Sookie is on cloud nine. The ballet was the most spectacular thing she had ever seen. She and Eric had a private box for the show. During intermission, a bottle of champagne and appetizers had appeared for her while Eric had a glass of blood. Eric had enjoyed feeding the appetizers to her. His gaze had become more and more heated as her mouth accidentally sucked on his fingers or her tongue licked along his skin. And she was sure he was going to explode when her teeth had nibbled the tip of his finger. But Eric remained the perfect gentleman, save for the obvious erection in his pants that he needed to adjust before watching the second half of the ballet. As Sookie watched The Nutcracker, she laid her head against his shoulder and linked her fingers with his, completely and utterly happy, blissfully unaware of the minds battering against her shields thanks to Eric’s silence.
After the show, Eric whisked her away to a late dinner at La Nuit Noire, a posh restaurant that you needed reservations six months in advance to get in. Of course, Eric walked right in without a reservation and was shown to a private room for their use. After sampling the finest French cuisine had to offer, Eric led her back to the limousine. Sookie had rested in the comfort of Eric’s arms, as he pressed soft kisses along her hair and neck. They weren’t meant to stir her passions, they were to show how much he loved her, treasured her, and valued her above all others. Sookie nestled against his chest, feeling completely content.
She must have dozed off on the ride home because the next thing she remembers is Eric’s lips on hers. “Wake up Sleeping Beauty,” Eric murmurs against her lips. Sookie blinks sleepily, bringing Eric’s handsome face in focus. He is looking down at her softly, his blue eyes twinkling with love. “We’re home,” he whispers placing another kiss against her lips.
When Eric pulls back, Sookie lifts her arms up, stretches, and yawns cutely. He smiles and chuckles, finding her completely adorable. Eric opens the door and climbs out of the car. He looks around to make sure everything is as it should be before reaching his hand in to help Sookie exit.
She reaches for his hand, laughing as she climbs awkwardly out of the car. “They make it look so easy on the red carpet. I feel like I have a bell around my hips. How the hell did women ever do this on a daily basis?” Sookie smiles up at Eric, thanking him for helping her out of the car as gracefully as possible. Eric links his fingers with hers, tugging her around the vehicle towards the house. Sookie’s eyes are on the ground, her mind a riot of thoughts of what’s going to happen next. She and Eric haven’t been intimate since he had been without his memories. They had come close the night before but no cigar. Her cheeks flame as she thinks tonight might have a decidedly more pleasurable outcome.
Eric can feel the lust through their bond and wishes he can reciprocate, but there is one more gift for Sookie to receive tonight. It is after midnight, making it Christmas Eve, the eleventh night of Christmas. He nods his head, indicating it’s time for Sookie’s next present to begin.
Sookie gasps as the sounds of Silent Night fill the air. Her head whips up to look at the group of eleven carolers dressed in authentic Victorian period costume with faux snow swirling in the air. Eric wraps his arms around Sookie’s waist from behind, his hands resting on her stomach to pull her back against his chest. “I don’t know about you, but I had no interest in eleven pipers piping. I thought this would be far more fitting,” he says resting his head on top of hers. “Merry Christmas Sookie,” he leans down to whisper in her ear before placing a kiss on her exposed shoulder. Eric moves out from behind her, leading her over to the area he’d had staged outdoors. There is a fur rug, settee for the two of them to sit on, a roaring fire, and a table beside the couch with a mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream and a peppermint stick for Sookie to enjoy. Eric wraps a plush velvet blanket around Sookie’s shoulders before pulling her in his arms to enjoy the carolers beside a roaring fire with the snow falling around them.
Sookie nestles against Eric’s body enjoying this wonderful display of the holiday season. Eric had done so much to show her how much he loves her. It’s time that she returns the favor.
Christmas Eve begins with Sookie once again waking up in Eric’s arms inside the cubby. She wishes she could snuggle in Eric’s arms but she has things to do. She has a Christmas present to plan! While she had lounged in Eric’s arms listening to the carolers, she had thought long and hard about what to get for her vampire. It has to be something spectacular; something he will never be able to give himself. She wants to do this because he has done so much for her in these last two weeks. It’s not about the gifts, though she has appreciated each one. These last eleven days have proven to Sookie that Eric really loves her for her. It isn’t just about lust, though there is plenty of that. Sookie blushes furiously as she thinks of how Eric had enjoyed helping her undress before they went to bed. It had been necessary after all; she wouldn’t have been able to get out of that dress on her own. And those stockings and garters are trickier than you would think. She would have been stuck in them all night if it hadn’t been for Eric’s careful ministrations and tender touch. Her blush deepens when she thinks of how attentive Eric had been.
“Just you wait Cowboy,” Sookie says pressing a kiss to Eric’s chest. “I hope you like what I’ve got planned for you tonight.” With a last kiss to Eric’s chest, she wiggles her way out of his arms. She rushes out of the cubby, securely locking the doors behind her before scampering upstairs to shower. She’s got errands to run before Jason and the others show up for Christmas Eve dinner and she’s got to see someone about Eric’s last gift.
Eric’s eyes snap open to the sounds of Christmas carols and Sookie’s off-key singing ringing in his ears. He chuckles when he realizes the daydream he’d had of her was correct: she can’t carry a tune in a bucket with the lid on it. He hurries to dress in the spare clothing Bobby had included in his garment bag and removes Sookie’s last present from his inner coat pocket. He sits down on the bed as he gazes at the final present. Eric gazes at the jewelry box with a faraway look in his eyes. This is something he had commissioned with the jeweler the night he’d began planning his twelve days of Christmas, and Bobby had included it in the garment bag as Eric had requested. If Sookie agrees to this, there will be no going back for either of them. He now realizes that an existence without Sookie is a fate worse than the True Death. He will never let her go again.
Whatever she is cooking in the kitchen actually smells appealing to him. Cinnamon, apples, and sugar are the strongest scents but there is also the fainter smells of honey and vanilla. Eric realizes he’d never asked Sookie what her plans were for Christmas Eve. He’s sure that she will want to spend time with her brother and friends between today and tomorrow, but where does that leave him? And what of his own progeny? Pam will kill him if he misses Christmas with her, not that she doesn’t already know what she is getting. She’d sent him a detailed email stating that only the items on the list she’d provided were acceptable gifts. Brat, he chuckled with humor. He should have given her only items purchased at the Dollar Store instead of buying her what she all but demanded. As it was, he used the cheapest, gaudiest wrapping paper he could find knowing that she would cringe with horror at having to touch it. Knowing his progeny as he does, she’s probably wrapped his presents in Thor wrapping paper to annoy him. It’s alright; he already has her punishment in place and can’t wait to see it set in motion on New Year’s Eve.
Eric’s cell phone buzzes with a new text message.
Sookie: Merry Christmas Eric!
Eric: Merry Christmas to you Lover. Come down here so I can greet you properly.
He chuckles as he hears the sound of scampering feet heading towards his cubby doors. Eric moves towards the ladder so he can watch Sookie’s backside as the muscles tighten and release as she climbs down the steps. Sookie’s head is the first thing to peak through when she opens the cubby door. She smiles down at him happily before quickly squeezing her body in the tight space and pulling the door closed. Eric watches hungrily as she climbs down the few steps, suddenly feeling the need to have her body wrapped around his as they find ecstasy in each other’s arms. Eric crowds her against the ladder when she is at the bottom, molding his larger frame against hers as he uses the rungs of the ladder to cage her in his arms. His lips capture hers in a kiss full of need and love.
Sookie lets herself get lost in the kiss for a few moments, surrendering her mouth to Eric’s voracious demands. When his hands slip under the hem of her red Christmas sweater is when Sookie tears her lips away from his.
“Nuh-uh Buster. I’ve got an apple pie in the oven and it needs to come out in a few minutes. I’m not gonna let it burn ’cause you want an appetizer before the main course.”
Eric stares at her dumbfounded for a moment as her words sink in. “Lover,” he says hoarsely, “what exactly are you saying?” There are a few ways her words can be taken and he wants there to be no misunderstanding between them.
Sookie blushes as she sweeps her eyes down from his intense gaze. “I just thought, maybe I could feed you later so you could have a Christmas meal you’d enjoy,” she mumbles shyly.
Eric lifts her chin so that he can look in her beautiful eyes. The emotion in her eyes makes the lighter flecks in her irises look gold. “I am humbled and honored that you wish to feed me,” Eric says his voice thick with emotion. Never before has he had Sookie’s blood when it hasn’t been because of extreme circumstances. He has had her blood a total of four times: twice the day he tricked Russell to meet the sun, once after the necromancer tried to have all vampires walk in the sun, and the last time after a possessed Lafayette tried to burn him at the stake. Though her blood has been offered to him freely three of the four times he has had it, he has longed to experience her blood under more pleasurable circumstances.
“That’s one of your Christmas presents,” she says with a sly smile.
“Lover you didn’t have to get me anything,” Eric admonishes.
She snorts in response. “Yeah right Buddy. You think I’m not gonna get you anything after all the wonderful things you’ve given me, you’ve got another thing coming. They may not be as fancy as what you’ve given me, but each gift does mean something to me.”
Eric squeezes her in his arms, touched beyond words that she has gotten him anything. “Thank you Lover. I will love them because they came from you.” Eric goes to kiss Sookie again, but an incessant beeping interrupts his plans.
“Oh, the pie! Let me outta here!” Sookie scampers up the ladder and hurries through the cubby door, slamming it shut with a resounding bang. Eric chuckles as he goes back to the bed, waiting for the sun to set so he can celebrate his first Christmas with his beloved.
When Eric finally is free of his light-tight surroundings, he walks in to what can only be described as a smorgasbord. Platters of food line the dining room table with more food waiting to be brought out from the kitchen. The strangest sight though was that of Jason Stackhouse sitting in the chair opposite the cubby waiting for him to rise.
“Hey man,” Jason says awkwardly as he rises from the chair with a beer in his hand. Eric nods his head at Jason, wondering where Sookie has run off to.
“Sook’s upstairs gettin’ changed. I mighta spilled gravy on her sweater by accident,” he says sheepishly. “But I wanted a chance to talk to ya. Man to man if you will,” he says gesturing between the two of them.
“What is it Jason?” Eric had mixed feelings about the elder Stackhouse sibling, but for Sookie he will try to tolerate him.
“I know I ain’t always been the best brother to Sook, but she’s all I got left and I want what’s best for her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her as happy as she’s been the last week or so, and I know its cause a’ you. So,” he extends his hand to Eric, “you’re alright in my book as long as you keep my sister happy.”
Eric puts his hand in Jason’s, not exactly comfortable with the human custom of shaking hands. When he would have pulled away, Jason squeezes his hand as tightly as he possibly can. “You hurt her though, and I’ll find a way ta kill ya!” Jason releases Eric’s hand and takes a long swallow of his beer before he wonders to the dining room where all the food is spread out.
“Jason Stackhouse don’t you dare touch any of that food!” Sookie’s voice drifts down the stairs in warning to her brother. Jason whines a bit as he sulks out of the dining room, though Eric notices he managed to snag a piece of pink colored meat. Jason looks at Eric and mouths “Not a word” to the vampire. Jason hurriedly chews the food as the sound of Sookie’s heels hitting the stairs fills the air. When she comes back in the room, Eric smiles with appreciation. She is wearing a black sheath dress with a red cardigan. No hose this time, but her legs look amazing with the black high heels on her feet. Eric has definite ideas of how to use those high heels to his advantage later.
Sookie walks towards Eric, giving him a quick kiss before stepping away. “I hope you don’t mind, but I invited Pam to join us. I didn’t know what y’all did for the holidays, but I thought you’d want her here. Not that you have to stay here if you have something else to do,” Sookie hurries to add. Eric silences her attempt at backpedaling by kissing her again.
“Thank you Lover. I will call her so she can bring her gifts here to open. Are you sure you want her here?”
“Eric, she’s your family. Of course she should be here,” Sookie says with a smile. She walks towards the dining room, slapping her brother in the head when walking past him.
“What the hell Sook?” Jason rubs the back of his head and looks at his sister outraged.
“That’s for the piece of ham you swiped from the table. I told you not to touch it,” she says loftily.
“You told her!” Jason turns his outrage on Eric who raises his hands in a gesture of peace.
“Jason, you were in the room the whole time. Did you hear him say anything?” Sookie rolls her eyes at her brother’s stupidity.
“Well then how’d ya know?” Jason looks perplexed as he glances at his sister.
Sookie rolls her eyes at her brother. “You were thinkin’ ’bout it so loud I’m pretty sure Eric could have heard you.”
Hours later, Sookie’s home is overflowing with friends and family. At first, Eric had felt wary of all the people who walked in the house, particularly since some of them have either tried to kill him or fight with him at some point in the not too recent past. However, no one was overly rude to him. In fact, the Were and the Shifter were actually cordial to him. Herveaux had even gone so far to say he was glad to see Eric pull his head out of his ass. The only tense moment was when Pam arrived and saw Tara in the house. Tara had returned to New Orleans after everything went down with the necromancer. She’d managed to patch things up with her girlfriend and had brought her back to Bon Temps to celebrate the holiday. But Tara and her girlfriend both were filled with terror when they saw Eric’s progeny. However, Pam had been the one to step up and say everything was in the past, saying to let bi-girls be bi-girls. Somehow, Jason hadn’t put it together that Tara was here with her girlfriend, but having heard that from Pam he is now trying to convince the two lesbians to let him be the meat in their pussy sandwich.
“I’m proud of you,” Eric tells his progeny when she makes her way to his side. He gives her a kiss on the forehead and lets his pride and happiness with her flood their bond.
Pam smirks. “Proud enough to let me have your credit card for the after Christmas sales?”
Eric shakes his head. “I think you have more than enough from your presents this evening. By the way, where are your presents?”
“I already opened them,” she says drily. At Eric’s raised eyebrow, she shrugs. “What? I was being practical and opened all of them at your house before moving them to mine. No sense bringing them all the way out here to take them all the way back,” she says as if it were the most sensible thing in the world. “Besides, I had to air everything out because it smells of cheap wrapping paper,” she says in disgust.
“And you didn’t think your maker would want to see you open the presents?” In truth, Eric doesn’t care, but he can’t let his brat off the hook so easily. “I should return everything because of your insolence,” Eric threatens.
“But you won’t,” Pam says confidently.
“What makes you say that?”
“You’ll see why later,” Pam smirks. “Sookie and I have a joint gift for you.” She slips an envelope in his hand. “This one is all from me though. And really it’s for both you and Sookie.”
Eric gestures for Sookie to join him. She slips away from the friends she is talking to and stops by her Christmas tree, picking up a small box from underneath the tree. She joins the two vampires, handing the silver-wrapped package with the red bow to Pam before wrapping her arms around Eric’s waist. “Hey Pam, thanks for coming. I got you a little something. I hope you like it.”
“Lover Pam got us a present,” he says raising the envelope in his hands for Sookie to see. Eric slides open the envelope and stares in puzzlement at the cashier’s check inside. With a furrowed brow, he shows the check to Sookie, whose eyes bug out of her head at the amount. “Pam, explain yourself. Why are you giving us a check?”
“I’m buying you out of Fangtasia. Now that you and Sookie are together, I figured the last thing you wanted to do was spend your time sitting on a throne enthralling the vermin. And I can’t imagine Sookie wants to watch the vermin throwing themselves at you. You can still use the office for area business until you find a better place or you can keep it there if you like. I thought this was something you would both want,” she says with a shrug as the new couple stand shell-shocked.
“Damn, all I got her was a bottle of perfume,” Sookie says after the shock wears off. She rushes Pam, squeezing the female vampire in an enthusiastic hug. Pam stands stock still, unsure of what to do with the fairy hugging her tightly. If it was anyone but her maker’s mate, she would either drain them dry or cop a feel. Actually . . .
“Don’t even think of putting that hand where it’s heading,” Eric growls out as Sookie releases his progeny from her embrace. Sookie smiles seeing Pam’s half outraged, half pouting expression. Eric looks at his progeny with unnamed emotion swirling in his eyes. “Pamela, I do not know what to say,” he begins though his voice trails off as gratitude for her thoughtful gift rises up to choke him.
“Remember that gratitude when you see your American Express bill next month,” Pam says with a smirk.
By the time the last guests leave Sookie’s home, it is nearly midnight. As time dragged on, Eric had become more and more impatient for everyone to leave because he was salivating at the thought of feeding from Sookie. His fangs have been aching for the last hour at the thought of Sookie’s divine taste once again on his lips. With the last guest gone, Eric had dimmed the lights in the living room and built up a fire while Sookie finished the last of the dishes. Eric sits with unbridled anticipation as he waits for Sookie to join him on the couch.
Sookie turns off the light in the kitchen, carrying a glass of wine in her hand as she moves to sit beside Eric on the couch. He pulls her close, capturing her lips in a tender kiss, her lips part with a sigh letting his tongue sweep inside to taste the sweetness of the wine. Eric moans softly and shifts on the couch, moving to push Sookie back against the cushions.
“Wait,” she says breathlessly. “You haven’t opened your presents yet,” she says as she wiggles out of his grasp.
“There’s only one present I want to unwrap at the moment,” Eric says with a slight growl.
Sookie shivers in anticipation as his growled words go straight to her pleasure center. She wants nothing more than to rip the clothes from his body and again feel the pleasure that only Eric has brought her. But she has a plan, and she needs to stick with it. It will not be much longer, a half hour more at the most.
Sookie walks to the Christmas tree, retrieving the last three presents under it. She places the three presents on the cushion beside Eric and steps back nervously. “Merry Christmas Eric. Open the big box first.”
Eric grasps the box in his hands and shakes it slightly. Despite his blasé attitude, Eric loves presents! Before this night, it has been a long time since someone had surprised him with presents. Usually the presents Pam gave him were the latest designer fashions, nothing that really excited him. Eager to see what his beloved has gotten him, Eric tears through the wrapping and flings the box open. Sookie laughs at his apparent glee and laughs harder when she sees his puzzlement over the light blue cashmere sweater in his hands.
“I thought you looked exceptionally handsome when you were wearing that in Jackson,” Sookie says with a blush. “I like the way it brings out the blue of your eyes.”
“Thank you. I will wear it for you soon,” Eric says with a smile. He reaches for the watch-sized box and shakes it too, perplexed by the sound of metal hitting glass inside it. Like before, Eric rips through the packaging like the Tasmanian Devil until he is holding a glass vial containing a flattened silver bullet. Eric turns confused eyes to Sookie. “Lover?”
“That’s one of the bullets I sucked out of you in Dallas,” Sookie says solemnly.
“You kept it? Why?”
Sookie shrugs. “I don’t know, but it seemed important at the time. I think even then a part of me knew that I cared about you. That’s why it hurt so much to learn you’d tricked me.”
“I hated not knowing you were in danger,” Eric says darkly. “I know you hated me for doing it, but I was desperate. I needed, even then, to know you were safe.”
“I know,” Sookie says softly. “I figured it out eventually,” she says squeezing his hand. “I’m giving it back to you now so that you will know I will do everything in my power to keep you safe,” Sookie vows.
Eric leans forward, bestowing a gentle kiss on Sookie’s lips. “And I will do the same for you,” he says resting his forehead against hers. The only sound for the next few minutes is the crackling of the fire and the deep breaths Sookie pulls into her chest. Eric is content to rub his face against Sookie’s, letting the feel of her skin and her scent soothe him as he tries to bring his rioting emotions under control. Her words have humbled him and he feels so much love for the wondrous woman in his arms that he fears he is drowning in it.
“You still have one more gift to open,” Sookie says softly, gesturing to the last flat package on the table. Eric places a kiss on Sookie’s lips before leaning back against the sofa cushions. Sookie hands him the box, her tiny hands shaking slightly as he takes the package from her. Eric ponders what could be inside the box no bigger than a bracelet given the amount of weight to it. This present he does not rip through the wrapping paper; instead he takes his time because he can sense that it is extremely important to Sookie. He wonders why there is nervousness coming through their bond. When he gets through the paper, he finds a black velvet box like one would for jewelry. But Eric knows there is no jewelry inside; now that the paper is off he can sense magic coming from the package and not just any magic but Fae magic. Carefully, Eric opens the box to reveal an ornate dagger with a gold hilt and jewels embedded in the handle. Eric’s lips part as he looks at the beautiful weapon. This weapon isn’t designed for battle; it is designed for a ritual of some sort.
“While you were gone, I met more of my Fae kin,” Sookie begins softly. “Well, I’d already met one of them while I was in the Fae realm, but that’s a different story,” she says waving off Eric’s curiosity. “My cousin Claude introduced me to the patriarch of our Fae line. He’s my great-grandfather actually: Niall Brigant.”
“Prince of the Sky Fae,” Eric states bemused.
Sookie scrunches her nose up in annoyance. “Yeah he mentioned that a few times and said that makes me royalty too. I told him where he could stick that where the sun don’t shine,” she says heatedly which causes Eric to chuckle.
“Anyway, Niall explained a lot of things to me, things I should have known all along; things about how the Supernatural world works.” Sookie looks angry for a moment and Eric has a sinking feeling that some, if not all, of that anger is directed at him. “He told me all the effects of vampire blood in my body, and what my Fae blood means to a vampire. He also explained to me the difference between a blood tie and a blood bond. He could sense that I had a blood bond with one vampire and a tie with yet another. Grandfather offered me the option of having both threads severed,” Sookie says gravely.
“But you didn’t,” Eric states though it is really more of a question. If she could have been rid of all vampire entanglement, why hadn’t she?
“I got rid of the tie with Bill,” she says with disgust. “Niall explained he should have never given me his blood after having formed the bond with you. He said it was a blood offense and that’s why my body worked so hard to reject it. The only reason my body finally accepted it was because I was dyin’.”
“I wanted to come to you; I felt your pain as if it were my own. But the witch . . .” Eric’s voice trails off as Sookie places her finger over his lips and shushes him softly.
“I know Eric,” she says with a soft smile. However her smile fades and she drops her finger from his lips. “Did you mean to bond with me that day in the cubby?”
Eric nods his head. “I meant what I said. We would be one,” he says with conviction.
“And I turned my back on what we started,” Sookie says sadly. “I didn’t know what it meant, why I was aching for you when we were apart. When you were in New Orleans, I thought the pain was gonna kill me. Niall did something to help lessen my pain but it didn’t go away; he couldn’t fix a broken heart. And then when Bill told me . . .” Her voice trails off as her eyes fill with tears and she works hard to bring her emotions under control.
“Sookie, I’m sorry,” Eric begins only to have Sookie interrupt him.
“I’m sorry,” she says in earnest. “I have no one to blame but myself. Then when you came back I thought maybe you would come see me, but you didn’t. I thought maybe it was over for good,” she whispers brokenly and Eric feels her pain in the bond. He wishes he could take it all away, erase their separation from both of their memories. He even wishes he could go back in time to the night she rejected him so he could follow after her, arguing with her that they were meant to be; that this was not a passing fancy. He would have kidnapped her if he had to so that she would finally see reason and accept that he loves her.
But then a smile lights up her face and he feels warmth and happiness through the bond. “But then you wrote me that letter and gave me a gift that was from the heart. You’ve shown me these last twelve nights that you love all of me, even when I’m being a pain in the ass,” she says with a watery smile. “You get me, even when I don’t always understand myself. So that’s why I would like to give you this last present.”
Sookie expels a large breath before continuing. “It’s not always going to be easy, and I’m sure that some sort of danger is lurking right around the corner, but I can’t envision spending my life without you. So I’m asking you, Eric Northman, if you will complete the bond with me and be my pledged mate. The dagger you are holding belongs to my family. Niall said that when a Fae takes a mate, it is for eternity and they share their light. Since we can’t really do that, he said he would be honored if we used the family dagger to complete our bond and also use it during our pledging ceremony,” Sookie says with a blush.
Eric stares at her dumbfounded for a moment. He is completely in shock. Then the most wondrous feeling of joy spreads through him. He feels lighter than he ever has before, as if the weight of his thousand-year journey has been erased. He smiles jubilantly before erupting in laughter. Sookie stares at him in confusion. She knows he isn’t laughing at her or what she said, but she can’t for the life of her figure out what is so funny about this.
Still chuckling, Eric reaches inside his jacket to retrieve her present. He hands her the small box and she stares at it quizzically. “Open it,” he says with a smile. “I think you’ll find your answer in there.”
With her brow still furrowed, Sookie bends her head to begin unwrapping the tiny box. What could possibly be inside the box that would give her an answer? The size of the box makes unwrapping it difficult, and Sookie fights with the tape and paper. She looks to Eric for help, but he shakes his head, indicating that this time she has to fight the evil wrapping paper all on her own. With a huff, Sookie finally fights her way through the paper to find a black velvet box. There are no designer logos on the box this time, so she legitimately doesn’t know what to expect.
When she flips open the lid, Sookie gasps in awe. She asks in a hushed tone, “What is this?”
“I believe humans refer to that as an engagement ring,” Eric says in a teasing voice. Sookie gasps again as she locks eyes briefly with Eric before returning her attention to the ring nestled in its velvet holder. When she continues to stare in shock, Eric begins explaining the significance of the ring to her. “There are twelve stones in your ring, because tonight is the twelfth night. I wanted you to have a ring that has meaning to the both of us,” he says softly as he plucks the box out of Sookie’s hands. Picking the ring up, Eric grabs Sookie’s left hand which is still in midair as if she continues to hold the box. With a sense of certainty and rightness, he slides the ring down her finger. He holds her hand as they both watch the diamonds reflect the firelight.
“Lover as usual you surprise me. I had an entire speech rehearsed in my head, but you beat me to the punch,” he says with a rueful smile. “I love you Sookie. Will you be my bonded, my pledged, and my wife?” Eric looks at her with eyes filled with hope and love.
Sookie shakes her head enthusiastically before shouting, “Yes!!!!” Eric laughs as he rises to his feet, pulling Sookie in his arms as his lips descend to claim hers. Her hands fist in his hair as his hands settle along the small of her back. The passionate embrace they share burns hotter than the flames of the fire. Eric’s hands push against Sookie’s cardigan trying to force it down her arms without success since her hands are grabbing his neck and shoulders. When Eric’s hands move as if to tear the offensive garment from her, Sookie jumps out of his embrace.
“None of that Cowboy; I happen to like this sweater and dress.” Eric growls his displeasure at having her out of his arms, and reaches for her again. Sookie dances out of his reach and moves towards the stairs. “I have one more gift for you, but I’m gonna need a few minutes. You stay here though,” she says pointing to the sofa. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” She waits for Eric to comply with her request before hurrying up the stairs, her heels clicking loudly against the floor.
Eric sits impatiently on the lumpy piece of furniture as requested, his hands flexing repeatedly as he tries to keep his desire in check. All he wants to do is fly up the stairs and pin Sookie against the nearest surface as he enters her body. Then at the moment when they are both ready to fall over the edge, he wants to complete the second bond, torpedoing them into that euphoric state of ecstasy where anything is possible. And when that high fades, he wants to do it again, completing the bond that will truly make them one.
The sound of Sookie’s heels on the stairs again has Eric straightening from his slumped position on the couch. He is curious about what this gift is. How does she think to top the gift of agreeing to be his? And what of the gift that Pam helped Sookie with?
Sookie has descended the stairs and walks with slow, purposeful strides towards the living room. When she appears in the doorway, Eric’s fangs drop and he growls hungrily at his present. Sookie walks forward seductively, an extra sway in her hips. She is wearing the heels that Eric had fantasized about earlier and nothing else save for twelve red ribbons wrapped strategically around her body with a large red bow covering her womanhood.
Sookie winks saucily at Eric as she stands with a hand on her hip. “Pam brought me the ribbon. She said presentation is everything. So Mr. Northman, would you like to unwrap your present?” Sookie’s throaty laughter fills the air as Eric launches himself at her, wanting very much to unwrap his present so he can enjoy what’s underneath.
It’s the first of many Christmases for Mr. and Mrs. Northman, but it is by far the most memorable.
~ The End