Sookie is kind of a loner. She doesn't like to hang around too many people because she can hear their thoughts. She tries to block out as much as she can, but it is not always possible. Her parents died in a flash flood when she was seven and has lived with her grandma, Adele (whom she calls Gram) since. Her brother Jason lives in their parents' house (which Sookie owns half of).
One night, a vampire comes into the bar where Sookie works. She goes over to take his order and has to inform him that they don't have any synthetic blood yet. The Ratcliffs (Sookie and Arlene call them "the Rats") go over and sit with the vampire. Just before the three of them are about to leave together, Sookie hears that the Rats plan to drain the vampire to sell the blood on the black market as a drug. She goes over to Jason and asks to borrow the chain that he keeps in the back of truck. He asks if she needs help and she declines the offer. After Arlene agrees to cover for her, Sookie goes out to help the vampire. The Rats have him in silver chains and she beats the man, Mac, over the back with the chain. He pulls out a knife and just nearly misses her. She wraps the chain around his neck. The woman, Denise, gets them both to the car. Sookie is just able to get herself and the vampire out of the way before the Rats can run them over. She takes the silver off of the vampire and wraps it around herself for protection. They talk for a little while and she finds out that his name is Bill. Sookie also finds out that she can't hear Bill's thoughts.
When Sookie returns home from work, she tells Gram about her encounter with Bill the vampire. Gram asks if Sookie will ask him to speak with her "Decedents of the Glorious Dead" group about the war. Sookie agrees to ask him. Jason comes over the next morning to visit with Gram. He starts out by reprimanding Sookie for going after the Rats alone. Over lunch, he tells Sookie and Gram about how a lonely, lumpy girl named Madette was killed. She was into vampires and being bitten, but it seems as though she actually died by being strangled.
It is several nights before Bill comes back into the bar. Sookie asks him to meet her after she gets off work so that she can ask him a favor. He agrees. After work, Sookie waits for a little while for Bill before heading to her car. She realizes a little too late that the Rats are waiting for her. They beat her within an inch of her life before they are attached by something that sounds like a dog. The next thing she knows, Bill is carrying her into the woods to heal her. After being guaranteed that he won't change her into a vampire, Sookie is amazed at how Bills blood heals her. She asks him if the Rats are dead and he confirms it. He asks if he can call on her sometime and she says yes. The next morning, she finds out that Bill had made it look like a tornado had hit the Rat's trailer. Sookie drives by the site before work and the sheriff (Bud Dearborn) and coroner (... Spencer) seem a little suspicious of the whole thing.
On Sookie's night off, Bill comes over to Sookie's house. He talks with Gram about what things were like in the war. Afterward, he takes Sookie on a walk. They start talking about his past and how a person is turned into a vampire. They both end up touching on subjects that anger the other some, but the two decide that they are happier in each other's company than anyone else because of the way the treat each other (Sookie can't hear his thoughts and she doesn't judge him). They make plans for Sookie to visit him at his house, the Compton place, right down the street from her the next night.
The next night, Sookie is supposed to have the night off again, but Sam (bar owner) calls her in because another waitress (Dawn) didn't show up. She grudgingly agrees to come in for a few hours and decides that she will go to Bills afterward. However, when she does finally arrive at Bills, her day doesn’t go any better. Bill has a few visitors over, including three vampires (Malcolm, Dian, and Liam) and two humans who are there for them to feed on. The vampires want to take Sookie, but Bill tells them that she is his, so they leave her alone. They notice that Sookie doesn’t have any bite marks, so they offer Bill the man that they have. Sookie reads the human man’s mind and finds out that he has a type of aids that can affect vampires. She stops Bill from biting him and explains this. The other three vampires leave with the man, most likely to kill him.
The next morning, Sam calls Sookie asking her to stop by Dawn’s house on her way into work. She agrees, but when she gets there, Dawn doesn’t answer. She goes around to the back and looks in the bedroom window and finds Dawn sprawled out on her bed covered in blood. She spots Renee across the street and has him call the police. The police question her and send her on her way. Jason is getting worried that he is a suspect because he dated both of the women that have been killed. Sookie asks bill to take her to Fangtasia to ask about the girls since they had both been there.
At Fangtasia, Sookie asks the bartender about Madette and Dawn. He says that he won’t tell them who they were with, but that Dawn had wanted to die. Humans keep coming up to Bill, offering themselves, but he turns them down. He then points out the vampire that has been checking out all night. They go over and Bill introduces Sookie to Eric and Pam. Eric is obviously interested, but Sookie is not. Bill tells her that if she wants to be with Eric, it would be a good choice. Sookie is ready to leave, but before they do, she tells Bill that there is an undercover cop that is about to discover that there is a vampire feeding in the bathroom. Bill warns Eric and they leave. They start making out in the car and a cop comes up and tells them to move along. When Bill drops off Sookie, she explains her frustration with how indifferent he seems to be towards her.
Since Sookie is not talking to Bill, Gram did all of the communicating to get Bill to come speak to his group. Sam invites Sookie to attend the meeting with him and she agrees. They listen to Bills stories about the war, including one about a man’s ancestor that was killed trying to save a boy in the battlefield. Sam takes Sookie for coffee and then takes her home. She knows something is wrong when she walks in the door. After searching every room in the house, she finds Gram dead in the kitchen. Bill is there, explaining that Gram drove him home and he just returned after going home to change. They call the police and explain what happened. Jason gets really upset and ends up hitting Sookie. Bill ends up staying the night and they sleep together.
The next day at work, everyone is questioning Sookie’s happiness. She admits that she is dating Bill and Sam pulls down the collar on her shirt to show everyone the bite mark that Bill left on her neck. By the time that the night shift rolls around, the crew is finally starting to get back to normal. However, two of the vampires from Bills house (Dian and Malcolm) show up. Bill protects Sookie, taking the human’s side rather than the vampires.
Sookie goes straight home and Bill arrives shortly after. He tells her that they need to go to Fangtasia because Eric needs her help. When they get there, he explains that someone has been embezzling money. Sookie agrees to help if they allow the innocent parties to go free. Eric agrees and Sookie reads the minds of some of their human employees . She finds out that the bartender, Long Shadow is the one responsible. Before she can say anything, Long Shadow attacks her. Eric kills him to save her.
Arlene asks Sookie to babysit so that she can go out with Renee. Sookie agrees and Renee drops the kids off at her house. While she is watching them, Bill shows up and helps entertain the two children. Renee and Arlene come to pick up the children just as "the Man from Memphis" arrives. Bill warns them not to mention his real name and they all respect this, calling him Bubba. After the others have left, Bill explains that Bubba is there to watch Sookie while he goes to New Orleans to attempt to improve his position in the vampire hierarchy.
The next night, Sookie finds a collie in the parking lot and decides to take him home with her. She gets him inside the house quickly before Bubba, who has a fondness for eating pets, can get a hold of him. When Sookie wakes up in the morning, she finds Sam naked on her bed. He explains that he is a shape-shifter and used his power to be able to watch over her while Bill is away. He can shift into whatever animal he saw last and must shift when there is a full moon. Andy Belfour shows up and Sam shifts back into a dog. Andy tells her about another murder, Amy, how Jason is suspected for the murders (he had slept with her the previous night) and asks her a few questions about Bill as well. Sookie offers him a bed to sleep in so that he doesn't get into a wreck trying to drive home. He eventually accepts.
Sookie takes Sam back to his house by the bar and notices Jason's truck in the employee parking lot. She goes over to the truck and sees Jason passed out and covered in blood with a video tape on the dashboard. She calls Sam over and tells him to call for an ambulance. Sam tries to convince her that it is a bad idea, but then Arlene shows up and they have no choice. Jason is arrested for murder while he is in the hospital.
Later that night, Sookie hears something outside. She calls to Bubba, but doesn't get an answer. She decides that she is better of in the woods than in the house and carefully makes a run for it. She reads the killer's mind and finds out that it is Renee. He continues to chase her, but drops his strangling wire in the process. When he goes to get it, Sookie is able to stab him with his knife and get away. She gets to Bills house and calls 911 before passing out.
Sookie wakes up in the hospital. There are some police officers there and they tell her that Renee has confessed to the murders. They are waiting for him to wake back up to see if he is also responsible for murders in other cities that have the same M.O. Sookie is in a lot of pain and visitors keep coming. A sunshine lady comes in and delivers flowers, some of which are from Eric. Eventually, she falls asleep and has nightmares. She wakes up to Bill by her side. They talk and he tells her that he won a position as the Area 5 Inspector. She asks him not to kill Renee or to heal her. She sees a collie walk by her door, give a small woof and then continue down the hall. She looks out the window and sees that it is a full moon. She then sees Eric's face. She looks back to Bill and promises to heal as quickly as possible.