Eric flew quickly to Sookie’s home and landed on the porch. He inhaled deeply. Bubba and Pam’s scents were fresh. He also smelled Compton, probably from a night or two before. There were no other recent supernatural scents, and he sighed in relief. He found the extra key Sookie had hidden in a flower pot―something he’d discovered when he’d had to replace the plant in said pot. He checked the magical barrier and found that he could not get into Sookie’s home. He was relieved to confirm that the sale of the home back to her had gone through properly, and he returned the key to Sookie’s spot.
He sat down on the porch swing for a few moments and let the fingers of his right hand trace a pattern that he’d carved into the side of the swing one night. It was a Celtic love knot that he’d once seen in an old church, marking the entombment of a husband and wife who had died in the 15th Century. According to the mythology of the village, the couple had married against their powerful families’ wishes, so they had to flee from France. They settled into what was now Wales, and became prominent citizens of their town, well-known for both their generosity to the church and their enduring love for each other. The wife had died before the husband due to an illness she’d gotten as she had tried to nurse their first grandchild back to health. The child had lived, but the wife had perished soon after. Less than a month after his wife had died, the husband also passed away, reportedly due to a broken heart.
The children of the couple had then commissioned a young artist to create a tomb in tribute of their parents’ everlasting love for one another. The Celtic knot was used to symbolize that love, and Eric had recalled the story as well as the figure one evening as he’d been sitting on Sookie’s newly-reconstructed porch after he’d owned the house for about a month. He’d spent the rest of the evening carving the remembered figure into the swing.
Now as he traced the pattern, he thought of the husband’s broken heart. If Sookie chose not to be with him, Eric had resolved to stay alive and attend to her safety for however long she needed it; it would give him purpose. But he also knew that if―when―Sookie died, he would become like the husband in the story.
It was now 10:10, and Eric wanted to be at Bill’s in about twenty minutes. Eric thought that the less time Bill had to think over any other options, the more likely it was that he’d agree to Eric’s plan and not do anything stupid or rash like trying to contact Nan to get her back on his side. That would be the worst thing he could possibly do where Sookie was concerned. Plus, it would warn Nan that they’d discovered her true purpose for their ‘meeting’.
Eric got up from the swing and inhaled deeply once more, but this time it was to take in Sookie’s lingering scent around the property. He walked to the spot where Sookie had called out a single word to him, “Wait.” And then she’d kissed him. He closed his eyes at the memory and the feeling in it. Tonight he’d be doing everything that he could to make sure that she could return to that porch―to her home―in safety.
He flew off the porch and traveled toward the cemetery between Sookie’s home and Bill’s. In the last six months, Eric had come to realize that Bill’s range of smell must not extend very far, given that he’d never once questioned Eric about his continual presence at Sookie’s home or at Adele’s grave. Still, Eric stayed vigilant and used his gifts to ensure that he was truly alone when he landed next to Adele’s headstone. He picked up and discarded a now-dead bouquet of white daisies that he’d left for Sookie’s matriarch a few nights before her return from the fairy realm. He replaced them with the single daisy that he’d taken from Sookie’s bouquet.
“It is a paltry offering, I’m afraid,” Eric said lightly as he sat comfortably next to the grave as he’d done many times before. “But your granddaughter has the others.”
He touched the headstone lightly, brushing a dead leaf off of the top of it. “I am happy to tell you that Sookie is back now. She was, as I assumed she would be, displeased that I’d bought the home and had constructed my ‘cubby’, as she calls it. But she seems to enjoy many of the repairs and upgrades, though she has not mentioned them directly.” Eric paused.
“I have also done as I promised and returned the home to her. I’m sure that I will get an earful later about my high-handedness in the way that I went about doing it, and she will probably wish to pay me more than the dollar I took from her wallet, but I’m sure she is happy to have it back. And I imagine that you too are glad to have it back in your family.”
Eric’s eyes flashed a twinkle, “You would be impressed, Adele. Tonight, I managed to distract Sookie with tales of impending death threats and takeovers, and she didn’t remember to mention the house once. Perhaps, if I come back alive tonight, she will be so relieved that she will accept the home with no argument.”
He looked at Adele’s name on the headstone and sighed. “No―I don’t really think she’ll let it drop either.”
He was quiet for a few moments. “I hope that the next time I am here, it is with Sookie. She has broken the blood tie I told you existed between us as well as a bond that we formed when I had amnesia. That, however, is a story that will take longer than I have at present to tell.
“But I do wish for you to know that I will do what I must to make sure Sookie is safe, and now that she has returned to this realm, she will, I’m sure, take over the care of your grave. As you know, I continue to hope that she will one day accept me as her beloved. However, she may in the future come here with Bill Compton or another that she chooses to be her mate.
“If that is the case, I fear that I will not be welcome here anymore, so I have come to say goodbye just in case. I am no believer in ghosts, Adele, but I am also not blind to the fact that I have felt comfort here these long months. If it has been your spirit, then I must convey my gratitude. This place has offered me much solace, and I have enjoyed having somewhere to speak my thoughts concerning your granddaughter. I’m afraid that Pamela would not have been nearly as receptive, and as I told you before, now that Godric is gone,” he paused, “I had no one else. For the briefest of times, just last week, your granddaughter filled that role for me, and it was very pleasurable to me. However, the irony was that I was unable to tell her any of the things I had confided in you that I wished to say because I did not have my memories. Perhaps it is my fate to always be one step away from my heart’s desire.” Eric drew in a long, unnecessary breath.
“If your spirit is somehow in this place, Adele, I know that we will continue to have the shared purpose of watching over Sookie, and given her propensity for drawing danger to herself, I’m sure that we will both be needed,” he chuckled a bit.
“If you are able to hear me or if you are with your God, I ask that you say a prayer for me ―that it will be me who returns with Sookie and no other.”
Eric rose and gave a deep bow in the direction of Adele’s grave. Not for the first time, he felt a sense of peace and comfort flow over him in this place.
He smiled wryly, “I hope that means you are on my side, Adele. I will need all the help I can get if I am to win her.”
He bowed once more, “I wish that I had had the opportunity to meet you.” With that, he took off into the night sky to make the short trip to Compton’s.