It was a strange feeling, being surrounded by brains I couldn’t read, people immeasurably stronger than me, hushed whispers, pacing feet… all for me. I did realize I had lost it. I wondered how long all the bad stuff had been brewing, whether I would have lost it in the future if I had continued living in it, or if this was a brand new thing. Going back in time was another stressor in my life, I understood that. Maybe that event was the straw that broke the camel’s back or in this case my mind.
I listened with my eyes closed. I just wanted to sleep again. That was really hard to do when a gentle hand opened one of my eyes and shined a light on it. I cringed and whimpered. Apparently that was my brand new way of telling someone to leave me alone. The funny (or bizarre) part was that I knew it was wrong, that I should open my eyes and speak, but my body wasn’t obeying my mind, and my mind wasn’t determined enough about making my body move.
“Should I call her brother?” I heard Eric ask a little louder. He’d been whispering earlier.
“I don’t know if it would help, but perhaps it would be wise,” an old wizened voice answered. I had it in the back of my head that Eric had called the little doctor, Dr. Ludwig, to come look at me. “But before you do that, why don’t you explain the circumstances of her fainting?”
There was silence for a long moment, and I strained my ears to see what would be the answer to that question. I had a morbid curiosity to find out what I already knew. Maybe I wanted someone else to understand what I was going through the same way I understood it. Isn’t that what people who feel suicidal want from others? Someone else to understand? I shuddered and felt tears sliding down my cheek.
The bed indented and a cool hand brushed the tears away. “I don’t think she’s strong enough for what she did,” Eric said in a low voice. “She saved my life, but it cost her. She’s only human.”
“A young human. The trauma, is it new or from her past?” Dr. Ludwig asked and I sobbed at the word trauma, images of so many things filing in a strange order through my head.
“She was recently abducted by Bill Compton, the Queen’s procurer. He knows she came back in time, but doesn’t understand. He has already told the Queen about her. Prince Niall already called me looking for her, but Sookie has told me… She was tortured,” Eric explained to Dr. Ludwig.
I scrunched my eyes tight and my whole body convulsed at his words, shaking so hard it was painful. I felt like I would throw up at any moment, but couldn’t move out of my fetal position to go to the bathroom.
“Tortured by whom?” Dr. Ludwig asked indignant. She didn’t know she’d been the one to see me right after my torture. She had tried to put me back together again in her makeshift hospital. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall… The wall collapsed. My mental chatter was getting out of hand.
“Neave and Lochlan,” Eric answered as he pried my hands open. He licked my palms and then put his hands in mine. It took me a few minutes to realize that I’d broken through my own skin with my fingernails, and he was offering his hands for me to mangle instead.
“We need to hide her,” a third voice said. It was Pam, and she was full of worry. My first ever vampire friend… we had become friends again. She was worried for me. This made me cry some more, though I wasn’t sure how I could tell the difference, since I was already a river of tears.
There was a long pause while I heard some shuffling. “Straighten her arm. I will give her a mild sedative, only to make her muscles relax. If she has what I think she has, she will require the care of a psychiatrist.”
“What does she have?” Eric asked, slowly straightening my arm, careful not to break me. I was broken already.
“Post-traumatic stress disorder,” Pam said like she knew what she was talking about. “She was your human, Eric. She saw you about to be killed. What do you think that would have done to her? She was already damaged. Humans are not built to take that kind of sustained grief.”
I laughed out loud at Pam’s diagnosis, knowing full well that it sounded like I was crying and that my eyes were shedding more and more tears. I felt a sting in my arm and in a few seconds my body loosened around me. At least the physical pain was letting up.
“Are you a doctor, Miss Ravenscroft?” Dr. Ludwig asked. Pam had stolen the wind from her sails.
“No, ma’am,” Pam answered, sounding properly chastised. Knowing Pam she was hiding a smile.
“Northman, I don’t know what to tell you. If you take her to a human doctor, she won’t be able to tell them much without sounding like she’s schizophrenic. We all know she’s telling the truth. But she does have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder,” Dr. Ludwig sighed loudly. I managed to open my eyes to find her looking at me. My eyes blurred with tears and I had to blink them away. “I suggest counseling, young lady, however you can get it.”
I nodded. What else was I supposed to do? And how was I supposed to get counseling? She was right: even if I did go to a doctor, I couldn’t speak of the torture at the hands of two demented fairies. And how would I explain that a vampire had raped me and didn’t glamour me afterwards because he couldn’t? Like Nino, anybody of the medical profession who found out I could read minds would want to examine me. I was stuck dealing with my trauma alone.
Pam and the doctor left and I was alone with Eric. I closed my eyes again and squeezed his hands. It was so hard to be this broken thing in front of him, knowing that he loved my strength and bravery. I just didn’t have any of those things left inside me.
“Sookie?” he said my name very low in his chest. I opened my eyes but couldn’t bring myself to look up. I looked at his knee on the bed instead. This wasn’t acceptable to him so he lay on the bed next to me, making sure that I was looking into his eyes. “Sookie?”
I nodded, more tears spilling from my eyes. The pillowcase under my head was soaked with them.
“I’m sorry for making you tell me about…” he stopped talking and frowned. “About Compton. I wish you would have told me about what you did with your love token, but you were right: I might not have believed you. I do know you love me, I can feel it.”
A sob caught in my throat. “I didn’t know what I was doing…” I started, but again couldn’t finish.
“When you wished on the cluviel dor?” he asked.
I shook my head. “When I gave you the knife,” I clarified. “I didn’t know I was becoming your wife. You sent your day man with it and a message to go to Fangtasia and hand you the bundle it was wrapped in. I gave you the bundle in front of Victor Madden, but I didn’t know its significance. After you told me I pushed you away.”
“Why did you do that?”
“Because I was hurt. Because I had loved you, and you had loved me, but you didn’t remember because you had been cursed at the time.” I’d already explained part of the witch’s curse to Eric, but not every part. I’d told him, as a “psychic,” that the witches would come after him for his blood and curse him. I didn’t tell him what happened during the time he was cursed. “The curse made you forget your life and be transported near your heart’s desire but you weren’t supposed to know it. I found you wandering down the road to my house. You could have killed me easily. Instead you loved me. But when you recovered your memories I wasn’t a part of them. I was so hurt.”
“I can’t believe I would have forgotten you, my Sookie. How could I forget you were mine?” There was pain in his eyes. It was an echo of my own pain.
“You did forget me, Eric. Rather than continue the pain, I pushed you away. After I became completely bonded to you, after we got back together, after all that, I still found a way to sever our bond without telling you. I thought I didn’t love you without it, but I was a fool. I loved you just as much as I had before, I loved you more. I love you still.”
Eric hugged me close and let me get his shirt wet with tears. A little voice in the back of my head noted that he’d become more comfortable with my tears. “I have to hide you, Sookie. I know only one way to keep you safe, but it will take me some time.”
I shook my head. “Please… I don’t want to be alone,” I begged.
“I cannot keep you safe unless I hide you here, and that is not fair to you. I want you to lead your life, but you cannot remain in this state. I have to move you somewhere else. However, you can remain beside me if you accept my offer to turn you.”
I closed my eyes. Again with the turning! “I don’t think that’s a good decision for me to make while I feel like I do now,” I said, trying to make it sound diplomatic.
“You think it doesn’t hurt me, right? You think that the sacrifice is only yours,” he said. His voice was even and controlled, but I could feel he was also scared and upset. It was different than my own fear and sadness.
“Turn me, then. Do it now, because right now I don’t care if I live or die. I’ve brought nothing but pain to you, so go on. I deserve to feel the pain and horror of death at your hands. I want to die tonight.” I offered my neck and closed my eyes. I felt his cool breath on my throat and I stiffened, waiting for the bite. He kissed me instead.
“You’re right. It’s unfair. I can’t glamour you like I did Pam. My maker did not glamour me, but I was too drunk to be terrified. The moment I felt your fear, I would stop regardless,” he looked into my eyes. “Tell me about the last night, the night you saved me.”
I smiled through my tears. “I had just moved into your house that day,” I sniffled and Eric wiped my tears with the hem of his shirt. “We made love to celebrate.” I skipped over the conversation that we’d had. It was a moot point now. “We were going to bond again. We were so happy. For a bit over an hour we were truly happy. Then Pam called and we had to go to Fangtasia. Felipe De Castro was waiting for us with his goons. They silvered you and Pam and he held a mock trial. You took responsibility for Victor Madden’s death to save my life, but… it would have been a half-life anyway. De Castro was going to make me his telepath. It doesn’t matter now. I had the cluviel dor with me and wished that none of it had happened, except that my wish wasn’t specific enough and it brought me back to the first time I met you. Sometimes I wonder if I should have stayed completely out of your life. I guess I’m selfish.”
“I would have found you anyway. I wanted you from the first night I met you. I was going to make Compton give you to me, but you called me first. Honestly, I couldn’t believe my luck. Now I understand and I am glad that you came to me again…”
“Even after everything I’ve put you through?” I interrupted.
He took a deep, unnecessary breath. “You have charms that are extremely appealing to me, not just physically. I think you have filled an empty spot in my life. I love talking to you and making you laugh, you make me laugh too, and it is very practical to have you nearby because of your gift. But I love you more than your gift, and I refuse to put you in further danger. I wish there was another way to fix this, to have you stay with me, to ask you to do the marriage ceremony properly. Why was I so underhanded?”
“Because you knew I wouldn’t have agreed, and you were trying to keep me safe at all costs,” I answered honestly.
“Sounds like me,” he conceded.
We remained quiet for a long time. I was having luck at not thinking much about anything. I didn’t actively pursue new topics to mull over, and I sort of stared at Eric’s green T-shirt.
“I can send you to live with my other child,” Eric said out of the blue. “Or not with her but nearby so she can protect you.”
I didn’t say anything, but the prospect was not all that attractive to me. I didn’t know Eric’s other child, and like it or not, she was still a vampire, so that didn’t solve my supe situation.
“I will hide here,” I said. He seemed to read me as stubborn, so I explained. “I’d rather hide here in a place I know with someone I know. I’ll… go to school online, get a job online, or something to spend my day. At night I’ll help you find your day person and help Pam with the recruiting, just like I’m supposed to. I still have a job to do for you.”
Eric studied me, his face impassive. He wasn’t one to give me everything I wanted. He gave me everything I needed. They were two very different things. He would not just simply give in because it was what I wanted. Before either of us could say anything else there was a knock on Eric’s bedroom door.
“Enter,” he said in his low voice. I’d found it funny before, not so much now.
It was Pam. “Sookie’s brother is here,” she announced and I cringed involuntarily. I really didn’t want Jason involved, but now he was.
Eric got up from the bed and covered me with the blankets, even though I was fully clothed. I think it had something to do with his usual over-protectiveness. Even my brother was viewed as an enemy, sort of.
“Let him in,” Eric said to Pam. I knew either he or Pam would glamour Jason later into forgetting where Eric’s house was. I had no problem with that. The less Jason knew the better.
However, now I had a big problem on my hands. What was I supposed to say to Jason? What was wrong with me, exactly? I didn’t want to lie to him, but I had no choice now that he was here. What had been the purpose of calling him without asking me first? I closed my eyes and got ready to wing it.
“Sookie?” Jason sounded scared. He was wondering what the vampires had done to me that I looked like death itself. He looked at Eric and was about to accuse him of something when I stopped him.
“They didn’t hurt me, Jason. They called you because they’re worried for me,” I said. That would be the easiest part. Then I attempted to explain what had happened with Bill abducting me and blame that one moment in time for everything that was wrong with me. It worked.
“Did the cops get him?” Jason asked to the room in general.
“Compton has been punished,” Eric answered. He’d been standing halfway between the bed and the door, watching us with his arms over his chest.
“Do you mind if I have a few minutes alone with my baby sister?” Jason asked, wisely appealing to the fact that he was older and saw me as someone to protect. It appealed to Eric’s inner Viking and he left the room. I was sure he would be standing on the other side of the door listening to every single thing uttered.
“Sis, I gotta tell you, I don’t like this one bit. I know he gave you a brand new job and stuff, but you’re not in the right frame of mind to handle being around vampires.” Jason looked very worried, his words mirroring his mind. That didn’t happen often.
“Do you know why Bill abducted me?” I asked Jason. He never truly knew the whole Hadley thing. He would learn it tonight.
“I’m guessing because he found out you could read minds,” Jason said.
I nodded. “Vampires are ruled by kings and queens. Each state has its own monarch. Your cousin Hadley,” I began, refusing to accept her as my own at that moment, “told the Queen of Louisiana that I was a telepath, and the Queen sent Bill for me. Now that I’m under Eric’s protection, Bill had no choice but to abduct me. Otherwise, his plan had been to seduce me.”
Jason recoiled at my words, looking embarrassed. He was a sexual being, but saw me as a virginal nun. I knew this. Any talk of sex and me was too much for him to handle. At that moment his mind was trying to erase the image he’d conjured up of Bill rutting around me. It disgusted him. As well it should.
“So Bill isn’t in Bon Temps anymore, right?” Jason asked.
“No. Eric told him to move out of the area,” I answered, and then had to explain that Eric was in charge of a large swath of land in the northwestern corner of Louisiana known as Area 5. Hopefully Eric would erase that part from Jason’s brain as well. Was there such a thing as selective glamouring? Or would Jason lose all of tonight?
“Then come live with me, Sookie,” he said in a low fast whisper. “I’ll work a few double shifts during the week or something and I’ll take care of you. I hate to see you like this. You haven’t been yourself since Gran passed away.”
I was completely taken by surprise with his offer. But how could I accept? He was now living in the house I’d needed to get out of, next to a fairy portal and to the house of a vampire, who I wasn’t too sure had indeed vacated it per Eric’s orders. I shook my head at the same time that Eric burst in through the door. He’d been listening, alright. He calmed down considerably when he saw my answer.
Jason started getting mad at his inability to help. I’d known bringing him here had been a mistake. He stood up and got in Eric’s face. Eric was taller by several inches, and still my brother stood his ground.
“You’re not taking good care of her letting her get kidnapped and shit! Look what that vamp did to her!” Jason yelled.
Eric’s nostrils flared, but he was otherwise not taking the bait. And, since they were both so close, he went ahead and glamoured Jason.
“Eric, he’s the only family I have left,” I said, making sure he understood that Jason, for all his faults, was not only trying to do right by me but also a very important person in my life.
“Yes, Sookie,” Eric said, picked him up over his shoulder and left. Now my head was starting to hurt.
I was soon joined by Pam, who sat on the floor in her leather pants and bustier. She was dressed to work at Fangtasia. She extended her legs in front of her and braced her body with her arms behind her. She lounged as she studied me, not unlike what Eric had done.
“You know, Sookie, being a vampire isn’t that bad,” she said. I wondered if Eric had sent her in to give me the lecture: “Perks of Being a Vampire, by Pamela Ravenscroft, lunatic and Dear Abby fanatic.” She read my expression easily. “Eric didn’t send me. I’m here to explain.”
“You already told me how Eric turned you,” I said, not wanting to hear it again.
“Hm! Fine, Miss Know-it-All, did I tell you anything about my life before I was turned?” she asked, taking in stride the fact that I knew the future.
“I know you went to meet a boy at night, and that’s how Eric found you,” I said, not quite following.
“No, not that. I was a devout woman. You could say that I still am. I still pray, and I still believe there is a heaven and there is a hell. Don’t look at me that way, I thought you were a believer,” she said, taking in my expression. I was staring at her in skepticism.
“Yes, I am,” I agreed.
“Is that why you don’t want Eric to turn you?”
“That’s part of it.”
“Do you think God forsakes his children? Do you really believe that vampires don’t belong to Him? If you believe He made everything then you must believe He made us as well,” Pam reasoned. It was good reasoning. I had to admit that I sometimes thought of vampires as demons, therefore not belonging to God. But even Lucifer was supposed to belong to God.
“Alright, you may have a point, but I’m not comfortable with all the violence,” I said and wiped a few stray tears from my face with the edge of a sheet.
Pam was quiet for a moment, giving her answer a lot of thought. “I won’t say you become used to it, Sookie. You would not be human anymore. Many things change when you become a vampire. Your thinking is one of them. You need blood to survive; that is a violent act. In truth, we’re no different than humans when we procure our prey, except that our prey IS human. Nevertheless, we don’t kill everything we eat. Humans do.” She was speaking as if I were a vampire, and sometimes I wondered if that was why she liked me, because she chose to forget I was human.
“Eric can’t glamour me,” I said, pointing out the last obstacle. “He will feel like he’s dying right along with me.”
Pam made a face, baring her teeth before biting her lower lip. I’d stumped her there. “He might take issue with that,” she mumbled. She leaned forward and crossed her legs. She became deep in thought and went into that state of suspended animation, where she didn’t move, blink, or twitch in any way. She looked like a mannequin. I left her to it and closed my eyes, turning away from her and burrowing into the blankets.
It was strange that for the past few years humans were in control of becoming vampires. It had always been the other way around. If a vampire desired you to become his or her child, he simply took you in the night and turned you. Eric had done it twice. His maker had done it, at least twice that I knew of. Appius Livius Ocella hadn’t asked either of his vampire children whether they wanted to be turned. I remembered Eric’s history. He’d left several children behind, orphaned. He’d been the unwilling recipient of his maker’s attentions. Choosing to be turned didn’t sound that bad when viewed in that light.
But I wouldn’t accept it now. Not now while I was a wreck of such major proportions.
Jason wanted me to live with him. Eric didn’t want me to live with him, but only for my safety. I couldn’t remain in the state with Sophie-Anne’s sights on me. Where would I go? South Dakota, with the lowest vampire population in the nation? With my luck it would sure be chock-full of shifters. So… I would have to hide somewhere, but where?
Eric and I would be separated. He would have to drink blood from someone else, and would probably fuck someone else. Is that why I wanted to stay? Pure jealousy. I was being selfish.
How could I fix it? By leaving on my own. If I hid from Eric, then I would be able to hide from everyone else… in theory. But what if I couldn’t hide from the fairies? How many portals were there in the world, and where were they?
“Shit,” I muttered under my breath, seeing my escape route crumble.
Alright, so no decisions at all until my head cleared. I closed my eyes and fell asleep. It came as a total surprise when I woke up in the middle of the day with a large vampire wrapped around me. Not only had I fallen asleep like the dead, I didn’t even feel Eric come to bed.
I turned to face him, marveling at the fact that even though we’d had a tough night, he still sought me and fell asleep holding me. Everything I’d put him through in my past came crashing down on me once more. This is what I could have had with him all along. If I hadn’t pushed him away at every turn, if I’d accepted him from the very first time I should have… maybe I wouldn’t have had to use the cluviel dor to save his life. Maybe we would have both been happier.
It seemed like I had finally made a decision.
“Bourbon and Coke,” Eric announced sitting next to me at the table and handing me one highball. He had gotten it himself, instead of calling one of the waitresses over. He had also gotten me two drinks to begin with. As I drank one quickly he took advantage and nuzzled my neck. I got goose bumps everywhere at the same time that the alcohol reached my legs.
“You look so good in that dress,” he said for the umpteenth time. He’d gotten it for me and, per usual, it was way too skimpy but way too pretty not to accept. It was short, black, with crystals on the bust and shoulder straps. I would have felt more comfortable in it if it had been a bit longer, but in a few minutes I wouldn’t care. In a few minutes I would be drunk. In an hour I would be wasted. In two hours I would be dead. And in three days I would be Sookie Mark 2, God willing and everything went fine. Or I would be truly dead if Eric didn’t do it right. But I chose not to think about that.
“One more dance,” I muttered and drank a little bit of the second glass.
“As you wish,” Eric said. He was beyond happy, and a little nervous. The moment I’d told him that I would do whatever he wanted to do only one thing had entered his mind: turning me into a vampire. I was sort of expecting it, but not really. It took everything I had not to go back on my word. He had it. He had me. I was going to be his thoroughly, his to control and command, but again, I chose not to think about that… too much. I reminded myself that he was a good master to Pam, and would be good to me too.
Of course, I’d thought about it for quite a long time, weeks in fact, which is how we’d ended up reaching this agreement. I couldn’t be anesthetized because then Eric would suffer the effects as he drank my blood. He needed most of his faculties to complete the, um… procedure? The exchange. Once he had almost drained me and I was at the verge of death, he would have to give me his blood, and he couldn’t be sleeping. Anesthesia was out, so were drugs of the illegal or even the legal kind. The best way we had come up with was to get me drunk and have Pam be present. My blood would get Eric tipsy at worst, but not drunk, and Pam would make sure the exchange occurred.
Eric pulled me to the dance floor of Fangtasia and held me tight against him. I put my arms around his neck and held tight. Already the alcohol was making me giddy. My lips were numb and my speech was slurry. It really didn’t take much. My mental shields failed, and I was very thankful that I was touching Eric and that his mind was invading mine, as blank as it was.
“Don’t stop touching me,” I said and giggled because of the double entendre.
“I don’t intend to stop touching you anytime soon.” He ran his hands over my back, down my waist and over my butt. He brushed his lips over my jaw, slowly making his way to my earlobe. He knew I liked that. Our embrace was so intimate that I felt like there was no one at the bar but us.
We kept dancing and I kept drinking until I wasn’t fit to stand anymore. My stomach was holding up remarkably well, but that was the extent of my coherent thoughts. I remember telling Eric a story about my childhood right before I passed out in the car as he was driving us home.
I had an absolutely wacky dream that included all my lovers from a lifetime ago. Bill was there, and Quinn and Preston. All three were at Fangtasia, where I was a barmaid, and Eric had just arrived from a trip and brought some fancy blood with him, except there were no glasses to serve the blood. Pam was in my dream too, trying to figure out why I wasn’t serving the special blood, and I explained that Eric had to buy more glasses because we simply didn’t have enough to give the blood to everybody. It didn’t seem weird to me that Quinn and Preston also wanted my blood. I showed Pam that there was only one suitable glass, and I was using it to drink bourbon and Coke. I remember lifting my glass and drinking.
Suddenly I began coughing and gagging. The bourbon tasted like blood!
“Drink!” a voice said. It came out of Pam’s mouth in my dream, but it sounded masculine. It sounded like Eric. “Drink, Sookie, please.”
Well, shoot! That did it for me. Eric had said please, even if he was inside Pam’s body. I tilted the glass and drank.
I woke up with a sudden rush. Something was wrong with that, I thought. Hadn’t I been drunk? I should have been ready to worship the porcelain god and pay my respects to aspirin. Instead I felt… good. But I didn’t feel vampire.
I sat up slowly. Eric was sitting on the bed facing away from me towards the door. His shoulders were hunched over as if he was bracing his elbows on his knees.
“I can’t do it Sookie,” he said without turning to face me.
I frowned. I had to admit that I was upset. After all the mental preparation and Eric’s utter happiness at the prospect, now he was telling me he couldn’t turn me? What. The. Fuck. I chose to bite my tongue instead of saying anything. I tasted blood in my mouth, but it wasn’t mine. It was his. He’d given me his blood to help me wake up from my alcohol-induced stupor. And now, since I was still human, my human needs reared their ugly head. I decided it was time for me to use the bathroom in all its capacity. So I got up and headed upstairs to the bathroom in my bedroom. I locked the door too, not that Eric couldn’t force it open. But I knew he wouldn’t.
I used the bathroom, took a shower, and got dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. I was way too wired to stay in my bedroom, too restless to go to sleep, and too mad not to move around. So I headed to the den with every intention of watching a movie, or going online, something. Anything.
Eric was waiting for me right outside the door to my bedroom. I didn’t acknowledge him, simply walked to the den with a large blond shadow behind me. I sat on the sofa, remotes in hand but, of course, I couldn’t ignore Eric. I wasn’t even sure if I was mad, sad, scared. Let’s just say I was ambivalent and confused.
“Why didn’t I turn you earlier? You were my wife. Why didn’t I turn you?” Eric asked me in his soft voice. He was upset too. I would have pegged him as sad. “I am selfish, Sookie. There is no reason for me to have kept you as human…”
“Except I asked you not to turn me and you respected my wishes,” I said in nearly a whisper. Then I gathered some courage I don’t know from where. “But I changed my mind, Eric. I’m allowed to do that, you know.”
“What made you change your mind?” he asked turning his face to look at me. He was sitting beside me, our bodies touching.
What made me change my mind? Good question. “I didn’t want to lose you, not again. I think that if I had trusted your judgment then I wouldn’t have had to save your life because neither of us would have been in danger to begin with.”
Eric was quiet as he thought about either what I’d said or what he wanted to say next. I took the time to look at my hands on my lap. I felt a little bit like something was wrong with my essential make-up. I felt lonely, alone in my decision, and scared that it he hadn’t gone through with turning me because I wasn’t sure if I could make the same decision again.
“I love you,” he began. “You have already given me so much, but I am just another person in your life that is taking from you. Why do you allow me?”
I blinked. And I thought I was confused before… “I love you.” I’d thought I’d made that clear. Obviously not.
“This is why I can’t turn you. I’m afraid I will lose you. I’ve already turned someone who resents me and I lost her. I can’t go through that twice, Sookie. Do you understand?” Eric reached across and took my hand. He threaded his large long fingers with mine in a silent plea to understand and to forgive him.
“Love me,” I said, not knowing what else to say and feeling so very much in need of that connection.
He brought my hand up and kissed the inside of my wrist. “Love me too, Sookie.”
“Everything I did was for you, Eric. As trite as that sounds, it’s true, from the bottom of my heart. You’re the only one I’ve ever loved so deeply.”
“What about the one you lost? The first night you loved me, you told me you had loved someone else.”
I smiled. “You should know better by now that it was you all along. You’ve been trying to make me forget you. You’re not doing a very good job of it.”
Eric chuckled. “Do you forgive me?”
“Yes, of course. But now what? What am I supposed to do?” I asked, for the first time in my life needing some direction and having no clue whatsoever as to what to do with myself.
“For now, the same things you’ve been doing these past few weeks. Be with me, stay with me, and be mine as I am yours. Help me with the recruiting as you’ve done. I will try to find a bodyguard for you so you can go out during the day, and Pam or I will guard you at night. Is that agreeable to you?” He caressed my face tenderly.
“Alright,” I said, deciding not to tell him about the last time I’d had a bodyguard and how awful that had worked out.
We kissed and hugged and made love on the couch.
At no point did it occur to me to ask what exactly had changed Eric’s mind. What had made him stop at the last minute? I didn’t know. At that point, I didn’t care.