Sookie stared at me wide-eyed. She was happy but unsure what to do with the object in her hand. Idony and Rowyn had left us alone in our bedroom, the bedroom we had shared for almost twenty-seven years. Here was our chance to be together forever, and even I didn’t know exactly what to wish for.
“Even if you wish me to be an in-control vampire…” she began.
“We’d still need to feed from other people,” I finished for her.
The prospect wasn’t appetizing for either of us. The jealousy alone would be nearly intolerable. The thought of Sookie’s mouth attached to someone else’s skin, man or woman didn’t matter, just the thought of it filled me with rage. I would do anything to keep her by my side. If turning her would have been the only option, I would have done it had she allowed it. She was my love. My life.
I watched as Sookie shifted uncomfortably and tried to take a deep rattling breath. She was in a great amount of pain and had already dosed as much morphine as the machine would give her. I wanted to offer her my blood. I wanted to make her better. I was slowly starting to feel not only her emotions, but also her physical pain. I would have borne it for her if I could have.
This was my worst nightmare come true. I knew I would lose Sookie if she remained human. Either nature or circumstance would take her away from me, and I always thought that nature would do it first. Even with my blood keeping her young, she would age and she would die an old woman, a life fulfilled. Our family would be with us and watch over our passing. It would be peaceful. I’d been sure we would be together in the hereafter.
Sookie didn’t want that; she didn’t want us to die together now. She thought her agony was her own. She wanted me to stay alive – or undead – without her. I would be lost without her, an empty shell. My children would have to know that I fed from others; the memory of their mother would be tainted by my necessary actions. Moreover, I didn’t think it would be as easy as choosing to remain alive because Sookie asked me to. I was positive that I didn’t have a choice in this. When Sookie died, so would I.
“If I turn into a fairy, you would drain me,” Sookie whispered as she reclined with effort into her pillows. Her voice brought me out of my reverie and I jumped to help make her comfortable. “And if we wish to cure me, I would still die in a few years,” she continued, running out of breath. She was so very pale. She closed her eyes and worked on catching her breath. She was tired, but didn’t sleep.
We remained silent for a long time, each of us moving chess pieces in our minds, trying to figure out the best way to use this gift. I had to corral my thoughts into remaining along some kind of productive line, because they seem to want to drift to point out the obvious: that we were running out of time.
“You, Eric,” Sookie said, extending her hand and dropping the fairy brooch on the bed between us. “You have to use it so that you can bear to be without me,” she whispered and finally succumbed to the medicine coursing through her body. She fell asleep before I could tell her that she was wrong.
I decided to indeed take matters into my own hands, literally. I grabbed the brooch, letting the silver burn my skin and not really caring. I had lived alone for too long: hundreds of years trudging through this earth without someone to call my own. A thousand years without a family. I was not about to lose it now.
I had paid for all my sins. I was tired of the horrors and the sadness and the yearning. I wanted more. I wanted her. Sookie was mine and she would remain with me because it was my wish. Was I selfish? Yes! Yes! A thousand times YES!
I dreamed of better times: better past times and better future times. Everyone was happy, everything was beautiful, and even the knowledge that I was leaving it all behind didn’t make the dream any less lovely. It only made me want more.
Was I sinful for not taking my lot? Was it wrong to not want to be like Job? In the ultimate act of cowardice and fear of God, I gave Eric the brooch. The words I said were wrong, but the wish for him to save me was very real and felt right on a biological level. After all, we all do our best to continue to live. I was trying to face my death with some modicum of bravery, but inside I was scared shitless. And THAT was the truth. I didn’t want to die, who does? I was resigned to my fate, but I didn’t want it. I did know that there were things in life that were worse than death, and those were just as scary: like watching my husband die along with me, not being there for my children, being able to witness my family’s mourning before I died…
But in this dream, everything was perfect. I was surrounded by grandchildren. I had my Eric. I had my life and health. It surprised me because I didn’t dream while sleeping under the influence of morphine, and even if I had I was sure they wouldn’t have been very pleasant dreams anyway.
My wonderful dream morphed into a more erotic version of how I derived my happiness. I felt Eric’s hands running over my body, caressing my shoulders, trailing down the side of my breasts, his mouth kissing my chest, one of his legs wedging itself carefully between mine. I moaned in pleasure time and time again, feeling so loved and cherished, so wanted and desired, that I almost wanted to cry. A sobbed escaped me but Eric’s mouth soon took care of the next. His kiss was hungry and demanding. I forgot whatever bit of sadness I had felt and focused on this instead: my own desire for my husband, my own need for him, loving and cherishing him with everything I had.
“I can’t wait anymore,” Eric whispered in my ear, centering his body over mine, waiting for my permission.
“I want you. Take me,” I said and gasped. I felt him inside me, moving fast with the need of countless nights.
It had been too long since we’d made love.
It had been too long.
I opened my eyes, snapping out of my dream in an orgasm. Eric was bellowing something on top of me, shaking in ecstasy and then resuming his movement, evidently not done, or done but wanting more. I blinked a couple of times in confusion and then decided that this moment was too good to ruin by trying to make sense of it. I gave myself over to Eric completely, his lips kissing me wildly, his fangs fully elongated. He moved the kisses to my neck. I knew he would bite and didn’t care. I almost wished he would drain me. Between dying of cancer and dying because Eric had drained me, I preferred the latter. At least then I would know that my essence still lived within my beloved.
Still he wasn’t biting, and his hunger transferred to me as something feral and chaotic. He was starving. How had he let this happen?
“Bite, Eric! Bite now!” I commanded. As soon as the words left my mouth I felt the sting, then the bliss of Eric’s bite, the rapture of being enveloped in the purple cocoon of our shared climax.
I came down slowly from that euphoric feeling. Eric was still drinking my blood, still moving inside me, slower now. I didn’t move and accepted my fate that Eric’s hunger would lead him to drain me. Anytime now I would start feeling woozy and sleepy. As fates went, this one wasn’t bad. No pain, only love. I could feel it coming from him strongly. He wasn’t feeling fear or pain of any kind.
I hugged him tight and gave him all of me. Whatever he wanted, he could have it. Maybe he was getting ready to turn me. Maybe he had wished on the brooch. After so many years of trusting him with all of me, and vice versa, I couldn’t stop now.
“I love you,” he murmured, licking the wounds he’d made on my neck. “I love you my Sookie.”
Eric settled his forehead on my shoulder and began shaking. His tears ran down his cheeks, covering my skin in blood. I let him get the emotions out, even as confused as I was. I took a deep breath, trying not to cry along with him. I took another deep breath. Then another.
“I can breathe,” I muttered and he nodded. “I can breathe, what did you do? I can breathe!”
Eric nodded again and brought his tear-streaked face up to look at me. “I know. I wished for it. I wished you healthy. I wished you with me for as long as I live.”
I waited for him to explain more, and he waited for my reaction, but I was speechless. I felt wholly human, warm and breathing, with the need to breathe. I was both hungry and thirsty, and I had fed Eric which had made him look ruddy; even the hollows under his cheekbones had filled out a little bit. Vampire blood wouldn’t have done that to him.
“What am I?” I asked, because the wait was killing me.
“You are human, and you will be mine for as long as I live. I wished for a true blood bond, one in which we are both together and you remain healthy and vibrant and mine as long as I live…”
“You said that already.”
“I gave you a healthy life with me. Forever.” Eric smiled through his tears then kissed my befuddled face, letting me taste his blood.
“Do you think it worked?” I asked against his lips.
He looked at me again. “How do you feel?”
I took stock of my body. Nothing hurt. The IV was gone, so I had to assume that Eric had taken it off when I no longer needed it. I could breathe, even as I lay under his body. The fuzziness from the morphine was gone, and I felt like I could run laps, swim the Red River, wrestle alligators, give birth to another child…
“Do you want to have another baby?” I asked, feeling hope rising in my chest. Instead of cancer it held hope.
“It’s worth a try,” Eric said smiling from ear to ear.
SIX MONTHS LATER
“I love the spring,” Idony said, sipping an iced tea next to me in the backyard. She loved the sun as much as me, but I had always been careful to cover her with sunblock since she was a baby. She was covered in it now, and sporting a cute bikini that left her baby bump bare.
The temperature was nearly in the eighties, not warm enough to be uncomfortable, not cold enough to stay indoors instead of sunbathing.
We both watched Evan playing with the new dog. It was Idony’s. That girl had energy to spare for her husband, her job, her coming baby, AND a dog. God bless her, she reminded me so much of Eric, particularly with those glacial blue eyes of hers.
“I’m here,” Rowyn announced, kissing my cheek then making a big show of sitting at one of the chairs near me. “That was brutal.”
“He had a final today,” I explained to Idy. If all went well, Rowyn would graduate with his bachelor’s early and then… he would leave us. He wanted to study for his master’s at Georgetown University in DC.
Idy rolled her eyes at her brother and called him a wimp, while I thought it was great that he was finishing his degree a year early. I could only see him as my boy, just like Idy was still my girl. They were adults, yes. But they were still my babies.
Evan joined us with the dog, a puppy named Poker… after the game or the tool, I wasn’t sure. “You wanted to tell us something?” he asked, and grew serious. He did tend to worry more than he should about things. My smile seemed to put him at ease.
“I wanted to tell you this news now because I want to surprise Dad. If we could all come up with something to make it special, that would make him very happy,” I said and waited for the questions to start.
“What’s the news?” Idony asked.
“What’s going on?” Rowyn asked.
Evan nodded, waiting patiently.
“This morning I found out that I’m pregnant,” I said. I had barely been able to get the words out. I was happy and nervous. After all, I was turning fifty-three in July.
“You’re pregnant?” the three said in a chorus.
I shrugged and smiled.
“Okay, Mom, explain. I know you said we’re Dad’s but…” Idy started.
“Shut up, Idony!” Rowyn stopped her. “Have you looked in the mirror lately?”
“You look just like Dad,” Evan said to his wife. And she did. Idony’s Nordic good looks were her father’s. Rowyn looked more like Jason with red hair.
“There’s a necklace that Dad gave me. The stones were blessed by a goddess, by the goddess Freyja, Dad’s goddess. She gave him the gift of fertility,” I tried to explain to three pairs of ever-widening eyes.
Rowyn sat back suddenly, the picture of ease. “I knew it. I knew it had been some sort of magic.”
“Fine, your royal smugness,” Idy huffed, making Evan laugh at her. I knew he had the essential spark, which made him the perfect addition to our family. He seemed to understand pretty much everything we threw at him, and if he didn’t understand it, he still had faith in the magic floating around. The Vincent family was all the same. Idy had chosen her mate well.
“So, anyway,” I interrupted the sibling rivalry, “We didn’t know if it would work, of course, but it did. I think we’re having twins,” I frowned. I hadn’t been wrong yet about my gut feelings concerning my babies. In another few weeks I would know their gender. We figured out it had something to do with the little bit of fairy blood in me and my ability to read minds.
“I have an idea of how to tell Dad. Anyone want to hear it?” Rowyn asked, sitting up and getting excited.
We heard his idea and spent the rest of the day putting it in motion. It would be a wonderful surprise for Eric.
“Wakey-wakey,” I heard Sookie’s soft voice say in my ear. I moved quickly and pinned her under me without bothering to open my eyes. She smelled delicious.
“You smell like the sun, and like our children,” I said, detecting a subtle hint of something else as well. It wasn’t on her skin or in her blood. Just as quickly as I detected it, the scent vanished.
“Get dressed. The kids brought a movie to watch. It’s that one that we missed at the theatre,” she said, trying to wiggle out of my hold.
I opened my eyes and took in my fill of Sookie. Every single night I thanked Freyja and asked the goddess to bless my children for giving me the gift that let me keep my darling. She answered my gaze with a smile and a kiss on my nose.
“Do you want to watch the movie or what?” she asked, her smile growing wider.
“Or what sounds good,” I said, having other things in mind, like ravaging my wife.
“Everyone is downstairs waiting,” she said in a sing-song voice.
I groaned my disappointment and moved so she could feel why I wanted to keep her upstairs in our bedroom for a little longer. Her eyes closed on their own at the same time that she moaned. Before she could say no one more time, I’d taken off her pants and panties, kneeling between her legs to admire her nakedness from the waist down.
With a come-hither look she crooked her finger and gave me permission to do as I wished. She thought I was in charge, but in reality she was my sovereign, with as much power over me as a maker. I relished every single one of her commands.
I took her slow at first but built up quickly, still kneeling above her and enjoying the view of her body around mine. Her small pearl budded with need, and when I touched it Sookie cried in ecstasy. The sounds that woman makes! I brought her legs up over my shoulders, kissing her ankles as I dove inside her. Her moans of pleasure became steady, and as soon as her muscles began contracting around me, I bit into the soft flesh and felt my own orgasm build and spill inside my wife. I drank her sweet blood, just a sip this time. I tasted the sweetness of the coffee she must have drunk sometime in the past hour or two.
We showered, we dressed, each of us feeling that certain level of satisfaction that comes from making love, even though I wanted more. I was never completely fulfilled after a “quickie,” as Sookie called them. We kissed before heading downstairs, where I smelled popcorn and chocolate. The chocolate was Idy’s, and she was probably indulging in her latest craving.
I joined my family in the den, kissing Idony, shaking Evan’s hand, and sitting next to Rowyn with an arm over his shoulder. He seemed to be in charge of the controls and would not relinquish them, even when I asked for them. He shook my arm off his shoulder.
“You’re such a control freak, Dad,” Rowyn said standing up and pulling Sookie to sit in his vacated spot.
“I resent that. Those are mine and I bought them with my money,” I said, if only to see what kind of retort he would come up with.
“Yeah, okay, which is half Mom’s, so whatever,” Rowyn said, pointing the things at the entertainment center. He barely ever watched TV and was having trouble with the correct sequence of buttons to press.
Finally he was able to make everything work, but only by following Evan’s instructions. What came on the large TV screen was not the movie Sookie had mentioned.
Filing slowly and set to music, I was treated to pictures of Idony and Rowyn growing up. Their births, first steps, loose teeth, playing in the backyard in the sun, our family vacations, Halloween, Christmas, proms and graduations. I felt proud of my children, and a bit nostalgic that their childhoods were over and the memories would now consist of their adulthoods, a time when they wouldn’t need us as much… or at all.
Three pictures flashed at the end of the video, each with its own caption. Idony, born September 23, 2010. Rowyn, born November 2, 2016. Buns in the oven, scheduled to be born January 7, 2038.
I blinked and stared at the screen. My brain deciphered it quickly, of course, but it was still a surprise. We had been using the necklace for almost six months without any luck, and now…
“We’re having twins?” I turned to Sookie who nodded and wiped her eyes.
“You’re going to be a daddy,” she whispered, the same words she had said to me twice already.
I hugged her fiercely. My miracle, my Sookie, was going to make me a father again, with twins no less! I felt blessed beyond limits.
“Thank you,” she whispered, taking the handkerchief I offered her.
“Why are you thanking me? I am the one who is grateful… there are no words,” I said, caressing her hair.
Sookie pulled away and looked at Idony and Rowyn. She opened her arms and they both raced each other to hug her.
“My babies,” she whispered. “Thank you,” she grabbed my shirt and pulled me into the group hug. “Thank you.” She looked up and waved Evan over to join us. “Thank you.”