I was beyond bored. We were all looking at each other trying to absorb everything, on the brink of something big, and unable to act. We had to wait until my family got the green light to go do something about Hallow and her… coven? Home girls? Bunch of demented followers? Okay, whatever, in the meantime we were stuck.
“Do you have cards? We can play strip poker,” Pam suggested, wearing her usual stoic face.
I rolled my eyes. “No, Pam. I don’t have any cards, and even if I did we wouldn’t play strip poker. Besides, you need more than three people for poker.”
“You’re not fun,” she said and actually pouted.
I sighed. “Movie?”
Eric was watching us, a little confused. I think he was still stuck on what strip poker entailed. I had a tiny epiphany. “I’ll be right back,” I said and ran to the rooms upstairs. They were cold as Hades, but I found what I was looking for and returned to the kitchen quickly. Pam’s face was priceless when I presented her the box.
“Monopoly?” Pam asked. Her face bore an expression that was a cross between disgust, curiosity, and a hint of “this might not be so bad.”
I nodded and smiled shyly, holding out the box. I hadn’t played Monopoly in ages, but it was fun… and didn’t involve any stripping. Plus, I thought it would appeal to the vampires’ innate sense of industry and business.
Eric took the box. He was going to be a good sport, for me. “Let me see, dear one. How do you play?” He opened the box and found the instructions, reading them at vampire speed. He handed them to Pam. “I’m Sheriff, I should be the bank,” he announced and started doling out money. “And I’ll be the car.”
“The car is bad luck. I’ll be the hat,” Pam said, putting the hat on “GO.” Eric eyed her, peeved.
“They’re both bad luck. I’ll be the battleship,” I said, grabbing my piece. Actually, this game was old and had seen many rainy days with me and Jason. The battleship used to be his favorite, and the car used to be mine. Gran always chose the dog.
We started playing, but Eric and Pam had no strategy. I was buying up any and all properties that I happened to land on, until I ran out of money. Eric shot me a smirk, thinking he knew so much better than me. The smirk disappeared when he had to pay me fifty bucks because he landed on one of my railroads.
About two hours later the game got good, when every piece of property had been purchased, and I was holding on to a sizable chunk of them. “I’ll trade you these two fuchsia ones for that green one,” Pam said to me.
“Nope. This green one is worth at least two yellow,” I said. It was my turn to smirk.
“But I only have one yellow. Eric has the other,” she whined. I was getting on her nerves.
“Not my problem. You can have this green one for two yellow,” I said, fanning myself with the card.
Exasperated, Pam turned to Eric. “What do you want for that yellow card?”
He put his finger on his chin, looking at her properties thoughtfully. “The blue one.”
“Park Place?! No way!”
“I have Boardwalk, I want Park Place. You will give it to me to acquire the yellow card.” For a minute I thought he was trying to glamour Pam. But he was only exerting his power as maker over her.
“Oy! Eric, that’s cheating! You can’t make Pam do things. You have to play the game fair and square,” I said, waving my hand in front of his face to make him quit it.
He puffed in frustration and crossed his arms over his chest.
“It’s alright,” Pam said. “I’ll give you Park Place in exchange for the yellow card on one condition: free rent if I land on either of your blue ones for the next five rounds.”
“Fine. Two rounds,” Pam said, and handed the blue card to Eric at the same time he gave her the yellow one.
Eric actually won Monopoly. I ended up running out of money paying him every time I landed on Boardwalk, where he had put a hotel. Those dice just didn’t love me. Pam was also mortgaged to the limit trying to pay Eric. Apparently he knew what he was doing after all.
“I’m going to watch TV. Perhaps there is football on,” she said, and left. She was the sorest loser. Eric and I looked at each other and shrugged. We were left alone putting all the pieces of the game back inside the box.
“Come here, dear one,” Eric said when everything was put away. He was holding his arms open, inviting me to sit on his lap.
I jumped at the chance. He was feeling happy and peaceful, and gave me a huge smile as I hugged him tightly. He caressed my face lovingly as I rested my head on his shoulder, and then he kissed my forehead. I looked up and he landed another kiss on my lips, and incredibly tender one. I took a deep breath before we parted. He looked at me, studying my face with his glacial blue eyes. I wasn’t sure what he was looking for.
“You’re beautiful, Sookie,” he said. Well, that explained that. I smiled. He’d never been one to withhold compliments.
“You’re beautiful too, Eric,” I said, never taking my eyes off his.
He kissed me again, but this time it was needier. His tongue invaded my mouth at the same time that his hand squirreled under my sweater, reaching my bra and tugging down. He caressed my breast as he moved his kiss to my neck, letting his fangs graze my skin but not biting.
“Sookie?” he whispered at my throat.
“When was the last time you had my blood?” he asked.
“Last night I had a drop,” I answered, breathless with his attentions.
“And before that?”
“About a week ago.” He needed to stop talking. I promised myself I’d be quiet if he took me to the bedroom and satisfied this sudden need I had for him. As if reading my mind, he picked me up and carried me to our bedroom, setting my feet on the floor gingerly before moving away from me and sitting down on the bed.
“Let me see you, Sookie. Take off your clothes,” he snarled a little. I did as he asked, dropping all the garments on the floor and not caring one little bit. It was the first time since his amnesia that he saw… full frontal – while I was standing – nudity. At least he liked what he saw, if the hand on his crotch was any indication. He was trying to ease the uncomfortable feeling of his gracious plenty trapped inside his jeans.
“Won’t you take off your clothes too?” I asked, feeling exposed and cold. The cold feeling didn’t last for long. Eric stood up and gave me a show. Goodness, me! I loved it when he did that. He beckoned with one finger, so I walked closer.
“You’re truly beautiful, Sookie. I can’t get enough of you,” he said, reaching for me and pulling me against him. His body was cool but it produced a fever within me that warmed me up. I rubbed my face against the soft hair on his chest, but he stopped me suddenly. “Your amulet,” he reminded me.
I groaned, but went to retrieve it. Like Claudine suggested, I put my socks back on and attached the brooch to the inside of one of them. Just as well… my feet had been cold. Eric was smiling when I returned. “You’re still beautiful,” he said, grabbing my waist.
“I feel stupid,” I pouted, but put my hands on his belly, watching as his gracious plenty twitched. He wanted me to touch him.
“Sookie, you’re not stupid. And now you’re safe, which is all that matters,” he said, and quickly proceeded to make me forget I was wearing socks.
Eric kissed and suckled on my breasts hungrily, his hair falling on my chest in a caress. I couldn’t help the moan that escaped, and he couldn’t stop himself from growling. His fingers began the path they were starting to remember, testing to see if I was ready for him. I was. I always was, and if I hadn’t been, he would have made me ready.
He turned me around and made me kneel on the bed, stood behind me, and began kneading my bottom. I felt that familiar soft pressure at my entrance. I turned to look behind me, to see his face. His face looked wild. He was baring his fangs and his teeth, his muscles twitching with effort. I knew that look. He was holding back from hurting me. I pushed back, taking him inside me and feeling complete. We both felt it. Eric began moving slowly, grabbing my hips to keep me still. Each one of his long strokes was driving me wild with desire. I reached down to touch my little nub, enjoying how sensitive it had become after Eric’s initial touch. I reached further, touching him as he entered me. He let out another deep growl and began moving a little faster.
Every thrust took me closer to that promised land of ecstasy. Eric pulled me up halfway, holding my body with an arm on my chest. He moaned softly and gave me his bloody wrist. As soon as I began to suck on the two small wounds, his frenzy took over. He pumped faster and I couldn’t stop from touching myself with my free hand. The feeling was so exquisite that I didn’t pay attention when he bent over me and bit where my neck met my shoulder. All I knew was that my perfect orgasm had carried me over into the sea of purple euphoria.
I was proud of myself for not making noise, but Eric didn’t have any of those qualms. He yelled out what he usually said in Old Norse, holding me tight against him as he shook inside me. I reached behind me, to caress his hair. He was breathing hard against my neck, taking deep breaths and letting them out in big puffs, the faster to breathe in again. I spared a sliver of thought to the fact that he remembered what he usually said.
When we came back to ourselves I found that he was still hard and inside me, moving slowly and not very steady. I took a deep breath, taking in his scent, taking him inside me that way as well. He was rubbing my breasts with both hands, humming my song.
“Eric,” I moaned his name. I couldn’t help it.
“Sookie,” he said my name in his deep husky voice, the one that told me he was still in the throes of passion.
We didn’t say anything else. He laid me down settling above me, entered me again, and I was grateful. This time it wasn’t about sex. It was about what we needed; we had it in each other. Our desires were met, fulfilled, brought to fruition.
Eric kissed my neck. “I love you,” he whispered against my skin, giving me sweet shivers.
“I love you too, Eric. I love you so much,” I said, feeling that my love was a living being inside me.
“You make me so happy when you say those words,” he smiled, still moving inside me, finding a rhythm to satisfy our bodies. We reached our happy endings at the same time, sighing with pleasure. The second time hadn’t been Earth-shattering, but it had been right. It had felt right.
We washed each other in the shower, giggling the whole time at Eric’s insistence that the loofah was a foofah. We rejoined poor Pam, who we had left to her own devices. She hadn’t taken offense. She was used to us needing “a break,” as she called it. She didn’t call it anything else knowing it would have upset me. I admit it: I was still a prude, as evidenced by my shy smile which I tried to hide in Eric’s chest as we walked into the living room. Pam was showing me tip.
“You guys enjoyed your break?” she asked.
Eric arched an eyebrow. He’d seen my reaction, but didn’t understand her words. “We did,” he answered. I was mortified and Pam let out a huge guffaw at my expense. “That’s enough, Pam. You’re making Sookie uncomfortable,” he said, looking down at me, still buried against his chest.
“She does it on purpose,” I mumbled.
We sat to watch TV with Pam, but it didn’t take me long to fall asleep leaning against Eric. I woke up briefly as he carried me to the bedroom, but I didn’t have enough in me to wake up fully.
When I woke up again it was because my doorbell was ringing. I closed my eyes to scan the brain of the person at the door. Shifter. It didn’t feel like Sam’s brain, though, or Alcide’s.
I got up slowly. I was still wearing the sweatshirt and pants I’d worn the night before, so I slipped into my sneakers and went to answer the door. Before I did, I grabbed Jason’s shotgun.
“Who is it?” I asked loudly without opening the door. I really needed to install a peephole.
“My name is Hallow. You must come outside,” a woman said.
My heart sank before starting to pound viciously within my chest. “I don’t think so,” I said, loud enough for her to hear.
“You either come out willingly, or you come out when we start burning your house. What will it be?” she asked. She must have been very close to the doorjamb.
My fear spiked at her words. There were two very dead vampires sleeping the day away inside the house, plus, of course, I couldn’t survive a fire either. Hallow had found my house after all, and it probably had nothing to do with magic. I mean, everyone in Bon Temps knew where crazy Sookie lived.
Well, I thought, I do have a shotgun. I’m pretty sure Were witches are not immune to bullets. I held the shotgun the way I’d been taught and opened the door, aiming it at the woman who was now standing at the bottom of the porch stairs. She was beautiful, tall and thin with long brown hair, and she was wearing winter white from the hat on her head to the boots under her skirt. She didn’t look scared, not even preoccupied, but the fact that I had a shotgun. That could not be good.
“Don’t bother, Blondie. I am as impenetrable as your house. I only found you thanks to your neighbor. Who knew that you had a stalker? He keeps all kinds of information on you. Anyway, come on out so we can talk more,” she said. Was she insane? Probably.
I made sure my aim was true. “You will leave or I will shoot,” I said. I didn’t like the thought of taking a life, but right at that moment I was trying to protect the lives of others.
“So shoot,” she said in a mocking tone, shrugging her shoulders.
At least I could console myself with the fact that she asked for it. I pulled the trigger and watched as the bullet ricocheted off her. It reminded me of the alien ships in that movie, Independence Day. She must have cast a spell on herself to keep her from harm. Unfortunately it meant that I either went with her without a fuss, or watched as she set my house on fire, with two beloved people still inside it.
I put the gun down and watched as the witch’s face opened into a satisfied grin. Bitch! She turned to a minivan in my driveway, apparently showing her triumphant smile to whoever was inside it.
I tried to read her mind as best I could as I walked outside, closing the door behind me. Everything inside her brain was hazy, except one thing: Eric. She was imagining Eric as her lover, Eric giving her his blood as they had sex. I was sick with jealousy, but I couldn’t let on. She couldn’t know I could read minds or I’d be in even deeper trouble. As it was, it didn’t seem she knew that Eric was inside my house. I wanted to keep it that way.
“It seems you have some sort of protection spell yourself, Blondie,” Hallow remarked.
“The name is Sookie,” I said through gritted teeth. She didn’t know about Gran’s brooch still attached to the inside of my sock.
“I know that. Your neighbor has your name on everything. It seems he imagines himself your next lover. So why don’t you tell me where Eric is so you can move on?” she asked, not attempting to touch me or otherwise cast a spell on me. Not that I could see, anyway.
I remained impassive. Thankfully I’d had years of training myself not to react to others’ thoughts, so I was able to keep my cool around Hallow. She was a Were, though. I was sure she could hear my heart beating like a rabbit’s in my chest.
“Okay. Have it your way,” she said and turned back to the minivan. Out of it emerged two men and a woman. One of the men was twirling a pair of handcuffs on his fingers.
I moved backwards, beginning to panic. The last time somebody took me, I’d been almost raped. I couldn’t hear any lascivious thoughts coming from either of the men, but that didn’t mean much. One of them was a Were also, and his brain was just as hazy as Hallow’s.
“We won’t hurt you,” Hallow said in what she meant as a soothing voice.
“Then why are you going to handcuff me? What do you want?” I asked, buying time. Could Claudine sense my distress? I wasn’t in danger yet, so maybe she couldn’t.
“I’m hoping Eric holds you in enough high regard to come get you, or give himself to me in exchange for your freedom. We shall see,” she said, smiling beatifically. Nutcase.
The Were man moved fast and had my hands handcuffed behind my back before I had a chance to blink. He pushed me forward and I stumbled. Unable to put my hands out to break my fall, I fell face first on the gravel. It hurt like a motherfucker, and I knew I was bleeding.
“Mark, don’t break her,” Hallow said, but it didn’t sound like she gave a damn.
The same idiot who had pushed me helped me get up. I was bleeding from my nose, and I could feel a sharp pain right above my right eye. After a few seconds I felt blood running down my face from my eyebrow. The Were made me walk to the minivan and sat me down, even putting the seatbelt around me. With my arms pinned behind me, the seatbelt was as good as a rope. Somebody covered my head with a piece of cloth, and then they started driving away. I was a little relieved that they hadn’t gone inside the house in search for Eric, and then I realized that maybe they couldn’t. I also had the impression that Hallow didn’t quite understand my connection to him. She probably couldn’t fathom Eric spending his day at my house. Just as well.
The cloth over my head didn’t let me see where we were going, but I knew the exact address nevertheless, reading it easily off the mind of the driver. It was an abandoned warehouse in Shreveport, about fifteen miles away from Fangtasia, actually. When we arrived I could tell there were people waiting inside the building. Even though I was scared, I was too mad to act like the whimpering victim as the Were (Mark was his name, I had learned) dragged me inside the building.
Mark made me sit on a hard chair as someone else was tying a rope around me. The second person was human, and didn’t seem to have a lot of confidence that kidnapping me was the right thing to do, or that it would bring about the desired effect.
“Would you look at that?” Hallow said, studying my face.
“I guess she likes vampire blood too,” Mark said, standing with his arms crossed a few feet behind Hallow.
I could guess what they were seeing. The bleeding gash on my eyebrow wasn’t hurting anymore, so it must have closed. One of the witches present caught on that I was more than just a vampire’s girlfriend. Her mind had done a quick flip flop of fear, but she didn’t say anything. She was only one of about ten witches/warlocks, who all thought this was the best idea Hallow’d had in ages. The term delusional barely covered these people.
“Is Eric feeding you his blood?” Hallow asked me, not really waiting for my answer. “Then he’ll find her that much faster,” she concluded. She eyed me carefully, and I could “see” she was trying to decipher what had been done to the witch that had touched me the day before. Hallow touched me, and I felt that odd energy uncoil from within me and shock her. She wasn’t as affected as the other witch, but still removed her hand with a pained expression.
“What was that?” Mark asked, looking at Hallow.
“She’s protected. That Octavia must have put a charm on her,” Hallow said, as if I wasn’t there. I was glad to know that the witch couldn’t tell fae magic apart from witch magic.
The hours passed slowly. They were waiting until night rose to blackmail the vampires. All the while I wondered where my family was, and studied the witches’ and warlocks’ comings and goings. I was left in the middle of the large warehouse, so I couldn’t see what was happening behind me. In front of me I could see a couple of witches chanting incantations over a large mound of tiny stones. The gathered the stones and left. Since they were human, I’d been able to see the purpose of the stones. They were going to set them around the warehouse to protect it from other witches.
It was getting late. It was already twilight, and Eric’s feelings filled me as he woke up. I had to keep calm or he would come looking for me. I hoped Pam would wake up soon as well, though I knew she slept longer than her much-older maker. Sure enough, after the initial love and lust he usually felt upon waking in a house full of my scent, Eric started feeling fear. Nothing ever made regular Eric feel fear unless I was in danger. I closed my eyes, trying to calm him down. But without answers he would not calm down. He called to me and I jerked in my chair with the sudden desire to move east, to Bon Temps.
When Eric’s feelings slipped into battle mode, I knew for sure I wouldn’t be able to stop him, no matter how calm I remained. But how could I remain calm? He was coming to try to rescue me, doing exactly what Hallow wanted him to do. I got mad at him. Didn’t he know? All I wanted him to do was grab my cell phone and call Claudine, because obviously my family was late with their rescue of me. I wasn’t sure if I could count on them, but I wanted to give them a chance before Eric or Pam gathered any vampires and tried to do it themselves. I was pretty sure that the fairies were stronger than the vampires against the witches, particularly since all these witches were regular vampire blood users and two of them were Weres.
A knock on a door mad everyone jump and take notice. One of the unnamed witches went to answer it. I already knew it had to be either a fairy or a vampire, judging by the void of thoughts. I was getting a little excited, actually, until I realized that any of the two magical creatures entering this building meant that a battle would ensue henceforth (a Word of the Day from the day before).
Whoever it was, she was welcomed. I looked across the warehouse: it was Claudette. She was as tall as Claudine, with the same long black hair and similar features. I braced myself. I didn’t need to be a mind reader to know what was about to happen. I was also relieved. Eric wouldn’t be captured if Hallow was otherwise engaged.
Claudette said something to the other witch, too low for me to hear from where I was sitting. She stood aside and several other fairies came inside the warehouse. Among them were Claude and Claudine, as well as my grandfather Fintan. My heart swelled with pride. My family was here. Fintan moved his gaze immediately to where I was sitting and bound, and his face turned into a mask of rage, no doubt seeing the blood on my face.
Hallow seemed to sense that not all was well, and came to stand in front of me, facing the newcomers. She was joined by the rest of the witches, except the one who had opened the door. That witch started backing away from the fairies as quickly as she could. The fact that Fintan had unsheathed his sword had a lot to do with her fear.
The fairies stood in a long line of seven. Only Fintan was mad enough to have pulled his weapon. I realized that the others were there for him, to help him. Even though Claudine had been sent to watch over me, it was Fintan who had the most to lose if I were harmed.
“Who spilled my granddaughter’s blood?” Fintan bellowed from where he stood, sword at the ready.
The witches’ fear was pounding on my head, along with a lot of confusion. They didn’t know what to make of the seven people in front of them. All were ethereally beautiful, taller than average humans, with long hair in different colors. All were dressed for battle, in leather armor, one of them was holding a gleaming sword, another was holding onto a beautiful staff. And they were all mad.
None of the witches stepped forward to confess to hurting me. I was mad about that, so I thought about his face with all my might. The witches had already cottoned on that this would be a battle, and Mark in particular knew he was dead the minute seven pairs of eyes alighted on just him. I smiled. I couldn’t help myself. Between my own ire, Eric’s feelings of battle transferring to me, and my family standing there mad as hell, I was feeling less than Christian, and very much vengeful.
“You can have your granddaughter back. I just want the vampire,” Hallow said to Fintan.
“This is not open for negotiation. You have spilled royal blood. You must pay for your infraction,” said the tall man holding the staff. He looked a lot like an older Fintan. It took me a moment to realize he was talking about my blood.
Before anybody moved, the witches released a volley of fire balls at the fairies, and they were met with loud roars. The fairies moved fast as vampires, avoiding the onslaught of fire, swords in hands.
Claudine was beside me in a flash, undoing the rope around me and blowing out an exasperated gust of air when she realized I was in handcuffs. She picked me up and carried me as if I weighed nothing, to a corner of the warehouse. “Stay here. I have to find the key for those,” she said, and left. I felt useless, though what good would I be? I couldn’t even make a bar of chocolate appear, let alone stop a volley of fire and brimstone.
I could see the battle perfectly from my vantage point. I had to look away, however, when Fintan lopped off one of Mark’s hands with a little too much gusto. The screams of the witches started to be too much, and their mental agony started to assault me. I tried putting up my shields, but it was impossible. I closed my eyes tightly, trying, trying, until I felt a hand on my cheek and my shields popped into place. I opened my eyes to find my grandfather looking at me intently. He hugged me close and held me tight, pulling me up and carrying me out of the warehouse.
Outside the night was cold, too cold for the clothes I was wearing. I looked around us, but from the way he carried me I couldn’t tell where he was taking me. Fintan delivered me into another set of waiting arms, and the surge of love I felt told me it was Eric even before I could see him.
He held me tight against his chest. “Who made her bleed?”
“Don’t worry, vampire. I already cut off the hands of the perpetrator,” Fintan answered and I cringed against the memory. “See if you can do something about those handcuffs and take her home.”
Eric turned around and moved away from Fintan and the warehouse. He got us inside the backseat of a minivan, before sitting me up on his lap so he could work on the handcuffs. Pam got inside the driver’s side after shutting the door to the back. She must have held it open for us to get in.
“Sookie, you are so much trouble,” Pam commented.
I went on the defensive immediately. “Hallow threatened to burn down the house if I didn’t go with her. Seeing as you both were in it sleeping at the time, I thought that might be a bad idea, Pamela!”
“Don’t pay attention. She’s upset to have woken up in midair,” Eric explained. I heard a pop from a broken cuff, and was relieved to be able to bring both my arms forward. Eric started working on the second cuff.
“Yes,” she huffed. “I almost fell because I was so startled. And now you smell like fairy, but I’m too mad to care.”
Eric popped the other handcuff and started examining me the minute it hit the floor. “Where did you bleed from?”
“It healed. See?” I answered, showing him my eyebrow. “Your blood healed me.”
“Yes, I see,” he said. He was stressed, not that I wasn’t. He looked to the door at the same time that it opened, letting in a big gust of cold air.
“It’s over,” a male voice declared. I turned to see a beautiful man, the one that had been holding the staff. He had gray blue eyes like Fintan, like me. “Sookie, are you alright?” the man asked.
“Yes. The injury healed already,” I said. I didn’t go into specifics, and he didn’t ask, only nodded.
“I am Niall, your great-grandfather. I hoped to have met under better circumstances, but nevertheless, I am relieved that you were not irreparably harmed.”
“Thank you,” I said, a little dazed. This was the prince, but he was also my family. I didn’t know how to address him. I was sure “Great-Grand Pappy” wouldn’t do.
“We shall speak. For now, go home. I know your mate is anxious to take care of you,” he said, and shot Eric a smile.
Eric nodded at Niall, and Niall nodded very briefly before shutting the door. Pam put the minivan in gear and drove us out of there and back to Bon Temps.