Almost two weeks have passed since Eric left for Louisiana. Rather than let me wallow in pity because I miss my maker, Godric has kept me busy from sunset to sunrise each night. In addition to lessons on how to feed safely from a human, Godric is also teaching me how to fight. In addition to it being a very useful skill given the volatile nature of the supernatural world, it helps me release a lot of the pent-up sexual tension I feel after feeding. I know I am nowhere near good enough to beat Godric in a fight, but it’s been exhilarating to test my skills against his. His experience, strength, and speed are definitely advantages for him, but my telepathy gives me an advantage that no one else will have.
The first night of lessons, Godric taught me where to hit on the body to inflict the most damage. In high school, I learned human anatomy as part of my biology class, but I failed the test miserably even though I studied for weeks ahead of the test. There are 206 bones in the adult human body; I couldn’t keep them all straight because the thoughts of the other students in the classroom interfered with my own thoughts. I remember confusing the tibia and fibula. I couldn’t remember any of the bones in the ear. I barely remembered the location of the radius and the ulna.
Now I can name every single bone in the body and know which ones will hurt the most if broken. The femur is the strongest and longest bone in the body, stretching from the hip to the knee. It will take extreme force to break and may cause permanent damage to the injured person. The tailbone is the next most painful bone to break in the human body but trying to damage that bone is ineffective in a fight. The ribs and clavicle are the bones most easily broken during a fight. Unfortunately, my knowledge of that is firsthand thanks to the beating the Rattrays gave me the night after I “saved” Bill. I also accidentally broke several ribs two nights ago when I got a little overzealous during my training session with Godric. The pain was nothing like it was while I was human. The night Mack Rattray broke my ribs, I remember feeling like I was suffocating; my lungs were punctured from the broken bones, so I was drowning in my own blood. But as a vampire, I do not need my lungs to breathe.
I felt the snap of my ribs thanks to the force of Godric’s kick, but the pain lasted only a few minutes until the bones reset and healed in my body. As Godric explained, broken bones are far more painful for a living creature. For vampires, if the broken bone is a clean break, then the pain only lasts a few minutes until the bone resets itself. If the bone is shattered or crushed, obviously the pain will last longer. The speed in which a vampire heals can be controlled by the amount of blood a vampire has access to. I knew this already from seeing injuries to Bill but knowing it as an abstract and actually feeling it happen are two different things. The night of my injury, Godric immediately had me drink several bags of blood, quickening my healing process. While I sucked on my new version of a juice box (AB negative blood from plastic bags), Godric explained that blood is always denied during torture or else the captor is fed animal blood. Godric laughed at my scrunched-up nose and look of disgust at the notion of drinking animal blood. He explained it was an unfortunate necessity in years past when the human population was not as plentiful as it is now.
No. No way. Not gonna do it. I remember watching Interview with a Vampire and I wanted to vomit after seeing the scene with that he drained. It seems less appealing now than it did then.
In addition to my lessons about fighting, Godric is teaching me vampire etiquette, our history, and our governing structure. Yes, Godric and Eric went over this my first night as a vampire, but I wasn’t fully paying attention. I was too overwhelmed by all the changes in my life.
Which now that I really think about it, Vampire Sookie is essentially the same as Human Sookie. I’m not talking about the physical differences between being a vampire and being a human. I mean the essence of who I am hasn’t changed. I am still me. My favorite color is still blue. I still prefer reading a book to watching television. I still can’t carry a tune in a bucket with a lid on it though I will still sing along with the radio if it’s a song I like. Lying next to a pool in a teeny tiny bikini even though I can’t work on my tan is still one of my favorite activities. My morals and values are still those my Gran taught me growing up.
I am still me, just more.
I was so sure I would want to meet the sun if ever I became a vampire. Maybe one day in the future I will, but for now, I am content in my existence. Actually, that isn’t true. Content is what I was while Gran was alive, and I was working every day at Merlotte’s trying to make ends meet. My telepathy, something I used to think of as a disability, made me complacent in life, willing to settle for whatever crumbs of happiness were thrown my way. I never dreamed I would find someone to love, so I overlooked every flaw in my relationship with Bill. I was happy with my circle of family and friends, though I never wanted to acknowledge that all of them wished I was “normal”. I was happy to have a job where the boss’s thoughts didn’t make me consistently uncomfortable, yet I knew Sam wanted to be more than my boss. I settled for what I had in life because I never dreamed I could have more.
Thanks to Eric, I have more. The possibilities are endless.
I wish he was here, so we can begin exploring those possibilities.
A warm wave surges through the bond I share with my maker. I smile as the feeling envelopes me. It reminds me of when I was younger, and Gran would wrap me in a warm blanket straight from the dryer. I felt so safe and protected wrapped in that warm cotton and I felt loved as Gran would wrap her arms around the barrier between us. I feel the same now, though I wish Eric’s arms were around me now.
I try as hard as I can to push the same feeling back to Eric as well as the longing I have for him. I must be successful because I feel the bond throb in response. A small smile spreads across my lips and I close my eyes to savor the feeling. For the most part, Eric’s kept the bond between us closed while he’s been gone. I panicked when I couldn’t feel him the first night he left, but Godric quickly assured me all was well with Eric. Godric explained that Eric was closing the bond so that I would not be affected by his stronger emotions. No sense sending a newborn vampire into bloodlust due to the boomerang effect of the vampire bond.
But the times he leaves the bond is open are amazing. For the first time in my life, I know what true unconditional love feels like. Who would have thought that I would experience that with Eric Northman?
In some ways I am grateful to Eric for making me a vampire. How else was I to learn the depth of emotion Eric feels for me? There’s no way Bill would have ever let me get close enough to Eric to learn who he really is. Hell, I owe Eric for breaking Bill’s hold over me. Becoming a vampire allowed me to see the truth about Bill and the role the Queen of Louisiana played in our relationship. If it wasn’t for Eric, I would probably be in New Orleans by now. There’s no telling what my future would be like under the queen.
Granted, I’ve paid a heavy price to learn the truth, but I know that isn’t Eric’s fault. Luke McDonald and Steve Newlin are responsible for my loss of life. If I were in Eric’s shoes and feel as he feels, I know I wouldn’t have been able to let go of the person I loved.
I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Eric Northman loves me! Never would I have guessed he felt this way about me. Sure, I knew he wanted to have sex with me, but he never gave me any hint that he felt something more than attraction to me. Granted, I wasn’t receptive to any of his advances.I mean, I told him I’d rather have cancer then let him grow on me!
I chuckle remembering that exchange in Eric’s office. Godric looks at me with a raised eyebrow from his position in the chair closest to the fireplace, the book he is reading lying open in his lap. My chuckle is the first noise by either of us in several hours. Tonight, Godric gave me several books to read as part of my training. Curled up on the couch, I’ve been reading for hours. The books given to me by Godric were The Prince by Machiavelli, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The Republic by Plato, Discourse on the Method by Rene Descartes, The Analects by Confucius, and Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre. Several of these I read before because of school, but I didn’t fully appreciate them because they were merely an assignment to be completed to get a passing grade. Now, I recognize them for what they truly are: the foundations to improve myself.
Each of these books contains ideas that can be used to better oneself. I understand the tenants in The Prince and The Art of War; they are to help me understand how to think rationally and strategize. These notions will temper the blunt force my new strength gives me. Just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I should do it. For every action there is a reaction. I especially like the idea of winning a fight without having to participate in an actual physical contest. Of course, my react first think later nature needs to learn to chill the F… out!
It is interesting to read The Republic by Plato and think of the concept of justice. I never thought vampires concerned themselves with justice and what is best for the collective group. But that only goes to show my narrowmindedness and naivete. How else could vampires have survived for millennia undetected if they didn’t follow a set of tenants to protect the common good for all vampires? As a human, I thought justice was synonymous with lawful, but that is not necessarily the case despite the definition. Justice is not always lawful. Justice was served the day I killed Rene Lanier, but it was not lawful though my actions were deemed self-defense.
And who defines what is just or unjust? Is it not a matter of perspective? I’m sure Steve Newlin justifies bombing Godric’s nest, killing me and others, but I sure as hell don’t. That wasn’t justice; that was hatred.
My emotions seethe inside me like a raging bull. I am coiled tightly, a spring ready to pop. Godric looks at me from his place beside me. He can feel my stronger emotions as an echo through the bond he shares with Eric. Considering I am currently reading The Analects which deals with virtue and devotion to one’s family, my sudden feelings of rage make no sense. Before I can explain to Godric what has me on edge, I feel Eric pushing serenity through our bond. My mouth turns down as I feel my maker actively working to calm me down.
“I hate when he does that,” I huff as I snap the book closed. My legs swing over the side of the chaise lounge where I have been reading all night. I stare at Godric in frustration as I push my annoyance through the bond towards Eric.
Leave me alone, I all but scream at Eric through the bond.
I feel Eric’s rebuke come back at me before I feel him slip his side of the bond closed. I huff again in annoyance as I cross my arms over my chest, though a part of me feels shame for snapping at Eric like that. Instead of admitting my mistake, I round on Godric. “Why can’t he just let me feel what I want to feel? Why does he always try to calm me down? He knows I am with you, so it’s not like anything is gonna happen to me. Is he trying to possess me from the inside out?”
Godric closes his book far more gently than I did before setting it aside. His face is alight with amusement which only further pisses me off. I hate when someone is laughing at me. My teeth grind together so hard it’s a wonder I don’t chip a fang.
“A good maker sees to the needs of his or her progeny. In this case, I am sure Eric felt your anger. As you said, he knows there is no danger if you are with me, so I am certain he was only trying to calm you down before you acted rashly. Would a human parent not do the same thing for a toddler during a temper tantrum?”
My lips purse as I stare at Godric. In the nights I’ve spent with him, I’ve come to learn that many of Eric’s mannerisms were learned from Godric. That infuriating raised eyebrow stares back at me on the face of my grandsire. My palms itch to slap the taste out of his mouth. Instead I throw myself back against the lounger, sprawling out in my frustration. I hate this; one minute I feel fine, the next I feel like I want to scream and smash everything in sight. I thought PMS was a bitch, but it’s got nothing on newborn vampire emotions!
Godric chuckles softly, earning an irritated glance from me. “It is perhaps for the best that these days have been spent apart from my child. While all newborns need their maker, I fear the two of you are far too alike to make it through this period of adjustment. You are both stubbornly independent and take offense at the slightest of reasons. I doubt the house would have survived the knock-down drag out fights between the two of you, nor the many rounds of angry sex I am sure would have resulted after.”
My mouth snaps open to deflect his comments, but he raises a hand to stop me. “Besides drinking blood, fighting and fucking are the two things vampires excel at. You wouldn’t have been able to resist the urge. Eric would have fought it, because he does not wish for you to resent him later, but he would have succumbed to his urges too. Even I have found it difficult to resist the temptation you present, Little One,” Godric confesses softly.
My eyes widen in shock and my mouth drops open. Catching flies is what Gran would have called it. I open and close my mouth several times, yet I still have no words. Godric chuckles while moving forward. He grabs my hand, his fingers softly caressing my knuckles.
“I want you to listen carefully, Sookie,” he begins while using his other hand to tap his temple indicating he is giving me permission to listen to his thoughts. “Vampires are attracted to the unique and beautiful, of which you are both. Eric, too, shares these traits. It is what attracted me to him all those nights ago. I see the same in you as will others. The difference between me and them is that I will not act on my attraction. I know the feelings my child has for you and I will not cause him pain by giving in to my baser instincts though he has given his permission. Are humans also not attracted to that which they find beautiful? It does not mean that they always act on that attraction.”
I can feel the sincerity from Godric as surely as I hear it with my ears and telepathy. He continues with a small smile on his face. “I can sense your attraction to me, but I also intuit that it is different than that what you feel for Eric. I know that if you and I were to give in to our instincts it will be pleasurable and there will be some sense of affection between us, but it will pale in comparison to that which awaits you with my child.”
I nod my head in understanding, yet again thankful I no longer blush at such an intimate topic. “It’s because Eric is my maker,” I agree softly with my eyes downcast.
Godric makes a noise of disagreement and gently places a finger under my chin. He waits until my eyes raise to meet his before he responds. “Yes and no. There will always be a part of you devoted to your maker because he is the one that gave you this existence. That sense of devotion is present whether a vampire chooses it or not. What you can choose are those thoughts and feelings you have for Eric outside of the bond.”
Sensing my confusion Godric searches for a comparison to help me understand. His eyes light up when he thinks of something I can relate to. “You loved your mother and father with the devotion of a child to a parent, but you knew that there was always something off about your relationship with them. You heard their thoughts and concerns regarding you. You remember them wishing you were normal. If they were alive still, would you blindly love them? Or would you feel a sense of love for them out of obligation but have other feelings of doubt or anger?”
Before I can answer, he rushes on. “Think of your brother. You love him, but you did not always like him, yes? It is only recently that the two of you have begun to forge a true relationship.”
I nod my head slowly, coming to a sense of understanding for what Godric is saying. I loved my parents, but I know their love for me was tainted because I wasn’t normal. They both felt guilty because they loved me more out of obligation rather than the unconditional love they gave Jason. I felt a difference in their love as a child and it hurt me. That’s why I tried so hard to be normal, but I never succeeded for long.
Jason and I have an interesting relationship. As strange as it sounds, I think our relationship will be better now that I’m a vampire than while I was a human. We couldn’t relate to each other; me because I’m a telepath and him because he’s a manwhore. But I’ve seen a change in him since everything went down with Rene. I now know Jason values me and loves me no matter what I am. I have the same appreciation for him. Our love for each other is both out of obligation as family but by choice too. It’s easy as one gets older to distance oneself from family members one is obligated to interact with and yet keep the ones you truly enjoy close by.
Now that I understand the distinction, I know that I want to blame the bond with Eric for my feelings, but the truth is, I’ve felt something for him from the moment I first laid eyes on him. Obviously, there was attraction, and of course, I wanted to slap the taste out of his mouth, but there was something inside me that knew I could trust him no matter what. Even when Eric was being a smug, sarcastic ass and trying to get in my pants, I knew he wasn’t a danger to me. Maybe I am naive, but there was always something in his eyes that called to me. The night Bill left, it was Eric’s gaze across the bar that comforted me. I now know I wasn’t dreaming the morning after I was attacked by that bullman; it really was Eric that washed the blood from my body with such tenderness. I even remember him stroking my hair and placing a kiss in it before he left me there. I know the reason I agreed to infiltrate the Fellowship of the Sun was because I could see how anguished Eric was over Godric’s disappearance even though I didn’t know why.
“It scares me to feel this much for him,” I admit softly to Godric. I feel a wetness in my eyes and blink rapidly to prevent the blood from falling.
“I know, Little One,” Godric murmurs. “It is not easy for you to trust or love after everything you have been through. It is the same for Eric. He does not give his heart easily. Even with me, he has held a part of himself back. But with you,” Godric squeezes my hand, “with you, Eric will give you all of himself if you let him. The question is, will you?”
“I want to. I don’t want to hold anything back,” I admit and it’s like a weight is lifted off of me. For the first time I can ever remember, I feel…free, unburdened. I want Eric to know how I feel so I push everything I can at him: adoration, joy, gratefulness, love, lust, and everything in between. For a moment, the bond is nothing. No emotions or residual feelings coming from him. I worry that maybe I didn’t do it right or that maybe he shut his side down again so I don’t distract him. I shrug in response. It’s not like I can’t send him the same feelings later. The bond isn’t going anywhere.
My cell phone rings, breaking the silence that’s settled between Godric and me. It’s the phone Eric gave me since mine was destroyed in the bombing. I still don’t know how to use the dang thing, but Eric said iVamp is specially designed for vampire strength and speed. He set everything up for me, including his ringtone.
Again, thank God I can’t blush over these song lyrics because it’s just ridiculous. I roll my eyes because despite his age, Eric acts like a college frat boy. Honestly, who else besides a frat boy would pick Nickelback’s “Sex” as a ringtone?I end the embarrassing song by pressing the green button. “I really need to change that ringtone. It’s ridiculous,” I say without greeting though my tone is one of indulgent exasperation.
I know his lips are curled in that smirk of his. I simultaneously want to smack it off his face and trace his lips with my tongue. Will he always inspire my reactions to be opposites at the same time? Gran used to say Granddaddy Earl could have her screaming mad one second and laughing the next. I guess it’s the same for Eric and me.
His rumble is full of sexual promise and it makes me tingle between my legs. “But, Lover,” he purrs, “it describes us precisely. The answer is always yes. I always love what you wear. I wonder what is hidden under there and if my tongue will be under it. I love the sounds you make and to have you all over me. It’s need; its ecstasy,” he ends darkly and my fangs are throbbing deeply in my gums while the tingling below intensifies.
“You stop that, Eric Northman! I’m not gonna listen to any of that nasty talk,” yet the breathlessness of my tone gives away how much his words affected me.
“Mmm, Lover, I feel how much you enjoy it. I can’t wait until I can have you clenching around me while I tell you every single thing I plan to do to you and in you,” Eric ends with a growl.
“Eric!” Godric chuckles, reminding me that stupid vampire ears can hear both sides of our conversation. I vamp back to my room for some privacy and to hide from Godric how much Eric’s words affect me. I want him, and I desperately want to experience the pleasure that he can give me. I know everyone says sex with a vampire is amazing, but sex with Bill was…OK. It wasn’t earth shattering and I didn’t always experience an orgasm. I thought maybe it was because of me, that maybe something was wrong with me that I couldn’t achieve an orgasm during intercourse since Bill didn’t have the same problem. But Sweet Jesus, Eric has me on the verge of cuming just because of his words. And our shower…I don’t know how it will be better than that, but I know it will be. Maybe it’s because it’s Eric, maybe it’s because of the maker/child bond, or maybe it’s because we are two vampires. But somehow, I know it’s because it’s us together.
Eric’s deep chuckle comes through the phone and it makes my undead heart clench. “I miss you,” I say so softly that only a vampire can hear it.
That warm wave comes through the bond again and it makes me smile. “And I you, Lover. Are you well this evening?”
“Yes. Godric has given me several books to read.”
“Of course. The teachings are still valuable though they may be centuries old. What did you enjoy most?”
“Confucius,” I reply without thought. “It’s a lot better than that stupid stuff they put on fortune cookies,” I reply snarkily.
Eric chuckles again, an honest laugh that I know very few get to hear. “True, but there is still truth to, ‘Man sleep with itchy butt wake up with smelly finger.’”I burst out laughing because that was exactly what I was thinking about. “How do you know what’s on fortune cookies if you don’t need to eat?”
“Ginger forever leaves them around the bar. Pam enjoys reading them since she heard you are supposed to add ‘in bed’ at the end of them.”
“That’s…so…juvenile,” I exclaim in shock.
“That’s Pam. She also enjoys cartoons and comic books as well as jewelry and fashion. She has been after me for years to turn Stan Lee since she believes him to be a national treasure. Please do not get her started on DC vs. Marvel. And no matter what, do not discuss Team Cap or Team Iron Man! She is so invested that she wants to drain the actor that portrays Captain America because she believes so strongly in Team Iron Man,” Eric cautions me.
I snicker in response. “Duly noted, though Jason and her will probably get along famously. He wouldn’t speak to me for a week when I said I wasn’t that found of Iron Man.”
“The last thing we need is for Pam and Jason to become chummy,” Eric intones.
We share a laugh and then go silent for a moment. I feel the need to break our silence. “I’m sorry about my tantrum in the bond earlier,” I offer quietly.
“Sookie, you are a newly turned vampire which is akin to the emotional capabilities of a small child. Happy one moment, a screaming banshee the next. I understand, but you must understand that you cannot question me in front of vampires outside of our bloodline nor can you lash out. Even Pam will question if I am more lenient with you than I was with her. Tell me you understand,” Eric beseeches.
“I understand. I may not like it, but I understand,” I reply stiffly. I am not a screaming banshee!
“Sookie, one of the things that drew me to you was your fire. I enjoy that you challenge me and that I challenge you in return. You have a light inside you that shines brightly. Whether human or vampire, I still see it shining in you. I do not wish to snuff it out and destroy what makes you who you are. If I wanted a mindless puppet, I could have turned one of the faceless fang bangers that come to Fangtasia every night wishing for death,” Eric responds with conviction.
I exhale slowly, trying to calm myself down. I know this stems from my trust issues. So far neither Eric or Godric have given me any reason to doubt them. It’s just going to take me time. Bill’s betrayal is still too fresh, coupled with everything else that’s happened to me.
I decide a change of subject is in order. I ask softly, “How’s everything going there?”
It is Eric’s turn to exhale. “The Shifter has been found. He came to me last night seeking my aid with the maenad problem. He had two small children with him. They said their mother is missing.”
“His name is Sam,” I huff in defense of my friend. My annoyance quickly morphed to concern. “What did the two kids look like?”
“One blond boy and one redheaded girl with freckles. I believe he called them Coby and Lisa,” Eric responded matter of factly.
“Oh my God! Those are Arlene’s kids. What happened to her?”
“Sookie, you will not like what I must tell you. The maenad has taken over Bon Temps with her madness. All inhabitants seem to be under her spell.”
“What the fuck does that mean? How do we fix it? Is everyone OK? What about Jason?” I rattle off my questions quickly without giving Eric a chance to answer. I am moving around the room in a frenzied pace as I feel overcome with agitation.
Once again, Eric pushes calm through the bond and I feel my panic and agitation subsiding. I also feel a sense of hesitation from him through the bond. “What are you not telling me, Eric?”
“I have a plan to end the maenad’s madness and it should free everyone from her spell. As far as Pam and I can tell, none of your friends nor your brother have been harmed by her,” Eric recites as if he has practiced this speech in advance.
“But?” There is always a catch.
Eric sighs in resignation. “I am sorry, Lover. The maenad has taken over your home. It has become the center for whatever it is she is planning. All the townsfolk have gathered there. Pam and I witnessed her performing some type of spell on the townsfolk, but we could not stay. Her powers are getting stronger because so many are offering her tribute. Pam and I would have succumbed to her madness if we stayed. I know not what she has done inside the house, but people were dancing and fucking on the lawn.” His tone and the bond are full of remorse.
I’m sure Eric is shocked that the bond and my voice are eerily calm at his revelations. My words are clipped as I ask, “What are we going to do to get rid of that bitch?”
“Sookie,” Eric begins but I cut him off.
“Eric, you can’t expect me to stay here after telling me everyone in the town has gone batshit crazy thanks to some mumbo jumbo chanting worshiper of Bacchus! That home was built by my family almost two hundred years ago! I refuse to stay in Dallas and do nothing while Jason and my friends are in trouble!” The fury and agitation I’m sure Eric expected before steamroll through the bond as he tries to placate me and tell me everything will be alright. Fuck that! And fuck him if he thinks I will stay here and twiddle my thumbs while some crazy bitch squats in my home!
Eric sighs again. “I will speak with Godric to make arrangements. But Sookie, you will obey me once you are here. You will follow my instructions exactly as given or else there will be consequences,” he ends in a firm tone.
I bristle again and open my mouth to argue, but Eric shuts me down. “There will be no argument on this. My word is final or else you will stay in Dallas until this matter is resolved.” There is no room for argument in Eric’s tone and I feel the weight of his conviction in the bond.
“Fine,” I snap in response knowing there is no point in arguing. It’s times like these that make me hate that Eric will always have the upper hand with me. “Do you want me to give the phone to Godric?”
“No, I will call him. And Sookie?”
“I am looking forward to discussing and exploring those feelings you pushed through the bond prior to my call,” Eric purrs.
The phone call ends and I’m left holding the phone to my ear with a shocked expression on my face. Well at least I know he got my message through the bond. Damn vampire! Always knows how to leave me a quivering mess of anticipation.