I walk into my room and glance out the window to find Eric, Pam and Bill all talking near the tree line in my yard. I guess Eric called Bill to see what he knows about Kennedy and why he would attack me. Smart. I expect as much from Eric. I just hope he doesn’t expect me to let Bill in here. I really don’t have a reason not to (at least not a new and pressing one) and if he is going to help it would be polite, but I don’t want to be polite. I want to take a shower, talk to Eric (have mind-numbing sex) and go to sleep. Well I think I will cross one of those of my list right now. I walked into my bathroom, shucked the rags that used to be my clothes, started the water, and with a reluctant sigh flipped the lock. The little lock on my bathroom door wouldn’t stop Amelia much less Eric if they really wanted in, but I know he won’t bust in without a serious reason (she might be another story). Naked in the shower is not how our conversation needs to begin, as much as I would L-O-V-E a replay of our first shower together.
Kennedy had whipped both my back and my legs when I was restrained and the hot water stung the open lacerations, but I had to get clean. My grimy hair was stuck in the wounds, dried blood was everywhere and I was just plain dirty. I washed and washed and washed until Eric knocked lightly on the door and asked if I was alright. I decided I was as clean as I was going to get and cut the water off. I told him I would be out in a minute and he seemed to find that answer sufficient. I combed out my hair and put it in a bun on the top of my head. Not attractive and not my norm but I didn’t want to risk hair sticking to those wounds again. I slipped on my nylon robe, put on my moisturizer and wished I had thought to grab underwear on my way in. When I entered my room I was relieved and surprised to not see Eric in it. I grabbed some panties out of my drawer and awkwardly shimmied into them. I decided to forgo a nightgown, at least for the moment as the thought of getting into one was too much to bear.
I peeked into the hall and discovered Eric, Pam and Amelia all in the living room. I walked out and they all stood. Amelia announced that she was going to bed and all but skipped up the stairs. Pam leered at me for a moment and I realized I hadn’t pulled my robe quite tight enough and it was obvious to all I skipped the nightgown. Oh well they have both seen me before. She told me to stop getting kidnapped and with a “tomorrow boss” to Eric she was out the door.
And then there were two.
I looked at him and he looked at me and for a moment it seemed as if neither of us could move. There was so much to be said. So many wrongs, Eric was mighty ambitious if he thought we could “accomplish” anything tonight. I am not convinced that we will be able to stop staring at each other. As if he heard my thoughts Eric moved but did not break his gaze. His brilliant blue eyes were fixated on me and I was exhilarated and terrified. I know how I feel about Eric, but I have never said it aloud, and he will know if I am lying. I will have to be honest. Even if I didn’t have to be, hadn’t he earned it?
She is breathtaking. Well if I had any breath she would surely take it. Standing there in that thin sheath she is the most stunning creature I have ever encountered. Wet coiled up hair bruises and all. I knew she was nervous, even frightened. I knew she enjoyed looking at me as much as I did her. I knew neither of us wanted to stop, but we have matters to attend to. I could not take my eyes off her but I forced myself to move. I walked to her and took her hand in mine. “Dear one, would you like to sit her on the couch or would you be more comfortable in your room? I promise to be a gentleman, at least until we have completed our discussion.”
“Well if you really can keep your hands to yourself, I would like to talk in bed; I am exhausted and really want to snuggle up under my quilt.”
“Of course” I reply but I know she can feel my desire.
She starts to climb into her high bed but I know that she is in pain so I lay her in it and make sure she is comfortable. As I slide in next to her I am aware of the wounds on her back and decide that I need to inspect her thoroughly. I would have done so while she was showering but she locked the door and I didn’t want her to think I was intruding. I feel her lust and apprehension as I disrobe her.
“Hey there I thought we agreed no funny business” she says with a sharp look.
“Lover I assure you I am not being funny I simply have not seen the full extent of your injuries and would like to have a more through look.” I reply, which is mostly honest. I have often fantasized seeing her naked again but not under such circumstances. Dr. Viking MD I hear directly from her brain. I wonder how my telepath would feel if she knew about my occasional glimpses into her psyche. I will find out soon enough I suppose.
“Fine” she submits and rolls to her left so that I can slide the nylon off her shoulder. If only she were always this obedient.
I could not suppress my grimace as I see the extent of the whips use. I know she can feel my fury rising. I kiss her between the shoulder blades and force myself to regain composure.
“Oh Sookie, I am so glad they are all dead, I only wish that last had truly been at my hands. Turn over my lover so that I may see your front.”
“How bad is it?” She asks with genuine curiosity.
“I do not believe they intended to kill you. This is obviously a message, but to whom? My dear, you are far too entrenched in supernatural politics to suit me.”
“Me too” she replies, immediately regretting it. She feels guilty. She knows my rank, and does not want to alienate me further. She is so endearing.
“Who is this Kennedy and how did you come to be his woman?” I ask without thinking, that mistake will set me back; Sookie Stackhouse is nothing if not her own woman.
Her annoyance is immediately apparent. She can be very immature, which is disconcerting but I will appease her quickly.
“I am my own woman and you well know it Eric Northman” she tried to scold me as I repress a grin.
“Please enlighten me of your most recent liaison, my dear Sookie” I say with the most remorseful smile I can collect, I am not pleased she was seeing yet another man after we have been bonded.
The ethereal creature lying beside me inhales deep, and I cannot help but observe her exposed chest. I remember her taste all too well. This will be a challenge.
“Jason says that Kennedy moved here about six months ago from someplace up north, Indiana maybe? Anyway, he took a job under Jason on the road crew, and of course they both knew they were weres.”
This is not pleasing; she would rather date a pawn of her simpleton brother than me. I clench my jaw and give a look meant to indicate continue. I conceal my emotions to the extent of my control. Something slipping through the bond or from my lips could antagonize her again. That is a hindrance I can ill afford.
“Well after Crystal lost the baby, Jason and I patched things up, and he introduced me to Kennedy around the end of October. It wasn’t serious. He was just fun. He took me dancing and out to eat. He kept me distracted.” She gave me a rueful look and than broke our gaze.
“Sookie, I do not fully understand why you needed to be distracted from my attentions, but we will address that after I learn how you became detained in Monroe.”
“All right. Well Kennedy and I didn’t have any plans but he showed up at my house the day before yesterday and said he had a surprise for me. I feel so stupid now; I was an accomplice in my own kidnapping. He told me he didn’t want me to see where we were going because it would give away the surprise, so he blindfolded me with a scarf from my own damn drawer.” This time she released her air with a “huff” and the effect was just as enchanting. I averted my eyes. I didn’t murmur a syllable. I wanted her to finish.
“Well, I guess I was caught up in the romance of it all. I figured he was takin’ me to the theater in Shreveport or somethin’. I mean his brain was a lot foggier than any other were I know, but I could still get snippets and it was clearer when we touched. I guess I figured that since I could read his mind being blindfolded wasn’t a big deal. Boy was I dumb.”
“Sookie, you are many things, however dumb is not among them.” I look at her, she constantly underestimates herself. Well with the exception of her own humanity. She tends to risk her own life more often than is requisite.
“Well when he stopped the car I knew we weren’t in Shreveport, the ride wasn’t long enough. I knew there were other weres there, wherever he had taken me, but I didn’t sense any danger until he took me inside. When I tried to balk, he seized my wrists hard and kicked me in the back of the knees. Than that girl who, umm, shot herself ripped off the scarf and hit me over the head with a cast iron pot. The next thing I remember I was cuffed to a toilet, gettin’ whipped and praying you knew I was uh, callin’ you.” Her accent was stronger, maybe because of all her emotions. Mmmh, why do I find that erotic? No time.
“You habitually choose the wrong men my love. I plan to remedy that tonight. It seems that any knowledge we may glean about your attacker’s purpose will not come tonight. Tomorrow we will call your brother, and find out as much as we can. As his employer he will have access to his records and from them and the panthers in Hotshot we will find out as much as we can. I assume the bear hunted with the panthers? “
“Yes. As soon as Kennedy moved here he met with Calvin and attained ‘hunting privileges’ or whatever.”
I nodded. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone to call Pam, I took Sookie’s hand to imply my words are as much for her as my second.
“I will not be returning tomorrow. My presence is necessary here.”
“No, you are not required nor are anyone else. Should I require assistance, you will be the first to know.”
I returned the phone to my pocket and my full attention to my beloved.
“I guess that means you want to talk to Calvin and Jason.” She said, a little irritated.
“My lover, I want us to speak to Calvin and Jason. I sought to express this under different conditions, but you avoided me with great determination, so now it shall be. I want to be with you Sookie, and I intend it to be very serious.”
She looked shocked. She began to tear up. I gathered her to me, wishing I had not been so courteous to put on a fresh shirt. I wanted to feel her skin on mine. I had felt frozen in her absence, and she was initiating a thaw. I felt some of her insecurity melt away as she accepted my mouth and drew my lower lip between hers. I felt my fangs run down and my urgency swell. Grudgingly, I pulled away, but I took her face in my hands, so she knew it was not in rejection. She is so delicate. It is obvious her apprehension, at least in part, was because she did not believe my feeling when I was cursed were true. Wrong, wrong, wrong, silly woman.
“Eric, when you stayed with me, everything was so easy.”
I raised my eyebrow. There had been a war an few attempts on her life and a murder, not what I would consider uncomplicated.
She whispered a giggle and elaborated.
“Between us. It was easy for you to love me, I was all you had of your own. You were told that you were powerful and had many assets, but I was all that was tangible. I was your, uh, lover. That was easy too. We always had chemistry, with all your politics out of the way I could let you in, and I guess your, um, taste didn’t change with your memories went missing. And I was here; ya know proximity and privacy made it easy too.
“That that you were the one around and are immensely attractive may have been why I fucked you, I am nothing if not opportunistic, but it is not why I loved you, why I still do.” She was silent; well I have more to say.
“I knew there was something about you from the first time you walked into my bar in that dress with the red flowers, I hated that you were with Bill. You looked gorgeous and I found him unworthy of such a prize. I tried to influence you, at that point it was purely lust, when I discovered you were immune to glamour, you became a fascination. I knew that I had to find a way to keep you around. When I learned you were telepathic, I had a reason to summon you. You challenged me Sookie, something humans just don’t do, you would not obey me unless it was on your terms, that is a quality I could not ignore, though it brings me great frustration. Money had nothing to do with my staking Long Shadow. I have followed you everywhere you have gone to ensure your safe return, and because the more I knew you the more I wanted to be near you. After my curse was broken I could barely think of anything but you. I did not know that I loved you, but I ached for you. I was vacant. At our exchange is Rhodes, I realized, though I still did not remember being at your home. When I found Andre trying to force you it was immediately apparent, and I knew bonding in such a way could work against me, but it was necessary. I feared the tiger would be a setback, but when you came and saved me and my child I knew you loved me as well. It was not the bond that made you come to me. I was resting and unable to sense the danger, you came on your own accord. I knew then that you would be mine, but I waited so you could come to that realization on your own. When I regained my memories I was not surprised, it only made my patience that much harder to maintain. Sookie, if I seemed distant I did not intend too, I was merely attempting to give you space.”
Still no response, I know she loves me as well, but she is conflicted, why? Have I not established my merit countless times? Have I not been there to rescue her when the numerous inferior suitors left her in abandon? She is bewildering and infuriating. She refuses to heel and will make me appear weak to my kind. She is adolescent and wavering. She will surely be my end. Yet, she has made me experience in ways no other had in a century of nights. She has saved me from an eternity of contentment and opened me a whole new array of emotions; she has showed me love and given me ecstasy. She will mature, she is worth the nuisance.