I sink to my knees in Sookie’s kitchen, blood pouring out of the wound in my chest. That bitch shot me at close range. If I were mortal, I would be dead. If the cunt had better aim, I would be dead. Instead, I am sitting here with a gaping hole in my chest that just missed my undead heart by inches.
The Were is staring at me in horror, not paying any attention to Sookie, for which I am grateful. Sookie pulls her brother’s shotgun out from behind the water heater. She pumps the gun and fires at the intruder. At close range, the bullet from the shotgun obliterates the upper chest and neck of the conniving whore. Her lifeless body falls to the floor dead, a look of surprise on what is left of her face. Her gun hits the floor and skids across the linoleum. Sookie drops to the floor in shock, the gun still clutched in her hands. Realizing there is no more danger, I lie down and close my eyes. I am gasping and coughing up blood, as well as having blood flow from the bullet hole. My body spasms in pain as the magic of being a vampire works to expel the foreign object from my body.
Sookie crawls on the floor to be by my side. I feel her staring down at me with a look of horror and concern on her face. “Eric?”
My eyes slowly flicker open. “Drink,” is all I can say. Blood will help me heal faster.
Sookie raises her arm to put her wrist at my lips, but changes her mind at the last second. She pulls several bottles of True Blood out of the refrigerator, and heats up two of the bottles. She returns and tilts one up to my lips. Not thinking about the repugnant taste or odor, I guzzle the bottle of blood. Once the bottle is empty, Sookie moves my clothing so she can inspect my wound. With a last grunt of pain, the bullet pops out of my body. At my request, Sookie brings the other bottle to my lips. I drink this one more slowly than the first, but it is still gone within a minute.
“Why did you not give me your blood?” I sit up slowly, touching my newly healed skin gingerly. The area is still sore and pink, but it will be completely healed by tomorrow evening.
“I’m sorry, sweetie,” she tells me. “But I’m going to need all my strength to take care of the mess.”
I look across the kitchen to see the resulting mess and glance back at Sookie. She looks as if she is ready to cry. She tells me she is a horrible human being for killing someone. I tell her that she did not kill someone; she put down the treacherous, murderous bitch, a Were that had tried to kill her at least twice that I know of. I am disgusted with myself; I should have finished killing her during the battle. We would not be in this predicament now if I had finished the job. I say as much to Sookie and she says that’s not very Christian. I do not think I was ever a Christian, but I tell her I cannot imagine a religion that would tell you to wait and be killed by your enemy. Something about my words calms her, because she kisses my cheek and moves to begin cleaning up the kitchen.
I dispose of the body and the car she had hidden in the cemetery. I buried the body deep in the woods; the car I sink in a swamp some thirty miles away. I come back to find Sookie scrubbing the kitchen with water, soap, and bleach; anything that would remove the blood. I look everything over carefully, checking for spots of blood, bone, or brain matter. I can find nothing. While I have done this, Sookie wedged a chair under the doorknob to the front door; that is how the bitch entered the house.
We shower together riding our bodies of the last lingering evidence of the evening. Our clothes are beyond salvageable. Sookie and I throw the items in a trash bag which she ties up and sets on the back porch. She says she will dispose of it tomorrow. She climbs in her bed and falls asleep quickly. I place a gentle kiss on her lips and climb in my resting place. I am excited for tomorrow evening. For the first time, Sookie and I will not have anything hanging over our heads. We can just enjoy being together.
My eyes snap open and my head jerks from side to side trying to figure out where I am. I do not know where I am nor do I know how I got here. The last thing I remember is having a meeting with the witches. I slowly open the hatch of the resting place to find myself in the closet of a bedroom. I find the jeans and underwear I had worn folded neatly on the bed. I hurriedly dress, trying to assess the situation I find myself in. There is a knock at the door before it opens. I turn around hissing in warning, my hands in claws, ready to attack. Instead, I find a shocked Sookie standing in the doorway.
Rising out of my crouched stance, I question Sookie. “Sookie, am I in your home?” I may have relaxed my stance, but I am still wary of the situation. The last thing I remember is Sookie rescinding my invitation from her home.
“You don’t remember,” she states quietly. For some reason, tears have gathered in her eyes, and she grabs at her chest as if in pain. I am about to ask her if she is alright, but she quickly regroups. She tells me I have stayed in her home for safe-keeping. She asks me what the last thing I remember is.
“I had a meeting with some new people,” but the doubt is clear in my voice. “Didn’t I?” She shakes her head at me.
“That was days ago. I’m sure Pam will be here soon to explain everything. You hungry?”
“Are you offering?” I know she isn’t offering me her sweet blood, but a vampire can dream.
“No. You can have True Blood,” she says flatly as she leaves the room. I follow her to find her banging around the kitchen. When she sees me, she pulls a True Blood from the refrigerator and places it in the microwave. Once the machine beeps, she shakes the bottle before placing it on the kitchen table. I sit in the chair eyeing her warily. Something is off, but I do not know what. I try to question Sookie, but she shuts me down. Why does she feel the way she does? I feel her grieving, mourning the loss of someone intensely. More importantly, why do I feel the need to comfort her? I have the urge to wrap my arms around her, holding her close to me, providing comfort and shelter. This is not like me . . .
Pam arrives, bowing deeply before me. My progeny only shows me such blatant signs of respect when we stand on ceremony in front of other supernaturals. To do so in front of Sookie is extremely unusual. But why should that be any different from everything else this evening?
I begin rapidly questioning Pam. Before she can give me the answers I desperately seek, Sookie interrupts to say she is leaving for work, asking us to lock up when we leave. She bids Pam farewell, but says nothing to me.
Pam looks amused by Sookie’s departure, but makes no comment. She succinctly summarizes the events of the last few days; the witch’s curse, my amnesia, hiding at Sookie’s, Jason’s disappearance, the attack on Fangtasia, the deaths of vampires and Weres at the witches hands, the unified coalition of the supernatural races against the rogue coven . . . and a FAIRY???? This is all too much to take and I close my eyes wearily.
“Do you remember anything about being here?” Pam looks in disgust at our current location. My dear child is a snob; she will not stay anywhere unless it has a five-star rating or she has personally decorated it. Sookie’s home, while dated in many respects, is more than a five-star resort; it is home. The thought startles me. Why do I think of Sookie’s house as home? I do not have a home; I have many places I rest in, but a true home is not something a vampire seeks.
“I remember nothing!” I tell Pam harshly. “To me, it is January 1. A void exists in my mind about the activities of the last few days. Nothing you have described is familiar to me. And clearly Sookie is not willing to tell me anything. She barely spoke to me once I rose for the night. I must have said or done something to annoy her.” Why does Sookie’s distance towards me hurt? She and I have always had a hot and cold relationship. What makes tonight any different?
Pam has a sly grin on her face, “I doubt you have said anything to make her mad. Actually, I doubt the two of you have said much at all.”
“Explain, Pam.” I am not in the mood for innuendo.
She rolls her eyes but begins her explanation. “The night I came here with Chow to discuss your situation, you clung to Sookie as if she were your life line. I have to admit it hurt to see you so insecure, so unsure of everything. Sookie was the only person you felt safe around. That was part of the reason I left you here. But then the last two evenings, you two were like magnets; you needed physical force to pry the two of you apart. You all but claimed her in front of Compton. I’m surprised you didn’t smell her, Eric; your scent is all over her. As for your emotions,” Pam says uncomfortably, “I have never felt the things I did coming from you before.”
I am incredulous. “What did you feel?”
“Joy . . . happiness . . . love,” she tells me haltingly.
My face is void of any expression as I stare at Pam. I have closed down our bond so she will not have an idea about what I am feeling now. My emotions are in turmoil. I am enraged at the idea of appearing weak and reliant on a mortal. I am in disbelief hearing that I finally had sex with Sookie and I cannot fucking remember it. I am also bewildered by the emotions Pam described coming from me through our bond. What could have happened to elicit such strong reactions? But I also feel pain and sadness; why did Sookie not tell me? Why did she avoid all conversation with me?
Pam pulls a checkbook out of her purse and slides it towards me. “I negotiated with Jason Stackhouse that you would pay Sookie $35,000 for keeping you safe. The witches had offered a reward of $50,000 for information about you. I felt we needed to give her something to buy his silence.”
I quickly write the check out for $50,000. I know Sookie will balk that I gave her more than what was arranged, but I want her to have it. Again, I cannot explain the feeling of why I want to care for her. Pam and I quickly leave Sookie’s home. I can no longer stand to be there; I feel as if everything taunts me with knowledge that I do not have. I make note that her door is damaged; I will arrange for replacement. I feel as if I am somehow responsible for it being broken.
Pam and I return to Fangtasia where I diligently work to catch up on the business I have missed. Due to the attack by the witches, Fangtasia is closed for repairs. Pam had already seen to the necessary repairs; all I needed to do was sign off on the invoices. As far as those items related to my sheriff’s duties, Pam had handled those as well. Honestly, the main issue while cursed was me and the witches. We were very fortunate that the Queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Anne Leclerq, had not become aware of our problem. If she had, my existence, as well as that of my progeny may have been over.
Once our work is finished, Pam and I go off in search of our evening meals. She and I end up at a local nightclub in Shreveport. The club is packed with people dancing. The music is annoying, and I hate strobe lights. I stand near the bar viewing my options. Pam is already working on her evening meal. She has found a buxom red-head with an hourglass figure. Pam is pressed against the woman’s back, swaying to the music while her hands move over her dinner’s body. The woman has her head thrown back against Pam’s shoulder and her arm is hooked around Pam’s neck to keep her close. With a wink in my direction, Pam sinks her fangs in the girl’s neck for a quick sip before sealing the wounds. She grabs the girl and they leave the club.
“Do you wanna dance?” I look down to find a slightly intoxicated brunette with a body that only money can buy. From her lips to her ass, I do not think there is an ounce on her that has not been worked on by a plastic surgeon.
“No. I want to drink your blood and fuck,” I say as I drop my fangs.
Her eyes widen and she wets her lips. She sets her drink down on the bar. “Where shall we go then?”
I grab her hand and drag her outside. I find a dark alley, and pull her down there. I waste no time priming her neck; licking, nibbling, sucking on the skin to bring her artery closer to the surface. She moans like a cheap whore as I sink my fangs in her skin. Even her blood tastes fake; I release her after only a mouthful of blood. True Blood is preferable over the shit she has in her veins. Using my glamour, I erase her memory of our encounter and tell her to never come to Fangtasia. I leave her in the alley and head to one of my safe houses; it is merely a coincidence that it is the one closest to Sookie. At least, that is what I tell myself.
For the majority of the evening, I have tried to block her emotions. I need to find some equilibrium before I see her again. There are too many questions that I need answers to. After a shower and several bags of donor blood, I spend the rest of the evening in downtime. I find myself probing the tie with Sookie to find out her emotional state. For most of the evening, she has swung between numb and sadness. But there was a flash of true rage followed by an overwhelming sense of relief. Despite what I told myself earlier, I resolve to see Sookie after sunset. Avoiding her is not going to make this go away.
I am awake an hour before sunset. I hurriedly dress and drink two bags of donor blood while I wait. I am anxious to see Sookie. Will she answer my questions tonight? Will she help me understand why I feel the way I do? Perhaps these emotions are another curse from the witch?
I streak through the night sky to my destination. I do not enjoy my flight as I normally do; I am eager to be at my destination. I land in Sookie’s yard and vamp to her door. When she opens it, she does not seem surprised to see me. I tell her that I find myself troubled; she sarcastically responds that she will drop everything and help me. Normally I enjoy bantering with Sookie, but it feels off; it feels as if each word is a sharp knife intended to hurt the other. I ask her for permission to enter her home although I do not need it.
Once inside her home I explain that Hallow is dead and her reasons for choosing Shreveport. Sookie says she can understand why Hallow and her brother targeted the supernatural community in Shreveport. As she speaks I find it hard to concentrate; flashes of memories are flickering through my mind. Images of Sookie and I together in this kitchen, but nothing I can fully grasp. I change the subject by opening the door to the topic of my time here. She is wary; instead of giving me answers, she asks me questions. I answer her questions. Trying to get a rise out of her, I mention the check I left for her the previous evening. Instead she asks me what the point of all this is.
Before I answer, we are interrupted by a knock at the door. Sookie’s relief is clear as she goes to answer the door, though it is short-lived when she sees who is on the other side. The woman who enters is unfamiliar to me, though she does seem to be familiar with Sookie and I.
I find out the woman is a member of the Shreveport pack and is here on behalf of the Jackson pack. She is looking into the disappearance of one of their members, last seen the night of the witch war. I could care less that the world is minus one Were. However, the name Debbie Pelt catches my attention. That bitch nearly killed Sookie in Jackson. My lips widen in a smile of malicious pleasure; perhaps that is why I smelled blood and cleaning products in Sookie’s kitchen yesterday.
While Sookie and the Were converse, I decide to wander through Sookie’s house. I can feel Sookie’s agitation at the line of questioning. I can tell when she is telling half-truths, lies, and the truth; I am looking to make sure there is no evidence to tie Sookie to the death of the Pelt woman. It does not matter which of us killed the bitch; she deserved it.
Walking through the house, I find Sookie’s coat and kitchen curtains soaking in the washing machine. The coat is beyond salvageable; the curtains have blood spray on them. I do not want to do anything to attract attention to these items, but I will remove them before I leave tonight. As I walk back down the hallway, I stop at the door to Sookie’s bedroom. Inhaling, I am overcome by the combination of my scent mixed with Sookie’s. I walk in the room and sit on the bed. Leaning down, I smell our joint scent on the sheets. However, I feel frozen in time as I am assaulted by a flood of images in my mind. I see myself walking down a darkened country road without a shirt . . . Sookie stopping to help me . . . Sookie bathing my feet . . . the two of us talking . . . the shower . . . the bed . . . nearly every damn horizontal and vertical surface on the first floor of her home. I stagger back from the bed in shock as all of my memories from my time here return to me. My head slowly turns to the door; the conversation between the two women is winding down. I need to get back out there, but how am I supposed to act like the Viking badass I am when my entire world has turned upside down? The emotions swirling in my chest would cripple me if I were human; they are intense, but I relish in the burn. I love Sookie Stackhouse . . . the thought would have once been laughable, but I embrace it as I long to embrace my lover.
I hear the Were leave and move to stand before my lover in her kitchen. It takes everything in me to stand still and not take the few steps that would put her in my arms. I ache with the need to know if she still feels the same for me as she did a mere two days ago. Pain resonates through me when I see the fear and distrust in her eyes.
“You’re going?” She sounds surprised and relieved, but there is a sense of pain beneath the surface. My poor Lover; I had not thought of how my leaving and not remembering anything would affect her. This separation is just as painful for her as me. It will not last long; I will do whatever is necessary to fix it.
“Yes, you said you had to get to work,” I strive to sound nonchalant. She nods her head in agreement, but she looks as if she wants to say more.
“I suggest you wear your other coat, the one that’s too light for winter,” I say as I walk past her towards the door. I turn back to look at her, “Your other coat is in bad shape.” I open the door. “If I were you, I would get rid of it altogether. Maybe burn it.” I walk out of the house feeling her shock and horror. I lift up into the night sky, flying at a much more leisurely pace than I did earlier this evening.
I return to my resting place since Fangtasia will not re-open for another week. There are no sheriffs duties that I need to handle, so I have the evening to plot how to win my lover back. First, I shop online to find a new coat for Sookie; it is cranberry red. I add the matching gloves, scarf, and hat to the cart and buy the items. I place an order with a local florist that will deliver tomorrow to Bon Temps. Sookie seemed jealous when she learned I was sending flowers to Belinda and the injured Were. I next email Bobby Burnham, my day guy, with his list of tasks for tomorrow. He needs to arrange for a new door to be purchased and installed at Sookie’s home immediately. He also needs to pick up and deliver my Lover’s coat and accessories.
Once those items are taken care of, I try to think of ways to show Sookie how I feel about her. I have proven on more than one occasion that I am willing to take care of her; her driveway, the extra money for caring for me, and now the door and coat. However, I know my lover; material items have no meaning to her. For Sookie, it is about the emotional connection. She wants someone to share her day with, someone to listen to her, someone to make her laugh . . .
An idea comes to mind; she and I have always had a similar sense of humor, so I think she will appreciate my gesture. I search online for what I am looking for, and find it at a local store that is surprisingly still open. I fly to the store and find exactly what I am looking for as well as the necessary packaging. The gift is simple, but it is homemade, something Sookie will undoubtedly appreciate.
I feel the pull of the sun, so I hurriedly send Bobby an email letting him know of an extra errand I will need him to run today. I put the box on the counter in the kitchen, leaving Bobby another note that the package is fragile and is to be handled with the utmost care. I hired Bobby because he is eager to please, but he is not the sharpest tool in the shed.
I lay in bed in my light-tight chamber with a hopeful smile on my face. If all goes well today, I hope to have Sookie in my arms when I go to my rest tomorrow.
I rise the next evening feeling nervous, an emotion I am not familiar with. I probe the tie with Sookie searching for her emotional state, but there is nothing. She is calm, like a placid lake on a spring day. I call Bobby in frustration; that fucking idiot cannot do anything right. He would screw up a bread sandwich if I did not explain how to make it to him. Even then, I would still need to hold his hand through the process.
“Yes, Master?” Bobby’s voice is both whining and simpering at the same time. How he fucking annoys me!
“I am NOT your master, Bobby. No one vampire in their right mind would be stupid enough to claim you! Why did you not carry out the orders I left you?” I will kill this insignificant excuse for a human if he has failed me.
“I did, sir! I delivered the packages to Miss Stackhouse when the contractors from Home Depot were there to install her new door. She politely thanked me for bringing her the packages. She said to thank you for your thoughtfulness in case I spoke to you before she had a chance. Is something wrong?” Bobby’s voice is full of panic. He has no reason to be afraid unless he did something to insult my lover.
I snarl in the phone. “What did you say to Miss Stackhouse? You work for me; therefore your behavior is a reflection of me. If you did anything to upset her, I will let Pam teach you some manners.”
“I said nothing to her, sir! Please . . .” I hang up the phone so I do not have to listen to his excuses and whining. If he did everything I tasked him with, if he said nothing to upset Sookie, then why is she so calm? I expected her to be upset at my “high-handedness” as she calls it. I do not know what I expected her to feel about the flowers and her present, but calm certainly was not it.
Instead of flying to Bon Temps, I drive the Corvette. I have missed driving my car. I know Sookie thinks I have it because it is flashy, but it is sentimental to me. I worked with the first designers of the Corvette to create the car. I was one of the test drivers for the vehicle (all test drives were done at night thanks to the power of glamour), and I have been in love with the car since its inception. It is sleek, powerful, sexy, and timeless. I own every year of the vehicle, in various colors, and I have them stored all around the United States. A few of them are even stored at my home in Öland. Perhaps I will one day get to show them to Sookie.
Driving up Sookie’s driveway, I find her house is completely dark. I sigh in frustration, thinking I will have to track her down at the shifter’s bar. However a movement on the porch catches my eye. I pull the car to a stop beside her house. Exiting the vehicle, I find Sookie sitting on the porch swing wrapped in that hideous afghan she is so fond of. I slowly walk up the steps as I am filled with dread that she is going to reject me. She is giving nothing away through her emotions or her facial expression. Her calm façade rivals that of most vampires.
We stare at one another in silence, neither willing to speak first. I do not know how to begin this conversation. In over a thousand years, I have only feared my maker. A maker has absolute control over his or her progeny. However, his control ended when he met the True Death trying to save the Romanov prince in Russia during the Bolshevik revolution. But Sookie has more control over me than my maker ever did. I never loved my maker; I never let him affect me emotionally because he was a sick, twisted, sadistic fuck. I love Sookie; she has the power to lift me up or destroy me with a single word. She can hurt me far worse than my maker ever could; his was physical abuse that my body eventually healed from. Sookie has the power to hurt my heart and my soul; I am not sure I would ever recover from those.
“Thank you,” Sookie’s voice floats across the distance between us. I nod at her words, still unsure of what to say.
She shifts on the porch swing, dropping her legs to the ground, and pats the space next to her indicating I should take a seat. I walk towards her slowly and sink down on the wooden seat, stretching my legs out in front of me.
“The flowers you sent me are beautiful. You didn’t have to do that,” she tells me with a small smile on her face.
I shrug my shoulders. “I do not have to do many things. However, I know it pleases you to have them; therefore, it pleases me to give them to you.” Her breath catches and I feel a crack in her emotions as I feel her happiness. My head turns to look at her and I see her beautiful smile gracing her face.
“My Gran taught me long ago that flowers have meaning.” I nod my head, agreeing with her words. “She has a book on the meaning of flowers. Some of the flowers you sent me aren’t in the book. But many of them were.” She turns her body to look at me, and I see the tears falling softly down her cheeks. “Do you mean it? Do you really remember? Do you really love me?”
I hate seeing her tears. I cup her face gently in my hands, wiping the offending wetness off her cheeks. “I remember everything. I remember how happy I was to be here with you; how I was willing to give everything up to stay with you. I remember how much I cared for you; how I was afraid to admit I loved you. But I do love you, Sookie Stackhouse, with and without my memories.”
A sob escapes her lips before she pulls my head down to hers, her lips brushing against mine. This kiss is different from any we have shared because it is full of love. We are reaffirming how much we love each other, how we have missed each other. I am never letting her go again.
My lips kiss her forehead before she settles her head on my shoulder. My arms hold her against my side. My legs are pushing the swing slowly back and forth. I feel her lips press against my neck before her whispered words reach my ears. “I love you, Eric Northman.”
In that moment, I feel as if I have met the sun. Her love warms me, blinds me, and makes me feel as if I am whole. I never knew that I could experience joy such as this. However, Sookie shivering in my arms brings my enjoyment to a temporary halt. I lift her up and carry her inside, noticing that the new door looks good with the house. I am about to carry her to her bedroom when I see the other present Bobby delivered sitting unopened on her kitchen table. I change my trajectory and sit her down in the chair that I have very fond memories of.
“Why did you not open your other present, Lover?” It feels right to be able to call her that again.
She smiles at me. “I wanted you to be here when I opened it.”
I use my nail to open the box for her, and she carefully pulls the tissue paper out the box. She looks inside with a small frown on her face. She reaches inside and pulls the gift out, turning it so she can read the label. I have given my lover a glass jar to hold all of her extra orgasms in.
She laughs heartily before setting the present down on the counter. “I hope you bought more of those. I have a feeling it will fill up quickly. In fact, I think we should start filling it now.”
~ The End