Chapter 5

I thought my humiliation was complete after the drive through town. Everybody gawked as they recognized me in the back of the police car. I thought about hiding my face, but decided to keep my chin held high.

With Sam coming to the station behind me, I felt more confident and started shielding so that could get some space to think before sitting down for the interrogation. From what I could gather from Alcee, he was really gearing up for a show. I would to stop thinking of all the things I could be (and have been) guilt of. I could not let those ghosts haunt me for the next few hours. I was really hoping it would be hours. I wanted to be back out of jail before sundown. I could not imagine having to talk to Eric from behind bars. No sir.

By the time we reached the police station, I had decided on a couple things. First, I would use my phone call to phone a lawyer. For one wild moment, I thought of calling in the (mostly) demon lawyer Mr. Cataliades, who oddly enough is the source of my telepathic powers. Since he still was on the run, I figured he was not likely to get this squared away. Sid Matt, a Bon Temps fixture, had retired, and Portia was Andy’s sister and did not like me particularly. That left one option: Beth Osiecki.

A few months back, I spent the afternoon in her office preparing my will. Just in case. It was an odd way to spend part of my big birthday, but she had been competent and highly professional. Although she specialized in estate planning, as a small-town attorney she pretty much had to do it all. If she could not defend me, she would likely help me find someone. Second, I decided to post my own bail if I was granted that option tonight.

Before I knew it, we reached the police station. It was like the whole town knew I had been arrested and come out to see the show. Damn it, Sam! He had probably been busy dialing away to make sure Jason knew what was happening.

Jason and Michelle were there looking shocked, which quickly turned to anger on Jason’s face. Catfish Hennessey was there with what looked like more of the parish road crew. They’d likely heard where Jason was headed and decided to come along. Maxine Fortenberry was there too, likely because she had heard through her son Hoyt. Oddly, Arlene’s latest man, another FOTS flunky, was there too. It was a small town and news apparently traveled faster than my squad car entourage. I wanted to die. Gran would have been so ashamed to see me in this sort of spectacle.

Andy got out of his squad car first and approached my door. As he opened it, I saw a flash of speed coming up from behind Andy. He noticed the motion too and just as he turned to see what it was, Jason delivered a mighty upper cut that landed on the mark.

For a split second, it felt like time stood still as Andy was slightly airborne and then hit the ground with a thud and grunt of pain. Just about then, Alcee Beck tackled Jason to the ground and Bud Dearborn tried to enter the fray, but could barely get out of the car what with Andy knocked out and Jason and Alcee in a struggle.

I won’t lie. I felt a mixture of satisfaction and guilt seeing the punch land on Andy’s chin. After all the grief of being arrested, I was feeling like Andy had not given me much to work with back at the house, so blamed him a bit for the predicament I found myself in. At the same time, he tried to warn me.

With all that raucous, I decided to stay put. Not that I had much choice. It seemed like it was going to be hard to maneuver out of the back of the patrol car with my hands cuffed and the car door barely ajar. I figured getting out wasn’t going to help much anyway.
Just then, Kenya and her partner Kevin, two of my favorite patrons at Merlotte’s, came out of the station at top speed. Their sudden appearance calmed the situation down. As Kenya took charge of the riled-up crowd, Kevin pitched in with Alcee to subdue and cuff Jason.

When she turned back to see Alcee and Kevin still struggling with Jason, Kenya warned Jason that she would arrest him for disorderly conduct, obstruction of justice and assaulting a police officer or two. That cooled his heels a bit.

From his thoughts, I could tell Jason was feeling scared of spending the night in jail. He had spent some time in jail when he was suspected of murder and later confined to a shack out in Hotshot after being kidnapped. Those two experiences had made him a bit more wary of confined spaces. Bless his heart. I was also worried that both of us would be spending the night in jail, not to mention the fact that I would now have to bail both of us out.

Kenya bent down to take Andy’s pulse and confirmed that he was coming around. I was relieved, but then worried that Andy would not be on my side from now on after Jason had hauled off and hit him.

After making sure Andy was okay, Kenya helped Sheriff Dearborn get me out of the car and navigate me through the crowd. Our little group just made it to the door, when Arlene’s FOTS buddy spit on me.

I thought the crowd was riled up after Jason’s outburst. Now all that energy just about boiled over. There was yelling from every direction, and a scuffle broke out somewhere in the crowd. In the confusion, it was hard to tell what everyone was saying, but Kenya hustled me inside with Kevin and Alcee dragging in Jason just on our tail.

From inside, the noise from the crowd was muffled. Sheriff Dearborn was working to keep the peace, but not very successfully. As I listened to the crowd, I was heartened to hear that most folks out there were taking up for me.

For the first time since I had been arrested, I began to relax. The people who knew me did not believe I had killed Arlene and were there to support me. I didn’t think that was going to get me out of jail any faster, but I was willing to accept that as a small blessing.
I was also hoping a few more small blessings would add up to a miracle, so that I could spring myself out of here by dark.

Order seemed to return once we were in the station. Jason was greeted by the receptionist with a knowing smile that told me she had a soft spot for him like all the other women in Bon Temps. She had also likely slept with my tomcat of a brother, just like most of the other women in Bon Temps too. True to form, Jason gave her his best heart-stopping grin and winked.

I had just enough energy to roll my eyes. Kenya caught me and gave me a wink of her own. Very quickly, Kenya remembered that I was under arrest as well, so she got to business with booking me. We did the whole nine yards: the mug shot, the finger prints, confiscating my personal belongings.

I know it was silly of me, but I was really miffed that they wouldn’t let me fix my ponytail that had suffered somewhat during my transport and the scuffle out front. For any picture, I just wanted to look decent, especially if my photo was going to run in the local paper tomorrow.

I was thankful when Kenya gave me what I felt like was a half-hearted pat down, making up for not fixing me up for the mug shot. The whole time, she was thinking about how I was always in trouble and in over my head. Like Andy, she also did not think I had anything to do with killing Arlene. Not because she didn’t think I had it in me, but she didn’t think I had the strength to strangle a woman that way. I was startled to see a flash of the murder scene from Kenya’s mind, but stored that away hoping that it would help me later.

After that, Kenya escorted me to a back room for questioning. Once I was seated, I requested my lawyer be present for any questions. I thought it was better to be safe than sorry since this time I was officially under arrest. I was not cut out for a life of crime. I definitely needed some guidance here.

Kenya looked a bit stunned. I could hear that she was thinking only guilty or wealthy people asked for an attorney. This request made her question her original assumption that Bud and Alcee were barking up the wrong tree, so I decided to explain a bit. I did my best to sound level headed, logical, and innocent.

“Kenya, it’s not that I’m worried about answering questions, but I learned from Jason’s time in jail. Sid Matt Lancaster said that Jason would have been out much sooner if he had representation.”

“Of course he said that Sookie. He’s a lawyer. You sure you need one?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

I smiled, trying to show I was innocent and polite. Kenya shook her head and left me on my own.

Once alone, I nearly started crying, but thinking of the police shows on television I was pretty sure that Bud or Alcee were watching me from behind the mirror. With that in mind, I just tried to clear my head and focus on what I would tell my lawyer.

There was a lot of waiting. I thought I might have to pee my pants when Beth Osiecki came in looking flustered. She seemed pleased that I had called on her. She had a great game face. I heard her thinking that I had seemed nice when we had done my will, but that she had heard odd things about me, including that I was crazy. I began to doubt my choice in representation, when she thought that she would wait to judge that until after we talked.

I was granted a private conversation with my lawyer. Ms. Osiecki sat across from me and asked some basic questions about my treatment and arrest.

“Sookie, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but you’re in a world of trouble. The good news is that while you’ve been arrested, you haven’t been charged with anything yet. In order to continue to hold you beyond 24 hours, the police will have to charge you. As your attorney, is there anything you think I should know?”

That question covered a lot of territory. From my blank face, she understood that I wasn’t quite sure where to start.

“Let’s start with the basics. You know that Arlene was murdered last night?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have an alibi between 9 pm and 2 am?”

“Yes, I think so.”

I hesitated. I wasn’t sure what to say about where Sam and I were the night before. Hell, we didn’t have a single minute to come up with a story once we exited the woods and found half the Bon Temps police force on my lawn.

“I was with Sam Merlotte. My boss.” I would just have to hope that Sam would say we had been together. Doing what, I wasn’t sure.

“Could he corroborate that?”

“Yes, of course. Ms. Osiecki, can you help me get bailed out tonight?”

“No, Sookie, I’ve asked and they aren’t allowing for that in this case. You saw the crowd that gathered out front. Sheriff Dearborn said he is worried about your safety. He also mentioned you might be a flight risk because of your boyfriend?”

Beth Osiecki had almost called his my “vampire boyfriend,” but as a professional went the more neutral route. That was interesting. It was also interesting that she did not believe Bud was thinking about my safety. She was pretty sure Bud was much more focused on my boyfriend. In some ways it made sense, Eric had just been cleared yesterday of a murder that had taken place on his lawn. There were plenty of dead bodies dropping around Eric.

Then I processed what she really said. I was going to spend the night in jail. After a few more questions, Beth left and returned with Bud, Alcee, and Kenya.

Beth repeated my request to post bail and return to my home. Alcee looked like he was about to speak, but Bud just shook his head and denied the request. After that there was some back and forth between the police and my attorney, but nothing for me.

In the end, Bud told me that Kenya would take me back to my cell and that they would ask me questions in the morning.

“Bud, you know I’ve got work to do. Just let me get the MErlotte’s schedule in order so that I can take a couple days off and we can straighten this out.”

“Sookie, you’re staying here tonight. And that’s final.”

With that Bud and Alcee left the room. Beth Osieki said goodbye and made arrangements to join tomorrow’s interrogation in the morning.

As soon as she left, I felt so alone, even though Kenya was still thinking good things about me. She was surprised I was handling myself so well and thought I had made the right call about the attorney after talking to Alcee. She could tell he had it in for me.

Kenya walked me to my cell, where I was greated by an enthusiastic and intoxicated Jane Bodehouse. In such a small town like Bon Temps, there weren’t many cells and usually only one for women. I wasn’t too surprised to see Jane three sheets to the wind before dark, but I was surprised she had been brought in. At Merlotte’s, we kept an eye on her and called her son to come by before there was any need for such things.

“Hey Jane! How come you’re in here?”

“How come Merlotte’s didn’t open for lunch, Sookie?”

That explained it. Our bar hadn’t opened because I’d been arrested and Sam had followed me in, so Jane sought comfort elsewhere and ended up here as a result. At first I was worried about Jane, but then remembered that I had much bigger problems. Jane would get to leave once she sobered up. I might be here for much, much longer.

With that food for thought, I sunk down on the bench and decided to go to sleep. If I was going to spend the night, I might as well sleep through it. When I woke, it was well past dark. I got up off the bench and walked to the cell window.

As I looked out, I nearly let out a scream. Eric was hovering just outside my window. I felt a pang in my heart and tightness in my throat.
His appearance triggered memories of the night he came to my hospital window after I had been attacked by Bon Temps first serial killer, Rene.

So much had happened since that night. At the time, his presence surprised me. I thought I was on his radar only as a useful tool in his empire, but now I saw that differently. It always took me by surprise when I looked at him and realized that he had chosen me. Now, I wondered if he would choose me again or if he would leave me for Freyda. My heart sank, and I felt like I might throw up.

With everything else that happened today, I had nearly forgotten about the possibility of Eric leaving me. Now, here he was, and I just couldn’t face it. It must have shown on my face because he started to reach for the bars on the window.

At first I was worried that he was going to rip them from the building and bust me out. Admittedly, I had been hoping for something along those lines, but with that reality, I was worried it would just land me in hotter water if I became on honest-to-God fugitive.

When I shook my head and waved my arms violently to tell him not to do it, I saw a smile play on his lips. He just held the bars and asked if I was alright. When I nodded, he surprised me again. In the blink of an eye, he had disappeared.

“Well, that’s just great. What kind of rescue was that?”

Jane Bodehouse just looked up at me and smiled her drunken grin. A moment later, I heard a commotion at the front of the station. Eric knew how to make an entrance.

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