“What do you mean I’m a vampire?” I am panting heavily as a full-blown panic attack sets in. I can’t breathe; I can’t see. Everything is going dark and it feels like the walls are closing in on me. I am going to hyperventilate. I used to get these kinds of attacks all the time when I was kid and couldn’t control my shields. It’s what prompted Momma to take me to the psychiatrist the first time. The doctor wasn’t interested in hearing anything I had to say; she was more worried about her own problems. Her answer to everything was to give me pills. The recommended dosage wasn’t enough to keep me calm, so Momma started doubling and sometimes tripling the dosage. I don’t remember much about that time other than I felt like I was in a haze. That’s why I never did drugs after the one time I tried marijuana with Tara and Lafayette. The feelings were too similar and I didn’t like what it did to my shields. As a kid I didn’t have much in terms of shields, but whatever I did have, the drugs took them away and made everything so much worse.
Do you have any idea how strange it is to have a panic attack without a heartbeat? My chest is rising and falling rapidly with my accelerated breathing but without the added sensation of my heart galloping in my chest and getting light-headed, I feel completely silly. What’s worse is that I’m having this ridiculous moment in front of Eric Northman – while naked! My eyes flick up to Eric’s in a panic, thinking he is going to make fun of me for my ridiculous behavior. But I find no ridicule in his eyes, only concern and a sense of wariness. I’ve never seen Eric be anything other than self-assured and cocky, so his reticence only adds to my terror.
The moment our eyes connect this wave of calm flows over me. I don’t understand where it is coming from. It’s strong, but not overpowering. It reminds me of warm bath water; it leaves me feeling peaceful, like I am floating without a care in the world. I revel in the feeling but at the same time I am confused about where it came from. Even when I make myself calm down, it never feels like this.
“Feel better?” Eric’s soft-spoken words bring me out of my musings and I glare at him as an idea forms in my head.
“Did you do that? Are you already trying to control me?” I scream my accusations at him and try to get away from him but he is too strong. In less than a nanosecond, I find myself pinned to the bed with a large (and I mean that in regards to every part of him) Viking vampire looming over me. I’m furious, aroused, confused, and most of all hungry. I’ve never felt hunger pangs like this as a human. It’s an odd sensation; my stomach doesn’t make a sound letting me know I need sustenance. Instead it’s more like my blood and muscles begging me to give them nourishment, whispering inside of me that I need to feed. And the longer I ignore the demands of my body, the louder the demands get.
Eric stares at me with a fire burning in his eyes that I’ve never seen before. “Let me be very clear with you,” he begins in a soft, insistent voice but underneath his gentle tone is a hardness and ruthlessness that I’ve never experienced from him before. I want to shrink away from the power I feel coming from him, but at the same time I raise my chin defiantly. I am a Stackhouse; I am not going to be bullied by anyone…
“I have never, nor will I ever force myself on anyone,” he says in a cold voice. “I am not controlling you, but I am trying to help you. As your maker, I can help influence your emotions. There will be times when I will need to exert control over you but those times will most likely be to keep you safe.” His voice changes to one of admiration before he continues. “I admire your fire far too much Miss Stackhouse to ever want to snuff it out. That is part of the reason I turned you.”
“But I never wanted to be a vampire,” I whine.
“Most of us do not,” Eric tells me without a hint of sympathy. “But you will learn to adapt like we all do. You have the right temperament for a vampire.”
“And if I don’t want to stay like this?” I raise my chin stubbornly, waiting to hear him tell me that I don’t have a choice. Now that Eric finally has me, he won’t let me go.
“Then I won’t stop you,” is his quiet answer as he loosens his hold on me. “All I ask is for time. You don’t know what it means to be a vampire. All you know are the lies Bill has told you,” he finishes with a growl.
That growl, coupled with his nearness, makes me lose focus. Suddenly all of my attention is on Eric, not as my maker, not as a vampire, but as a sexy, virile man who I am attracted to. The incessant hunger for blood morphs to sexual need. I feel it pooling low in my body. My vagina literally throbs with need and I am now slick with arousal. My panting is back but for a different reason this time.
It is this moment when my fangs decide to make an appearance for the first time in my new existence. They slide down with a definite click, startling me out of my sexual stupor.
“Let me see them,” Eric demands gruffly when my hand covers my mouth in shock. He gently lifts my hand from my mouth and stares at my fangs.
“Are they OK?” It feels odd to have them in my mouth. These are going to take some getting used to. Knowing my luck, they are crooked or somehow grew in wrong. Do they make braces for vampires?
“Absolutely beautiful.” Two of Eric’s fingers lightly slide down the enamel of my newly acquired canines. I moan loudly as my eyes roll in the back of my head. Hello sexual hunger; glad to have you back so soon.
Eric chuckles as he shifts to lie beside me, propping his head on his hand. My head turns and I can’t help but notice how muscular he is. I want to run my tongue and fangs over every inch of his skin. “Now you know why feeding is so closely related to sex for vampires. Our fangs are extremely sensitive. When they pierce the flesh of a human, and the first drops of blood hit them, it’s an experience like none other. You literally hold another’s life in the palm of your hands. It is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
Eric grabs my hand, bringing my finger closer to his mouth. His fangs slide down quietly. I never noticed before how beautiful they are. Eric runs the tip of my finger along his fang, shivering and moaning before he lets my hand go. Instead of retracting my hand, I run my finger against the other fang, pressing the pad of my finger against the tip to draw blood. Eric’s eyes widen and his nostrils flare before he sucks my finger into his mouth. His eyes are electric as they stare into mine. His mouth is sucking on my finger erotically, making me squirm in the bed.
I can think of three places right now that we want him to suck on!
OMG!!!! When did my inner voice become so wanton? Is this a side effect from being a vampire? Will it always be like this? Does this mean I’ll no longer be the girl my Gran raised?
“It is normal to feel out of control when you are first made a vampire. So many new sensations; the world has never looked so clear, sounds have never been as sweet or discordant. And smells…what you once found appetizing may now be revolting. However, what you found revolting before will still smell revolting, only a thousand times worse.” Eric smiles wistfully at me as he inhales deeply. “You still smell like wheat, and honey, and sunlight,” he says as his eyes flutter closed in rapture. “But it’s so much more appealing now because you also smell like me. And your blood…vampire blood does not sustain us. It is only shared for healing or to be connected with one another. But your blood…it is still intoxicating,” he moans.
“But come,” he vamps out of the bed, unfazed by his nude state. “I have been remiss in not feeding you as soon as you rose for the evening. You must feed and feed often to maintain control.”
“I don’t think I can feed on someone,” I whisper horrified as I gather the sheet around me to trail after him. Just because he is walking around as naked as a jay bird doesn’t mean that I’m going to!
But you know you want to. You also know you want to accidentally trip and fall down to your knees so that you are right in front of his. . .
I slam the brakes on that train of thought and whip around so that I’m not looking at Eric. He looks up from where he is squatting in front of a refrigerator pulling out bags of blood for us. Ugh! This is what my life is going to be now, an iron liquid diet. I miss the idea of fried chicken, peaches, and Gran’s pecan pie. Had I known my life would have ended the other night I would have insisted on a better meal than something Bill got me at the McDonald’s drive thru!
“You are disgusted,” Eric intones as he puts the bags of blood in the microwave. “You need blood to survive Sookie; there is no way around that. If you refuse, the hunger will only worsen and then you will kill without meaning to. I will not allow you to refuse nourishment; I will not be responsible for a hungry vampire on a killing spree because she was too stubborn to accept her nature. Just because you are my progeny does not mean you get a free pass. You will abide by the same rules as all the other vampires in my area. I will not hesitate to make an example out of you for all the other vampires in my area to see,” he states coldly. The microwave dings and he pulls the bags of blood out.
Revulsion and desire churn inside of me. I want that blood more vehemently than anything I have ever wanted before, but I despise the blood because it means I am no longer human. I no longer get to lie in the sun and soak up its rays. Before I know it, Eric is in front of me caressing my cheek. Once again, I feel enveloped by a warm hug as he sends me comfort.
“Give me time Sookie; that’s all I ask,” he implores softly. His expression is unguarded for the moment and it gives me pause. He looks so earnest, so desperate for me to agree to what he is asking. “Let me show you what it means to be a vampire; what it means to be my progeny. I swear on Godric that if you are unhappy with this existence, I will not force you to stay. But I ask that you at least try to embrace your new nature.”
I nod my head silently as I look up at him. His uncertainty morphs into a smile so beautiful and sweet that I feel my heart flip in my chest. Before I can say anything, the smile and sweetness are gone replaced by the smirk that makes me want to smack him. “Now drink up. The only thing worse than cold blood is drinking from a corpse.”
I blanch as I take the mug he handed me. “You’ve done that?”
He nods his head. “Desperate times called for desperate measures. Humans were far more scarce when I was first turned. As long as the corpse is still ‘fresh’, you can drink the blood. I would not recommend it though. Animal blood is preferable to drinking the blood of a corpse.” He gestures for me to drink. I stare at the glass with ill-disguised apathy. Gran’s voice comes to me, reminding me of what she used to tell Jason when he refused to take his cough medicine.
Just pinch your nose, open your mouth, and swallow. It’ll be gone before you know it.
With a grimace, I put the mug to my lips and gulp noisily, hoping the faster I swallow will minimize the taste in my mouth.
Sweet Baby Jesus!!! I’ve never tasted anything as wonderful in all my life! It’s more decadent than the fancy chocolate Arlene’s ex-husband had bought her when he was trying to make up for missing their anniversary and it’s far more succulent than the juiciest strawberry on a warm summer day. It makes me feel good inside; nice and toasty like Gran’s chicken and dumplings on a blustery cold day.
Eric laughs while I lick my lips trying to get the last remnants of the blood off my lips. If I didn’t think he’d make fun of me, I’d run my finger around the edge of the glass like I used to do with the brownie batter bowl to get the last bit. As Gran used to say, “You can’t let the goodness go to waste.”
“That was AB negative; it is my favorite as well. Everyone in our bloodline prefers AB negative blood, except Nora. For some reason she prefers A negative,” Eric says with a curl of his lip. A giggle escapes as I take in his expression. It reminds me of Jason having to eat his peas.
“Try this one,” he says while handing me his untouched glass. I eagerly bring the goblet to my lips, hoping it will be more of the sweet nectar I just drank. Rather than gulp this down like my brother with a cold beer, I try to savor it, letting the taste linger on my taste buds. It’s a damn shame that I’m a vampire now and cannot eat food, because my taste buds have never been this sensitive. I can taste everything that hangs in the air; every nuance dances on my tongue like the bubbles in a carbonated drink. But this blood isn’t like the other. It’s bland. It doesn’t taste bad, but it doesn’t taste good either. I hurriedly gulp the rest of it down and set the glass aside in disappointment.
“That was O positive. It’s the most common blood type in the world. If I had to compare it to a human food, I would say it is like chicken,” Eric explains. At my quizzical look, he continues. “From what I have heard, chicken by itself is very bland. You need to add spices and other flavors to it. Yes, you could eat it plain, but the additional flavors enhance the meat. O positive blood is like that; environment and diet can change the flavor of the blood. The reason the blood tastes so bland to you now is because it is bagged and processed, having lost whatever slight flavor it had.”
“Do you need any more? We have much to discuss and I need you to be focused on the conversation, not your hunger.” Eric looks at me expectantly and I can tell we are moving on to the business part of our evening.
“Um, I’m fine for now. Will I be able to get more if I need it later?”
“Absolutely. There will always be bagged blood around and when you are comfortable, you will drink from a donor.”
“What about True Blood?”
“It is a tool to make humans feel comfortable with our presence. It will do nothing to satisfy your hunger,” my maker cautions me.
It’s surreal to think of Eric as my maker. I can’t wrap my head around everything he is telling me. I was dying if what he is telling me is true. Why did Eric turn me a vampire? Is my telepathy really that valuable to him?
Oh shit! My telepathy?
I’ve been so focused on all the other problems at hand that I haven’t even thought about my little quirk. After Long Shadow’s blood got inside me was the first time I’d heard a vampire’s thoughts. And it’s the vampire that happens to be my maker.
What if I can hear Eric all the time now? Or worse . . . what if I can hear all vampires?