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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chapter 12 ~ Marked

Morning brought the quizzical feeling of body soreness coupled with a profound sense of peace to a waking Sookie. That, and a peculiar sensation in her chest, as if she were feeling a second heartbeat thrumming alongside hers. She lay there trying to understand what was actually going on and how she felt about the sensation, in particular, and couldn't: it was too new and too plain weird. It wasn't unpleasant, in fact, it brought deep serenity to her, a feeling of connectivity, of being whole. It was as if a part of her had been missing her entire life and she hadn't even known it. 'Foolish!' she scolded herself, deciding she was imagining things and needed to tune the sensation out if she was going to start her day. 

A quick glance at the clock told her it was just before 8am. Her eyes flicked to her fish and she saw a note propped up against his bowl and knew it had to be from Eric. She sat up and reached for it, unfolding the piece of vellum and began reading.
Little One,
You seemed more tired than usual last night and I am hopeful you will avail yourself of more sleep today. Your bathroom was completed yesterday but the grout is still setting, so wait until tonight to use it. As it is Monday and Fangtasia is closed, you are working at the shifter's, so I know I will not see you tonight in order to spend the evening together. Further, you are not scheduled to work until Wednesday night and I am sad to say I will be unable to see you until that time. Since I spent last night with you, I delayed some of my duties as sheriff and will have to see to them tonight as well as tomorrow night. Pam will pick you up Wednesday night at 8pm. Remember to dress appropriately.
       Until then, my pet.
E
       P.S. Remember to check your email. Your Aikido
       instructor will contact you about your schedule.

There it was again, that damned nickname he was so determined to call her! Sookie found herself more amused by it than annoyed today. Thinking back to the previous night, she smiled as she remembered the gifts Eric had given her. While she wasn't excited about the guns, knives, or sword fighting, she could admit looking forward to taking self defense lessons. With the direction her life had taken recently, and knowing now that she was working for Eric on a permanent basis and her safety could become an issue, being able to defend herself would come in handy. 

She was also delighted by the telescope and gift of a star. She'd always loved lying out on a clear night and staring up at the sky. Like Eric had said, there was something magical about them. As she contemplated the night before, her brow crinkled in confusion when her memory started to get hazy after the star gazing session.

'After I opened all the presents, we went outside to look at the stars. Eric told me about his people and how they aren't portrayed in history correctly. We talked some more and made the deal to share stories and then he asked to take my blood … but then … then, I don't remember anything.'

What had happened? It was a big black void, she had absolutely no remembrance beyond that moment. She decided that Eric had probably taken too much of her blood again and she'd passed out. 'I'm going to have to talk to him about doing that.'

Looking at the clock again, she thought, 'I have to get a move on. I have to meet with the food delivery guys at Merlotte's before we open, and I need to take last week's money from the bar and my check from Eric to the bank before we open as well. If I'm going to get all that done, I have to get going.'

Getting out of bed, she shook out a pinch of fish food for her beta and smiled as she watched the jeweled fish swim to the top of its bowl to skim the food flakes. She gathered up her uniform to shrug on as there'd be no time in her schedule to change into it before she officially started work and headed for the bathroom downstairs. She was quiet as she could be since she didn't want to wake Tara, who was probably still asleep, and hopped in the shower. 

She grabbed her body scrub and poured a generous amount out, soaping herself up and enjoying its fruity scent. Her palms spread over the dark mark she was unable to see, a mystical symbol that was invisible to her eyes even as it boldly adorned her chest directly over her heart.
Standing out in stark black against her fair skin was a Septagram or Faery Star. A symbol of such powerful magic that many in this world still used it to this day, yet were unaware of its true meaning. Ancient magic protected her eyes from seeing the results of her bonding. Powers far beyond her comprehension knew she was incapable of accepting the truth of her destiny at present, and had put a shielding spell over her mark. Only other beings of magic would be able to see it, while humans would remain blithely unaware. And while Sookie was no ordinary human, her mind was not ready to accept her heart's choice, and until she was, the mark would be hidden from her. In time she would come to learn of what the Mark of the Fae meant. She would learn how truly special and great she was, but for now the Powers that Be knew she was not ready. They would wait, there was time yet still for destiny to take its course.

After her shower Sookie reluctantly retrieved the Kel-Tec, loaded it, grabbed her carrying license and put them in her purse along with her phone. She forwent the knife figuring the gun was bad enough, and headed down stairs. Grabbing an apple off the kitchen table out of the fruit bowl, she headed to her car to start her day. She took no notice that the grass, trees and bushes around her were vibrant and green with life, nor did she notice in her peripheral vision that white flowers sprung up by the sides of her house. She didn't know that her entire backyard was awash with the delicate vegetation that arose from the magic created between her and Eric the night before. That was a fact she would learn another time.

She managed to beat the delivery men to the bar by a matter of minutes and finished helping them unload everything in just enough time for her to make a run to the bank before Merlotte's was to open. Her day progressed quickly after that and she seemed to never have a moment to stop and catch her breath.

 She did find time to check her email during a lull in business, and found not only the message from a Ken Nagasaki, her instructor, who she quickly sent her schedule to so he could tell her when he'd meet with her. He replied back almost immediately and told her since she was going in late to work the next morning he'd be at her house at 9am to begin her lessons. He warned her that the first few would probably go over an hour and for the next month or so she would be sore as her body got used to moving in ways it hadn't before. She answered that she didn't mind that, and looked forward to meeting him. She sent him her address in case Eric hadn't provided it, though she was pretty sure he would have. After that she saw she had several messages from Eric.

ERIC: What do you call a lesbian with fat fingers? Well hung.
*
ERIC: A girl puts an ad online for a man who won't hit her, leave her, and is a good lover. A few days later her doorbell rings and she finds a man with no arms or legs. He says to her, "I have no arms, so I can't hit you. I have no legs so I can't leave you." The girl responds, "But the last part…." The man smiles and says, "How do you think I rang the doorbell?"
*
ERIC: Since we're not seeing each other tonight how about some phone sex?
*
ERIC: Three nuns were talking. The first nun said, "The other day I was cleaning Father McInty's room and I found pornographic material." The second nun laughed and replied, "I can top that. Yesterday I was cleaning his room and I found a box of condoms." The first nun asked, "What did you do with them?" The second nun smiled and said, "I poked holes in them." The third nun fainted.
*
ERIC: You know your laptop has a webcam…we could get kinky.
 
Despite the blush flaming her cheeks, she ended up laughing like a loon. Shaking her head at his antics she thought, 'He just never stops!' She found it strange that a week ago she would have been furious with him for sending her such messages, but now she simply laughed it off and shook her head at his boyish ways. 'Really, he's 1,000 years old, for cripes sake!'

A mischievous grin morphed into a cackle as she decided to fight fire with fire. Being a telepath had exposed her to some of the dirtiest jokes around. 'Let's see how he likes a dose of his own medicine!' Her fingers flying over the keyboard, she sent out her own messages before logging off and shutting her laptop down. Then she grabbed her apron and started work. She was moving nonstop until about 4pm when she saw Bobby Burnham walk through the door. Handing her tables off to Tara, she approached him. "Hello Bobby … how can I help you today?"

Bobby regarded Sookie coolly before pulling out two small boxes from his suit jacket. "Mr. Northman wanted me to deliver these to you." Pulling a letter from the other side of his suit he added, "And he wanted you to read this first."

Taking the note and proffered parcels, Sookie smiled and said, "Tell him thank you and if you'd…." Her words were cut off as he simply turned and left. Huffing, she mumbled, "Rude much!" Scanning the bar she saw everyone looking at her, especially Arlene, and she said, "Mind your own business, people." She headed into Sam's office to take a look at what Eric sent her. From the shapes of the boxes she knew it was probably jewelry. 

Taking a seat in Sam's chair she set the boxes aside and opened the note Eric had written her.
Little One,
While I doubt these gifts will please you as much as your star, I do hope you still enjoy them. They do not shine as brightly, but I hope when you wear them you will think of me.
E
Smiling at the simple note, she reached for the first box. Each box was wrapped in expensive silver foil secured with a black silk bow. When she tore through the wrapping on the larger of the two boxes she saw the telltale colors of blue and white that symbolized Tiffany's. "Oh lord," she whispered. Opening up the blue box, she saw a black velvet one inside.


Pulling it out she flipped it open and saw an elegant platinum necklace with a diamond star pendant. It was not excessive, but dainty and exactly like something she would wear … if she could afford to buy a necklace with real diamonds like this.
 
She closed the lid and reached for the second gift, shaking her head with a small smile not only at Eric's generosity but his ability to know her well enough to choose jewelry that she'd like.

Unwrapping the second box, she saw another blue and white box and knew more diamonds would be inside. She pulled out the black velvet box within and opened it, her smile growing. Inside was a platinum diamond starburst ring. Taking it out, she found it fit perfectly on the middle finger of her right hand. She admired the look of it before putting it back in the box. She had to keep these gifts as per her agreement but she certainly wouldn't wear them in Merlotte's. They were just too fancy. 

Locking her gifts in Sam's safe, she headed back out into the bar. As soon as she hit the main floor Arlene was upon her.

"You certainly are gettin' an awful lot of gifts for a girl whose boyfriend is out of town, Sook," Arlene remarked tartly as she picked up a tray of beers from Eggs at the bar.

'She's got to be doin' something for that blond vamp if he's sendin' her all this stuff. I can't believe how low she's fallin' since gettin' involved with those dead things. What would her Gran say?'

Arlene was a loud broadcaster and it didn't take much of a dip into her thoughts for Sookie to find only jealousy and greed. She knew that Arlene was nice enough, but like most people driven by such petty emotions. She decided to be the bigger person and let it go. She sent the redhead a disapproving glare. "My business is my own, Arlene. You stick to yours." With that, she got back to work.

Later that day Eric woke from his slumber an hour before sunset … which was unusual for him. Normally he woke a few hours before sunset, but it seems his body had required more rest than normal. The moment he opened his eyes he could sense it. He could feel the bond. He could feel her. There was a hum in his chest that signified his connection to Sookie. The hum broadcasted a steady stream of stable energy through him alerting him that all was well with Sookie. Focusing harder, he could tell that she was at work and concentrating. He was pleased that her emotions were broadcasting so well over the long distance, but he made sure to keep his side of the bond closed down. She would be able to feel him inside her always, but he would expose her to the strength of the bond slowly so as not to overwhelm her.

Standing from his bed his gaze was immediately drawn down to his marble chest at the vibrant black mark on his chest. 'What is this?' He knew what it was right away, but he didn't know how it had gotten there. He was clearly startled.

Right there on his chest, plain as day, was the Mjolnir … commonly known as Thor's Hammer. It was a mark much revered by his people and many Swedes to this day continued to use it as a talisman of protection. Running his fingers over the mark to see if it would wipe off, he found it was very much a part of his skin. Striding into his bathroom, he stood in front of the mirror and stared long and hard at the intricate mark located on his chest directly over his heart.

'What does this mean? Where did it come from?' 

Thinking back to the previous night, the only conclusion was that it had something to do with his bonding with Sookie. 'I felt the magic in the air. It is the only explanation. One does not just wake up with the Mjolnir tattooed on their chest like this without some type of magic being involved.'

Continuing to stare at the mark, he decided he was pleased with it after several moments of contemplation. He did not know exactly what the mark meant, and he doubted he would discover the full explanation any time soon, but he had been around for a long time and he had learned that things this significant did not happen by accident. Magic was a powerful thing. It was not to be disrespected or disregarded. He might not know why the Mjolnir was on his chest, but he would not resent it. He would wear the mark with pride and hope to come to learn what it truly meant for him. 'This is an omen … a good one. I have always respected the power of the Mjolnir … yes, even the gods want me to have Sookie. I do not know exactly what this means, but I will embrace whatever changes come with it.'

Moving into his shower he began soaping his body as he thought, 'I wonder if anything has happened to Sookie. Did she wake with a mark on her chest? If so, I should hear from her about it. Of course, I expect to hear from her regardless. After what happened last night she will certainly wish to speak with me. I will not be able to hide that drinking my blood will do and has done more to her than I let on. When she woke today and remembered last night, when she recalls what happened between us, she will be furious. She will know that I have deceived her. It will set my seduction of her back, but that no longer matters. She has agreed to spend time with me regardless, and more importantly she is forever bound to me. She cannot leave me … she just doesn't know it yet.'

Finishing with his shower he toweled off before heading into his office to check in with his businesses. After that, he pulled up his messages. Sookie's instructor notified him that they had set the time for their first lesson the following day and this pleased him. He'd provided the man with a detailed map to her house and had already paid for all the equipment he would take with him to leave there so that Sookie could practice on her own. He also saw there was a message from Bobby telling him he had delivered the packages and was working on procuring the other items he'd requested. He would inform him of his progress. Eric saw several messages followed from Sookie. He was fairly certain they would be her ranting him about the night before, or telling him off for the dirty messages he'd sent her. Clicking them open, he was blown away at what she had to say.

SOOKIE: What do a washed up boxer and Dracula's girlfriend have in common? The both go down for the count.
*
SOOKIE: What did the redneck say to his girlfriend upon breaking up with her? Can we still be cousins?
*
SOOKIE: Phone sex? Would like to help you but I'm a two hands kind of girl … I told you I like to give a 100%. How would I hold the phone?
*
SOOKIE: How do you circumcise a hillbilly? Kick his sister in the jaw.
*
SOOKIE: Webcam? I wish I could help you but unfortunately I'm not "tech savvy". If only I knew how to work this thing … poor you!

Laughing long and hard he leaned back in his chair, knitting his fingers together behind his head and staring up at the ceiling. 'She continues to surprise and amuse me. She never does what I expect. I was hoping she was loosening up enough to at least not be offended by such advances, but this? I never thought she would play the game … nor this well. However she made no mention of last night. That is strange.' Leaving his office he went to retrieve his phone by the entrance of his lair that lead up to the house above. Looking at it he saw that he had no messages. Again he found this strange.

'Maybe she is waiting to speak to me in person so she can properly yell at me? Should I wait until Wednesday night to speak to her? No. I want to know if she is bearing a mark now. I do not have time tonight to visit her in Bon Temps. I have sheriff duties to attend. My only choice is to call her.'

He called the bar she worked at and requested to speak to her knowing she would not have access to her cell phone she'd probably stowed in the shifter's office rather than keep on her person as he'd asked her to. No point in arguing about it now.

"Sook! Phone call!" Eggs called before putting the phone down on the bar and returning to work.

Rushing over to the bar with her tray tucked under her arm Sookie picked up the phone and said, "Sookie Stackhouse …"

"Sookie …."

Hearing Eric's voice she started before replying, "Eric … uh … hi … what can I do for you?"

Lounging back in his office chair once more, Eric's voice couldn't hide his grin. "Oh my precious Sookie, there are many things you can do for me."

"Eric …" Sookie said in a warning tone. "I don't have time for this. If you're calling for a reason spit it out, otherwise I'm hanging up. I'm working."

"Very well. I was calling to ask if you had anything to say about last night."

Curiosity filled her voice. "That's what you're calling me for?"

"Indeed." Eric waited for her to light into him. Undoubtedly she was wondering what had happened between them.

She was not going to conduct so personal a conversation in earshot of everyone. "Let me call you back from my phone in a few minutes. I'm do for a break in 10. Okay?"

"I will await your call."

Ten minutes later, Sookie stepped out behind the bar and called Eric. When he picked up she said, "Okay, so why are you calling me?"

"You called me, lover."

She shook her head at the pet name but didn't have time to argue it. "You know what I mean. Why did you call before and ask me about last night?"

Eric hesitated before replying, "I'm just wondering if you had anything to say to me about last night."

"Yeah. Actually I did."

'Here it comes. She will ask what happened and demand to know what has changed. She will know I have deceived her and rant at me for it.'

"Don't take that much blood anymore, Eric. I don't appreciate blacking out from blood loss. If you're going to feed from me you have to have more control."

'What?' He shook his head confusedly. "I did not take too much blood from you, Sookie. If anything, you took far more from me than I did from you."

"Eric, I didn't even have any of your blood last night."

Her reply surprised him. "Sookie, what do you remember of last night?"

"Not much. We looked at my star—thanks again for that, by the way—you told me about your people, and then you bit me. You took too much and I blacked out. I woke up kind of sore this morning and figured you'd put me to bed. You have to start watching how much you take."

'She … she does not remember? How can this be? Something strange is going on.' Focusing back on the conversation, he asked, "Did you notice anything … different this morning?"

Sookie thought about mentioning the sensation in her chest and finally decided their was no harm in telling him. "Well, now that you mention it, yeah … there's this funny feeling in my chest. It won't go away but I've been focusing on not feeling it ... kind of like I do with my shields. That way it doesn't distract me. Why? Is something wrong?"

'I'm not sure. None of this is normal. How can she not remember? I have never heard of a human not being completely aware of the bond at all times. How utterly strange. She has mentioned no mark though.'

He needed to think more on this and decided not to worry her with revealing more than absolutely necessary. "Nothing is wrong. I just wanted to check on you. I shall endeavor to control myself in the future so as not to take too much blood. Other than the feeling in your chest you noticed nothing else this morning. You are well?"

"Yep. Do you know what's wrong with my chest?" Sookie found this whole conversation suspicious. It was just strange and she was starting to get the feeling Eric was hiding something from her.

"No. If it is not harming you or causing you distress, I would imagine it is nothing to be concerned with. As you said, you blacked out last night and I wanted to make sure you were alright."

She felt a little sheepish realizing he was simply calling to check up on her. "Well, I'm good. A little tired, but alright. Thanks for the gifts, by the way. I really like them. They're beautiful."

The softness in her tone made him smile. "I'm glad they please you. I hope you will wear them for me sometime. I would enjoy seeing you adorned in stars. You should live among them, my pet."

Instead of rolling her eyes at his continued use of that pet name, she shot the evening sky a bored look and exhaled in a huff. Her response was a bit testy. "So … is that all? Because I really have to get back to work."

"That is all. Have a good night. You will remember to check in tomorrow night before you go to bed and I shall see you Wednesday."

After she hung up Eric sat back in his chair and thought over their conversation. 'She remembers nothing … how can this be? She was awake and aware when she took my blood. I know it. She even said she felt me. Why does she not remember it now? Why do I alone carry the memories? Did she not see her backyard today and see the results of the magic between us? How can she not be upset with me?'

Standing and making his way to his bedroom to get dressed, he thought the matter over while donning a suit. He had official sheriff duties to see to tonight and he liked to look his best in front of his underlings.

'Of course, I could be looking at this all the wrong way. It might be best she doesn't remember. If she doesn't remember she can't fight me about it. If she doesn't remember she can't be upset with me over our bond and push me away. It bothers me she doesn't recall what transpired, but that doesn't negate the fact there are some definite advantages of her not. I shall exploit these advantages while trying to come to some conclusion as to why she doesn't remember. I shall also try to find out why I have the Mjolnir on my chest now yet she carries no mark. This is all so very strange.'

His decision made, Eric grabbed his phone and keys and headed out of his house. He was going to pick up Pam on the way to Fangtasia where those that lived under him met on Mondays for him to hear their disputes and problems.

Away from Shreveport in New Orleans, the Queen of Louisiana raised her head from the thigh of her current favorite pet Hadley as her child Andre made his presence known. "Andre, my dear … you know I don't like to be disturbed when feeding."

Bowing to his Maker and queen, Andre replied, "I am aware, my Queen, however, I have information that cannot wait … sensitive information."

She stood swiftly, snapping her fingers to send her pet scurrying out of the room and then took a seat on the chaise lounge, waving her hand as she ordered, "Speak then."

"This edict was just handed out from the Council to all vampire kingdoms throughout the world. It pertains to the Northman … and the girl you sent Compton after."

'Sookie Stackhouse?! What did the Northman have to do with my telepath?'

She ripped the scroll from his hand and read its contents quickly before hissing in rage. "NO! How could this have happened! She was to be mine! Compton was to secure her for me!"

Taking a step back from his queen's rage, Andre replied, "I do not know how the Northman got her away from Compton, mistress. His last email 10 days ago said he had already bought the ring and had made arrangements to propose to her and marry as soon as possible. He assured the girl carried only dislike for the Viking. Why she willingly signed this contract is beyond me."

"I will not stand for this! I knew if Eric ever laid eyes on her he would want her for his own. That is why I sent Compton to garner her affections and loyalty before Eric could get to her. Hadley swore to me her cousin went for that disgusting Southern charm. I will not allow that heathen Viking to take my telepath!"

Andre considered his words carefully as he spoke. He knew her anger and wanted to soothe her before it turned incendiary. He tried logic. "My Queen, while I never wish to see you displeased, the fact remains that the Council has issued an edict … a royal degree for the entire vampire world that the girl belongs to the Northman. He invoked the ancient right of protection towards one's property. He has pledged them their four tasks and the Council will protect his interests on this matter. The contract was created by Mr. Cataliades and is unbreakable. The girl belongs to him until he releases her. To try and take her would be treason against the Council and they will order your death."

She would not be defused. Tearing the decree in half, she screamed, "I know that, you fool!" Standing up, she kicked the chaise lounge through the wall behind her as she roared, "He will pay! Compton will pay! That girl will pay! Everyone will pay!"

After centuries together, Andre knew his best option was to remain silent as he watched his queen go on a full-tilt rampage. She tossed plants she'd lovingly tended from seedlings into her pool, uncaring that the chlorinated water would kill them. She hurled her furnishings against the wall as if she were tossing magazines on a table, not stopping to watch them break into splintered ruin as much as enjoying the sounds of their demolition. When there was nothing standing and she had completely destroyed her beloved sun room in her tantrum, she turned to Andre who he fell to one knee and bowed. "Your orders, mistress?"

Sophie-Anne stood with her hands clenched into fists. "For now the girl is beyond my reach. Contact Compton and find out what happened ... tell him he is to come before me immediately. I will not confront the Northman without knowing everything about the situation. I may be queen but he is centuries older, and all know he could have been king had he chosen to be. It would be foolishness on my part to challenge his ownership of the girl now. He must desire her greatly to have gone to such lengths to bind her to him."

Nodding, Andre rose and headed out of the destroyed sun room. He knew whatever his queen had planned as punishment for Bill failing her would not be good. Nor did he believe she had given up on having the girl for her own. Of course he would aid his queen in any way he could. He loved her above all things and hated to see her so upset.

When Andre was gone, Sophie-Anne's shaking hands adjusted her dress and straightened her hair. She was sorely disappointed by this turn of events and someone was going to bear the brunt of her frustration ... and she knew just who. The one that had set her on this course to begin with.

"Hadley!"

2 comments:

  1. hmmm so she doesnt remember and someone magical is playing games with them both. Interesting. Ah so we hear from the childish bitch after all. was wondering when she would come into this. I hope Sookie finds out and gets to tell Hadley off. I hated that she never got too in SVM and prob not in TB either.

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  2. ahh hell , i see where this is headed and its not good... i know i have read it before but its like fresh again on my mind.... my best Kristie


    here is another oops
    "While she wasn't excited about the guns, knives, and sword fighting, she could admit she looking forward to taking self defense lessons." missing was she was looking"

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