The light chuckle I heard coming towards me only served to make me want to fling myself in his arms.
“Hey hookah! Howz abouts me? I don’t get no lovin?”
“Laf! When did you guys get back? You aren’t supposed to be back until Friday, are you?”
“Well, Mz. Thang-wes’s come back cause you hads a big appointment today,” Lafayette said from the hallway where I could picture him leaning against the doorframe.
I frowned and the men laughed.
“You shouldn’t have come back just for me!” I felt horrible. Lafayette and Jesus were the only friends, besides Amelia, who had stuck by my side. They deserved the vacation that they’d voluntarily cut short for me. They’d already postponed it once before.
They’d been scheduled to leave two days after I’d been in the accident, but there had been no hesitation when they’d cancelled. I’d only found out after I’d woken up from the coma. They would have even been back by that time, but they refused to leave my side.
I heard crunching as someone stepped over the broken soap bottle and I felt strong arms swinging me up in their embrace. I smelled Jesus’ woodsy scent and I laid my head on his shoulder.
“Aw, have a hard day?”
I nodded as he carried me down the hall. He deposited me in a hard-backed kitchen chair; I felt cold when his arms left me.
“Let my hunny fix yous right up, baby girl. I is just gonna go gets you a comfy change ‘a clothes,” Lafayette bent and kissed my cheek as he walked by.
I breathed in his perfume (something fruity and floral today-Clinique Happy I believe) as he walked by and felt the tension draining out of my body. I had missed them. The two weeks they’d been gone, while well deserved, had been a special kind of hell for me.
“Aw Sook. This is gonna sting a bit,” Jesus’ voice penetrated my thoughts. I winced slightly as he dabbed something, an alcohol wipe by the smell, over the cuts on my foot. I counted 11 different swipes.
“Are there that many shards?”
“No, but there are some scrapes…probably from when you stumbled. I’ll get you fixed right up, hunny. Don’t worry,” I could hear the smile in his voice and I felt the corners of my mouth turn up as well.
“So, Sook,” I cringed as his fingers hit a sensitive area on the arch of my foot. “What’s got you all in a tizzy today? It can’t just be the appointment.”
“No. Well-mostly it was the appointment. For being the supposed best in his field, he sure was a fucking dumb ass,” I heard a derisive snort from somewhere behind me.
“If you was youz lovely self sweetness, I has no doubts that he’d be a charming asshole. I is guessin’ youz put on those prickly panties o’yours that youz been wearin’ lately,” Lafayette tsk’ed. I sighed.
“I do not have prickly panties.” I nearly choked as I spit the word out. “And you know I hate that word, Laf! Besides, if people weren’t so fucking douchtastic about…this…then I wouldn’t have to be prickly,” I cringed again as Jesus began wrapping some kind of bandage around my foot. I heard tape ripping and then smelled another antiseptic wipe. Fuuuuuuuuck.
“Oh, do you want to tell him what happened later at the shop?” Amelia’s voice floated in from the direction of the living room and I growled her way.
“What happened at the shop? Did you trip on those stairs again? Sook, I told you that you need help!” Jesus began running his fingers up and down my legs, presumably looking for bruises that he wouldn’t find.
“No! Just some asshole guy who was sneaking around and freaked me the fuck out. Reminded me of last year…” I trailed off at the hum of acknowledgement from the room’s other three occupants.
“Oh hunny chile. Don’chu worry bout all dat. I think dis calls for gittin’ youz all prettified. Show dat muthafucka what he done messed with.”
I scoffed. “I think Amelia has more of a chance with his sister than I want with him. He actually…nah, you know what? I’m never gonna see him again so it’s not even worth worrying about.”
“Uh, not entirely true, Sook.” A sharp metallic clang sounded as Amelia rustled some pots around in the cabinet behind me. “I kinda…invited-Pam over. For dinner. Tonight.”
“That doesn’t mean HE’S coming.”
“Uh-it kinda does. They just moved here and they don’t know anyone. And they live out in Bon Temps-” I grinned as I was almost convinced I heard her shudder. “Besides…I kinda invited her-and him-before we went over to Fangtasia…so before I knew you and he had…issues.”
The air wafted around me right before I was scooped into another set of strong arms.
“Besides, you didn’t tell them what you did to him!”
Lafayette paused in his journey to who knows where and I felt Jesus bump into his back. “What she talkin’ bout hookuh?”
I grimaced. “I may have-kinda…sorta…used him for batting practice…”
I felt the huff go through him before I heard it and Jesus groaned. “Seriously Sook?!”
“Come on guys! You don’t know the whole story!”
“I don’t want to hear the whole story. I honestly don’t care.” I wrinkled my nose at Jesus’ harsh words. “What I do care about is you. You need to stop alienating everyone you meet on the off chance that they MIGHT hurt you further down the line. It’s not healthy Sook.”
I crossed my arms over my chest.
“I’m fine and it’s fine. Let it go guys.”
“We’re only trying to help you Sookie. For Christ’s sake, this may be your new reality. You need to get the fuck over it and start living again!”
My eyes, unseeing as they were, were wide in astonishment. I’d never heard Jesus as angry as he seemed to be now. Lafayette clucked his tongue as I heard stomping footsteps echo down the hallway we’d just been through.
I was set down gently on a plush couch- judging from the musty booky smell- in the library and I heard lighter footsteps shuffling away. “You’re leaving me too now Lala?”
“Sook-” He sighed audibly, but didn’t move any closer. “I lovez you. You know dis. But I is almost at the end o’ my rope wit youz. Please…just-think about whut we’z sayin’. Aight?”
The door clicked shut quietly and I threw myself back against the cushion, blinking away the tears threatening to fall down my cheeks. The quiet settled in around me and I ran my hand over the stack of books on the table next to the couch, once again in misery as I was trapped in perpetual darkness.