At dusk the next evening, Sookie climbs wearily out of her car. She had worked the afternoon shift for the last three days in a row. The amount of money she’d made in tips barely justified the amount of money she spent on gas getting to work. This little amount isn’t enough for her to survive; if she had paid all of her own expenses these last few weeks, she would be facing late payment calls and collection notices. But she hasn’t been paying her own expenses other than groceries and gasoline; Eric has.
Sookie sighs as she slams the door of her rusty car shut. It’s hard to think about Eric without feeling the familiar pain around her heart. A month ago, she had done what she thought was the right thing by turning her back on both of the vampires she loved. Her heart was so conflicted; how could she love them both at the same time? The daydream she’d had featuring both Eric and Bill scared her. Dream Sookie had indicated that she loved both of them and they should be willing to share her, which went against everything Sookie had been raised to believe. She had been raised a good Christian girl thinking that she would find someone to love, someone to share her life with. Although her Gran adapted to the modern times they were living in, she had still raised Sookie with old-fashioned values. It’s why Sookie had such a hard time of letting Bill go; she had thought he was The One she would spend the rest of her life with. She had given him her heart, soul, and her body. Learning that it had all been a lie had broken something inside her, something that was still trying to heal. Eric in his amnesia state had been the balm Sookie needed for her soul. His sweet nature had picked the locks she had placed on her heart. It had been so easy to fall in love with him in his simple state. He was a blank canvas that had no masks to hide behind; a thousand years of walls had been toppled. It had been so easy for her to fall in love with him, perhaps too easy. Did she only love the Eric without his memories or did she love all of Eric? He said he loved her even with his memories and that the other Eric was still inside him. And she believed him, but she didn’t believe herself. How could she when even her Gran said it wasn’t going to last.
And she had been right. Eric’s love for her was fleeting. A few nights after Sookie had said goodbye to both Bill and Eric, Bill had shown up on her doorstep. He came under the pretense of reassuring her that her secrets were completely safe, that he had eliminated the threat Nan Flanagan posed to her. Of course, Bill had accidentally let it slip that Eric had reunited with his “sister”. Sookie had shown no emotion in front of Bill, thanking him for stopping by but saying she was tired and had to get up early to work the next day. Whatever Bill had expected, it had not been that. He looked completely baffled as Sookie closed the door in his face with a resounding click and wearily climbed through the darkened house to her bedroom, the one she had shared so recently with Eric. She laid down on the sheets that still smelled of him and finally let the tears flow from her body. It hurt; oh how it fucking hurt to know that he had moved on so easily. Gran had been right and she felt like such a fool. Sookie couldn’t fault Eric for moving on, but did it have to be the same fucking night?!?! How could she believe that he really loved her when he could move on so quickly?
And the worst part was she realized that she loved him still.
In the days and weeks that followed Halloween night, Sookie had come to realize that she wasn’t in love with Bill. No matter what, a part of her would always love Bill, even if it had all been a lie. There’s something about first love you never really get over. It doesn’t matter how toxic that first relationship can be, it can still have the power to tug at a person’s heart. However there is a physical pain that has settled over the area of her heart, and it’s named Eric. She misses him, both versions of him. Sookie has cursed herself for being a fool that night by turning her back on Eric, but at the same time, part of her thinks she did the right thing. Yes her heart may be hurting a little now, but imagine how much worse it could have been if their relationship had progressed. If she had fallen completely in love with him only to have Eric turn away from her would have destroyed her and she thinks she would have never recovered.
Sookie trudges up the stairs leading to her front door, absently rubbing her hand over her aching heart. She pauses because there are two large white boxes stacked in front of the door; the top one has a giant red bow on it. Given everything that she’s been through lately, she is naturally suspicious of unexpected boxes showing up on her porch. However, all caution goes flying out the window when she hears the soft mewling sound coming from inside the top box. Lifting the lid of the box, Sookie finds an adorable tabby kitten with hazel eyes lying on its back with its paws outstretched as if reaching for her.
“Awwww! Aren’t you the most precious thing,” Sookie coos to the kitten as she picks it up. The kitten immediately nestles against her bosom and purrs in contentment. “But how did you get here?” Sookie inspects the box more closely and finds an envelope with her name on it hidden underneath the red bow. Sookie pauses as she recognizes Eric’s handwriting. The envelope is heavy in her hands as she weighs whether she wants to open it or not. Four weeks without any communication. Is the kitten merely to soften the blow of whatever bad news lies inside the plain white envelope? With trembling fingers, Sookie opens the envelope and pulls out several sheets of thick paper.
My dearest Sookie,
I know that you said you were walking away from Bill and me, and as much as I hated your decision, I respected it. I wasn’t going to persuade you to change your mind. I have lived a thousand years and only once in my existence have I ever pleaded with someone to stay with me.
Godric, Sookie thinks as tears pool in her eyes remembering Eric on his knees pleading for his maker to stay with him.
If I am truthful, and I will always try to tell you the truth, I hated you for turning away from me. How could you so easily walk away from what we had together? Did I mean nothing to you? Was I just a convenient fuck for you since Compton was no longer an option?
“Well fuck you asshole! It didn’t take you very long to move on,” Sookie mutters out loud. How dare he think he meant nothing to her! She’s done nothing but miss him since she mistakenly walked away from the vampires in her life. She’s so angry she could chew nails. How can a simple letter from Eric make her palm itch to slap him?
By now I’m sure I’ve made you mad and you’re wishing I was in front of you so you could slap the smile off my face. That’s Fairy Sookie coming out. I meant what I said before, you should let her speak more for you. But I am guilty of the same thing; I don’t let the softer Eric speak for me as often as I should. A thousand years of burying my emotions is a hard habit to break.
I heard you crying that night as you walked away from Compton’s mansion. Every ounce of blood in my body was screaming to go to you, comfort you, but I allowed my pride and hurt feelings to govern me. I am ashamed to admit that I sought comfort in the arms of another woman, hoping to erase the pain in my heart you had created.
“I don’t want to hear about your fucking conquests!” Sookie screams as the tears roll down her cheeks. The dull ache that had lived in her heart becomes a burning, tearing sensation. It feels as if Eric has ripped her heart out, thrown it on the ground, and crushed it beneath his leather boot. Sookie is ready to tear up the letter in a fit of anger when the next sentence stays her hand.
Please, I’m begging you to not tear this letter up until you’ve read all of it! I only mention all of this because I do not want to keep any secrets from you. Nora is my vampire sister; Godric turned her in the seventeenth century. I adore her and love her just as I love Pam, but I am not in love with her. I have been floundering since I lost Godric; the loss of my maker has shaken the very foundations of who I am as a man and as a vampire. But losing you . . . The pain I have felt every day since losing Godric seems insignificant compared to your loss. Do not blame or hate Nora because I was weak and sought solace in the arms of the one person on this earth that understands the pain I feel from losing my maker. If you must, hate me; I accept full blame for all of my actions. I tried to prove that you didn’t hurt me, that I was still the same vampire I had always been.
But it was a fruitless attempt and I was wrong.
I will never be the same vampire again because of you. The love I feel for you has forever changed me. Even if you never accept me again in your life, I shall love you to the end of my existence, whether that be tomorrow or in another thousand years.
So I can no longer respect your wishes and stay away from you. I did not wish to upset you by showing up unannounced, but I find I need a way to show you how much you mean to me, that you are never far from my thoughts.
I know that it is the Christmas season, and for you that means a time to spend with those you love. I hope to be included in the list of those you love. Before you reject me outright, please let me show you how much you mean to me, and how I only want you to be happy. I am not asking for your answer now. Let me show you that I love you for you; not because of your blood or your telepathy, but because of who you are.
By now you are probably muttering about being a kept woman or telling me that you don’t need expensive presents.
Sookie snorts with laughter; he really does know her very well.
I love your independence; I fully support it. And as for the expensive presents, some may be expensive, while others are rather simple. But know this, all of them come from the heart, and that is what gives them their greatest worth.
And that leads us to the first present which is probably curled up in your arms. I like the idea of Chanukah, because I can give you a present each night for eight nights. However I know the holiday is not the one of your faith. There is a song that talks about the Twelve Days of Christmas, which is inspired by the Yuletide celebrations of my people. I’m sure you are familiar with the song. It’s quite ridiculous when you think about it literally. Who the fuck wants all those birds as a present? So I’ve modified things a bit. So as this is the first day of Christmas, here is your first present. I remember you speaking of your cat Tina with fondness and longing. This kitten is a rescue from the ASPCA here in Shreveport. The second box has the items recommended for a new kitten such as a collar, litter box, etc. It is my hope that the two of you can keep each other company so neither of you will be lonely. He reminded me of you; a tiny, adorable package that hides the fact you both are natural fighters. But beware, he’s a little like me too.
With all my love,
“I should be mad at you for being a high-handed vampire, but it’s hard to resist this adorable face,” Sookie says as she strokes the sleeping kitten’s head with her finger. She carefully folds the letter before placing it inside the envelope. She then places her new friend inside his box again to carry everything inside the house.
“Come on Viking; let’s get you inside and settled in your new home.”