I will see you when I rise tonight. We will not be going to Fangtasia, however. I will be flying us to Alexandria so that you can scan some of the patrons of a fellow sheriff's bar. You will also check a number of her employees. Bobby will be dropping off an outfit for you to wear along with a suit for me. Have a good day.
Sookie tossed the note into the trash and headed down stairs. She was still mad at Eric for what he'd done yesterday, but at least she'd gotten him to make some concessions concerning his rules for her. It was a little past 8am now and she was due at Merlotte's at 10:30am to begin her shift. She'd be getting off at 6:30pm so she'd make it home in time to meet Eric as he rose for the night. Her guards were in the living room again as she came down the stairs to let Thor out and she waved at them. Over the next hour, Tara got up and they had breakfast with her guards before Sookie changed into jeans and a t-shirt so she could go take care of her horses.
While Sookie was out back in the barn putting her horses out to pasture and cleaning out their stalls Bobby was pulling up to the house. When he got out of his car and made his way to the front porch to ring the door he was pleased to find it was Tara who answered. "Miss Thorton."
Tara nodded her head at Eric's day man and started, "I'll go get Sook. She's out back with her horses. Hold on a—“
"No, Miss Thorton, I actually have business with you this morning."
Pulling a large envelope from his briefcase he continued, "Mr. Northman instructed me to give you this. Other than that, I only have two packages to deliver to Miss Stackhouse and you can take them for her."
Tara took the two wrapped boxes that she figured had more clothes for Sookie and set them in the hall before taking the envelope from Bobby. "Why is he sending me something?"
"You'll have to take that up with Mr. Northman. All the information is inside." Without another word Bobby turned around and left.
Shutting the door behind him Tara tore open her envelope. A set of keys were inside and there was a large packet of paperwork with a note attached. Pulling the note off, she tucked the envelope under her arm and read:
Get out. I've purchased a home for you in Bon Temps. It's a two story and has more than enough room for you and that Egg of yours. It is paid for in full, and I've paid the property taxes on it for the next five years as well as five years worth of homeowners insurance. All the necessary paperwork, including the deed, is provided. I've also paid up the next six months' worth of utility bills ahead of time. I've set up an account at Broyhill for you to furnish it as you see fit. You will leave immediately. Today.
Tara looked inside the envelope to pull out the large packet of paper work and gasped as she looked at the picture of the house provided. It was a Victorian style home with a wraparound porch. She knew this house. It was close to town and had been for sale for a while since no one could afford it since it was fully restored. She'd always dreamed of living in a house like it. It had the picture perfect white picket fence with the little yard and was a deep red with white trim. She let her eyes run over all the paperwork and whispered, "Oh my God."
'I've always wanted a house of my own! God I used to dream about something like this! But I can't leave Sookie. I knocked on her door last night in case he got her trapped in another one of those feeding episodes she described to me. Obviously I interrupted them again and he's upset about that. I may want this house, but I can't leave Sookie here to face that damn vamp on her own. I just can't.'
Her decision made, Tara took the packet upstairs to her room and put the envelope in her nightstand. She was determined not to let herself think about it so that Sookie wouldn't hear her thoughts about it.
Outside, Sookie had just finished cleaning out Freya's stall and was standing at the gate giving her horses some of their apple treats.
"You two are so pretty! Such good horses! I'm going to try and get home early enough to lunge each of you for ten minutes, but no promises." Patting each one on the neck one last time, she said, "I'll be home in time to put you guys in your stalls and feed you though. Bye, babies."
Whistling to Thor who was busy chasing his own tail, she headed back to the house so she could get ready for work. She smiled at her guards who were watching TV again and headed upstairs to put her Merlotte's uniform on. When she was dressed and ready to go she walked into Tara's bedroom, her friend liked to lay around in the mornings and watch TV when she didn't have to work the lunch shift, and said, "I'm heading out now Tara. I have to go somewhere with Eric tonight so I probably won't see you until tomorrow."
"Ok. Bobby came by and dropped off some more of those clothes boxes for you. I left them by the front door for you," Tara replied with a smile.
Sookie returned her smile and waved at her as she turned around saying, "All right. Bye, girl."
‘Don't think about it. Don't think about it. Don't think about it.’
Turning back to face her friend with her hands on her hips, Sookie asked, "About what?"
"Sookie! Stay outta my head! Just go to work!"
‘Damn that Eric! Why'd he have to go and do this anyway!’
Arching a brow Sookie pressed, "What did Eric do?" When Tara glared at her she continued, "You can tell me now or I can ask Eric later and he will definitely tell me. Or I'll just hang around here till you think about it."
"Damn it Sook!" Pulling her nightstand drawer open roughly she jerked out the envelope and tossed it at her roommate. "Here!"
Catching the envelope Sookie opened it up and looked inside. After reading the note and seeing the picture of the nice house she looked up at Tara and said softly, "You want this house, don't you?"
Tara couldn't look Sookie in the eye and replied, "It's him trying to manipulate you again Sook. I knocked last night because I was afraid you got all crazy on his blood again and didn't want you doing anything you'd regret. He's trying to get me out so he can get you where he wants you and I'm not going to let him."
Taking a quick dip inside Tara's mind and seeing how very much she wanted the house Sookie forced a smile on her face and said, "Tara, honey, I want you to take this. If you don't Eric will just get more creative to get you out, and it might not be as nice as this. You did help me out last night, and I really do appreciate it but it's not your job to save me from Eric." Walking forward she handed Tara the envelope with the keys and deed and insisted, "Go pick up Eggs and go to Broyhill. Pick out your furniture and move into your own house. I want you to. I'll be fine. I can handle Eric on my own."
"Sook I can't .…"
Hugging her friend, and using her ability to pull her emotions of doubt and worry out of her Sookie whispered, "I want it for you Tara. I knew you'd be moving into some place with Eggs sooner or later, and I know he's not too keen on moving in here because of the whole Maryann thing. It's ok. This way you both get a nice clean start. Take the house Tara. Take it and don't feel bad."
Pulling back to look her friend in the eyes, Tara said, "It's not fair Sook. We're all getting new cars, houses, and college paid for and you're the one suffering. I can't take this. I can't leave you here with him and let him do anything he wants to you! You need my help!"
Laughing, Sookie replied, "Tara do you really think you present that much of a deterrent to Eric? At best you're an annoyance. If he really wants me he can just take me. He's letting it be my choice so anything that happens between him and I will be my fault and mine alone. This is my fight Tara, and while I really appreciate you trying to help me it's not your job to fight for me. The problem between me and Eric is up to me to solve. You being here isn't going to stop anything from happening if it's going to happen. So take this house and be happy. This is God letting you have good things to make up for all the bad. You deserve this. More than anyone I know. You deserve everything you're getting and it makes me feel good to know I'm a small part of that."
Tara held Sookie's gaze for long moments as the two women regarded each other. Finally Tara whispered, "Are you sure Sook?"
Nodding her head Sookie assured, "I'm sure. Take it and be happy. Besides we'll still see each other at work and on Sunday's for family dinner. And with how often I'm gone at night it's not like we see each other here all that much anyways. Right?"
"Yeah." Getting excited now Tara hugged her friend and laughed, "I can't believe I own a home! Eggs is going to be so excited!"
"Yeah. He is, but I've got to go hun. I don't want to be late so I'll talk to you later ok?"
Sookie turned around and headed out of Tara's bedroom. She could hear her friend already on her cell phone to call Eggs. She was happy for Tara. She really was, but she was going to miss her friend's presence in the house. Not to mention that now she really would be alone with Eric and his intentions for her. Deciding there was no point in thinking about it now Sookie got her guards and they all headed to Merlotte's.
When they were in the car Quinn asked, "Did you get into too much trouble with the Viking last night, Babe?"
Refusing to admit what had happened after he left Sookie replied, "Not too much. He just doesn't like me paying attention to anyone but him. Don't worry about it."
"That's good. Anyways I had a question to ask you."
Smiling at Quinn she pressed, "Shoot."
"Well you know how you're having that family dinner on Sunday?"
"Well since me and the guys still have to watch over you I was wondering if Frannie could come to spend the day too? She really wants to meet you and she's got a hardship license so she can drive herself here on her own. She won't be here long and she won't be in the way. If it's too ...."
Setting her hand on Quinn's arm Sookie assured, "It's fine, Quinn. I'd love to meet your little sister! She can come and spend as long as she wants! Jason is bringing his volleyball net and we're going to make kind of a day of it. So feel free to bring your sister. We're going to have a fried chicken dinner with all the fixings."
Smiling at that Quinn replied, "Thanks … she's been pestering me nonstop about wanting to meet you."
"Well I'd like to meet her too."
"Well then it's all set, Babe. She'll be there Sunday."
When they got to Merlotte's, Sookie hugged Sam and immediately got to work while her guards spread out to keep an eye on her. Quinn sat at the bar while Tom and Ian sat back by the pool table. The day passed pretty uneventfully except for Arlene who glared at Sookie repeatedly through the day and sent her less than flattering thoughts as often as she could. At 6:00pm Sam told Sookie she could head out and she kissed him on the cheek before grabbing her purse from the back and heading out with her guards. She was home by 6:10 and decided she had time to lunge Balder and Freya. She lunged each of her horses in the ring for 10 minutes before leading them into their stalls. She gave them their feed and hay and then grabbed a brush to groom them, and that was how Eric found her when he rose at 7:00pm.
Making his way into the barn Eric leaned against the stall door and watched Sookie brush out the coat of her Andalusian. She was talking softly to the horse and he found he was actually envious of her gentle touches and affectionate manner to the animal. Shaking his head at his foolishness he decided to make his presence known and asked, "What did you name them?"
Jumping at the sound of his voice Sookie spun around to face Eric. "Don't do that! You know I don't like it when you sneak up on me!"
Walking into the stall to trail his hand over the hind end of the mare as she ate her grain he ignored Sookie's words and pressed, "What did you name them?"
A blush forming on her cheeks Sookie went back to grooming her mare as she whispered, "Freya and Balder."
"You know those stories?"
Her blush intensifying, Sookie shrugged and answered, "I picked up a book on Norse Mythology from the library the other day."
Smirking Eric moved to stand directly behind Sookie as she brushed the mare's mane out. Leaning close he said, "You seem fond of my people. I'm flattered."
"It's not because of you Eric! I just think the stories are pretty."
"I'm sure you do. Are you almost done?"
Shaking her head, Sookie replied, "No. I'm not finished with her and I haven't done Balder yet." She didn't get a chance to say anything more as Eric disappeared from the stall only to reappear a second later with his own brush. "What are you doing?"
As he began to brush the other side of the mare Eric lifted a brow at her and said, "Same thing as you. Grooming a horse."
"I can't believe you know how to do this. Hasn't it been a thousand years since you rode a horse?"
"No. I masqueraded as a human for many years if you remember. I last rode a horse in 1918. I've had several over the years. I may do my living at night but I still needed one to fit in quite a few times. I enjoy horses. They're useful animals. Cars are better of course, but horses still hold a powerful and necessary position in many areas of the world."
Silence stretched between them as they both brushed out Freya's white coat before Sookie asked, "Are Frigga and Freya the same goddess?"
Shaking his head Eric replied, "No. The Germanic tribes were the only ones that considered them so. My people and those around Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland considered them separate goddesses. Frigga was Odin's wife and daughter. She was the only other one allowed to sit on his watch tower Hlidskialf. She was the goddess of the atmosphere and could see the future. Freya was the goddess of beauty, love and fertility. She was born in Vanaheim and traveled to Asgard. She was much beloved by Odin for her beauty and grace and he allowed her to lead the Valkyrie into battle many times to claim one half of the slain to go to her hall."
Smirking at her Eric nodded his head and replied, "Very good little one. You remind me of Freya actually. You are just as golden and lovely as she was. Just as fierce too. I can easily picture you with her shield and spear and see you ready for battle. I think she would have liked you."
Looking at him in surprise Sookie asked, "You knew her?"
With a lascivious smirk on his face Eric answered, "Indeed. Very well."
"Does that mean what I think it means?"
"What do you think it means?"
Blushing Sookie clarified, "You know … uh … did you … with her?"
"Did I what?"
"Eric, you know what I'm asking."
"I want to hear you say it."
Rolling her eyes Sookie asked bluntly, "Did you have sex with her?"
"Many times. Twice as a human and six times as a Vampire."
"Oh my God!"
"Goddess actually." Laughing at her shock Eric continued, "She favored me. Her husband Odur often stepped out on their marriage and she contented herself with bedding warriors. I laid with her the night before I went into my last battle as a human. She told me that my life was going to change in an unimaginable way. She was right. Godric came for me the final night of our battle when I was dying and offered me a new life. I accepted. I saw her the night I had left my home village after checking on my family. She appeared before Godric and I after we finished off the army that had defeated me and my mine. I enjoyed avenging their deaths. As Godric and I cleaned their blood from our bodies she came to me and laid with me. She laid with me every night for six nights and on the last she gave me a fang from one of her battle cats."
"Indeed. Freya loved cats and she had two huge battle cats that went with her everywhere. Just as Odin had his wolves Freya had her cats."
As they finished with the mare and left her stall to go work on Balder Sookie asked, "Is that the necklace you wear?"
Looking down at the fang around his neck Eric nodded his head and replied, "Indeed. I rarely take it off. She told me it would give me strength in battle. Since I have never lost a fight I tend to believe her."
"Wow … that's … wow. What other things have you uh … you know … been with?"
Laughing at her inability to say the words Eric answered, "Fairies, shifters, angels, various demon species, and a few races you've never heard of. I've only had sex with one Were and the experience was lacking. I could barely tolerate the stench long enough to find release. Had she not been the only available female for miles I would not have wasted my time on her."
Shaking her head as she brushed out Balder's neck while he ate Sookie whispered, "That's crazy … I can't imagine that. What's it like? Are they different then us?"
"Sadly you'll never get to find out. I will be your final lover. You will know no other man but me. Unless of course you'd like a female companion? I would allow that. As long as I get to watch and join in, of course."
Shrugging he replied, "Just letting you know. If you don't want a female lover that is fine. I have no problem with having you all to myself, but the option is available to you if you want it. But there will be no man for you but me."
Sookie shook her head at his words and they grew silent again before she asked hesitantly, "Have you ever … been with … uh—"
"A man?" Eric could tell she was having great difficulty asking the question but was very curious as to the answer. He liked that Sookie was so accepting about the sexual preferences of others. She might not be open but she didn't judge. When she nodded her head at his words he asked, "Do you really want to know?"
Sookie couldn't look him in the eyes as she continued to brush her side of Balder and answered, "Yeah."
"Then yes. I have. I've only been with one man before and that was Godric."
That caught her attention. Looking up at him in surprise Sookie gasped, "Godric?"
"Indeed. Godric was everything to me as I was to him. There were no boundaries between us and there was nothing we did not share. He is the first and only man I was ever attracted to. I took everything he had to offer me and gave everything I had in return."
"Were you two always lovers?"
"No. It was on and off. In the beginning I was too young and wild. We did not come together as lovers for the first time until I was around 100. After that we joined often and freely whenever the desire struck us. Our last time together was the night before…"
Seeing Eric stumble Sookie smiled softly at him and said, "You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to."
Shaking his head Eric continued, "No. I will not let my sadness of Godric's passing keep me from my good memories of him any longer. I have centuries of great experiences with him and I have decided to focus on those. As I was saying our last time together was the night before he met the dawn. It was the most memorable mating we shared."
When Sookie didn't respond to that he asked, "Does this displease you? Are you offended?"
"No! Oh Eric not at all! I … I think it's beautiful. You loved Godric enough to give all of yourself to him. Just as he loved you. I think that's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard."
Checking the bond and finding that she was being truthful Eric replied, "You are strange for a human. Most cannot accept such relationships. I find it strange that you are not turned off in the least by this truth. Few human women could take what I just told you without feeling at least a little negative about it. Most human women would doubt my masculinity because of this. They would think less of me."
Shrugging her shoulders Sookie answered, "I've spent my whole life seeing people with my eyes but hearing and feeling them from the inside. I learned a long time ago that our bodies are just packaging. It's what's inside that counts. You didn't make love with Godric because of his outside. You made love to him because you wanted to be as close to him as possible. It was him that drew you. Not his body. You're obviously attracted to women physically, but you cared so much for Godric and wanted to be as close to him as you could that it was only natural for you two to be together. To me that's beautiful. You are no less a man because of it, and I actually think more of you."
Smiling at her Eric said, "You please me Sookie. You please me very much."
They continued to brush out Balder as Sookie finally added, "Oh! And that was a pretty sneaky move to pull with Tara you big jerk!"
"Ah … so I take it your friend accepted the house?"
"After I talked her into it. She wasn't going to at first but I pointed out that we couldn't live together forever and that she was going to move in with Eggs sooner or later so she might as well take this opportunity."
Arching a brow at her Eric replied, "I'm surprised you did so or that you are accepting this so easily. I expected quite the fight with you over it."
"Well then I'm glad to have thrown you off your game, but I did think about throwing a fit over it and decided there would be no point. First off I could read from Tara how much she really wanted to take this house. I couldn't make her give it up just because I'm mad at you. Secondly I knew even if I did let her turn it down you'd just do something else to get her out. I figured at least this way Tara gets something she's always wanted."
Feeling the sadness through the bond Eric asked, "You are sad she is leaving?"
"I'm happy for her but sad for me. I don't like living alone. I've always lived with someone and it's strange to sleep by myself in the house. It reminds me that Gran's gone, but I'm glad Tara's getting the house you gave her. She's always dreamed of having her own home and the one you got her is perfect for her. I'll get over it."
Eric was silent a moment before he offered, "You can come live with me. Then you won't be alone."
Shaking her head Sookie replied, "I don't want to leave my home Eric. I love this house. I'll take living alone over leaving it any day."
Thinking it over Eric finally said, "Fine. I shall stay here with you most nights and the ones I don't you will come stay with me in my lair."
"Eric you don't have to do that. Besides you're only saying that so you can seduce me."
"I feel your emotions about living alone Sookie. It is more than dislike. It is despair and fear. I will stay with you here most nights and then you will come with me the other nights. Besides I don't have to live with you to seduce you. You know this."
"Don't you have things to do though? Like work and stuff?"
Shrugging Eric replied, "I had Bobby supply a lap top in your light tight panic room and can work from there just as easy. Everything else I will still do I just might have to rearrange my schedule a bit. Since I can fly to Shreveport in ten minutes at my fastest speed this will not be a hard adjustment to make. I have decided. I will have more of my clothes moved here tomorrow. Prepare a closet for me."
"Eric, you can't just move in with me!"
Arching a brow Eric asked, "Can I not?"
Feeling her face flush in anger as she realized he damn well could. "You are so overbearing!"
"You've told me this before," he grinned.
They had finished brushing Balder and made their way into the house where Han and Ivan were waiting on the porch steps for them. As they all headed inside, Eric grabbed the boxes Bobby had delivered and opened them up on the kitchen table. Handing Sookie hers with her dress and heels he said, "Go upstairs, take a shower, and get ready. Wear your hair down. It's a 30 minute flight to Alexandria so you need to hurry."
When she was gone Eric turned to Han and Ivan and said, "I want to try flying you two along with Sookie tonight. I've only moved things for small amounts of time but I'm fairly certain I can do this. Will you agree to try or would you prefer to remain behind?"
"We know you can do it. SHE told us you would acquire this gift," Han answered.
"Viking fly Ivan. Ivan and Han not fall," the Russian Enforcer added.
Arching a brow Eric pressed, "The Ancient Pythoness told you that I would develop Telekinesis?"
Nodding his head Han replied, "Yes. SHE told us it would happen and that you would wield the power easily. It was always in you. You just needed the strength your bonded gives you to access it. The Ancient Pythoness said the joining will happen not long after."
Smirking darkly, Eric asked, "How soon?"
"Soon," Han laughed. "All things happen when they should. She is yours and her resolve against you waivers by the day. It will not be long."
Knowing that he wasn't going to get any more answers out of the two Enforcers Eric said, "I'm going to shower and get changed." Taking the suit Bobby had dropped off he made his way to the guest bathroom to get ready. When he was in the shower he found himself recalling his last night with Godric.
Eric dragged his fangs over the back of Godric's neck as he pumped into him from behind. This was their fourth round since returning to the hotel after cleaning up the mess of Godric's destroyed home. His Maker's smaller form was pressed beneath him as they both kneeled on the bed in Eric's suite. Nipping at his Maker's neck, he set his hands beside Godric's on the mattress and whispered in his ear as he thrust into him, "I've missed you, Godric."
Godric bucked his hips back against his child to meet him thrust for thrust and replied, "I've missed you as well, my Viking."
Kissing the sensitive area behind Godric's ear Eric rose up over him. Grabbing one hip he let his fingers trail lovingly over the tattoo along his Maker's back and hissed, "I've missed the feel of you. It has been too long."
"Yes my child, it has indeed." Godric lowered his head as his fangs popped out when Eric's hard length inside him pressed against his prostrate again and again. "No one makes me feel the way you do, Eric, no one ever before."
"Godric," Eric groaned as he sped his movements up to pound into the smaller man that had made him into the warrior he was today. The sound of flesh slapping against flesh filled the room as they moved against each other seeking release. The pleasure built between them strong and steady as their heavy grunts signaled their impeding climaxes. Eric could feel himself approaching the edge and reached under his maker to take hold of Godric's rigid length and begin pumping it in time to the thrust of his hips. "Come for me Godric … let me please you, Master."
Hissing at the sensation of Eric's hard length within him while his Viking's hand worked his length Godric bucked back hard against his child. "You always please me Eric … Always! I'm coming for you, my child!"
Eric snarled in ecstasy as he felt Godric tighten around him when his cock exploded in his hand; coating his skin with his thick cream. His Maker's release spurred his own and he bucked into the smaller man, once, twice, three more times before throwing his head back and roaring out his own release. His cock shot forth stream after stream of his semen deep inside Godric before together they collapsed on the bed as their bodies trembled as one. Kissing Godric's shoulder where he lay pinned beneath him Eric whispered, "Come back with me. You are unhappy here. I feel the sadness in you. The loneliness. Come back to Shreveport with me. Let us be together again. I will introduce you to my child. You can watch me hunt Sookie for my own. It will be like the old days Godric."
As his cock final shrunk and he slipped out of his maker Eric moved them both so that they were on their sides facing one another on the bed. Wiping his hands clean on the sheets he then put one on Godric's cheek he begged, "Please. You are not yourself Godric. This place is no good for you. Let Isabel take over as sheriff. Come to Shreveport with me. Let us walk in the night together again."
Godric nuzzled his cheek against Eric's hand before moving to lie completely pressed against his child. "No Eric. Our time to walk side by side in the night is done. You have a child to woo and create. I will not divert your attention from her with my presence."
Stroking his hand up and down Godric's back Eric replied, "I will have Sookie one way or another. Right now I'm focused on you. We might have been far apart but our bond is strong my Maker. Six centuries of sharing blood has bound us. I have felt you closing off our bond slowly over the last 50 years. Before that I felt only confusion and turmoil in you. I know something is wrong, tell me what troubles you."
Unwilling to burden his child with the decision he had made Godric stroked his own fingers along Eric's side and whispered, "I knew from the start that you would be great my child. There is a fire in you that shines so brightly. Much like your Sookie. There is a will to live and fight for what you want in both of you that is so rare in this world. I think perhaps you and she are made for each other. You both have such life in you."
"I do not wish to speak of Sookie right now. I wish to speak of you Godric." Taking his Maker's chin in his hand to tilt his face up he looked him straight in the eye and asked, "What causes you to close yourself off from me? What pulls your own fire for life away? You are sullen. Reserved. You have always been quiet and watchful of the world, but now? Now you are withdrawn. I do not like it."
Shaking his head, Godric tucked himself back against his Viking's massive body and replied, "All will be revealed tomorrow. For now tell me of your child. What is she like?"
Hearing the finality in his Maker's voice and knowing that he would not discuss the topic further, Eric began, "She is strong. Nearly as tall as me. An Amazon some would say. She has long golden hair and blue eyes. I found her in England two centuries ago. She was confined by her world. She was a baron's daughter and despised the ways of the aristocracy. She wanted freedom. I watched her for three nights before I took her. She embraced this life and never looked back. She is smart, but lazy. She prefers for others to do for her but she would follow me unto final death. She is loyal. She pleases me as you promised she would. She was worth the wait."
Smiling at that as he continued to trail his fingers along Eric's side Godric replied, "I'm glad to hear that. It pleases me you have such a close relationship with her, do you think she will accept your taking of Sookie?"
"She will, with time. Pam is a jealous woman and will not like sharing my attention, but she will get over it."
A comfortable silence stretched between them before Godric said, "I have many regrets, my child; but you are the only thing I have ever been sure about. I think perhaps I was born and made Vampire simply so I could make you. I think you were my reason in life. You were meant for greatness and I was simply a step along your path."
Holding his Maker tighter Eric argued, "Don't speak foolishness Godric. You are a far better Vampire than I could ever hope to be. I pale in comparison to you. You are the one that is great. I simply follow your lead. I am nothing without you."
"We shall see." Looking up at his child Godric asked, "It is a few hours before dawn yet, and I have missed the stars … take me flying, my Viking?"
"Of course." Together they rose and dressed. As his room was light tight they had to go to the roof and as soon as they stepped onto the gravely expanse of the building's top Eric swept his maker up into his arms and took to the sky. They flew together the rest of the night and when the sun's rays began to peak over the horizon they landed back atop the hotel and took shelter inside. Once back in the suite Eric and Godric made love three more times and spoke softly with one another until the call to rest overtook them.
Tilting his face under the hot spray of the water to wash the bloody tears from his cheeks Eric thought, 'You always did know better than me, Godric. Perhaps I am meant for great things after all. I and Sookie together have a great future ahead of us; whatever it is. I wish only that you were here to see it.'
A half hour later Eric stood in the entryway of Sookie's house with Han and Ivan next to him as he looked at his watch. He was dressed in a solid black suit with a red silk shirt that was open at the top to show his chest. Seeing the time he growled and hollered up the stairs, "Sookie it is time to go!"
Upstairs in her bedroom Sookie rolled her eyes at Eric's annoyed voice as she finished putting her heels on. "I'm coming! Hold your horses, Viking!" Standing she looked at herself in her mirror. The dress Eric had chosen for her to wear tonight was red. Of course. It was chiffon with a sequined a-line halter top and band that went under her breasts. The skirt came down to about mid thigh and flittered about her legs as she walked. She actually liked it compared to some of the other dresses Eric had given her. Putting a few make up essentials in her purse in case she needed to touch up her face since Eric was taking her flying she decided she was ready to go. She worried about her hair the most. Eric had told her to wear it down and she worried that it would get windblown. Finally deciding that hopefully Eric had a plan for that since he'd been flying for so long she grabbed her purse and headed downstairs with Thor padding after her.
Eric watched as Sookie descended the stairs and smiled to see that she had worn her ruby E necklace without him having to tell her. When she was standing before him he reached inside his suit to pull out a red scarf and said, "Bind your hair with this. It is time to go. Are you taking Thor or leaving him here?"
"I'm going to leave him here. I'll take him out real quick and then he'll be fine while we're gone. When will we be back?"
"Three at the latest, buy hopefully much sooner."
Nodding her head at that Sookie opened the front door so that Thor could run outside. As he took care of his business she tied the scarf around her head to keep her hair in place. When he was done she led him back inside to put her phone in her purse. Ready to go now Sookie locked the house, though with the barrier that wasn't really necessary, and waited for Eric to take the lead.
Scooping Sookie up in his arm Eric envisioned Han and Ivan floating along behind him and as he shot into the sky he was pleased to see the two Enforcers following along easily. The flight passed quickly as Eric told Sookie more stories of his people. For Sookie it seemed like only moments had as Eric landed them all in the parking lot of a club called Sin. Rolling her eyes at the name she scoffed, "Really? Sin? How very imaginative."
Laughing Eric watched Sookie take the scarf from her head and folded it so she could hand it to him. Tucking it into his suit before tucking her hand in his arm as he led her, Han, and Ivan towards the bar he said, "This bar belongs to Area 4's Sheriff. Her name is Adriana. She's about 400 years old. She can be rather aggressive. Remember how you must behave in front of other Vampires in the hierarchy."
Nodding her head Sookie replied condescendingly, "Yeah, yeah. Master this and Master that. Sit, roll over, fetch and the like."
"Sookie I would not ask this of you if it were not important. You know it is only for appearances. I do not treat you as most vampires treat their humans, do I?"
Knowing he was right Sookie nodded her head and replied, "Yeah. I know. So what do I have to do?"
"You are going to interview some of her employees and monitor the patrons as well. You will be able to do both, won't you?"
"If it gets us out of here faster of course I can."
Smirking at that Eric walked straight up to the front door and passed the male Vamp checking ID's without so much as a nod. Sookie looked around and decided that Sin was very much like Fangtasia just instead of everything in black and red the bar was decorated in black and dark purple. They layout was a little different and the dance area larger but there was a stage with a throne on it like Eric had. Sitting on the throne was a woman a little taller than her with busty figure and long curly black hair. She had dark eyes and had skin like Isabel.
Eric made his way right up to Adriana and nodded his head at her. He and the Greek vampiress had engaged in more than a few torrid affairs over the last 60 years but it had always been because she sought him out. She had tried to perform a political alliance with him through marriage several times as she believed she could be queen of any state or province with him as her Enforcer Husband, but she had never been more than a good fuck for him. He was somewhat interested in how tonight was going to go and wanted to see Adriana's reaction to Sookie. No doubt she had heard by now that he had bonded to her and intended to turn her which would alert her to the fact he'd selected Sookie to be his life companion. Adriana was known for her jealousy and he doubted she would let this situation go without saying something. He only hoped Sookie would keep her mouth shut in response. If she spoke out of turn in the bar he would have to punish her publically.
Adriana watched as Eric advanced towards her throne with his new human pet. She let her eyes wander over the girl and inwardly sneered. 'The girl is not all that comely as rumors claim. The only boon she has is her telepathy and I'm not convinced it is that beneficial. What could Eric be thinking to want to bind himself to the girl in such a way? And why would two Enforcers such as Han and Ivan pledge themselves to her? Something is not right with this. Humans are nothing. Beneath us. This girl is not deserving of the attention she is getting.' When Eric stood before her and nodded his head to her she said, "Eric, my dear, it has been too long."
"Adriana. You are looking well. May I present my bonded, Sookie Stackhouse," Eric replied as he wrapped an arm around Sookie's waist and pulled her closer into his side.
"Sookie Stackhouse? What silly names humans have these days! Whatever happened to the times when names had elegance and meaning? I tell you humans degenerate more and more by the day."
Sookie narrowed her eyes at the woman and forced herself not to respond. She'd seen the woman eyeing her up critically, and recognized that look. It was the look of one woman judging her competition. 'So, yet another woman Eric's slept with, apparently. He could have at least warned me, the big jerk!'
When Sookie hadn't responded to her not so subtle insult Adriana laughed and added, "Such a well trained little human you have there Eric! Though you always did have a firm hand as I recall."
Smirking Eric nodded his head and replied, "Indeed. Shall we begin? Are your employees here for Sookie to interview?"
Waving her hand dismissively Adriana scoffed, "Oh there is plenty of time for that! We haven't talked in so long Eric. Let us catch up some more." Snapping her fingers Adriana ordered one of her slaves, "Bring Northman a chair. One for each of his guards as well."
"We are not Northman's bodyguards but Lady Sookie's, and we will stand," Han corrected as he leveled a hard look at the younger Vampire.
Arching a brow Adriana looked Han and Ivan over slowly before replying, "So it is true then? You have lowered yourselves to give the pledge to a human? What madness drove you to that?"
Ivan shifted his battle axe on his back and growled, "Ivan no lowered. Han no lowered. Honored to guard Lady Sookie."
"Indeed," Han agreed. "I would also remind you that as regents of the Council we outrank you in every way, and if you insult us again we are within our rights to hand down punishment. Know your place, sheriff, or we will show it to you."
Adriana's eyes narrowed as she glared at the two Enforcers before she focused on Sookie and asked, "Well aren't you the special little thing apparently? I wonder what you are that the Council would go to such measures to assure your safety?"
Eric was thoroughly amused by the confrontation as the slave Adriana had told to get him a chair returned and placed it next to her. Stepping up onto the stage to sit down he pulled Sookie into his lap and said, "The Council's business with my bonded is their own Adriana. If you wish to know more you'll need to take it up with them. Now since you'd like to catch up how about you start off the conversation."
Adriana's eyes had widened marginally as she watched Eric pull his human pet into his lap. She'd known Eric for quite awhile and she knew he was not a very affectionate creature. They'd fucked many a time but as soon as he'd gotten what he wanted from her he made it known that he wanted his space. He'd never liked being touched outside of sex and seeing him so touchy feely with his human pet was truly a shock.
Shaking herself out of her stupor she continued, "Well I hear you've suffered a recent loss and I'd like to offer my condolences over your Maker. I believe you two were especially close?"
Feeling Eric tense around her Sookie stroked his arm around her waist softly. She thought it was just awful for this horrid woman to mention Godric so casually to Eric and she really wished she could slap her.
'Bitch, I want to get this done and get out of here.' She had expanded her shields the moment they arrived and opened dozens of pathways in her mind to monitor the thoughts of those around them and she could tell that everyone here was quite intrigued by the little show they were putting on and Sookie just wanted to get done what she was here to do already. As usual every girl that laid eyes on Eric wanted him and bombarded her with thoughts of jealousy that she had his attention.
Comforted by Sookie's fingers trailing lightly over his forearm he had wrapped around her waist, Eric didn't snarl at Adriana for mentioning Godric in such a way. "Indeed we were. His loss is trying for me, but I live on." Tightening his arms around Sookie and kissing her temple he added, "Besides I have my Sookie to take comfort in."
Arching a brow at that Adriana laughed, "Apparently not too much comfort since she lacks the scent of your seed. Did you bond to her merely for her looks and talent? Or is she like so many humans these days and not very capable in bed?"
Sookie could barely contain her gasp of outrage and bit her lip to keep from responding as she felt Eric bombard her with calm and comfort through the bond, and again she was grateful for the help. 'What the hell! Is this woman trying to get me to slap her? I hope Eric puts her in his place.'
Equally as insulted Eric nuzzled Sookie's cheek before he replied, "Sookie is new to the sexual arts. She has only had one lover and it ended badly for her. She is skittish and since she is not some vermin pet and I am training her to be my companion I am handling her delicately. She requires a gentle hand. She is not a fangbanger to be used and tossed aside. I'm playing for keeps here."
Adriana didn't like hearing that and remarked, "Well since she's obviously not seeing to your needs for the time being how about we head to my underground chamber and engage in our usual pastime Eric? If I recall you were quite fond of tying me up and having your wicked way with me."
While Eric was not pleased with Adriana's continued barbs to Sookie he was thoroughly pleased by the burst of jealousy his bonded felt at those words. She was practically shaking in his arms at the moment and he knew she wanted to slap the vampiress beside them. Shaking his head he answered, "I did not come here for pleasure Adriana. I came here because you requested the use of my bonded to read your employees and scan your bar patrons." Deciding to reward Sookie for her good behavior he added, "And if you recall at our last encounter I made it clear there would be no further intimate sessions between you and I. It was true then and now that I've claimed Sookie as my bonded and future child and companion it is only more so now."
Glaring at Eric Adriana stood and said, "Very well then. Let's put the human to work since you seem to have lost your appreciation for all the ways I satisfied you in the past."
Eric stood and set Sookie on her feet to follow Adriana as the vampiress led them to the back office. It was smaller than his and there was a line of employees out the hall as the Area 4 Sheriff ushered them in. 'Sookie is definitely going to be upset when we get home.'
"Your human may read my employees in here while we discuss other business matters back in the front. My most valuable human subjects are waiting and I'd like her to get them done as soon as possible before rejoining us to monitor my bar patrons."
Eric seated Sookie in one of the chairs in front of Adriana's desk and replied, "That is not necessary. She will monitor the patrons while she interviews your employees and when she is done we will go. I saw 15 employees out there and it will take her about 2 hours to do them all. If there are any problems with you customers she should pick it up by the time you are done."
"She can do both?" Adriana asked skeptically.
Nodding his head and smiling proudly down at Sookie who looked thoroughly disgruntled Eric answered, "Indeed. Sookie is able to open up different pathways inside her mind and do many things at once. Monitoring your customers while she performs the interview will be no problem for her."
Adriana surveyed the girl before her who was looking at her with evident annoyance and remarked, "Perhaps she is more useful than she appears. Very well we shall leave her to her work."
Eric took hold of Sookie's chin to bring her gaze to him and asked, "Do you need anything?"
"A pen and paper to write down what I find and a glass of water, Master." She stumbled on that last part. What she really wanted to do was kick Eric for making her suffer through this indignity. She promised herself she would first available opportunity. Hard.
Adriana reached into her desk to pull out a pen and paper and tossed it in front of Sookie as she said, "I'll send a waitress with your drink."
Eric squeezed Sookie's shoulder before he turned and left the office with Adriana while Han and Ivan remained to keep guard. After that Sookie spent the next two hours interviewing various employees of Adriana while she monitored the bar patrons. When she was done and had written down everything of importance she told Han she was finished and he went to get Eric and Adriana. A few moments later the three walked back in. Han returned to stand by the wall with Ivan while Eric pulled her up to take her seat and bring her back into his lap as Adriana sat in her seat behind the desk.
"Well girl what did you find?"
Sookie forced herself not to snap at the woman for her rudeness and replied, "Quite a few things. Do you want to know about the problems in your bar first or the problems with your employees? I would recommend the things I heard from your customers since those are more immediate problems."
Eric was pleased with Sookie's feistiness and said, "Tell her the problems in the bar since they pose the most immediate threat."
Nodding, Sookie began, "There are two men outside dancing with a vampire named Sarah. They're drainers. Apparently she's not very bright and they've been scoping her out for a few weeks, and she's come to like them. They've already slept with her a few times. They plan to take her back to their place where they have several friends waiting with silver nets. They'll chain her up in the basement and keep her alive so that they'll have a never ending supply of V and feed her True Blood to keep her from deteriorating. They also plan to use her as a sex slave and let some of their buddies pay to sleep with her as well while she's chained up. They used to have another vampire named Amanda but she got loose and they had to stake her two months ago.
"Your human bartender, Mike, has a deal where he slips roofies into the drinks of certain girls so guys can take them home and rape them. He charges $100 per customer. There are two guys here that have paid Mike, and both heard about him through a friend. Their names are Angelo and Ben. Angelo is going after a woman named Melanie, and Ben's here tonight fixing to prey on a girl named Stephanie who is only 17 and here with a fake ID. Since her father is the town Mayor, it probably won't go over too well when she wakes up tomorrow with no memories of tonight except she was at a vampire bar.
"There's also a woman named Hillary here who has Hep D and let's vamps feed off her anyways. She's getting friendly with a vampire named Martin."
Adriana's fangs ran out as she hissed, "Are you sure?"
Nodding her head Sookie replied, "People only lie out loud. In their heads there is only truth. I can point these people out to you if you'd like."
Standing Adriana made her way to the office door and said, "Come. I only need you to point out the humans that paid my bartender. Those intending to prey on my kind we can identify through the vampires they are with."
Eric stood with Sookie and kissed her cheek as he whispered, "Well done little one."
Sookie stomped on his foot as her reply. She was still mad at him for treating her this way and subjecting her to Adriana in the first place.
When they were standing at the end of the hall facing the crowd Sookie pointed to the far corner and said, "There's Angelo and Melanie and over there is Ben and Stephanie."
Nodding her head, Adriana faced Eric and said, "Take her back to my office and wait there while I handle these situations."
Eric took Sookie's arm and led her back into the office. As soon as the door was shut she kicked him in the shin as hard as she could. "You jerk! You could have warned me about that woman you know!"
Laughing at Sookie's actions Eric took a seat in the chair and offered, "Will it make you feel better if I pretend that kick hurt?"
Clenching her fists at her sides Sookie hissed, "Have you slept with every woman in this state? And why didn't you warn me about her before we got here?"
"Not every woman. I'm still waiting on you, my darling Sookie," Eric replied with a smirk. "And I didn't mention her because she was not important. She was entertainment and nothing more. Though I do enjoy seeing you jealous."
"I am not jealous!"
"Keep telling yourself that."
"Oh! You make me so mad!"
"Don't forget horny."
Laughing he grabbed her wrist and pulled her into his lap to kiss her lips softly. When she pushed at his chest and glared at him he said, "You've done well. Were there many problems with her employees?"
Crossing her arms over her chest Sookie replied, "Lots more than there were with yours. I got the sense she's not very good at managing. When I interviewed your employees I saw their thoughts that you're so involved with everything it would be hard for any of them to try anything. When I interviewed Adriana's they seemed to think it's easy to pull a fast one on her because she thinks they're too stupid to be able to fool her. She's lost a lot of money from what I picked up."
Before Eric could reply Adriana walked back into the office to reclaim her seat as she asked, "Now what did you find from my employees?"
Picking up her paper where she'd written everything down Sookie read:
- Your accountant Hank is embezzling money. He's taken $420,000 over the past five years since you leave all the bookkeeping and management of your accounts and earnings from your various businesses to him.
- Melissa who manages your apartment complex has upped the rates for each unit by a $100 a month and pockets the excess money before sending you your earnings each month. She cashes each of the checks into the company account and then writes herself a check for the difference. Hank knows it but lets it slide since he doesn't want to draw any of your attention to your books and have you audit anything.
- Anthony who handles your daytime security at the various safe houses you have for Vamps around the city works for the Fellowship. They recruited him a few months ago. He just feeds them information for money and doesn't really care about their cause, but all of your locations and security measures are compromised since he's given them everything he knows. And again he's the head of your security. He's apparently not really in the loop with them because he didn't know who I was or about the site.
- Nicole who runs your massage parlor has turned it into a…uh…special massage parlor. She's charging an additional $50 a massage and makes quite the profit.
- Marie who runs your clothing boutique fixes the books so that she can take several boxes of designer clothes home each week and sell them to friends and family for a very reduced price.
Finished with the list, she set the paper down on the table and continued, "No one that I interviewed has any sense of loyalty and would turn on you at a moment's notice. They have no regard for you or your businesses."
Thoroughly angered that she had such problems with her people Adriana waved a hand and replied, "Such is the way with all humans. Pitiful creatures. I would expect nothing less."
Shrugging Sookie replied, "Eric's employees were loyal to him. They all thought him a fair employer and several of them actually reported Fellowship people that had approached them. They work for him because they want to. I think you're hiring the wrong people."
Squeezing her waist to let her know she shouldn't say any more Eric stood and set Sookie on her feet as he said, "Well Sookie has done what you requested. We will be going now. I wish you the best in cleaning house Adriana. You apparently have quite a bit of work ahead of you."
Adriana looked at Sookie critically before she focused on Eric and stated, "I'll find a way to repay you for your services Eric. Be assured."
Nodding his head Eric took Sookie's arm and pulled her out of the office and out of the bar. It was a little past 11pm and he wanted to make it back to Sookie's before midnight. He needed to discuss their upcoming trip to New York with her. Swooping her up he pulled Han and Ivan with him as he took to the sky. This time the trip was made in silence and Eric knew that Sookie was still angry. When he landed them all on the walkway of Sookie's house he turned to look at Han and Ivan and said, "I will be staying with Sookie the rest of the night. You two may go."
Sookie watched Han and Ivan bow to her and Eric before they headed for the guest house. She immediately started wiggling in Eric's arm as she hissed, "Put me down!"
Setting Sookie on her feet Eric watched as she pulled the scarf from her head and tossed at him before making her way up the porch steps. He stood behind her with his hands clasped behind his back as he waited for her to unlock the door. As soon as she opened it Thor greeted her with a wagging tail before running past them to use the front yard. He stood in front of Sookie as she turned around to glare at him and asked, "Problem?"
Crossing her arms under her chest Sookie growled, "You know what my problem is!"
Gasping Sookie shook her head and replied, "NO! I'm mad because you didn't warn me about what was going to happen! That woman was rude and insulting and I would have liked to know that going in there!"
Shaking his head Eric argued, "I beg to differ. You are confronted with rude and insulting people every day and you do not overreact to them. You are upset now because you're jealous I slept with her."
"I am not jealous!" Thor came running up the steps to head back inside the house and Sookie glared at Eric for another second before spinning around and stomping into the house and up the stairs. "You stay down there! I'm getting out of this dress."
Laughing softly as he closed the door behind him Eric replied, "Come back down soon. We need to discuss our upcoming trip to New York." He heard Sookie slam her bedroom door and he laughed again. Pulling his jacket off he tossed it on the back of one of the chairs before he started strolling around the room to look at all the pictures Sookie had put back up after the house had been repainted. Ten minutes later he heard Sookie come down the stairs and into the kitchen. When she joined him she was wearing her butterfly pajamas he'd gotten her and had a bowl of ice cream as she glared hard at him.
Walking past him Sookie went to the couch and sat on the far end as she said, "So talk."
Joining her on the couch Eric stated, "We will be leaving for New York on Monday. Han, Ivan, and I will be in a travel coffins and we are taking a private jet. We'll leave at 10 am. Bobby will be coming with us as well as your daytime guards. We will meet with the King of New York that evening."
After taking a bite of her ice cream Sookie asked, "Is he mean?"
Shaking his head Eric replied, "I think you'll like him. His name is Ahmose and he is a former Pharaoh of Egypt. He's very tolerant of humans and very interested in meeting you."
"Are you serious? He was a Pharaoh?"
"Yes. He's about 3,500 years old."
"Wow, uh … what's he like?"
Shrugging, Eric answered, "He's a vampire king. He's an ancient. He can be however he wants to be. I first met him about 500 years ago and have run into him from time to time over the centuries. He took control of New York when the last king chose to step down and become a wanderer. He's ruled for about 30 years and is much beloved by his people for his fairness. He is well thought of in the supernatural world in general and the vampire world especially. He's quiet."
"Yes. He likes to listen. He is often the last to speak and his words are usually wise. He is not often quick to act unless absolutely necessary, and likes to survey a problem from all angles. He's a brilliant strategist."
Looking at him strangely Sookie said, "You respect him."
"Of course. I respect all the Ancients. As I told you it takes great skill and intellect to become an ancient and I admire them all. As ruthless as our world is now it was worse a few millennia ago. For them to have survived and thrived back then is a testament to their greatness."
"It's strange to hear you speak highly of people. You don't usually."
Shrugging Eric replied, "Few people deserve my praise. Ahmose is one of them. You will like him."
"So what am I going to do in New York?"
"Well during the day you will shop at the stores there. They have a much better selection. I want you to get suitable winter clothes as the season is approaching. At night we will do whatever Ahmose asks us to do."
Rolling her eyes Sookie said, "I don't need to go shopping in New York. They'll be way overpriced. I can get winter clothes here."
"Not good enough ones. You'll need a fur coat and thick clothing."
"It doesn't get that cold in the winter here Eric."
"It does in Sweden."
Eyes widening Sookie asked, "Sweden?"
"Indeed. I am taking you there for two weeks in December. I wish to show you my home."
"You have a home there?"
Nodding his head Eric replied, "I arranged to buy the area of land my former village was located at some 150 years ago, and have managed to retain ownership of it over the years by passing it down through the generations by making it appear as though it is continually inherited. I always made a trip back there at first every 25 or 30 years or so to make sure no one had tried to seize it and pay off whatever taxes the ruling humans at the time required. I would simply pay decade's worth at once. With modern technology of course that has no longer been necessary. I have not returned there in about 7 years and I wish to take you to see it. I had a log cabin built there about 40 years ago so I could vacation there when I needed to get away from here."
"Is it pretty there?"
"But of course. Nowhere is as beautiful as my homeland. It is mountainous with magnificent forests. The land is wild and untamed. You will love it, but it is cold. The snow will be thick and deep and you will need proper clothing."
Sookie was quiet a moment before she said, "December is only three weeks away. When do you want to go?"
"We will spend the first two weeks of December in Sweden. I would make it at the end but Pam reminded me that is the time of your human Christmas custom and that you would not want to miss it. So I shall make sure you are back here to be with your brother."
Taking a bite of her ice cream Sookie asked, "Don't you need to be here because of the Fellowship thing?"
"No. Our plans are already in place and I made and was granted the request for these two weeks of Vacation three months ago."
"Oh. Were you planning to take Pam? You said you two did stuff together all the time and I don't want to intrude if you were."
Shaking his head Eric replied, "No. You were my intended companion then and you will remain so now."
"Eric we didn't have an arrangement three months ago."
Those words made her pause as a shudder ran through her body at their underlying meaning. Holding his gaze for a moment Sookie finally asked softly, "How long have you been planning to take me from him?" There was no need to clarify who him was.
"From the first time I met you. Had my bar not been raided and I'd had to deal with Taryn feeding on that man in the bathroom I would have taken you from him that night since you were unmarked and a virgin. By rights I could have taken you from Bill then and I had planned to. Then you revealed you were more than just a pretty face, nice body, and feisty spirit by warning me of the raid. I decided to get to know you more so I had you come to my bar to finger Longshadow for me. By the time I had you go to Dallas I'd already made up my mind to bond you to me."
"Wait … you knew it was Long Shadow?"
Smirking Eric nodded his head and replied, "Indeed. I glamoured each of the humans that had access to my money and could have stolen from me. When none of my questions about the money triggered anything in their minds I knew a vampire had to be responsible and only two had access: Pam and Long Shadow. If Pam wants money she is not shy about asking for it. Most of the time she just takes my credit card and buys whatever she wants. So I knew it had to be Long Shadow. I had no proof, and decided summoning you would not only give me proof it was a Vampire but hopefully give me an opening to take you. Sadly, Bill chose to face the magistrate instead of giving you up."
Shaking her head Sookie gasped, "You knew exactly how that night was going to go down?"
"More or less. I didn't think Bill would kill Long Shadow however. I thought he would merely attack him. Attacking a Vampire over a human is a serious offense. I intended to use it as leverage to get him to give you to me. It backfired."
"You attacked Bill over me the other night."
"That is different. You are my bonded and no ordinary human. Blood bonds are powerful and sacred things to Vampires. It is forbidden to attack the bonded of a vampire."
Sookie was quiet a moment before she hissed, "You let Long Shadow attack me!"
Shrugging Eric replied, "If Bill hadn't staked him I would have thrown that traitor off of you. You were never in the danger Bill thought you were. I never would have allowed Long Shadow to bite you. I didn't have to act though because I knew Bill wouldn't stand by and let you be hurt."
Taking another bite of her ice cream Sookie glared at Eric and asked, "What would you have done if Bill hadn't of been kidnapped?"
"Do you want the truth Sookie? It will only frighten you."
"I don't care. I want to know."
Holding her gaze Eric replied, "I assigned a private investigator to follow you the moment you returned from Dallas. He reported to me each dawn. If he had informed me you were flying to Vermont to get married to Bill I would have arranged an accident to happen to Compton that resulted in his final death. With him gone vampire law states you are free for the taking and I would have done as such. I would have kidnapped you, locked you in my lair, blood bonded you to me by force, and kept you there until you yielded to me." Feeling her fear rise at his words Eric continued, "Do not ask questions you do not want the answers to Sookie."
Sookie was quiet a moment before she asked, "If you had someone following me why didn't you come to help with Maryann?"
"First, I couldn't just show up to offer my services as it would have alerted you and Compton to how closely I was watching you. Second, I was hoping you would come to me to ask for protection so that I could use the situation to maneuver you into a debt to me which I would have then asked for an exchange of blood to pay. Third, I knew you were not the one that Maryann was after and therefore not in mortal danger. Fourth, I did try to help you. I went to the queen to ask how to kill a maenad just as Bill did. She ended up keeping me there for two days to play Yahtzee. I believe now it was on purpose so that Compton could see the task done and you would be endeared to him even more."
"You really have been planning all of this from the beginning haven't you!"
Ignoring the outrage in her voice Eric replied, "When I see something I want I take it Sookie. I want you and I did what I needed to do to get you. End of story."
Eating another bite of her ice cream Sookie glared at Eric before asking, "Is that all you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Indeed. Finish your ice cream and then we will exchange blood."
"Not at the same time we won't! I'm not letting you get me, well, that thing that happens between us, you know! We're exchanging separately."
Eric merely laughed and waved at her ice cream as he said, "Eat." While she continued to eat her treat he reached for her remote and turned on the TV. He flipped through the channels before settling on a rerun of Criminal Minds.
Sookie finished up her ice cream and went to the kitchen to wash out her bowl. When she was done and turned around to head back into the living room she gasped to find Eric already standing there watching her. "Eric! Don't do that!"
Chuckling Eric reached forward to take Sookie's hand as he led her upstairs. He could feel Sookie's apprehension and growing nervousness through the bond and countered them by sending her soothing waves. Now that her annoying roommate was no longer in the house he was hoping to get farther with Sookie and intended to make the most of their night. She didn't have to get up until noon the next day as it was Saturday and it was not yet midnight. There was plenty of time for him to seduce her to his way of thinking.
Sookie could practically read the intention on Eric's face and when they stepped into her room and he tugged her towards the bed she dug her feet into the floor and said, "Eric I don't want anything to happen between us."
Looking back at her Eric replied, "Nothing will happen that you don't want to happen Sookie. You know this." He tugged on her arm again as he made his way to the bed.
Sookie again dug her heels in and added, "Eric you know that I get out of control when we—at the same time—I—I don't want to do this with you."
Turning around to face her Eric took her chin in his hand to tilt her face up so he could look into his eyes. "Sookie, I will not hurt you."
"Eric it will hurt me if I sleep with you tonight. I'll wake up in the morning and I'll regret it."
Taking Sookie's hand he moved to sit down on the side of the bed with her standing between his legs. "Why would you regret mating with me?"
Shifting nervously Sookie replied, "Because I don't love you and you don't love me."
"This is important to you? The sharing of pleasure can only be done if there is love?"
Shaking his head at her, Eric continued, "Sookie you deny it all you want but you already have a significant amount of affection for me. I feel it in you, and I have told you I care greatly for you. Mating will only bring us closer together. You will love me very soon and you will love me deeply. I cannot give you the same but I can make you happier than you have ever been before. I can make your days a never ending dream world for you. Your nights will be filled with more passion than you could ever imagine. There will be no regrets for either of us."
"Eric I don't want a dream. I just want my own life."
Putting his hands on her hips and working his fingers between her tank top and pants to stroke the soft skin of her abdomen Eric replied, "Sookie your old life was not worthy of you and it is no longer an option. You say you will regret mating with me, but that's not true. You don't want to do this because you know that joining with me will only make you love me more. You grow closer and closer to me every day and you foolishly believe that as long as you deny me your body you can deny me your heart. You are wrong in that belief. I will have your heart either way. It is only a matter of time before I will be basking in your love as that fool Compton did. However, I will never lose it. I intend to take your love and guard as my own for eternity."
Tears building in her eyes Sookie whispered, "I don't want any of this Eric, I—I'm scared of what's happening. Everything's changing so fast and I can't keep up."
Pulling her to him so that she straddled his waist with her knees on either side of him and her head tucked under his chin Eric wrapped his arms tightly around her and soothed, "I will take care of you Sookie. I promise you. Everything will always change around us but you will always have me. I cannot promise you love Sookie, but I can promise you eternal affection, companionship, and protection. Where I am you will be and I will never allow anything to separate us."
Silent tears slipping down her cheeks Sookie pressed tightly against Eric and buried her face into his neck to take in the masculine scent of him. "Is my love really important to you?"
"Yes. I want you to love me above all things." There had been no hesitation on his part.
Keeping Han's words in mind about letting Eric's actions speak for his true feelings since he would never admit to loving her Sookie pleaded, "If my heart actually means anything to you then give me time. I just broke up with ... everything is just happening too fast. I need time. I do like you … when you're not being a jerk of course. You can be really sweet, but then you get all mean and controlling and I lose my balance. I can't find up or down anymore and it makes me afraid. If my heart matters to you then be my friend first. If we're really supposed to be together like everyone says then it will happen. Actually let me come to you. You've already trapped me. Ultimately you got what you wanted. I can't be with anyone else and I can't leave you. Why do you have to keep making me feel hunted?"
Eric was silent a moment as he let his fingers trail through Sookie's hair while his other hand made its way under her top to stroke her smooth back. 'Will this hurt my plans for her? Or help them? I don't want to claim her body only to harden her heart against me. She might not be able to control her body's response to me but if she feels I'm using her for sex she will deny me her love. I can't have that.' He thought for several minutes over Sookie's words before finally offering, "I will give you time. I will not stop touching you and showing you affection, but I will do my best to keep our blood exchanges separate so you are not overwhelmed with our combined need. However in return for this I want you to promise you'll put as much energy into building on our connection as I will."
Pulling back to look up at him Sookie asked, "How do I do that?"
He kissed the tears from her cheeks. "Touch me. It doesn't have to be sexual. It can be casual. You keep as much distance between us as you can and I don't like it. I'm always touching you in little ways but you do not do the same with me. I want you to be comfortable with me. My body is yours to touch. All others much ask permission to but you are free to touch me in any way at any time you want. I want you to stop putting your guard up with me. As you pointed out inevitably you are mine for good. There is no reason for you to build up walls with me. Be open. Speak to me freely. Tell me about your days. Tell me what you're thinking. Tell me your secrets. I want to know you inside and out. Do these things and I will give you time."
Sookie held his gaze for a moment before nodding her head and replying, "I can do that. It will take me a while to get used to being open with you, but if you stop pursuing me so aggressively and making me feel cornered I'll do my best."
"Good enough. Since we have struck a new deal I will not force a blood exchange tonight. However from now on I want you to come to me at some point every night and offer yourself to me so I can drink from you. I will feed from you at these times and then at some other point in the night I will give you my blood. This will keep our exchanges separate."
Smiling at that Sookie said, "I can do that. It won't be in public though."
"I would not want it to be. Our feeding habits are private. You are not a meal. You are not a Fangbanger or donor for me to use. You are my bonded and our feeding from each other is sacred. It is not to be witnessed by others." Standing he set Sookie on her feet in front of him so that he could shed his clothes and added, "It is time for bed. I will hold you while you sleep and seek shelter in the panic room to take care of business on the computer."
Nodding her head Sookie began rolling back the blankets as she heard Eric shedding his clothes behind her. She slid in and felt Eric join her. Tonight he pulled her against his chest with her facing him instead of spooning behind her. In keeping with the deal she didn't fight the hold and set her head over his heart while stroking her fingers along his chest and abs as she asked, "Are you afraid of what's coming? Are you worried about this prophecy?"
His own arms were around her as he stroked her hair softly and replied, "No. I am eager. I feel the bond between us and I know we are both meant for great things. I do not know what's coming but I know it will change both our lives. It might be hard to adjust or accept the changes that are going to take place but I feel it deep within me that whatever is coming will please us both…eventually."
"I know, but I will be with you. I will not let anything hurt you, Sookie."
Sookie smiled softly at that and asked, "Will you tell me a story?"
Kissing the top of her head Eric began, "I will tell you the story of Thor. Thor was the son of Odin. He had a mighty hammer that …."
Eric spoke softly to Sookie for over an hour until she fell asleep in his arms before he took shelter in the panic room. What neither had noticed was the steady hum that ebbed and flowed between them as tiny threads began to stretch and connect between their souls. The beginnings of the true bond had started between them. Soon not just magic and blood would bind them. Soon their very souls would merge to become one. The two would be lovers felt only a warmth and sense of contentment in their chests. They did not understand they had taken an important step in fulfilling their destinies this night. Those that watched them, those that had shaped their lives and destinies did however, and they smiled with triumph as they watched over the Chosen One and her High King.