CHAPTER 1: The Problem With Road Trips
One year later and here I am driving back to Bon Temps. I wouldn't have bothered had my best friend Sookie not turn up alive. But, I have to see her even if it takes facin' up to my demons. Besides, she woulda done the same thing fo' me. Leaving thirteen months ago wasn't something I had planned to do. There were certain things that pushed me to do it. Momma, Eggs and Franklin combined made me wanna get away from all the bullshit.
You know, I can't believe I spent my entire life hopin' an' dreamin' that Momma would love me. Maybe it was because there were moments in between her sobriety and gettin' an exorcism when she tried to be a mother. But, overall, I'd have to say she just wasn't cut out for that kind of thing. She told me a thousand times while I was growin' up that I was a demon child. That I was a mistake. As I got older, her alcoholic rages got worst an' so did the beatings. But, it was the hurtful words that stung the most, more than a switch, a hairbrush or a shoe against my skin. Her words alone sliced my self worth in half. Is no wonder I am always angry, mean and pissed off and had too little self worth.
Death. I never knew death until I invited it in. When Eggs died, I was at a low place in my life. Everything seemed dark and lonely and life no longer had any meaning. I took a shit load of pills enough to put a horse under. Luckily, Lafayette kicked the bathroom door in and forced me to bring it all up. He saved my sorry ass. And I'm truly grateful. Though he was able to snatch me away from death's fingers, something else found its way in. Death's ally, Franklin.
Just days after my suicide attempt Franklin kidnapped me, fed from me, tortured me and raped me. For days on end he kept me tied up to a bed without food or water. For days he had his way with me, doing all manner of unimaginable things to my body and to my mind. Every second I spent with him was livin' hell. I was constantly in fear for my life, wondering when he was going to kill me. When, he told me he was going to turn me an' make me into his bride for an eternity, that's when I realized that I didn't want death no mo'. I wanted to fucking live. So I fought back and ran.
It didn't end there because the fucker tracked me down and was gonna kill me once and for all. But as luck would have it, Jason came out of nowhere and rescued me. He gave that psycho blood-sucking fuck a good dose of what he deserved. True death. A clean shot through the heart with a single wooden bullet sufficed. But even after that rapist ass-hole was gone, awful memories and terrible feelings still lingered. I felt unclean, low and unworthy and I felt like everything was closing in on me. Life had once again became too much a burden. It didn't take much to get me to cry. Shit, I was a fucking mess. Everywhere I went, I saw blood and death. I was constantly reminded of pain and fear. The whole damn town felt like a fucking cage. Even my braids began to feel like heavy rope and chains anchoring me down when most of all I wanted to be free. Cutting them off was the first step to being released from mental bondage. The next major step was getting as far away from Bon Temps as fucking possible. With just the clothes on my back, I hightailed it outta that bum fuck town and just kept drivin'. I didn't know where the fuck I was goin'. All I knew was I wanted to leave, reboot, start my life over. And that's what I did.
I never wanted to come back home, not yet anyway. For the past year I did some major changes to my life, some of it helped me heal, but going back home still scares me. I have to see Sookie. She's my one true friend. She and her whole family has always been there for me. Goin' back is the least thing I could do. Months ago I had given her up for dead thinking her crazy involvement with vampires had something to do with her disappearance. Which was another reason why I didn't want to go back to Bon Temps. With no Sookie, there was no point. But when I got Lafayette's text about her return, I was overjoyed. It didn't take me long to pack my things and gas up my car.
But first, I had to let Naomi, my new squeeze know that I was leavin' town. Yeah, she and me been livin' together in N'Orleans for the past six months. We met at Smithy's, a bar I worked at on Bourbon Street. I'd never been with a woman before, never was attracted to them. Let's just say things just happened between she and me and leave it at that. She introduced me to cage fighting. Turns out I am good at it. I had so much rage in me it served me well to put it to good use. One thing I can say about it is that the pay is damn good. In fact each month I've been able to set a bit aside in the bank which is something I was never able to do while working at Merlotte's and looking after my mother. I've found this new outlet to be therapeutic. It has helped me get rid of years of pent up fears, frustrations, and hate. Hate for my abusive momma, hate for Franklyn Mott, hate and anger at the world.
As for me shacking up with a woman, who would've thunk it. If you think that's strange, think again. Let me tell you what's strange. Strange is me filling her pretty head with lies of a life that never existed. Of a life I wished I had. Instead of telling her that I was going to Bon Temps for a couple of days, I told her that I was going to Atlanta to attend my grandmother's funeral. Yeah, a made up grandmother. Naomi knows nothing about my past, nor about Sookie, Lafayette or me being raped. Shit, she thinks my name is Toni and that I have a brother named Jason.
At first lying seemed a harmless thing to do but believe you me there's a price you pay. The guilt for one gnaws away at your guts knowin' someday it's gonna catch up with ya. So why I did it? Well, I wanted so much to erase the past and become a whole new person that I was willing to do anything, even if it meant lying.
I know deep down that someday Naomi may find out the truth and when she does, I won't blame her if and when she decides to leave me.
That's the problem with road trips. It makes you reflect on a lot of shit.
Right now my head is buzzing with thoughts of who in Bon Temps I rather avoid. Jason Stackhouse tops that list. Even though he saved my life when he killed my captor, Franklyn, it was hard for me to not associate him with horrifying images of Eggs lying on the cold asphalt and his life pouring out of him. I suppose it wasn't his fault no more than it was Eggs', but, it has taken me a long long time to forgive, to accept, and to let go.
Another person I can't bring myself to look at in the face is Momma. 'specially after what she did to become Reverend Daniels' wife. She, a professed born again Christian was seein' Rev. Daniels a year ago while he was still a married man. It sickened my stomach when I walked in on the two of them on the couch smoochin' and an' tearin' at each other's clothes. Fucking disgusting. Four months and a quickie Mexican divorce later, Lettie Mae finally got her wish. I guess people will do anything to reinvent themselves. And don't I know it.
It's gonna be hard avoiding Sam. He must hate me for all the shit I've put him through.
"No strings" I remember telling my former boss, and he obliged the first time we had sex. Not surprising he's a damn good kisser and fucking fantastic between the sheets. We came to an agreement that it was just goin' to be us fucking and nothin' else. Well, at least so I thought until one day he came by my house sayin' he wanted to have something more with me. Shit. I liked him, I really did but I was in no shape to get something goin' with my boss. Thinking I had a demon in me, I believed I was too fucked up and too angry to be in a real relationship. So I did what I thought was the best thing for both of us. I sent him packing. Now that I think back on that day, he really was willing to give us a chance and I threw it back in his face. How could I have been so stupid and so mean?
Shit, I really treated Sam like dirt and yet he never gave up on me. He was always there with a shoulder to cry on. He even financed my exorcism, which turned out to be fake by the way. Still, I wonder how life would've turned out had I said "yeah Sam, let's do this." Fuck, it's too late for that now.
I admit I never made it easy for anyone to love me, let alone Sam. I was busy puttin' up so many barriers that I ignored those few tender moments between us. Although I was reluctant about us going further, we still maintained a physical relationship of sorts. So it was no surprise that we did it one last time just before I skipped town.
The last time we were together was memorable. It started out with me going to Merlotte's that night in time to see Sam in a drunken rage yellin' at folks an' actin' like an ass-hole. He called Holly and Arlene bitches and insulted Terry. For whatever reason, he was pissed. In between him tellin' everyone to leave, I calmly took a seat at the bar and poured myself a drink like I didn't give a fuck. He tried chasing me off too, but, I wasn't gonna move. No way. I stayed put. Once we were alone and all was quiet, he sobered up some and we talked over shots of tequila. We talked like we always did, like old friends. We chatted a while about this an' that. How the world perceived us and so on. Shoot, I miss our talks. What struck me is when he told me he had nobody and I told him I was there for him, his reaction came off a tad doubtful. Considering what I've put him through in the past, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
After that, we went straight to his trailer and fucked an' damn, he got me good. Hell, the earth moved. But later that night, something different happened. Well, good different. When we went at it again, everything took on a whole new meaning. It was no longer about us working Jason and Sooks out of our systems or how angry we were at the world. We were there for each other, on a deeper level. It felt as though we had finally found in each other whatever we were searching for all our lives. We connected. And we connected three times more before we fell asleep.
A few hours later I woke up by his side. By then, I would've been out the door, but, I stayed and watched him sleep. His face relaxed and handsome, he looked perfect. I studied every curve and angle, I could've gone on watching him for the rest of the night. Then when he opened his eyes a few minutes later and cracked the sweetest smile ever, he melted my heart all over again. Next thing you know it, we reached for each other and made love. It was slow, tender, intimate and sweet. When we were done, we didn't say a word. We didn't have to. He gently stroked my cheeks with his finger tips and I felt so at peace. While we spooned, I remembered weaving my fingers through his and feeling complete, happy, loved. We slept soundly after that. And as I slept with his warm body enveloping mine, I felt calm and safe from all the dark dreams that plagued me many nights before.
The next morning I woke up rested and feeling like I could take on the world. When I got up, I realized that for once I didn't wake up screaming out in a cold sweat. That for once I didn't feel Franklyn's darkness haunting me. I felt that even after all the madness I'd been through, the world seemed a better place. With Sam, the world was a better place.
That morning Sam was already up and about and I could hear him moving about in the kitchen. I showered and threw on his bathrobe that held his scent. A mixture of Irish Spring soap and Old Spice aftershave made me feel right at home. I don't know why, but I pressed the plush green fabric up to my nostrils and drew in his essence deeply, branding his masculine emanation to my memory. Scent. Once it is seared deep into your memory, it becomes a part of you. There have been moments out of the clear blue that his scent would pop up in my head. Not sure why that happens or how. Even though we are hundreds of miles apart, whether I'm driving about, or shopping, without warning, it would come to me, then, I miss him.
I remember watching the morning news while he made us breakfast. Yeah, imagine that, he made us hoe cakes and just the way I like it, in bacon grease. As I watched him tinker away in the kitchen looking so cute in his blue boxers and white T-shirt, I actually caught myself smiling. Something I hadn't done in weeks. I thought how happy I felt when I'm with him. That's when I decided to tell him that I liked him and that I was ready for somethin' real".
Just as I was about to open up my heart to him, he came out and told me he was a shape shifter. Talk about throwing me a curb ball.
I flew off the handle, chastizing him for not telling me sooner. I told him that I couldn't deal with non-humans anymore and that too many bad things had happened to me because of supernatural stuff. I overreacted and said too much. Fuck, I should've stopped right there but I continued and said that I wished I could forget all the shit I'd learned recently. Imagine how badly he must have felt to hear me say all that. It's not like he could help being what he is no more than the rest of us can. I wish I could take back the awful things I said. I shoulda realized that somethin' like that ain't easy to talk about. The least thing I coulda done was be more understanding an' appreciate him for trustin' me an' opening up to me. Instead, I walked away and never looked back. He deserves better.