“A little. Need police.”
Eric called Lattesta over and Sookie said, “Stuffed bunny purse downstairs.” She stopped for water, “It’s a camera, need it, evidence.”
“I’ll have it bagged, you can explain later.
“Yes, the other agent already told me, Bill was working for him?”
Sookie nodded her head.
“Ok,” Eric said, “let’s get you to the hospital. Agent Lattesta can speak more to you there.”
He helped her lay down on the gurney and the paramedic hooked her to an IV and gave her more water. By the time they reached the hospital, she was feeling and speaking better.
They rolled her into the ER and when an attendant, or nurse suggested that Eric leave, they both growled at the idea. “That’s not going to happen” barked Eric, “Find a way to work with me here.”
The doctor had been in the hall speaking with Bud before she walked into Sookie’s area. Bud warned her to just work with Eric there as long as his presence did not threaten Sookie’s life. The doctor nodded and went into the room.
“Hi Sookie, I’m Dr. Ludwig. I’m going to check you out and put together a treatment plan. Special Agent Sara Weiss is joining us to capture the details for their investigation. Are you ready to begin?”
“Yes, but Eric stays, and when can I see my girls?”
“Yes, he can stay. I think we should get you cleaned up before you see your girls.”
“I need X-rays first; then we will come back here to get you changed and answer some questions. Eric can go with you to X-ray.”
Eric and Sookie returned quickly from the X-ray department. Dr. Ludwig had gone with her to personally supervise. When they were settled in her room, she began. “Sookie, your X-rays came back clean, that’s really good news. Let’s start with a few questions. Some are going to be easier to answer than others, but we need to know what happened to help you. OK?”
“Sookie, the arm bindings, how long were they on?”
“Sunday morning until now. Will my arms recover?”
“Yes, it’s just going to take some time. Now I’m just going to feel your arms, legs and torso. I don’t think you have internal injuries; I just want to see if there is anything I should be concerned about. Sookie, with all your bruises this will hurt.”
Eric held Sookie’s hand and stared at him while Dr. Ludwig conducted her exam. Dr. Ludwig was right, it did hurt, but she worked quickly and it was over soon enough.
“Sookie, we are going to change you into a gown now, but it will take a few minutes as I’ll need to see and clean some of cuts while we do that. We turned the heat up to help.”
The nurse brought over several towels. “Sookie, it will be easier if I can just cut off this dress.”
She spat, “He bought it for me; you can burn it once it is off.”
Ludwig cut off her clothing and the nurse and Eric covered Sookie with a towel each time an area was exposed. Once everything was off, the nurse brought over a basin filled with warm water. She and the doctor worked over each area; then re-covered it to keep Sookie warm. Eric’s face was stoic as each new bruise or cut was exposed. They needed to flip Sookie next so the nurse instructed Eric on the procedure and she was on her stomach quickly. The nurse had cleverly put Sookie’s arms through the hospital gown so they could just tie it when they were done with her back. Eric was glad Sookie could not see his face because when he saw what Bill had done to her back he wanted to vomit. The marks spanned her back to a bit below her buttocks, there weren’t many, but the marks there were a combination of bruises and welts. Dr. Ludwig also looked sick but managed to control it enough to ask “Sookie, this was a belt, yes?”
“Yes.” Sookie was mortified. Logically she knew that these were just injuries that were not her fault, but being exposed like this was unbearable.
“I have a salve that can help with the pain; Eric can put that on when we are done. There are no cuts to clean on your back so we can get you tied into your gown. I do have a few more questions for you.”
The doctor, nurse and Eric worked quickly to get Sookie dressed in her gown and under the blankets. Then the final questions started.
“Sookie, there is no easy way to ask. Did Bill assault you sexually?”
“No.” She felt Eric squeeze her hand.
“Sookie, did Bill feed you?”
“No, I had one water during my captivity. Unless you count the bucket of water he dumped on my head.”
Dr. Ludwig grabbed Sookie’s free hand and squeezed. “Sookie, you’re a strong one.”
Sookie replied. “I know the FBI wants to talk to me, but I need to see my girls. Please.”
“Yes, Love, let me call Pam.”
The girls were brought in about 10 minutes later. Eric lifted them up, one a time to lie mostly on the bed, but still able to hug. Sookie wept as she kissed each girl. She told them how happy she was to see them and how she had missed them. Eric explained “Min Princessas, I’ll be staying with your Mama for the night here and Pam will be with you. I’m going to get Pam now so she can see your Mama and then you’ll go back to the inn with her and Alcide.” Eric stepped out into the hall to talk briefly to Pam. “Pam, will you be alright with the girls tonight?”
“I hope that they won’t have nightmares after spending time with Sookie, but even if they do, I have Alcide, Jesus and Russell; we’ll be fine. Sookie needs you here.” She grabbed Eric’s hand and took a breath. “Eric…..was she, did he.”
“She wasn’t raped.” Pam grabbed Eric around the waist and wept at Eric’s answer.
“Eric, I, I was so afraid.”
“I was too, but Pam, she was still hurt badly. I don’t know how to help her.”
“Just love her Eric. We’ll get help when we get home. I checked on Tara and Robert, they are both going to be fine, physically.”
“That’s good. Tell Sookie when you go in to say hi.”
Pam came in and wept while she gently held Sookie’s hand and told her how happy she was to have her back. “I’ll take care of the teacups while you heal, you don’t need to worry about a thing.
“I also checked in on Tara and Robert. Their injuries are minor and they will recover.”
“But, will they ever forgive me?” Sookie asked through tears.
“Sookie, there is nothing to forgive. Tara was asking about you. She loves you.”
Once Russell, Alcide, and Jesus quickly checked in on Sookie, they left for the inn with Pam and the girls.
Eric returned to Sookie’s side. “Are you ready to speak to the FBI?”
“Can I see Tara and Robert first?”
“Yes, they are being brought here for the meeting. Do you want to try and eat?”
“No, I’m not ready for food yet. Let’s get the meeting over with.”
Tara, Robert and JB were brought into the room first and they had a tearful greeting with Sookie. Sookie apologized over and over. Tara just told her to stop, that she knew none of this was Sookie’s fault. They were joined by Special Agent Lattesta, Bud Dearborn, Maxwell Lee and a few other agents to begin the interview. Sara Weiss who had remained with Sookie to document her injuries was also in the room to provide her perspective.
The agents created a timeline starting with Maxwell’s information via Kahn on Bill’s alias for his flight and car rental. Bill’s meeting with Jason on Thursday that seems to have happened just before Bill went to the DuRone’s to abduct Tara and Robert. Tara and Robert added details about their captivity until Sookie showed up and the three of them pieced together Bill’s actions from Saturday until their rescue. The discussion took a long time since many situations carried too much emotion and the interviews needed to be stopped at certain points. Sookie then described what she had learned from Bill about her Gran’s death, Sam’s death and his dealings with Felipe DeCastro in Vegas.
Lattesta was amazed when Sookie then said; “Tara and I think we recorded these discussions.”
“Ms. Merlotte, how could you have recorded them?”
“Did you retrieve the stuffed bunny purse from downstairs? It contains the recordings.”
“I had my daughter’s Easter present in my hands when he grabbed me. I moved it to be a strap over my shoulder while I had some use of my hands, and Bill ignored it like it was clothing. It’s a digital video recorder, a Flip. I managed to get it into Tara’s hands and she recorded well hopefully recorded Bill’s plans for me, his confessions of the murders and his association with this DeCastro person. She threw it away from herself after we had the recordings. Since it was a basement, Bill never noticed the extra item on the floor. Tara and Robert had to take turns hiding it by sitting on it when Bill was around, so hopefully it’s intact.”
“Ms. Merlotte, you’re quite ingenious. You know, you got his blood on your brother’s door, now a confession. How did you get the word ‘here’ in sticks?
“That was our hero, Robert. Robert and I managed to get him out my first night when we thought Bill was gone. He wrote that as best he could in the dark in the back yard with his hands cuffed behind him. He thought of it on his own. I am so proud. Turns out, Bill was testing us and he hid at Tara’s house which is where Robert went. He knocked Robert out when he caught him and returned him to the basement with Tara and me.”
“That’s when he hurt Sookie the worst” Tara added softly.
Quickly changing the subject, Eric turned to Robert, “You are the hero here, that word was seen by the helicopter and prompted the FBI to go to the house. Thank you for saving my Sookie.”
JB added, “And your Mommy.”
“I just remembered that I had learned about leaving trail signs, I thought it would help. Oh and Sookie, once I was outside, I maneuvered the cuffs to at least be in front of me. That really helped!”
“Bill had no idea that he had captured someone who would save everyone.” Bud said, complimenting the boy.
“What is the status on the search for Bill?” Eric asked.
Special Agent Lattesta gave the unfortunate update that Bill escaped the area, and that JB and Tara’s boat was missing from their doc. His team would be using Bon Temps Police station for one more day before moving back to Shreveport to continue the manhunt.
“Maxwell or I will be by sometime tomorrow to discuss it further. Goodnight agents.”
Lattesta understood clearly that the interview was over so he and the other FBI agents took their leave. Bud stayed back to express his personal thoughts to Sookie, Tara and JB, then he left wheeling Tara back for JB so he could help his son.
Eric turned to Maxwell, “I’m certain you are in need of sleep. We should be fine, go to the inn.”
“My replacement will be here shortly, we hired someone via the PI Agency. Bill hasn’t been caught; I won’t be leaving Sookie unprotected.”
Sookie tried to give a thankful smile, but she was just too tired. Maxwell returned to stand outside the door.
Russell called from the inn to check on Sookie and tell her the girls were down for the night with Aunt Pam on one side of the bed and Alcide on the other. Sookie raised an eyebrow in question and Eric mouthed later. “Russell, I’m sure you need to get back to your family. I feel so horrible that everyone stopped their lives for this. And Jesus, he left Lala!”
“Sookie let me say this to you – HUSH – Amelia has things running smoothly with Mena. I’ll be here for as long as you need me as will Jesus. I called home immediately and word has already spread. Lala was wailing in the background with relief. Morgantown is so happy that you have been found. Everyone wants you back. But, we’ll discuss that tomorrow.”
“Yes Russell, I’m not sure when Sookie will be ready to fly, we can discuss it with the doctor tomorrow. For now, Sookie is being visited by some nurses, we better hang up.”
The nurses came in with the salve that Dr. Ludwig had promised to Sookie. The older nurse, Mildred per her ID tag, tried to tell Eric to leave so she could apply the salve and she was told that Dr. Ludwig had asked him to do it so she could just leave it for him. She glared at him for a moment, but then handed the tub of the specially mixed compound over. The nurses quickly recorded Sookie’s vitals and changed the IV bag. They warned Eric that they were also adding a sedative to Sookie’s IV that would put her to sleep very quickly, and he should not be alarmed. Mildred also tried to tell Eric that visiting hours were over, and that after he applied the salve, he should leave. Eric simply replied, “That won’t be happening, leave us.”
On her way out, she muttered about calling security, and the younger nurse suggested she drop it. She had heard Dr. Ludwig and the Sheriff discussing that Eric was not being kicked out.
Eric untied the hospital gown and was again happy that Sookie could not see his face. As he applied the salve, Sookie flinched even when he was warning her about every touch. When he was about half way through Sookie said, “Oh, it hurts when you put it on, but the first sections you did are already numbing. You will probably have numb fingers when you’re done.”
Eric was relieved. “I’ll be happy to have them knowing that it is helping you.”
“Tell me about the sleeping stuff with the girls.”
Eric told Sookie how he and Pam had resolved the problems the girls were having with sleeping since she was abducted. Sookie actually giggled thinking about the 4 of them sharing one bed. “I’m glad you’re laughing, Pam and I were unsure how you would feel about that.”
“I’m glad I can giggle at all right now. As for the sleeping arrangement, it makes me love you both more that you would care enough about my girls to sleep in the edge of a bed. Alcide as well. He is just going to have to marry Maura now!”
Eric chuckled and told Sookie he would inform Alcide the next day.
Sookie was asleep before he even finished with the salve but he ensured that all the welts were covered before he closed her gown and covered her with blankets. He moved the recliner so he could hold her hand when it was fully reclined. About 30 minutes later he had a visitor; the young nurse from earlier with a blanket and pillow for him. He lay awake for a while planning on how to get Sookie home, how to thank the residents of Bon Temps, how to deal with Jason, and mostly, how to help the FBI capture Bill Fucking Compton. Sleep finally came when he had some of his ideas in place.