Why does she have to sit that way? I can see the glint in her eyes, she is being so bad. I guess I have the same effect on her she has on me. I will have to exercise an iron will to ignore her wiles and get through this. I sit down beside her on the bed, and take her hands in mine, forcing her to sit up and take her weight off her elbows. I look in her eyes, I feel her in the bond. She is calm and she is in love. As am I.
“Sookie, my love, there is something I must tell you before we discuss my dream.” I say without breaking our gaze. She slightly raises an eyebrow and her lip turns up just a bit.
“Ok, what is all this about Eric?”
“My lover, I knew you were extraordinary from the moment I saw you. The night of Long Shadow’s final death, something confirmed that for me.”
“I know, you killed a vampire for a mere human.” She said rolling her eyes, she has heard that many times before.
“No lover, something else entirely.”
“Well spit it out Northman, you’re making me crazy.” She poked me. I can’t help but smile. She is the only one who can get away with that fingers intact.
“Sookie, on that night I heard your thoughts. You were worried about the lives of my human employees, you were scared of me, though your actions made it seem you were not, and you were scared for Compton and your brother’s welfare. You thought that if we did not have a good relationship that I would cause them harm.”
Her entire body went stiff, she pulled her hands back to her lap and she looked at me with hesitation in her eyes.
“So you can read my mind?” She asked timidly.
“No love, not exactly. I catch occasional glimpses. They are very infrequent, and seem to occur more often when you've had vampire blood. I have never seen into a human’s head. At first it was quite disconcerting. I still do not understand it, but I believe it is related to the connection we share.”
“No, of course we did not share blood until well after Long Shadow was gone.”
“Yea, that’s true.” She wouldn’t look me in the eye. I think she has something to tell me also, but I will not force her. She needs to trust me.
“Is everything all right, Sookie?” I ask, she still is avoiding my eyes.
“Umm, yea. I mean well. I guess so. I’m not used to people looking in my head.” She stole a glance. This is silly. I will coax her.
“Me neither.” Her eyes shot up to meet mine, fire burning inside then.
“What do you mean? Who looks in your head?” She asks, nothing timid about her now. I do not answer, she stands up.
“Damn you, Eric. Don’t manipulate me. I’m not one of your lackeys.” She said as she slammed the door.
That is not how I wanted this to go. I always wondered if she could read my thoughts, but until tonight I wasn’t sure. She made it apparent enough. I didn’t mean to anger her. I just wanted everything to be out in the open. I suppose I went about things all wrong. I am not used to making mistakes. You do not survive all that I have by accident. I can be impulsive, but the majority of my life has been carefully planned and executed. When it concerns Sookie Stackhouse, I often find myself fumbling and unsure of my next move. I will give her some time to calm down. I can feel her through the bond. She is angry and embarrassed. She knows she acted badly. We will right things soon.
Stupid Viking. He is used to controlling people. Well I tell you what, if that is how he plans on dealing with me he’s got another thing coming. I’m not gonna be manhandled into telling him what he wants to hear. How did he know I can hear him anyway? Maybe he can feel me in his head like Hallow did. It doesn’t even matter. At least he didn’t seem angry about it. I have been so scared if anyone knew, including him, they would kill me. Vampires are a very private and possessive species. Why do I hang around them so much? Oh yea, because I can’t read their minds. What a fine kettle of fish this is. Geez.
I fume my way right past Efstathios, out the door and into the garden. It really is a beautiful night. I sit down on a bench by the lake and admire the reflection of the night sky on it surface. It was doing wonders to calm me down until I sensed an approaching vampire. A familiar approaching vampire.
“Sookie, are you well? You seem to be elsewhere.” Bill said as he sat down next to me.
“I’m fine. Just thinking.”
“Anything I could help with?”
I snorted. “I don’t think Eric would much care for that.” I sniggered.
“What did he do?” Bill replied. The ice in his voice practically froze over the lake.
“Come on now Bill, that really isn’t your business.”
“This will become your life Sookie, he cannot make you happy. The only one he cares to make happy is himself.”
“Bill Compton, you are pushing it, I suggest you find something else to talk about if you wish to keep my company.” I was pretty icy myself. He has no room to talk about what makes me happy.
“I’m sorry Sookie, I can’t watch you do this to yourself. Eric is self-serving. That is why he has survived as long as he has. He cannot love you. He is too detached from humanity. He is placating you so that you will stay around. When he is done with you he will discard you like an empty bottle of blood. I love you Sookie, I could make you happy. I would give anything to please you.”
“Bill, you underestimate Eric.”
“Maybe you overestimate him” He replied, looking away.
“Bill, couples fight. You didn’t like how Eric would try to move in on me, so why are you tryin’ the same thing?”
“Vampires do not abide by the golden rule, Sookie. His methods were obviously effective. He also has not said that you are his, so I am not out of turn.”
“The hell you aren’t, Bill Compton. You know me better than that. Eric and I are together and you are not gonna gain any favor with me this way so you better just scoot.”
“It wasn’t so long ago that you said you loved me.”
“Yeah, well it wasn’t so long ago that you said that you were going to Seattle.” And with that he was gone. Big effin’ deal.
But I wasn’t alone very long. I don’t know if Eric was watching or if he sensed something in the bond, but here he is. He sat next to me right where Bill had been, looking out at the lake like it held all the world's secrets.
“I can hear you too.” I say flatly. He takes my hand but continues to look at the lake.
“How long have you known?”
Now he looks at me and smiles. “Since you stormed out of our room.”
I had to laugh. My own indignation gave me away. “So you’re not mad at me?”
“Why would I be mad at you?”
“Because I can well, you know, I didn’t think you would be happy about that.”
“It is not something you can control. I believe it has some meaning. I don’t know what it is yet. You are an enigma, my lover, and apparently so is our relationship.”
I lean into him and let him wrap his arms around me. I don’t know why I find such comfort in his silent chest, but I do. After a long calm moment, I hear words drift from my lips, though I don’t really remember forming them.
“What did you dream?” He rotated me so that I was laying with my head in his lap, staring straight into his incredible blue eyes.
“I dreamt of you, in a beautiful wedding dress, white and sparkling with lovely beads. Amelia was admiring you, along with a grey haired woman. You were spectacular. You were up raised up on a platform in front of many mirrors that allowed you to see yourself from all angles. Sunlight poured in from windows on either side of you. You were dreaming, too. You were dreaming of our wedding day.”
I can’t believe what I am hearing. How could he have seen that?
“Eric that was no dream. That happened while Amelia and I were shopping before we left.”
“That is even better. That wonderful scene was gift enough, but to know that was truly your life streaming in my mind, that is more than I could have expected.”
“Most men would high tail it in the other direction if they knew their girlfriend was trying on wedding dresses as soon as they get together.”
“Sookie, I am not most guys and you are much more than my girlfriend.” Intensity grew in his eyes and I began to feel short of breath. He leaned down and I rose to meet him. Our lips touch and sparks radiate through our bodies. His tongue parts my lips and a tender warmth overcomes my body. As we explore each others mouths it almost feels as if we are one being. Breathing doesn’t seem so important right now, and if it were not an involuntary reaction, I never would have pulled away from my Viking’s kiss. I can feel the blood congregating in my lips as I avariciously (word of the day) draw in air. Eric does not have to breathe, but his lips look pretty plump.
“Sookie, would you like to take one of those boats out on the lake?”
I can’t help but scoff. “Eric, you want to go out on a paddle boat with me? I haven’t really pictured you in a boat before, but I can’t imagine you in anything but a gondola rowed by one of those guys in a striped shirt, or maybe a big fast yacht.”
“Sookie, I have spent more time on boats that you have spent in Bon Temps.”
“Oh, well of course you have, you were a Viking. Duh.” He laughed at that, a deep hearty laugh that rattles his chest. I love to hear it.
“So, will you accompany me onto the lake, my lover?” He stood up, offered me his hand and I accepted it.
“Just don’t sink it, it’s too cold for swimming.” Again he laughed and this time I joined him.
Eric looked hilariously out of place in the little boat. I can’t believe he managed to get his longs legs on the pedals while keeping his butt on the seat. We laughed the entire time. Before I knew it we were at the lakes center. We were far from the fairly lights but the moon and stars bouncing off the lakes surface did wonderful things. Eric looked more beautiful that I have ever seen him. It is an incredibly cold and still night. There are clouds in the sky, and they are beginning to thicken. My better sense tells me that we should be making our way inside, but I just can’t. I look down and see that the water in the various nooks and crannies in the boat has frozen over.
“Eric, why isn’t the lake frozen?”
“The heats from the structures below it keep it warm.” Well that makes sense.
The sky was darkening quickly but I can still see Eric fairly well, I guess it’s all the vampire blood I’ve had lately. Eric has one hand in his coat, maybe his hands are chilly. He may be a vampire, but he can still feel temperatures. His other hand is rubbing mine so vigorously that they aren’t cold. My tantrum distracted me from grabbing my gloves. I could see a twinkle in Eric’s eye and he inhaled deeply through the nose. He must smell something. He looks completely excited.
“It is about to snow.” He said with reverence.
“How can you tell?”
“Oh I can smell it. It is unmistakable.”
“Eric, that’s crazy. You can’t smell snow.” As soon as I completed that statement a single flake landed on my nose. We both looked up and there was white everywhere. It was beautiful. It was landing all over the boat, glistening even more than the lake itself. This is defiantly a Kodak moment. I can’t imagine anything that could make it more perfect.
I feel Eric’s grip tighten on my hand, I turn and see he is looking at me, not the snow.
“Min älskare, du kommer alltid att skimra som en snöig morgon i mina tankar.” He said, almost to himself but not quite.
”What?” I ask. I don’t know what language that was, but it is not english.
”Sookie Stackhouse, you are the most stubborn, frustrating, infuriating, corageous, selfless, beautiful woman I have ever met.” I don’t know if I should be angry or flattered.
” I have been enamored with you since the day that we met. I have been patient in my quest to make you mine. You have forced me to feel emotions I believe to be thought of losing you brings me more grief than I thought possible. I will not lose you again.” Ok, definitely flattered. He removes his hand from his coat, and I think I see something sparkle.
”Sookie, will you be my wife?” He asks as presents me with the most beautiful diamond ring I have ever seen. It is Tiffany, I just know it. It is at least the classic Tiffany style. And in classic Eric style, of course it is huge.
I can’t breathe. He is looking at me with those big blue eyes and I they are sucking the air right out of my lungs. He continues to smile at me, and tries to calm me through the bond. He knows I love him. He knows I want to marry him. That’s why he doesn’t look scared like most men would in this postion.
”Sookie, you know I have waited a long time for you. I can wait for you to think about you answer. I can’t however wait for you to breathe. ” He always knows how to make me laugh.
”You hold onto that, we need to get you inside. It is growing very cold.” He says as he hands me a ring that is probably worth more than my car.
He wraps his arm around me as we make our way back to shore. We were silent as he docked the boat and we went back though security. Efstathios bid us goodnight and we wished him the same. Once we were in our room, I began to get nervous.
”Eric, I love you very much, but are you sure this is what you want to do?”
”I have never been more sure of anything. I love you. You and I already share the most sacred union a vampire can, I want to give you the same.”
”But I am going to get old and I am going to die, what will you do?”
”That is something I cannot answer today. We have your whole life to figure that out.” Eric replied.
”Eric, I think I left my scarf outside.” I must have taken it off while I was talking with Bill, I know I was fidgeting.
”Well then, I will go get it.”
”No, we’ll go together.”
While Eric was shutting the door, I heard a familiar Irish accent. I turned and saw a tall pale vampire with red hair. I know I have seen him but I cannot place where. A beautiful vampire with mahogony hair follows him out the door and I instantly remember. They were the dancers from the ball in Rhodes. Sean and Layla.
Layla, walked right up to me, looked me in the eye and said, ”Thank you.”
”For what?” I have only met her once, and I couldn’t think of anything I did for her.
”You saved my husband and I from burning in the bombing. We were already hurt beyoned recgonition, but you found us before we met our final death. You covered us with debris and directed the rescue workers to us. Without your help, we surely would not be here today.”
”Well you are very welcome, I had no idea.”
”It is rare that you find somone so willing to rescue those they don’t know, especially vampires.”
”Well I couldn’t just watch you burn up.”
”Many others did. We are certainly in your debt.”
”Well if I remember correctly, I owe you and your husband a thank you too. You kept me and Eric from killing each other in the middle of the ballroom.”
They both smiled then and it was really something see. Her smile was broad and genuine, every bit as lovely as a beauty queen, but without the plastic sheen. His was not magazine cover beautiful, but it was remarkable just the same.
” I am glad to see that you and your bonded have worked things out.” Sean said with a nod.
”How did you know we were bonded?” I ask, surprised.
”Oh, it was obvious during your dance. You two truly share a rare tie.” He replies. I felt the ring in my pocket and the apprehention must have been apparent on my face.
”Sookie, I was just about to go persue the King’s library, would you care to join me?”
”Oh. Well, I wouldn’t want to intrude.”
”Sean isn’t going. He was just going to walk me up to security.”
”Go ahead lover, I am sure Bart has quite a bit to secure your interest there. I would be happy to retrive your scarf.”
”Well, okay then, I’ll see you soon.” Eric leaned down and gave me a kiss that was not quite chaste, but still appropiate for an audiance.
Once we were in the library, Layla sat down on a couch by the fire motioning for me to join her. Something told me that we were not going to be persusing any stacks.
”Is there anything you would like to talk to me about, Sookie?” Lalya asks. This is odd, I haven’t said more than two words to her before today, I don’t know if I feel right talking to her.
”Sookie I am empathic, Sean and I both are. That is our gift. I sense that you are worried about your relationship with Eric, I may be able to help you. Even if I cannot, I am willing to listen.”
Well, there actually is something I want to ask her. I may as well cut to the chase.
“I, uh, well I thought that vampires couldn’t stay lovers very long.”
“There are exceptions to every rule.” She replies with a warm smile. She hardly seems dead at all.
“Is he your sire?” I know this might be a touchy subject, but I can’t help it.
“Yes, yes he made me. I am beholden to him.”
“Did you ask him to?”
“No, I was... well. it is not something I speak of often.” I thought she was done. I didn’t want to intrude any more than I already had, so we sat in silence for sometime. Then she inhaled deeply, an action foreign for most vamps I know. She looked at me thoughtfully, then out into the fire.
“When I was seventeen, I was raped. He was the son of a very powerful man in a very small town. We were on our third date. My family didn’t believe me. They thought I asked for it. Soon after I found out I was with child. I only had that one experience, so there was no doubt he was the father.” She stole a glance, saw the pity on my face and waved it away. Not unlike Sophie Ann had done in a similar situation.
“I was scared to tell my family, I don’t know why. I felt, dirty and guilty. They already knew what had happened; this could not have made them think any less of me. I was young and foolish. I called the man who had attacked me. Carver was his name. I didn’t tell my parents where I was going, I just walked out the door to meet him. I thought we were going to figure out what to do. Maybe go to a doctor. He didn’t say anything at first. He just hit me. He had a glass soda bottle and he broke it on my front porch railing. He used it to cave my lower stomach like a jack-o-lantern. He said I was a bitch who needed to learn a lesson. My brother saw everything from his window; Carver was so intent he didn’t see him coming. He had his baseball bat and he hit him square in the head like a child hits a t-ball. He saved my life.” Again she inhaled, but maybe it was more of a sigh.
“I stopped seeing my parents. A police officer and his wife, a teacher of mine, were very helpful to me and I stayed with them mostly until I could get out on my own. Carver basically got a slap on the wrist, ended up spending four years in a mental ward. I moved to Rhodes, disguised myself and used a different name. I desperately needed money, and even though I was apprehensive of vampires, I took a job with Blue Moon. Funny thing is I chose Sean to be my partner because he didn’t seem interested in me. I always had some interest in him though. We danced for a few months, before anything happened. Sean and I fell into each other right around the time Carver showed back up. I always knew he would. I had been waiting. Sean went to great lengths to find out what I was so afraid of, what I was hiding from. Once he found out he told everyone employed by both Blue and Black Moon. Things escalated a bit, and Sean figured out Carver was behind one of our bookings. He didn’t tell me what was going on, but he organized a set up for Carver with most of the other performers. Sean provoked him with our dance, and was shielding me with his body. I wasn’t thinking clearly and when I saw the knife I pushed Sean away and took it again in my abdomen. The other performers seized Carver, Sean took me away. There was no way I would survive the wound, so Sean turned me.”
“Did he ask you first?” Oh geez, that was insensitive. She just opens up and tells me something incredibly private and that is how I respond. Stupid. Stupid.
“He did, but I had lost a lot of blood, and I can’t say I was thinking clearly.” Well, she doesn’t seem to mind the questions and I certainly have more.
“Are things the same between you two?”
“Well, I don’t really know. We didn’t have much of a chance to get things started. I can’t imagine that they would be though, as I am not the same.” She looked at my face, and anticipated my next question. She smiled before she spoke.
“It is different for everyone. The change, I mean. I think Sean being my maker has a lot to do with who I am. I was made with love, and I believe that matters. I am still very very young and I do not know what the future holds, but I still love Sean. He completes me and I cannot imagine a night with out him. I really don’t think the personality changes are that different from maturing as a human would. With age come knowledge and you modify you behavior accordingly. All vampires have it in them to be vicious and calculating, but so do all people. The difference is that for a very long time vampires HAD to be to insure their survival. I never had to hide what I am, so I suppose that makes me very different. Sean is approaching three-hundred and he is still able to love me entirely and passionately. Eric is older than Sean and he seems capable of the same.”
I am going to ignore that for now. “Are you happy?”
“Yes, I don’t think I would have chosen this path, but being forced down it has given me endless happiness. My original attack left me sterile, so being with a vampire was no loss there. Now that I have been turned, there is a possibility that I will spend an eternity with the man I love and we will always be at our best. We will not grow old and feeble. We will not get cancer or Alzheimer’s. There is always the possibility of severe injury, but upon recovery we would still be young. Of course there is final death but think of the quality of our time spent together before that night. Nothing in the human world could give me the joy I have with Sean. We are powerful and nubile and we will always be this way.”
“We you bonded when he turned you?”
“No. You and Eric have a strong bond, if you were turned that would be in your favor but I don’t think it really matters. I can see it in the way you look at each other, even in Rhodes. You two are kindred spirits. Once you found one another, you would not let go. How else could you have wound up bonded to him when you were dating someone else?”
“You love her?” I ask the Irishmen. I normally would not be so candid with another vampire, but he looks at her as I do Sookie, I believe he could have much to tell me.
“As you love yours.”
“Have there been others?”
“Not since my change.”
"You made her and your relationship withstood the change."
"That it did, and I love her more with each passing night. Yours does not want to change , but give her time. Eventually she will realize that you offer her much more than what is is ingrained to desire. "
"Do you miss who she was?"
"I love who she is."
I feel the vibration in my pocket before the audible ring. Pam. This better be earth shattering.
I give Sean a look to imply excuse me and reluctantly answer.
"We need you here now master. Hereveaux is on his way. There are urgent matters to attend to". My child spits out before hanging up. It must be earth shattering for her to give me orders.
"Sean somethig has happened. I must get to Sookie, we have to leave immediately."
"Of course. Layla has a cell phone, I willl call here." He immediatly taked out his own phone.
"Layla, please tell Sookie that something has come up and she and Eric need to leave immediately. Have her wait there, he will be up to meet her."
I nod at him in approval, no need for her to go back through security. "I am sorry our conversation has been cut short. I found it quite interesting, but now I need to collect Bill Compton and be on my way."
"You are very anxious, what is happening?" He asks as we make our way back inside to Bill's room.
"It is quite involved, but the gist of it is The Fellowship of The Sun is a colossal pain in my ass."
"Our as well. May we be of any assistance?"
"I appreciate the offer, I would be glad to have you and your lovely wife along, but I warn you there is likely to be violence."
"All the better, living in Rhodes has afforded me a strong distaste for the Fellowship."
"Then we welcome your assistance. There are two natured in this as well." I say just to inform him. He does not respond, I didn't expect him to.
I knock on Compton's door. He answers swiftly, looking somewhat guilty. I wil ponder that later. "Something has happened. We have been summoned." I dictate. He shuts the door behind him and we make our way to the library.
"What's going on Eric?" Sookie asks with worry filling her eyes.
"I'm not entirely sure, Pam called and said that we needed to get to the hotel immediately. Hereveaux is on his way as well."
Sookie and Bill asked in unison.
"Why?" Sookie asks.
"I don't know the specifics, Sean has graciously offered to come along as well, because of our large party I am going to ask Bartlett for use of his limo. Meet me outside."
I made my way to the confrence room and found Indiana's second. He buzzed the king on the intercom and he extended me use of his limousene without question. The ride was very quiet. I expected a barrage of questions from Sookie and the new vampires, but everyone held their tongue. We arrived ath the hotel none too soon. Sookie's brother was vibrating with anger, worry, regreat, and anticipation. I can't feel his emotions or see into his mind, but they were all clearly and prominently displayed on his face.
Hereveaux all but broke through the door behind us. I didnt realize he was actually in town, I expected him tomorrow.
Between her brother's face and the packmaster's entrance Sookie couldn't take anymore.
"Pam, what the fuck is going on?"