“Oh… to be a crab,” I mumbled, looking at the little crustacean making it out of a hole. Actually, it was a hermit crab, so was it crustacean at all? “Under the sea… when the sardine begins the beguine it’s music to me!” I sang at the little crab. My singing made him move faster away from me. Hm! Coward!
I felt almost too lazy. I’d been lying on a shaded hammock for most of the day. I still felt full from the late breakfast I’d made, and I’d been drifting in and out of sleep while reading a book. The soft breeze kept the temperature very comfortable, and the gentle lull of the waves lapping at the beach… let’s just say that my husband was spoiling me rotten, and I didn’t give a freakin’ damn.
It’s not like I felt entitled, on the contrary. I’d had several severe issues with everything he’d done in preparation for this vacation. It all started that night we’d come back from New Orleans. He’d completely evaded my question about what had made him so sad, and instead bought me a whole summer wardrobe – bathing suits, cover-ups, pants, shirts, underwear!!! – from the Victoria’s Secret website. He had almost drifted into more expensive bathing suits at other websites (I dunno which one exactly, something about a pearl), but hearing my shrill shrieks probably stopped him. Five hundred and ninety dollars for a bra! Nu-uh!
Then, the sneak that he was, he had Pam make the arrangements for the charter plane from Shreveport to Tortola, and the boat that had brought us to this island… plus the arrangements to rent the island itself. Yes! The WHOLE island! I wasn’t stupid, I looked it up. To rent the island for one night was more than an average family from Bon Temps made in a whole year. When I found out I almost went to wake Eric up from his daytime rest. Almost. But honestly, what would I have accomplished by being a bitch about this? Absolutely nothing. It wouldn’t have changed Eric’s mind, and it would have made both of us miserable for as long as I was upset. By now I knew where the money came from for this particular outing, and it was an account he’d reserved for splurges. It was the account he’d used when he purchased his Corvette before he met me. Now he was using the money on me. What more could a wife ask for from her husband? He put me first, so I put him first.
If I knew anything with utter conviction, I knew this: Eric needed this vacation as much as me, probably more. I didn’t bitch, I didn’t gripe, I didn’t point out the fact that the vacation had cost more than the Corvette, or that he’d been away from work for too long already. He was an adult and didn’t need me to be a nag. So, after the initial conniption over the island, I mellowed out and took it in stride. He’d never known about my objections. I’d done it for him.
The sun was setting, and the sunset looked beautiful as I looked to my left. I stood up, took off my brand new cover-up, and walked to the crystal clear water of the Atlantic Ocean. The sand under my feet had cooled, and felt soft as powder under my feet. I’d never been to a beach like this one. I’d seen them in pictures, and couldn’t believe that such beauty existed. Yet, here it was.
I sat in the warm shallow water and let the waves kiss me up to my waist. The sea was so calm that the waves would only rise a couple of inches before receding again, one tiny wave after another. I looked to the east to watch the first stars appear in the horizon. Funny. Up until I started dating Eric I’d never cared about the eastern horizon at sunset. It had been a non-event. Nowadays the shining of the first stars was a momentous occasion. It meant Eric was waking. Eric was coming.
Tonight would be our first full night on the island. We had arrived so late the night before, that all we’d had time for was look at our accommodations, shower, make love, and sleep. Tonight would be different. We had so much time to be with each other, alone. Alone. Truly alone. I looked up at the sky and thanked God for the beautiful island He’d placed upon the Earth so that Eric and I could enjoy it. ALONE! There was cell phone service here, and Wi-Fi, but we’d left the cell phones and the computers in Tortola with a friend of Eric’s. Pam had strict instructions to not call upon that friend unless it was a true emergency.
I heard a loud splash in the distance, and I knew immediately what had made the noise. I felt giddy, happy, blissful, all those wonderful adjectives that are supposed to go hand in hand with being on a honeymoon. Sure enough, my husband emerged slowly from the very deep. He must have flown out from our cabin up on the cliff that overlooked this beach and into the water. He was coming at me on all fours, wearing nothing but a wicked smile on his lips. He moved slowly, and I began to move backwards, unable to keep my own smile from becoming just as wicked as his. Suddenly, justlikethat, he was on me, pinning me to the sand with his wet hard body.
“Hello, my wife,” he purred above me, his eyes roaming all over my face. “How was your day? I see the sun kissed your beautiful face,” he said, and the proceeded to kiss me just like the sun had done.
“I only swam a little bit. Then I spent the rest of the day napping on the hammock,” I answered breathless. It wasn’t so much his kisses, but his hard length pressing and releasing against my thigh that had me about to beg.
“Remember I told you I wanted to make love to you under the stars?” Eric asked, reaching behind me to undo my bikini strings.
“Yeah… I remember like it was yesterday,” I breathed. He’d said it to me in Dallas, while we swam in the pool of our hotel.
“How about I get my wish? Hmm?” he asked, pulling on the strings of my bottom.
“Okay,” I answered stupidly. It was all I could muster when I felt his hand start a slow caress from under my arm, down the side of my body, brushing against my breast, and stopping at my waist. He liked that area, the way my body dipped in and then rose at my hips.
He asked for my lips, giving me a slow succulent kiss that made my toes curl, the only part of me that was still covered in water. I nipped his lip, feeling a little frisky, and he shook his head pulling away from me.
“No, my love, tonight we’re doing this my way. You can have your way tomorrow night,” he said, and resumed laying one on me that I would not ever forget. His kiss was so delicious that it had me moaning in pleasure into his mouth.
Eric moved to kiss my whole face tenderly, showing me the physical interpretation of his love. I opened my legs and he moved between them, shifting himself very close to my entrance. When he pressed his hips into me he dipped inside me. Our smooth yet unexpected joining was natural, like we were made for each other. Instead of pulling out, he continued to push in until he buried himself inside me. Without moving his hips he curled over me so he could kiss my breasts, first the left, then the right. My hands did not remain idle, caressing the silky skin and downy hair on his chest. When he moved, I moved my hands too, to tangle my fingers in his wet tresses.
The new movement of his hips was like a grinding. It made my sensitive nub swell and press against his body, and I started getting the telltale thrills that I knew so well. Eric decided to pull out a little and start thrusting. It was a slow thing. He was savoring me. He moved his body up mine and brought his nipple close to my mouth, knowing how much I loved to do to him what he did to me. I closed my mouth around it and sucked, making him moan in pleasure too. He kept his pace in check, taking himself almost fully out and then plunging back inside me slowly, deliberately, enjoying the feeling of warmth from my body as it enveloped his little by little.
“Svanmeyja,” he whispered against my temple. He’d begun his kissing campaign anew.
“I love you, Eric.”
“I love you too, my dear one.”
I focused on his face, so lovely and beautiful under the stars above us. He’d said he would make love to me, and that was exactly what he did. But he was driving me insane with want. “I need you,” I said, hoping he’d get with my program and abandon his.
“That’s why I’m here,” he said, and started moving a little faster. I sighed in relief, though we encountered an unexpected problem. The sand under me didn’t give like a bed would, and even though it was powdery soft, it was still sand. “Wrap your legs around me,” Eric ordered, and I did.
Eric had a way of surprising the heck out of me once in a while. The moment my legs and arms were securely wrapped around him he levitated. He righted us and flew us over the water a little bit, descending into it with nary a splash or sound. The whole time he had remained inside me.
“You’re good,” I said, looking into his face, which now bore a smug smile.
“I know,” he said and began kissing me again as he moved me on him.
The new angle afforded me another beautiful view. Besides the face of my beautiful Viking, I was able to appreciate the moon, large and low on the horizon. It was the only source of light on the island, other than Eric’s faintly luminous skin. The whole setting was incredibly romantic. In a word: perfect.
We made love in the water leisurely. He’d been right, as usual. Making love slowly was exactly what I wanted too. I kissed his neck and his shoulders, his jaw and his cheeks. I caressed his hair and his chest. He would kiss me wherever he could reach as I moved over him. I don’t know how long we enjoyed each other this way before our passion ignited. Finally he couldn’t hold himself back from taking me, claiming me, and I wanted nothing more than to be taken. His strokes became greedier, harder.
“Eric! Yes!” I held onto his shoulders but my head lolled back and to the side in ecstasy. He took advantage and bit my neck, pulling hungrily on my skin. I screamed and shook, wracked by emotions and feelings so great that I was sure that I left Earth completely. What else would explain the stars so close to my eyes?
Eric growled and snarled and shook just like me. His need satisfied, he hugged me tight, and I hugged him right back. My very own husband, mine to love, loving me back just as fiercely. He tucked my head under his chin, and walked out of the water, with me still wrapped around him.
I felt as Eric sat on the hammock and laid us down. He was my giant pillow. I would have closed my eyes to drift into another nap, but for one thing. I heard a soft murmur coming from his chest. He was speaking… or singing. I wasn’t sure. It was too low for me to make out words, and it didn’t sound like his usual humming.
“Honey, did you say something?” I asked, caressing his side.
He wiggled a little bit and chuckled. “You tickled me.”
I liked to see him happy, but I also wanted to know why he was so sad sometimes. Maybe now, without interruptions and alone, he’d tell me. “I didn’t mean to tickle you. Eric…?”
“Yes, dear one?”
“Why are you so sad sometimes?”
His feelings filled with sadness again, but this time they were laced with some of his determination. Maybe this time he’d tell me everything. He took a deep breath, then another, lifting my whole body up as he did so. I put my chin on his chest, so I could look at him and give him my undivided attention. He brought his left hand to my face, running his fingers from my temple to my jaw.
“I love you, Sookie. I’ve never loved anybody like I love you. But six people came close…” he drifted, examining my expression.
It didn’t take me long to understand. “Your children?”
He nodded. “Ákimann, Eldgrímr, Geirný, Gísmundr, Ingimárr, and Signý. My wife, Sóma, died giving birth to Signý. The baby girl died soon thereafter, and I had to bury both. My son Eldgrímr had died a year or so before of a fever.”
I tried, in vain, to keep my emotions in check. They were raging within me, a tempest of sadness so great that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I wanted to hear Eric’s story, to ease some of his burden, but at the same time I felt like my insides were being ripped apart. Maybe it was his pain within me. Any woman worth her salt did what she had to do. I had to listen, so I bit the inside of my cheek and held on for this torturous ride.
“I only had three boys and one girl left when I went to arrange my marriage to another woman. She was young, also a widow. She had never had children, so she was a good candidate to take care of my own. On my way home from visiting her family I saw a man lying motionless on the side of the road. I was drunk, or I wouldn’t have bothered to check on him until the morning…”
“Not a man, then,” I interrupted.
“No, not a man. Appius Livius Ocella. He drank from me, taking my life into him then told me that if I wanted to live, I had to drink from him. I wanted to live, so I drank until I died.” He stopped talking. I felt my stomach do that awful sinking as he remembered more of what happened, but he didn’t speak, and I didn’t want to push.
“I’m… I’m so sorry…” I whispered. I didn’t know what else to say.
“Sookie,” he said my name with a hint of exasperation in his tone. “Why in the world are you apologizing for something that someone else did and that happened so long ago?”
I shrugged. “Because if I could, I would change it for you. I would let you live your life to its rightful conclusion with your children by your side.”
Eric looked at me intently. I couldn’t see the color of his eyes in the darkness, but I could certainly read his expression. He didn’t feel sorry. “After the first few years I grew to like my new life. I’ve been quite content, actually, for a long time. And nowadays I’m ecstatic to have found my perfect other half in you.” He smiled a sad smile. “I really want to have it all with you. I can give you everything money can buy, but not a family.”
I sighed. I found myself sighing a lot around him. “We already spoke about this.”
Eric nodded and pulled me up, so that he could kiss me. “I can dream, can’t I?” he asked.
“Yes, yes you can,” I said with a sad smile of my own. He could dream. Sure, loving somebody like this was new to me, but I wasn’t clueless. If this is what he needed, a little dream, then I’d be here for him to listen.
“Whenever we make love, I pray for a miracle. I pray to Freyja for fertility. For my fertility. I want to see your belly big with my baby,” he moved his hand down to my waist, since I was laying on him face down. “I can tell you things. You took care of me at my most vulnerable. You love me like I love you. Wanting a child with you should not feel like the wrong thing to want.”
“It isn’t,” I said immediately.
He was silent for a long moment. “You are hungry, Sookie.”
“Yes I am. How do you do that? I don’t even feel it until you say it,” I giggled. Our serious talk was over for now. I was sad, but okay. I understood everything so much better now. All we’d needed was some understanding. Now we had it. Easy.
“Do you want to fly up? Or walk up?” Eric asked as I moved off him to stand up.
“I have to pick up my things. My bikini is… where is my bikini?” I looked towards the general direction of the water but couldn’t see anything in the dark.
“Don’t worry about it. The lizards won’t bother it,” Eric chuckled, and in one swift motion scooped me up and flew us back to the cabin.
Calling it a cabin felt… off. It was more like a Caribbean lodge, if there was such a thing. It had high ceilings like a lodge, anyway, with wood, bamboo, and stone accents. Everything inside it was luxurious, and comfortable, and soft, and colorful. The kitchen was completely stocked, and if we needed anything there was a phone number we could call from a private line. They had left tons of True Blood as well, much more than Eric would need.
Eric flew us to the balcony adjoining our bedroom. All the doors were open now, but during the day every opening to the outside had been covered by automatic roll-up shutters. The only drawback had been the heat. Eric didn’t sweat and wasn’t bothered by it, and now that the windows and door were open the breeze was comfortably cool. But I had woken up in the middle of the day feeling uncomfortably hot. There was no air conditioning anywhere on the island.
I started turning on ceiling fans as we walked inside the room. Eric had turned on the light for my benefit, and I proceeded to don another of Eric’s purchases. It was a simple satin slip in white… since it was our honeymoon… I was far from virginal, but since I was still making love to the same guy I’d given my virginity to, I guess it counted.
“What would you like for dinner?” Eric asked, putting up a pair of boxers… in red.
I shook my head as I watched him get dressed. “Eric,” there was a subtle warning in my voice. “I will tell you what I’m having for dinner as I cook it.”
I walked to the kitchen with Eric following close behind. He really felt determined to cook dinner. “Won’t you at least teach me? You know I can make cookies now. Sookie’s cookies, remember?”
I giggled. “Of course I remember,” I said, putting my hands on my hips and eyeing him. He imitated my movement and I laughed. “Fine, but you follow my instructions to the letter, okay?”
“Of course,” he said, and stuck his head in the fridge. “How about a steak? There’s one in here.”
Knowing him, I’d need the extra iron to survive the week. “Okay,” I said, looking for the right pan. They had left a cast iron pan in one of the cupboards. It looked brand new, but it would do the job. Eric turned on a burner like he’d seen me do before at my own house, and I set the pan on it.
I taught him how to cook me a steak while I put together a baby spinach salad. He even served me a little bit of wine when it was time for me to eat. He sat across from me and watched me eat. I was used to it, for sure, but jeez!
“I like it when you eat well. Your blood tastes better,” he commented.
“I’ll keep it in mind. I’ve always thought I was a pretty good eater,” I said, a little peeved.
“Sookie, why are you twisting my words? I meant when you eat regularly and eat nutritiously. And you already know I like it when you drink coffee.”
This conversation was taking a mighty twisty turn. “Um… Honey… You do understand that we’re talking about the fact that I’m your food source, like a cow would be to me. Can we drop the subject?”
“You could never love a cow like I love you,” he smirked.
“Actually, I’m feeling like making love to this steak right now. It came out really good. Thank you, sweetie,” I said, and put another bite in my mouth. I wasn’t even saying it for his benefit. It really did come out good.
“My pleasure. What do you want to do next?”
“How about a leisurely stroll down to the beach? I’ll need to digest. That will help,” I suggested. I was really looking forward to sinking my feet in the sand again. Maybe, once I’d finished digesting, we could swim in the water for a little bit.
“I have a gift for you,” he confessed, eyeing me carefully.
I rolled my eyes. “I will accept it graciously,” I said, because I knew I had no choice.
“Dear one, all this is your morning gift, the one I forgot after we married,” he said standing up. “I’ll be right back.”
When he returned he was holding a large blue velvet box. It looked like it would contain jewelry. I cringed, but only mentally. God only knew how much he’d spent on this gift. Without a word he opened the box.
I gasped. “These were not for me, they were for you,” I said, running my fingers over the stones. They were Freyja’s stones, amber and jet, the same ones Octavia had used while lifting Eric’s curse. The amber stones were larger than the jet, so they were centered on the necklace, with the jet stones at either side tapering off into the gold clasp.
“You deserve their protection more than me. Please, Sookie, will you wear them?” Eric stood looking at me without moving.
“Yes,” I answered simply.
Eric put the necklace on me, and immediately something happened, similar to Claudine’s blue glow when she was making my brooch into an amulet. Had I made the necklace into an amulet? I hadn’t meant to. I wouldn’t even know where to begin, even if I – by some strange reason- possessed that kind of power. Maybe it was something Octavia had done to them. I looked up at Eric who looked just as surprised as me.