Sookie blushed and replied, "It was really nice meeting you too your Highness. I'd be happy to see you soon again as well. You're one of the most interesting people I've ever met. Thank you for opening your home to Eric and I."
"Think nothing of it, my dear." Turning to Eric, Ahmose bowed his head slightly and added, "Northman you have quite the companion here, I hope you realize. You will be the envy of many with her by your side."
Wrapping an arm around Sookie's waist Eric said, "I'm certain I shall. It was nice seeing you again Ahmose. I trust you will inform me if you find any new information about the attack?"
"Of course," the king assured. "I will notify you immediately if I learn of anything."
At that moment Edwin along with another male servant returned to his Lord's side holding a large black silk wrapped object about two feet in length between them. It was obvious they were straining under the weight of it and Ahmose immediately retrieved it. Facing Sookie, Ahmose said, "I'd like you to have this. I have carried it with me for thousands of years."
Sookie reached forward and unwrapped the object. As the black silk fell away a golden statue of Isis on her throne feeding Horus was revealed. It was obviously old and Sookie whispered, "It's beautiful, but I can't take this. Your gods mean so much to you."
"They do, which is why I give this to you. My gods have spoken Sookie. This you know. Isis as she was is no more but that does not mean she doesn't watch over you. Take this and put it in your bedroom. She will protect you in any way she can. It is my gift to you, and of course I insist."
As Ahmose leveled a charming smile on her Sookie couldn't help but smile back. She promised herself she'd send him something in return once she was home, and of course once she figured out what to send. Reaching out to accept the statue she nearly doubled over under its weight before Eric came to her rescue and swept it up in his arms. Laughing softly, she said, "Wow. I never knew gold was so heavy. Thank you for this your majesty. I'll put it in my room, just as you said."
"Your Highness is most generous," Eric added as he tucked the statue in the crook of his arm before taking Sookie's hand.
Ahmose bowed his head to both of them and replied, "It is nothing. Truly. The statue belongs to you Sookie. Now both of you please remember our words to each other and know that I am but a call away if you have need. I wish you a safe journey and hope to see you both again soon."
Nodding at Ahmose, Eric said, "I'm sure you shall your Majesty. For now we'll be on our way."
Sookie smiled and waved back at the former Pharaoh she had come to like a great deal as Eric led her and their party out of the house and towards the waiting limos. Behind them Ahmose stood in the doorway of his home and smiled back at the girl he knew was going to save them all. He watched as her Viking lifted her into the limo before securing the statue with the rest of their belongings and sending them on their way. When they were gone he stepped back into his home and made his way to his underground lair. When he was inside he addressed the one of the two individuals sitting on his couches, and said, "It is good to see you again my Maker."
"You as well, Child. Things go accordingly?" asked a female voice.
"They proceed as they should. The affection and trust grows between them. You were right though. The Viking is uncomfortable with his newly awakened heart and strikes out at his bonded when his emotions threaten to overtake him. There will be many problems between them."
A feminine laugh filled the air. "Indeed there will be but the Chosen One's heart will forgive him all. Especially now that her grandmother has interfered so. The Viking will soon find his mate is not so easily controlled."
Darting his eyes to the second figure before focusing on his Maker Ahmose pressed, "Will this cause problems? Will the Grandmother's interference hinder the joining?"
Shaking her head the woman replied, "No. This one has seen what is to come. The Chosen One will not tap into the powers her grandmother informed her of until after the trip to Sweden. By then it will not matter that she has the ability to fight back."
Looking at the second figure Ahmose bowed his head and said, "Prince Brigant, your Sookie is truly all we had hoped she would be."
Smiling at the former Pharaoh, Niall replied, "She was never mine. She has always belonged to the Viking just as he has her. Though I think it will take him some time to realize he was created to help her fulfill her destiny, to learn he was created to be her king. I am eager to see his reaction to such a truth."
"That will be a sight. The Viking could afford to lose a bit of his arrogance, but it will change nothing between them. His desire for her is all consuming and as much as he fights it his love for her grows by the day," Ahmose said with a laugh.
"That it does. The ties and magic intensify between them. Soon they will truly be one," the female said. "Now tell us of this attack. Why was the girl harmed?"
Taking a seat across from his Maker and the Prince of Faeries Ahmose explained, "She acted foolishly. Her curiosity and emotions got the best of her. She balances the Viking by feeling so deeply to counter his coldness, but in this case it endangered her. I take partial blame. I should not have allowed her such free access to the system. I should have stayed up with her and waited with her to monitor the attack. If I had I could have prevented her from going upstairs before it was over. For now I am just thankful that our assailants drew back before any further damage could be done."
Scowling now the woman remarked, "Indeed. Sargon wants the girl for his own but he will not risk endangering her. I'm sure next time he will make sure to plan an attack that is not so aggressive and risks the girl's safety in such a way. She is far too important to all of us."
"Is he still using his magic to block your sight my Maker?" Ahmose asked.
"Yes. His power is strong. It was lucky for us that the old Gods began to reach out to their Chosen One. Isis's warning was most useful. Soon the others will begin to speak to her. They will seek to help prepare her for her destiny. Sargon's magic is great but he cannot reach beyond," the woman said.
"What of Sophie-Anne," Ahmose pressed.
"She is of no consequence. If she is foolish enough to go after the Warrior King she will pay for it with her life and Kingdom. Destiny will not be denied." Standing, the woman said, "You have pleased me my Child. Continue to offer aid to the Chosen One and her King and report to us as necessary. Are your troops ready to aid them?"
Ahmose nodded, "I have been steadily streaming in vampires and weres to Louisiana since you alerted me that the Chosen One had been born. Four of the main guards in Sophie-Anne's security force are loyal to me and report to me nightly. The Viking will have adequate numbers to support him when the time comes for him to overthrow Sophie-Anne and begin building his army to fulfill his end of the prophecy, though with his new power I doubt he will need it."
Standing together, Niall held his arm out to the woman beside him so they could teleport out. She set her hand on his arm and said, "This one will continue to monitor their progress. You have done well my Child. I am pleased."
Bowing his head Ahmose replied, "My Maker you honor me. I will serve you well and fulfill my destiny. Your Gods will return to you as mine return to me. The damage done to them will be set right. No longer will faith sustain them. Now love will fuel their creation … her love."
The Ancient Pythoness shared a secret smile with her one and only child as she whispered, "All we have waited for these many millennia is coming about. The time has come for things to be made right. Be well, my Child. We shall see each other again soon."
Ahmose watched as Brigant disappeared with his Maker before making his way into his office. He wanted to tap into the security feed his spies in Sophie-Anne's palace had planted. He doubted the foolish woman would be able to harm the Viking or his bonded, but it never hurt to be a step ahead.
Back with Sookie and the others the atmosphere was tense in the limo. Bill was glaring daggers into Eric who was making a show of his ownership of Sookie. Eric continually stroked her arms and kissed her cheek and temple while smirking at Bill. For her part Sookie rolled her eyes at Eric and elbowed him when he took things to far while trying to avoid Bill's imploring gaze when he looked her way. You could feel the animosity in the small confines of the limo and Sookie just wanted to be home already. She let out a sigh of relief when their small convoy of limos pulled into the airport they were flying out of and they all boarded the personal jet they were taking home.
Once inside the plane, Eric directed Sookie to the pair of seats at the back. He got her seated with Thor at her feet (the puppy didn't want to be separated from her since he'd spent a majority of the last week with Alcide) before sitting next to her as he grinned at Bill who had taken a seat on the couch along the wall while all the guards spread out in the rest of the cabin. He ignored Sookie's irritation and reached across her to do her seatbelt while Bill glared hatefully at the sight.
Sookie knew exactly what Eric was doing and pinched his arm as he trailed his hand across her stomach after fastening her seat belt. She wanted to reprimand him for his behavior but knew she couldn't while in public with him. He would certainly get an earful when they were alone, however. She was not a trophy!
Eric took hold of Sookie's hand as the plane took off and laced his fingers with hers while sending Bill a smile that said it all. He might as well be holding a sign that read; She's mine. I took her from you. I won. You lost. I beat you. The message would have been just as clear.
Across the way Bill forced his fangs not to pop out. He couldn't stand seeing Sookie with Eric. He loathed the sight. What really ate at him was there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. He'd been wracking his brain trying to not only convince Sookie not to go to Sweden, but to get her away from Eric completely. He had nothing! No ideas or even hints of ideas on how to get Sookie away from the older vampire. It was killing him. He knew the chances of him getting her back for himself were slim, but his love for her was so great he couldn't bear the thought of her being shackled to a vampire that would break her spirit down before turning her to make her his eternal slave.
'I can't let it happen. Sookie deserves so much more. She would never make it as a vampire. She wasn't meant to live in darkness. She was born to live in the light. I can't let him turn her. I have to find a way to get her out of all of this. I know she'll never forgive me for deceiving her, but I can't abandon her to this. I will find a way to help her,' Bill thought as he continued to glare at the sight of Eric lavishing attention on Sookie, who was clearly annoyed by the behavior no less.
As soon as they took off Eric looked down at Sookie and asked, "Are you excited to be going home?"
Eric could feel the annoyance in her through the bond and knew she resented him throwing their relationship in Bill's face and that was the reason for her short reply, but he wasn't about to stop. He wanted it very clear to Bill that Sookie was beyond his reach. "What do you intend to do first when we get home?"
Glaring up at him Sookie asked, "Are you asking because you want to know or are you asking because you're acting for others?"
There were several snorts in the cabin and Eric saw Bill smirk from the corner of his eye. He tightened his hand around Sookie's and continued, "If I didn't want to know I wouldn't ask."
Sookie was silent a moment before she said, "Well when we get back it will be late and I won't be able to see my brother or friends until the next day so I'll probably go to the barn to see Freya and Balder and then unpack the rest of the night."
"Freya and Balder?" Bill asked without thought.
Glaring at the younger vampire, Eric growled, "I thought I told you not to speak directly to my bonded Compton. Are you so eager for a beating?" He felt Sookie squeeze his hand and her growing fear through their bond and rolled his eyes at Bill before adding, "Freya and Balder are Sookie's horses. She rode as a little girl and mentioned she'd like to get back into it. I had a barn built for her and gave her some horses for her to take the hobby up again."
Bill's fists clenched. He would have gotten her horses if he knew she wanted some! He forced his voice to remain calm as he remarked, "I've noticed there is a great deal of magic emanating from around her home."
Arching a brow Eric asked, "You haven't by chance been attempting to see my bonded without my permission have you Compton? You realize that is grounds for your death if you do?"
"No. I simply noticed the feel of magic. Jessica tried to go by the other day as she wanted to explain to Sookie what happened between the two of you and was unable to enter. I'm assuming you've erected some sort of barrier around her home to keep her locked in?"
Stroking his fingers along Sookie's hand Eric drawled, "Nothing of the sort. The barrier is to keep others out. The Council sent special provisions to have it erected. Your child is not welcome near my bonded. You will be sure she is told to stay away."
Suddenly Bill had an idea. He couldn't speak directly to Sookie but that didn't mean his words couldn't be meant for her. "I can understand your reasoning behind that. You wouldn't want Sookie to know you tortured Jessica in the basement at Fangtasia for hours and told her you would again unless she helped you deceive Sookie into dating you."
Sookie's gasp filled the cabin as Eric's fangs popped down while he hissed, "I'm warning you, Compton!"
Knowing that Eric couldn't harm him as long as he didn't directly address Sookie since he was here as the queen's regent Bill continued, "And believe me, Eric, I intend to petition the queen for retribution. You were not harming Jessica for her crime, but for your own gain. You owe me a debt for the suffering you inflicted upon my Child."
Looking up at Eric, Sookie asked, "Is that true? Did you torture Jessica to get her to lie to me?"
Refusing to look down at Sookie, and ignoring the gazes of all in the cabin as everyone was now paying close attention to the altercation going on, Eric replied, "You may seek retribution all you like. The punishment handed down was within the guidelines for her crime. You can only seek recompense from me for threatening to do so again if she did not help me. Little pain was inflicted upon her after my request was made clear. Everything she suffered before then was due to the two bodies she left in the open that nearly exposed our kind. In fact I should be handing out punishment to you for failing to teach your Child even the most basic of rules which resulted in the endangerment of our kind due to exposure. I'd have thought with the pitiful life you've led that would be something you'd have seen to immediately."
Sookie stiffened as she looked back and forth between them before focusing on Eric and pressing, "What's that supposed to mean?"
Eric watched Bill's jaw clench before he looked down at his bonded and explained, "Jessica did not feed off an unwilling human and let him go. She killed two men and left their bodies at a truck stop. The Cleaners had to be called to cover it up."
"My Child is young and with limited control, as all newborns are. She never would have done that if I'd been there to keep watch over her. Of course since you summoned Lorena to Dallas and renewed her obsessive tendencies over me it caused her to kidnap me and result in this very situation. Those deaths might as well be your fault as your initial actions in trying to steal Sookie from me resulted in my not being there to keep control of Jessica in the first place," Bill argued heatedly.
There was silence in the cabin of the jet as everyone waited for Sookie's response to all she'd just learned. Looking down at her lap Sookie thought, 'She killed two men … oh my Lord! ... and Eric covered it up! He knew I'd never make a deal to save her from punishment if she'd killed two men. He lied and twisted the situation to get me where he wanted yet again. I suspected he was the reason that Lorena showed up in Dallas, but Bill never actually verified that fact, but Bill never wanted me for me in the first place either. He may love me now but our entire relationship was still a lie. Gosh this is all so confusing.'
Pulling her hand from Eric's she looked out the window and said, "You're both jerks and I don't want to talk to either of you. Times like this make me wish I was a lesbian and then I wouldn't have to deal with this crap. Men suck. Plain and simple."
No one had anything to say to that and the rest of the plane trip was made in total silence. When they landed, Sookie continued to ignore everyone as they divided up into the bullet proof cars and vans and made their way back towards Bon Temps. Bill was taken to his home and Sookie's Were guards collected their trucks from Sookie's drive and headed out after helping to unload all of the luggage and saying their own goodbyes. Sookie continued to give Eric the cold shoulder as she wished Han and Ivan a good night and told them she'd see them the next evening. Since she wasn't leaving the barrier they would be free to spend the rest of the night however they wished.
Eric watched as Sookie shed her heavy coat and hung it up in the hall closet before she grabbed two of her bags and headed upstairs to begin packing with Thor trotting after her. Shedding his own jacket and tossing it on the back of the chair he retrieved his bags and followed after her. As she began unpacking he set his own bags down and said, "Sookie, are you going to ignore me or are we going to talk about this?"
Grabbing some of her new clothes and beginning to hang them up in the closet Sookie replied, "What's to talk about? Seems pretty cut and dry to me. I got involved with vampires because my stupid cousin ran her mouth and your bitch queen sent Bill to seduce me. I try to save my brother and go to you club to do so and caught your attention. You forced me to work for you to save Lafayette's life. I went to Dallas to find Godric. You followed. While I was trapped in the basement of a terrorist group you summoned a crazy woman to Dallas to go after Bill so you could get to me. That fails. We come home but she stalks and kidnaps him leaving me vulnerable. I was stupid and came to you for help and you used every advantage you could get out of me to your benefit since Bill told me nothing about his world due to Sophie-Anne's orders and I didn't know how to protect myself. Jessica killed two men since Bill was gone. You used her to further manipulate me. Now here we are. End of story."
Eric had stood leaning against the dresser watching Sookie mechanically unpack during her entire recitation. When she was done and it was apparent that was all she was going to say he offered, "I will not apologize for doing what I had to do to get you."
"I don't expect you to."
Eric tested the bond and found no great emotion coming from Sookie at all. She was simply resigned to the truths she learned. He didn't understand it and said as much. "I don't understand what you're feeling right now. You're not angry, you're not upset, you're not vengeful. Usually you are in such situations. I … don't know how to handle this. Tell me how you want me to fix this for you."
Hanging up several pairs of new pants and realizing she didn't have enough space in her room for all of her new clothes and would need to put some in the guest room closet, Sookie finally turned to face Eric with her arms crossed over her chest. "What do you want me to say Eric? Should I act shocked and outraged at the lows you can sink to in order to get what you want? I'm past that stage. Should I cry and scream at you that you're a horrible person that cares only for yourself, and try to get you to see that what you did was wrong? What good would that do? You've made it quite clear you'll always do whatever you have to do to get what you want regardless of what I think or feel or who you hurt. Your concept of wrong is vastly different than mine and you have no intention of seeing anyone else's way anytime soon. Godric couldn't change your mind on the value of life so I certainly don't expect to be making any headway. So what exactly is it you want right now or think you can fix?"
Eric regarded her for a moment before saying, "You are angry with me. You are upset I hurt Jessica to manipulate you."
Grabbing more clothes out of her suitcases, Sookie headed to the guest bedroom with Eric trailing her as she replied, "Am I angry? Of course I'm angry. I'm angry you brought Lorena into this in the first place. If you hadn't Bill wouldn't have been taken and those two men might still be alive. I'm angry that Hadley couldn't keep her mouth shut and Bill was sent here in the first place which resulted in Jessica being turned. I'm angry that everyone around me keeps lying to me. I'm angry that there's some grand plan for me and my life that I know nothing about and can't escape. I'm angry with the fact that you do and will always hurt whoever you like and there's nothing I can do about it. Am I upset with you? Not really. If I were upset with you that would mean I'm shocked by your behavior and frankly at this point I don't think I'll ever be shocked to find out the things you're capable of. You want to know how I feel about you right now? I'm disappointed and disgusted."
Eric watched as Sookie continued to hang up her new winter clothes in the guest closet as he thought over her words. Finally he asked, "So where does that put us?"
"That put us at me being disgusted and you on the couch."
"Don't. You're not getting in bed with me tonight. Or any of the next few either. In fact—"
Spinning around to face Eric, Sookie set her hands on her hips and continued, "I've made a decision. From now on when you do something bad you're going to do something right. You hurt Jessica? You tortured her and covered up her two murders? Ok, then you're going to make donations to Operation Homefront, and you're also going to give money to Feed the Children."
Crossing his arms over his chest, Eric arched a brow at her and said, "I am?"
"You are. You're going to give half a million to each as an anonymous donation. I picked out from Bobby's head the other day about the tax breaks you got for the hospital money. No more tax breaks for you."
"And why am I going to give money to these people I care nothing for? I see nothing wrong with my actions and feel no need to compensate."
"Because I said so."
"Because you said so? What a compelling argument."
Having finished with the clothes she'd hung up, Sookie walked past Eric and headed back to her bedroom to get more clothes. When she returned, she continued to ignore him as he stared holes into her, waiting for her to say something. Realizing she wasn't going to say anything, Eric pressed, "So if I give these people money you'll forgive me and we can move on?"
Laughing, Sookie replied, "Forgive you? Not likely. Eric people are forgiven when they admit they've done something wrong and wish to improve. There will be no forgiveness for you from me for quite some time since you don't see anything wrong in what you're doing. This is for me to tolerate you. If you don't try to even things out and do some kind of good than we're going to have a really big problem. I'm not going to walk around every day waiting to find out more cruel and vicious things you've done and see the destruction you're capable of. I hate that. I know it's going to happen. Who and what you are ensures you're always going to be fighting and killing. I can't stop you from that. This way at least something good is coming out of me having to put up with all that, but if I find out you ever hurt and tortured someone just for the sake of doing it, that there was not some good reason you had to do it, I will find a way to get you out of my house. I don't agree with what you do and I don't like it, but so far you've always had a reason for every person you've ever hurt. You're still wrong for that and I don't agree with you, but there has been a reason. Don't let me find out you hurt for the sake of hurting like some vampires."
"So if I balance things out, as you said, you'll be ok with how I conduct my affairs?"
Shaking her head as she finished with the clothes she'd brought to hang up Sookie turned around to face him and replied, "You really have a knack for hearing what you want to hear don't you? What you do disgusts me Eric. That you do it at all disgusts me. To me killing should always be the last resort, but I'm not stupid enough to think I can change you. Maybe one day you'll grow up and realize that you can't kill your way to rightness, but until then I can't try and make this thing between us work if something good doesn't come out of what and who you are. It's not enough that you do nice things for me. You do bad things that affect so many others and that hurts me. So for every time you do something wrong I want you to do something right with all the money and power you have."
"Wrong by my scale. Not yours. Every time you hurt and kill someone simply because it's the easiest way or the way you want to handle a problem instead of finding a peaceful solution, every time you manipulate someone for your own gain, I want you to do something right for the world. These are the two things I'm asking for now."
Eric was silent a moment before saying, "I will not give money for trying to protect myself. If someone attacks me I will retaliate."
"That's fine. I'm talking about the problems you fix through death you don't have to. You covered up the murders of two men for your own gain. That's wrong and I want you to pay for it."
"I wonder if you place any blame at Jessica's feet? She was the one that killed those two bloodbags."
"She did and she deserves to pay for that. She killed two innocent people and that isn't right, but I have no control over her."
Looking at her incredulously, Eric asked, "And you think you have control over me?"
"I have sway."
"Do you now?"
"We're about to find out aren't we?" Crossing her arms over her chest she stared hard at him and said, "You either do this for me or you don't. If you care about me half as much as you say you do then I have sway and you'll do as I'm asking. If inevitably I'm just a favored pet you'll laugh at me and walk away. Let's see how it goes."
"You don't control me Sookie. No one does."
"This isn't about control. This about my wants and needs mattering to you. This about you taking my morals and beliefs into consideration. You're always going to handle your Vampire business with violence. You'll kill and torture those that you deem necessary because that's the way you are. I hate that about you. It disgusts me and I'd rip it out of you if I could … but I can't. I can't change the fact that death and violence is a part of who you are and what your world is like, but if I mean anything to you I can affect what else you're capable of. Right now the few acts of kindness you engage in you've gotten something else out of it. So now I want you to do a right thing for every wrong thing you do and get nothing back. There is no price on the lives you take, but at least you're doing something good in return. It's not much or enough, but it's something."
"A million dollars to strangers is not much to you?"
"In comparison to a life? It's absolutely nothing to me, but at least it will help others. You covered up two dead men so now you'll be helping thousands of soldiers and families and feeding thousands of children. It's something at least."
Leaning against the door frame he asked, "How would you even know if I was doing what it is you're asking of me?"
Shrugging, Sookie replied, "Time to prove I can trust you. When you do something wrong I don't expect you to go into details but I do expect you to fess up by providing proof you've balanced it out by a donation to a worthy charity; that you've helped someone in need in return for the pain you've caused. If I find out you didn't then I know you're a lying dirt bag that I won't ever be able to trust. You'll probably be able to hide it from me for awhile but as we're both finding out sooner or later those that don't want us together will always be throwing both of our mistakes in each other's faces. More than likely I'll find out eventually, but for now I'll go on faith that you're doing as I ask."
"And if I refuse?"
"Then I know where we stand; that all your talk about me meaning something to you and being important to you is total crap, so time for us to find out. Do I hold sway over you or not?"
Eric held her unwavering gaze. This was a big moment between them and there was no doubting that fact. If he gave Sookie what she was asking for there was no going back. He would be admitting that she had some measure of control over him. He had far more over her of course, but the fact remained in doing what she wanted he would be confirming the truth that this small mortal woman, who had been alive a mere blink of an eye in comparison to him, had sway over his actions. It was a monumental point in their relationship…and both knew it.
The moments ticked by.
Neither looked away from the other's gaze.
Time passed slowly.
Finally Eric straightened from the door and said, "The money will be transferred to your bank account tomorrow. You may do with it as you please."
Sookie watched him turn and walk off and she let him go. She knew going after him would be a bad idea, and pressing him to make the donation himself would be even worse. He had made the concession. He'd basically admitted she held sway over him. He'd given her the money to help whoever she wanted and it was a start. With a soft smile she returned to her room to finish unpacking both of their clothes and let him be alone. She knew he needed time to come to terms with what had just happened between them.
Eric found himself heading for the barn. He couldn't be near Sookie right now after what had just happened, but since he'd given her guards the rest of the night off he couldn't leave her alone either. He needed to stay close…but not too close. The beast in him was pacing and he was feeling trapped. He'd just admitted to Sookie that her desires held sway over his actions. Only Godric had ever held sway over his decisions. Even the queen knew she could only push him so far. No one had ever made demands of him other than Godric and he didn't know how to deal with what had just taken place between him and Sookie.
As he entered the barn the horses whinnied at him before returning to eating their hay. They had obviously been taken care of during Sookie's absence and fed well, but no one had groomed them. Grabbing a brush out of the tack room he entered Freya's stall and began brushing her out as he thought about what had just happened between him and his bonded.
'She made demands of me, and I conceded. I don't know how to feel about that. Why does this woman make me so unsure? Why do I find myself constantly questioning when around her? She makes me question my existence as a Vampire. She makes me question the life I lead and the things I want. She makes me question myself in ways I would never have given thought to. Now she has me donating money to charities on a damn near weekly basis. With the number of people I kill and take advantage of I'm going to be spending millions every month unless I cut back on killing, or I lie about the number I'm actually hurting and killing?'
He gave that idea some thought before he decided, 'No. I do not want to shake her trust in my more than I already have. I'm training her to be my companion, and she must trust me explicitly as I will trust her. It is the only way we will survive eternity together. She has asked this of me and I have agreed. I will not go back on it. She's right that I have lied to her enough. I might hide things from her but not this. This is a deal between us, and an agreement we made as bondeds. I can't go back on it.'
As he continued to brush out Freya while she ate her hay he thought, 'She is so confusing. One minute I know where I stand with her and the next I have absolutely no idea what to do. I hide my confusion from her of course, but it is there nonetheless. I thought I wanted to change her. I thought I wanted to make her like me ... but now? Now I can't bear the thought of her becoming hard. I want her to always shine. I want her to always be fresh and soft and so new. She is almost childlike in her joy at new sights and experiences, her excitement over the smallest things. I told her we're going to New York and she didn't ask about shopping or things I'd get her. All she wanted was to see the Statue of Liberty. From the very beginning she hasn't wanted my gifts of cars and jewels, she just wants my stories. She wants my past. I have never met a woman like Sookie, and I appreciate that about her more and more by the day.
'But how am I supposed to shape her into what I want when I don't know anymore. It was all supposed to be so simple. Get her from Compton and make her mine. Begin training her to please me. Stripe her of her humanity and foolish human beliefs on right and wrong and when she was a true warrior turn her to stand beside me. Now? Now the thought of her having to take up a sword and fight offends me. I want her to always cry at the sight of blood and death. I want her to forever be looking for the good in things. I live in shadows. I only see the bad, but through her I can see so much more…damn this girl has me all turned around! Why can nothing ever be simple with her!'
For the next hour he continued to brush out the two horses as he thought over what had happened between him and Sookie. Finally he decided that the compromise they'd come to wasn't all that bad. The money was certainly nothing to him. Truthfully he had billions of dollars hidden all over the world so giving a few million a month would be nothing to him if he had to. Not to mention the fact he actually didn't kill people all that often. He'd be killing more for the next few months while this business with the Fellowship terrorist was handled, but other than that he only killed a human or two a month. Really he'd gotten over the novelty of death dealing centuries ago. Now it was more habit than anything, and he could understand Sookie's need for this. She would simply never accept violence…unless he broke her spirit and hardened her heart which he'd now decided he didn't want. So if him giving her money to help the world was what she needed to accept her place in his life he'd give it to her.
'And she does have sway over me. I'm not entirely comfortable with that fact, but it doesn't make it any less true. Whether or not I say the words out loud the fact remains that more and more I'm thinking of her reaction to something, her beliefs or objections, before I act. I usually carry out my plans regardless, but I'm thinking of her nonetheless. I'm not sure if that is good or bad. I cannot afford to let her make me weak, but I cannot be so cold and callous to her tender heart that I hurt her or break her. I want her to always be as warm and loving as she is now. I enjoy her softness. I've never experienced any of that before and I don't want to give it up now that I've found it. She is comforting to me. She gives me comfort and is a respite for me from my dark world…so if she needs this she can have it.'
When he was done with the horses he headed back in the house, and was pleased to find that Sookie had unpacked all of his clothes along with hers and their suitcases were now stored in the hall closet. She was soaking in her tub taking a bubble bath and turned to look at him as he leaned against the door. He simply regarded her in silence for a moment. 'Soon I'll be in there with her,' he thought to himself.
Sookie held Eric's gaze as he stood in the doorway and asked, "Are you mad?"
"Are you going to hold to it?"
"Yes. You asked this of me as my bonded and I agreed as your bonded. I will be honest and admit that I thought about lying to you of those I'm going to hurt and kill, but decided against it. I have lied to you often since our first meeting in order to make you mine, and I want to start building your trust in me. I cannot promise I won't hide certain things from you in the future, but I swear this vow will not be broken."
"I don't have much to trust you on in that regards considering how our previous deals have turned out."
"I know, but I will not lie to you over this compromise. If you need this to make what is between us work than you will have it. You ... hold sway over some of my actions Sookie."
"Not a lot?"
Sookie was quiet a moment before she smiled softly and said, "It's enough for now … and you're still on the couch tonight."
"What about tomorrow?"
"Good enough for now."
Sinking lower into the bubbles Sookie laughed, "Out Viking. Girl time now, and you're not a girl."
Sending her one of his charming smiles Eric replied, "I can pretend to be a girl trapped in a man's body if you'll let me in the tub with you."
"Out you big perv!"
Rolling his eyes at her Eric said, "You are no fun! Haven't you ever heard of experimentation? We could practice kissing. Isn't that what best girlfriends are supposed to do?"
Throwing a wet rag at him and watching him catch it in his hand Sookie laughed, "You are too bad! And you're not getting in here with me. If you really have gender identity issues call Pam and work them out with her. Now leave me alone to enjoy my bath. If you're a good boy while I'm busy I'll let you bite me when I get out."
Eyes darkening at that as he tossed the rag back to her Eric asked, "Can I pick where?"
Shaking his head as he laughed as well, Eric headed out of the bathroom to leave Sookie to her relaxation. The rest of the night actually passed in peace between them. Sookie finished her bath and Eric took a quick shower after her. She let him feed on her when he was all sparkly clean and both had enjoyed the feeling of him pushing her against the wall as he drank long and deep from her neck while she held onto him.
After that, they sat in the living room where Eric worked on his laptop going over things he'd missed while he was gone as Sookie painted her nails and toes. When that was done they played another game of chess. Sookie lost and Eric got another back rub to be given when they went to Sweden. By then it was nearing 4 am and it was time for Sookie to go to bed since she had all her lessons the next day. Eric fed her his blood on the couch while flooding the bond with calm so she wouldn't get aroused since she was so tired.
When she had gone upstairs to bed with Thor, he stayed downstairs finishing up the mountain of work he had. He'd overseen his businesses while in New York, but he had dozens of emails concerning Vampires in his area that needed his attention as sheriff. He worked til the sun was nearly up and then carried his laptop to the light tight panic room with him to continue with his responsibilities.
The next day Sookie was so absorbed with her lessons and the visit with her brother and friends who dropped by, that she didn't have time to think that she couldn't leave if she wanted to. She gave them the gifts she'd gotten for them in New York City and also arranged for the money Eric had transferred into her account to be donated to the two charities she'd selected.
Bobby arrived with an ornate stand in white wood with gold inlay to go in her room for her to put her statue of Isis on and her guards hefted it up on the stand for her. Bobby had also brought another box with a dress inside for her to wear that night to the bar. Eric had left her a note that morning saying he wanted to leave for Fangtasia as soon as he rose since he'd need to pull an all nighter to compensate for the days he'd been gone. He had several issues he needed to handle that night in his office while she sat up front and then the rest of the night he needed to enthrall the vermin since they came there to see him.
So as soon as she finished dinner she headed upstairs to take a shower and get ready. She was finishing up the last touches to her make up when she saw Eric appear behind her in the mirror in his black leather and silk that he usually wore to the bar. She watched him scan her body up and down through the mirror as she finished putting on her lipstick before turning around to face him and saying, "I'm ready if you are."
Eric trailed his eyes over Sookie's form and enjoyed the way she looked. Tonight she was in a black satin floor length gown with beading along the top. She was wearing the platinum necklace with his initials on it, and she just looked good. Leaning against the door frame and forcing his lust back Eric replied, "You know he's going to be there tonight? He will be there every night until this matter between the queen and I is resolved."
"I know, but things wouldn't be so difficult with him if you would act your age and stop provoking him."
"Act my age?"
"Yeah! You remind me of my brother when we were kids you get so immature around Bill. You're a thousand years old and you act like a little boy with the best bike on the block that just won't stop bragging. You antagonize him and it makes everything that much worse. Can't you be the bigger man about all of this?"
Rolling his eyes Eric replied, "You don't want me to have any fun Sookie. You are so cruel to me. Isn't it enough I'm letting him live? Now you actually want me to be nice to him too?"
Crossing her arms over her chest Sookie argued, "I'm not asking you to be nice I'm asking you to stop treating me like I'm some trophy you won."
"But I did win. He said I'd never have you and now you're mine. I won and he lost. I want that to always be clear."
Anger mounting in her Sookie pressed, "So you hurt me by parading me around like some toy in front of him to make yourself feel better? You're so interested in showing him up you ignore me?"
"I don't ignore you. I devote more time and attention to you than anyone else."
"Not in the ways that matter to me. You treat me like I'm a toy. I get that certain appearances need to be made at Fangtasia and in front of other Vampires but you know darn well that you go above and beyond where Bill is concerned just to strike out at him. That causes him to retaliate in any way he can and I get stuck in the cross fire. I'm the one that gets my feelings hurt and ends up crying later because of things you two say to each other. It's hard enough for me at Fangtasia being around all those women, and quite a few men, that hate me for being with you. So I'm asking you not to make the situation worse by picking on Bill. Do it for me."
Eric was silent a beat before he offered, "Fine. You agree to give me a back massage every night I don't pick on Bill before you go to bed and I'll back off him."
"You still owe me a kiss in front of the vermin tonight. You lost at chess before we left for New York … you owe me a photo too."
Rolling her eyes, Sookie stuffed her mascara and her lipstick in her purse as she said, "Yeah, yeah. I know. You'll get your kiss and I'll take your photo any time you get a camera ready."
"I'm making arrangements for the picture. Your days are no longer open so I'm planning to take you tomorrow night to get your photo done. The photographer has agreed to open her shop up for a special session for us."
Ready now Sookie followed Eric out of her bedroom down the stairs towards the front. Han and Ivan were waiting for them in the Hummer. "Photographer? I have a camera around here somewhere why don't we just use that?"
"Because I want you to take a professional picture. This photographer has a very well known reputation and Pam assures me she's good."
Looking at him skeptically as he held the door open for her as Thor ran out to the car ahead of her Sookie asked, "Why do I get the feeling you're maneuvering me into something that is going to make me mad?"
Putting a look of pure innocence as he replied, "I have no idea what you're talking about Sookie. You agreed to a picture and that is what I've arranged for."
Shaking her head at him Sookie decided she'd find out tomorrow. She smiled at Han as he held her door open for her and got into the back of the Hummer after Thor jumped in. The ride there was uneventful and Sookie's eyes widened as they pulled up to the club and saw a larger crowd then there usually was.
Eric, seeing her surprise, explained, "Pam announced my return yesterday evening so more vermin than normal are returning to make sure I haven't up and moved on them. Pathetic."
"Oh you love it and you know it."
Smirking at her Eric replied, "I'd give them all up for your eternal adoration my pet."
"Good luck with that," Sookie laughed as she took Han's hand as he helped her out of the Hummer while Eric used his speed to get out and dart around the side. He took her arm and led her inside, ignoring the now screaming vermin that had caught sight of him, while Han followed behind them as Ivan parked the car.
Sookie was quickly dividing up the offending thoughts of the fangbangers as Eric led her through the club towards the back booth that none of the fangbangers or other vampires were allowed to sit at. Eric situated her there with Han and Ivan, who had arrived after parking his car, and told her he would be in his office and to begin listening to the patrons until he was done. Thor crawled under the table and laid down at Sookie's feet.
Almost as soon as he was gone the hateful glares, spiteful comments, and vicious thoughts hit her, but Sookie forced herself not to think about them. She listened only for things that were important and struck up a conversation with Han and Ivan. "So what do you two do when you have time to yourselves if you don't mind me asking?"
"We do many things. Probably some of the same things you and your Viking do. We talk and spend time together. We play games like you and your Viking," Han answered.
"Who wins? Eric seems to always beat me." Sookie said.
"Ivan beat Han at chess. Han beat Ivan at Go," Ivan replied.
"Go? What's Go?"
Ivan looked to Han to explain and the smaller vampire said, "Go is a board game that originated in ancient China. It has been around for thousands of years. It has simple rules but is considered to be one of the most difficult games to play. It is a checkered board of 19 inches by 19 inches. It's gridded and you used colored stones to move across the board. It is a two person game and you try to occupy as much of the board as you can while protecting your own pieces. It requires you to read the other player very well. It is a good game."
"It sounds like it. Sounds like a combination between checkers and chess," Sookie offered.
"In some ways, but Go is a game that stands alone," Han amended. "You should learn. It is a good game. I'm sure your Viking knows how to play and can teach you."
"I'll ask him. Maybe I'll be good at it and will win a game finally," Sookie laughed.
Han and Ivan shared a look before Han said, "You two seem to be in better moods than we had expected after the return trip yesterday."
Knowing what they were referring to Sookie replied, "We talked it out. He gave me a million dollars to donate to Operation Homefront and Feed the Children and agreed to do something right every time he does something wrong. I'm still not ok with what he's going to keep doing, but it's a compromise."
"Good. Sookie and Viking should talk. Be happy. Live together well," Ivan offered.
"He's right. You and the Northman are truly beginning to work together. You found a common ground," Han added.
Before Sookie could say anything more she saw Bill walk through the door … and he was not alone. He had a woman with him that wasn't Jessica. Her eyes widened as she caught the woman's thoughts and realized he had actually brought her as his date. "Oh my God," she whispered as she watched Bill approach them.
Han and Ivan had both followed her line of vision and saw the younger Vampire coming their way. They knew exactly what the former lover of their charge was doing and it did not sit well with them. However as Bill was here on the orders of the queen they couldn't just kill him without good reason without causing even more problems for Northman.
Bill walked towards Sookie's table with the woman he'd brought for the evening. He wasn't sure this was the best way to go about reclaiming Sookie's attentions but after reading several women sites on the internet and consulting with Jessica, his only direct source of female advice, the general consensus seemed to be to try and make Sookie jealous. Seeing him with someone else was supposed to rouse her possessive feelings towards him and make her want him back according to the articles he'd read and what Jessica told him. She was supposed to get jealous and upset he was here with another woman and her feelings for him would anger Eric and hopefully a fight would result between them. If they were upset with each other Sookie wouldn't want to go to Sweden and be alone with Eric. With that in mind he'd searched for a woman after returning home yesterday and found Selah Pumphrey. She was no Sookie but she would serve the purpose he needed her for. Bringing them to a stop before the table Bill focused on Han and said, "Where is Eric?"
"The Northman is in his office," Han said in a less than pleased tone.
Nodding, Bill flicked his gaze to Sookie for a moment before he answered, "Well, as the area investigator, I should join him. Do you mind if I leave my date for the evening here?"
Han began to deny the younger Vampire's request but was stopped as Sookie beat him to it as she said, "That's fine."
Bill caught Sookie's gaze for a moment before smiling down at Selah and saying, "If you'll wait here for me I'll take care of business so we can enjoy the evening together."
Selah smiled at Bill nodding her head as she replied, "That's ok. I know how it is to have work interfere with your personal life. I don't mind waiting. Go do what you need to do."
Sookie watched as Bill kissed the back of Selah's hand and lowered her into the booth beside Han who was sitting across from her and Ivan. Selah was taller than her with a much slimmer build and dark brown hair that hung down to her shoulders. She was in a dark black cocktail dress with a platinum necklace and diamond tear drop and matching earrings. As Richelle showed up to take Selah's order, figuring that if she was with them she must be important, Sookie smiled at Selah and asked, "So how long have you and Bill known each other?"
Unaware that Sookie was Bill's former girlfriend Selah returned the smile and replied, "Oh well I'm a real estate agent and I'm the one that helped him close on his house when he wanted to reclaim ownership. He called me yesterday and we went out and he asked me out again tonight. I was somewhat taken with him when we first met. I'm a real sucker for a southern gentleman. Anyways at the time he told me he didn't intend to be in Bon Temps for long, but yesterday he said he planned to settle down here indefinitely. So here we are."
Sookie felt a whirl of emotions at that information. She was aware that Bill was trying to make her jealous as well and thought it was childish and low, but it was working. Her breakup and catastrophe of a relationship with Bill was so new that she still had feelings for him. She certainly didn't want him back, but she in no way wanted him with someone else. Especially not the posh and polished Selah Pumphrey in front of her. Not to mention the fact Selah's revelation about Bill's intent not to be in Bon Temps for long rubbed in the truth he only got involved with her because he'd been ordered to. Forcing a smile on her face, Sookie replied, "Well that's nice. I'm glad you two were able to get together."
Selah thanked Richelle for her drink and took a sip before asking Sookie, "So how do you know Bill? He told me his job here is fairly recent."
"Bill and I were engaged. I'm kind of with his boss now."
Han and Ivan were both unsure how to proceed as the table suddenly went quiet. Selah's surprise was obvious and she held Sookie's gaze as the two women faced off. The two Enforcers shared a look of communication and seemed to decide they'd wait things out for now and see what happened. They knew Sookie didn't like interference in her life more than necessary and would resent them pulling her away from the table or sending Selah away without a request for them to do so.
He was engaged to her? He didn't mention that to me. When were they together? Did he bring me here to make her jealous? If he did what do I do about that? I wanted him from the first time we met but he wasn't interested. I certainly don't want to lose out on him now because of her. I've wanted to see what being with a vampire would be like and Bill is the only one to live up to my standards so I'm not going to throw this opportunity away because of this girl. If she wants him back that's just too damn bad. He's with me now and I'll keep him for as long as I want him. Selah, unaware that Sookie had heard every thought she'd just had, smiled condescendingly at her and said, "Well sometimes things just don't work out and people have to move on. How long ago were the two of you engaged? Was your break up recent?"
"A few weeks ago," Sookie said as she fought the urge to roll her eyes. She couldn't believe how naïve this woman was, and couldn't believe she'd once been this foolish as well. Vampires didn't belong to humans, and this woman was out of her mind if she thought that she could keep Bill if he didn't want her.
"And you already started a relationship with another man? You certainly work fast don't you," Selah said with a definite sneer.
Taking a sip of her water Sookie replied, "More like Eric started a relationship with me. These vampires have rules all their own and they see things differently. If you're around Bill long enough, you might figure that out."
"Oh I intend to."
The two women stared off, and the atmosphere at the table became very uncomfortable. Across the bar Pam watched the interaction between the two women with interest. She'd been manning the door so she'd of course seen Bill enter with the bloodbag that was a poor substitute for Sookie and knew what he was trying to do. She thought it was foolish, but entertaining. She'd given the task of checking ID's at the door to Ginger so she could lean against the bar and watch the action unfold. She was quite certain that Sookie could hold her own. If little Miss Stackhouse could keep up in a verbal spar with Eric and had the balls to slap her Master more than once Pam had no doubt she'd grind Bill's new little human toy to dust. 'This should be interesting,' Pam thought.
Back at the table Selah asked Sookie, "So what do you do Miss ...?"
"Stackhouse. Sookie Stackhouse. I work for Eric now and I used to be a waitress."
'A waitress? No wonder things didn't work out between them. Bill is obviously a man of sophistication and culture and needs a woman that can match him in such regards. She is probably some inbred backwater bayou trash that used what's between her legs to catch Bill's attention. Low class women are always better in bed. It's the only way they can keep a man. They have to give good performances. No wonder he broke it off with her and looked for better connections with me. '
Smirking at the younger girl, Selah replied, "You work for his boss now? Do you wait tables here as well? I've heard that job is hard on the feet. I've never had the chance to find out. I went to college right after high school and became a real estate agent right after graduation. Within three years, I was a partner in my father's agency."
Returning the smirk, Sookie said, "Well good for you. I'm glad you've had everything handed to you your whole life. Some people are just lucky like that. As for what I do for Eric? Well I'm a telepath. I read human minds for him so that Fellowship spies don't hurt his business … and for your information I was a virgin before I met Bill so anything I do know about intimacy he taught me. I wouldn't say it was my skill in bed that kept his attention. Also, I'd like to make it clear that my parents and grandparents were not related by blood so I am most certainly not inbred."
'Can she really read my mind? That's impossible? But how did she know I thought she was a good fuck and inbred? There's no way this bitch can read my mind. The slut just has to be guessing.'
Taking a sip of her drink Sookie added, "For someone who seems to think of herself as so sophisticated and cultured it surprises me that your thoughts are so vulgar. Perhaps all of your behavior is merely an act you put on to make others think you are better than you truly are?"
Selah sputtered for a moment before she hissed, "I don't believe that you can read my mind. You must just be guessing at what my thoughts are. More than likely because you've had plenty of people say them to your face more than once. Don't try to degrade me in some pathetic attempt to get Bill back. He's obviously seen that you aren't good enough for him and found someone who is. As for who and what I am? Well little girl the answer to that is simple—better than you!"
Sookie laughed at that and replied, "Perhaps in your own mind. I don't care if you believe I can read your mind or not. I can and will any time you're in this bar. As for your relationship with Bill? You can have him. He didn't leave me. I was sort of taken away from him, but I'm glad I'm not with him anymore. He lied and manipulated me the entire time he was with me, and I'm fairly certain he only brought you here to try and make me jealous. He's failed and only managed to succeed in pissing me off. I hope the two of you are very happy together. You deserve each other, now go."
"Excuse me?" Selah asked in shock.
"Are you hearing impaired as well as arrogant? I said go. Eric owns this bar, and, as his bonded, I don't have to tolerate you being around me if I don't want you to be. This is my table and I don't want to share it with you any longer. I learned what I needed to about you and I don't want you sitting here anymore. You're shallow, conceited, and a liar. You and Bill will be very happy together. Now get up and leave my table," Sookie said as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"Now listen here! You can't order me around!" Selah began before she was interrupted.
"Actually she can," Pam said as she appeared at the end of the booth. She'd seen the entire altercation and was thoroughly delighted by Sookie's responses, but had decided it was time to step in before an actual fight broke out. She'd seen firsthand how fond Sookie was of slapping people. In any case Pam couldn't wait to tell Eric how his little telepath had handled the woman.
"Sookie belongs to my Master and as his bonded and personal telepath she outranks every human in this bar. If she gives you an order you will comply willingly or I'll make you. You are merely a bloodbag and mean nothing to us. Sookie is bonded to a vampire sheriff. She actually has standing in our world. You don't. Leave the table or be thrown outside on your ass while you wait for Bill."
There was a moment of silence before Selah picked up her drink and left the booth with as much dignity as she could … which wasn't much. When she was gone Pam smirked at Sookie and said, "You are so entertaining. I see why Eric takes such delight in you. Things are never boring with you around little telepath."
Crossing her arms over her chest Sookie replied, "I'm glad the drama of my life has entertained you, Pam. Truly. My life is complete with this information. I can die happy."
Pam simply laughed and sauntered off to man the door again. When she was gone Sookie looked at Ivan and Han who were smiling softly at her and said, "I'm nice all the time so I'm allowed a bitch moment every once in awhile."
"I thought you handled the situation rather well," Han replied.
"Funny," Ivan laughed.
"I didn't think it was funny," Sookie pouted.
"Of course not. Compton tried to manipulate your emotions again and forced you to face the fact he never has been and will probably never be straight with you. He's striking out at your emotions despite how badly he's already hurt you and that is low of him. You handled the situation well," Han insisted.
"I still want to kick him where it counts," Sookie argued.
"Viking hold for you," Ivan offered.
That made Sookie laugh and suddenly she felt better. It was still annoying having to put up with all the horrible thoughts of the humans around her that hated her for being with Eric, but it was nice knowing she had at least two friends in the bar. After that she just continued to talk to Han and Ivan as she waited for Eric to be finished with whatever his business was in his office.
About an hour later, Pam made her way into the back office. Eric had been holding meetings with different vampires in his area that had problems that couldn't wait for Monday night when Eric had set the weekly meeting when he settled such disputes. He'd been gone last Monday so there were a few issues he needed to settle now. After the last one left, she sauntered into the office and sneered at Bill before focusing on Eric. "All is well, Master?"
Technically all was well, but Eric was annoyed at having Bill sit in on his meetings and actually having to take the younger vampire's input. Very few sheriffs had investigators and he hated that he had one now. He reminded himself that Sophie-Anne would move against him soon and then he could be done with the entire thing; Bill included. "I handled what needed to be handled," Eric replied.
Leaning against the closed door Pam asked, "I wonder if you picked up on any feelings from your bonded while you've been in here?"
Indeed he had. He'd felt rushes of anger, jealousy, disgust, and a number of other emotions from Sookie while he'd been working. However, she often had these reactions while reading the minds of the vermin, especially those women he'd made use of for his entertainment here and there, so he hadn't thought much of it. However Pam's words made him think there was something going on. "What are you implying Pam?"
Nodding in Bill's direction. Pam said, "Compton brought a date and seated the bloodbag with Sookie."
Eric stiffened turning to glare at Bill. "Is this true?"
Refusing to be intimidated Bill replied, "I am allowed to have a companion. I asked her guards if I could leave Selah at their table and before they could answer Sookie invited my date to sit with them. I’ve broken no rules."
Before Eric could say anything, Pam offered, "I don't think your plan worked, Bill. You obviously wanted to make Sookie jealous but it backfired. She was quite entertaining as she put your little bloodbag in her place."
Swiveling in his chair to face Pam, Eric said, "Tell me of it."
Pam recited everything that had happened between Sookie and Bill's date from the moment the woman had sat down. She repeated their argument word for word as well as her own part in the little drama and by the time she was done Eric was chuckling and Bill was practically shaking in rage.
"I think having Sookie as a sister is going to be fun. She is never boring," Pam said with a smile.
"I'm glad the two of you are beginning to bond. You both have much in common. Now I think I'm going to go collect my bonded and enthrall the vermin," Eric stood.
"They have so missed you Master," Pam sneered, clearly disgusted with the behavior of the fangbangers.
Looking at Bill Eric said, "Shall we, Compton? It appears we both have dates for the evening. We are on one of those—what do they call it? A double date?—so let's go collect our ladies."
Bill followed behind Eric. While Pam sauntered off to tease and degrade the humans in the bar, he stewed in his anger. He was furious to learn how his plan had backfired on him. He had wanted Sookie to get into a fight with Selah like she had with Lorena back in Dallas and shout that he was hers. He'd wanted to drive a wedge between her and Eric and that hadn't worked. He was going to have to rethink his approach.
Eric made his way straight to the booth he'd left Sookie at and gave her one of his sexiest smiles. "How are you faring in my absence, my Sookie?"
Looking up, she replied, "Did you know Bill brought a date?"
"Pam told me. Well done on that front."
"So you know what happened?"
"Pam has an excellent memory and was watching the entire altercation unfold. I wish I could have seen it firsthand as well instead of getting the recap from my child."
"I wanted to slap that woman."
"I'm aware of your tendency to do that. At least she wasn't a vampire. You are entirely too free with your hands around vampires lover."
Sookie laughed and took Eric's hand when Ivan slid out of the booth so they could all make their way towards the stage with Thor at their feet. She saw Bill and Selah sitting at a table on stools off to the side and she glared at her former boyfriend and said to Eric, "Is he really going to be here every night?"
Taking a seat on his throne and pulling Sookie down onto his lap while Thor laid down on the stage beside them, Eric replied, "Yes." As Han and Ivan took up their protective positions behind him, he continued, "I can order him to come alone, if you like. I do have sway over who comes in my bar." Truthfully he wanted Bill to continue to bring this woman around. The fool obviously didn't know Sookie half as well as he thought he did. Playing off Sookie's insecurities was never the right approach with her and would only succeed in driving her further away. He also wanted to squash any lingering feelings his bonded had for Compton, and this woman's presence in the younger vampire's life would do just that.
Shaking her head, Sookie leaned against his chest as she said, "No. They truly deserve each other. I let her sit down so I could see what she was like. They're both really good at pretending to be better than they are. They can have each other."
At his table, Bill tightened his hand around the bottle of True Blood he was drinking. He heard every word between Eric and Sookie as he was tuned into the conversation and hated it. He knew he'd wronged Sookie but he'd had no choice. He just needed to talk to her! He needed to explain to her personally why it was he'd been forced to deceive her, and make her understand how much he truly loved her. He was certain he could make her see reason if he could just talk to her.
Beside him Selah was damn near gaping at the sight of Eric. She'd never seen such an attractive man in all her life. She didn't really watch local news or read local newspapers. She only watched CNN and read Newsday and the Wall Street Journal so she'd never heard of him, but he certainly had her attention now.
‘I'd have left Bill for that man as well! How the hell did that mousy little tramp get a man like that? He's so huge! I wonder if the rest of him is large as well?’
Sookie smiled at Eric and asked, "Is he listening to us?"
"Probably. Every vampire in here can hear any conversation going on. We just tend to tune into what we want to hear and tune out what we don't. Listening to everything is annoying."
"I can understand that." Reaching into her purse at Eric's feet after patting Thor on the head Sookie pulled out her cell phone and sent him a text.
When his phone buzzed in his pocket Eric smirked at her and reached under her to pull it out. His fingers might have lingered beneath her bottom longer than necessary before he pulled his iPhone out to read his message.
SOOKIE: She's thinking she'd leave Bill in a heartbeat if you looked her way. She's also wondering if the "rest" of you is as large as she thinks it is.
Eric laughed and typed a reply. Sookie opened the message and read:
ERIC: Want me to show her what she's missing?
Glaring at him, Sookie typed back:
SOOKIE: Do and you're on the couch indefinitely!
Shaking his head Eric replied:
ERIC: I wouldn't actually touch her. I have standards. More along the lines of a simple flash. Just let her see how very far Compton pales in comparison.
SOOKIE: You would do that wouldn't you? You have no shame!Laughing, Eric typed back:
ERIC: Shameful of my body? Not likely. I am a Viking Sex God after all.
Rolling her eyes Sookie responded:
SOOKIE: As long as you keep that body under wraps where she is concerned. I know you fuck other women but if you touch her I'll never forgive you.
ERIC: Want me to make an example out of her? I can lead her on and dump her in a matter of moments. Put them both in their place.
Shaking her head at Eric's juvenile ways, Sookie typed her reply and he read:
SOOKIE: No! That is so mean. I may not like her but that doesn't mean I want you to hurt her. Besides don't you think you've taken enough away from Bill?
Eric's reply was instant.ERIC: He still has his life, and considering how he hurt you, he's lucky to have that. You are too kind.
Smiling at that Sookie typed back:
SOOKIE: One of us has to be. You're certainly not going to be on Santa's nice list anytime in the near future.
ERIC: The naughty list is much more fun. You should join me. I can show you many naughty things we can do together.
A flush filling her cheeks Sookie laughed, "You are so bad! And I'll stick to not getting coal in my stocking. You be naughty and I'll be nice and maybe things will even out between the two of us."
Nuzzling her neck, Eric purred, "How naughty can I be, lover?"
"Not that naughty, and don't you ever think about anything else?"
"Not when I'm around you. Not all of us have super minds that can think dozens of things at once."
"How do you know? Have you tried? I couldn't think multiple thoughts at first. I had to teach myself. You might be able to and just don't because you think you can't."
"Your ability to think multiple things at once is a result of your telepathy. I doubt I could do it."
"I don't think that's true. If it was related to my telepathy then I would have always been able to do it since I've always been able to hear people. I think I learned how to do it because I had to. It was the only way to manage my telepathy. No one really knows everything the brain is capable of. I believe I can think multiple thoughts because I forced myself to be able to do it to manage my telepathy. So maybe you could learn to do it too."
Eric was quiet a moment. "How did you learn to do it?"
Shaking her head Sookie replied, "It's not a step by step process Eric. It's something I struggled with for years as a child. I'd think so hard about keeping the voices out and then eventually it got easier for me to do that and then it just sort of clicked for me. Like my mind figured out it could. I just tried and tried and tried."
"Can you explain it any better?"
"It's not really a process but more like a picture."
"Now I've lost you."
Smiling Sookie replied, "I picture what I want to do in my mind and sort of make it come alive."
Thoroughly intrigued now and not paying the least bit of attention to anyone else Eric pressed, "Explain this to me."
"Well, when I was young I couldn't keep any of the voices out so I had to keep my distance. As time went on, I thought that if I had a wall around my mind maybe I could keep the voices out. I'd picture a big bubble in my head and envision myself inside of it. The clearer the picture in my mind, the less I'd hear people. Those are my shields. They're literally walls inside my head that I see. I raise them and lower them at will now."
"And the multiple thought processes?"
"That's where it gets really interesting. I really and truly picture different pathways in my mind. Then I take the streams of voices I'm picking up and put them on the pathways and run them through my head to different windows. It's like I'm standing in the center with lots of TV's in front of me showing all the thoughts as they all stream in from different roads. It's all very visual. As long as I picture it in my mind I can do it. I stop picturing a pathway and the thought process closes down."
"But how do you compute it all at once? How do you understand and sort out all the thoughts at once and make sense of them?"
Sookie shrugged. "I have no idea. As a child I couldn't. They'd overwhelm me. I just kept working on it and one day everything clicked in my brain."
Eric was quiet a moment before he said, "You have a fascinating mind either way, but perhaps I will try to make my mind work like that. It would be useful to be able to think many thoughts at once."
They got quiet a moment before Eric commented, "Remember what you owe me tonight due to your chess loss."Rolling her eyes at his reminder she owed him a kiss, Sookie replied, "You'll get it. I'm waiting for my moment, and one of these days I'm going to beat you at chess."
"You are so full of yourself."
"You could be full of me too if you'd stop holding out on me. I promise you that you'd enjoy it."
Deciding not to comment on that Sookie asked, "Do you know how to play Go?"
"Will you teach me?"
"You want to learn to play?"
Nodding, Sookie replied, "Yes. Han was telling me about it and I want to learn to play. I think since it works on a grander scale then chess so with my mind trick I might be able to beat you at it once I get the hang of it."
Eric was silent a moment as he considered that. She was right and she would have a better chance at beating him at Go than chess since the game was so spread out and she could think of so many things at once. She would certainly present a challenge. Chess was a more head-on assault and battle of tactics, but Go was about subtlety and really reading your opponent and planning out your moves carefully. Something he was damn good at, but Sookie did have the advantage of being able to play out multiple moves all at once. It would be quite the challenge. Nodding his head Eric said, "I'll teach you. I think you're right and it will be a much more challenging game for the both of us to engage in once you learn the basics. A single game can last for days or weeks depending on how well it is being played."
"Well then maybe we need to up the stakes…Oh! And you can't demand anything of me for winning while I'm learning."
Eric assured, "I will not. The first three games we play will be for teaching purposes only."
"Absolutely not. You learn quickly. Too quickly. Three."
"Five. This isn't just about the rules it's about getting a feel for how you play too. You're good enough at predicting me and my moves already so I should have a chance to catch up."
Eric laughed and agreed, "Five it is. I will purchase a game set for you and I'll begin teaching you when we go to Sweden."
Smiling, Sookie faced the crowd and nodded towards two girls chatting with Pam. "Pam seems to like those twins."
"Pam loves her women."
"Well those aren't women. They're girls and they're only 17 years old and in here with fake ID's."
Shaking his head, Eric sighed, "Damn. She's going to be disappointed. She always did have a thing for multiples." Raising his voice slightly, he called, "Pamela."
From across the bar, Pam turned away from the two bloodbags she'd selected as her meal and entertainment for the evening, and faced her Master. She hadn't been paying any attention to him and Sookie, but when he said her name she couldn't help but respond. Making her way through the crowd she came to stand before Eric and asked, "Master?"
Nudging Sookie, Eric said, "You tell her the bad news."
Glaring at Eric for a second, Sookie focused on Pam and explained, "Stephanie and Stacie are only 17, Pam. Those were fake ID's they showed you. You're going to have to find someone else to keep company with tonight."
Scowling at her Master's bonded Pam growled, "That damn gift of yours is really starting to cramp my style!"Shrugging, Sookie replied, "If it makes you feel any better they'll be turning 18 in six months and both of them are really interested in you. You can get their numbers and invite them back then?"
"But they won't be fresh then!" Pam pouted. "They came here to get their first experience with a vampire and if I send them away they'll find another one. They aren't virgins but they don't stink of dozens of other men and women. It's rare to get girls as fresh as them!"
"They're not produce Pam!" Sookie gasped.
"Not to you—yet," the vampiress countered.
"They're human beings."
"Pam you can't just ignore the fact that they're under age!"
"That age law is ridiculous. Those girls are perfectly capable of making their own decisions. A few decades ago they'd already be married with children. In some parts of the world they would be. There is no reason I can't have them. In fact I was thinking of keeping them. I think they'd make lovely pets. I could dress them in matching outfits!"
"That's horrible! They're not toys."
Glaring at the older woman Sookie argued, "Pam they're not pocket puppies for you to dress up and play with!"
Pointing at Thor, Pam argued right back, "Eric got you a puppy so why can't I have them?"
"You leave Thor out of this. Besides, those girls are not puppies! They're humans!""Same thing."
Clearly outraged, Sookie gasped, "Are you comparing me to a puppy?"
Rolling her eyes, Pam replied, "It's been established you're more than that. Those girls aren't. They're just simple humans and humans only have a few good years in them before they start to go bad. I should take them while they're still fresh and are pleasing to me."
"Stop talking about them like they're fruit or something!"
"Hardly. Fruit smells better. You're the only human I've ever met that hasn't stunk … but they are pretty and young. And they aren't used goods. Very rare around here. I want them."
Seeing she wasn't going to be making any headway with Pam, Sookie looked up at Eric and huffed, "Well?"
For his part Eric had watched the argument between his bonded and his child with growing amusement. He was thoroughly enjoying their little spat. 'They will be like true sisters soon enough,' he thought with satisfaction. Looking between the two women that were waiting for him to settle the dispute Eric finally offered, "They are underage so you will turn them away for tonight." Before Sookie could get too overjoyed or Pam too upset he added, "But you will glamour them into not touching any other vampire or human until their birthday and implant the desire to return here on that date. They will still be fresh then and if you still want them you can have them."
Pam smirked at Sookie and whirled off with a sway to her hips to return to the girl's so she could carry out her Master's orders. She didn't like the fact that she wouldn't get them tonight, but six months was nothing to a vampire. The fact remained they'd leave here and touch no one until they returned when they were of age. She was definitely going to be keeping them as pets now. If only to annoy Sookie. 'I'm going to get them matching collars to really piss her off. This is going to be so fun,' she thought as she drew the girls aside to glamour them as she'd been instructed.
After Pam left Sookie looked up at Eric and said, "If she puts them in matching outfits I'm going to be really mad."
"Pam likes things that match so be prepared to be upset," Eric laughed.
"We're not produce or pets, Eric."
"You aren't Sookie. The rest of them are to us, and you're going to have to come to accept that fact. You can view humans in any way you'd like but you can't hold it against us that we don't see them the same way."
"See us the same way."
Shaking his head Eric replied, "Sookie you are nothing like them. You know this. It has been pointed out to you quite clearly. You know now about your heritage and you know you aren't a simple human. You are more."
Sookie decided she didn't want to think about that and said as much. "I don't want to think about any of that right now."
"Very well. I want my kiss."
"I thought I was supposed to kiss you on my own time."
"You're waiting too long."
"Everyone is watching."
"Even better, kiss me pet."
Biting her lip Sookie whispered, "You won't take it too far, right? You know how things get between us—promise me you won't let us get out of hand."
Knowing how shamed she would be if he did, Eric agreed, "I won't let it go too far. I just want a kiss … in front of Compton."
"I thought this was supposed to be about us."
"It is, but I had to tolerate watching him kiss you more than once, so this is only fair … unless, of course, you'll let me record our first time in bed and send him a copy?"
"I had to try, though I intend to record quite a few of our trysts. Then we can watch them together while we're mating. It will heighten our pleasure."
"What? You'll enjoy it once you loosen up."
"Eric, if you don't stop I'm going to bite you instead of kiss you!"
"Oh Sookie … that I would definitely enjoy. Bite hard, though."
She elbowed him and hissed, "You are so bad!"
"You have no idea."
Crossing her arms over her chest she said, "Do you want your kiss or not?"
Deciding to stop teasing, Eric replied, "I'll take my kiss."
"Good." Setting her hands on his cheeks, she pulled him down to her. Nipping at his lips, she slipped her tongue inside his mouth as soon as he opened to her.
He wrapped his arms tightly around her waist, taking over the kiss. His mouth slanted over hers again and again as he purred against her. He could hear the angry exclamations from his adoring fans at the show they were putting on and tuned them out as he focused solely on Sookie.
'She tastes so damn good,' he thought heatedly.
'She tastes so damn good,' he thought heatedly.
In his hold, Sookie traced Eric's fangs with her tongue before trying to fight for control over the kiss, which was pretty pointless since Eric would never relinquish it to her. Their tongues warred as she felt one of Eric's hands trail from around her back to cup her ass and pull her closer to him. She thought of pulling back for only a second before she decided she was enjoying herself too much and simply kept going.
For long moments they continued their little interlude as everyone and everything got quiet around them. Eric had always taken his conquests to his office when he made use of them, and had never engaged in acts of intimacy in the sight of others so this was a shock to almost everyone. The fangbangers were hissing in jealousy and the vampires in attendance were wondering how tasty Sookie must be to have such an effect on Eric. When Eric and Sookie finally broke their kiss she buried her face in his neck as she panted for breath and whispered, "Are they all watching us?"
Nuzzling her hair Eric replied, "But of course. We are the main attraction."
"I hate your job. There's never any privacy."
Chuckling softly Eric offered, "I can arrange for privacy if you're willing to continue."
Pushing back from him Sookie forced herself not to cower any longer and said, "No. Being alone with you only leads to me losing what little control I have around you. We're going to ignore them."
Waving his hand at their audience to signal them to go about their business Eric insisted, "Once you finally yield to me you'll appreciate all the alone time I can arrange for us."
"We'll see about that, Viking. Now stop looking at me like that."
"Like you want to eat me."
Nipping her shoulder Eric purred, "But I do want to eat you…all night long. And I've been told I have a very talented tongue. You should let me prove it to you."
Chuckling, Eric kissed her temple. "Okay. No more teasing, besides, you'll find that fact out for yourself soon enough."
"Don't bet on that."
"Oh I'm willing to bet a lot."
He just laughed and looked out over the crowd that was glaring daggers at Sookie for having his attention. After that the rest of the night passed rather smoothly. Sookie found one man looking to find some V, but other than that the night past uneventfully. At around 2am Eric decided they could head out and waved Bill over. "As I'm leaving and you are the area investigator now, you will stay here until closing each night that you're working. Sookie and I are going home, and as it is Saturday, we won't be seeing you until Tuesday night."
Bill gripped his bottle of True Blood and replied through clenched teeth, "But of course, sheriff. I hope you and your bonded have a pleasant weekend."
Stroking his fingers along Sookie's waist where his arm was wrapped around her, Eric flicked his gaze to the woman next to Bill and remarked, "I see you have a new pet."
"This is my companion, Selah Pumphrey. Selah, this is Eric Northman the Sheriff for this area," Bill introduced.
Holding her hand out to the tall gorgeous hunk of a man, Selah smiled as she said, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Northman."
Eric looked at her hand as though it was diseased and ignored her as he focused on Bill and laughed, "It seems you were only capable of finding one worthy woman…and I of course took her from you. You needn't fear though. I'm quite satisfied with my prize. You can keep this one with no fear of my taking her from you. Now that I've made Sookie mine permanently, and plan to turn her, I'm no longer interested in slumming it with vermin. I do thank you for bringing Sookie to me in the first place. So sad really that you couldn't hold onto her."
Gasping in outrage, Selah cried, "Vermin? How dare you imply I'm any such thing! And her a prize? Trailer trash is trailer trash in my book no matter how nice you dress her up."
"Selah, be quiet," Bill hissed.
Eric's fangs popped out and he leaned close to threaten the woman, "Careful bloodbag, that is my bonded you speak of and bad things happen to stupid vermin that don't know their place."
By now everyone in the bar was looking at them. Sookie could tell that Eric wanted to hurt the woman. He didn't respond well to insults to her. Setting her hand on his arm she whispered pleadingly, "Eric, please let's just go."
Eric stared down at the woman whose scent was thick with fear as she realized how dangerous he was. He enjoyed the terror he saw in her eyes for a moment. He could hear Thor growling softly at Sookie's feet as the puppy picked up on the fact that Selah was not a friend of his Mistress. Finally he stepped back, took Sookie's hand, and said to Bill, "Teach your bloodbag her place if you intend to bring her here again. The next time she insults my bonded punishment will be handed down to you both. Come Sookie, it's time to go home."
With that Eric led Sookie out to the car that Ivan had gone ahead to retrieve. Once they were inside Sookie glared at Eric and said, "Didn't we just discuss the fact that you were going to be mature about all of this?"
Shrugging Eric replied, "I'll start that next time."
"You are such a little boy sometimes."
Taking her hand and kissing her fingers Eric purred, "I can show you just how large of a man I am tonight lover. As I've said you'll enjoy it thoroughly, once you get used to my size, of course."
He simply laughed while Han and Ivan chuckled from the front as well. Face burning in mortification, Sookie crossed her arms over her chest and scooted away from him as she said, "Why do you always have to embarrass me?""Because it's so much fun to watch you blush." Trailing his eyes down her body, he continued, "I always wonder how far down it goes?"
"I love it when you scream my name."
She pinched him.
"Is this the part where I pretend you've hurt me my Sookie?"
"Oh, you make me so mad!"
She pinched him again and continued, "Don't you say it! I won't speak to you for a week if you do!"
Eric just laughed and pulled Sookie against his side to kiss her cheek as he said, "A fate worse than death. Fine. I won't say it, but we both know it's fact all the same."
"It truly amazes me that you're able to drink from me every night at all since you are so full of yourself already."
"It's not conceited if it's true Sookie. You're hot for me and you know it. Don't worry I ache just as much for you. You make my cock harder than anyone else ever has."
"Eric! Will you stop!"
"Will you kiss me again if I do?"
"How about I kick you?"
"Will you kiss where you kick to make it all better?"
"I prefer to think of it as determined."
Sookie laughed. "Creative words for someone who always has to have his own way."
"If I had my own way all the time, I'd already be between—"
Slapping her hand over his mouth, Sookie laughed, "Eric! There are other people in the car!"
Nipping her fingers with his fangs as she drew her hand away Eric purred, "So I can talk dirty to you when we're alone? Good to know."
"Eric, will you grow up?"
"A certain part of my anatomy is growing right now. Give me your hand and I'll show you."
As Eric reached for her Sookie laughed and slapped at his own hand as she giggled, "Stop that! You stay on your side of the car!"Up front, Han and Ivan shared a secretive smile as they listened to the two continue to bicker and tease each other in a lighthearted manner. It was obvious they were working out their own communication system as time progressed; one others certainly wouldn't understand, but one that suited their strange relationship quite well.
The future was looking brighter and brighter.