“What has you so worried min dotter?” Eric pauses in the act of searching for clothes to stare with worry at me. I’m distracted from my temporary panic by his body. He is giving me the side view so I am able to see the front and back. Eric is simply magnificent; long, lean lines with muscles that came from years of hard work, not any type of exercise regimen. But that behind . . . and what’s in front . . . thank the Lord I can’t blush now! I am both fascinated and repelled by his body. My body is telling me to offer myself to him yet my mind is screaming at me to rebuff him. This is Eric Northman we are talking about; he’s deceitful and he let me walk into a trap to save Godric. He did horrible things to Lafayette, and I know somehow he is to blame for Bill having turned Jessica.
Has he ever hurt you? Didn’t he offer to sacrifice himself for you and Godric? He tried to save your life and when he couldn’t, he turned you so you would still be here. Telepathy isn’t enough of a reason for him to tie himself to you for eternity.
I hate to admit it the bitch has a point though! This is all so confusing!
During my internal struggle, Eric managed to dress in a black sweater and pair of pants. The all black combination makes him look imposing and authoritative, but sexy as hell.
“I feel your struggles Sookie,” he comments with a wry smile. “As a vampire all of your senses are heightened. You will think and feel more quickly, which will cause you to have sudden shifts in mood. It is natural to feel unfocused and without discipline. As your maker, it is my duty to guide you. Think of me as your teacher; I will not steer you wrong,” he vows fervently.
“I don’t think I can trust you,” I admit softly. Vampires, well other than Bill and Jessica, do not show reactions unless it’s lust or anger. So when Eric flinches at my words, it’s a huge reaction for him. His pain makes its way through the bond and I am about to apologize for my words even though they are true when it feels as if a door has slammed shut and then I feel nothing at all from him. The nothingness makes my pain feel like a knife stabbing my heart; it is unlike anything I have ever experienced. It is debilitating and I sway under its power.
Eric’s strong hands grasp my upper arms and I feel slightly comforted by his touch. He pulls me against his chest, wrapping his arms around me. One hand strokes my back while the other cradles my head. My pain only subsides when I feel his emotions drift over me like a soft breeze; I sense remorse and concern.
“Forgive me,” Eric murmurs against my hair. “I have forgotten how intense a newly formed bond is between a maker and child. It has been a century since I forged my bond with Pam; ten since Godric made me his companion. However I think our connection is stronger due to your telepathic ability,” Eric explains.
“Why couldn’t I feel you? Why did it feel like I was dyin’?” His touch isn’t warm but there isn’t the temperature difference I used to notice with Bill. But his touch is more comforting than if Bill were to hold me like this. If I’m honest, being held like this, by Eric even, feels safer than when Gran held me.
It feels right. My body seems to sigh into his and I feel cherished.
That frightens me.
“A maker is in charge of the relationship with his or her progeny; there is no equality,” Eric begins calmly but his words raise my hackles and I fight to free myself from his hold.
“So I’m your slave?” This is the twenty-first century! There is no way I’m letting someone control me. I have rights! I’m an American!
Eric remains unphased by my temper tantrum. “There are those that would treat you as such. But I have never, nor will I ever, treat any of my progeny like a slave. Pam has been my companion; my mother, sister, and daughter.”
“I don’t understand.” He keeps taking the wind out of my sails, leaving me deflated.
“It’s an idea that Godric presented me with over a millennium ago,” Eric says wistfully. I cannot begin to fathom everything he has seen and done. It is intimidating actually. What on Earth does Eric see in me? If I’m honest with myself, he makes me feel inferior and inadequate; compared to him I feel insignificant. How can a barmaid from a backwoods town in Louisiana fascinate him so much?
“Before this conversation continues, I think you should dress. The sight of you wrapped only in this sheet is . . . distracting.” Eric smirks at me. Shit! I’d forgotten I only had the sheet around me.
“But I don’t have any clothes here. Where is here by the way?”
Eric opens a door revealing a closet. All of my dresses I brought with me to Dallas are hanging inside. “Here is a safe house of Godric’s that no one else knows of. Property records show the home belongs to a Mr. and Mrs. Smith; they are the caretakers that Godric has glamoured to take care of the property. We are about an hour south of Dallas. We thought somewhere remote, away from the media circus that has become Dallas. As for your things, Godric retrieved them from the hotel while you and I were indisposed.”
He strides to the opposite side of the room, pressing his thumb against a keypad. A panel of the wall slides up to reveal a staircase leading upstairs. “I will leave you to dress. Meet me upstairs when you are ready. I will have more blood for you. Do not take too long; there are others anxious to see you.”
I’m left chuckling to myself as I think of how tech savvy most vampires are; makes me wonder if I’ll ever catch on. I can’t even figure out my cell phone, and don’t even get me started on how I can’t use a computer!
Another thing to add to the list of things that make Sookie feel stupid!
Now that I am alone in the room, I feel free to snoop around. As I saw when I rose, the room is utilitarian: bed, closet, kitchenette, and bathroom. I know Eric said to be quick, but I need a shower. I don’t feel right starting the day, err night now, without one. I guess it doesn’t matter too much anymore; it’s not like I’m gonna sweat and get dirty.
Going straight to the shower, I turn on the water, not waiting for it to heat up. I want to know how different it feels now that I’m a vampire. There was no temperature difference between Eric and me so his touch felt normal. I want to know what cold and hot will feel like now. Bill never really talked about how things felt other than to say that holding me in his arms made him warmer.
With an unnecessary sigh, I reach for the shampoo and begin to wash my hair. There is so much to take in; I don’t know where to begin. Eric asked me for time and I will give it to him. I may not have wanted this existence, but I never wanted to be a telepath either. Gran always said to make the best of the hand God dealt you. I don’t know if I am meant to be a vampire; if it doesn’t work out, Eric said he would let me go.
Eric didn’t want to let you go. If Bill loved you so much, where was he when you needed him most? Why is Eric the one protecting you? Even Godric has placed himself in harm’s way on more than one occasion for you. Where has Bill been?
It’s hard to have an argument with yourself when you can’t refute a damn thing your subconscious says. What’s more startling to me are my lukewarm feelings towards Bill. It’s not that I’m indifferent towards him, but I don’t have this all-encompassing love inside me anymore. I am not consumed with thoughts of Bill. I can’t even say I feel the fascination for him that I did the night we met.
Ok, maybe I am indifferent to him.
No, that’s not true. I’m pissed off where Bill Compton is concerned. Where the fuck is he? If he loves me so much, if I’m his miracle, then shouldn’t he have been the first one in line trying to save me? Wouldn’t he have been the one to want to turn me?
My fangs have popped out again, slicing through the soft flesh of my lip. The taste of my blood doesn’t satisfy me, but it does make me crave blood. Dear Lord, am I gonna be hungry like this all the time? It’s kinda annoying. I can’t focus on anything else now except my thirst. That’s not true; it’s like my brain is now partitioned off and can focus on many things at once. Part of my brain has been engaged in the physical pleasure that my hands and the water are causing all over my body. I can feel every bead of water as it hits my skin, and it is incredibly erotic. The drops of water pulse against my skin before sliding down it like a lover’s caress, causing me to feel needy. The differences in temperature are another stimulant, pushing me closer to the edge. The shower head has different settings; and I’ve found one that feels like a vibration against my back and chest.
I wonder what it will feel like in other places.
DO IT! We need to release some of this tension. Unless you plan on fucking your maker or a donor tonight. Maybe both.
I’m not ready to have sex with a nameless donor; Gran’s voice is in the back of my head going on and on about how sex is something to be shared between two people who care for each other. As for my maker . . . part of me has screamed for me to climb him like a tree and swing from his branch. My body and psyche crave that connection, that closeness. But that’s the magic between us talking. I don’t have to give into that urge; Jessica’s never been compelled towards Bill that way. The question is do I want to give into it.
I don’t know the answer to that.
You were fascinated with Eric the first time you saw him. There was an attraction there, you felt hypnotized by him.
But then it was like a bucket of ice water had been thrown on me, and I felt fear. It wasn’t my fear. I don’t know where it came from. One minute I was bantering with Eric; the next I feared for my life. It’s like someone else was in control of me.
BINGO!!! She finally gets it! Tell her what she’s won Johnny!
If I could slap the taste outta my mouth, I would. Is it vampire blood that’s made my inner voice this snarky?
Nope. It was vampire blood that snuffed me out. Now that we are a vampire, we can’t be controlled by blood any longer. Our maker can control us through our bond, nothing else.
But . . .
So that means . . .
He . . .
All thoughts of sexual gratification are forgotten in the face of my rage. In my haste and inability to control my newly acquired strength, I shatter the glass door of the shower stall when it slams shut behind me. The sound of the glass breaking and then shattering against the floor sounds ten times louder than it used to. I register that fact but continue on my path for answers. Throwing on the first outfit I find, I race upstairs in search of answers to my questions.
But I already know it.
Bill Compton controlled me through his blood in my body. Everything was a lie.
Eric’s gonna have to get in line when it comes time to killing Bill. I’m calling dibs!
“Did Bill Compton control me with his blood?” It seems I have adjusted the vampire custom of getting to the heart of the matter quickly without the niceties of greeting those around me. I had rushed upstairs to find Eric and Godric sitting perfectly still in their respective seats, no words being spoken between them. My sudden appearance in the room caused both vampires to blink as if coming out of a catatonic state. Eric immediately rises, going towards the kitchen to heat more blood for me. I impatiently wait the forty-one seconds (yes, I timed it) it takes for him to heat the blood, pour it in a glass, and bring it to me.
“Drink,” he commands. His tone softens at my raised eyebrow. “It will help with your control. You are like a hummingbird flying rapidly from one flower to the next.” Understanding his rationale, I take the goblet, draining it in three gulps.
“More?” Eric takes the glass as I lick the remnants from my lips and teeth. His eyes blaze with lust as they focus on my tongue and lips. I shake my head no and look at him expectantly. In a way, it’s kinda funny; Eric keeps giving me blood like Jason used to try and force chocolate and ice cream on me when I was upset.
Oh shit! Jason?!?!?!?!
Focus Sookie! One thing at a time; Bill first, then Jason, and everything else will come after.
“Tell me,” I beg.
“Yes,” Eric says simply though there is a wealth of emotion behind the one word. I stagger back under the weight of his simple declaration. It was all a fucking lie! I’m pissed, hurt, betrayed, enraged, vengeful, and any other thing you can think of to describe a pissed off woman . . . vampire. You get the point!
Eric grasps my shoulders, forcing me to focus on him. “I am sorry to see you suffer like this,” he offers in sympathy.
“Oh I ain’t suffering’, but he will be if I ever see him again!”
My attention shifts to Godric when he chuckles. It is a deep, rich sound that sounds strange coming from him. “She is well-suited to you my child. It seems you have chosen well again.”
“I can feel you,” I whisper in wonder. I look back and forth between Godric and Eric in confusion. “Are you both my makers?” This could get awkward.
Godric looks thoughtful as he regards me and Eric. “I have never heard of such a phenomenon though anything is possible with magic. However, I do not feel connected to you as I do Eric. The connection is not as faint as what I feel with Pamela. Perhaps that is due to our proximity to each other. The night of the bombing, I too used my blood to heal you, but I did not allow you to ingest it. I spread it over the worst of your injuries just as Eric did. It was only when we felt you fading that Eric gave you blood to swallow.”
“How badly was I injured?” I swallow uncomfortably thinking how close to death I was. Granted I am technically dead now, but if Eric hadn’t done what he did, I would be lying in a coffin in the ground and not standing in a living room having a conversation.
A pained expression crosses Eric’s face. “Ask me anything but that,” he whispers. “As I said, you would have died. I chose to turn you.”
“What about Jason?” I file away the knowledge that my final death would have hurt Eric. He felt that strongly before we were bound together as maker and child. There must be something more than a physical attraction or desire to steal Bill’s playmate.
Don’t think about Bill; it’ll only rile you up again. He’ll get his when the time comes. Maybe Pam and I can use it as a bonding experience.
“He knows; he has been here the entire time,” Godric responds with an amused tone. “Your brother has been most anxious for you to rise. He asked me the previous evening if there was any way to speed up the turning process. I do not understand why he asked if we were going to bake you. He wanted to know if we turned up the temperature if it would help cook you faster.”
Both of the elder vampires look at me with worry as I laugh hysterically. Leave it to my brother to think making a vampire is like making a baby. Bun in the oven indeed!
“Well where is he?” Eric had left and returned with a damp cloth in his hand to wash the evidence of my humor from my face. He holds my chin with one hand while gently wiping the blood tears from my face. His eyes shine with affection as he takes care of me. It’s an intimate gesture and leaves me feeling shy under his watchful gaze. My body hums with energy at the contact and I lean into his touch, craving more.
“Jason is outside. He was worried he would make things harder for you if he remained inside. Godric warned him that vampires are attracted to both of you because you smell better than the average human. Use your senses to find him.” Eric looks at me expectantly, testing me. With a sigh, I close my eyes so that I can focus and hold myself still.
It’s the coolest damn thing! You know about night vision goggles, radar, and infrared imaging? They have nothing on vampire senses. It’s like I can tell how far away Jason is because of his heartbeat alone. It also helps that he’s making an awful lot of noise outside.
Damn it Sook, hurry up! I ain’t getting’ any younger out here!
Yup, still a telepath, though it is different now. I can actively see the shields guarding my mind, except they aren’t shields at all. My mind is like a series of walls, doors, and windows. I can open everything up to let all the noise in or I can pick what I want open. With Jason’s thoughts, it’s like he knocked on a door and I had to open it to let him in.
This is fascinating!
I wish I’d had this mastery as a human; life would have been so much easier. Think of everything I could have done with my brain then, instead of being labeled as “Crazy Sookie”.
“Eric, think something to me,” I say with a combination of dread and excitement as I hold his hand. Before I had only glimpses into vampire minds; once with Eric after Long Shadow’s blood had gotten in me and once with Stan the first night I’d been in Dallas. If I can hear all vampire minds now that will definitely spell trouble for us. Not only would I be hunted but my vampire bloodline would be targeted as well. The thought of anyone hurting Eric or Godric makes my fangs itch.
You are a truly magnificent vampire, min vackra Sookie.
“What is min vackra?” Elation and despair war inside me.
“My beautiful Sookie,” he answers with a roughened voice. He brings our joined hands to his lips, kissing my hand before letting it go and taking a step back. “Try again. I know that touch enhances the ease of your ability.”
I nod my head before closing my eyes. Opening the door once again, I wait to see if my curse has truly condemned me.
You have nothing to fear. I will protect you until I meet my True Death. None shall harm you ever again, kära en. I swear on Godric.
I gasp as my eyes fly open in surprise. Eric is staring at me intently; the bond between us overflows with emotion. I again stagger backwards under the weight of it. I never knew he felt so much. I thought him cold and heartless, but the man before me has depth that I never expected. His emotions towards me are so strong; devotion, concern, attraction, and strength. There is a sense of duty and honor behind his feelings that I never would have credited Eric with having. I thought only his maker inspired such emotions in him; I was wrong.
I have misjudged him. I was a fool to let Bill cloud my judgment. Gran always said never to judge a book by its cover and that’s exactly what I did.
I am ashamed of myself and try to turn away from Eric, but Godric is there to keep me from fleeing.
“Do not judge yourself for things out of your control,” Godric chastises me. “You cannot control what you did under Mr. Compton’s influence. It matters now how you act since you are under your own free will.”
“You heard all that in our heads?” Is Godric also telepathic? Why didn’t anyone tell me?
The vampire always so serious chuckles again and it transforms his face, making him look like a mischievous teenager instead of a man defeated by at least a hundred lifetimes of experience. It makes Godric extremely attractive and I feel a thrill shoot through me. Godric must sense something, as does Eric, because Godric releases me the same time a snarl erupts from Eric’s chest.
“No lilla, but I felt both of you through our bonds.” You must forget the past if you are to move forward, he adds silently.
“This is bad. I can hear you both,” I say with worry.
“We will say nothing about your enhanced telepathy. As your maker, I command you to only admit you can hear humans and the two-natured when questioned by anyone other than Godric or myself about your telepathy,” Eric responds in an authoritative voice. As soon as the words leave his lips, it feels as if a steel lock slams into place on the portion of my brain enabling me to converse about my telepathy and only Eric and Godric have the key.
Well that’s convenient.
“Now, let’s go outside and greet your brother.” Godric guides us towards the door leading to the back patio of the house. “He had a most interesting idea earlier on how to dampen the appeal of his scent.” Godric’s eyes once again light up with humor, making his eyes seem more green than gray. His mouth twists in a carefree smile and his cheeks have a light pinkish hue. He is attractive, far more appealing than the somber, lifeless gray vampire I first met. His beauty is less in your face than Eric’s but no less potent. Thank God I can no longer blush! What would they say if they knew I was attracted to both of them? Eric’s hand presses against the small of my back, guiding me outside. I feel amusement coming from him and my eyes widen in comprehension.
Dumbass, they know what we’re thinking. Bonds remember?
Eric and Godric both chuckle as I’m pushed gently out the door. I round on them, ready to blast them for laughing at me but I freeze in horror. For once my subconscious and I are on the same page.
What the fuck is that smell?!?!?!
IT smells like skunk, manure, sour milk, and rotting fish all in one. If I could gag, I would. I turn around quickly, looking for the source of the offensive scent, but the only thing I see is Jason standing nervously on the other side of the pool.
“Hiya Sis!” Jason waves at me, giving me a small smile. I can tell he is unsure of how to react. Well that makes two of us.
“Hey Jason,” I call softly with a smile of my own. I turn back to Eric, looking and feeling scared about myself. “Don’t let me hurt him,” I plead. It will kill me if I did something to damage my brother.
“You won’t,” Eric reassures me. “Go. Greet your brother. He’s been worried about you. Show him you haven’t changed; you’re simply more.”
More . . . interesting way to look at it. With a shrug, I use my newfound speed to run to my brother. However, I stop short because the smell on this side of the pool is debilitating.
“Whoa,” Jason says with a start. I guess knowing I am a vampire and seeing it are two different things. My face falls thinking he is going to rebuff me. I can’t bear to look in his thoughts and hear that I disgust him or that he despises me. Eric glowers at Jason, ready to protect me even from my kin.
But Jason surprises us all. He spreads his arms wide, flexing his fingers in a “c’mon” motion. “Well, what are ya waitin’ for? Give your big brother a hug! I ain’t got all night!”
A smile of relief spreads across my face and I eagerly take a step to Jason. But that smell . . . Jesus it’s strong enough to knock over a horse!
“Uh Jason, no offense, but you smell really bad,” I say with a grimace as I pinch my nose closed and hold my breath. Eric and Godric laugh raucously at my antics, with Eric leaning down to rest against Godric for support.
Jason grins at me, proud as a peacock. “Smell that do ya? Well see, Godric over there,” he points as if I don’t know who Godric is, “told me that ya might have some issues with the way I smell since he said I smelled good. I don’t know if I like another dude sniffin’ me, but I told him I wear Cool Water for men,” Jason says gravely.
Oh dear lord . . .
“So anyway, I didn’t put any cologne on tonight and I showered real good. But then I got to thinkin’ what if there’s some still lingerin’ on me? So I decided to make it smell real bad out here. I let some milk and canned tuna sit outside in the hot sun. I got a big bag of mulch at the local hardware store and wet it down so it’d get to stinkin’,” he relays in a proud tone.
I fought the urge to gag, but can’t help smiling at my brother’s attempts to make our reunion easier on me. “And the skunk?”
Jason looks sheepish and scratches the back of his head. “Uh, that’d be me. A skunk wandered up here earlier. Guess he liked the smell of the tuna. I had to fight him off. He didn’t like that too much and sprayed me.”
His revelation makes Godric and Eric fall down as they continue to laugh uproariously. Jason looks at the newest members of our family. “What’s so funny? That fucker was mean!”
“Jason,” I say with an exasperated smile. He looks back at me with his classic confused face. “I love you big brother. Thank you.”
He grins giving me his ‘awww shucks’ look. “I love you too Sook. You’re my baby sister; the only family I got left. I ain’t gonna abandon you cause your diet changed. I mean hell, you wouldn’t stop bein’ my sister if you became one of those granola-lovin’ hippie vegetarian type things.” He looks sheepish again. “You still gonna cook for me?”
“We’ll talk about it,” I tell him with a wink.