For Eric, Sunday cannot arrive quickly enough. His conversation with Sookie was on Tuesday night, leaving him with nearly five full nights to get through before he can see her again. Although they did not speak to each other again, Eric finds several ways to make certain Sookie knows he is thinking of her.
As Sookie and Claudine are lying by the pool in Barbados, Giselle comes outside with a beautiful basket of flowers in her arms. Sookie smiles as she looks at her friend.
“Is Izaiah spoiling you?” Sookie teases her new friend. Giselle and Sookie have become very close in a short period. In addition to helping Sookie work through her fears, Giselle has spent a lot of time teaching Sookie about witchcraft. Giselle is a natural witch; her talent is beyond that of most witches. She told Sookie that all the women in her family are witches, a tradition that goes back nearly 300 years. Giselle has taught Sookie about the different ingredients required for spells, as well as how to make her own protection wards.
Giselle smiles at the two Fae women. “That man spoils me every day we are together. But these are not for me. They are for you,” she says as she hands Sookie the basket.
Sookie sets the basket on the patio and reaches for the envelope nestled inside. Sookie pulls the card out of the envelope reading the brief message.
Claudine smiles fondly at her god-daughter as she notices Sookie’s soft smile towards the note and the basket. “I see your vampire is fluent in the language of flowers.”
Sookie looks at Claudine quizzically, “What do you mean?”
Claudine turns on her stomach, resting her hands on her pillowed arms as she explains. “Many flowers have a meaning when given from one person to another. A red rose given from a man to a woman means I love you.” Sookie nods her head in understanding and Claudine continues. “The basket the Viking sent you is full of anemones. There are those who believed that magical fairies,” Claudine says with a wink, “slept under the petals of the anemone once they closed at sunset. Anemones have come to represent anticipation because the fairies were waiting for the sun to rise so the flower will open and they can rise for the day. I would guess to say that he is anticipating seeing you again.”
Thursday finds Sookie sitting inside the library reading. There have been storms on and off during the day, so she has been unable to spend the time outside. However, she does have the doors open leading to the patio. Eric has an amazing library filled with books from throughout the ages. Because of the possibility of hurricanes, he does not keep any of first editions in the home. However, that does not mean you will not find paperbacks on the shelves in his library. Many of the books are older editions but still of some value. Sookie is curled up in a chair reading Treasure Island by Robinson Crusoe when Izaiah walks in carrying a large flower box.
“You have a present from Master Eric.” Izaiah sets the rectangular white box on the table, then hands Sookie a box cutter so she can open it. Once the lid is off, she peels back the green tissue paper to reveal white tulips, purple hyacinth, and daffodils. Using her telepathy, Sookie calls for Claudine.
“What did you need my dear?” Claudine asks as she walks into the library.
Sookie gestures towards the box, “Eric sent these today. What do they mean?”
Claudine peers into the box with a thoughtful expression. “When you talked to him on the phone, did you tell him what was bothering you?”
Sookie shakes her head no. “I didn’t think that was the type of conversation to have over the phone. I didn’t want to make things worse by not being able to see each other.”
Claudine points at the white tulips. “White tulips typically mean that someone is seeking forgiveness and seeks a fresh start. Purple hyacinths,” she says while gesturing to the next flower “mean ‘I am sorry’. Daffodils also represent forgiveness.” She picks up one of the sunny yellow blossoms and hands it to Sookie. “Daffodils bloom at the start of spring, signifying the end of winter. They typically mean that someone is seeking a new beginning that will be filled with happiness.”
Izaiah has returned to the library with two large vases half-filled with water. Using a pair of scissors he pulls from his pocket, he begins clipping the stems to put in the vases. “If I found myself in his place, I would feel I was being punished for having done something wrong.” Sookie opens her mouth to argue, but Izaiah freezes her with a level stare. “I know you are not punishing him, but try to understand how he feels. His mate, the one he has spent a thousand years searching for, was taken from him and abused. If you had only exchanged once, he would have sensed your place and felt your emotions, but they would have been faint if you were separated by a great distance. Having exchanged twice, he would be able to feel your emotions over a greater distance. He can feel you strongly enough that your emotions could cripple him with their intensity. He felt everything you felt, he suffered while you suffered. If it was me, and I felt my mate suffering, I would want to destroy every last creature responsible to make certain my mate was safe. Then, and only then, would I feel I was worthy of going back to my mate.”
Friday, Claudine and Sookie make the drive down to Bridgetown to spend the day taking advantage of the duty-free shopping. They wander along Broad Street and the smaller side streets purchasing souvenirs and gifts. Sookie purchases cigars and several cases of Mount Gay Rum to give to Jason, Hoyt, Lafayette, and Jesus. For Arlene and Tara, she buys bath gift sets, island dresses, local jewelry, coffee and other island food items. For Arlene’s kids, she buys candy and fun little trinkets. Heading back towards Holetown, they stop at the Limegrove Lifestyle Center, home to designer shopping on Barbados. Sookie finds presents for Pam, Jessica, and Godric.
Sookie tries to find a present for Eric, but nothing seems right. Obviously, liquor and cigars won’t work for him. Clothes are too impersonal; the only jewelry he wears is the pendant around his neck. She is frustrated until she walks by a lingerie display and inspiration hits. Pulling her cellphone out, Sookie calls the one being that will be able to help her. Once her phone call ends, Sookie walks inside, hoping to find the perfect ensemble. After a few more stops, she and Claudine head home for dinner.
Once they arrive home, Giselle informs Sookie that there is a package for her in her bedroom. Sookie carries her bags into her room and finds a beautiful arrangement of red and white carnations. Not wanting to ask Claudine, Sookie uses Google to search for the meaning of the flowers. Deep red carnations symbolize deep love and affection, the lighter red carnations symbolize admiration, and the white carnations symbolize pure love. The arrangement is enormous; it takes up the entire surface of the table. Plucking the card from the holder, she begins reading Eric’s message.
There is a flower for every hour since I last heard your voice. For 1,000 years, I have walked in darkness seeking something to guide me. It was not until I saw you that I found the light to guide my path forward. It is because of you that I truly know what it means to love and be loved in return. With you, I finally feel as if I am whole. Everything that I am, everything that I have, everything I may become is yours. I am lost without you.
Sookie raises the card to her lips as silent tears fall upon her cheeks. “Soon my love.”
Saturday is a beautiful, tranquil day in paradise. Sookie rises early and slips into her bikini and matching sarong. Slipping into the kitchen, she grabs enough food to last her the day. She walks down to the beach. Sitting on the sand, she does not really seeing the beauty before her. Instead, she reflects on everything that has happened since she met Eric. She analyzes the highs and lows of their relationship. Even though she knew of Eric from Godric’s stories, it is not the same as knowing the man himself. Eric burst into her life with the force of a freight train, and she felt steamrolled. She regrets not being honest with him from the beginning. While she appreciates the advice from Godric and the Ancient Pythoness, she feels that it somehow has hurt her relationship with Eric. She and Eric need to talk to each other, work together, and grow as a couple. While everyone thinks they are helping, it will ultimately drive a wedge between the two of them. She acknowledges that they are both stubborn, hard-headed individuals; having others interfere, even with the best of intentions, will only cause them to fight and stubbornly dig in their heels. She knows what the prophecy says about the two of them. But she cannot see how they will get there if they continue on the path they are on.
Sookie remains outside until an hour before sunset. She quietly returns to her room, showering the day away. She leaves her hair loose and dons a sleeveless maxi dress in various shades of blue.
After dressing, she makes her way to the kitchen for dinner where she finds Giselle and Izaiah working together. She takes a moment to watch them. Even if she didn’t know them, Sookie would be able to tell they are a couple. They move together as if in a choreographed dance; never in each other’s way and knowing instinctually what the other will do. It is a beautiful thing to see.
The doorbell ringing interrupts the dance. Izaiah quickly dries his hands before stepping out to answer the door. Claudine teleports into the room, guiding Sookie behind her and assumes a protective stance. They are not expecting anyone; after everything that has happened, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Izaiah returns carrying a square cardboard box. The smell of magic surrounds the box and everyone in the kitchen eyes it warily. Giselle moves towards the box, speaking a few words in Latin. Nothing happens.
“I cannot detect any dark magic or ill will from the box,” Giselle says.
“Have any flowers arrived from Eric today?” Sookie looks at the other three people in the room and they all shake their heads no. She shrugs, “Maybe it’s from him.”
Izaiah breaks the seal on the box, but the magic will not let him open it. Sookie steps up to the box, opening the flaps to show packing peanuts. She carefully reaches into the box, wiggling her hand around until she brushes against something. Grasping the item, Sookie carefully lifts it out. It is an hourglass, but it is not an ordinary hourglass. The sand is all at the top of the hourglass, none has moved to the bottom. Sookie sets the hourglass on the counter. Izaiah brings over a trash can, and Sookie tilts the box to dump the packing peanuts into the trash. There is a smaller white box inside. She lifts the white box out, setting it on the counter. She removes the lid; nestled inside is a single red rose made of glass. A letter is attached to the lid of the box. Sookie exhales slowly as she opens the letter.
My beloved Sookie,
A red rose is the symbolic gift between lovers. It signifies enduring passion. I chose this so you will always have a reminder of my enduring love. The hourglass, as you may have noticed, is bewitched. The sand will begin to fall at sunset. It will continue to run until sunset on Sunday, when I will finally see you again.
Until sunset my love,
As Sookie finishes reading the letter, the grains of sand begin falling. She smiles at those in the room, letting them know everything is ok and activity in the kitchen returns to normal. Sookie moves the flower and hourglass out of the way. Her eyes stray to the timekeeper often throughout dinner and the rest of the evening. The next 24 hours seem like the longest of her life.