Eric arrived at the safe house he’d had built on the outskirts of Bon Temps when he’d returned to the area after launching New Blood. The house had been built in the hopes that Sookie would turn to him; he had stayed her several times early on just to feel closer to her. Pam didn’t even know about this house, which was exactly why he chose this house today. He didn’t want her to find him; he wasn’t ready to deal with her rationality yet. Eric still could not understand why she needed to be the only person in his life that he cared about. It wasn’t as if there was a romantic type of love between them; they had not had that type of relationship in decades nor did either of them have that type of desire for one another. If those types of feelings had been there, they would have resurfaced after he had been cured of Hepatitis V. But they did not. If a label had to be put on their relationship, it was closer to that of a father and daughter with overtones of brothers in arms. Soldiers often form a special bond with those in their unit because of similar experiences and having survived under extreme circumstances. Eric and Pam had been through so much together, survived so much together, that it was inconceivable they would not have been close. Pam could never have been replaced in his affections; she knew that. So why was she so jealous of Sookie and Willa to a lesser extent? Neither of them could have replaced the hundred plus years Eric and Pam had shared. It all boiled down to Pam being a heartless, selfish bitch. And Eric was not going to put up with it any longer.
Moving to the secure underground chamber, Eric gently placed the letters and journals from Sookie on his bedside table. Opening the drawer of the nightstand, Eric removed a picture that he had not looked at in a very long time. It was a picture of Sookie that he had taken from her home when he had renovated it. He doesn’t know how old she is in the picture, but she was absolutely stunning in it. Sookie was lying on a lounger out in the sun, her body only covered by a tiny white biking with red cherries scattered on the thin white scraps of fabric. Her left arm was thrown carelessly over her head and her eyes were covered by a pair of sunglasses that reminded Eric of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Despite the beauty of her body on display in her beloved sun, it was actually Sookie’s smile that drew Eric to this picture. She looked positively blissful; there was not a care in the world on her face. It was a carefree look that Eric had never seen on her face. He had hoped that one day it was a look he would be able to see, that he would have been the reason for that smile.
A blood tear falls on the glass covering the image and Eric quickly wipes it off. “I will find you my love. I will search until the end of my days if necessary,” Eric vows fervently as he sets the picture besides Sookie’s memoirs. He moves to his desk and boots up the laptop that he has in all his homes. Even though Eric has not set foot in this home in years, he has made sure that all necessary electronics and security measures were up to date. Logging into his server, Eric waits to have confirmation that his connection was secure. He was calling in favors from contacts all over the world; he is doing whatever it takes to find Sookie.
Eric sent hundreds of emails in dozens of languages in a matter of minutes. He was calling in all the allies, contacts, and friends he had made in his millennia of existence. Eric was desperate, so he was also calling in the contacts that had been loyal to his maker.
While he was sending his emails, his cell phone rang with a blocked number. It wasn’t uncommon to see blocked numbers from his associates; they preferred to have their anonymity. Eric answered in his traditional brisk manner. “Northman.”
“She’s quite beautiful. I can see what drew you to her, though I am surprised you were able to stay away from her so long,” a nondescript male voice says through the receiver. If it were possible, Eric’s blood would have run cold with fear.
“Why did you take Sookie?”
“To get your attention,” the voice says with a chuckle. “I needed to make a statement, something with pizzazz, showmanship,” he says with glee.
“I still do not understand why you took Sookie,” Eric says calmly though his fingers are crushing the material of his desk. A piece of the wood breaks off in his hand and he crushes it to a pulp in his hand, watching as the shavings fall to the floor.
“She has been involved in this from the beginning. It is only fitting she be involved in its end.”
Eric says through gritted teeth, “And how does this end?”
“With you losing everything you love,” he says with a maniacal laugh. “It has already started. You no longer trust Pamela. Not that I blame you,” the voice says with mock sympathy. “She has been a key figure in my plans though she knew nothing about them. If she hadn’t kept you and Sookie apart, then I wouldn’t have had time to refine my plan. But now I’ve grown impatient; truly I did not think the two of you would have stayed apart so long. Not for lack of trying on her part, but you really do give new meaning to the word stubborn. It must be the Viking influence.”
“I have no interest in Sookie Stackhouse,” Eric lies which causes the voice on the other end to anger.
“DO NOT LIE TO ME!” The composure of the voice on the other end slips and Eric hears a slight accent, which gives Eric a small clue about who he is dealing with. It is not much of one, but Eric can tell the man on the other end is not American.
“If you lie to me, then I will be forced to take my displeasure out on Miss Stackhouse. It would be a shame to mar one as beautiful as her. The pictures I have seen do not do her justice. She literally glows as if lit from the sun. Tell me, does her blood taste like sunshine?”
Eric closes his eyes helplessly as his inner beast roars savagely. If he lies, Eric fears what harm will come to Sookie. If he answers truthfully, will that endanger her as well?
“She tastes like warmed honey,” Eric says weakly. “It reminds me of summer days as a child. We would brave the sting of bees to taste the sweet nectar they provided. There was nothing like it,” Eric says with a quiet voice and another tear slips down his face.
“Thank you,” the voice says with a sigh of satisfaction. “I shall enjoy sampling her unique flavor.” The call ends leaving Eric with his body shaking in equal parts fear and fury. His bellow of rage is so loud that the vibration shakes the items hanging on his wall. Several rattle on their holdings and fall to the ground, shattering and splintering on the floor. Eric wants to crush the phone in his hand but he knows he will need it. Sookie’s kidnapper may contact him again. It seems as if the voice on the other end wants to hear him suffer, wants to rub salt in the wounds. Eric scrolls through the contacts, searching for the one he needs.
“It’s never a good reason when you call me after sunrise,” a female voice with a French accent says with resignation on the other end.
“I need your help, Vivienne,” Eric says succinctly.
Vivienne is Nora’s only surviving progeny. She had been in her beloved France when Nora had met her True Death. As a human, Vivienne had been a Parisian seamstress during the French Revolution. Unfortunately, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Four drunken men had decided she would be their night’s entertainment even though she had not been willing. Her battered and broken body was nearly on death’s door by the time the jackals were finished with her. Nora and Eric had stumbled across the group of men as they searched for their nightly meal. Nora had gone crazy with rage upon seeing the abused body of Vivienne and quickly killed two of the rapists while draining the third. Eric dealt with the fourth assailant as Nora tried to heal Vivienne’s broken body but her injuries were too many. Nora had drained the blood from Vivienne before replacing it with her own. Eric and Nora had carried Vivienne’s body to a farm outside of Paris where Godric was waiting for them. For three nights, Godric and Eric had stood guard over the grave, waiting for the newest member of their bloodline to rise. They had fled France after Vivienne rose a vampire, but not before Godric made certain her children were well taken care of. At Vivienne’s request, Nora had kept tabs on Vivienne’s children, grandchildren, and later generations until Vivienne had made contact with them after the Great Revelation. That is why she chose to stay in France.
When Eric had left America and gone to Sweden, it was Vivienne he had called to help him, not Pamela. They had spoken of what happened to both Godric and Nora. Vivienne had found it hard to believe Nora had fallen under the influence of Lilith’s blood; she had always been a protector of women and children. But she had been pleased to know Nora had found her way back to who she really was. Eric had also spoken of all his problems with Pam; he didn’t know how to deal with his progeny anymore. Vivienne and Eric had comforted each other as they grieved for the losses of their beloved family members for those two weeks they had been reunited. At the end of their interlude, Vivienne had returned to Paris and Eric continued his tour of the world. She had not heard from him until he was starting New Blood. Eric had offered her 10% of the company’s ownership if she agreed to head cyber security. Vivienne had a natural talent for cracking codes and hacking. Her skills had been used throughout both World Wars and more recently by Interpol. Vivienne’s skills were unparalleled as far as Eric knew. She recruited those who showed an aptitude for hacking turning them into assets instead of threats.
“Of course you do. Why else would you be calling? What can I do for you oncle (uncle)?”
“I want you to put a trace on my phone. Record all calls. I need to know where the calls are coming from. Run security on all the systems. Check to see if we have been breached. Someone has far too much information on me and my existence in the last ten years,” Eric says darkly.
The voice on the other end is silent a moment as she processes all the information Eric has just given her. “Do you suspect someone on the inside?”
“I have to. It’s someone that knows how special Sookie is to me, but knows that I have stayed away from her for ten years. Sookie was abducted Vivienne; I need to get her back.”
“Mon dieu,” Vivienne says emphatically on the other end. “What else do you need Eric?”
“Ten years ago, the Japanese were able to find Sarah Newlin using their technology. You should be able to find Sookie using the same techniques,” he says with resolve.
“That was an entire government . . .”
“And you’re the best hacker in the world as you are fond of telling me. Do you suddenly doubt your talents systerdotter (niece)?”
“No oncle,” Vivienne says with confidence. “I could use some help on this.”
“Whatever you need,” Eric reassures her. “Money is not an issue. This is your top priority.”
“Very well; I will call you or Pam with my findings.”
“You will call me only,” Eric says forcefully. “I want all of Pam’s access revoked; no bank accounts, no business access, nothing!”
“Really? What’s daddy’s little girl done to piss you off now? Did she decorate your resting chamber with Thor and Loki paraphernalia?” Vivienne’s tone is filled with amusement as she teases her maker’s blood brother.
“She has betrayed me for the last time,” Eric says coldly.
Vivienne remains silent as she lets Eric’s words hang in the air between them. She finally responds in a soft tone. “I understand. Anything else?”
“Have Thalia and Freyda on a plane to Shreveport. I want them here tonight.” Eric ends the call having nothing further that he needs from Nora’s progeny.
With everything accomplished that he set out to do, Eric settles on his bed and picks up the stack of letters all addressed to him. The earlier letters had been addressed to Fangtasia and they were marked return to sender. Eventually the letters had stopped being sent, but she continued to write him. Eric set the letters aside and reached for the journals, starting with the one dated as the night Compton met his True Death.
Tonight I staked the first man I’d ever loved, the man I had at one point thought I would spend the rest of my life with. So many emotions are going through me. But I think the one that is the most prevailing is devastation. It’s not because I was the one to end Bill’s existence; it’s because I finally realized that I meant nothing to him. If he loved me as he claimed, he would have not asked me to give up my light. Bill has often claimed to do things because it is what is best for me. But shouldn’t I be the judge of what is best for me? Whenever I’d disagreed with Bill he would do one of three things: (1) say it was vampire business, (2) belittle my human abilities, or (3) he would become angry and ignore me. Tonight he tried a new tactic: guilt. He tried to guilt me into agreeing with him, and a part of me wanted to give in to his last wish. But it must have been Fairy Sookie, as Eric calls her, which made me keep my light.
I killed Bill Compton, pushing the jagged edge of the shovel handle in his flesh to pierce his silent heart. His body exploded under mine and I howled in agony at the injustice of it all. Bill and I had finally reached a point in our relationship where we were being honest and open with each other. I know we had reconnected sexually, but it wasn’t a sexual attraction that sent me running into Bill’s arms. It was about comfort, companionship, and love. Not that burning, all-consuming fire of passionate love, but the kind of love that comes from someone that’s always been there. I can’t really explain it, but I know that when I say that I loved Bill Compton, I know he wasn’t my soul mate, he wasn’t my heart’s greatest desire.
As I’d climbed out of that grave, I’d prayed Eric would be there to comfort me, hold me, and tell me everything would be alright. I wanted him to walk me home under the moonlight once again and keep me safe. My heart and soul yearn for him even now. My heart broke when Eric said good-bye to me the other night because there was a note of finality to it. I don’t want to be without him in my life. He just came back; I don’t know if I can survive him leaving me too.