The light filtered in askew through the curtains letting me know that it was another dreary day in Prague. I pulled the covers over my head, finding even that little bit of light terribly annoying. It was Christmas Day. And I’d had my very own Christmas wish come true the night before. The thought of Eric being just a few feet away from me made me have some very interesting dreams. I was exhausted, so my body succumbed until almost four in the afternoon. By then it was twilight and I figured I’d get up and shower to make myself look halfway decent before Eric came out of his coffin. It was quite the feat to get myself out of bed.
My thoughts were sluggish because I was still tired, but I was also wondering what had made Eric come to Prague. It wasn’t something we talked about the night before. We’d barely said anything to each other at all. Other than telling each other how much we loved and missed the other, we hadn’t said anything coherent at all. Eric had fed me his blood several times throughout the night, at least three that I remembered. Maybe more. I had lost count.
Something about that was off. I vaguely wondered if he’d been trying to turn me by accident, like I’d heard could happen between a vampire and his human lover. Eric must have known about the danger, though I hesitated to worry. He was very old, after all. He wouldn’t have turned me by accident. Or was it by accident on purpose? A way to turn me without having to drain me outright? I dismissed the thought. He’d said I wasn’t ready only a month before. I was sure it took more than a month to be ready to change.
A look in the mirror told me just how much of Eric’s blood I’d actually imbibed. I’d never looked so luminous or healthy. My hair and skin were shiny and flawless, my teeth looked whiter, my eyes showed no sign of my weariness. As a matter of fact, the whites of my eyes were whiter than ever. I could hear so much, suddenly aware of my own heartbeat like I’d never been before. My stomach, too. My gut was a noisy place. I even had a moment of embarrassment thinking that Eric and Pam (and any other vampire) could hear my stomach and all its various noises all the time. Then I figured it must be background noise for them, since all humans have guts and hearts and breathe.
I chose to dress warmly because I really wanted to go out, even if it was just to walk around. I wanted to spend time with Eric, just a little alone time; couple’s time. Christmas night was going to be exciting in the city, from what Milos and Lida had told us, and I didn’t want to miss it. Pam had taught me well about layers, and usually I wore long underwear under flannel-lined jeans (I’d lived in Louisiana all my life! I needed the extra warmth), paired with a matching shirt under a turtleneck, under a thick sweater. Pam always said to keep my torso warm, and the rest would fall in line. I never believed her. My nose and chin suffered the most.
“You look beautiful all bundled up,” Eric chimed when he woke up. He’d caught me lacing up my boots. All my thoughts, apprehension and weariness melted away the moment Eric woke up for the night. We were more connected than ever, and his elation at seeing me transferred easily and became my own.
My smile gave my excitement away. I ran and threw myself at him. He lifted me into a sweeping hug, as happy as I was. Maybe more. I buried my face in his neck, something I’d been doing ever since seeing him again. I couldn’t get enough of his scent. The feel of his body against mine, in my arms, it was the only thing I wanted. That, and to kiss him. I peppered his sleepy face with kisses, watching his smile widen.
“You have a way with persuasion, dear one,” he said between kisses.
“I’m not trying to talk you into anything,” I said pulling away a little. He was holding me too high for me to reach the floor.
“I would have thought you wanted to go out and show me the city.”
“Actually, yes. I would really like to go out and show you the city. Have you ever been here?” I asked as he set my feet back on the floor.
“I have. It was many years ago, before the Second World War. The city has changed a lot since then.” Eric moved to stand by the windows and look outside. He moved the curtains aside and peered out, taking in the scene outside our apartment building. We lived in a row of tall buildings, and our street led to the center of the city and to the Charles Bridge, both of which were very beautiful spots to go sightseeing.
Pam joined us at the kitchen table while I had a quick bite to eat. She was able to extract more information out of Eric than me, mostly because I chose not to think about why he was in Prague and focused on the fact that he WAS there.
“What’s going on? Why are you here?” she asked point blank and sat down with a True Blood in each hand, giving one to Eric.
“All my plans are at a standstill until after New Year’s. Everyone is either out of town or not really into schemes at this time of year.” Eric took a sip of blood then added, “and I missed you both very much. Are you coming sightseeing with us?”
“Nice try,” Pam said, sitting back on her chair and crossing her arms. “I understand you couldn’t tell us much about what’s going on over the phone, but you have no such excuse now. Talk,” she commanded, pretending she was Eric’s master. I had to admit she had a point. I also wanted to know more about the situation back home.
“There’s not much to tell. I’m still gathering supporters, people who don’t like Sophie-Anne. I’ve had very good luck so far. Rasul is already on board and he’s very important,” Eric said.
“He’s always been your ally,” I said apropos of nothing, earning me two very curious glares.
Eric smiled. “I forget sometimes how much you know.”
I shrugged. “Other than Wybert and Sigebert, you’ll find many allies among the queen’s people. You might have to wait until she’s weaker, though.”
“I already have Mr. Cataliades on my side,” he said holding my gaze. I made a surprised face and he elaborated. “He contacted me to see how you were doing. He knew I had returned and seemed worried about you. After all the information he gave me, I think it’s safe to say that he is finally behaving as he should with regards to you.”
To say I was amazed is an understatement. “What made him change his mind?”
“I’m going to guess it was Niall. He called on me as well, trying to ascertain your whereabouts.” I felt a chill run down my spine at Eric’s words, but he quickly put a hand on my arm to calm me. “Don’t worry, he won’t find you. Not only that, but something you told him made him close many fairy portals, which in turn deescalated the conflict with the other prince, Breandan.”
“About freaking time,” I mumbled under my breath.
“Aren’t you going to eat?” Pam asked me, pointing at my plate. That’s when I noticed I’d barely eaten anything. The food had gone cold and nothing looked appetizing. In fact, everything looked downright disgusting.
I shook my head feeling a sudden attack of nausea. Something was wrong with me, which was very odd. Eric’s blood should have cured me of anything, even if I’d had a touch of food poisoning. What was more, I rarely ever got sick. I made a run for the bathroom and threw up the very little bit of food that I had eaten. Eric, bless his heart, was beside me immediately. He held my hair until I stopped heaving.
“I’m sorry,” I said, letting him help me to stand.
“Are you all right?” he asked, concern tingeing his voice.
“Yeah, I feel better already. I don’t know what happened.” I quickly rinsed my mouth and brushed my teeth, and even Pam was in the bathroom by then.
“What do you think is wrong?” she asked, about as worried as Eric.
“Maybe the food went bad. I’m better now,” I said and turned, only to find Eric offering me his bloody wrist.
I almost didn’t take it, but my stomach made a growling hungry noise at the sight of the blood. I felt almost dizzy with want, and latched on quickly, drinking eagerly. The taste was more intoxicating than ever, and the need to drink Eric’s blood was all-consuming. My eyes closed as I moaned in pleasure, drawing deeply on the two small wounds. When the blood hit my raw stomach it felt like a magic elixir that could cure me of everything.
“Eric, what are you doing? She’s sick! She needs to see a human doctor,” I heard Pam say, which made me hold on to Eric’s arm that much tighter. Nobody would take the blood away from me. My fingers curled over Eric’s hard muscles, digging my nails into his flesh, not breaking the skin by mere chance.
“I know what my blood bonded needs,” Eric said in a low voice, caressing my hair with his free hand then holding my head firmly so that I would continue drinking.
At the time I didn’t know exactly what was happening around me. At the time I didn’t think to question my own actions or those of Eric. At the time, the only thing I knew was that I would kill whoever tried to pry me off his arm. At the time, it seemed normal for me to reopen his wounds with my own teeth when they closed on me so that I could drink more blood. I didn’t notice when we both sank on the floor of the bathroom. I didn’t notice when Pam started peeling clothes off me, and I wouldn’t have cared even if I had noticed. It didn’t occur to me to ask Eric or Pam or even myself about what was going on. My body was responding to Eric’s blood as if it were a drug that I could not live without. Nothing else mattered at the time, not my suddenly naked body and not the words exchanged between Eric and Pam. I also failed to notice when Eric struck.
I died on Christmas Day.
Waking up inside a bathtub had never happened to me, though I imagined many drunken people had done it at one time or another. I felt weak and unable to open my eyes or move. I knew I was inside a bathtub because everything around me felt hard and cold, but I did feel warm water trickling over my body.
“I hope she’s all right. I hope she forgives him,” I heard someone say. Then I realized that I hadn’t heard it with my ears. I was reading somebody’s mind.
The next set of thoughts were only pictures, pictures of how somebody else was seeing me at that very moment. They were the thoughts of the person that was taking care of me. I realized who it was when I could see his hands in the same picture, running the water and cleaning me. It was Eric. I could read Eric’s mind.
The sudden realization was like someone had thrown a bucket of cold water over my head, but my body barely responded. Eric’s soft touch on my hair was meant to be soothing, but my mind was reeling from being able to read his thoughts. I quickly shielded, finding it easier than I’d thought it would be.
Forming words was out of the question, so I concentrated on trying to open my eyes. It was nearly impossible. I couldn’t even move. My whimper gave away both my fear and frustration.
“Shhh…” Eric said, caressing my hair. “Give it a few minutes, dear one.” His voice was different, clearer, the bass deeper. My body reacted to his words by calming, relaxing. I no longer felt any fear. Eventually I learned that my reaction to his soothing was actually part of the maker/child bond.
My brain slowly kicked into gear. Eric had said to “give it a few minutes.” A few minutes for what, exactly? My fear and frustration were gone, but my anger reared its ugly head. I wanted to know what had happened to me. Why was I feeling this way? Why was I unable to move? The moment I thought of it, that’s when it happened: I call it my “eureka!” moment, although it was mostly surprising and serendipitous. I suddenly knew that I could dig for the memories that would give me the answers I was seeking, so I did. I found two minds ripe for the picking.
The first mind was Pam’s. She was nearby, and finding the memories of a few nights ago was simple, like rewinding a tape. I could see Eric and me through her eyes, how Eric had fed me his blood before feeding from me. He had devised a way to change me without having me feel the fear of death. Pam had taken off my clothes, getting me ready for my impending death and what my body would do. She had moved quickly and efficiently, wasting no time, her face set in a mask of worry. I could even see what she had thought as she helped Eric. She thought it would be easier this way than burying me under the freezing ground. Eric and Pam held me for a long time over the toilet as my human body released all its fluids. I’d looked like a rag doll, propped against Eric’s body as he knelt before me and held me in a sitting position. Pam helped by cleaning me, putting my hair up into a bun, and later by preparing everything in the bedroom for me to share Eric’s coffin during the day.
Eric’s mind was just as easy to read, giving me more information about what happened afterwards. He had cleaned me some more and laid me inside his coffin. We shared it until that night I woke up, when he took me back into the bathroom to bathe me and get me ready for my new life.
That’s when I realized what I’d been turned into: a vampire. It hadn’t been clear until that moment. Everything about me was switching on slowly, including my brain. Odd, though, that the very first thing I was able to do very well was to read minds. But now that I understood, I knew I’d have a new set of challenges to overcome.
My silly notion, the one I’d had about changing in order to survive, it was nothing compared to what had actually happened to me. Eric had finally done it. He had finally chosen to ignore my wishes, ignore what I wanted, in favor of giving me what I needed. I needed to be as strong as or stronger than those who would want to harm me. He took the matter into his own hands and became a maker for a third time.
For once I wasn’t sure what to think about my new… predicament? No, this was my life. My new life. How did anyone come to grips with this change? I knew I didn’t want to kill humans. It went against everything I believed in. I also didn’t want to have sex with anyone but Eric. I didn’t want to be an out-of-control newborn vampire. I didn’t want to be at the mercy of either my maker or my appetite. I didn’t know how to be a vampire. So now what?
As I asked myself the question I got my answer. I was craving my sustenance. I wanted blood in the worst way. The thought of taking the red liquid from a throbbing vein was tantalizing. The thought of taking it from my maker was not as appetizing, but I nevertheless felt my gums itch as my canines elongated for the first time to reveal fangs. The memory of taking blood from Eric was enough to make me hum deep inside my chest.
“At least she knows what’s going on,” Pam said with a note of longing in her voice. To this day I can’t imagine what she’d gone through, or what Eric had gone through for that matter, when they were turned. At least I’d had an introduction into the vampire world before being turned. This didn’t enter into my thoughts while I was waking up from death, though. The only thing on my mind was trying to get my body to respond so I could go get blood.
Since the moment I met Bill, I knew I didn’t want to be turned into a bloodthirsty, sex-craving, murdering THING. Even though I’d fallen in love with two vampires, the thought of being one was scary and went against my beliefs. I thought that I would be immediately unhappy and unwilling to feed. Pam’s words had fallen on my deaf ears, but I recalled them later on: I wasn’t human anymore. I retained some of my humanity thanks to my maker. He was solely responsible for keeping me from doing something that went against what I’d believed in while I’d been human. I, in turn, didn’t find that I blamed or resented Eric for turning me. I’d given him permission to do so, after all. He hadn’t taken away anything that I hadn’t been willing to give, even if his timing had been suspect.
That night, when I finally gained full control of my body, Eric and Pam took me out hunting. Before we left the apartment, I explored my new senses, able to hear many humans inside the building, able to smell so many things at once, able to see with absolute clarity even in the dim apartment. Even my sense of touch was heightened, which explained my sudden lust. The simplest task of trying to get dressed while under the careful and vigilant watch of my maker, made my body light up with desire.
Desire… that was a new feeling. My body didn’t warm up in response to my lust. Instead I felt hungry, thinking that the only way to satiate my hunger was to feed and have sex. My body became ready to take both from the only available source: my blood bonded, my maker, my fiancé.
Eric more than willingly catered to my needs; before we left the apartment so I could seek my first human meal, he fed me from his neck and let me use his body. He knew full well that to calm my need would be the only way to keep me from killing someone by mistake.
Not ten minutes after my whole body had fully awakened, I found myself enjoying how the air (the AIR!) in my room caressed my naked skin. I knew I was supposed to get dressed, but I really didn’t want to. I vaguely wondered if I could just go outside naked instead of having to bundle up, and was about to ask Eric when I found him sitting, sort of lounging, on the bed.
“You look so good,” I said, finding my voice. I’d barely spoken so far because hearing my voice was disconcerting. It was smoother but louder. In timbre it sort of sounded like me, but not.
“You look good too,” Eric said, his voice was different to my ears as well. Pam’s had changed too. It was obvious that neither of our voices had changed at all, but my ears were picking up cadences that they hadn’t heard before.
A lick of his lips made me pounce on Eric like a cat, making him tumble on the bed with me straddling him and holding him hostage. My increased strength was amazing. I was able to hold him down easily, though I knew that he was still stronger than me. He was a willing participant and didn’t try very hard to break my grip.
My fangs made a new appearance as I stared in wonder at Eric. His hair had fanned wildly on the bed, the color several different shades that I’d never perceived before. His eyes were brilliantly blue, and his whole skin shone brighter than ever. Mine did too, I noticed, as I put a hand on his cheek. I’d always thought he was clean shaven, but now I could feel that some of his whiskers had started to grow when he’d been turned.
Eric’s features turned somber as he took my face in his large hands. “Do you resent me, Sookie? Do you still love me?”
“I love you, Eric,” I said immediately, but the other question was a little trickier to answer. However, was there any way for Eric to take back what he’d done? No. Was I going to be miserable for the rest of my undead life? No, that was not the kind of person that my grandmother had raised. She had raised a strong woman and I met challenges head on. This huge change was just another challenge, another opportunity to prove to myself that I really was descended from my grandmother.
“Could you have done it a different way or maybe at a different time? Yes,” I began, never letting go of Eric’s gaze. “Am I going to wish for my human life back? No, you can’t give me that again. I’d already agreed to this, and to resent you for it now would be very fickle on my part.”
Eric’s relief washed over me at the same time that I felt his body relax under mine. Knowing I’d been the source of his sudden peace of mind was a welcomed change, since I’d seemed to be his constant source of worry up until that point. I lingered above him, fascinated momentarily by his mind. It was so full of so many different things, and I imagined that whenever I got to be a thousand years old my mind would behave the same way. His ability to compartmentalize his thoughts in order to think of many things at once was awe-inspiring and mind-boggling to me. His thoughts shuffled like cards until only one thought was at the forefront of his mind: my body. I quickly blocked him out, and even touch wouldn’t melt my defenses like it used to while I was human.
A soft touch on my teeth brought me back from my own thoughts to the now. It was Eric’s turn to marvel at my fangs, and he did so by running his index finger over one until he reached the tip, pushing against it to pierce his skin. The scent of his blood had my senses reeling, and the taste was unlike anything I remembered. It was sweet and savory, it was like ambrosia and air, something I needed and craved. I quickly wrapped my lips around his bleeding finger, enjoying the taste and feel as he pumped it, mimicking another part of his anatomy. At the same time he cupped one of my breasts, rolling the nipple between his fingers which sent a different kind of response through my body. Usually I became warmer. This time I was experiencing shivers coupled with mild shocks, each one as delicious as the next.
My desire flared once more as I made quick work of Eric’s pants in a desperate bid to free him. I needed him inside me in the worst and best way. Neither of us bothered with removing all of his clothes. It was obvious that he needed me just as badly. He gripped my hips and impaled me onto his length, filling me completely. Immediately my body convulsed in an unexpected orgasm. Eric’s mind invaded mine once more as the intense pleasure made it almost impossible to concentrate on keeping him out. His main thought was how beautiful I looked astride him as I took my pleasure from his body. I willed him to take pleasure from me too, to come screaming my name as I took his blood.
“Bite, Sookie, please,” he begged through clenched teeth. He’d been moving my body over his, and let me take over as he ran a finger over the spot on his neck where I should sink my fangs. I recognized it as part of my education as a new vampire, and he wanted to be my first donor. A low hum issued from deep in my chest at the thought of taking his blood. I was drawn to Eric’s vein as he turned his head to offer it to me. My body moved faster over his, feeling like a new release would take over my body at any moment.
Eric’s fingers knotted in my hair as he pulled me to him and to his neck. I licked his skin, tasting and smelling and finding his blood. Without any more hesitation I put my fangs on the right spot and pushed, piercing the skin and making the blood color his pale skin. Immediately I sealed my lips around the two small wounds I’d made and sucked hard. Eric panicked and I stopped immediately.
“Slower, lover, or you’ll drain me. You are very strong now,” he said, sounding breathless. I put my lips back to the wounds and took his blood in slow sips, each one as delicious as the first. Fear of harming my Eric made me slow down even more, but that didn’t diminish the double pleasure of having sex and feeding at the same time.
This time I was determined that Eric would come at the same time as me. Once again I willed him to scream as I fed from him, and this time it seemed to work. I wasn’t sure how I was doing it, but I directed his orgasm with my mind. It was the first time I heard him lose control completely, to the point that his screams didn’t have any kind of coherency. He uttered no words, only deep cries of pleasure. His orgasm entered my mind and sent me over the edge along with him.
“Oh, Sookie, my Sookie! What have you done to me?” he asked as I licked his wounds. This time I closed them myself before the skin had a chance to fix itself.
“What’s wrong?” I mumbled. I never understood how much pleasure vampires derived from sex until I became a vampire myself. My first sexual experience as a vampire had been a revelation.
“Nothing is wrong, nothing at all. You’ve left me weak from pleasure,” he rumbled, which made me giggle.
“Did you feel me inside your mind?” I asked, trying to gauge this new power and whether it had worked as I’d thought it had.
“What do you mean?”
I sat up on his hips and looked at his confused face. Obviously my question wasn’t one he’d been expecting or knew how to answer. Even I wasn’t sure if I’d imagined that I could direct his actions. Maybe I HAD imagined it all… or maybe…
I tried again, this time willing him to do something that he normally wouldn’t do. Watching in wonder as Eric reached for a blanket and draped it over me, I realized that I really did have this power, and wondered at the appearance of my abilities now that I was a vampire. Knowing that Eric was still feeling overwhelmed by our little escapade, I lay beside him so we could talk. I wasn’t hungry right that minute, and I wanted to know more about what had made him change me at this particular moment. Besides, there was something else that was nagging at my brain: his conversation with Mr. Cataliades.
“Eric, what made you change me now? I thought you believed I wasn’t ready yet,” I began, trying to broach the subject slowly and hoping Eric would be forthcoming with information.
“The truth is,” he began, “that I was wrong in my thinking. Making you a vampire is the best way I know to give you the strength you need. I have Pam to help now. Also, after speaking with Mr. Cataliades, I was convinced it would be better to turn you as soon as possible.”
Here it came. I was almost sure he was about to reveal something about my mental powers. He didn’t disappoint. After a moment he continued.
“Mr. Cataliades was very sorry to not have been able to help the first time we met. He was even sorrier about the decision we made to leave the country and hide you. Finally, when he came forward, he offered a better theory as to what should happen to your telepathy once you were turned. It seems that, as a demon, he has the ability to read thoughts, as well as search memories and direct thoughts,” Eric paused, looking at me for a reaction. I was feeling smug, actually. Blame it on my maker. “There was something else,” Eric continued. “He said you might even be able to defeat your enemies by inflicting pain purely with your mind. Mr. Cataliades doesn’t have that ability, since he is only half demon, but he thought that turning you into a vampire might give you the ability.”
“I can read your mind,” I blurted out and bit my lip, waiting for his reaction. It wasn’t something I would have been able to keep secret anyhow, what with our blood bond.
“I figured as much,” he said and smiled. “I’m not one to hide things from you, Sookie, especially not now that we’re connected in every way we possibly could be.”
“I made you have an orgasm and made you put the blanket over me,” I confessed. At that he grew quiet, so I knew I would have to elaborate. “I wasn’t sure if I was really doing it at first, and I didn’t want you to do something that would hurt you, so I chose the blanket. Are you mad?”
Eric began shaking his head slowly, a slow smile spreading over his face. His weariness left him almost completely and I could feel excitement instead. “You’re the only vampire who can glamour another vampire. I’ve never met one like you, haven’t even heard of a vampire that can do it.” He laughed low in his belly and started getting up. “I might not even have to teach you how to glamour humans.”
At the mention of humans I felt empty inside. I guessed that was my new way of feeling hunger. Eric understood and didn’t wait for me to tell him so, simply helped me off the bed and began handing me clothes to get dressed.
When we told Pam about my new powers, she didn’t believe us. So I made her get me a True Blood. It was almost bizarre, because she seemed to be in complete control of her faculties, talking as if nothing was out of the ordinary. It wasn’t so much a glamour, but a suggestion that she felt compelled to follow. She even thought it had been her idea to give me a True Blood!
“Why would you give her a True Blood?” Eric asked, trying to prove to her that it hadn’t been her idea at all.
The question stumped her. Everyone knew that newborn vampires required real blood, and True Blood simply wouldn’t cut it. Pam blinked twice before her mouth fell open in disbelief. Then, just like Eric, a smile lit her face.
“Just don’t make me do anything embarrassing,” she said, pointing a finger at me and laughing. I shook my head. She turned to Eric. “Sookie can glamour vampires.” There was awe in her voice.
That wasn’t the only thing I could do, but I didn’t learn the full extent of my mental powers until much later. It was a learning process, and most of it I did by experimenting on human donors. That first night though, my first night as a vampire, all I did was learn how to procure my dinner. I would have to feed nightly for a long time.
My thoughts had changed. I was a human no longer. The things that motivated me to be a good person while I was mortal were no longer good enough reasons to behave “good.” Eric, as my maker, reminded me a lot of who I used to be, guiding me in order to avoid the mistakes for which I would later hate myself. He and Pam taught me a lot that first night, the first night of my undead life.