Reluctantly, Sookie looked at the clock on the table next to the small bed. “It’s 8:30 already,” she groaned. “Bill will be here in 90 minutes.”
Eric nodded. “And we will be ready, min kära.”
Sookie sighed deeply. “Do you think that he’ll even be able to pass onto my property?” she asked. “After all, his intentions toward me are definitely not honorable.”
Eric contemplated for a moment, “I believe he will. From what I know of this kind of spell, it is the immediate intention of harm that would keep out or expel someone from your property. I do not believe that Bill intends to harm you this evening. If I did, I would not want you to meet with him at all.”
Sookie thought for a minute. “Should we finish the bond now?” Sookie asked.
Eric thought about it for a minute but then shook his head. “Sookie, I want to finish the bond as much as I have ever wanted anything, and I would do it right now if I thought it would prevent Bill from saying or doing something that might be hurtful to you, but it would not. Selfishly, I want the exchange that completes our bond to happen when we have no distractions and when I have time to adequately worship your body.”
“I will never get tired of this reaction from you, my love.” Eric chuckled and pulled her tighter to him.
She sank into his chest and sighed.
“I also want to use a ceremonial dagger to finish the bond―if you will allow this.”
“A ceremonial dagger?” Sookie asked as she propped her hand under her chin so that she could look at him.
“Yes, it was one of Godric’s possessions that he passed on to me. Godric was a kind of priest among my kind and was, therefore, able to perform vampire weddings. A dagger is used in the pledging ceremony.”
“He was a priest―really?”
Eric chuckled, “The term is not exactly equivalent to the human meaning, my love. It requires simply a bit of paperwork and the approval of the Authority to be able to perform weddings, and the Authority gives the title of priest to almost anyone who pays the fee and turns in the correct forms.”
Sookie nodded in understanding.
“As I said, a ceremonial knife is used in such rituals, and Godric possessed one of the oldest and most powerful known to my kind. Ceremonial knives are generally merely symbolic, but the one that Godric had contains real magic.”
“Magic,” Sookie whispered.
“Yes,” Eric continued. “Vampire marriages tend to last for only one hundred years and are made for political reasons more so than affection; however, Godric’s dagger is known to create much longer-lasting alliances, which solidify more and more throughout the years.
“Wow,” Sookie remarked. “I bet that made a lot of vampires want to use him as their priest.”
Eric chuckled, “Actually, it had the opposite effect. Most vampires enter into marriage for one reason only―the benefits that will come to them. Often, they cannot wait for the one hundred years to end so that they can seek out new, even more profitable alliances.”
Sookie laughed too. “Figures. What kind of magic is in the knife? How would it work if we used it?”
“Well,” Eric began, “I’m not one hundred percent sure about the origin of the magic, but I have a theory. I examined the knife carefully on Tuesday night and compared the symbols on it to some in an ancient text Godric also passed along to me. I believe that the markings on the knife are fairy, so I can only assume that the magic in the knife is as well. From what Jesus has said about fairy bonds, they are stronger and longer-lasting than vampire bonds. I cannot be certain, but―given the nature of the kinds of marriages that Godric’s dagger created in the past―I believe that it may have been used between fairies to solidify their bonds in blood.”
“That’s why you want to use it?”
“Partially. But also because of the symbolic nature of its use among vampires. Ceremonial knives symbolize the pledge or marriage between vampires, and I want this knife to be our marriage knife. If we use it to create the last bond as well, I believe that the magic within the dagger will work to strengthen the bond that we already have and the pledge as well. I cannot explain why I feel this, but when I held the knife in my hands a few nights ago, I felt the empty space inside me―what I now know was the fairy bond left behind in me after the vampire bond was gone―stir to life for a moment.”
Sookie raised one of her hands to Eric’s cheek and caressed it softly. She felt his deep emotions for her coming through the bond and saw them reflected in his eyes. “Then we will use it to complete our bond, but I want to do it tonight after we see Bill. I assume that Bill does not know where you live, right?”
“No,” Eric answered. “The house where I keep the dagger and the things of most value to me is known by no other than Pam, now that Godric is dead.”
“Then, I think that we should go there tonight. I trust the spell that Lafayette and Jesus did, but I don’t want to be that close to Bill after we tell him we’re together, especially knowing that he wants you dead.”
“That’s not going to happen, my love.”
“I know, but better safe than sorry. I assume that you have some kind of listening device in his house, considering all that Pam knew.”
“Yes,” Eric confirmed with a smirk. “Several.”
“Then, I wanna hear what he says when he regroups after he leaves here tonight.”
“My clever Sookie,” Eric said, kissing her forehead. His pride was slipping into the bond.
“Anyway,” Sookie said with mock seriousness, “you don’t have any clean underwear over here. I did finish washing your clothes from Wednesday, so at least you won’t have to wear flannel again―unless,” she paused, a look of pure naughtiness on her face.
“Well, I was thinkin’ that if you were wearin’ that shirt, it might help drive the point home with Bill.”
Eric laughed, “Bill, I’m sure, would appreciate that, my little minx.”
Eric turned more serious. “Sookie, I have never driven to the home we’d be going to. There is a road that workmen have used in the past, but it is difficult to find, and I have never risked taking one of my own vehicles there in case it was being tracked somehow. It is my most secure resting place, and I don’t want to take a chance of its being found. In fact, even though Pam is aware of it, even she has never been to that location.”
“So you don’t want me there?” Sookie asked, her hurt filtering into the bond.
“No, that’s not it at all!” Eric assured. “It’s just that we’ll have to fly there. I do not even want Miranda and Jarod to know of the location. That means that there is no way for you to get back for your work tomorrow. We can take food and anything else you might need, but you will have no transportation once we are there―except for me.”
Sookie sighed. “Fudge,” she muttered as she took Eric’s phone from the bedside table, sat up, and dialed Sam.
Her boss answered on the first ring. “Hello?” he asked.
“Hey, it’s Sookie,” she said. “Listen, Sam, I need to ask you a favor before I make a decision. I want to go with Eric somewhere tonight to avoid a potential threat on his and/or my life. But if I do, I won’t be able to return to work until Monday. I’m not gonna risk you firing me for real though, so if it’s not okay, Eric and I will make another plan.”
Sam sighed on the other end of the line as Eric grinned at the woman in front of him.
After a long moment, Sam asked, “Do you need help, Sookie?”
“No, Eric and I can handle it, but I’m tryin’ to cover all my bases.”
“Okay, cher. Hold on a minute, and I’ll ask Holly if she minds pullin’ a double shift tomorrow.”
Sookie made a face at Eric as she waited for Sam to come back, and she was rewarded with some tickling from the vampire. When Sam returned to the line a couple of minutes later, she had to stifle her giggling. “It’s fine, Sookie. Holly doesn’t mind. Thanks for lettin’ me know, and call if you need any help. We’ll see you Monday, right?”
Having composed herself, Sookie said, “Thanks, Sam. I know that these may sound like empty words, but I will be there Monday, come hell or high water, okay?”
“I know, Sook,” Sam said.
As Sookie hung up, she sighed. It was a little after 9:00 o’clock. “We need to take a shower, mister. Just because Bill wanted to rub everything in your nose doesn’t mean we have to do the same.”
“You know he will smell the connection anyway, don’t you, lover?” Eric asked as he rose to his feet and pulled Sookie up too.
“I know,” Sookie sighed. “But I’m sure a shower might lessen it a little. Plus, it will make me feel better,” she added.
“Well then, let’s go,” he said, as he climbed the steps, obliging her with a view of the world’s most perfect ass.
Forty five minutes later, after Eric had used some good, old-fashioned distraction techniques in the shower to keep Sookie’s nerves at bay, the couple was almost dressed and ready. Sookie wore her comfortable jeans and a sweater since she’d be flying with Eric later. She couldn’t help the fear and anticipation that leapt into her as she thought about being held closely by Eric as she flew with him for the first time.
Sensing her sudden mood shift, Eric arched a brow and looked at her in question as he buttoned up the last button of his flannel shirt. He’d opted to complete his outfit with the jeans he’d worn on Wednesday, but he’d indulged Sookie―and himself―by wearing the flannel shirt again.
Sookie answered his unspoken question, “I was just thinkin’ about flyin’ with you later.”
Eric leered at her suggestively until her fear and anxiety had shifted into lust coming from her end of the bond. “That’s better,” he chuckled.
“Uppity, high-handed vampire,” Sookie mumbled.
“Stubborn fairy,” he answered back playfully.
Sookie finished tying her shoes and then grabbed her pendant off of the dresser. She silently handed it to Eric and raised her hair so that he could put it on her. When he was done, she turned around into his arms and they shared a light kiss, their bond echoing gratefulness back and forth.
Sookie broke their kiss and looked up at Eric seriously, “Will you kill him?”
Eric shook his head. “I do not plan to harm Compton tonight. And despite the fact that it would give me some personal satisfaction to see him finally dead because of the pain he has inflicted upon you and his current intentions toward you, there are several reasons why I’d prefer not to kill him at all.”
Sookie cocked an eyebrow.
Eric continued, “One―is that I would not hide my killing him from you, and I don’t want you to have to witness it or to live with any guilt over it. Two―is that I think that if Bill could get over his obsession with you and me, he could actually make a satisfactory king. He excels at dealing with humans, and he has potential if he can put aside his personal feelings and learn not to kill those who could be his best assets. Three―is that I don’t want to be king; I don’t want the hassle. However, if I were to kill Bill now, or in the next five years or so, I fear I would have little choice. It would be that or risk someone even worse taking over the state. And I want neither a new Sophie-Anne nor a wildcard like a Russell Edgington moving in. What I really want is some peace right now so that you and I can enjoy each other and remain safe―for once.” Eric paused, “However, Bill’s actions and behavior will determine mine, and I will not risk either of us to keep him alive if he threatens to harm us or the bond that we share.”
Sookie nodded. “I agree.” She paused and raised her hand to his chest, “Tonight, I wanna do most of the talking with Bill, okay?”
“I agree,” Eric echoed, smiling at her and kissing her nose. “But if you become frightened, . . .” he began.
“I know, I know,” Sookie said, rising onto her tiptoes and pulling him down so that she could place a kiss on his nose as well. “If I get scared, you get to be all big and bad and kick his ass!”
“Damned straight, lover,” Eric crooned.
Eric’s cell phone rang. It was Bubba’s ring tone―appropriately enough, Elvis’s song, “(You’re The) Devil in Disguise.” Eric answered and listened for a moment. “Bill is on his way, min kära,” he said after he’d hung up.
Sookie straightened and tensed a bit.
“He’ll be able to tell we’re in the house and will smell us now that the privacy spell has worn off,” Eric said softly.
“But if he intends me immediate harm, he’ll be sent packin’,” Sookie added as she gave Eric a quick kiss on the cheek before grabbing his hand and leading them down the stairs.