It is the start of the third night of Sookie’s existence as a vampire. I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that I, Eric Northman, am Sookie Stackhouse’s maker. In a thousand years, I never felt compelled to make a progeny, yet I have made two within the span of a century give or take a few years. Nora, I have no doubt, will be irritated with me that I chose to save another woman’s life yet wouldn’t be a maker to her. My darling sister holds a grudge like no other. Nora adores Godric, but I know she secretly wishes I had been her maker. She confessed it to me shortly after I turned Pam. Nora is insanely jealous of Pam; needless to say, they do not get along well. Nora couldn’t fathom why I’d chosen Pam and not her. I have no doubt Nora will be less than thrilled when she learns I turned Sookie, especially when she hears the reason.
In the Fellowship of the Sun church, I told Sookie I didn’t understand the word love. The truth is, I understand the word far too well, but I am extremely selective in who I share that particular emotion with. I loved my human family; I mourn their passing still. My maker is much beloved; initially I worshipped him with the blind devotion that comes with the maker/child bond. That feeling eventually faded to be replaced with the deeper feelings of love that I now have for him. It’s not a romantic love; it’s more than a familial love. He means everything to me.
Yet I have a deep down to my bones feeling that Sookie means more.
I could not let her die. The idea that her eyes would never flash with her spirit, that her lips would never curve into her smile left me bereft. I worked tirelessly to save her, I tried to send my spirit to live in her as I forced my blood inside her body. Godric knew how important she was to me without having to say a word. He worked as hard as I to save Sookie, yet he would not allow his blood to cross her lips. My maker knew from the moment he met Sookie that she was mine, though she had not a drop of my blood in her. When I felt her slipping away, I roared and cursed the gods for their cruelty. A thousand years I’d walked this earth to find the one that would complete me only to have her taken away before we were given our chance. My eyes overflowed with tears as I leaned down to kiss the woman I loved for the first time and probably the only time. It was her brother’s anguished plea, begging me to turn her that broke through my heartbreak.
I knew I ran the risk of having Sookie hate me for eternity, but it was a risk I was willing to take.
Sookie’s attitude the past two evenings has been more than I could have hoped for. A part of me had expected her to demand that I let her meet the sun at the end of the first night. If her brother hadn’t been so accepting of her, I think she might have done that. I dread if she ever does come to me and asks to meet her True Death.
I do not think I can let her go even though I promised her I would.
Tonight should have been a night for celebrating. It was supposed to be Sookie’s first true test as a vampire: feeding from a donor. I have anxiously waited for this moment. Sookie is nervous about how she will react feeding from a live person. She has concerns that she will kill the person she is feeding from; that she won’t be able to stop. As I pointed out to her, a good maker teaches their progeny to feed without killing. Thankfully, Sookie had been paying attention to me when I said that and not Godric. My maker and I both know all too well that it took me many tries before I managed to feed without killing my meal. But then, Godric had not been as concerned with human life as he is now. There are several reasons why I will not let Sookie lose control while feeding. She is still far too fragile in her new state to handle the guilt of accidentally killing her meal; I do not want this to be the reason she begs me to meet the sun. Second, I have no wish to teach my newest progeny how to hide a body tonight. Now that we are out in the open, people willingly throw themselves at us or if we are more discerning we can pay to feed from a person. The people tonight that I have procured from Sookie are some of the finest that money can buy within a five-state area. I may be spoiling her, but I wanted her to have the best of the best, so I contacted many donor services to have a variety of humans available for her to feed from. Tonight is about learning what she likes and does not like.
Not to mention that I was hoping the bloodlust would make her finally turn to me.
I know it’s an underhanded trick, but I am almost desperate to feel her body joining with mine. Yes, sexual attraction is common between makers and their progeny. It is another way for the bond to solidify between us, to claim each other. Pam and I had an explosive sexual attraction to each other, but it fizzled out quickly, within the first three months of her existence. That does not mean we did not continue to seek each other out as sexual partners, though I have not been with her in that way since V-J Day in New York City. The inhabitants of the city wanted to celebrate in every way possible. Godric, Pam, Nora, and I had taken advantage of that by participating in an orgy at the estate of the Queen of New York. Dozens of vampires and even more humans had celebrated life in the best way possible.
Ah, those were the days!
My sexual relationship with Godric took longer to manifest, not because we were not attracted to each other, but because Godric did not want me to feel like I was forced into it. He knew that I had never been with a man as a human. In fact, he admitted to watching me with the whores that followed the armies, impressed that even as a human I had enough stamina to satisfy three women at a time. Godric waited until I was ready to be intimate with him, something I will be eternally grateful for. He has never said, but I believe he was abused either as a slave or by his maker, and I will not disrespect him by asking. To this day, I still prefer the touch of a woman, but when my maker returned to us from his voluntary incarceration with the Fellowship of the Sun, I craved his touch and body. I would not say it is making love when I join with my maker, but it is nothing like the hard and fast fucking I do with donors. It was after our reunion that Godric asked me about Sookie. I confessed everything to him about my interactions with the blonde telepath, and how I wanted her from the moment I saw her in my bar. She may not have noticed me right away, but I noticed her the second she walked into the dreariness of the bar. I had not seen the sun shine in over a millennium, but in that moment, I felt it’s presence on my skin again. Sookie is not the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, but there is a warmth and light inside her that I have never met in another being. I called her to me, not because I was angry at her for asking her questions of others besides myself, but because I selfishly wanted to be nearer to her golden light.
She thought I was only attracted to her because of her telepathy and because she was Bill’s; neither was the truth. Her telepathy was the excuse I needed to see her again, to force Bill to bring her to Fangtasia when we discovered the money missing. As for wanting to take her away from Bill, it was not a game to me. I wanted Sookie away from Bill because he was undeserving of her. The way he treated her, his irrational need to keep her safe and protected, yet flaunting her in the face of other vampires, left me questioning his motives. That is why I called Lorena to Dallas; I wanted her to find out what his plans were with Sookie and I secretly hoped that she would reclaim her progeny so that I could swoop in and claim Sookie.
I almost paid dearly for that costly error. It is not a mistake I will make again. Lorena and Compton both will die by my hands and soon.
But first I have to return to Louisiana and deal with a maenad.
When I rose this evening, my beautiful progeny had been curled on her side with her hands tucked under her cheek. As she is so young, she cannot fight the pull of the sun. She goes to her daytime death far earlier than I and rises only after the sun has disappeared from the sky. I treasure the time I have while she is still dead because it allows me to lie in bed and stare at her to my heart’s content. In these quiet moments, I do not have to hide the depth of my feelings from her. Sookie does not know that when I go to my daytime death, it is with my body curled around hers and my face buried in her hair. She does not know that when I rise in the evening, I move so that I am hovering beside her so that I can trace the counters of her face with my hand.
To Sookie, I am still the vampire that had her friend chained in the basement of my bar for weeks for the crime of selling vampire blood; the vampire that sent her into a trap so I could have my maker back.
Yet I know her feelings for me are changing, and not because of the bond that ties us together. In the church, I asked her to trust me and she did; completely, without asking any questions. Hearing now how Bill controlled her with his blood, I know that whatever prejudices she had against me before were clouded by Bill’s judgment and his fear of me getting too close to Sookie. Had I known that he was sent to procure Sookie for Sophie-Anne, I would have staked him with the broken bar tap he had used to stake Long Shadow. I could have easily explained it to the Magister as having been a fitting punishment for killing one of our own and then I would have claimed his “pet” as the spoils of victory.
I chuckle because Sookie Stackhouse was not and will never be anyone’s pet. She has far too much spirit in her to ever be tamed.
“I thought you were angry that you needed to return to Louisiana, and yet I find you laughing. What brings that smile to your face my child?” Godric stands in the doorway of his light-tight room, watching me with a small smile on his face. In this particular home of Godric’s, he has an entire underground apartment that is completely light-tight and fireproof. There are actually three light-tight bedrooms (since Sookie never objected to resting by my side, I never mentioned the separate room), each with a private bathroom, and a large setting area. It is nice to not be confined to a small space when there are still several hours until the sun sets.
“I am thinking of Sookie,” I admit honestly.
Godric’s smile widens and he crosses the room to sit beside me on the couch. It pleases me to see him looking like his normal self. The vampire that I found inside the basement of the Fellowship of the Sun church was far too pale even for a vampire. His skin had become ashen, indicating that he had not feed in weeks or months. I do not know how he was able to stay in control of his emotions and urges. Of course, the bombing of his nest in Dallas changed all that. After ascertaining that I was still among the undead, Godric had led the band of vampires that went after those that had bombed his home. I do not know what became of those foolish humans, but judging by the color of Godric and Isabel’s cheeks, I doubt they survived. Since the night I turned Sookie, Godric has become more like the vampire I remember. He is the one that guarded us for the three nights while we waited for Sookie to rise as a vampire, save for the short amount of time he had to leave to deal with Nan Flanagan. Each night, I have seen him consume bags of donor blood; not the quantities that Sookie or I have taken, but enough to keep him looking a little pink in the cheeks. Neither of us has fed from a donor since bringing Sookie here, but the bagged blood Godric has arranged for us has been more than enough. Tonight, he and I were going to show Sookie how to feed and then guide her through the process. I was looking forward to it, not only because I knew Sookie would be aroused and in need of relief, but because I knew my maker would feel that way too.
“She is good for you Eric,” my maker replies warmly and I can see the happiness light up his somber eyes. “She is the one you have searched for. I believe she is your mate.”
Godric’s words fill me with happiness and I feel it roll through me like the waves brushing back and forth across the shore. However, the doubts I have that are constantly lurking at the edges of my mind come rushing back in. “What if she does not feel the same? I fear that she will grow to hate me, to reject this existence. If Sookie asks to meet the sun, I do not think I can survive without her.” I’m not sure that I would want to.
“Have faith my child. It has only been two nights since she has risen and look at how well she is doing. The two of you have already made great strides in your new relationship. Without the influence of that sycophant Compton, she is already seeing you in a different light. You are being extremely patient with her and considerate of her feelings, something I know that Sookie greatly appreciates. She will choose you in time,” he states confidently. “Not because of the blood or the bond that is between you, but it will be what she desires in her heart above everything else. One day, Sookie will realize that she loves you as you love her. It will be a beautiful thing to see.” Godric’s face has a faraway distant quality to it as he speaks. It is the look of someone who is remembering their own experiences. His expression is bittersweet and heartbreaking.
“Who was it?” The only reason for Godric to look this way is for him to have found the one person he loved with all his soul only to have lost them. Is this the reason that my maker had no qualms about sacrificing himself to the Fellowship of the Sun? Is this the same fate that will await me if Sookie rejects me or is taken from me?
Godric’s lips curve briefly before he answers me. “Her name was Sophia. I thought her to be the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. She was one of the most compassionate human beings I ever met. Your Sookie reminds me of her in many ways.”
My maker goes silent as he is swept away in his memories. I have never heard my maker mention this woman. When did he find her? I know it has been within the last half of a century. More importantly, what happened to her?
I try to stay silent out of respect for the surge of emotion I feel sweeping through Godric. It is nearly crippling to feel the grief he carries inside himself for this woman. When I turn to look at him, there is a lonely tear that trails down his cheek. I brush it away with my thumb, bringing it to my lips as I push comfort through our bond to help him in any way I can.
“I did not have to hide myself from Sophia. She knew every dark corner of my soul, and yet she still loved me. We talked of bonding, of pledging, and then I planned to make her my next child. She wanted to wait though because of her son. When I met Sophia, her son was only a little boy, barely out of swaddling. She wanted to see him grow, to become a man and settled in his life, before she joined me as a vampire. As impatient as I was to have her by my side, I knew she was right. It would not be fair to the boy to deprive him of his mother, especially since he had no father. For over a decade, we lived a perfectly normal existence. It was the summer of her son’s sixteenth year; Rodrigo had just gotten his license.” Godric’s voice breaks as he continues on with his story, and the tears fall in earnest from his eyes. “Rodrigo was driving and did not pay attention to where he was going. He ran a stop sign while a tractor-trailer was coming in the opposite direction. The truck struck Sophia’s side of the car; she was killed instantly. Rodrigo died while being transported to the hospital.”
I have nothing to say as I listen to Godric cry for his lost beloved. All I can do is offer him my strength and comfort. Wrapping my arms around him, I pull his body closer to mine, letting him know that I am here for him.
With a deep sigh, Godric pulls back, a sad smile on his face. “It was twenty-three years ago when I felt my world shatter. I felt Sophia slip away from me. Her presence inside me didn’t fade away; it was a sharp snap. The pain was so intense that it roused me from my daytime death. There was nothing I could do for hours. When I was finally free, I searched for her and Rodrigo everywhere. It took over twenty-four hours to learn that they died in the car crash; Isabel found it in the newspaper.”
I sit in shock, trying to absorb all the information Godric has given me. If anything were to happen to Sookie . . . I can’t think about it. “How did you survive?”
“I did not want to,” Godric admits. “The only reason I lasted as long as I did is because of you and Nora, but even then, that was not enough. I saw no end in sight to the loneliness and heartache. That is why I willingly gave myself to the Fellowship of the Sun. I thought it would appease them, but then make them see that the path they follow is the wrong one. I thought it would benefit those left behind; a sacrifice for the greater good. As for myself, I hoped to see my beloved Sophia again.”
“And now?” I do not want to lose my maker. The pain will be all-consuming and will never fade no matter how long I continue to exist. But I understand why he wished to join with his beloved. I would do it if I lost Sookie.
“Your Sookie changed my feelings.” At my growl, Godric chuckles. “Relax my child. I do not crave her as you do. She is not my mate. But I do feel a pull to her, a connection that goes beyond our bloodline.”
I’m still growling, jealous over this connection Godric feels with Sookie. Never have I begrudged him anything of mine in all the years I have been a vampire, but I do not want him to have any part of her. It hurts me deeply when she turns to him for comfort or reassurance instead of me. While listening to the story from our past, I felt Sookie’s lust rising. It had taken everything in me not to claim her then and there, proving that she needs no one other than me. It is natural for a vampire to be territorial, but this goes beyond that. As a new vampire, I know she will want to experience things that she never considered while as a human. She is going to want to experiment sexually. With Pam, I wholeheartedly encouraged this, finding pleasure as often as she did. But with Sookie, I do not think I will feel the same pleasure. As much as I anticipated this evening, hoping to enjoy the pleasures to be found in both my maker’s and progeny’s bodies, part of me wanted to keep Sookie to myself. Even now, knowing that Sookie will more than likely have sex with one or more of the donors, as well as Godric, leaves me feeling as if I have a silver stake in my heart.
“You know we can delay this lesson. She can continue to survive on bagged blood until you can be with her to teach her how to feed.” Godric has always known how to read my moods well. Our connection is far deeper than the one he shares with Nora, another reason she is jealous of me.
“No we cannot. I do not know how long I will be needed in Louisiana. Ginger’s voice mail was not helpful as usual, but fortunately I was able to speak with Sookie’s brother and the Shifter when I called back. It seems the maenad has taken over Sookie’s hometown. I need to stop her before her madness spreads.”
“I am older than you; I could easily handle this problem for you. Stay here and be with Sookie. She needs her maker to guide her,” Godric counters.
“It is my area Master. You did not teach me to abandon my duties. Besides, if Sophie-Anne learns of this, she may use it against us. I do not trust her. I fear what she will do if she learns of Sookie’s ability.”
Godric nods his head sagely. “Let me worry about Sophie-Anne. I will deal with her when the time is necessary. She will not threaten our bloodline.”
My eyebrow lifts in silent question. “You have never wanted to be a king.”
“I will do everything I can to protect our blood my child. I will not see you suffer the same pain as I have,” he says with a haunted look in his eyes.
I bow my head. “Thank you Master,” I whisper humbly.
“Are you sure you do not wish to stay Eric? I know you are conflicted about what will happen this evening. You know your Sookie will need sexual release after feeling the lust from the donors as well as the feelings created because of her bloodlust. I know the idea of her being with someone other than yourself troubles you.” Godric places his hand on my shoulder and squeezes encouragingly. I smile faintly though my eyes are troubled.
“I cannot keep her from her new nature Godric. Sookie needs to adapt to being a vampire. She still clings to scraps of her humanity. The sooner she accepts her new existence, the better it will be for all of us.” I turn and walk away from him, knowing that soon my progeny, my beloved will rise for the evening. There is much I must discuss with her before I leave for Louisiana. Flying at my top speed will put me back at Fangtasia by midnight. I ordered Ginger to keep the bar closed so that I can speak with Jason Stackhouse and the Shifter when I arrive. Pam is going to complain about the smell of animal in the bar, but there is nothing to be done about it.
“I will command Sookie to follow you as if you are her maker until such time as I return.” My back is to Godric so he cannot see how much these next words pain me to say, but I’m sure he can feel it in our bond. “And if she is in need of sexual relief, I prefer it be you than anyone else.”
“Eric, no! I will not do that to you! Do you think I don’t know how you will suffer?” Godric’s fangs have snapped down and I can hear the fury in his voice as well as feeling it roll off of him.
I turn my head and give him a small smile. “You are my maker Godric; the only one that I trust to care for her. If she cannot be with me, I prefer it be you.”
“Eric . . .”
“Godric, please. I know my Sookie. She will give into her urges and not think about the repercussions. When she regains her sense of self, she will be filled with self-loathing for engaging in sexual relations with someone she doesn’t know. More importantly, her telepathy will be an issue for her. You saw how touch amplifies her ability. She needs to be with someone she trusts, someone who will take care of her. Please Master,” I beg quietly. The bond between Sookie and me comes alive telling me she is awake. My eyes plead with Godric while my hand rests on the doorknob to our room. I do not want to continue this conversation while she is aware; I do not have the time to explain my reasoning or fight with her because she wants to assert her stubbornness.
Godric sighs heavily and nods his head in resignation. “As you wish my child.”
“Thank you Master,” I whisper before slipping inside the room to greet Sookie for the evening.