Chapter 14 – Sweet Sacrifice

I was too mad to go back to bed, which had been my intention until I saw the earrings.  I removed them and left them on top of Eric’s tall dresser.  I liked to think that I would have accepted the gift graciously if he had given them to me the regular way, instead of putting them on me while I couldn’t accept or decline them.  I knew myself, though.  I would have made a stink about such an extravagant gift.  Maybe Eric knew that about me too.

I explored the house while sipping coffee.  Everything looked so different in the daylight.  I examined his collections more closely, starting with his books.  It was intimidating.  Some of the editions were from the turn of the century, and I wasn’t sure if he’d kept them that long, or if he’d purchased them as collector’s items.  I decided that not touching anything was the best course of action.

On to his DVD and CD collection.  The CD’s stopped in the early 2000’s, so I guessed he’d gone digital after that.  The DVD’s had a mix of Blu-Ray discs in tiny blue boxes.  Everything was just like his book collection: eclectic.  He had action, comedy, romance, even cartoons.  I did find an obvious neglect of horror stock.  I guessed when you’re a vampire there’s nothing more horrifying than yourself.  Or maybe it was Eric’s preference.  I’d ask later.

I couldn’t stand being idle much longer, so I did laundry.  There wasn’t anything else to do.  The house was spotless otherwise.  The hamper did need attention.

It was really strange to walk into the light-tight basement to find a coffin and nothing else.  It was even stranger when I found a second coffin inside the laundry room, propped up against the wall.  “Guest rooms,” I muttered and then laughed out loud.

When everything was clean and ready to be put away, I headed back up to Eric’s bedroom, to fold and hang clothes.  I was using the corner of the bed where I’d been sleeping as a folding station, while Eric took up most of the rest of the bed with his huge frame.

“I’m mad at you,” I said out loud while folding underwear.  I talked to myself out loud, why not talk to him?  He’d never know.  “You were very high-handed with the way you gave me those earrings.  Just because I can’t decline them now doesn’t mean I won’t later.”  I sighed.  “I know you meant well, but I’m not with you for your money, and if I accept them I’m afraid that’s exactly what you’ll think.  Plus it’s not fair to me.  What am I supposed to give you in return?”  I remembered the nice polo shirt I’d seen at Nordstrom’s.  It wasn’t nearly as nice as the earrings, but maybe it would make me feel better to give him something.

I started looking through drawers to find his underwear drawer, and got a surprise when I did.  I’d seen him in boxers and briefs now.  He also owned boxer-briefs, and some interesting sexy stuff.  A red pair of bikini underwear in particular, caught my eye.  I held them up.  They would be strained on him for sure.  I folded them back up and put them right where I’d found them, flushing bright red.  When in the world would he ever use those?

I kept putting things away and found a drawer where he kept workout clothes.  Why did he need to work out?  He was frozen in time.  Maybe he liked how comfortable workout clothes were.  I knew from talking to Pam that uncomfortable shoes and clothes on humans were just as uncomfortable on vampires, though the lingering effects were not as bad.  No blisters or corns on their feet, for example.

Inside the drawer with the workout clothes, something bright pink caught my eye, and my curiosity got the better of me.  I dug for it and held it up.  It was a pair of Lycra pants in bright pink with aqua swirls.  I looked at the tag: extra large tall, definitely Eric’s.  He and I needed to talk, as soon as I was done with my fit of giggles.  Forget lederhosen.  This was way better.  It must have been a Halloween costume or something leftover from the 80’s.  I put them back where I’d found them, feeling a little guilty about looking in his drawers.  In my defense, I hadn’t searched inside the drawer where I’d seen some jewelry boxes and watches.  There were no clothes there, so there was nothing for me to look for.

I did examine his bottles of cologne, and found the one he’d worn on our second date.  Of all the other ones, I liked that one the best.  “Aqua Di Gio, this is what you should wear all the time,” I pointed it at him, still sleeping.  I put back the bottle and peeked at my earrings.

My earrings

, I thought.  I had already accepted them.  So why was it so hard to just put them back on?  He’d be happy to see them on me.  Didn’t I want to make him happy?  He sure wanted to make me happy, therefore the earrings.  He’d meant to surprise me.  I sighed again, reached for them, examined each exquisite stone.  He had very good taste.  I could wear these with my new red dress, or my old white one with red flowers, or my work dress.  One more sigh and they made it into my earlobes.  I looked at my reflection, with my hair up in a ponytail.

“Alright, Eric.  You are very good at picking gifts.  Just don’t make it a habit.”  I walked over to the bed and lied next to him.  “You didn’t have to, you know?  But thank you,” I kissed his hand.  Did it twitch?  I almost jumped out of my skin when his hand moved.  Nothing else happened for several moments.  Maybe I had imagined it.

“Well… I have a few more hours to kill so I’m going to make use of your sunny backyard,” I patted his hand again and left.  I’d found the linen closet, chock full of giant fluffy towels, so I stole one of those.  I was already wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, so I headed outside through a door in the den.

There was every semblance that a regular, upper-middle-class person or persons resided in this house, right down to the stainless steel grill on the deck.  Thankfully that also meant deck chairs, so there was no need for the towel after all.  I could just sit and soak the sun.  I set out to spend at least an hour outside, before the sun got too low to enjoy and I had to start getting ready for out “special date.”

I was suddenly nervous.  What could possibly be special about a date?  Weren’t dates, by definition, special already?  I took a deep breath.  Maybe he meant the Oktoberfest.  That would be fun, for sure, as long as I didn’t go overboard on the beer.

Accepting the earrings was still bothering me.  Then I gave myself a stern lecture.  When was the last time anybody had given me anything?  Not just anybody, but an important somebody in my life.  Gran would’ve if she could’ve.  She had been the most important person in my life.  Jason was important but… sibling rivalry and all.  We’d never outgrown it.  He was the only family I had, and I found our relationship lacking.  Right now the man dead in his bedroom was the closest thing I had to family.

I touched an earring delicately, wondering when Eric had bought them, what he was thinking, why give them to me now?  Why not give them to me now?  I’d had a hell of a couple of nights.  Maybe he thought I deserved something nice and pretty, and since he was in a position to give me something special, he simply did it.  And here I was trying to find the cat’s fifth leg, when there was nothing more sinister about the gift other than it was a pretty bauble.

I made myself stop thinking, and read a little bit from the book I’d brought from home.  It was a paranormal romance.  The genre had surged in popularity since the vampires had come out of the coffin.  I had to stop reading right as the vampire in my novel was about to bite the beautiful but penniless governess.  It was time for this beautiful but penniless barmaid to get ready for her date with her own vampire.  I was going to do my hair.  I’d already ascertained that Eric had a very good hair dryer and the right brush to dry my hair perfectly straight.  Of course he did.  He used it for his own hair.

I took my sweet ol’ time getting ready, since apparently I had nothing to wear yet.  I did put my hair up with pins I found in a drawer in the bathroom.  Again, it was one of those things that I couldn’t understand why or when Eric would use them.  I managed to put some waves into my hair by using my fingers.  I put on my makeup the way Pam had shown me, since I couldn’t go wrong no matter what I was wearing, put my new earrings back on, and put on one of his robes, a short one that came down almost to my knees.

And then I waited.  There was nothing for me to do other than wait until Eric woke up.  So I sat on his slipper chair and continued reading my paranormal romance.  The girl got bitten and it hurt.  The vampire had called it a sweet sacrifice.  Not fair.

I caught movement out of the corner of my eye, but continued reading because they were talking in my novel.  Well, the vampire was talking, she was screaming bloody murder.  Eric cleared his throat, which was mighty funny, considering he didn’t get any phlegm.  I looked up and smiled.  I had to.  His hair was a glorious mess.

He smiled back and moved to sit on “my” side of the bed, the side closest to the slipper chair.  “I’m awaiting the wrath of Sookie, and don’t see it coming.”

I made a face.  He did know me well.  I cleared my features quickly and tried again.  “Thank you for the earrings.  They’re beautiful and I was very surprised to receive them.  But I want you to know that I’m not with you for what you can buy me or give me, other than yourself.”  I’d made up my mind about what I was going to say and I said it.

He was bending over me in a blur of speed.  His hands were on either armrest of the chair I was sitting on and his face was mere inches from mine.  His expression was serious and scary to me.  “I’m not immortal.  I live for a very long time, but at any time I can die, just like anybody else.  I cannot take my money with me, so I rather spend it and make good use of it.  Please accept my gifts as a token of my love for you, and thank me profusely,” his expression softened as well as his voice.  “You’re my beautiful gracious love.  Can you understand why I would like to shower you with gifts?  And, by the way, you look magnificent.”

Eric kissed me very lightly on my lipsticked lips, and then kissed my neck more forcefully, sending shivers all the way down to my tootsies.

“Thank you,” I blurted out almost breathless.

“That’s more like it,” he straightened up and walked to his closet, my own Norse god naked and magnificent.  I ogled.  I did.  He emerged holding a garment bag.  I’d thought it was one of his suits when I’d seen it earlier.  “This is for you.  I’ll take a shower while you get dressed, so that I may be surprised as well,” he winked at me, and set the garment bag on the bed.

“You can wear your lederhosen, but I’m not wearing a dirndl,” I called out, unzipping the bag.

“Sookie, you know too much.  Put your clothes on,” he ordered, already at the door to the bathroom.

In one of my romances, the bodice of a girl’s dirndl, which was a type of Bavarian dress, had been ripped apart by her lover.  I knew things.  How I came to know them was… not always academic.

Inside the bag I found (not a dirndl) a gold sheath dress, in satin, with pleats running widthwise, and a band of sequin around the top one inch of the dress.  And only one shoulder.  I began to panic but calmed down when I found a Victoria’s Secret bag inside and a note taped to it.  Pam had written “Trust me” in her fancy cursive.  I looked inside and found a very sturdy strapless bra and matching bikini panties, both in red.  I kept searching inside the garment bag and found a box of gold high-heeled sandals to match the gold dress.  I had a sneaky suspicion that we weren’t going to Oktoberfest.  I’d never owned anything as beautiful as the dress, or the shoes, or the earrings, or even the high-end underwear.

Remarkably, my boobs stayed firmly inside the bra and my ass inside the panties.  I zipped up the dress without any difficulty.  But of course, Pam knew my size.  I was looking at half of myself in the mirror when Eric emerged, still naked but now clean, and stood with his hands on his hips and a seductive smile in the middle of the room.

“You look like the sun,” he said.

I was going to say that the sun was a tad bit brighter, but shut my mouth.  “Did you pick this out?  It’s beautiful,” I said instead.  Even with the one bare shoulder, Gran would have approved of this dress.  It covered everything, it came right to my knees, and the pleats were very flattering.

“Pam helped a lot,” he took a deep breath and frowned a little.  “Will you not wear perfume?  Not that you don’t smell delicious, but you smell like my soap too.”

“I forgot to bring mine,” I mumbled, feeling stupid.

Eric opened the drawer where I’d seen his jewelry boxes and watches, and reached in.  “Is this the one you like?” he held up a box of the Bulgari perfume Pam had bought for me.

“Yes.  How come you have a box?” I said, walking to him and getting the box.

He shrugged.  “I liked it on you, so I bought more.”

Why did I ask him stupid questions?  Vampires were a conundrum wrapped in an enigma.  I was half surprised I hadn’t found a drawer of underwear for me.

“Your scent is on everything here.  What were you doing?” he asked, but wasn’t mad.  He had one of his signature devilish smiles, and I should have known he would like for me to have been looking at his underwear.

“I did your laundry and put everything away.  I had to search your drawers to find the right ones,” I said, feeling a little defensive.

He blinked.  “You did my laundry?  Why?”

“Because it needed to be done.  Your hamper was about to overflow,” I explained it to him, because obviously overflowing hampers were an alien concept.

“You didn’t need to do that,” he shook his head.

“And you didn’t need to get me earrings, yet here we are.  Are you getting dressed tonight?” I asked, trying to get him off the stupid subject already.  So I did his laundry.  Big whoop-de-do.

“Oh, lover, do that again,” he said, eyeing me up and down, and down.  He was admiring my legs.  I was standing in a mad pose, with my arms crossed, one leg straight, another jutting out.

“If you don’t get dressed I’ll dress you myself,” I warned him.

Why didn’t I learn?  He ran one hand seductively from his chest all the way down, and down, and OH MY GOD! down, licking his lips.  I turned around quickly, embarrassed and horny, and walked away.

“At the very least, will you watch?” he asked.  I knew he had turned back to his closet by the sound of his voice.

“We might never get out of here,” I mumbled and I heard him snicker.

“This one, my lover?” he asked me, holding up the Aqua Di Gio cologne.  How did he know?  I only nodded and he sprayed a tiny bit.

I did watch… from the safety of the slipper chair.  Eric’s body was mesmerizing, and I always liked to see him get dressed.  Tonight he was wearing more layers than usual: Boxer-briefs (I was highly disappointed that those came first, bye-bye butt), dress socks, dress white shirt.  He looked in his jewelry drawer and produced a heavy watch and a set of cufflinks that sparkled red.  He put those on and proceeded with the blue and black striped tie, and the navy tailored suit.  He looked like a million bucks.

“May I use that chair?” he asked me, procuring his shoes.  My mouth must have been hanging open.

I got up immediately, realizing I could have been doing something immensely more productive, like making the bed, or at least putting away the bags that my clothes had come in.  I did that while he tied his shoes, but Eric waved me away from the bed and made it himself in about a second and a half.  Maybe two.

“Are you ready?” he asked, holding out his hand to me.  I grabbed my new gold clutch purse, grabbed his hand, and off we went.

As we passed the kitchen I remembered, “Are we having dinner or should I eat something now?”

“We’re having dinner and the sooner the better.  You’re hungry already,” he said, and kept pulling me to the garage.  I guess he could hear my stomach better than me because I didn’t feel particularly hungry.

“Aren’t you hungry?” I asked.  We were moving so fast he’d already locked the garage door and had started the Corvette remotely.

“Not yet,” he smiled.  It was coming…  “I will be later, though,” and there it was.  I knew him enough now to know he was nervous.  He didn’t make that many lascivious remarks unless something was bugging him.

I stopped in my tracks before he could open the door to the car.  “Hey…” I said in a soft voice, and pulled on his hand.  He came back to me, frowning.  “What’s wrong?  Why are you so nervous?”

He didn’t try to deny it, at least.  He did give me a half smile, one that said “I’m busted.”  Instead of saying that exact phrase out loud, he said, “We’ll be late,” and kissed my forehead.

We drove through the streets and local highways of Shreveport, getting close to Bossier.  Since he was so nervous, I decided to just go for it, the question burning in my brain all afternoon.

“What’s with the pink Lycra pants?”  I turned a little to wait for his answer.

He shot me a quick look, the guffawed at my side.  There!  Nervous problem solved.  I hoped.

“It was something I wore in ’88.  I don’t know why I haven’t gotten rid of it.  I saw more concerts that year than ever before or after.  I would be deaf if I weren’t a vampire,” he said, still chuckling.

I felt very young very suddenly.  I was just… what?  Four years old in ’88?  Yeah… I was playing with My Little Ponies and Eric was going to concerts.  My Gran used to say not to think too deeply about things that were hard to fathom, lest we go crazy.  That’s why I always thought astronomers were nuts: the vastness of it all… And somewhere out there was God too.

“Your mood shifted,” Eric chimed from his side of the car.  “What made you… confused?  Not the pants…”

“No, no!” I interrupted.  Way to go, Sookie!  Now he’s nervous again.  “I was doing math, the vastness of the universe, all those zeroes…” I drifted.

“You must be very hungry.  We weren’t even talking about that.”

I tried one more time.  “Will you wear the red underwear for me?  It looked very sexy,” I said, and smiled at the thought.

“Only if you wear red underwear for me,” he countered.

“Done,” I said and pulled down the dress just enough to reveal a sliver of red bra.

“Oh!  That is sexy,” he didn’t swerve, but he did have a hard time keeping his eyes on the road.

We made it to our destination after a few minutes.  I remembered this place from a trip during elementary school.  It was a garden and conservatory, and a museum if I remembered correctly.  Eric parked the Corvette right up front, and the place looked dead.  I didn’t say anything, but I was itching to point out the obvious: that the conservatory was closed at this hour.

“We are here,” he said, and turned off the car.  He got my door and led me through the center arch of the entrance.  At the door he knocked three times and we waited.  I looked up with a question in my eyes, but when his met mine he was smiling serenely.

A man in a tuxedo came to get the door and to usher us through the conservatory back to the outside.  There were several tables, but only one was set, and it was the one with the best view of the Red River, Bossier beyond it, and the Texas Street Neon Bridge that connected Shreveport to Bossier.  Everything was so colorful and sparkly that it took me a minute to realize this is where we were having dinner.

“Do you like it?” Eric asked, still at my side.  I had stopped walking halfway to the table, to admire the view.

“I’d never seen this place at night.  It’s beautiful,” I answered, and started moving forward again.

Eric held my chair in a very gentlemanly way, and when he sat he did so next to me, rather than across from me.  I supposed he wanted to admire the view too, not that I minded having him close.  The man in the tuxedo started bringing out things: water and white wine for me, a True Blood for Eric.  On his second trip he brought me a plate with a sizzling steak, loaded baked potato, fresh veggies.  I wasn’t complaining, but this was weird.

“Um… Eric?”

“You don’t like your food?  I’ve seen you eat that before,” he started to get defensive.

“Food’s great,” I said immediately, though I hadn’t tried it yet.  It smelled good.  “Why aren’t we at a regular restaurant?”  I went ahead and started eating.  The food was very good.

“Oh,” he deflated quickly and smiled.  “We have this place for the night.  After dinner we’ll take a stroll through the museum and the gardens.”

“Okay, I’d like that,” I said, knowing better than to ask how come they opened the place for just us and creepy-tuxedo guy.  But I started asking questions anyway.  “I was looking at your book collection.  Are those old editions something you’ve had or did you get them recently?”

“They’re a mix,” he said, but didn’t elaborate.

I felt like I was trying really hard with this conversation, when normally everything was so easy.  “How come you don’t have any horror flicks in your collection?”

“They’re not to my taste,” he shrugged.

“But Finding Nemo is?” I asked, trying to keep it light.

It worked.  Eric chuckled, “I like the turtles.”

“I didn’t see Twilight among your collection.  Did you watch it?”

“No.  Reading the book was enough.  Whoever thought up poisonous vampires wasn’t thinking very clearly.  And the blood of animals?” he shook his head in disgust.

I could understand.  Vampires became aroused when they drank blood.  Enough said.

“Can you move during the day?” I asked, sort of on topic, but remembering how his hand had moved when I’d kissed it.

“It’s very difficult, but not impossible.  Something very dire must be happening.  Thankfully I’ve only had to do that a couple of times in my life,” he paused, watching me eat.  I was getting used to it.  “If your life were in danger, I would wake up and try to save you.”

I swallowed a bite.  I knew my eyes had widened.  He would suffer sure injury if he tried to save my life during the day.  “I’ll try not to get in trouble during the day,” I said nervous.

“Only at night?” he asked, running a finger over my cheek.

“I’ll try to get in trouble only at night, though I’d rather not get in trouble at all.”

“Yes, I’d prefer that as well,” he said.  He was playing with a strand of my hair now and had me mesmerized into forgetting dinner.  “Are you done?”

I looked down at my plate.  I was almost done and not hungry anymore.  The tight feeling in my stomach wouldn’t let me eat anymore.  “I’m done.”

“Would you join me for a walk?” he asked, getting up and getting my chair.

I didn’t answer.  The answer was implied when I laced my fingers through his.  He knew where to go, and led us to the museum.  I hadn’t been to a museum in ages, since a trip with Gran’s DoGD group to the Old Arsenal Museum in Baton Rouge four years prior.  This one was different.  This museum housed art, not history, each painting brilliantly displayed.  I could take my time exploring whatever painting struck my fancy, because the only other person wanting to look at it could just stand beside me.  One painting in particular held me in awe.  It was flowers, amorphous hibiscus from the looks of it, but the colors were so vivid, I had to get close to discern how many colors each petal had.  Eric drew close, and I thought he was studying the painting too, but when I looked up to say something about the painting he caught me.  Literally.  His arms circled my waist and back and he bent to kiss me.

This kiss reminded me of the one he’d first given me in his office: soft, deliberate.  This time, however, I could respond properly.  I put my arms around his neck and pressed myself against him.  The kiss lingered, less like a fire and more like a slow burn.  I enjoyed it immensely, a simple pleasure.  He pulled away first, but not before kissing the corner of my mouth, my nose, my chin.

Eric didn’t pull away completely.  He rested his forehead against mine, breathing deeply.  I opened my eyes to find that his were completely closed, like he was thinking really hard.  I ran my hands through his hair, hoping that the motion would be soothing.

  “Won’t you tell me what’s wrong?” I asked, thinking of several things that could be bad, and one that would be the worst: him, leaving me, breaking my heart like I’d feared he would.  Maybe he was saying goodbye.  My irrational thought sent chills down my spine, made my hands clammy and my pulse raise.

He opened his eyes immediately and pulled away to look at me properly.  “It’s nothing to fear, please, Sookie, calm down dear one.”  He put both hands on my face, so large that his fingers knotted into my hair.

“I’m okay,” I lied.

“Come, let’s walk.”

Eric took my hand again, and led us to the far end of the gallery.  We entered the conservatory into a very dark garden.  Nothing was lit except the path at our feet.  The scent of honeysuckle met me almost immediately, sweet and pungent.

“Close your eyes, Sookie,” Eric said, and moved behind me, one cool hand on my bare shoulder, the other caressing my arm.  He pushed forward.  I had to trust him that I wouldn’t trip while we walked.

As we moved through the garden the honeysuckle faded and I could smell lavender.  We moved a little further and came upon a scent I didn’t recognize right away.

“What is that?” I asked in a whisper.  I didn’t want to disrupt the silence.

“Poet’s narcissus,” Eric answered into my ear, planting a soft kiss where my neck met my jaw, giving me goose bumps.  My fear lifted and I began to relax into Eric.

The scents inside this garden were so luxuriant that my sense of smell became overwhelmed the further we walked.  I didn’t know what plant came next, only that it was different than the last.  I became dizzy and opened my eyes.  I found we were in the middle of a rose forest, though all I could see were the faint outlines of the flowers climbing on trellises on either side of us.  I looked up to find the flowers made a canopy only about a foot above Eric’s head.  He reached up, touching one flower, his glowing skin faintly lighting the bloom.

He looked down at me, holding my gaze while he moved us, faster than I could fathom, and bade me to sit on a bench under the rose canopy.  Then he did something I was sure he’d never done in a thousand years.  Eric knelt before me, prostrate like a supplicant, my hands in his or his in mine, I wasn’t sure.  I was shocked.

“Sookie,” he took a deep breath, probably filling up his lungs so he could speak.  “I’ve been going about this the wrong way.  I don’t want you to be scared into loving me.  I want you to know me and love me on your own terms.”

“I do love you,” I interrupted.  I thought it was clear.  Maybe not.  But this was the first time I’d fallen in love with anybody.  It’s not like there’s a manual that explains exactly how to show it.

“I know you do.  You show me every moment we’re together.  What you don’t understand is this driving need within me to keep you safe, to keep you beside me so I can love you,” he kissed my hands softly.

I wasn’t unmoved.  My heart was a little rabbit jumping inside my ribcage.  If only I could read Eric’s thoughts, or his feelings, anything that would tell me what I should say or do right this very minute.  I was scared, I was happy.  My own body betrayed me when I had to take a deep breath that sounded like a sigh.

“Sookie?” he pulled something from the inner pocket of his jacket and set it on my hand.  “Will you be mine?  Will you bond with me so we can stay together?”

I couldn’t escape, not that I exactly wanted to.  His usually blue eyes were dark pools in the dim light, and they were holding me captive.  My brain had seized and I couldn’t think.  Did he glamour me?  But I knew that was impossible.

I closed my hand around the object he’d placed in it.  It was a small box.  Oh, my God!  Did he just propose?  I didn’t dare look at it just yet.  Instead I closed my eyes, so I could be truly alone inside my head for a moment.  Just a few minutes ago I’d suffered through my own self-inflicted agony of losing him, and here he was giving me everything.  No wonder he’d been nervous all night.  He’d been scared of rejection.

I opened my eyes again.  I could see his pain already manifesting, and I was the cause.  Hadn’t I prayed for Eric to be safe?  Because I couldn’t stand to see him hurt again?

“I love you,” I managed to say.  My throat had gone so dry.  I could do this.  I wanted this.  I had to do it before I could give myself some stupid reason to chicken out.  “I’ll bond with you.”

Eric’s answering smile was radiant.  “Open your gift.”

“Eric, what did you do?”  I finally looked down at the box.  It was wrapped in thick white parchment, held closed by a circular wax seal.  I couldn’t read the emblem, as much as I tried.

“Open the box, Sookie,” he said, getting impatient.

I ripped the seal and unfolded the paper.  Inside was a red box; that much I could tell.  “Please tell me you have a flashlight.”

“You won’t need it in a minute.  Open the box,” Eric said, and I did, cringing.

I was expecting a huge diamond engagement ring worthy of Mariah Carey or some such show off.  What I found was so much better.  Eric really did know me.  It was a simple white gold band with tiny gems set within the band itself.  Some were diamonds, and the others were a darker stone, probably sapphires.  He took it from the box and put it on my left ring finger.  It fit perfect.

“I wish I could see it properly to tell you exactly how beautiful it is,” I said drolly, looking at it, or trying to.

“Sookie.”  The intensity in his voice made me look up.  He was standing in front of me and pulled me to stand too.  He sat on the just-vacated bench, and sat me on his lap.  Before I could say or ask anything, he lifted his wrist and sank his fangs into the soft fleshy part.  I took it gingerly and brought it to my mouth, sucking on the two wounds as hard as I could to get the blood to flow.  The sweet and salty fluid warmed me as I swallowed it, like wine.

Eric’s fingers caressed my neck softly, before the sharp pain of his bite made me gasp.  He moaned as he drank my blood.  Like a rush of warm air on a cold night, I felt his feelings invade me.  The first thing I felt was his euphoria as he took my blood.  When he started licking my neck to close the wounds, the feeling morphed to lust.  It was more than a feeling.  I could feel him pressing against my leg.

I stopped drinking Eric’s blood when his wounds closed.  I looked around with new eyes.  It was as if somebody had turned on a light.  Every rose bloom now had a distinct color.  I looked down at my ring, admiring it properly.  The sapphires shone blue and perfect next to the diamonds.  I saw the discarded box for the first time, red and gold.  I did all this at vampire speed, surprising even myself.

“I want you,” Eric growled, still at my neck.  I knew what he meant because I wanted him too and didn’t care where we were.  I wanted him now, now, now!

I got off him, hitched up my skirt and pulled down my panties.  Eric stripped from the waist down and I returned to him as quickly as I could, straddling him, impaling myself on his hardness.  I hadn’t been ready, not entirely, and it hurt.  He held me still after I cried out in pain.

“Come here,” he said, pulling me to him.  He kissed me slowly, licking my lips, opening my mouth with his tongue.  I let him in, tangling my tongue with his.  I tasted my own blood when I sucked, and I liked it.  I liked it that I was inside him, that I could taste myself on him.  My lust flared again and I began moving my hips in a circular motion.  He moaned into my mouth and I into his.  I felt like a vampire.  I wanted to bite him, ravage him, make him mine.

“Mine!” I said, as I thrust against him.  I bit his lip, tugging at it, without breaking the skin.  “Mine!” I said again, bouncing harder on him.

Eric snarled a “yes!” and helped me bounce faster.  I bit his earlobe, his neck, pulled on his hair to make him look at me.  He looked wild with desire, a deep growl building somewhere inside his chest.  His thumb found my center, and he held me still once more, this time pumping into me.  He pumped faster than he ever had, vampire fast.  I lost it, and quickly.  My climax took over both of us as I screamed his name, holding on to his neck for dear life.  He threw his head back, filling the whole conservatory with my name.

Next Chapter


2 thoughts on “Chapter 14 – Sweet Sacrifice

  1. I am so HOOKED on this story I was afraid I was gonna be late for work because I coudn’t stop reading LOL. My husband kept asking if I was gonna get ready for work I kept saying in a minute thankfully I’m an auditor and can bring my laptop with me. I love the way that Sookie and Eric are commen sense is AWESOME.

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