The next night he awoke sure he had been having vivid dreams, but when he tried to retrieve them from his memory he couldn't. The dreams left him with the feeling that he had been struggling with something. He was glad to wake up and deal with the matters in front of him in reality. He got showered, got dressed, and checked for phone messages. There weren't any, to his relief.
He decided to stop by Sookie's to see how she was doing. But instead of just popping up out of the woods like he usually did he called her on the phone. She answered on the first ring sounding breathless.
"Hello?" Sookie said. "Jason?"
"No." Bill answered. "It is I, Bill." He expected she knew his voice, but he could tell she was stressed out over something.
"Oh hi Bill. Listen, I can't talk right now. I'm waiting for Jason to call. He has to take me to work because my car won't start." She started to hang up.
"Wait!" Bill said loudly.
"What?" Sookie asked impatiently.
"I'll be right over and drive you to work. Call Jason and tell him you got a ride." Bill didn't wait for her to respond. He put the phone away and went out and started the car. He drove over to her house and was in front of her porch in a couple of minutes.
She came bouncing down the porch steps in her work outfit - black shorts, white tee shirt with the "Merlott's" logo on a green oval, white socks and comfortable black shoes. She had her little black purse and she had her hair pulled up tight in a ponytail.
"Thanks Bill" she said as soon as she got in the car. "I really appreciate this." She kissed him lightly on the cheek. She smelled wonderful, like herself and a dab of Obsession perfume. He wanted to hold her, to tell her how he was trying to change, but he thought about her reality. Her reality was that she was trying to get to work. She was probably already late, her brother was probably frustrating her by not calling back, and the last thing she needed was an ex-boyfriend drooling all over her when she was in a rush.
He put the car in gear and took off. He didn't put on any music. He said "You look well." He turned and smiled at her. No fangs.
"Thanks Bill" she said, looking at herself in her compact and refreshing her lipstick "You look pretty good yourself."
He was wearing a nice dress shirt and grey dress slacks. She liked it when he dressed well. He also had on a Calvin Klein cologne for men and he hoped she would notice that too.
"Are you here for a while?" she asked Bill. She put her compact away and turned in the seat to face him.
"Yes, I have some work to do but I can do it from home. May I drive you home when your shift is over?" he asked, sounding casual but really hoping she would say yes.
"Oh Bill, I don't want to put you out that way. I can get a ride from someone at the bar." She had a lot of friends at the bar and he knew they would all be willing to give her a ride. Should he insist?
"It wouldn't be any bother at all." he said truthfully "And I would welcome the break from my computer to take a ride and come get you. What time do you get off work?" He had his mental fingers crossed she would accept his offer.
"That's real nice of you." She said with a smile. "I get off work at about one." They were pulling up in back of Merlott's where the employee entrance was.
"I'll be here at one. Have a good evening, Sookie." he looked at her again with a small smile. He didn't act on any of his urges to hug her or kiss her. She had just gotten done putting on lipstick and smoothing her hair and she didn't need him pawing her right now.
Sookie got out of the car and almost ran inside. Bill drove home. He realized that thinking about what her reality was, what she was feeling and dealing with, was completely different from his usual thought processes. He needed to almost put himself in her place to understand what was the correct way for him to behave. It was very challenging, and he knew that one wrong move and she would push him away.
Instead of going home he went back to her house. He saw her car in the back, and he went back there to look at it. The security lights came on and he got out of his car to look at Sookie's car. He didn't know anything about cars so he hoped there was a garage that had been called to fix her car. He thought about what he could do and realized that she would want to figure out how to get her car fixed on her own. Anything he did would be seen as meddling. This was another step, not pushing his help on her.
He drove home and checked his emails. Some of the doctors had already written back and Bill began sifting through their responses and quantifying the data. He set the clock to ring when it was quarter to one so he wouldn't get so wrapped up in his project he missed picking Sookie up.
Bill was startled when the clock rang. He had been fascinated by the information he had gotten from the doctors. There was a very real chance a vampire could injure a human if they didn't keep their behavior in check. Aside from the close link between feeding and sex, there was also a level of sexual activity that was really too rough for most humans. And even though there were humans that welcomed this extreme behavior, these humans had a self destructive component in their personalities and shouldn't be exploited. How to write this into an informative chapter took up Bill's thoughts on the way to pick up Sookie.
She was a few minutes late and was calling out her good bye's to Sam and the other staff that were still inside. She got in the car and she smelled much different. She had the residual smells of food, booze, beer, many other humans, and a shifter, probably Sam. None of these smells was strong enough to overpower her own slightly fairy smell. And she had dabbed on a little more Obsession recently. For his benefit? He hoped so.
"Bill, this is really nice of you." Sookie sighed as she settled down on the luxurious upholstery. She picked up his CD's and said "Oh, I love 'The Bravey', can I put one of these in?"
"Certainly." Bill said. He hoped she wouldn't put the music on so loud they were unable to talk. She picked his favorite CD and put it on and adjusted the sound so they could speak to each other comfortably.
"Busy night?" he asked. He knew he wanted to keep in touch with her reality, what her night had been like, but he couldn't ask too many questions so this seemed like a safe start.
"Oh yeah, very busy." she said, sounding tired. "I had to fill in for Holly too because her mom wasn't feeling well." This means she had extra tables, and had to work extra hard, so she was probably exhausted. He decided he would just drop her off at home so she could get some rest instead of trying to stretch out their time together. This was actually very interesting, listening to what she was saying, watching what she was doing, and adjusting his behavior to meet her needs. It required a lot of attention, but he liked a challenge.
"That's too bad about Holly's mom." Bill said, referring to Holly's mom's illness. He knew he was supposed to respond to this kind of information with sympathy. "Will she be alright?"
Sookie looked at Bill with interest. "Yes." she said slowly, "She'll be fine." Sookie could tell there was something different about Bill. The whole vibe he gave off was different. "That's a really nice shirt you're wearing." Sookie said.
"Thanks for noticing." Bill said. He added "I'm hoping it's not all wrinkled. I have been working non-stop on a book and I tend to get rumpled while sitting at the computer."
"What kind of book are you writing?" Sookie asked with some interest. She read a lot and was usually reading several books as evidenced by the stack with bookmarks in them by her chair and on her night stand.
Bill explained the book he was writing, and some of the additional research he was doing. Before he could finish he pulled up in front of her house. The security lights came on again. She invited him in and he asked her if she was sure she wasn't too worn out from working two people's jobs tonight. She seemed surprised he realized that was what she had done. She assured him that it would be fine for him to stop in for a little while because she could sleep in tomorrow morning.
"Me too." Bill said dryly. Sookie looked at him surprised and then they both laughed. They went inside and Bill told her more about the book. He asked her about her opinions and ideas and then asked for a piece of paper to write them down. He told her he valued her thoughts, that she was sensible and intelligent. He meant what he said too. After about an hour he insisted on leaving so she could get some rest. He wished her luck getting her car fixed and told her he would be happy to drive her anywhere tomorrow night. He said he'd call her as soon as he was up.
He left feeling better than he had in months. When he got home his phone started ringing. It was Sheriff Bud Dearborne and he was trying to find his nephew Sid.
More to come ........