Before I could finish the article, the phone rang. I jumped about a foot. I’d been wondering if Eric would call back after he’d had enough time to get really angry with me, but the caller ID let me know my caller was Sam.
"Hey," I said.
"What happened last night?" he asked. "I just watched the Shreveport news."
"I went over to Eric’s because of the out-of-town vamp visitors," I said, condensing. "This Kym Rowe left the house right after I got there. Eric had taken blood from her." I had to pause to collect myself. "Then Bill found her dead on the lawn. They might have hushed it up…. Oh, hell, of course they’d have hushed it up. Moved her body, or something. But the police had gotten an anonymous call that there was a body at Eric’s, so the police were there before he even knew her body was on the lawn."
"Do you know who did it?"
"No," I said. "If I knew who’d killed her, I’d have told the cops last night."
"Even if the killer was Eric?"
That stopped me dead. "It would depend on the circumstances. Would you turn in Jannalynn?"
There was a long silence. "It would depend on the circumstances," he said.
"Sam, sometimes I think we’re just dumb," I said, and then I heard myself. "Wait, not speaking for you! Just for me!"
"But I agree," he said. "Jannalynn … she’s great, but I feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew some days."
"Do you tell her everything, Sam?" How much did other couples share? I needed some feedback. I’d had so few relationships.
He hesitated. "No," he said, finally. "I don’t. We haven’t gotten to the ‘I love you’ stage yet, but even if we had … no."
My mental focus took a U-turn. Wait a minute. According to Alcide, Jannalynn had told him she was going to propose. Sure didn’t sound like Sam was ready for that, if they hadn’t even told each other they loved each other. That couldn’t be right. Someone was lying or deluded. Then Sam said, "Sookie?" and I knew I’d been letting silence fill the air while I thought all this.
"So it’s not just me and Eric," I said hastily. "Between us, Sam, I feel like Eric’s not telling me some pretty important stuff."
"What about the things you aren’t telling him? Are those things important?"
"Yeah, they are. Important, but not … personal." I hadn’t told Eric about Hunter, my little second cousin, being telepathic like me. I hadn’t told Eric how worried I was about the concentration of the fae in Monroe. I’d tried filling Eric in on the fae situation, but it had been easy to tell that the politics of his own kind were at the top of his list these days. I couldn’t blame him for that.
"Sookie, you’re okay, right? I don’t know what you mean by ‘not personal.’ Everything that happens to you is personal."
"By personal stuff … things that are only about me and him. Like if I wasn’t happy with the way he treated me, or if I thought he needed to be around more, or if he’d go with me to Jason and Michele’s wedding. If I needed to talk about any of those things, I would. But I know pieces of information that affect other people, and I don’t always tell him those things, because he has such a different perspective."
"You know you can tell me, if you need to talk about something. You know I’ll listen and I won’t tell anyone."
"I know that, Sam. You’re the best friend I’ve got. And I hope you know I’m always ready to listen to anything you need to talk about. I’m sure Eric and I will get back to normal when Felipe leaves … when the boat stops rocking."
"Maybe you will," he said. "But you know that if you get nervous out there, I got an extra bedroom here."
"Jannalynn would kill me," I said. I’d spoken the first thought that went through my head, and I could have slapped myself. I’d spoken the truth-but I was talking about Sam’s girlfriend. "Sorry, Sam! I’m afraid Jannalynn believes you and I have a-a lurid past. I guess she’s not there tonight?"
"She’s working tonight, at Hair of the Dog. She’s watching the phones and the bar traffic while Alcide’s having meetings in the back room. You’re right, she’s a little possessive," he admitted. "It was kind of flattering at first, you know? But then I began to wonder if that means she doesn’t have any faith in my integrity."
"Sam, if she has a grain of sense she can’t possibly doubt you." (I was pretty sure Jannalynn blamed it all on me.) "You’re an honest guy."
"Thanks," he said gruffly. "Well … I’ve kept you talking long enough. Call me if you need me. By the way, as long as we’re talking about relationship stuff, do you know why Kennedy’s mad at Danny? She’s been snapping at everyone."
"Danny’s keeping some kind of secret from her, and she’s afraid it’s about another woman."
"It’s not?" Sam knew all about my telepathic ability.
"No, it isn’t. I don’t know what it is. At least he isn’t stripping at Hooligans." One of us had talked, which was inevitable, and the story of JB’s second job had gotten a lot of comment in Bon Temps.
"She didn’t think about just asking Danny what he was doing?"
"I don’t think so."
"Children, children," Sam said, as if he were in his sixties instead of in his thirties.
I laughed. I was in a better mood when we hung up.
Dermot came in about half an hour later. Normally, my great-uncle was at least content in a low-keyed way. Tonight he wasn’t even approaching happiness; he was actively worried.
"Claude’s absence is making them restless."
"Because he has such charisma that he keeps them all in line." Claude had as much personality as a turnip.
"Yes," Dermot said simply. "I know you don’t feel Claude’s charm. But when he’s among his own people, they can see his strength and purpose."
"We’re talking about the guy who chose to stay among humans rather than go into Faery when it was closing." I just didn’t get it.
"Claude’s told me two things about that," Dermot said, going to the refrigerator and pouring a glass of milk. "He said he knew the portals were closing, but he felt he couldn’t leave without tying up his business affairs here, and he never imagined that Niall would really stick to his decision. On the whole, the gamble of staying here appealed to him more. But he told the others, all the assortment of fae at Hooligans, that Niall denied him entry."
I noticed that Dermot was admitting, though not explicitly, that he didn’t have the high opinion of Claude that the other fae did. "Why’d he tell two stories? Which do you believe?"