What's more, she actually felt her love for him. She felt his love for her. She felt the love between them as they touched each other's marks. She didn't understand how she could have these dreams and them be so real to her. She actually felt like she was really there and with him, feeling these touches and emotions, when she had these dreams. There was nothing hazy about them like in normal dreams. There was only absolute certainty that he was hers, she was his, and they were totally in love.
'I just don't understand. What do these dreams mean? Pam said that I'm directing them. She said they're what I desire most, but that's crazy! I don't love Eric and I don't want to! He is definitely not like the Eric in my dreams and he never could be! Eric is a lying, controlling, manipulative jerk! Eric only thinks and cares about Eric! Why would I dream about us making love and having these deep meaningful conversations like we do? With Bill it was never like that. I only had a few dreams about him after having his blood. One of them was a sex dream, but the rest were actually kind of scary. The first few dreams I had about him he came to attack me. There were sexual undertones, but he was a killer in my dreams. So Pam has to be lying. I can't be directing these dreams. I just can't.'
Rubbing Thor's tummy as he rolled over, she thought, 'And what's with me dreaming about him turning me? Even in my dreams I don't want it, but he says he's going to do it anyways! If these dreams were really directed by me then wouldn't he tell me he'd leave me human and enjoy what time we had if we're really in love? Why would he still force his will on me about this in my dream if my desires are controlling the dream? Is it possible I actually want to be turned and am just not admitting it?'
Closing her eyes she gave serious thought to actually being a vampire. She thought about what it would be like, as much as she could imagine it that is, spending the rest of eternity walking in the night and feeding off human blood. She thought about living in a world where it was kill or be killed; where everyone lied and stabbed each other in the back to get more power. She thought about never having children and watching everyone she knew grow old and die around her. She thought about the world changing again and again while she stayed the same. As she tried to wrap her mind around the idea she felt her heart wrench and a sob escaped her chest. Tears filled her eyes and she whispered, "I don't want to be a vampire. I want to live and die as a human and then go to heaven. I don't want eternity in night."
'Ok. So I know that's not it. If I subconsciously wanted to be turned the idea wouldn't terrify me so much. I wouldn't be so repulsed by the idea. So maybe Pam is lying to me? At this point I can't really believe anything any Vampire tells me without solid proof. So I need to find out the truth about these dreams. I need to ask Sam. Maybe he can tell me?'
Watching Thor's feet twitch in his sleep she smiled softly and continued to mull her situation over. 'The dreams are the least of my concern right now. I need to think about what I'm going to do with Eric and with Bill. When Bill gets back, I have to figure out a way to talk to him alone. Eric won't allow it, so maybe I can find a way to communicate with him in some way that controlling jerk won't know. I could try to use email? But what if Eric has a way to monitor my emails? I can't call Bill because my guards are with me all the time now not to mention Eric monitors my phone records. I have to get a message to Bill that I'm going to keep fighting Eric on this no matter what. I have to let him know I don't want this and am not going to accept it.'
It was the message thought that gave her an idea. 'Maybe I can give a letter to Sam and he could deliver it to Bill? Sam said he'd help me in any way he could. I could put it on his desk with a note to deliver it to Bill and then Eric wouldn't know about it. Maybe Bill can give a message back to Sam and explain some of these things about vampire ways, and about this damn blood bond? Of course if I can believe him. I can't ignore the fact that Eric was only able to get me into this position because Bill didn't tell me about any of this stuff beforehand.'
Feeling anger and resentment rise up in her Sookie thought, 'Why didn't he warn me about all of this? Why didn't I know about invoking the right to deny other Vampires access to me by claiming to be Bill's? Why didn't Bill try to bond to me himself if he wanted to marry me? Everyone, Eric, Pam, Sam, Alcide, Tray, all of them pointed out that it didn't make sense. If Bill wanted to commit to me why didn't he try to protect me? He's got to be hiding something really big from me. What could it be though?
'I'll find out soon enough I guess. Bill will be back in a week, and I can ask him then. He damn well better tell me the truth too considering all the shit that's happened to me because of him. I wouldn't be in this mess with Eric if Bill hadn't kept me in the dark about how easy it would be for other Vampires to take me. And what am I going to do about Eric? I can't just keep living like this. I can't stand the way he tries to run my life and orders me around like his little pet. I can't sit around and wait for him to decide to turn me. I don't want to be a Vampire, and I definitely don't want to be his child. But how do I get away from him?'
Lying down and staring up at the ceiling she thought, 'I can't run. I obviously can't fight him physically. I can't involve the police, my brother, or any of my friends because he could glamour them or worse kill them. If Bill can't help me when he gets back then I'm really alone in this, so what do I do?'
A thought suddenly popped in her head. 'I could try calling that Mr. Cataliades. I have my copy of the contract and his contact information is on there. If Vampires and the rest of the Supernatural community recognize contracts maybe there's some way I can use that to my advantage? Maybe there's some loophole in the contract Eric and I signed that I can exploit? Or maybe there's some type of legal maneuver I can use to get Eric to back off me, or at least not be able to turn me without my permission. It's a long shot but I have to try everything.
'So for now I have to keep playing along. Eric has more than proved that he can make me obey him and I definitely don't like his methods. So for now I have to keep doing as he says so that he doesn't infringe on my freedom any more than he is now. I need to find out more about this bond though. I need to ask him about it and have him tell me what it means. I know he probably won't tell me the whole truth but hopefully I can get a few facts from him. Sam only knew the basics of it. He said that Vamps are real secretive about themselves. He also said it was really rare for a Vampire to turn a bonded human. I need to ask Eric why that is. Pam too. Again, they'll both probably lie to me but hopefully I can get something from them that I can use.'
A tentative plan for how to approach her situation with Eric in mind, Sookie then began to think about the next few days. 'I'm supposed to meet my two Vampire Enforcers tonight; Han and Ivan. I don't understand why two fighters like them are being sent to guard me? Eric said he found out from an impeccable source that I was in danger from a lot of people. Who are these people? Why am I in danger? I haven't done anything! Why would people be after me? Why would anyone want to kidnap or kill me? I might expect it from the Fellowship after Dallas, but Eric made it clear this isn't about the Fellowship or the Queen; though she's a threat too apparently. So who could it be? Why won't he tell me? I should have pressed him for more information last night, but he was hitting me with so much I was kind of in overload. Well tonight I'm going to have him tell me more. If I have to walk around with four bodyguards every day and two world renown Vampire enforcers I need to know what the hell is going on!
'And what about the threat the Queen does pose? I'm not happy being tied to Eric, but that Andre guy scares the hell out of me! Eric may piss me off and give me bad vibes, but nowhere near like that guy! Why would the Queen want me anyways? Eric made it clear that he would make me available to other monarchs and Vampires even before I found out about the bond. That's what the whole contract was for. So why would she be upset at me being Eric's asset? Why would she want to take me from him if he works for her? I don't know much about Vamp politics but that's weird to me. I'll try asking Eric about it and see if he'll tell me anymore than he is now, but even if he doesn't I think he's right and I should watch myself around her tomorrow night.'
Cuddling Thor close to her chest, she heard the sounds of the construction workers arriving outside to get started on finishing her barn and pastures. Yesterday, the work crew Eric had sent to her house had laid the foundation and hooked up the plumbing connection for her new barn and fenced off all the pasture area with white wood. The contractor had left a note that the barn would be up by this afternoon since he had a ten man crew on the job, then they'd paint it white with blue trim to match her house, and it would be ready for use the following day.
Yesterday when she'd contacted her riding instructor, Julia Sanders, the woman had told her that since the barn would be up by the time of her first lesson on Tuesday she'd bring Sookie's horses with her then. She'd also bring all of the tack Eric had purchased her and enough feed and hay for her horses to last two weeks. That would give Sookie time to set up a delivery schedule with the Feed Mill in Monroe; where Eric had of course set her up an account. Julia had assured her that her first lesson would be mainly about teaching her how to care for her new horses; how to feed them, groom them, and the basics of their overall care. Thursday would be the first actual riding lesson. That had put Sookie's mind to rest considerably. She'd always wanted a horse, and had taken lessons for awhile as a child, but had never actually taken care of one before. She was still pissed at Eric, but she was actually getting somewhat excited about having her own horses. There was no way she was telling him that though.
Looking at her clock she saw it was just a little past 8 so she had to stay in bed for another hour in accordance with Eric's rule. Thankfully Thor seemed to be sleeping peacefully and didn't need to go out. She knew the church was going to be sending a moving van to her house this morning to collect all of her furniture, and last night before going to bed she and Tara had taped paper signs to the few pieces she wanted to keep. Everything else in the house was going. The painter and his work men were supposed to arrive around 10 and Ken was coming at 11. That would give Sookie time to tell the painter what color she wanted the walls and he could drive into Monroe to get the paint from the Home Depot there while his men stripped and sanded her walls. Some guy was supposed to come on Saturday to buff her floors as the paint guys finished up her house and was going to stay here all day to oversee their work since she'd be leaving with her guards for New Orleans. She intended to call Broyhill today and see if they would deliver her furniture on Sunday.
She continued to dose for another hour and a half before getting up and heading downstairs to start breakfast. Alcide and Tray were on the couch and reading newspapers, and she could feel the buzz of two other Were minds out in the woods. Eric had informed her that two of her daytime guards would be with her at all times and the other two would hold back so that if someone was to follow her they would think she only had two guards. She was about to walk by Alcide and Tray when she saw the front picture of Tray's newspaper and let out an outraged gasp. "Oh my God!"
Snatching the paper out of his hands she glared at the picture of her in Eric's lap at Fangtasia on the front page; blown up great big and wide with the headline "Are They or Aren't They?" Gripping the paper in her fists she hissed, "What the hell?" Looking at her coffee table she found six different papers atop it; all with the same photo and similar headlines.
Alcide and Tray shared a look before Alcide offered, "All of them were on your front step this morning, this was with them."
Grabbing the note out of the Were's hand Sookie tucked the paper under her arm and ripped it open to read:
We make a striking couple don't you think?
EYou could actually hear her teeth grinding as she gathered up the papers in her arms and marched into the kitchen while yelling, "Let Thor out!" She listened as one of her guards took her puppy outside while she sat down at the kitchen table and started reading one of the articles.
While Miss Stackhouse released a statement to the press that she and Mr. Northman were not in a romantic relationship their recent activities at Mr. Northman's club has indicated otherwise. Photos and video leaked to the press over the last few days show Miss Stackhouse sitting in Mr. Northman's lap all through the evening while he lavishes her with attention. He's been seen and photographed kissing her and making certain romantic overtures that would come under the heading of significant others. Patrons of Fangtasia have verified the fact that Mr. Northman gifted Miss Stackhouse with a ruby and diamond necklace with the initial of his first name and put it on her himself in front of everyone at his bar. Rumors that he intends to turn Miss Stackhouse have also surfaced, but as yet have not been verified by Mr. Northman or Miss Stackhouse. At this point …She couldn't read anymore. 'Leak my ass! Eric arranged for all of this that rat bastard!' She was so mad it took everything she had not to start screaming. As she was sitting there she felt the buzz of her Were guards minds' come closer as they stepped into the kitchen behind her. They had obviously finished taking Thor out and were checking on her. As their thoughts centered around her she could pick them up very clearly.
Alcide was looking at Sookie strangely as he leaned against the doorframe and crossed his arms over his chest.
'I don't understand what it is about her. She does smell wonderful, and her mind trick will certainly be useful…but Sookie being so important as to warrant the Council telling me to continue protecting her from outside threats and to help Northman secure her for his own? That's some major shit. The Council never takes such an interest in any one supernatural's affairs like this. If they're going to such lengths to not only protect Sookie from whatever is threatening her, and I know it ain't just the Fellowship, and make sure she stays Eric's bonded than they must have a damn good reason for it. Eric and Sookie staying together has to be important to the supernatural community as a whole for the Council to care this much about their relationship. They made it clear we were to keep this Compton guy away from her and protect her against the queen who wants her. Whatever Sookie is it must be important. Eric too. They wouldn't be going to these lengths otherwise. Of course I didn't tell Northman part of the reason I agreed to increase Sookie's guard to full time was because the Council ordered me and my pack to. This way I can carry out their orders and get my pack's debt to Eric paid off at the same time.'
Tray's thoughts were a bit more personal. 'She seems pretty upset about those papers. Wonder if she's seen the news yet? That's worse. They're airing the video. Anyways I wonder if now's a good time to thank her for the TV, theater system, and truck? Maybe it will make her feel better? I know me and the rest of the guys were damn happy to get that shit yesterday!'
Stepping forward Tray offered, "Uh—Sook? I just wanted to say thanks for the stuff yesterday. I really needed a truck and I really appreciate it!"
Grabbing the newspapers up and shoving them into the trash can Sookie forced a smile on her face as she replied, "You're welcome Tray. I'm glad you guys liked them. I'm just going to get breakfast started before the painter and Ken get here.
As she scurried about the kitchen preparing to make waffles and eggs while Tray and Alcide retreated into the living room to watch TV Sookie thought about what she'd learned from Alcide. His thoughts worried her. She didn't know a lot about the Council, but from what she did know they pretty much were the highest level of the supernatural community. ALL supernaturals bowed to their commands.
'Why are they so interested in me? Why could they be so interested in me being with Eric either? Everything is just getting so crazy!'
Before her thoughts could go any farther Tara stepped into the kitchen and drew Sookie's attention. "Sook…we gotta talk."
Turning to face her friend Sookie sent her a soft smile and said, "I guess I can't distract you with a shopping spree can I?"
Shaking her head Tara said, "I don't want you to think I'm not grateful for the car and other stuff; especially since you got Eggs a lot of stuff too, but we need to talk about what is going on."
Nodding her head Sookie decided she might as well talk to Tara now. It didn't really matter that her guards were in the living room and could hear her. They already knew the trouble she was in and they wouldn't interrupt. Indicating the kitchen table she said, "Sit down and I'll tell you what I can."
Tara sat down and asked, "You're in deeper trouble with Eric than you told me aren't you?"
"Yeah … but I didn't know I was until recently." Sitting in front of her friend she took Tara's hands and said, "Tara honey I wish I could tell you everything but I can't. Honest to God if I thought I could I would, but I can't tell you everything that is going on right now. All I can tell you right now is that Bill is coming back next week, but I'm not going to be able to get back with him. Apparently I'm more indebted to Eric than I originally believed and it's going to take me awhile to pay that debt off…and until I do I pretty much have to do whatever he says."
"Is that what happened the other night? Was that damn Vamp trying to force you to have sex with him to pay off your debt? I'll stake him myself if he was Sook!"
Shaking her head Sookie replied, "No! No … it … well ... it's hard to explain Tara. You've never shared blood with a vampire before and I can't describe the feelings it makes you have when you do. I can promise you that Eric isn't forcing me into a sexual relationship. He's sworn that he won't do that. He said he'll wait for me to come to him. The other night, well…that was an accident, and as much as I hate to admit it at the time I wanted it just as much as he did."
"Sook … you hate that guy? How can you say that!"
Sitting back in her chair Sookie thought for a moment before explaining, "Tara, remember how you regained all your memories of what happened to you while you were under Maryann's influence when I … uh … went inside your head? Remember how you had to have sex with Eggs because the desire to have sex was so great inside of you?" When her friend nodded she continued, "Well when I share blood with Eric the same thing sort of happens to me only it's directed specifically at Eric and not just the need to have sex in general. I really, really want him at those moments. Most of the time I'm able to fight off my desire when he feeds from me and then me from him since I know it's not really my own desire, but if we share blood at exactly at the same time it makes the feelings so much worse. So that's sort of what happened the other night. Eric had me take his blood at the same time I took his and well … one thing kind of led to another. I can say that I am really thankful you two showed up when you did!"
Tara shook her head and said, "Sook I don't know what to say about all this. You say you're in bigger trouble with Eric than you thought and that you have to do what he says for the foreseeable future. You're also telling me that he's putting you in situations where you can't help but want him and have absolutely no control over yourself at these times … I can't just let that go! I get that there are some things you can't tell me, but girl we need to find a way to get you out of this."
"I'm trying. I really am Tara. I need you to trust me though. I need you to trust that I'm doing everything I can to get myself out of this and keep everyone safe." Taking Tara's hands again she said, "Tara … I need you to promise not to interfere with all of this. I'm not saying you can't help me or that I won't ask you to in the future. I'm just saying that I need you to promise me not to do anything until I ask for you to help. Can you promise me that?"
"Sook I can't just—"
"Please Tara. I wouldn't be trying to tell you what to do unless it was absolutely my last resort. You know that. I'm asking this of you for both our sakes. You trying to get between me and Eric, or you trying to interfere with what is going on between us would go very, very badly."
Tara searched her friend's eyes and saw the desperation in them. Tears filled her eyes as she whispered, "You're in really bad trouble aren't you Sook?"
Her eyes welling up as well Sookie nodded her head and replied softly, "Yeah Tara … I am … and honestly I don't know how to get out of it. Right now I'm just trying to make sure everyone I love and care about stays safe … so I need you to promise me."
"Let's just run. Let's get your brother, Lafayette, Eggs and Sam and just run! Sam would do anything for you, you know that. And Jason will do whatever he has to in order to protect you. There ain't nothing holding us here but memories, and in your case not a whole lot of them are good. Let's just pack a bag and go … get as far away from Eric and this shit hole town as we can."
Shaking her head sadly as she wiped the tears from her eyes Sookie explained, "We can't Tara. Eric's blood inside me is like a beacon to him. He can find me anywhere at any time. There's no getting away from him, and if I tried he'd catch us within a day and the punishment for doing so would be severe. Tara if running had been an option we'd already be gone, but it's not."
Running her hands through her braids Tara argued, "We can't just accept this Sook! You can't just let Eric continue trying to take over your life so he can control your gift!"
"I'm not accepting it Tara. I'm trying to find a way out of the trouble I've gotten myself into. I'm trying to get away from Eric. I really am, but I've got to play smart Tara. One wrong move and I really will lose everything. I can't afford to act in anger or frustration right now Tara. I have to tread very carefully or Eric will take everything from me…and there's nothing anyone could do to stop him."
"Like hell! Let's call the cops Sookie! Let's—"
"That won't work Tara! Don't you think I would have done that already if I could?"
Crossing her arms over her chest Tara hissed, "Well why the hell not? These damn Vamps may be stronger than us, but they're not above the law!"
"Yes they are!" Shaking her head sadly at her friend Sookie continued, "Tara they have resources at their control you couldn't even imagine. I watched Eric cover up a kidnapping and three murders with nothing more than a phone call. I've seen him hold people hostage and torture them in his basement and face no consequences. You know he did it to Lafayette, and he got away with it! Even if I did manage to file a police report and the Vampires on the force didn't make it go away and Eric was actually questioned about what he's doing to me he could simply glamour whatever policeman came to see him to make the problem go away. Vampires live by their laws and their laws alone, they just humor us in our belief that human laws affect them in any way."
Finally realizing exactly how tight a bind Sookie was in Tara asked, "What does he want? What is he doing to you?"
Knowing if Tara knew the full truth she would go crazy and do something stupid, Sookie decided some editing was in order. "For now, he wants the opportunity to seduce me so I'm not allowed to date other men. He won't force me so it will be my choice, but he's made it clear he won't allow any other men in my life. He also wants control over my telepathy indefinitely."
"You're not going to get with him right?"
"Of course not! Eric may be the sexiest man I've ever seen but he's also the most pompous overbearing jerk I've ever met! The thought of letting him win makes my skin crawl. I'll stick to dreaming about him, thank you very much!"
"You're dreaming about him?"
Blushing, Sookie nodded her head and replied, "Yeah. Another side effect of having his blood. It makes me dream about him, but I don't want to talk about that. Right now I need you to promise me that you're not going to get involved until I ask you to."
Tara was quiet a moment before nodding her head and promising, "I won't. I'm not happy about having to stand off to the side during all of this, but if you say my getting involved will only make things worse then I'll believe you. I'll hold back for now, but you remember that I'm here for you. Say the word and I'll be ready to help you in any way you want Sook."
Leaning forward to hug her friend Sookie whispered, "Thanks Tara. That means a lot to me. It really does."
Standing up, Sookie made her way back to the counter to finish making breakfast as she asked, "So you guys like the cars?"
"Do we? Heck yeah, Sook! You should have seen the looks on everyone's faces when me, Eggs, Jason, and Lafayette rolled up to Merlotte's last night! People's jaws dropped to the floor! And when we told everybody you'd bought them for us I swear I thought Arlene's head was going to explode! She looked mad enough to spit nails! Bet that bitch is wishin' she wasn't so mean to you now!"
Laughing with Tara, Sookie said, "Well now that we've got the big conversation out of the way I wanted to talk to you about your rent here, and about something I paid for yesterday for you, Lafayette and Jason."
"Am I not paying enough? Do you want me to pay more? I know $200 is really low."
"No! Oh no Tara honey I don't want more money! I was just going to say that I don't want you to pay anything at all anymore. Eric took over the bills for the house. For the foreseeable future, I don't have a house payment or anything like that so I want you to save your money."
"Really? Sook … I … well, I'm mad Eric is gettin' in your business like that but I could really use the money. Lafayette and I were talking about going to school so that maybe we could open up our own clothing store in a few years. I'm real good with money so we thought I'd take some business classes, and since you know he's good with clothes he was going to take some design classes at the local community college. That extra 200 would really help."
Smiling now Sookie faced her friend and added, "I know. Lafayette told me about your plans … and yesterday I paid for six years worth of college for you, him, and Jason to attend Louisiana State at Shreveport after you guys left with your cars. You start next semester. I paid for six years so that you could go to school part time year round and work part time. All you guys have to do is go up there and sign up for your classes. Books and everything are paid for. Just show them your ID at the registrar's office and they'll handle everything."
Tara's mouth fell open and she stared at Sookie in shock for a long moment before letting out a squeal and throwing herself into her friend's arms. "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!"
As Tara gave her the bear hug from hell Sookie couldn't help but laugh. She and Tara jumped up and down together in a circle as they laughed and cried together. "So you're happy?"
"Am I happy? Sook are you crazy? Of course I'm happy! You don't know what this means to me! I know I've bashed college kids all these years, but deep down that was just because I could never afford to go."
Tapping her head Sookie replied, "I know Tara. I heard your real thoughts. I know how much you wished you could have afforded to go when we graduated. You had the grades but not the money or opportunity since you were taking care of your Mom. Now you have both." Taking her hands Sookie looked her straight in the eyes and said, "I want this for you Tara. At least something good is coming out of all this crap with Eric. I want you, Jason, and Lafayette to take this gift and run with it. Go to college. Get good grades. Graduate. Make something of yourselves. You guys are meant for so much more than this town has to offer and I'm so happy I get to help you achieve your dreams."
Hugging Sookie close as tears poured down her cheeks Tara whispered, "This means more to me than you'll ever know … I … I don't know what to say!"
"Just promise me you'll work your butt of in class and graduate with honors and we'll call it even."
"Damn straight I will!"
The two women continued to laugh and cry before Eggs came strolling into the kitchen and said, "Uh … am I interrupting something?"
"Eggs you're never going to believe what Sookie did!"
As Tara filled Eggs in on her chance to go to school, Sookie finished up making breakfast. By the time she was finished Eggs was filled in and thanking her on Tara's behalf as well and her Were guards came to join them. Thankfully they didn't make mention of anything they'd heard with their increased hearing and Sookie was thankful for that, though they were thinking about her and she listened to their thoughts of pity for her and her situation throughout breakfast. Just as they were finishing up the painter arrived and Sookie took him room through room in the house and told him what colors she wanted the walls painted after Tara told him she wanted her room a light cream color. By the time she was done with him and his crews began to strip the wallpaper down the church showed up to clear out her old furniture at the same time as Ken. Tara oversaw the church movers while Sookie began her training with Ken.
When she was done with that it was nearing one since her training session ran over. Bobby had arrived to oversee the work crews since Tara and Eggs were both going in to work at 2 and she was headed over to Jason's after she swung by Merlotte's to tell Sam she couldn't work for him tomorrow. In her memo to Eric last night she said she'd be going over to her brother's to "Check on things". What she hadn't said was that she intended to clean the house so it would be ready for the new furniture that would be delivered later today. She wanted to vacuum, mop, wax the floors and dust the whole place so that the house would look great when the new stuff arrived. She figured that as long as she kept her descriptions of her daily activities vague Eric couldn't veto them. He'd approved her email last night and reminded her that she was going to be meeting her bodyguards tonight so he was sending her a special dress to wear, and he wanted her to wear the ruby E necklace he'd given her the other night with it.
So after she finished up with Ken she took a quick shower and dressed in a pair of the shorts Samantha had gotten her with a far too expensive t-shirt in her opinion. After putting on her new tennis shoes she waved to Bobby, who ignored her of course, and collected her guards to head to Merlotte's with Tara and Eggs following in his hybrid Escalade. When she arrived at Merlotte's she ignored the less than flattering thoughts of the bar patrons and asked Sam if she could talk to him in his office.
When they were in his office, door still open of course and her guards standing at the end of the hall to block anyone else from getting close, Sookie said, "Eric and I have been summoned by the queen Saturday night so I have to leave Saturday to go. Is it alright if I miss Saturday?"
"This about that hit list on the Fellowship site?"
"You know about that?"
"The whole supe community knows about it. We might not all be the best of friends but we network together really well. With all the other species getting ready to come out this site threatens us as well … so yeah you can have Saturday off. Do you know what's up?"
Shaking her head Sookie replied, "No. Eric just told me there's some meeting there about it and I'm supposed to be there."
"Well don't worry about your shift Saturday. This is far more important."
"So was Eric mad ... about your little shopping trip?"
Sookie laughed, "A bit. But since I didn't actually disobey him he didn't really have anything to argue. He did tell me that from here on out I have to use the money he gives me to buy myself stuff and if I want to buy anything for anyone else I have to ask him first…but everybody gets to keep what I got them."
"That's good. Arlene was mad as hell when she saw all those cars … and I heard what she said to you."
Seeing the understanding in his eyes Sookie whispered, "At least I know what she really thinks about me … I'm fine with it now."
"Well, I'm not. I told her if I ever heard her spoutin' hate like that again she could find somewhere else to work. Told her in front of the whole damn bar. She was mad and got those big ol' crocodile tears going but I knew she was just be dramatic. She starts in on you anytime you're here you just let me know."
"Thanks Sam that means a lot to me." Sookie hugged Sam and started out of his office chitchatting with him when her attention was drawn towards Alcide and Tray at the end of the hall who were arguing with Lafayette.
Lafayette, spotting her over her Were bodyguards shoulders, waved at her and called out, "Sook, will you tell them that I'm not a danger to you and let me by so I can thank you?"
"Guys, you know Lafayette already! Stop hassling him!"
Alcide glanced over his shoulder and replied, "You told us not to let anyone bother you while you spoke with the shifter. We were following orders."
"Shifter?" Lafayette looked confused and Sookie rushed, "What did you want to talk to me about, Lafayette?"
Pushing past the two guards Lafayette swept her up in a hug and twirled her around as he said, "Thank you so much, Sook! I can't believe you're doing all of this!"
Getting from his mind that he'd overheard Tara and Eggs talking about the schooling she'd paid for them all Sookie laughed and hugged him back as she replied, "No problem Lafayette! I was happy to do it! Now you and Tara can get started on those dreams of yours."
After setting Sookie on her feet Lafayette continued, "I really am thankful Sookie but you don't got to be buying all of this stuff for us. We don't need you to buy us gifts for us to be your friends. We'll stand by you without it."
"Lafayette that's not what this is about. This is about me being in the position to help my friends. Eric is giving me this money whether I want it or not. I figured I might as well spend it on worthy causes. Besides he definitely owes you. Call it payment for pain and suffering."
"Well if you're going to put it like that … so have you told Jason yet?"
"No … and I want to be the one to tell him so you and Tara keep mum about it ok?"
"Sure thang sweetness." Slinging an arm around her shoulders he led her back into the main bar area and added, "Lovin' the car Sook! Drove around with the top down all night last night! Damn near slept in it!"
Sookie laughed at that and was about to tell him that the car wasn't going anywhere so he might as well continued sleeping inside when Arlene's thoughts slammed into her.
I shouldn't have gone off on her like that! If I hadn't I'd have a fancy new car too. Maybe I can apologize and she'll start helping me out with some of my bills too. Though I sure could use a new car. Don't know what's so special about her anyways, but maybe having a vampire boyfriend ain't as bad as I thought. I could definitely use a man to take care of me the way that blonde giant is taking care of her. Maybe I'll go by that Vamp's bar when I'm off this next week. But for now I should apologize and see if I can get back on her good side.
"Save it Arlene," Sookie said turning to face the surprised waitress. "I don't want any of your false apologies just so you can worm your way back into my good graces and get me to buy you shit. I don't have time for fake people like you."
Mouth hanging open for a moment Arlene then narrowed her eyes and put her fists on her hips as she hissed, "You stay out of my damn head Sookie Stackhouse! My personal thoughts are none of your damn business! I thought you didn't go peaking into people's head without reason? You got no right!"
Shrugging Sookie replied, "I stay out of my friends and family's head in respect for them. You? You've made it clear you're no friend of mine and I'm starting to learn I need to keep my guard up around people I can't trust. You've just proven me right about that too. So keep your fake apology and pay your own damn bills. I'm not giving you a penny…now if you'll excuse me I've got things to do."
Turning to face Lafayette and Tara, who were standing together by the bar, she said, "You two keep quiet about the school until I have a chance to talk to Jason myself. Ok?" When they nodded she said her goodbyes to Sam and left with her guards to head over to Jason. When she got there the church was just finishing up loading the last of the furniture. Jason had left the house open and told them to go right on in and take everything and lock up behind them. She waved at them and said hello, even though she'd seen them at her house that morning, and headed inside to see what kind of work she had.
Just as she suspected the house was really dusty and needed some work. None of the furniture had been moved and cleaned under in years so there was quite a bit of an accumulation of dust and dirt. Her guards sat outside for the next three hours and played with Thor while she got down on her hands and knees and scrubbed her brother's bare house from top to bottom. She did three loads of laundry and set them in stacks on the ping pong table in her brother's basement and then left a note for him to either call or come by tomorrow morning so she could talk to him. She was supposed to leave for New Orleans at 11 am tomorrow with her guard, and she wanted to talk to him about her leaving and the schooling she'd paid for him.
It was around 6 when she got home with Alcide and Tray and she decided she'd earned a nice soak in the bathtub after she took a shower to wash off the sweat and grime from cleaning. As soon as they stepped into the house Sookie found Bobby standing there waiting for her with an annoyed expression on his face. "Hello Bobby."
"Miss Stackhouse. I have several things to go over with you before I leave."
"Shoot," Sookie said as her guards looked around the now empty house with bare walls.
"The painter got all of your walls stripped since he brought two teams. He was also able to get your bedroom, the living, and dining room painted. He will be back early tomorrow morning to finish along with a crew to treat your floors. Broyhill called and confirmed that they will be here Sunday morning to deliver your furniture. You said your roommate will be here to tell them where to put things since you will not have returned from New Orleans with Mr. Northman when they arrive."
"Next, your barn is finished. They finished painting it a little over an hour ago, but you might want to wait until in the morning to tour it to make sure the paint is dry and you aren't bothered by the fumes. I verified with your riding instructor Mrs. Sanders that she will bringing all the necessary items to care for the horses including shavings for the stall so you will be set when she arrives on Tuesday."
Smiling at this despite Bobby's thoughts of how undeserving of Eric's attentions she was Sookie nodded her head and replied, "That's great to hear!"
"Ground was broken for the guest house to go up beside this one today and crews will be working all weekend and some of next week to get it done. It will be two bedroom, one bath, with a small kitchenette and living room. There will also be a small below ground resting place for your new Vampire guards. It will take a week to complete. It will match this house as well so you needn't worry about it sticking out."
"Finally, Mr. Northman had your dress for this evening delivered along with two deluxe air mattresses for you and your roommate to use until your new furniture arrives. The dress is on the kitchen counter along with the shoes and I put one mattress in your room and the other in your roommates. I already had them blown up and sheets put on them so they're ready for you to use. Now unless you have any instructions for me I'll be on my way."
"No. I don't have anything for you. Thank for doing—" She didn't even get to finish her sentence as Bobby simply walked past her and out of the house. "He is so rude!"
As her guards agreed Sookie headed into the kitchen to get her dress and said, "I'm sorry there's nowhere for you guys to sit or any TV for you to watch. There's a deck of cards in the kitchen. They're in a draw under the microwave if you want them. I'm just going to go soak and get ready for tonight."
She was ready at 8 on the dot again as Pam arrived to pick her up. The dress Eric had her wearing was a floor length gown with a medieval flair. It was a blood red color and the corset was partly beaded and partly some sheer material that showed her skin beneath. She was immensely thankful all her important parts were covered up. The skirt was full and heavy and swished around her when she walked. Thankfully Eric had sent her beaded slippers to wear instead of heels. Unfortunately she couldn't wear the necklace Eric had given her since she'd broken the clasp when she tore it off her neck the other night and hurled it across the room. She'd just have to explain that to him when she got there. Instead she wore her platinum one. Her hair was down around her neck in loose curls and she'd used a dark red lipstick to match her dress and shadowy eye makeup. When she answered the door to greet Pam she already had her purse in her hands with her phone, but not Thor. He was getting too big for her to carry and she was teaching him to walk at her feet.
Pam looked over Sookie shoulder to the empty house and smirked as she said, "Looks much better already."
"Gee you're so kind … are you ready?"
"But of course. You do know this is the last night I will be retrieving you of course? After tonight your new guards will escort you to Fangtasia each night."
Nodding her head Sookie replied, "Yeah Eric told me … are they here yet?"
"Yes. They are at Fangtasia now. Let's go little human. You have quite the night ahead of you."
When they were in the car and on their way with Thor in the back seat standing up on his hind legs looking out the window, which Pam was obviously not happy about, Sookie said, "Can you tell me about blood bonds?"
"No. If you have questions about your connection to Eric you may ask him about the blood bond. It is not my place."
Clenching her purse in her lap Sookie said, "So you're not going to tell me anything?"
"No … speak to Eric."
"Will you tell me about why the Queen wants me then? I don't know a lot about your world but if Eric works for the Queen and I work for Eric doesn't she already have me in a sense?"
Pam was quiet a moment before replying, "Yes and no."
"Wow. That cleared everything right up."
Smirking at Sookie's sarcastic tone Pam continued, "If you were simply Eric's asset then yes she would have virtually unlimited access to you…well as long as he was her sheriff. If he moved, since you're his personal asset, then you would go with him and you would be available to whatever monarch he moved under instead of her. She could still request the use of you, but she'd have to go through what Monarch Eric was then loyal to. However as Eric's bonded, he has the right to deny anyone access to you for whatever reason he wishes. The rights to bondeds are much like the rights to children. The Vampire that makes the bond with them has complete control over them. If the Queen requested the use of you Eric could deny her simply for the sake of denying her, and there is nothing she could do about it since you are his bonded."
"So that's why she wants to take me? So that Eric can't deny her access to my disability?"
"Eric told you not to say that about yourself. Do so again in my presence and I will have to alert him you are still referring to yourself as such. He is determined to break you of that habit."
Deciding to ignore that comment Sookie asked, "Are you going to answer me or not?"
"That is probably part of the reason she wants to do away with Eric and take you, but if you remember the Queen was already acting suspiciously over you even before she learned you were bonded to Eric when Andre came to inspect you. Before then she believed you were only his personal asset, and it wasn't until Andre arrived that she found out how closely you were tied to Eric. So there is more behind her wanting you and her plans to do away with Eric than just you being bonded to him. Besides Eric has served the Queen long enough, and has such a good reputation that she should know he would always make any tools he has available to those he owes allegiance."
"Did Eric tell Andre we were bonded?"
"No words are needed. For the rest of your life you will carry Eric's scent. Those that don't know him will simply catch the scent of vampire so firmly embedded in you that all Supernaturals will know you are the bonded of a vampire and know not to touch you. Those that know Eric personally will be able to catch his specific scent from you. When Andre met you, he didn't need to be told you were Eric's bonded. The truth of your connection to my Master is in your scent."
Crossing her arms under her chest Sookie muttered, "That manipulative jerk!"
"He certainly has his moments."
Surprise evident on her face Sookie asked, "You're actually agreeing with me?"
"I will not deny the truth. Eric has his moments where it is hard to be around him. His long life as an Enforcer has made his head harder than stone … but he is a good Master Sookie. You will enjoy being his child when he turns you. He will protect and guide you through eternity."
Feeling her stomach tighten at the mention of the future Eric had planned for her Sookie whispered, "I don't want to talk about that."
Pam was content to let the silence stretch between them.
When they arrived at Fangtasia she parked in the front again and escorted Sookie through the front doors. The two Enforcers the Ancient Pythoness had sent to guard Sookie were already here and standing behind Eric on the stage. Every vampire in the bar knew who they were, of course. They had been the personal body guards of the Ancient Pythoness and were known the world over. Eric had expected word of their position as Sookie's bodyguards to spread after her presentation to the queen tomorrow night, but Pam was betting it would be all over the supe community after tonight.
Sookie followed behind Pam and of course immediately saw the two men on either side of Eric behind his throne. The one she knew had to be Ivan was literally a giant of a man. Eric was well over six feet but this guy was so tall he had to be topping seven. He looked like a brick wall and his shoulders were so massive his neck simply disappeared in them. He had shaggy dark brown hair and a long scruffy beard. The closer she got she could see dark green eyes hidden by bushy eyebrows. He actually had a large battle axe strapped to his back. He was wearing loose tan leather pants with heavy boots, and a plain brown cotton shirt.
|TexanLady's concept for Han|
Pam brought Sookie to a stop before Eric and said, "Your bonded, Master."
Eric nodded and looked at Sookie. Seeing she wasn't wearing the ruby necklace he'd given her, he asked, "Where is your necklace? I told you to wear it tonight."
Shifting nervously as Thor hopped up on the stage to lay down beside Eric's throne Sookie replied, "I … well I kind of broke the clasp the other night when you left. I might have taken it off a little too roughly. I forgot to get it fixed."
Arching a brow, Eric repeated, "Taken it off a little too roughly?"
"I was upset. I'll get it fixed."
He, of course, deduced that she'd torn it from her neck in her anger of what had transpired between them and what had almost happened before her pesky friends had shown up to ruin everything. "I'll have Bobby see to it, but from now on you'll be more careful with the things I give you."
Biting back an angry retort, Sookie simply nodded and waited for him to continue. She looked over his shoulder at the two Vampires that were staring at her intently and felt their heavy scrutiny.
'They certainly look scary. Well Ivan does at least. Han looks like he could be a movie star.'
Seeing Sookie's gaze travel over his shoulders, Eric said, "These are your new guards. They arrived late last night." Standing he held his hand out to Sookie so she would join him on the stage so he could introduce her to them, but was stopped when Han and Ivan moved before he could do so. He was just as stunned as the rest of the bar at what happened next.
Han and Ivan waited until Sookie was standing on the stage beside Eric before they moved out from behind him. Standing on the floor in front of the two they pulled their weapons from their backs. Han laid his swords down at Sookie's feet in an X and knelt on both knees before bowing his head all the way to the floor as he said, "Lady Sookie. I, Han the Enforcer, pledge my life and loyalty to you till final death takes me. Where you go I shall follow. Your life will always be my utmost priority. I will shed blood for your safety. I will face any foe that threatens you, and fight to the death to keep you safe. As long as I walk this earth the only way to you during the night will be through me. This I solemnly vow."
When Han was done Ivan laid his axe at Sookie's feet as well and knelt on one knee as he bowed his head and said, "Ivan vow to protect the Chosen One till death takes Ivan. No one hurt the Chosen One while Ivan lives. Sookie mistress of Ivan. Lady Sookie go; Ivan follow. Ivan protect. Ivan swears." His accent was thick and heavy and the words forced showing that English was definitely not his strong suit.
There was total silence in the bar as the vampire DJ brought the music to an abrupt stop. Eric looked around and saw the shock on all the vampire faces in Fangtasia. Even Pam, who was usually as stoic as he, looked bewildered. The fangbangers looked confused and curious but the vampires in attendance were literally stunned speechless. Two of the world's most famous and dangerous Enforcers, two enforcers that had guarded the Ancient Pythoness herself for centuries, had just pledged their lives and loyalty to Sookie … a human. Nothing like this had ever been done before. Ever. 'What in the name of Odin is going on?' Eric thought as he stood beside Sookie in a stupor. At this moment he really didn't know what to do.
When Han and Ivan had arrived yesterday they had informed him that the Pythoness had taken them aside and told them of Sookie and why they were to guard her so heavily. They told him they were not to speak to him of what the Ancient Pythoness revealed. All they could say was that Sookie and his bond with her was paramount to them. They would keep Sookie safe so that Eric could focus on doing what he would need to do as situations arose. Those statements had let Eric know that many problems were going to be arising soon.
Looking around Sookie saw all the vampires in the bar looking at her in total wonder as Han and Ivan knelt at her feet. Looking up at Eric she saw for the first time that his expression lacked the supreme confidence it usually had. He was every bit as stunned as the rest of the Vampires around him. Getting no cues from him, and the silence around them becoming uncomfortable, Sookie cleared her throat and replied, "Uh—well, I—that's nice, thanks. So, do you guys think you could get up off the floor now? You're kind of freaking me out, everyone else too."
Han looked up at the human woman he knew was going to initiate the beginning of the new world along with the Vampire at her side and smiled. He repeated her words to Ivan in Russian and together they stood and replaced their weapons on their backs. "Not much for ceremony, mistress?"
Blushing Sookie shook her head and replied, "Not at all, and please call me Sookie. Just Sookie."
Repeating her words again to Ivan in Russian Han then told her, "As you wish, Sookie."
"Sookie," Ivan growled out in his rough, deep voice as he nodded his head at her.
Sookie smiled at Ivan and asked, "Can you understand any of what I'm saying or will Han always have to interpret?"
"Some. Not much. Learn fast. Few weeks Ivan know most."
Han nodded his head and added, "It will only take him a few weeks to pick up most of your language. He never took the time to learn it before since most of our dealings are with vampires and he knows so many other languages they could speak to him in. English is actually a fairly new language. He'll learn quickly so you can speak to him directly. What he knows now he learned in the last few weeks."
"Wow! That's fast! Why did he decide to learn English all of a sudden?"
Han and Ivan shared a look before Ivan shrugged and replied, "Needed to."
Seeing that neither intended to say anymore Sookie said, "So uh … how do you two intend to get home with me tonight? Pam drove me here and we're all definitely not fitting in Eric's Corvette."
At the sound of his name Eric finally shook himself out of his stupor and answered, "Ivan brought a car with him. It's an armored Hummer and you will ride in it with him and Han at night. I am also sending your car off this weekend to Texas Armoring to be bullet proofed as well. It will be ready for you by Monday. Until then you will use Ivan's car during the day." Seeing Sookie about to protest Eric ordered, "No arguing."
Sookie didn't have time to say anymore as Eric retook his seat and pulled her down on his lap while Han and Ivan took up their positions behind his throne. Eric gestured for the DJ to begin the music again and slowly everyone resumed what they had been doing before the spectacle Han and Ivan had made. When Richelle came over with a gin and tonic for her Ivan snatched it out of her hand and sniffed it before handing it to Sookie with a nod.
Han noticed her puzzlement and said, "One of Ivan's gifts is his superior sense of smell. He can detect even the tiniest trace of harmful substances. He will ensure all the food and drink you consume around him is not poisoned in some way."
"Ivan check," the massive vampire assured as he nodded his head.
Smiling softly at the giant vampire Sookie replied, "Thank you, though if she'd poisoned it I would have heard her thoughts."
"Yes. We are aware of your gift. However we will not be lax in our duties," Han insisted.
"Ivan always check," the big brute of a man added with another nod of his head.
After that the night continued to progress. Sookie could feel the eyes of all the vampires in the bar on her along with the fangbangers. She knew that the show Han and Ivan had put on had been pretty significant just from Eric and Pam's reactions alone and she intended to ask him about it at the earliest opportunity. As usual Sookie spent most of the night glaring at Eric when he touched or kissed her while focusing on the thoughts of those in and around the bar. Like most nights many of the thoughts were directed at her and Eric, and again, most were not favorable. She sorted through the usual drivel about her not being good enough for Eric and how pitiful she was, and yadda, yadda, yadda. But at a little past midnight she stiffened as she one of the paths in her head monitoring the thoughts of the people outside picked up what she was here to listen for.
'We've waited long enough. I don't know what happened to Kevin, but if the vamps had gotten him they would have moved against us by now. He must have run off. He was a little punk anyways. Aaron said to try and come tonight. I haven't heard anyone say whether or not that mind reading bitch is here or not yet. I can't just ask so when it's my turn to go inside I'll sing a song in my head and see if she's here. If she is I'll keep singing in my head for a few minutes before leaving. Steve said he doesn't know how far she can hear, but we're supposed to leave if we see her anyways. If I leave right off the bat that would look suspicious. I need to find the fangbangers that woman Pam feeds off of. Aaron wants her first.'
Eric felt Sookie stiffen in his lap and asked, "You've heard something?"
"That Nancy woman is outside in the line."
"What does she look like?"
"It doesn't work like that. I can't see what she looks like unless she thinks about it. She's going to walk inside soon and if she sees me she'll start singing a song in her head. I'll be able to spot her then."
Forcing his fangs not to pop out Eric replied, "Fine…point her out as soon as she walks in."'
Nodding her head Sookie said, "I will … and Eric?"
"She's here to see who Pam feeds off. Something about Pam being the target." She could feel him stiffen beneath her as a growl built in his chest. When his arm tightened around her too much she whispered, "Eric you're hurting me."
He relaxed immediately and said, "Just point her out to me."
"I will." Sookie knew that while Eric and Pam were not overly affectionate with each other Eric would defend his child viciously and vice versa. She doubted that these Fellowship terrorists after his child would walk away from this at all. A few minutes later a woman with short brown hair of medium build entered the building in a black mini skirt, black tube top, and black combat boots. As soon as the woman saw her she began singing "Dixie Lullaby" in her head. "That one in the black skirt and tube top. That's her."
Eric nodded his head and pulled his cell phone out to send Pam a text. When he was done he stood with Sookie and led her towards his office with her guards following. A few minutes later Pam led the glamoured woman inside and Eric ordered, "Release her from your glamour. Sookie find out what she's here for specifically."
Han and Ivan moved to the far end of the room to observe while Pam held the woman by the arms so Sookie could approach her. As soon as Nancy's eyes cleared when Pam's glamour released her Sookie asked, "Why are you here?"
Looking around wildly as her mind processed she'd been caught and the mind reader was right in front of her Nancy started chanting in her head, 'Not gonna talk. Not gonna talk. Not gonna talk.'
Setting her hand on Nancy's shoulder as she struggled against Pam's hold Sookie said, "Won't work Nancy. I'm going to ask you questions and whether you like it or not the answers are going to pop up in your mind. Now why are you here?"
The image of a baggie of pills popped into Sookie's mind and she blushed as she reached into Nancy's cleavage and pulled out a little baggie of small white pills. "What are these for?"
'Shit don't think about it! Don't think about it! Don't think about what they do! Don't think about the plan!'
Nancy's stubbornness did her no good though. Since Sookie had stopped avoiding using her telepathy and had actually embraced it she was learning to travel through a person's thoughts and memories. When she was touching them she only needed to get them thinking about what she wanted to know and then she could follow the thought process through the person's mind and see their memories related to it. However if she wasn't touching them she could only hear and see in her head what they were thinking right at that moment.
So despite Nancy's avoidance of speaking the words Sookie picked up the image of her having given one of the pills to a regularly feed on fangbanger in Texas. The vamp that fed on the girl was down and incapacitated within minutes allowing Nancy and the other Fellowship terrorists with her to capture him, torture him for information and then stake him. This was how they were getting information for their website. Everything Nancy had been a part of opened up to Sookie's mind and she saw it all. The many vampires she'd helped trap and torture. The innocent fangbangers killed off as well afterwards. All of it. She even saw Nancy's plan for Pam.
Stepping back Sookie tossed the baggie on Eric's desk as she explained, "I don't know what that is but it takes out vamps. Fellowship spies sneak it into the drinks of fangbangers that are fed on regularly and then, when a vampire drinks from them, they're down minutes later. That's when Nancy and her crew swoop in. They capture the downed vampire, bind them in silver and take them somewhere secure and torture them for information. They've been knocking off smaller vampires for basic information and that's how they got all the names and positions for the Fellowship hit list. They're going after bigger vampires now for more specific information. They know some of the addresses they have aren't right. Nancy was hoping to drug Pam's meal for the night and she'd call in the team, which is parked three streets down and waiting for her call, and they'd take her to a warehouse they have on the other side of Shreveport for questioning. They were hoping Pam would break and tell them your true daytime resting place so they could attack you during the day and stake you. They know you feed on me now and can't get close enough to drug me so they figured Pam was the best way to get to you."
"You traitorous whore! Traitor to your own race! Die you filthy fangbanging whore!"
The sound of hissing and fangs popping out surrounded Sookie as she shook her head sadly at the woman. She'd seen the reason Nancy got involved in this in the first place. Her brother had gotten involved in draining and disappeared because of it and now she was out to kill all Vampires for the disappearance of her brother. "You're so full of hate … you're so angry about your brother but you're denying the truth that he chose his own fate. He chose to be a drainer."
Nancy's mouth opened in shock before she hissed, "Shut your mouth, you stupid cunt! These things killed my brother! They all deserve to die! I'm going to kill them all!"
"Are you?" Pam asked as she leaned down to flash her fangs at the woman in her arms. "I'm thinking not if we kill you first."
Picking the baggie up from his desk Eric looked at the pills before asking, "What are these?"
Shaking her head Sookie replied, "She doesn't know. She just knows they work. She's been working with Aaron for the last year, and they got them from Newlin. They were sent here to handle this area because Newlin has it out against you and me personally and they're supposed to be the best team."
Tossing the bag back onto his desk Eric mocked, "The best? Pitiful. Pam take her into the basement and chain her up. See if she has anything else to share with us. I will escort Sookie and her guards home."
After Pam dragged Nancy out of the office and headed for the basement Han and Ivan flanked Sookie on either side and Han asked, "What security measures have been taken to protect her during the day? We were informed she had Were guards. Is this correct?"
Eric nodded his head and replied, "Yes. She has four Werewolf guards from a local pack traveling with her during the day. Two actually at her side and two staying out of sight. She has two at night to be accompanied by you."
Shaking his head Ivan replied, "No good. Need more."
"Yes. She will need far more protection than this. We will notify HER of the situation and more protection will be supplied from the Council. At night Ivan and I can protect her from anything, but during the day she is much more vulnerable. Four Were guards from a local pack are not enough to see to her safety," Han added Eric usually hated being told how things were going to go, but he was not going to argue the point.
The Ancient Pythoness herself had come to see him and told him that Sookie and his relationship with her was more important than anything else. She deemed Sookie's safety so significant that she had sent her best two Enforcers to take care of his bonded. He might not know the specifics of what was going on, but he wasn't going to turn down any additional protection offered to him for Sookie by HER or the Council. Nodding his head Eric replied, "If you say she needs more protection so be it."
Han immediately pulled out a cell phone from his pocket and dialed a number. Within moments he was speaking in a language Sookie didn't know and she'd had it with being ignored. Hands on her hips she said, "Ok SHE is standing right here, and SHE wants to know what the hell is going on! You guys act like World War 3 is about to rain down on my head and I want to know what you know!"
Ivan smirked at Sookie, shook his head, and replied, "Not time know. Soon it happen. SHE promise. Then Sookie know. Now wait. Trust."
Scowling up at the giant next to her Sookie demanded, "She who? What's going to happen?"
Ivan simply shook his head and continued to smile. Eric stood from his desk and added, "Sookie you were told you would know when the time comes. Be happy with that because it's all you're going to get. For now it is time for me to take you home. There are several matters I will discuss with you while your guards patrol around you house and get a lay of the land. Come."
Han was finished with his phone conversation and added, "SHE has been informed. More protection will be here come morning; in time for the trip to New Orleans. SHE is most displeased. Apparently this local Werewolf pack was contacted by the Council and informed that Sookie's protection was of the utmost priority. A man named Alcide assured them they would handle it. SHE is angry that so little extra protection was offered."
This was certainly new to Eric and he was about to tell Han he'd speak to Alcide about it tonight and reprimand the man for not informing him of this when he caught guilt flowing from Sookie through the bond.
Focusing on her he asked, "Did you hear about this from Alcide today?" When she darted her eyes to her new guards he waved his hand dismissively and added, "Their loyalty to you is absolute. They swore their lives to you. You may say whatever you wish in front of them. They may know your secret."
Sookie twisted her hands in agitation as she looked at Eric and whispered, "I heard it from Alcide today yes, he was wondering what I was to be so important to the Council. Apparently the Council contacted him and told him not only was my safety of vital importance but my bond to you as well. He was told to keep other men, and especially Bill, away from me while providing protection. He uh—he was happy that he was going to get to pay off his debt to you while carrying out their orders as well."
Crossing his arms over his chest Eric asked, "And why did you not tell me this before now? You should have emailed this information to me during the day. Or sent me a text."
Biting her lip Sookie whispered, "I didn't want Alcide to get in trouble. I figured you both had the same goal now so it wouldn't hurt for him to get to kill two birds with one stone."
Eric came around his desk and took Sookie's arm to lead her out of the office towards the parking lot as he said, "We'll speak more of this at your house. Know that this behavior is unacceptable and you will be punished for it."
As Eric dragged her out of the bar with Thor trotting after them Sookie glanced behind her and saw Han and Ivan nodding their heads in agreement to Eric's words. 'Well they're certainly a lot of help. I guess their protection does extend towards Eric. Jerks.'
Forty five minutes later, Ivan's Hummer didn't go as fast as Eric's Corvette, they pulled up in front of her house. When they were all out of the cars Han and Ivan said they were going to walk the grounds while Eric handled her punishment. Sookie glared at them for that. They both bowed to her and disappeared into the woods as Eric took a case out of the trunk of his car before grabbing her wrist and pulling her into the house with Thor following them. She was glad that Tara had told her that she and Eggs would be going to working at Merlotte's until late and intended to celebrate Tara's getting to go to school at his hotel room afterwards. At least no one would be here to witness whatever humiliation Eric was about to heap upon her.
As they stepped inside Eric took in the boxes packed with Sookie's things as all of her old furniture had been removed. He was glad her house would be completely redone by the time they returned from New Orleans. He wanted to see what kind of furniture she had picked out. Closing the door behind them he turned to face Sookie and said, "We have several things to discuss before I carry out your punishment."
"Do not attempt to make excuses to me for your behavior. You knew damn good and well you were keeping a secret from me, and you knew you shouldn't have. That's why you felt guilty when Han told me of the Council contacting Alcide. Punishment will be metted out."
Crossing her arms over her chest Sookie hissed, "Why do you get to make all decisions!"
"Because I am your Master and you are my slave."
He might as well have slapped her. Sookie stepped back from him and lowered her head as she whispered, "Just say whatever it is you want to say."
"Is there nowhere to sit? I see only boxes."
"There are two chairs with a card table in the kitchen. I gave everything else to the church."
Taking her hand Eric led her into the kitchen and took a seat on one of the chairs before pulling Sookie down onto his lap after he set his case down by his feet. Thor past them and went to his bowl of water to get a drink before lying under the table to sleep. "First we will discuss our trip tomorrow. You will ride in the Hummer with Alcide driving. The rest of your guards will ride in another SUV behind you with Han and Ivan's coffins stored in the back. When you get to New Orleans you will go straight to the hotel and spend a few hours in the spa there before meeting a hairdresser and makeup artist back in your room. She will help you dress and prepare for the evening. Your gown and jewelry for the night will be waiting for you in your room when you arrive. I will meet you at the hotel by the time you are ready and we will head to the queen's compound. However we must discuss what will happen at the compound."
Fear creeping up her spine Sookie looked at Eric and said, "You told me the queen wouldn't try to kill you or take me while we're there."
Laughing Eric replied, "Oh the queen will most certainly not try to kill me or take you with Han and Ivan there with us. As they will be. I wish to speak to you about what will happen there and how you are to respond to it."
"What's going to happen."
"The queen is quite open with her feeding habits. She keeps dozens of human pets and is not shy about parading them around. She also abhors modesty. The things you will see in her company will make you uncomfortable. I'm not sure what other monarchs will be there but it is possible they will have human pets as well, and their treatment of them could be much the same. You need to be prepared for what you might see. You cannot speak out of turn just because you are shocked or appalled at some of the things happening around you."
"What kinds of things?"
"Feeding, as I said. It is also more than likely that there will be several small orgies taking place in and around the palace. The queen likes her pets to put on shows for her, and many of her underlings often join in. She or any of the other monarchs might have pets without clothing to put on display. Vampires like to show off their pets and prove they have the prettiest ones. They will have these pets do any number of things for their amusement. Some pets might have misbehaved and are being punished, and of course they might have Fellowship spies they've caught in attendance that have been or are being tortured for information."
Sookie shuddered at that and asked, "Why don't they just glamour the information out of them?"
"Torture is more amusing. Vampires like to be entertained."
"You will see the queen and other vampires in attendance treat the humans around them poorly. The trading of pets amongst vampires is common and you will see the other humans in attendance treated as mere objects. No matter how abhorred you are at what you see you are to make no comment about it."
Biting her lip Sookie asked, "Y—you won't do that right? You won't, uh, with me right?"
Kissing her temple he whispered against her ear, "No. You are mine alone. You are my bonded and none but me may touch you. Nor would I disgrace you like that in front of others. When I punish you it will be in private. Unless you disobey me in public in which case I will have to punish you before those you defied me in front of."
Ignoring the shiver that passed through her body at the brush of his lips against her ear Sookie said, "What does being your bonded mean?"
"Ah finally wanting answers are you?"
Pulling away from him and leaning against his arms still wrapped around her waist Sookie growled, "Will you just tell me what it means?"
"Say please," Eric teased.
"Please," Sookie hissed.
"Since you asked nicely. Being a bonded is much like being a slave but with far more respect and integrity. Being my bonded means it is against supernatural law for any to touch you or approach you without my permission. While pets are kept by many vampires and others are not supposed to touch them without their owners permission if this rule is broken the punishment is miniscule. Usually a fine and a few lashes with a whip. If any touch you, a bonded, without my permission I am within my rights to seek their death do to our close connection. I control every aspect of your life just as any Vampire would their pets, but you are afforded more respect than any of them will ever receive."
"What do you mean our close bond?"
Stroking a hand through her hair Eric replied, "That you will learn over time."
Clearly disgruntled, Sookie pressed, "Sam said it was very rare for vampires to bond humans to them, and even more rare for them to turn a bonded. Why is that?"
"The shifter says too much about things that are not his place to remark on. You will speak to him no more of our relationship."
"Does that mean you aren't going to answer me?"
Eric was silent a moment as he thought the question over. He wasn't ready for Sookie to know the complete truth of their connection, but he decided it wouldn't hurt for her to know some of the details. She would eventually learn just how serious a blood bond was, and what it would mean for them once he turned her, but for now he'd give her bits of information to satisfy her curiosity. "Vampires rarely form blood bonds with humans as your Shifter said, and of those made even fewer still end with the bonded human being turned."
Arching a brow Sookie asked, "Why?"
"Because a bonded human that is turned can never leave their maker as all Vampire children eventually do."
"Because as much as you hate to admit it, Sookie, you come to care for me more and more by the day. By the time you are ready for me to turn you the love you will have for me will be absolute. Once I make you my child you will never be able to leave my side. You will truly be with me for all eternity. This is why most vampires will never turn a bonded." He conveniently left out that a blood bond also ensured that the vampire cared for their human as well; though while he wouldn't admit it he'd cared for her even before he'd bonded her to him.
"Because their children won't leave them? Why would that bother them?"
Nuzzling her hair Eric replied, "Because despite the bond between Maker and Child few vampires wish to stay with the same person for all of eternity. Even Pam and I will separate one day just as Godric and I did despite our connection. The affection Pam and I have for each other will always be there, and we will run into each other from time to time, but one day she will go her own way and only come back if I have need of her."
"But if you turn me I won't? We'll be together forever?"
"Why? Why would you turn me than if vampires don't want to have the same person around forever?"
"Fond of that word, are you?"
Shrugging Sookie replied, "Why is a relevant word, and you didn't answer me."
Pulling her back into his chest Eric kissed her cheek and whispered, "You and I are different, Sookie. Very different. Normal rules do not apply to us."
"You're not telling me everything, are you?"
"Of course not. Where would the fun be in that?"
Glaring at him Sookie said, "You make me want to pull my hair out you're so aggravating! You're the only one having any fun here!"
"No pulling your hair out little one. I like it too much, and, I assure you, you'll understand the bond fully before too long. For now be content in the fact that I will never grow bored with you, I will always protect you, and no one can touch you or take you from me."
"Some assurances," Sookie griped as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"So what else did you want to talk to me about?"
"Yes." Picking his case up and setting it on the table, he popped it open and to reveal a vial, tourniquet, and syringe. "The witch I've hired to put a protection spell up around your house will be here tomorrow. She needs a sample of your blood to create the barrier. I need to take your blood so that she can work her magic tomorrow after you've left. You'll need to remember to re-invite everyone inside the barrier after it is up. Your guards especially."
Sookie watched as he took the tourniquet and wrapped it around her arm to tighten it so the vein in her arms popped up. When he picked up the syringe her breath hitched and she screwed her eyes shut and looked away.
Eric felt the sharp spike of fear in Sookie's nerves and asked in surprise, "You are afraid of needles?"'
"J … just hurry!"
Shaking his head in bewilderment, Eric shifted her on his lap so she was leaning against the table with her arm atop it and stuck the needle in her arm. As he drew her blood he said, "You slap vampires, take on drainers, infiltrate terrorist groups without batting an eye but a tiny piece of metal not strong or long enough to do you any real damage has you ready to scream or pass out? You are such a strange creature, my Sookie."
Feeling hysteria threaten to overtake her Sookie asked, "Are you done yet?"
"No! Now! Take it out now!"
Feeling through the bond that she was about to totally lose it, Eric decided he had enough blood and drew the needle out of her arm. Setting it down on the table he took the tourniquet off her arm and pulled her into his chest as she panted against him. "Why are you so afraid? You were not this bad at the hospital were you?"
"I don't remember being at the hospital and if I had been conscious I wouldn't have let them put any needles in me."
He continued to hold her while she shook in his arms. He let several minutes pass in silence as her fear slowly abated before asking, "Why are you afraid of needles?"
"It's stupid. You got the blood you needed. so let's move on."
A growl building in his chest Eric continued, "You will answer me when I ask you a question Sookie, why are you afraid of needles?"
Knowing he wouldn't stop until she answered Sookie replied, "When I was little I got sick and had to go to the hospital. I wasn't as good at keeping my shields up back then. My parents took me to the hospital in Monroe and it was flu season so there were tons of people there. I was bombarded with all the thoughts, and with my parents touching me, the doctor and the nurses touching me all their feelings and thoughts overwhelmed me. I couldn't think straight because of the fever and I couldn't understand what was going on. They held me down as I struggled and screamed while they started an IV line, but the nurse wasn't very good at it and ended up tearing my vein. It hurt. In the end they stuck me so many times I lost count, and by then I was delirious from the sickness and the thoughts and emotions slamming into me. They sedated me to keep me calm and I eventually got well enough my parents could take me home with the antibiotics the hospital sent home with me. I've never been able to see a needle without freaking out since. So from now on if you need blood I'd prefer you take a knife and cut me."
"Human stupidity never ceases to amaze me. Your parents should have called a healer to your home to care for you. Not subject you to the thoughts and emotions of those at a hospital."
"My parents couldn't afford to have a doctor come to our house. I had to go to the hospital because my fever spiked to almost 104° and I had to get help."
Unwilling to argue the point Eric said, "I'll remember your fear of needles in the future."
Taking a shaky breath Sookie asked, "Is there anything else you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Those were the issues I needed to discuss with you," Eric answered as he reached around her to empty her blood into the vial and replace his tools in the case. "I will deliver this blood to Pam tonight when I return to Fangtasia and she will meet with the witch tomorrow night to oversee the erecting of the barrier." He didn't mention the witch would be staying in the area so that he could have her read into Sookie and their marks to see if she could tell him more than the Ancient Pythoness had once they returned from New Orleans.
"Fine, now can you tell me what all that was with Han and Ivan earlier? I don't know much about your world but from the expression on yours and Pam's faces, not to mention the rest of the vampires in the bar, what Han and Ivan did had to be pretty important."
Again Eric became silent as he rolled the question around in his mind and decided how much to tell her. Finally he decided that holding anything back would do no good. "It was very important. Han and Ivan are two of the most important figures in the supernatural world. Before coming here to pledge their service to you they guarded a vampire of such standing on the Council her word is literally considered law. The fact that they knelt before you, swore allegiance to you, vowed to sacrifice their lives for yours, is unprecedented. This will be the talk of the supernatural world for months to come. No vampire has ever pledged their allegiance to a human, let alone two Vampires of such standing."
"What does it mean?"
"It means that should the Queen or any of her underlings try to hurt you, should any vampire or Supernatural try to hurt you anytime in the future, Han and Ivan will lay down their lives if necessary to keep you safe. Though the truth is Han and Ivan could take on a small army of vampires and still emerge victorious."
Sookie bit her lip and shifted on Eric's lap as she asked, "So as long as they work for me I'm safe from other vampires."
Shaking his head Eric replied, "You make it sound like they could quit or something. This is beyond any human idea or situation you have. Han and Ivan pledged themselves to you. They will serve you until you release them, which you can't do without my permission, or they die. Even after I turn you they will serve you. And they don't work for you, they live to protect you. That is all they care about. If they were to fail in protecting you and you died they would hunt down whoever had killed you before meeting the sun. Where you go they go. They will be your shadows for the rest of their lives. You no longer have anything to fear in the night. They will protect you from anything and everything from the time the sun sets until it rises. Daytime is your only vulnerability now."
"Can I order them to keep you away?"
Eric laughed at the hopefulness in her expression and answered, "No. You belong to me. They are extensions of my ownership of you. You saw before that they will never interfere in my handling of you. Even now they stand outside of the house waiting for me to punish you for your disobedience. They will not attempt to get between you or I. Ever."
Stiffening at the reminder of her upcoming punishment Sookie asked, "What are you going to do?"
"First we will discuss why you failed to mention what you heard from Alcide to me."
"I told you why."
"Because you didn't want to get Alcide in trouble, however, did the thought that by keeping this information from me you were betraying me ever cross your mind?"
Shaking her head Sookie replied, "There was no betrayal. You're both getting something you want out of this situation so what harm is there in letting Alcide pay off his debt?"
"The harm is that Alcide has been ordered to protect you. I do not have to cancel out his debt to me at all. Had I not learned of this I would have officially released him and his pack's obligation to me through written decree. Now that I know I will inform him he and his pack still have a debt to pay to me. You keeping this secret from me could have cost me the use of potential allies in the future. This is unacceptable. In future you will tell me everything you hear concerning you, me or anything to do with what's mine. Regardless of how important you think it is."
Wringing her hands Sookie whispered, "What do you intend to do to me?"
Standing up Eric set her on her feet and replied, "We'll speak of that later. For now go upstairs and get ready for bed while I speak to your guards. Also get your necklace out of your safe so that I can deliver it to Bobby to be fixed."
"I'd prefer you let me pay to get it fixed."
"That's what Bobby is for." When Sookie rolled her eyes he asked, "Do you have a problem with Bobby?"
"More like he has a problem with me, just let me fix the necklace ok?"
Clasping his hands behind his back Eric asked, "Has Bobby done something that I should be aware of?" When Sookie hesitated Eric added, "Sookie you are already facing one punishment tonight I suggest you do not add to it by withholding anything more from me."
Crossing her arms over her chest Sookie answered, "He hasn't done anything you should be upset about. He just doesn't like me. His thoughts prove that."
"He hates me. He thinks I'm not good enough for your attention. He thinks I'm a gold digging whore. Which I can't really blame him with the way you treat me."
"Anything else in his mind I should know about?"
Letting out a huff, Sookie replied, "Yeah. He thinks you're going to turn him. He wants to be your child."
Eric threw his head back and laughed at this. He laughed long and hard. "Bobby? My child? Never, do not concern yourself with his thoughts. He is and will always be nothing more than a tool to me. If he bothers you that much I shall find a new day person."
"No! Bobby worships the ground you walk on. You can't fire him."
'He thinks horrible thoughts of her the whole time, offends her with these thoughts, and still she wishes no harm on him. She is too kind.'
Shrugging he said, "If you are not uncomfortable with him continuing to be my day man than he can stay, but be assured he will be no child of mine. He holds no importance to me. He's just another in a long line of humans I've made use of."
"Well then Bobby and I have a lot in common don't we?" She gasped as Eric was suddenly in inches away from her and tried to back up a step. He stopped her by wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her against his chest as she whispered fearfully, "Eric?"
"You might not see or recognize the significance of your station in my life Sookie, but that does not mean it is not there. Yours and Bobby's situations are entirely different. He could be killed tomorrow and I would only be aggravated at having to replace him at such short notice. You hold far more importance to me, and are not replaceable. I am training you to be my life companion. Do not compare yourself to that fool."
Nodding her head Sookie replied, "I—I won't."
"Good." Setting her on her feet Eric continued, "Go get changed for bed and get the necklace. I will be upstairs after I speak with your guards. Run along."
Sookie watched him pick the case up off the table and walk out of the kitchen. 'Run along? That asshole!' Gritting her teeth she grabbed her purse with her phone off the table and headed upstairs with Thor trailing after her. She wanted to get changed before he came back so he couldn't see her naked.
Outside Eric put the case in the trunk of his car before turning to face Han and Ivan as they appeared beside him. He would have Sookie invite them in before he left and they would watch over her in the house instead of the Weres at night. When the two Enforcers bowed their heads to him he switched to Russian so Ivan would be more comfortable and said, "You know there will be questions about this. Vampires do not pledge loyalty to humans. You have bound your lives and honor to her alone. Above all other law. Tonight's actions will be judged by many."
Both Enforcers simply nodded their heads at this. Eric looked at them before asking in Russian, "How far is this going to go?"
Ivan shrugged while Han smiled and answered in Russian, "To the end, Northman. The world is changing."
Nodding towards the house he added, "You and she will lay the new path. The Ancient Pythoness has seen it. Vampire law is nothing compared to destiny. Others will ask and they will question, but none will have the strength to prevent us from fulfilling our vow. It will happen soon and we shall bear witness to the coming of a new age."
Ivan nodded his head and continued, "We are honored to be chosen by the Seer to protect your bonded. Sookie is our only priority. We leave the rest to you."
Looking at Ivan Eric pressed, "You called her the Chosen One. What has she been chosen to do?"
Shaking his head Ivan replied, "We've already told you that we can't tell you that. You will know soon enough. The Ancient One told you IT will happen soon and when it does you must not doubt. We will tell you more when the time comes. The Pythoness will also come. All will be revealed soon."
"I do not like being kept in the dark," Eric said.
Ivan smiled and laughed, "Soon you will have more to celebrate than anyone else. You will do what none ever have or could before. Take heart in that. Now see to the punishment of your bonded. We will meet up with the Weres in the woods and speak of security measures for tomorrow. Han got a call from the Council and they are sending reinforcements. They will be here in the morning."
"Who is after Sookie?" Eric asked.
The Enforcers were silent a moment before Han replied, "Those that seek to prevent the prophecy, but we will keep her safe. The two of you will be safe to carry out your destinies."
"You'll see," Han replied with a smirk.
Shaking his head Eric walked back into the house, grabbed a chair from the kitchen, and headed up the stairs. He walked into Sookie's room to see her coming out of her bathroom in a light blue cotton tank top and matching shorts. Her face was pink indicating she'd just washed off her makeup. Setting the chair down on the floor by the large, luxury air mattress he'd instructed his day man to deliver to her Eric said, "When I leave, you are to invite your guards in. You don't actually have to leave your room. Just say the invitation from here and they'll feel the magic preventing each of them from getting in disappear."
Sookie watched Eric sit down in the chair as she shuffled from one foot to the other and whispered, "I—that thing the other night, I … I won't do that again."
Shaking his head Eric replied, "That is not your punishment. You will get a spanking. Five to be exact." Holding out his hand Eric ordered, "Come here."
Eyes widening Sookie swallowed and whispered, "Why do you have to do this to me? You've certainly withheld information from me over the last month or so! Can't we just call it even and I'll promise not to do it again?"
"We are not equals and there is no even between us. I say you do. That's how it goes. Now come here and accept the punishment I've chosen…or take an alternative form. Your choice."
Remembering the last alternative, Sookie cried out, "No! I—no alternative!"
Smirking Eric commanded, "Then come here."
"Eric I don't want to do this."
"I know. That's why it's your punishment, now come here."
Staring at his offered hand Sookie steeled her resolve and stepped forward to set hers in his. "You have no right to do this to me you know, and it certainly doesn't make me love you, you big jerk."
Smirking Eric pulled Sookie down across his lap, and she stiffened as he pulled her shorts and panties down to bare her perfect ass to him. Running a hand over her smooth skin he replied, "Punishment isn't supposed to endear you to me. It is supposed to teach you obedience and you will learn it."
Before Sookie could respond the first stinging slap landed on her bare backside and she couldn't keep from crying out. 'Damn vampire strength!' There was a brief pause as he let the pain reverberate through her body before another smack shook her. She bit her lip and forced herself not to cry out again.
'Insufferable jerk! I'm going to find a way to get back at him for this! I swear it! He's not going to get away with treating me like this!'
For himself Eric could feel his lust rising as he delivered another stinging slap to Sookie's ass. He kept the strikes spaced out so that she got the full effect of her spanking. The feel of her soft rounded bottom against his palm was pleasurable in its own right, but added to the sweet sound of her tiny whimpers and it was all he could do to keep from dipping his hand between her legs to stroke her cunt. He made each of his swats hard so she would feel pain, but not so hard as to truly harm her with his Vampire strength. After delivering the fifth and final spank to her ass he rubbed her abused flesh before pulling her shorts and panties back up and cuddling her in his lap. He could feel that she was in pain through the bond and he knew she was fighting not to cry. Nuzzling her hair he said, "You took your punishment well."
Forcing herself not to cry, Sookie turned her face away from him as he kissed her cheek and tightened his arms around her. "You punished me, so go already."
"Oh but we're not done yet Sookie. We still have to exchange blood first and you owe me a kiss."
A tear slipping down her cheek Sookie whispered, "Why am I always losing with you? Why does it feel like all you're ever doing is taking from me and I never have anything left?"
Kissing her temple Eric replied, "Because you don't take what I offer you in return."
"You're offering me slavery and eventually a life as a Vampire, a life I don't want."
"I'm offering you every dream you've ever had. I'll take you anywhere you want to go, let you do all the things you've ever wanted but couldn't afford or had the time to do. I'll give you anything you want; all you have to do is ask."
"I want my freedom."
Smirking he added, "Except that."
Leaning away from him as he kissed her neck she said, "That's all I want from you, and a pampered slave is still a slave."
"Is it not better to be the pampered and adored slave of a king than a free peasant? Would you prefer to spend the rest of your mortal life toiling away for at best a mediocre life where you are shunned rather than live the few remaining years of your mortal life giving me pleasure and in turn getting everything you could possibly dream of before I gift you with eternity at my side?"
"I'd rather work and die alone than be bound to a man like you … and I would rather die now than one day be a vampire."
Eric was silent for a moment before replying, "Then it is good the choice is not yours … now it is time for us to exchange blood."
Glaring at him Sookie hissed, "Separately! No sharing at the same time!"
Smirking Eric consented, "For tonight. Bare your neck to me."
Moving her hair to the side and giving him her neck Sookie forced herself not to whimper when he kissed her pulse softly and twirled his tongue around it before biting into her flesh.
'Why does this always have to feel so good?'
Eric closed his eyes as Sookie's blood flooded his mouth. A tremor of pleasure wracked his body as he wrapped his arms tightly around her and pressed her small body against his larger one. He would never get enough of her! He would never become numb to the taste of her!
'She tastes so good! Her blood is fire in my mouth! Liquid passion!' His Mjolnir throbbed on his chest and he felt fire flood his veins.
When Eric started growling against her throat and he bucked his erection up against her ass Sookie whispered, "Eric…stop…that's enough…please."
Pulling his fangs from his neck Eric purred, "I have never tasted anyone as sweet as you my Sookie, you are perfect." He licked the wounds on her neck closed before kissing her pulse.
Ignoring the shudder that ran through her body at the dark tone of his voice Sookie said, "Can we finish now? I want to go to bed."
Laughing Eric brought his wrist to his mouth and bit into it before offering Sookie the wound. As she leaned forward to begin drinking his blood he buried his face into her hair and thought, 'She will soon crave me just as much as I crave her. Soon she will desire nothing more than to be at my side for all time. Soon she will desire me above all things as I desire her.'
As she drank from him Sookie felt the area over her heart start to heat and throb on her chest. A burning sensation overcame her body as she sucked hungrily at his wrist. Her mind started to haze over in primal need. 'More, much more … he tastes so good … need more of him.'
Feeling what Sookie was feeling through their bond Eric thought, 'Yes she grows more and more attached and addicted to me by the day. She denies her attraction to me, but it grows harder and harder for her with each feeding. Soon she will succumb to her lust for me.' Knowing she'd taken enough of his blood he tugged on his wrist and smirked when Sookie whimpered and tried to pull it back so she could keep drinking. 'Yes, it will not be long before she yields to me,' the thought as he fisted a hand in her hair to pull her lips to his.
She felt his tongue push into her mouth as she moaned into the kiss. She offered no resistance when Eric shifted her on his lap so that she was straddling him with his erection pressed tightly against her heated core. Digging her hands into his hair as he slipped his hands down to her waist she let him nip at her lips with his fangs before their tongues battled for dominance.
Growling into the kiss Eric stroked his hands up Sookie's back and pushed them under her tank top to cup her full breasts. He enjoyed the weight of them in his palms while his thumbs toyed with her hard nipples. 'Mine, my sweet Sookie. Soon little one, soon you will yield to me.'
Sookie couldn't think beyond the feel of Eric's lips against her own. His cold hands on her warm skin had her shivering in delight as she rocked against his cock beneath her. 'He's so good, more, I need more of him.' When she needed breathe she drew back and arched against him as he began to kiss along her neck and shoulders. "Eric," she whimpered breathlessly.
"Sookie, yield to me, give yourself to me," Eric growled as he nipped at her jaw. "Let me give you pleasure."
Before Sookie could answer the silence around them was ruined as her phone rang shrilly from her purse where it sat beside her temporary bed. "Fuck," Eric growled as he felt awareness return to Sookie through the bond.
Jerking in his lap as he tightened his arms around her Sookie hissed, "Let me go! How do you keep doing that?"
Biting her shoulder softly with his fangs, not hard enough to break skin, Eric replied, "That keeps happening because you want me Sookie…soon enough you'll yield to me." He pressed a quick kiss to her lips before letting her up. As she scrambled to answer her phone he stood and asked, "Where's the necklace?"
Sookie grabbed her phone just as it stopped ringing to go to voicemail and released a huff as she said, "In the safe. You came back before I could get it. You know the code and scanned your fingerprint as well so you can get it yourself."
As Sookie listened to the message from Jason, who was just getting home from his Friday night date, Eric retrieved the necklace from the safe before covering it back up with the painting. He could hear her brother's voice tell her he would be by in the morning to talk to her, and asking if she could have breakfast ready. Eric couldn't help but roll his eyes at the uselessness of her brother. When she was done he said, "Give the invitation."
"Oh, uh—I invite Han and Ivan in." When Eric nodded his head at her she asked, "Is that it?"
Walking towards her Eric kissed her forehead and replied, "Yes. Sleep well, little one."
As he walked out Sookie whispered, "You didn't send Kevin back."
Eric stopped at the door before turning around to look at Sookie. He was quiet for a moment before he replied, "No. I didn't."
"You told me you did."
"You are to tenderhearted to hear the truth. I will shield you from what you cannot handle."
"So he's dead?"
"Do you really want to know?"
Nodding, Eric answered, "Then yes. He's dead. I do not tolerate such overt threats nor will any of my kind."
Tears filling her eyes. "So this is the way it's going to be? The people I point out to you end up dead?"
"Only those that are too dangerous to let go."
"Eric I'm not ok with death and killing. I … I can't be a part of that."
Moving to stand in front of her Eric tilted her head back and replied, "You will not. You will be a part of saving lives. I will handle the killing."
Pulling away from him Sookie reached down to pick up Thor and whispered, "Please go now." Eric looked at her for a moment before heading out of the house. When he was gone Sookie whispered to Thor, "We've got to get away from him Thor. We've just got to."
Outside Han and Ivan watched Eric drive off in his Corvette before Ivan said in Russian, "His head is too hard. Even by my people's standards."
Nodding his head Han replied, "It's a good thing her heart is so big. Their love will come in time…for now we need only their lust for one another."
Ivan laughed as they both headed inside the house to keep guard over the Chosen One that, along with her mate, would change the world.