“Would you have listened if I told you that you loved Miss Stackhouse?” Godric shakes his head. “No you would not. You would have dug in your heels and told me vampires cannot love a human.”
I have to turn away from the window. It is making me physically ill to see Sookie in the arms of another. However I cannot escape the feelings that are coming from her. Never before have I resented a blood tie with someone as much as I resent my blood in her body at this moment. My blood is telling me that her pulse is racing due to the endorphins pumping vigorously through her body. Arousal is nothing more than a physiological and psychological reaction to a stimulation of the senses. I can explain in great depth what happens in the body when it is aroused. It is a reaction that is sometimes quite involuntary. None of this information makes handling Sookie’s desire for another any easier to bear. Some would say this is karma smacking me in the face for what Sookie had to go through at Fangtasia when she saw the memories of me having sex with the random fangbanger.
Karma is a fucking dirty cunt!
“It doesn’t matter how I feel about Sookie,” I say stubbornly. Godric raises his eyebrows in response and my lips curl in disgust. “It doesn’t! Sookie is a sky Fae; she’s Brigant’s great-granddaughter. Our species do not mix.”
Godric’s expression remains the same. “And yet he trusts you to keep her safe. He could have sent his own kind to watch over her, yet he agreed that you would be the best option for her.”
“It’s only because of Sophie-Anne’s interference,” I say in rebuttal. “A queen’s command is not something I could ignore Godric. Cataliades convinced the prince that I was their only option. Niall has enemies of his own that he doesn’t want finding out about Sookie.”
Godric walks to me and places his hands on my shoulders. He squeezes gently and smiles warmly at me. “I have known the Fae Prince a long time. He does not trust outsiders lightly. Even our own partnership has had a certain level of distrust to it; he distrusts my vampirism and I distrust his Faeness. I wonder what he is hiding,” Godric muses.
The door from the outside opens and Sookie enters the living room. Her eyes are bloodshot from her tears and her skin is splotchy. I want to comfort her but then I notice how swollen her lips are from his kisses. I try to keep my body from reacting to the sight, but I want to bend over in pain. It’s like someone has gutted me.
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” she says softly. “I was just coming inside to clean up a bit.”
“Of course,” Godric says gently as he moves towards her. “The bathroom is down the hallway on the left.”
“Thank you,” Sookie murmurs as she looks around the room. “Where’s Gran?”
I stare at her unable to form the words to answer her question. It’s a simple question with a simple answer, yet those aren’t the words that want to fly out of my mouth. I want to tell her I was wrong before, that she and I can have the type of relationship she wants; whatever is between us, we can make it work. For the first time in my existence, human and vampire combined, I am in love. I have loved my human family and I love my vampire one, but I’ve never known the elation and agony that comes with romantic love until this night.
But what do I really have to offer Sookie?
Danger and intrigue? A cold embrace that will never keep her warm? Night after night spent in darkness? Whereas Barry can offer her a life in the sun. He can give her the family she may someday want. They have a shared ability that makes them understand each other in a way I will never be able to. All I can offer her is the promise to do anything to keep her safe; not because of a contract, but because her safety and happiness are two of the most important things to me.
But all of this internal debate has led me to one conclusion: Barry is well matched for Sookie, and I am not.
Through all of my internal debate, Sookie has looked at me expectantly, waiting for the answer to her question. Godric jumps in to cover the lapse in conversation. “Adele was not feeling well. She returned to the hotel with two of your guards.”
“What’s wrong with her? Is she alright?” Sookie’s voice is one of panic and it snaps me out of my silent state.
“Adele will be fine; she merely needs to rest after hearing the news I shared. When you are ready, I can have Thalia take you back to the hotel,” I tell her gently.
“I’ll just be a few minutes and then I’m ready to go,” she says demurely.
She starts down the hallway to the bathroom, but then stops and turns to look at me. “Will you take me?” Her eyes plead with me, her earlier anger with me forgotten in light of the news about her home and pet. As much as I want to be the one to comfort her, I cannot. I am too raw. Tonight’s revelations have been a bombshell rivaling that of Hiroshima. Now I am left to deal with the fallout of the nuclear winter that surrounds me. I need to regroup before I deal with Sookie again; I need to build my defenses up so I can deal with my telepath.
“Thalia will take you,” I retort firmly. “I have business I must take care of before returning to the hotel.” It’s a flimsy excuse at best, and I pray to my long silent Gods that she does not see through it. I am in no mood for another argument with her.
“Oh,” she says weakly. Sookie does not protest my decision; she instead spins around on her heel and trudges down the hallway. Her eyes meet mine before she slips inside the bathroom, closing the door behind her. I don’t know what she was trying to say with our connected gaze; the distance was too far for me to read the emotions in her eyes. But I do know that I could smell the salt of her tears again. The urge to hurt something as she hurts rises up in me again. I end up shredding the skin of my palms from how hard my fingernails dig into my pearlescent skin.
“You should take her to the hotel,” Godric breaks the silence. “She clearly wants to be around you. Sookie feels safe with you; she trusts you to protect her.”
“Godric I can’t,” I say in anguish. “She’s my responsibility and I will make sure she and her family are protected and cared for at all times, but I can’t be around her now.” Not when she smells overwhelmingly like Barry.
“Tell her how you feel,” Godric pushes as I pace the room in agitation. “You might be surprised to hear she feels the same way. It isn’t as if she is lost to you for good. Where is the Viking warrior I saw all those years ago on the battlefield? You were fearless, exquisite, a sight to behold. Even when mortally wounded, you showed no fear, going so far as to call me a swine for killing your most loyal men,” he says with a faint chuckle.
“It’s not that simple Godric,” I begin only for him to cut me off.
“Yes Eric; it is that simple,” he states firmly. “The keys to any successful relationship are communication and honesty. How can you ever hope to succeed with her if you can’t talk to her?”
Before I can respond, Sookie opens the door to the bathroom and walks toward us. “OK, I’m ready to go. How am I gonna get back to the hotel if Mustapha took the car with Gran?”
“Thalia can drive one of my vehicles,” Godric reassures my little fairy. He says the elder vampire’s name and she appears a few seconds later before my master with her head bowed respectfully.
“Do you have a preference Little One for the type of vehicle? If Thalia has her way, I’m sure she will choose one of my classic motorcycles. There is one in particular she keeps trying to steal away from me even though I won it fair and square from her,” Godric says with a smirk at the female vampire.
“You cheated,” Thalia hisses angrily to which Godric only chuckles.
“Keep telling yourself that. Perhaps we can have a rematch while you are here to prove once and for all that I won fairly.” Godric has an amused smile on his face as he looks at Thalia who looks even more menacing than usual. There is affection between the two of them that I have never seen before. It makes me wonder what history they have shared over the millennia. Two thousand years give or take is a long time to spend on this earth. The only reason that I had accepted Thalia in my area was because Godric had vouched for her. Not many vampires would feel comfortable having another in their area that was twice their age and far more powerful.
“Come on breather. I cannot take any more of the gloating Gaul’s face,” Thalia says bitterly as she storms down the hallways to the garage. Godric chuckles again at Thalia’s retreating figure which earns him a raised middle finger from the Grecian vampire.
Sookie too has a slight smile on her face at the antics of the two vampires with a combined life span of over four thousand years. “You’d better stop riling her up. I’m the one that’s gonna have to ride in the car with her,” she chuckles ruefully towards my maker. Sookie curtsied in front of Godric, thanking him for his hospitality, and apologizing for her emotional outburst. In a move that surprises me, Godric bows to Sookie and brings her hand to his lips to kiss in a courtly fashion. I cannot remember him showing this much reverence to a monarch, so it surprises me greatly to see him extending it to a quasi-human.
“There is nothing to apologize for. I am truly sorry to hear about the damage to your home and pet. If there is anything I can do, do not hesitate to let me know. I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow night my dear,” my maker says with a warm smile. Sookie nods her head and smiles appreciatively.
I do not expect her to address me before she leaves, but when does Sookie ever do what I expect of her? Her earlier anger seems to be forgotten as she walks over to me and puts her arms around my waist, hugging me tightly. I stand immobile for a fraction of a second but then my arms wrap around her, seeking the warmth of her body. My head lowers so that my cheek is once again resting against her hair and my eyes close in pleasure.
“You’re a dumbass,” she mumbles against my chest with a heavy sigh.
My eyes snap open and if possible my already pale skin becomes whiter as I process her words. Is it possible that she heard my conversation with Godric? Does she know how I feel about her? What does she mean?
“I fail to see how my bottom is any less intelligent than the rest of my body,” I retort which earns a chuckle from Sookie as she leans back but stays within the confines of my arms.
“If you ever call me your pet again, I’m gonna ram a stake so far up your ass it comes out through your nose. And if you ever refer to yourself as my master again, you’re gonna find out what it’s like to be a barbecued piece of meat. You got me?” She ends her tirade by jabbing me in the chest with her pointer finger. Her words may be intended as a jest, but I get the meaning behind them loud and clear. I fucked up; we both know it, but she’s opting to put it behind us and not dwell on it.
“Kinky,” I retort with a provocative wiggle of my eyebrows, making Sookie laugh again. My expression sobers as I look down at the woman who has come to mean so much to me in so little time. “I regret everything I said earlier tonight. You know I do not think of you that way.” I know Godric has left the room, hoping that I will use this as the opportunity to tell Sookie exactly how I feel about her. I couldn’t have set it up better if I had planned it. The door is open for me to admit my feelings to her but I cannot find the right words. The safe response is to tell her that she is important to me, but that will imply that I only look at her in terms of her ability. Saying I care for her sounds trite. And I’m not ready to say those three little words; the words that will forever alter the course of my interactions with Sookie Stackhouse.
“I know you don’t, and I appreciate you sayin’ that.” She steps out of my arms and I immediately miss her warmth. Her expression hardens before she speaks again. “But I want you to know that I meant everything I said earlier. You are better than what you’ve surrounded yourself with. Maybe one day you’ll see that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I don’t want to keep Thalia waiting any longer. Good night Eric.” Sookie strides briskly out of the living room towards the garage, her skirt swishing seductively against her legs. Moments later, the engine roars loudly in the garage before the sound of squealing tires signifies the departure of the two females.
With Sookie gone and my maker having retreated to his office I feel as if the walls are closing in on me; I feel suffocated and a vampire has no need for breath. I hurry out the door leading to the pool and immediately launch myself into the night sky, flying as fast and as hard as I can. There is a storm coming; the wind bites sharply at my exposed flesh. My hair whips around my face and my clothing billows around my body. I welcome the aggression of the storm; I want to pit my skills against those of nature. If I were in any other territory than Godric’s, I would be looking for a fight, but I will not disrespect my maker in such a fashion. Nor do I have any desire to fuck away my problems as I’ve done in the past. Look how well that’s worked out for me since meeting Sookie.
I may not be in this predicament if I had taken the one I wanted instead of using substitutes to fill the ache.
Minutes after the sky rumbles with the first wave of thunder, the first drops of rain fall against my skin. This is not going to be a light mist; it is the type of storm that causes flash flooding. The rain drops pelt my skin, each feeling like a sharp object jabbing in my skin. I welcome the pain; it’s a physical outlet for my inner turmoil.
Lightning flashing across the sky directly in the path of my flight causes me to tumble from the sky. My body spins in a free fall. The air rushes around me at a dizzying speed. I could easily right my body so that I could recover my altitude and continue my flight, but I do not. The out of control feeling that comes with the free fall matches how I feel about myself. I am no longer in control of my emotions; I am no longer in control of my existence. Everything hinges on the happiness of a slip of a girl who will be no more than a blip on my radar, yet her effect on me will last for eternity.
As the ground rapidly approaches, I gain control of my body so that I end up hovering about a foot above the ground. It’s a good thing I did; having to pull cactus needles from my groin is not something I particularly wanted to do this evening.
One emotional sucker punch this evening is about all I can handle. And Pam would never let me live it down if she were to hear about it.
Like all flash storms, the hard, pelting rain is too much for the dry desert land to handle. There is not enough time for the water to absorb into the ground so rivers and lakes form on the surface. The destruction of the land is swift as the raging water sweeps everything along in its path. Nothing is able to defend itself from the onslaught of the water’s aggression. Animals caught in the water struggle to stay afloat, fighting against the current to stay alive, seeking a safe haven though it is a futile exercise.
I know exactly how they feel.
As with all freak storms, it is over as quickly as it began though its effects will linger for some time as the land tries to adjust and absorb the deluge of water. As for the damage done to me, I am already healing from the wounds I sustained though I am waterlogged. Flying will be more difficult now due to the extra weight of the water, but not impossible. Everything I have on is ruined though. I could discard all my clothing and fly back to the hotel without it. That would be a sight I’m sure. Some human would probably see me in the sky and think aliens were invading the planet. There are no such things as aliens. Almost all alien sightings can be attributed to the supernatural community; the alien cover story was a great help to us beginning in the 1950s when human technology began advancing rapidly. Area 51? Doesn’t exist, at least not in the way humans think it does. That area of Nevada is actually the King of Nevada’s private compound. He wanted no humans coming anywhere near it so he created the story about the secret military installation designed to study extraterrestrial life forms.
Although I do have to wonder why they planted the stories about anal probing. And crop circles. What vampire thought it would be fun to make farmers mow non-meaningful messages into their fields?
With a sigh, I land on a ridge which overlooks the flat, barren landscape. I’m going to discard my boots since the leather is starting to shrink, pinching my toes uncomfortably. My jacket will also be left since the violent nature of the storm had done irreparable damage to the black leather. When I empty the pocket of my jacket, I notice there is a text message from Pam.
Killer acquired and detained in the basement. Awaiting further instructions.
My fangs snap down as I read her message. Instead of replying by text I call her. I need details.
“Explain,” I demand when my progeny answers her phone.
“As I said earlier, Dawson and I decided to go back to the Shifter’s bar. When we were in the parking lot, Dawson picked up Sookie’s scent.”
“That is not unexpected; she works for the Shifter.”
“Yes, but this was fresh. It seems the one that defiled the Stackhouse home decided to take souvenirs with him,” Pam utters with disgust.
Growls erupt from deep inside my chest and I nearly crush my phone in my anger. “What did he take?”
“A dress . . . the one Sookie wore to Fangtasia the first time,” Pam admits reluctantly.
The dress Sookie wore the first time to Fangtasia. The dress that has spawned countless fantasies of me with Sookie. If I had to pinpoint the moment when I began falling in love with her, it would be that night sitting beside the lake. She had been the perfect blend of innocence and wickedness. The contrasting colors of the dress are very much like the polarizing aspects of Sookie Stackhouse herself. The vision of her in that dress is now tainted by that filthy jävel. I shall break all two hundred and six bones in his body for that fact alone, and when the pain is at its zenith, I shall give him vampire blood to heal him just so that I will have the privilege of watching the bones heal before breaking them again.
“Master?” Pam’s concern carries through the speaker of my phone, dragging me away from my visions of torture.
“Who is it?”
“Drew Marshall, but to the people of Bon Temps, he is Rene Lenier.”
So the Fellowship is behind this after all. The organization, and the Newlins in particular, may not have gotten their hands dirty by doing the deeds themselves, but they are just as culpable as if their hands had been the ones around the girls’ necks. I must tell my master; Godric needs to be aware of what is going on in his territory as well as the members of The Authority.
“How did you get him out of the Shifter’s bar without raising the suspicions of anyone else?”
“We waited for him to come out. I wasn’t about to get the smell of grease and redneck in my clothes,” Pam declares with disgust. “We didn’t have long to wait, which is good because Dawson was not being very patient. I’d tampered with his truck so he couldn’t leave. It was easy after that. I didn’t even need to use glamour to make him sing like a canary. He was very vocal about everything, well until Dawson knocked him out.” I can hear the smirk in my child’s voice and I am proud of her.
“How badly damaged is he?”
“He’ll heal eventually,” she responds in a nonchalant way. “I have already arranged for security in the day to make certain he does not escape. What shall I do with him?”
“I need him alive, but you and Dawson have more than deserved the right to have some fun at Drew Marshall’s expense. I will be returning to Shreveport tomorrow.”
“I’ll tell Dawson to expect Sookie and her grandmother tomorrow.”
“No. They will finish their vacation in Dallas. Thalia, Mustapha, and Warren will stay behind as guards, and Godric is here if something happens that they cannot handle.”
If Pam has any concerns, she does not say. “I will see you tomorrow Master,” ending our conversation. Storing my phone in my pocket, I make sure I am leaving nothing of importance behind before taking flight. I have no idea where I am so I use my blood in Sookie and Adele to guide me back to the hotel. The flight back is unlike my flight here. I spend the time thinking about the Stackhouse family and the capture of the “Fangbanger Killer” as he was dubbed by the local media.
While I want the opportunity to inflict my brand of pain on him, I know I will eventually need to turn him over to the human authorities if for no other reason than to free Jason Stackhouse.
But once Jason Stackhouse is in the clear, I will have no need to see any of the Stackhouses unless it is time to renew our blood ties or some situation requires Sookie’s telepathy. I have managed to survive a thousand years without the use of a telepath; I imagine I can continue to exist without using her ability. So really, I have no need to see Sookie or her family other than a handful of times a year.
It is for the best.
I will be able to distance myself from Sookie as she moves forward with her life. It will be just as I originally wanted, a business arrangement. It’s a bitter pill to swallow to realize how unhappy I am with that arrangement now, but what choice do I have? I cannot smile and nod, playing the role of the family friend while she is married to someone completely unworthy of her; someone who gets to touch her, kiss her, and love her as I long to do.
Fucking feelings! What good are they if there only purpose is to bring me misery? The only hope I have is that my feelings for Sookie will fade with time and distance. People fall in and out of love every day; I can only hope the same will hold true for me.
To be continued in . . .