Chapter 08: Standing Tall

ERIC POV, continued

Thankfully, Victor always showered after his meals. Sadly, he didn’t have very much stamina, so he was back in my office not twenty minutes after he’d left it. Currently, he was rifling through my filing cabinets, obviously leaving them purposely out of order.

Fucking asshole!

Of course, I had everything scanned and in electronic copy too—a virtual filing cabinet, if you will. So, if Victor managed to conveniently “lose” anything, there was that to fall back on.

At intervals, Victor grunted and scoffed with disapproval and condemnation, even as he made notes in the little book that he carried with him at all times.

I paid him little mind as I worked on. However, schooling my emotions had become more difficult than I’d ever imagined it would. And it wasn’t because I was angry and frustrated at Victor. No—covering that up was easy.

On the other hand, covering up my excitement over the fact that my bonded was getting closer and closer was not easy.

Approximately thirteen miles away.

Was she coming to pledge with me?

Or—in that stubborn, reckless way that she behaved on occasion—was she coming to throw the knife at me—blade first?

I prayed that the latter was not the case as I gauged her mood through our bond—which she’d clearly not broken.

A good sign?

She was anxious, but determined.

Another good sign?

Victor chose that moment to begin a lecture about filing methods, and—for once—I was grateful for his prattling. Not being good at multi-tasking, the idiot couldn’t talk and sabotage at the same time, so as he sat down, I was actually able to relax into my own thoughts as my bonded approached.

Ten miles.

I thought about the various times I’d seen her. And I knew that what she was wearing would signal her intentions.

If she had decided to turn me down and spit in my face, she would have on her Merlotte’s uniform. I also knew that I would know from the cadence of her steps if she were stomping her way back to my office to break my un-beating heart. And—if that were the case—I hoped to stop her from doing herself damage by immediately telling her to keep the item I’d sent to her. With luck, that would stop her in her tracks. And, as she was befuddled, I’d make sure to remind her that Victor was present to audit Area 5. With more luck, her survival instincts would set in and she’d choose her words carefully.

Seven miles.

I allowed myself a moment to think about what she might be wearing if she had accepted the pledging. She was not a dainty Southern belle by any stretch of the imagination—despite what Compton might say. No. Sookie Stackhouse was a proud woman; however, because I had conveyed to her the nature of the pledging, she would likely choose something lovely and feminine on her “wedding” day.

She favored sun dresses that I knew made her feel both beautiful and adequately covered. I pictured her in the one I’d first seen her in—white with red flowers. Pam liked to tease me about being fixated on that garment, but I had been fixated on the woman, not the dress. As a matter of fact, my favorite of Sookie’s garments that I’d seen was a yellow sundress. It contrasted with her sun-kissed skin. And her golden hair put the threads of the garment to shame.

Of course, I’d never seen a garment that hadn’t been put to shame by the curves of her body.

Five miles.

I nodded and grunted in response to an idiotic question Victor posed as I continued to picture Sookie in my mind’s eye.

She wasn’t a tall woman, but she had a way of holding herself that made her seem much taller than she was. I’d always been quite tall comparatively. Though Vikings were now thought to all have been huge people—that just wasn’t the case. Most of the men I knew during my human days were much closer to Sookie’s height than my own.

I was the freak back then.

Standing out by standing up straight had been strictly forbidden by my maker; being shorter than I was, Appius didn’t like having to look up to address me. That is why he would rarely speak to me unless I was on my knees before him.

Thus, I had stooped my way through centuries, only learning how to stand to my full height—both literally and figuratively—in stages. Still, there were often occasions when I was compelled to stoop—to defer to vampires who took dominion over me. I couldn’t help but to think about what my life would be—will be—like when I outlived all who would degrade and defile me.

Seeing them all become dust or sludge before me was one of the motivations that had dragged me from lifetime to lifetime—one of the motivating factors that had compelled me to accumulate wealth, status, education, and favors.

Three miles.

I understood well that I was doing myself no favors politically by pledging with Sookie. As a loyal subject, I should have given the telepath to Sophie-Anne, and then immediately after the takeover, I should have transferred her to Felipe.

But those choices would have been impossible for me.

For there were two simple, undeniable truths that were as much a part of me now as my blood.

First, I loved her.

Second, she made me wish to never stoop again.

And for those reasons, I was hers.

One mile.

I could hardly keep a thought in my head as I waited the two minutes it took her to drive that mile.

I felt her arrival outside of Fangtasia. She was still for a moment. I imagined her taking several deep breaths.

There was more nervousness.

There was more determination.

And there was also something else—hope.

The steps that she took out of her car and then through Fangtasia were not angry stomps.

They were hurried paces.


There was a knock at the door.

“Master,” Pam said professionally, “Sookie Stackhouse is here.”

V ictor’s gaze immediately shot to the door, becoming as predatory as I’d ever seen it. Pam ignored him, and so did I.

Soon he wouldn’t matter.

“Please, tell my bonded that I would be happy to see her,” I said.

Pam bowed a little and left. Not ten seconds later, Sookie entered the office with Pam trailing her. She wore a strapless ice-blue sundress that reminded me of the dress she’d worn to the ball in Rhodes.

Her wedding dress.

Beautiful.

blue dress

She glanced at Victor for only a moment, but clearly only to inventory his presence as the letter had told her to do.

“Miss Stackhouse,” Victor greeted, his tone as oily as the man himself.

Sookie said nothing to him as she approached me. I stood at my full height, even as she stood at hers.

As she looked up at me, her eyes showed the determination that I felt within her and the same kind of fire that had enlivened me from our first acquaintance.

“How lovely to see you,” Victor said with a smarmy smile.

However, instead of turning toward him to acknowledge his second attempt at a greeting, she reached into her clutch and pulled out the dagger.

Before Victor could speak out a protest—or even process the scene—I’d taken the weapon and kissed it.

“What?” came Victor’s question as if he were having a difficult speaking even a single word.

“A pledging!” came Pam’s surprised voice.

Sookie and I said nothing for a moment. We didn’t need to. Our bond was speaking for us. I could tell that she felt my happiness and my relief. And I felt similar emotions from her.

I was even happier when I saw that Victor looked about as unhappy and constipated as Compton always did. However, with a force of will I didn’t know he possessed, he quickly got ahold of his emotions, though I could still sense that his blood was boiling.

Very interesting,” Victor said finally.

“Thank you,” Sookie responded as if he’d just offered us his congratulations.

“Then I’ll take the tiger’s request off the table,” he said smarmily. “Our king was unhappy about him wanting to relocate from Nevada anyway.”

“Quinn?” Sookie asked, looking up at me.

Victor looked at Sookie almost triumphantly. He was obviously trying to cause dissention between me and my pledged wife.

A big no-no. It just proved how stupid he was.

And how ready for death.

Soon, I promised myself.

“Yes,” I responded to Sookie. “Only tonight Victor made me aware that the Were-tiger wished to see you in private in order to try to convince you to recommence your relationship with him. He was willing to relocate for you,” I added evenly, praying to my gods that Sookie wouldn’t be disappointed that the tiger would no longer have his chance to petition her.

I smiled when I felt no disappointment from the bond.

“Oh—well,” Sookie said, looking at Victor. “Too little. Too late. Quinn and I are finished; we said pretty much all that needed to be said the last time he came into my house.”

“And when would that have been?” Victor weaseled.

“The morning after the takeover. He came to apologize.”

“Apologize?” Victor asked.

Sookie shrugged noncommittally. “It wasn’t as if I needed an apology from him. By then, Eric had already explained to me that Felipe was powerful and would be good at running Louisiana,” she conveyed with the savvy and sincerity of a career politician.

I’d rarely been as proud of anyone as I was of her in that moment.

“Still, I know that the tiger will be disappointed,” Victor said.

“Well,” Sookie smiled, “now that Eric and I are pledged it will be better for Quinn. He will have to finally accept that he and I just weren’t going to work out long-term for a variety of reasons.”

I could feel the truth in her words. I knew that she’d once cared for John Quinn, but clearly that ship had sailed for her many months before.

Her new ship: Viking longboat.

Victor looked at Sookie through narrowed eyes and then turned those orbs toward me.

Of course, I’ll inform my master about your prior claim. We acknowledge your formal attachment to this one,” he said as if he were being forced to drink rotten blood. He moved to leave my office.

I felt my pledged one’s anger at his calling her “this one” rather than by her name, but to her credit, she simply moved to stand next to me as we faced him.

“What of the rest of your audit?” I asked as he moved past Pam.

“I’ve seen all I want to see here,” he muttered before turning on his heel and leaving.

I placed a finger over my mouth to indicate that he would still be able to hear us. Likely he’d planted a bug or two in my filing cabinets too. I sighed. Indeed, it would take several sweeps before I would be comfortable speaking freely in my own goddamned office again.

“Where’s your coat?” I asked Sookie, who was looking up at me nervously now. I was even more proud that she’d been able to hide that anxiety up until this point.

“I’ll get it,” Pam volunteered, zipping from the room. She was back a moment later.

I placed the dagger into my jacket pocket before helping Sookie into her coat.

“Will you fly with me?” I asked her.

“Isn’t it a little cold for that?” she asked with a slight smirk.

“On it,” Pam said. After zipping out and then in again, she had a thick blanket in her hands.

“Fleece,” my child informed. “And brand new to the gift shop. On the house.”

It was clear to me that Pam desperately wanted to ask me about the pledging, but she was wise enough to keep her questions to herself for the time being.

Sookie seemed to sense Pam’s anxiousness too and smirked at my child. “Thanks, Pam.”

After making sure that Sookie was wrapped up as warmly as possible, I took her up to the roof, knowing that it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Victor to be lying in wait to ambush us. Until our status as a pledged couple was known, we would be vulnerable. To that end, I quickly took out my phone and dialed the number I’d preprogrammed.

It was answered on the first ring.

“It is done. File the paperwork. The witnesses were Victor Madden and Pamela Ravenscroft.” I hung up and then picked Sookie up bridal style. It seemed appropriate.

By instinct, she buried her face against my chest, and I made sure the sides of my jacket would help to protect her from the cold wind.

“It’s a short flight,” I promised as I took off into the air. Indeed, it was always quick to travel as the birds flew.

I’d never been happier that assholes couldn’t fly.


A/N: Well? They are pledged! Of course, now they need to talk. For these two, that’ll be the hard part.

Best,

Kat


Every Contingency backEvery Contingency net

43 thoughts on “Chapter 08: Standing Tall

  1. Good girl, Sookie! Loved the determination, and her retorts to Victor, the slimy bastard.

    Now we go in for the kill.

    Eric, show her what she’s done to you. Give her those words she longs to hear; the politics are secondary to your love for her and this is the happiest day of your life!

    Sookie, you better let him say it. And, you better gosh darn do the same!

    Loved it, but too short! Can’t wait for the next part!

    -Meadow

  2. Victor is disgusting. Now a they need to talk. A little love making session would be no so bad either.

  3. Shove that where the sun doesn’t shine Victor! Love that Sookie was grown up and didn’t throw her toys out of her pram. It’s all that Eric could hope for – I hope she means it and that she doesn’t read him the riot act once they get to their destination (his house?).

  4. A very exciting chapter. I liked how Eric was counting down the miles and thinking about Sookie’s outfit. I liked her ‘wedding dress’. Sookie played the perfect role in front of victor.

  5. Love that Eric was so into figuring out her mood by how she would walk and what she would wear! Talking might be hard for them but I think they are both up for it. Since Eric started it by opening up so much in the letter hopefully it’ll help Sookie open up as she was able to finish the letter and actually took the time to process it. The both need not only to talk to each other but listen to each other too.

  6. Wonderfu chapter, I too was holding my breath reading it! I loved Eric working through what mood she’d be in – so funny how well you understand they both and how spot on the thoughts were for Sookie! The dress was perfect for Sookie and told him exactly how she felt. She handled Victor brilliantly.

    I have a feeling the talk will be emotional, really looking forward to it. My email account will be fed up of me checking for updates!

  7. Yay! My faith wavered a bit but I knew I could count on your Sookie to follow her heart (and brain for that matter). Victor is so sleazy and I loved everything about this chapter, from Eric’s ruminations on her reaction and how her clothing would reflect her choice to Sookie actually going through with it. I can’t wait for the talk!

  8. Another Awesome chapter! I loved how Sookie ignored Victor and did not dignify him with a response to his lame greeting! Loved it ! It was funny how Victor tried to use Quinn to fluster Sookie! To bad for bald boy, he was much to late! But happy times for use readers! I wonder when Sookies and Erics interview with the mag will happen! I am looking forward to that! I hope they will talk about things now, they are alone, at what I believe to be the house Eric bought for Sookie! I would love to be a fly on the wall when Victor tells Felipe about the marriage!

  9. Victor must die! Thank you for another great chapter. The dress was beautiful, can’t wait to see what happens next

  10. Suck on sunlight, Victor! Yes! Glad Sookie did it the right way, with full knowledge of what she was doing….and doing it with verve! So glad you’re re-writing a piece of SVM that was so sadly lacking….
    Pat

  11. Best ending line to fan fiction chapter ever “I’d never been happier that assholes couldn’t fly.” Excellent chapter!

  12. Really great chapter. Glad Sookie made the right decision. They just need to stay open to each other when they talk. At least Sookie seems more willing to listen to him and take his advice. She DID pledge after all. Hope he takes her to the house he bought especially for her.
    Victor needs staking pronto…or to be set up for doing something bad. Trying to get between a pledged couple maybe? Smarmy bastard. 😁😠
    Oh and I agree with some of the above. I don’t know why I tried to picture flying assholes 😝
    …and “viking longboat” *snicker* (juvenile I know!) 😋😋

  13. Very nice. A well-informed Sookie did the right thing with the man she loves. Love the dress. I’m also glad Pam was there to be a witness, too. This way Victor can’t deny it. What a smarmy creep. Great chapter.

  14. two words –VIKING LONGBOAT!!
    Thanks for sending out this chapter – I spent the afternoon in the urgent care center with a large hole drilled in my thumb. This took my mind off the throbbing in my hand for a bit. I’m looking forward to their arrival at the house and both of them sharing their “feelings”!!
    hugs

  15. you should have written for the show.. I just love your stories… I also love the dress, let’s hope that she will listen to Eric and he her…Way to short until the next one……

  16. I am really enjoying this series – especially the daily updates! I’m so emotionally invested I was SO nervous for our favorite Viking. And I am amazed at how clever your mind is. I would never have thought to check the filing cabinets!

    My sense of relief at her arrival was was intense and I’m really looking forward to their first conversation as man and wife!

  17. Yay Sookie has sense for once. Also loved that Eric was able to gauge what she had decided according to her outfit.
    As or assholes flying. If it was literally just the asshole it would be an interesting sight to say the least! X D

  18. Hope. I love that he felt that from her.
    Victor. I need a shower, even the mention of his slimy, mistimed coupling. Eww.

    Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. That was so much better!!

  19. if sookie moves in with eric maybe she will rent her house to bill and victor. they can suck up what’s left of her scent and look constipated at each other!

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