Chapter Twenty-Nine: Take Me Out to the Ball Game
“You sure it’s cool for you three to be out durin’ the day?” I ask nervously, glancin’ around the crowd to see if anyone notices my vampire companions. All three of ’em got ball caps and sunglasses on. Eric’s got his long-ass hair tucked up under his cap, but man, that’s a helluva lot of hair!
“Weres do not play in human leagues,” Godric shrugs. “They find it boring. As do vampires. We will not stand out all that much.”
I can only nod, then regain my earlier excitement about seein’ Sooks play baseball…er… softball again! She ain’t played since her freshman year of high school because she transferred to Shreveport durin’ our ‘adjustment’ period. There just wasn’t time for her to be in any after school shit with both us workin’ all the time. It made me feel like shit that I was still playin’ football when she had to give up her sport, but she always reassured me it was different. My playing let me stay in college, her playing was never going to bring her a scholarship. I argued that it could have, but Sookie always told me her chances would be better academically than athletically.
Rising to my feet, I clap as Sook’s team takes the field. She was excited to find out my football number wasn’t taken, and the bright, white, number ‘9’ beneath ‘Stackhouse’ makes my chest feel ready to burst!
Sook’s playin’ second base today, and I’m vibratin’ in my seat once I sit back down. Godric looks at me all amused.
“Excited?” he asks after I let out a loud ‘WHOOP’!
I nod with a giant grin on my face, “Sook has loved baseball all her life. It broke my heart when she couldn’t play all through high school, especially with me still on the football team,” I confess. “She wasn’t too happy when she grew up and had to play softball instead of baseball, but she just avoided pitchin’.”
He laughs and nods, “I see. What position did she play back then?”
“Catcher,” I answer. “Only girl on the team they didn’t have to train not to run away screamin’ when a runner slid at them.”
Godric chuckles at my response, but it’s true. The first ‘All Girl’ team Sookie played on in middle school wasn’t a very good team… We’re talkin’ ‘why does this school even have a softball team’ bad. Most hadn’t ever played softball before, and all the rest were too short for basketball, or too ugly for cheerleadin’. Don’t even pretend that ain’t a thing, you know you’re lyin’ to yourself!
“Eric, was she excited this morning?” Godric asks, leanin’ over me to talk to the giant blond on Pam’s right.
“Very,” Eric tells him with a smile. “Although, she withheld sex this morning, so I am uncertain how much I will like her playing on this team.”
I groan and shake my head as the first pitch is delivered. Centerfielder catches it off a bounce, but he can’t get it to first before the runner gets on base. Second hitter knocks one toward left field, but the shortstop intercepts. He lobs it to Sooks who makes a swift double play. The third hitter pops it up and the left outfielder makes an easy third out.
Clapping while the teams change positions, I nudge Pam who’s lookin’ more enthusiastic than I thought she’d be. I realize quickly that she’s just happy to be out in the daytime for a change. She don’t care where she is, only that Godric and Eric have approved the outing.
Kristin’s first at bat, and she’s so itty-bitty that the pitcher can’t throw a freakin’ strike on her. She’s walked to first. The next two batters manage to do their jobs and get on base, loadin’ ’em up. Aw, man, aw, man, aw, man! I know Sookie’s up fourth, a designed plan for their first round of batting. Apparently Sookie’s a monster hitter, which surprises me. She managed to get a homer once her freshman year, so I’m pumped to see what she’s got now.
I can practically see the other team laughin’ when Sookie comes to the plate. They think the team’s got a wasted opportunity in their midst with the bases loaded and a tiny, little blonde up at bat. Sookie don’t seem all that preoccupied by it, and I notice she don’t crowd the plate like back in middle school. She must be pretty confident.
The pitcher throws outside and Sookie remains stock still, ball. Inside, and she needs to jump back a bit, ball two. Right down the fuckin’ middle and Sookie crushes the fucker!
I watch as the opposing team gapes, but only for a second, ’cause I’m up with the crowd as everyone yells and waves their arms like we’re tryin’ to make a gust of wind, “No! No way! No way! Go! Go! GO!” and that grapefruit goes bouncin’ past the fence!
“YEAH, SOOK!” I scream as her and her teammates round the bases. Bottom of the first, and my Sook put her team four ahead!
They finish off the inning with only one additional run, but a five nothin’ lead is bad vibes for the opposition. They get a runner on first, and the second pitch is lookin’ like another double play, except the fucker runnin’ from first to second slides and it’s a motherfuckin’ train wreck!
Sookie may be able to hit ’em outta the park, but she’s still a tiny woman! When ’24’ comes crashin’ into her, her little feet go flyin’ into the air, and even I flinch when she hits the ground. She flips right over and lands full force on her throwin’ arm. Shit, is this how she feels watchin’ me get tackled? I wonder.
Both me and Eric are already runnin’ off the bleachers and her team is on their way to Sookie while we jump the fence. Sook is still on the ground and Pussy #24 is walkin’ away, all smug.
“Back it up!” I holler at her teammates. Kristin’s yellin’ and makin’ a big huff, but I ignore her and crouch down to check on my sister, “Hey, Powerhouse.” I see outta the corner of my eye that Number 24 just flipped off Kristin and David catches her at the waist after she takes a leap at him.
“What was his number again?” Sookie asks me, somewhat groggily.
“24. You want me to kick his ass?” I ask, givin’ her a hand. She reaches for it, then flinches away quickly. “You okay?”
Eric kneels next to her and Sookie slowly sits up. “Did something break?” he whispers, smoothin’ some of the hair that’s come loose from underneath her cap.
Sookie tries wigglin’ her right wrist, “Nah, just a sprain,” she murmurs a bit unevenly, like she’s tryin’ not to cry. I know a sprain’s bullshit ’cause her wrist is fuckin’ huge! That’s a break! I know my fuckin’ breaks.
“Sook, you can’t play with that,” I tell her in a hushed voice.
“I’m fine,” she assures us. “It’ll be fine by the time I’m up to bat.”
“Yeah? How you gonna throw ’til then?” I ask, annoyed by her sheer stubbornness, wonderin’ how she ever put up with me.
“I’ll deal with it!” She snaps and pops up to her feet. The crowd starts its slow clap, and after Eric and me head back to the bleachers without her, the applause gets louder. They all thought she was outta the game.
Thankfully, Sookie don’t have anythin’ to do again for the first half of the inning. The team is babyin’ her, but she quickly puts that shit down once they head to the dugout. I can see her glowerin’. Even before living immortality, I seen Sookie play with a broken finger, shin splints, and a broken toe. Not all at the same time, of course, but she’s one tough cookie when it comes to sports.
I still think Pussy #24 shoulda been tossed out.
By the seventh inning stretch, this game’s lookin’ like a shutout, but I don’t say so out loud. Instead, I get up to grab somethin’ to eat and Godric follows me.
“Playin’ bodyguard?” I tease.
“No, I plan on keeping you from hunting down Number 24,” Godric confesses with a knowing smile.
“Am I really that transparent?” I ask, frowning. Here, I thought I was bein’ pretty calm and laid-back, but Godric’s givin’ me this look like I’m a man ready to explode.
“When it comes to your sister, you are,” Godric laughs.
I look nervously at all the people watchin’ me and Godric go to the concession stand, and I can’t help but murmur, “You sure it’s safe to be out?”
“It is fine, Stackhouse, I have not smelled a Were or any other supernatural all day,” he reassures me, and I think he’s getting a little exasperated. “It will be nice when we do not have to hide from the supernatural community at all, but the wait is only making the excitement that much more grand!”
I quickly buy a soda and hot dog, takin’ it over to a secluded picnic bench to ask a few things that have been botherin’ me for awhile. Mostly it’s the transformations Sookie and them have gone through, but some of it is me, bein’ scared of my own approachin’ change.
“In a way, though, aren’t we always gonna be in the shadows if we never let the humans discover what we are? Won’t it be like never coming out?” I ask, not sure how it makes me feel.
“Yes,” Godric agrees, “but the freedom it will bring us will be far greater than the secrets we have been forced to keep. Also, with Sookie still needing to maintain basic bodily functions, it will make it that much easier to blend in. Her children will only help cement those normalcies.”
“That’s got me stuck,” I tell him.
“Sooks is a living immortal, right?” I begin carefully.
“Yes?” He’s lookin’ at me with intrigue, or maybe he’s just glad to hear that I’m curious about all this stuff. I’ve been a bit tight-lipped since before we even left for England over the summer, and I think it’s made him concerned.
“So, why does she still need to eat and sleep?” I ask.
“Ah,” Godric nods in understanding. “Sookie could stop eating, but the magic maintaining her immortality will only keep her alive, not all that vital. She could be starved, but not to the point of death. Her body could shrink itself quite traumatically before the magics of her immortality would kick into survival mode. At that point, she would be extremely weak and unable to do much more than maintain consciousness. Injuries would heal very slowly; broken bones would not mend… It would be an extremely horrific existence for her until she was nourished once more, along with a very extensive recovery period.
“As for sleep, that has to do with mental faculties. Her mind, though immortal, is still human to a degree,” Godric continues. “She may go much longer than humans without sleep before her mind would begin to flounder. I believe Ludwig suggested she could go roughly three months without sleep before showing any signs of loss of mental acuity. Of course, I cannot imagine Sookie ever needing to stretch herself that far. It is also Ludwig’s speculation that a regular eight hours of continuous sleep is all that would be needed for her to be refreshed after an extended period of wakefulness.”
“Dang, so Sookie can stay up all week, sleep in on Saturday morning, and then stay awake a whole week again?” I ask in surprise.
“Easily,” Godric nods.
“Shit! College is gonna be a breeze for her!” I laugh.
“Yes, but if she stays awake all that time, it means that she needs to eat more,” Godric tells me. “About twice as much as she does now. This is the same for our bloodline. Since we are aware continuously, it means we must feed more often. That will be a hurdle for you. Newborns need to feed every two to four hours during their first year of existence. That means you will need to feed every hour throughout your first year. After the first year, they need only feed once an evening, so that will mean twice a day for you.”
“Dang, that’ll be rough. Maybe I’ll take a year sabbatical for that,” I consider.
“It might be a good idea, now that we are discovering some of the repercussions of our impervious immortality,” Godric agrees.
“How often do you and Eric need to feed?” I ask.
“I have required nourishment bi-weekly, but Eric is back down to once a week,” Godric tells me. “He had my bi-weekly schedule before the change.”
My face scrunches, knowin’ from where the extra blood is comin’. You’re the one who asked, dumbass!
Fuck, yes! Out in the sun!
I wander around during this ‘stretching intermission,’ and I happen upon the Number 24 who blatantly tried to take Sookie out of the game, and by “happen upon,” I obviously mean that I ruthlessly stalked him.
“Hello there,” I purr at the tanned player. His jaw drops when he sees me and I brush my hair to the side, exposing my ample cleavage. “What is your name?”
“Uh, Jake,” he mumbles shyly.
“Hello, Jake,” I close the distance between us. “I could not keep my eyes off you for nearly the entire game,” I tell him in my best husky voice, which is obviously effective after over a century’s effort at perfecting it.
“R-really?” he asks breathlessly.
“Mmm-hmm,” I trace my fingers down his face and cup his jaw, bringing it closer to my lips. His eyes are batting frantically in surprise and arousal, and I skim my lips along his cheek until they are next to his ear. “Ever since I saw you undercut my sister in the second round.” I revel in the sound of his heartbeat stuttering and the feel of the blood draining from his face against my hand. “Such a shame. You were so cute, but no woman wants to go to bed with a man who takes cheap shots.”
I pull away and glare at him with my withering gaze. Jake stammers and I cut him off, “Play clean, Jake, and apologize to Sookie. Then, I might reconsider my opinion of you.”
With that, I turn away and stroll off, making sure to roll my hips in a fluid saunter. Yes, little boy, long for what you cannot have! I think smugly. Sookie has asked all of us to avoid glamouring people associated with her, unless we absolutely must. However, she said nothing about using our sexual prowess to get what we want.
When I am seated once more on the bleachers, I watch as Number 24 comes running over to Sookie’s team’s bench. I listen amusedly to the conversation taking place.
“Um, Phillips,” he addresses Mark, the team’s thrower and leader. “I was wonderin’ if I could talk to Stackhouse?”
Mark stands up, crosses his arms over his chest, and cockily tells him, “You got somethin’ to say to Powerhouse, you can say it to the team.”
’24’ shuffles awkwardly a moment before looking at Sookie and saying, “I’m really sorry about that slide in the second inning. Even though the ump called it clean, it wasn’t. I was tryin’ to take you outta the game. I’m sorry, and I’m glad you weren’t hurt.”
I can practically feel Sookie running through his mind, looking for a glamour. When she does not find one, I hear her surprised reply, “It’s okay. I’m fine. Thank you for apologizing.” She almost sounds exasperated by the end. Oops, she probably saw my coercion in his head! Who cares? An apology is an apology! “Let’s just have a good game.”
Jake nods and shakes Sookie’s hand. Mark and the rest of his team appear astounded by the event while their opponent runs back to his own team, who are glaring at him.
When the intermission ends, Stackhouse is back with Godric, and we buckle down for the last two rounds. They are boring as Sookie’s team widens the gap in points and Jake’s team cannot manage a single goal… Wait… That’s not right. There are no goals in baseball, or is home base the “goal?” Shit, it’s home plate, but the other three pillows are called bases… Fuck this game!
When the game ends, Jason turns to me with a big grin, “That was awesome!”
I frown, “The other team did not even earn a single point.”
“I know, right! A real shutout!” Jason is crowing proudly.
“I thought outs were bad?” I reply, confused, then Eric begins to laugh while Jason’s jaw drops. “What?” I snap at his look of disbelief and Eric’s overwhelming amusement. He knows damn well I never gave a flying fuck about baseball!
“You have no idea how to play baseball, do you?” Jason asks, flabbergasted.
I shrug, “Why? Should I?”
“You live under some rock the last hundred years!?” Jason exclaims. “It’s America’s pastime!”
“Technically, I am not American,” I tell him.
Jason rolls his eyes at me, “Whatever! You and I are having a baseball talk later.” Before I can object, Sookie comes running up to us and Jason points at me, “Pam has no idea how baseball is played!” It is now my turn to roll my eyes.
Sookie only shrugs, “So?”
“So? So!?” Jason is furious. “Who lives as long as you and doesn’t know about baseball?” he asks me, completely baffled.
“Stackhouse, if it means that much to you, we will sacrifice our sex time and you can teach me baseball,” I offer.
I see the hesitation in his eyes and I smile triumphantly.
“Or, the next time we go to the salon, I could teach you baseball,” Sookie grins. “Actually, aren’t we supposed to do that on Wednesday?” she asks innocently.
Fuck my unlife.