Chapter Twenty-Five: School Days, Weekend Parties
I pick up my sister at the condo and Good Lord, she looks bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! She saunters up to my truck with a grin I ain’t ever seen before and hops in with a contented sigh.
“You ready for today?” I ask as I pull out and head toward campus.
“Yup! I’m super excited,” She beams, planting her book bag between her feet.
“You know where all your classes are?” I ask.
“Yes, Jason,” she giggles. “When are you gonna start givin’ me drivin’ lessons again?” she asks.
I shrug. I kinda like that she doesn’t know how to drive all that well yet. It gives me an excuse to spend this time with her.
“We could always carpool,” She points out, havin’ caught my thought.
“I know, I know,” I grumble. Sometimes her gift can be real annoyin’, now that she doesn’t have to hide it from me. I can’t wait to be a vampire, then she’ll treat me just like all the other vamps she can’t hear. “Did you sleep last night?”
“For the most part,” she replies and this enigmatic, feminine smile tugs at her lips. Ugh, I don’t want to know any more about that!
“You think we’ll ever be able to talk all candid about this stuff like Godric, Eric, and Pam?” I ask ruefully.
“I don’t know,” she says thoughtfully. “It might be a good, long while before we can, but I’m sure it’ll happen.”
Once we arrive on campus, I give Sooks a hug and then we go our separate ways. We agreed ahead of time to meet at the cafeteria for lunch, and I look forward to hearin’ about the first half of her day.
My first classes of the day are pretty borin’. I spent the week readin’ over some of my textbooks, but most of my classes are all about lesson planning and building a curriculum. Understanding state education requirements and all that bureaucratic crap is also part of my coursework, but it’s what I need to finish my Bachelor’s degree.
By the time lunch rolls around, I’m sittin’ with a big tray of food to split with Sookie. She eventually comes moping into the room, much less energetic than this mornin’.
“What’s up, Sook?” I ask at her expression.
“Everyone keeps starin’ at my engagement ring,” She pouts sadly. She leans in and whispers, “They keep thinkin’ crap like ‘high school sweetheart’ and ‘doomed marriage’…”
I wave my hand at that, tryin’ to dispel her gloom, “Whatever. They don’t know you or Eric. Tell ’em to suck it.”
“I know,” she sighs and starts diggin’ into our lunch. “There’s a girl in my English Lit class who thought it was pretty cute I was engaged. She was thinkin’ it in the not mean way, so I think I’ll try to sit by her next time.”
“There ya go!” I laugh.
Her mood brightens considerably after that and we enjoy our lunches. We joke and laugh until it’s time to head for our next classes. She’s comin’ with me to my first football practice afterward, and Eric’s planning on meetin’ us there once the sun goes down.
“Hey, Stackhouse!” Harley, our team’s tailback, comes running up to me.
“Hey, Harley,” I greet.
“I just heard the Kappas are having their rush party this weekend. You think your sister would want to go?” he asks.
“I doubt she’d wanna pledge,” I confess. “She’s engaged now and livin’ with her boyfriend. Kappas don’t really like their girls bein’ in big, committed relationships, let alone their pledges.”
“Yeah, I know,” Harley replies, “but the whole team’s invited to the party, and I thought since she’d have all of us there, you might let your ‘Papa Bear’ thing go. It’d be good for her to go to a real sorority party. Hell, it’d be good for you, too! You’ve never been to a Greek party before,” he points out.
“I’ll have to ask her fiancé about it,” I tell him.
“She needs permission to go to a party?” Harley frowns.
I shrug, “Not really. I just don’t wanna blindside the guy, y’know?”
“Hey, I promise, she won’t get a lick of booze,” Harley holds his hand up in a ‘Scout’s Honor’ pose. “Whole team will keep an eye on her. It’ll be fine.”
“Let me just call him real quick before anyone mentions it to Sooks,” I mumble, reachin’ for my phone.
“What is it, Jason?” Eric’s voice comes over the line. “Are you well?”
“Doin’ great,” I answer. “Um, one of my teammates just invited me and Sook to a party this weekend and I wanted to know if you’d be cool with lettin’ her go with me and the team. We’ll all keep an eye on her, and you know she don’t like drinkin’-”
Eric cuts me off, laughing, “You are asking me if your sister may go to a party? Did she ask you to do this?”
“Well, I haven’t told her yet,” I reply.
“That is surprising,” Eric tells me.
“I know, I know,” I groan. “With everything that’s gone on the last few months, though, I don’t want to rock your lil’ paradise. Would it cause a fight if she wanted to go?”
“Am I invited?” he asks, sounding all amused.
“I guess?” I don’t really know how the Greeks would feel about him bein’ there. “It’s a sorority rush party.”
“Then I am probably not invited,” Eric laughs again. “If Sookie wants to attend, I will not complain. You just keep an eye on your sister.”
“Cool. I’ll talk to her about it on the way to practice,” I tell him. Harley looks at me expectantly after I hang up. “He’s totally cool with it. We just gotta keep an eye on her.”
“This is going to be so cool!” Harley whoops. “Your first Greek party!”
I roll my eyes at his excitement, but laugh, and then head to my next class. The rest of the day flies by and then I’m meeting my sister at the truck to go to practice.
“How was the rest of your day?” I ask, pullin’ outta my spot.
“Real good, actually,” she smiles. “I had much less catty people in my afternoon classes. I even had some from earlier this morning, and they were a lot nicer than my early classes. Maybe it was just a shock for me to be engaged, but they had acclimated by lunch?” she wonders aloud.
“That’s good. Harley invited us to the Kappa rush party this weekend,” I tell her.
“Oh?” she looks uncertain.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I kinda called Eric before I told you about it. I wanted to make sure if you wanted to go he wouldn’t be upset about it,” I confess.
“Would you have told me even if he was upset?” she asks me.
“Sure,” I shrug. “Then at least it would have given you until nightfall to figure out how to talk it out with him…and he woulda had time to think about it, too.”
She smiles at me, “I think it would be pretty cool.”
“The whole team’s gonna be babysitting you,” I warn. “Not so nice things can happen at college parties, Sook. Don’t accept any drinks from any guys.”
Sookie laughs and nods, “I’m sure it’ll be fine. Besides, I got this,” She taps her head.
“Parties like these can get pretty packed,” I explain. “You’ve told me the more crowded it is, the more stuff you miss unless you’re focused on someone.”
That makes her frown, “I won’t accept any drinks from guys, unless they’re your teammates,” she promises.
I relax at her promise, “Thanks.”
We make it to the stadium and Larry, my former co-worker, waves at me happily, “Hey, Stackhouse. You’re lookin’ great!”
“Thanks, Larry,” I grin at him. “I’m excited to have our first practice.”
“How’s the shoulder?” he whispers.
“Like it’s brand new. I saw a doc at the end of last year and she took real good care of it,” I tell him. “It’s like it never knew pain a day in its life.”
“And the shooting?” he asks softly.
“Old news,” I assure him. “I’m good to go, man.”
“Glad to hear it,” Larry waves us through and Sookie finds a spot on the bench to start reviewing her class work. She’s already got a five-hundred-page novel to read and report on for her literature class. Makes me glad I was a History major. Then again, she probably woulda died havin’ to read all the biographies I had to.
The whole practice is like a dream. Coach Murphy is whoopin’ and hollerin’ at seein’ my passes, and the team is dog pilin’ me for every clean pass over sixty yards. The new freshmen QB stomps off at some point and I just roll my eyes. Little prick probably thought he’d be startin’ ’cause of my shoulder after last year.
When I get scooped up after the most recent pile on, I see Eric comin’ on to the field to sit next to Sookie.
“Dude, is that Sook’s fiancé?” Josh, our defensive tackle, asks.
“Yup,” I nod.
“Damn, she’s all grown up, Stackhouse,” another of my teammates sounds forlorn. Sookie’s become the team’s little sister, too, over the past three years. “She looks head over heels for him, though,” he offers.
I laugh and roll my eyes, “God, you have no idea.”
“Didn’t y’all go to England over summer vacation?” Riley asks.
“Yeah. It was sorta an engagement trip for the two of them. Eric’s brother and sister came, too,” I tell them.
“Ain’t Eric’s sister the one who drove you home on your twenty-first?” Josh asks.
“Shit, I don’t even remember that night, but probably.”
“You hit it?” Riley presses.
“Not that night I didn’t,” I laugh.
“But you have?” the guys are crowdin’ me.
“She’s so fuckin’ hot, Bro. Tell me you hit that,” one of them pleads.
The whistle is blowin’ and Coach is tryin’ to get our attention, but the guys ain’t lettin’ up.
“Is she as good as she looks?”
“Is all that tit real?”
Fuck my life.
“Very real,” I hear a familiar voice behind me and turn to see Pam smirkin’. I realize that Coach was blowin’ his whistle to get Pam to not go on the field.
“Hey, Pam,” I grin at her sheepishly.
“Stackhouse,” She nods.
“I didn’t realize you were comin’ with Eric,” I tell her uncomfortably.
“Are you going to answer that boy’s question, Stackhouse?” Pam asks me, giving a devilish grin.
“Uh, which one?” I ask.
“Am I as good as I look?”
My posture loosens, “Pam, you know that’s a bullshit question. You get any better and I’d break my hip.”
She just grins at me and heads toward the bench. The whole team’s heads tilt as one and I roll my eyes.
“Are you two dating?” Riley whispers.
“Nah, we just use each other for sex,” I reply and the whole team groans.
I do an excellent job of distracting the entire team while Eric scoops his little Bonded away for privacy. He already has a secluded, off-camera, area selected for a quick fuck. However, he needed to distract the team, especially her brother, from their disappearing act.
Without much interest, I sit on the team’s bench and watch the practice. Over the past two months, I have been conniving to make Stackhouse permit his metamorphosis as early as possible.
I want the sunlight. All the time!
Unfortunately, I cannot have what I desire if Jason is mortal. It would be too dangerous. Some vampire may try to kill or turn him to hurt us since it would be the easiest means of doing so. Currently, no one desires us much ill will since we mostly play nice with others. Sure, others may not like us, and we have more than our fair share of enemies. However, we do not have much to be envied, and, therefore, no attacks have sprung.
That will all change once it becomes known that we have the most coveted abilities, not just among vampires, but all creatures. Immortality, brute strength, uncanny senses, and imperceptible speed; all those without any limitations. No sun, silver, garlic, or stake will ever make us hesitate again. All right, garlic still smells revolting, but whatever! Garlic is to us what dog shit is to humans, unpleasant and lingering.
The only reason I have not unleashed one of my plans upon Stackhouse and begun to seduce him to an earlier transformation is simple. The Great Revelation is only four years away, and he has already agreed to be turned before then. Depriving him of four years of human experiences makes me feel something that seems suspiciously like sadness.
Despite the fact he will not be condemned to darkness like the rest of us were for so long, becoming a vampire is still a major adjustment; the sights, the scents, the sounds, but especially the desires. Although I do not see Jason as potentially becoming overly impulsive, it is still a possibility.
“You are thinking very hard, Pamela,” Eric murmurs when he seats himself beside me. He pulls Sookie into his side, and I note the blush across her cheeks and sated drooping of her eyelids.
“I still marvel at how your Bonded and her brother have recalibrated the way I make decisions,” I reply.
“They do manage it subtly,” Eric agrees, burying his nose in Sookie’s hair. She giggles, twining her fingers into his hair.
“Yes,” I smile and look out to the field. “I heard you are going to your first college party, Sookie?”
“Yup. It’s a rush party,” She nods. “I’m not gonna pledge or anything, but I’m going in with the team just to see what it’s like. Jason said I can’t accept drinks from any guys not on the football team, though.”
“A wise suggestion,” Eric agrees.
“You’re not gonna stake out the sorority, are you?” she asks Eric worriedly.
He sighs and shakes his head, “No. I want you to have fun, and that would be difficult if I was leering over you all night. I might check in on my way to the warehouse, though,” he confesses.
Sookie smiles up at him and gives Eric a kiss that makes me roll my eyes. I don’t believe I will ever find a Bonded if that’s what I will turn into!
“Come on, Sook!” I holler, bangin’ on the condo door. “We’re gonna be late!”
Eric opens the door and grins down at me. “My fault, Stackhouse,” he says, and I notice his pants are unbuttoned. All I can do is roll my eyes. Holy crap! I rolled my eyes at the sex antics! It’s happening!
“Whatever,” I laugh. “Sook, you ready to go?” I watch my sister come strollin’ over in a cute fitted t-shirt and some Bermuda shorts, comin’ down almost to her knees. I’ve been spendin’ too much time with Pam if I know what those shorts are called. She’s got a pair of chucks on and she looks cute as a bug! “You’re wearin’ that?” I ask hopefully.
“Yeah,” she looks down at her choice. “Is it okay?”
“It’s perfect!” I cheer and take her hand. “See ya, Eric!”
“Bye, Darlin’!” Sookie kisses him real quick and then we head to the truck.
“You’re sure what I’m wearin’ is okay?” she asks again while we’re driving back to campus.
“It’s perfect, Sook. You ain’t lookin’ for a hook up, you’re lookin’ to have fun. No need to wear a dress and heels for that, right?” I remind her.
“But, I still look nice?” she asks.
“You look adorable,” I assure her.
Sookie worries her lip between her teeth. “You think other girls will talk to me, dressed like this?” she asks.
“Probably more so ’cause they won’t see ya as a threat in the guy pool,” I tell her.
“Really?” she asks hopefully. “I really want to make some real friends now that I have time to be social. I never got to do that in high school.”
“I know, Baby Sis,” I give her a sad smile.
“It’s okay, though,” she tells me quickly. “I still got to hang out with some real nice people, and they treated me great-”
“But now you get to do all the social stuff,” I finish for her. “I get it, Sook. It’s okay.”
We arrive at the sorority house, and I can see four of my teammates clamberin’ outta a nearby pick-up. A few more are strollin’ down from the frat houses.
“Hey, Sook!” Josh scoops up my sister in a big hug. “Look at you! You’re engaged! Let’s see that rock up close.”
Sookie giggles and holds out her hand. Josh leans in and whistles, “Woo-eee! You could drill to China with that thing!”
My sister chokes on a laugh and gives Josh another big hug, “I missed you this summer.”
“Missed you, too, Kid,” he smiles as we all head into the house.
“JASON STACKHOUSE!” Terry, second string quarterback and freshman, throws his arms in the air. “I get to party with the Jason Stackhouse!”
I laugh tightly. I don’t like Terry. He’s one of those braindead jocks who thinks he’s gonna play in the pros one day. Doesn’t give a shit about his education and I hate to be an ass, but he doesn’t have pro quality. Shit, I’m not even pro quality, but I sure as hell made first string my Freshman year. Then again, he might have if I still had last year’s shoulder on our first practice. Coach probably had him on the sidelines ready to take over, but got a real surprise when I came out swingin’. I’ll have to ask Sook if the boy gotta grudge about that.
“Hi, I’m Piper Disanto! Are you pledging?” A bubbly blonde asks my sis.
“Uh, no,” Sookie shakes her head. “I’m here with my brother and the team,” she explains, pointing to me.
“You’re Sookie! Oh, my gosh!” she squeals. “Aw, I remember seein’ ya on the bench with your brother all the time. Girly, you grew up so much! Look at you!” She starts spinning my sister around and ’round. “You were such a string bean the last three years and now, look at you! I bet you gotta beat the boys away with a stick.”
Sookie shakes her head with a giggle, “Actually, I’m engaged now, so the ring kinda does that for me,” she smiles cutely.
“Engaged? Oooh, let me see!” Piper reaches for Sookie’s hand. “Oh. My. Gawd! That is the most beautiful engagement ring I’ve ever seen in my entire life! We totally should show Cynthia! C’mon!”
I watch amusedly while Piper pulls my sister into a throng of sorority girls. There’s a brief clucking of introductions and then the ring gets flashed. All the girls start squealin’ like stuck pigs and fawnin’ over my sister.
“Oh, my gosh! You, like, have to pledge!” one of them insists.
“Totally,” another one of them echoes.
“You are absolutely invited to, like, all our parties,” a third assures Sookie.
“You should bring your fiancé next time!”
I laugh as Sookie giggles and nods, but kindly declines the offer to pledge. She explains that she lives with her fiancé and wouldn’t give up that for anything.
“Stackhouse,” Harley nudges me. “We’re gonna throw the ball ’round in the yard. You comin’?”
“Yeah, let me see if Sook wants to join in,” I tell him.
“Ah, man, I’ve been waitin’ to see how your sister throws!” Josh laughs. “It sucks I missed that pick-up game with her!”
Sooks used to be on the girls’ softball team. Even made varsity her freshman year, but once Gran died, she gave it up to move to Shreveport. She was workin’ every spare moment from there, and didn’t have the time to play anymore. Still, she has a hell of an arm, and bein’ the baby sister of a college football player, she learned how to throw a football at an early age.
I slink into the conversation my sister’s havin’. It makes me smile to see her grinnin’ and noddin’ at the girls. I was right; engaged, in a cute pair of shorts and t-shirt, made her truly popular real quick.
“Sook, me and the guys are gonna throw the ball around, you wanna come?” I ask.
Sookie’s eyes light up, “Sure!”
“You’re gonna play football with the team?” Piper asks in surprise.
“Sure,” Sookie laughs. “They’re real easy on me. They’ll just pick me up and swing me around. No one tackles me! Besides, they just play touch when they’re not wearin’ their equipment. Coach would kill ’em if he found out they were tacklin’ without their pads!”
“Aw, I wanna watch,” One of the girls whines, and then the whole flock of ’em end up followin’ us outside.
“All right, all right!” Riley holds up his hands. “We gotta make this fair. That means Sookie and Jason can’t be on the same team. None of that sibling telepathy-” Sookie’s eyes go big, but I just shake my head and laugh. If only he knew how right he was!
There’s not enough of the team here to play a full-scale game, but we have a blast throwin’, runnin’, catchin’ and blockin’. Sookie’s the receiver for Terry, and when he throws to her, I see her stumble and try to change direction. He’s thrown way outside, and she can’t get where she needs to be to catch it. Riley automatically intercepts, and it’s our ball.
“What the fuck, Stackhouse! Where the hell were you running!?” Terry yells at her, making Sookie look at him like he’s crazy.
“Hey, Terry, calm down!” Josh yells at him. “It’s just for fun! Don’t talk to her like that!”
“You guys stuck me with a chick just ’cause I’m second string!” Terry accuses.
“Whoa, whoa,” I run up, furious. “First off, don’t fuckin’ talk to my sister like that! Second off, no one gets stuck with Sookie. She’s a perfectly good player for this kinda game. She’s been playin’ against me her whole life.”
“Then you fuckin’ take her,” Terry yells, flingin’ his arms in the air.
“You called a fifteen inside and you threw it out!” Sookie finally shouts. “How was I s’pose to get an extra twenty yards further than you told me to be at the last second like that!?”
“Maybe you should learn to run!” Terry hollers at her.
“Maybe you should learn to throw, ya second string candy-ass!” Sookie shouts, and Josh throws out his arm when she tries to get in Terry’s face.
I grimace. Yeah, Sookie can be pretty competitive, too. It’s about the only time I ever hear her throw curses around. She’s gotten scolded by the coach a few times for some of the shit she’s said at my games.
“I’ll pass. Fuck yourself!” Sookie snaps and there’s a string of “oohs” all around us. The group of girls Sookie was chattin’ up in the house all giggle. Terry’s face goes bright red and he storms back into the house.
After that we just start throwin’ the ball back and forth for awhile before Sookie excuses herself. I know she feels bad for embarrassing Terry like that, but I’m pretty fuckin’ proud of her. I’m also proud that she’s decided to go in and apologize. She’s good at bein’ the bigger person, especially now that she’s had a bit to calm down.
Me and the guys keep throwing the ball ’round and I turn to Riley, “You see Sookie?”
Riley turns his head to the house and nods, “Yup. She’s talkin’ to Terry. He seems like he’s still pissed, but he ain’t yellin’.”
I frown and toss the ball back, “I’m gonna go in and make sure she don’t throw down. If he’s givin’ her attitude while she’s tryin’ to apologize, it could escalate again.”
I start joggin’ to the door just in time to see Sookie lookin’ like she’s pleadin’ with Terry. His reply is to throw his drink in her face, and I fling the door open.
“What the fuck, Terry!?” I shout while my sister gropes for a towel to wipe the beer off her face. The sorority girls are tryin’ to help, since they were all standin’ in the corner during Sook’s attempted apology.
“Get your fucking sister out of my face, Stackhouse! She thinks she can mock me in front of everyone and then come apologize like it was no big deal!?” Terry yells.
“It was a big deal,” Sookie protests. “That’s why I’m trying to apologize in front of everyone-”
“Fuck you!” Terry yells, then fucking backhands my sister!
I tackle Terry into the counter and start beating the shit out of him.
“Throw a shitty fuckin’ pass, blame her for it, say ‘fuck you’ to her and she tried to apologize!” I’m shoutin’ as I whale on him.
Riley and Josh are both tryin’ to pull me off him, but I’m pissed. I don’t care that the only reason Terry’s bein’ an ass to Sookie is because of me. I care that he ain’t bein’ a man and sayin’ why he’s such a fuckin’ bitch, so I decide to beat it outta him.
“You shouldn’t have even been playing this year!” Terry shouts at me once I’ve been pulled off him. Mission accomplished, dip shit.
“Well, I am. Get the fuck over it, or drop off the team,” I snarl back.
“What is going on in here?” I hear boomed above me, and I look to see Eric standin’ in the sorority house kitchen. His arms are crossed over his chest, and He. Looks. Pissed! He’s starin’ past me and I look behind me to see Piper holdin’ a wad of paper towels against Sookie’s bleeding nose. Blood’s dripped all down the front of her shirt, and I groan.
“Who the fuck are you?!” Terry yells at Eric, and my eyes go huge. Eric’s got almost a foot on the little freshman shit!
Eric looks at Terry like he’s an insect and his voice is a threat itself when he says, “I am the one who is marrying the girl you just struck.”
“Yeah?” Terry walks up to him, tilts back his swelled-up face, and says, “Well, your fiancée’s a cunt-”
Eric lifts Terry by the front of his shirt and holds him over his head, “That is very interesting. What else can you tell me about my fiancée?” he asks in that same tone that would make Chuck Norris shit himself.
Terry manages to keep his mouth shut this time, and I admit I’m grateful. I might not know Eric’s ‘ready to kill’ face, but I bet it looks somethin’ like the one he’s wearin’ right now.
“Sookie,” Eric calls my sister over. He’s still holdin’ Terry up by the front of his shirt while my sister scuttles around the kitchen island to her man’s side. “Let me see your face.” Sookie pulls the towel from her face and Eric snarls, “You could have broken her nose, you little fuck!”
He drops Terry on his ass and turns to Sookie. All gentle, he traces the bridge of her nose with his fingertip, and Sookie recoils with her teeth clenched. The sharpest yelp I’ve ever heard in my life comes from her mouth.
“No need for a reset,” Eric tells her, kissin’ the top of her head. Next, he crouches down to where Terry’s still on his ass. “If you come near Sookie again, I will break your fucking face. Not your nose. Your. Fucking. Face.”
With that, he stands and turns to Sookie, “Do you wish to remain here or come home with me?”
“You’re not gonna try to get me to go home?” Sookie asks in surprise.
Eric shrugs, “I think I have made it abundantly clear what I will do to anyone who touches you.”
“I’m covered in blood,” she points out.
I don’t miss Eric’s eyes dilating. “Yes. You are.”
“Sookie,” Piper steps up slowly, “you can borrow one of my shirts if you’d like to stay? Sir, you can stay, too.”
I snort, “Did you just call Eric ‘Sir’?”
Piper blushes and gives an embarrassed giggle.
“Will you stay, Eric?” Sookie asks him.
“I must return to work,” Eric tells her gently and leans in for a kiss. It’s one of their slow, kill me now for having to see it, kisses. “Make some friends,” he whispers to her before grabbing Terry by the collar of his shirt and draggin’ him toward the door. “That means, you, Little Fucker, are out of here.” I bet Eric’s gonna glamour the shit outta that kid.