The words that were coming out of my mouth simply did not make sense. What was I to say? Oops my bad, I scanned the room telepathically but didn’t pick up your presence. Silly me, let me get out of the way and hide.
I guess I mumbled I was sorry. He kept on staring at me, the emotions barely showing on his face anymore. I instinctively dropped my shields again in the hopes to hear whether my poor excuse was working or at least if he would still be willing to take my resume but I was not hearing anything. Was I sick?
His mind was made of nothing. No thoughts, no feelings, just sweet nothing. Silence. It was a beautiful thing that I had yet experienced with anyone…Radio silence…. But now that I was focusing on it, I realized that radio silence did not mean the absence of noise. On the contrary, there was a light hum, as if energy was concentrated in one spot but my hearing was not good enough to hear it. It sounded like a void, a fridge working in the background, the sound that comes out of your television when it is on and the screen is black.
“I can’t hear you” I whispered to myself before realizing I had spoken again.
“I said, what can I do for you” the man said louder.
I stuttered partly because I was in disbelief I had said that out loud, partly because I couldn’t hear his thoughts but also because he had heard my whisper. He must have a ridiculous good hearing.
I blinked a couple times before rallying the mental troops to kick myself in the ass and pretend as if nothing weird had just happened. I cleared my throat and gave him my best smile.
“I am so sorry, I am tired. I just wanted to drop off my resume but given the circumstances I totally get why you wouldn’t hire the weirdo that just barged in your office. So here’s the piece of paper you can throw out once I exit the room.” I didn’t take another breath I was already walking over to his desk and placing the paper. I had a tendency of over talking when I was nervous. “If you wanted to throw it out in front of me that’s okay too, who am I to tell you what to do really.”
This guy had a great poker face. I mean he was not showing any emotions at all and without his mind, for the first time in my life, I felt human and normal. I had no idea what to think of him and what he thought of me.
I was about to open the door when he finally spoke taking me out of my misery.
“Stop” he simply said with his hand in the air. He then indicated to the seat in front of his desk and I did not say anything else while I sat down. As good looking as this guy was, he was also very scary looking. I also couldn’t look at him in the eyes, not after this embarrassment of the performance I had just given him.
After a minute of silence, I risked an eye in his direction. He was looking my resume over with a cocked eyebrow and his lips curved at the corner, smirking. I am not going to lie, “Eric” was attractive and judging by his demeanor, he knew it. He was tall, at least from my point of view. He had long blond hair tied in a ponytail, defined with strong features almost cut out by a knife and the same applied to his muscles, I could make out from the dip and humps under his shirt.
When he looked up from the piece of paper I looked away blushing since I had been caught staring. Why was I always finding myself in the most awkward situations? At this very second I actually missed my curse because I would have given anything to hear or see what he thought. It’s not that I cared, but at the same I did. I guess, I really needed a job.
“You have a lot of experience waitressing Miss Stackhouse. It could be an asset.” He placed the paper on his desk and got up from his chair making me realize how truly tall he was. He was borderline giant, okay maybe because I was so short but he was taller than most men in Bon Temps, I would bet on it.
“The problem,” he continued, “is that we need a bartender, not a waitress” he said coolly with a business tone I wasn’t sure I wanted to do business with. Something about him was chilling and I suddenly just wanted to run away and forget about this place.
“No problem,” I said, “I understand.” I nodded before standing up myself. “Well it was nice meeting you E…” I hesitated, I knew his name from a thought, I was not about to let that known. I extended my hand and he grabbed it.
“Eric”, he affirmed before kissing my hand slowly. “All the pleasure is mine” he added as I gasp at the coolness of his lips. He stared at me and I couldn’t look away. His eyes were inviting yet dangerous. It made me feel uncomfortable, as if he was trying to manipulate me with a simple stare. My hands were sweaty and slippery but he did not let go of it and I didn’t fight. He got closer to me, slowly and gently never breaking up his gaze.
“Now Miss Stackhouse, why don’t you tell me exactly why you are here. Who do you work for?” he insisted and I frowned.
“What? I don’t understand.” and as I looked away and tried to take my hand away, he squeezed it harder. He searched for my eyes again and once he locked his gaze with mind, I felt the uncomfortable feeling again.
“Who do you work for?” his words were resonating within my mind as if I no longer controlled my own thoughts. I did not answer it, instead I frowned and silently started to panic at the idea I was alone here, in his office and with a man I barely knew.
As if he could read my own mind, he broke away the stare and I could swear I saw a gleam of confusion deep inside of him.
“My apologies, the competition likes to send spies to destroy my operations.”, he stated offering a small smile.
I was confused by what had just happened. He had seemed so adamant with his questions and I had felt so sick by it, I mean mentally sick. He had seemed surprised by my lack of response. Was he always use to getting what he wanted?
“I understand.” I replied but I didn’t really and all I wanted was to get out of the office. It is not that I was scared nor was I angry. I just didn’t understand what had just happened and it made me nervous, that and the fact I just didn’t know what he was thinking. It was unsettling. I headed to the nearest exit after Eric stated that they will be in touch but a part of me thought of it to be a lie.
If I was in his shoes, I wouldn’t bother calling the crazy girl who barged in my office unannounced and looking like she was pretending to need a job. Because if he was really afraid of spies from the competition, then would it not make sense to suspect the random girl who just walked in the office and whom was surprised that he was even there.
As I started my car, I sighed heavily at the realization I was not going to find a job tonight and since it was getting late, I headed home without any music playing because deep down, I missed the radio silence of earlier.
It was around 4 a.m. when my cellphone jingles pierced through the silent night. At first, I thought I was dreaming, my eyes heavy with sleep but when the jingle played for a second time, my eyes flew open realizing it would wake up my Gran. So I grabbed the small device and flipped it open.
“Hello?” I said in a raspy voice, I needed a glass of water.
“Hi, this is Pamela Ravenscroft from Salon Rouge” I heard in the speaker. “I am the manager here, and I would like to offer you a position as a bartender” she said coldly, the same business tone her boss had.
“Oh… huh”, I stuttered unable to form coherent thoughts in my head.
“Please be here at 8 p.m. this evening for your training.” She said before I heard the click at the other end. She had hung up and I didn’t even have a chance to accept the position or refuse it.
I scratched my head and turned to face the other way in my bed before I realized I was not going to fall back asleep, I was too nervous. Or maybe it was excitement; it was very hard to tell at this point.
After fighting with my mind for two hours, I finally came to the conclusion it was over and that I should just get up.
I showered and headed downstairs in my PJs in order to make breakfast for Gran and me, only to find her already prepping.
“You are up early” I said as for a good morning.
“Good morning honey! You know how it is, birds are chipping, and I must get up”
I chuckled and poured myself a cup of coffee.
“Anything I can do to help?” I questioned but she shook no with her head.
I sat at the table and watched her cook. Sundays were usually days we spent cooking, cleaning and taking care of laundry. This meant she was making my favourite; biscuits with sausage gravy and at any time, my brother would show up for a plate.
Jason was older than me but the way he acted usually looked like quite the opposite. He was a typical Stackhouse, medium built, blond hair and blue eyes. The ladies like him a lot although I couldn’t see what they saw in him but being his sister might have something to do with it. He was immature and obnoxious but he was my brother and I loved him.
He lived alone in a small apartment on the main street and it did not have a dryer or a washer. Hence he always brought his laundry on Sundays. I think Gran secretly loved it because she could see Jason and could take care of him by mothering him, while he did not mind it because he never had to do laundry and was fed in the process. It was one of those win-win situations.
He showed up just in time for the big cast iron pan that was bubbling away. My Gran had her own way of making this dish. She always started with cooking the sausage and using the fat to start the gravy. It was a classic type; fat and flour to make a roux and then milk to make the gravy. She then always poured it into a black cast iron skillet where she would drop dollops of biscuit dough right on top of it and would then put it in the oven until the biscuits were cooked and crispy on top.
“Hey sis!” Jason waved at me and then turned to kiss Gran on the cheek. “Praise Jesus, this looks amazing!” he added while Gran chuckled.
“Does this mean you will join us for worship Jason?” my Gran tried but he smirked and served himself a plate from the cast iron skillet that was now in the middle of the table.
“I am actually working today” he said in between bites. “There is a burst pipe up the main road; we can’t wait until tomorrow to fix it.” he added seeing Gran’s look of disapproval.
“I am sure our lord will understand.” she concluded as she grabbed my hand and grabbed Jason’s to say grace. He was never one to be religious but me, on the other hand, I liked to respect my Gran’s believes. I lived under her roof so it was just normal I observed her rules and practices. This included saying grace before eating.
“Who called you this morning Sookie?” Gran asked when we started eating.
“I am sorry, I tried to answer it before it awoke you but I was not quick enough” I immediately replied.
“Honey, you know me, the sun is my cue to wake up”
It was true, I didn’t know why I was still surprised to see her always awake before me. Gran was just a morning person but my phone had rung at 4 a.m., the sun was not up so I knew it had awakened her.
“It was one of the places I dropped my resume off at.” eating faster than I intended to.
“That is fantastic dear!” she exclaimed while Jason nodded in agreement.
Jason had offered me a job with his road crew but as generous as his boss was, I was simply not interested in working with a bunch of men, especially my brother.
“Where at?” he asked me.
“Salon Rouge” I said while I grabbed his and my plate as we were both finished.
“That stuck up bar?”
“It’s not because the place doesn’t look like a dive that it makes it stuck-up.” I replied rolling my eyes.
“Are you calling Merlotte’s a dive then?” he joked and I immediately took it back. Merlotte’s was a nice neighborhood bar. It wasn’t a dive and now with the fire, it would be rebuilt with brand new furniture. But still, they were two completely different bars that catered to different crowds and there was nothing wrong with that.
We washed the dishes promptly and after putting them away, I excused myself from the kitchen to get ready for church.
Once we came back from mass, I spent the rest of the day cleaning and gardening. I admit, I did take an hour or two to soak up as much sun as I could and after having dinner with Gran, I got upstairs to get ready for my shift.
Now I wasn’t exactly sure how to dress for the occasion. It wasn’t like I had time to ask Pamela what I was supposed to wear. I had noticed that most employees wore black and since I doubted the place would actually be opened tonight, I decided to wear black pants and a deep purple low cut t-shirt. I placed my hair in a ponytail and applied makeup before heading downstairs where Gran was waiting for me at the door.
“I am sure you will do great”
She offered me her best smile and I smiled back. I loved the way my Gran could just build up my self-confidence with a few words.
“Thanks Gran! Don’t wait up for me” I declared as I kissed her on the cheek.
The sun was still coming down when I pulled up in the parking lot of Salon Rouge. There were only a handful of cars but for some reason, they were all parked beside each other. I opted to be a little different and park near the back of the parking lot beside a red corvette. I knew the make of the car not because I knew anything about them, but I had always had a soft spot for corvettes and this one was beautiful.
I wasn’t sure which door to use but since the sign in the front said closed and there was no one at the door, I figured I had better chances at the back of the bar. The door was locked so I just gently knock hoping someone would hear me. I waited a couple minutes before putting my shields down to scan the joint. Now I knew if Eric was there, I would not hear him per say but I kept my ear open for that hum I thought he had.
I didn’t pick up anything at first so I thought either there was no one there or no one in my range. That was until I heard a faded thought, something about money, probably from the book keeper. So I knocked again, the thought begin to become clearer.
Kim is such an idiot, as if she bought that. Why would I come in, on my day off to just train a newbie? More like, yeah I’ll just take this as a special bonus and blame it on you.
The thought was now perfectly clear. I frowned, not sure exactly what the person meant but it sure sounded a lot like a plot with Kim being the scapegoat. The door opened and the bartender, Lexi, was standing in front of me.
“What are you waiting for? An invite?” she sneakered at me and I frowned again.
“Sorry” I mumbled as entered the bar.
We headed to the main room where the bar was and I followed her behind it.
“Do you have any bartending experience?” she said to me as if I was nothing more than a dog.
“No.” I replied.
Great, just great. Why on earth the boss would hire this one. She looks as smart as a rock.
“I am a fast learner.” I added looking at all the bottles of alcohol.
“Yeah okay.” she replied showing me the list of drinks they offered.
After a long lesson on how to poor some liquor onto ice, as if it was an art, I grew impatient and annoyed. It wasn’t that I was not excited about the training I was receiving or happy that I even had a job but I had not seen my boss since I started and apparently that was enough to annoy me to no end.
I mean, I needed to know how much I was going to get paid, the uniform and all that important stuff I wanted to discuss.
“Is it just you and I tonight?” I blurted out which caused Lexi to look at me suspicious.
I was not known to be subtle.
“If you mean whether our bosses will be here or not, they don’t show up until 10:30.”
I nodded in silence at the same time that we heard the back door open. Since Lexi had locked the door when I came in, it had to be someone with a key.
That’s weird, it not even 10 yet Lexi thought as Eric made his way to our room.
I felt a pinch of excitement as I heard the void coming our way, but as soon as I focused on it, I noticed there was a second one and it was following him closely.
“Good evening” he said to me and I replied back right away smiling.
It was strange enough for me to find someone with no thoughts that I could hear, but a second person, was just plain impossible.
Yet, the woman that was standing behind Eric had the same hum in her head. I guessed I must have starred to long because she looked at me rolling her eyes and crossing her arms a bit like Lexi had been doing the entire night.
The lady was quite tall. I mean not Eric tall but taller than Lexi and I. She had beautiful dark blonde hair with big blue eyes. She wore a Victorian era inspired shirt and skirt and it fit her so perfectly I could swear she was actually meant to be born in that era.
“Pamela, this is our new bartender Sookie Stackhouse” Eric stated staring at me.
“Aren’t you cute.” is all she said to me but I could swear she whispered I smelled good which was strange as I was not wearing any perfume of any kind. I didn’t know the policy of the establishment and since I was used to a co-worker who was deadly allergic to strong fumes, I had grown accustom to not wearing any. Arlene, another waitress at Merlotte’s, was a darling but she could have a lot of annoying tendencies and demands that sometimes reminded me of a princess.
“Nice to meet you.” I said extending my hand for a hand shake but she left me hanging and simply smiled to Eric before leaving the main room.