Sookie looked up at Eric, “How do we do this?”
“Well Eric said, there are a few ways.” He put down the backpack he’d been holding and quickly picked up Sookie bridal style. “I can hold you like this.”
He then slung her around to his back, piggy-back style. “Or you can hold on like this.”
Finally, he brought her body around to his front again and put her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. He put one large hand under her bottom to support her and used the other to pull her close so that their foreheads were touching. Sookie blushed, as she was reminded of the position they’d had sex in against the wall inside―not an hour before. “I think I like this one best,” he whispered suggestively, running his hand down her spine.
Sookie bit her lip to keep from moaning; she could feel how much Eric liked their current position on her inner thigh. “This one is nice,” she finally said, “but I think I’ll go for the first one. I’d kinda like to look around a little this first time.”
Eric chuckled, “You are a cold-hearted woman, Sookie Stackhouse.”
She giggled, “Said the vampire with no heartbeat.”
Eric put Sookie down briefly and slung her bag over his shoulder. Then he pulled the afghan securely around her and picked Sookie up into his arms.
“Ready?” he asked with a twinkle in his bright blue eyes.
“Go slow, okay?” Sookie said, her nervousness rising and filling the bond.
“I would never let you fall, min kära,” Eric whispered into her hair as he kicked off from the ground. He hovered for a few seconds, as Sookie’s arms tightened around his neck. Her eyes were firmly shut. “I thought you said you wanted to look around,” Eric joked.
“I do. I will. I just need to get used to it. I’m a little scared of heights and flying―if you wanna know the truth of it.”
Eric held Sookie securely and began moving upwards and over the trees on Sookie’s property. He quickened his pace just a bit, and Sookie took in a deep breath. “I have you, my love,” he assured.
“I know,” Sookie said taking in a deep breath. Finally, she opened her eyes and looked into Eric’s.
“Look up,” he said, pushing his own gaze toward the stars.
Sookie followed Eric’s suggestion and saw a canopy of bright stars above her. With no ambient light present, they were brilliant. “Beautiful,” she muttered.
“Yes,” Eric agreed. “It is only in flight like this that I am able to see the stars as vividly as when I was a young boy looking up at them in my homeland. From my father, I learned the course of all the stars to aid in our sea travels. But I will admit that I enjoyed the stories that my mother would tell me about them even more than learning about their pathways from my father.”
Sookie smiled and looked back at Eric. “Will you tell me those stories sometime?”
“If you like,” he answered looking wistfully upwards. “And I can also tell you the myths that the Romans and Greeks had for the stars. And I can tell you about other cultures’ beliefs of them as well. Even in my vampire life, I have enjoyed hearing such stories.”
Sookie brought one of her hands from around Eric’s neck to his cheek and leaned further into his body. “In one of my dreams once, I told you that I knew you had feelings, that you were deep. Every day, I find that you are deeper than I could imagine.”
Eric leaned into Sookie’s touch on his cheek as he looked down at her. “You would not believe how different my whole existence has become since my feelings opened up for you, min kära. I have listened to the stories of other cultures with interest, I have had many professions, I have fought in wars and battles, and I have seen many wonders, but in more than a thousand years, I have never found someone that I wished to share all these things with―to speak to about all these things. It is a new feeling, Sookie―a phenomenal feeling―that you have given to me. The concept of sharing my life with someone had never occurred to me until you were in it.”
Eric grew quiet and Sookie nuzzled into his chest; she felt the bond between them thrumming with contentment and affection. She looked around her and saw the tops of trees below her. She listened to the stillness of the night. “It really is beautiful up here. How long will it take to fly to your house?”
“Generally, from your home, it takes about 20 minutes. But it will take longer tonight since I’m not flying very fast.”
“Wait!” Sookie said interrupting him. “You can’t say that anymore.”
“What, my love?” Eric said, his confusion filtering into the bond. “What did I say that upset you?”
“Nothing upset me. You just can’t call it my home anymore. You need to start calling it our home.”
Eric smiled into Sookie’s hair where she couldn’t see it, but she felt his happiness surge.
“I will remember that, min kära. From now on, everything that was once yours or mine becomes ours.”
Sookie was quiet for a moment and then spoke in a sarcastic voice, “This does not mean that you get to give me a new car, you know.”
Eric sighed, “But yours is a death trap, my love. And I have more than 20 cars all told. Perhaps, you will see one you like and decide to drive it; they are all ours now, after all. It’s not as if they are currently getting much use. When I drive, I usually use my new Vette.”
Sookie rolled her eyes, “Twenty, huh? What are they all for?”
“There are different types for different purposes. To be honest, it is somewhat difficult to keep track since Pam has arranged for many of them. Her current car of choice, if you believe it, is a minivan. She jokes that it is practical for hauling around dead bodies, but I know that it is mostly for her shopping trips.”
“Pam hauls around dead bodies in her minivan?” Sookie asked seriously, horrified by Eric’s casualness.
He answered, “No lover―at least not in a car that she likes. She’d never get the smell out.”
“Oh,” Sookie said. Eric could tell that Sookie was upset by his words.
His took a deep, unnecessary breath. Sookie could feel anxiety rise in Eric as he spoke in a quiet voice. “Sookie, you know that Pam has killed, and you know that I have as well. You have seen me kill, and I have told you of other deaths that I have dealt out. As sheriff, especially before the revelation of my kind, I had to put many vampires to death for brazenly killing humans and threatening our secret. I killed humans by accident before I had learned to control all my vampire urges. I have killed drainers and V distributors. I have killed Fellowship members who planned to blow up my club. I have killed many in battle. I have killed and would kill any that threaten me or mine. You need to be certain that you can live with this aspect of me before we complete the bond.”
Sookie didn’t wait a second before answering, “I am certain, Eric. I might not like it all, but I understand most of it. And I believe you when you say that you will not kill without a very good reason. And I know what it’s like to kill in order to save your own life or those you love; I’ve had to do it twice now. And I’ve also aimed my powers at people with the intent to hurt them. It’s just that I don’t like to think about anyone dyin’.”
“I know, min kära. I hope that you are never in a position when you must kill another again, which is why I wish for you to learn how to use your fairy gifts with more control. And―as I vowed to you before―I will not kill unless it is to preserve us or my kind. And even then, I will look for other avenues first.”
“I know,” Sookie said, placing her hand on his chest and looking earnestly into his eyes. “I have already seen it.” She paused, “Please know that even when I feel regret over things you might have done in the past or have worries like I did just now, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you and accept you as you are. We’ll be able to feel each other even more after the bond is completed tonight. That means we’ll feel it when we get angry or frustrated with each other, and knowing how stubborn we can both be, that might happen quite a bit.”
Both she and Eric chuckled at that.
She continued, “And there might be times when we feel each other’s hurt or disapproval over our actions. But you will always feel the love I have for you underneath any of those other things, Eric. I love you as you are. What you’ve been and done―the good and the bad―helped to form that―helped to form what I love.”
Eric landed softly onto a slightly overgrown lawn in front of a small cabin in the middle of the woods. Only a narrow dirt road led up to the house. He set Sookie down on her feet carefully, making sure she was steady. He looked at her intensely, “You are my miracle, min kära. That someone like you could love someone like me is a miracle―more of a miracle than the magic of your blood or of my blood. Your love is the miracle. I will never take that for granted.”
Sookie put her arms back around Eric’s neck and drew up to kiss him lightly. “We make the miracle together,” she whispered.
After a moment of contentment passed between them, she drew back and smiled at the little cabin. “This is not what I was expectin’.”
Eric laughed, “I have my Gothic castles in time shares right now.”
Sookie giggled and took Eric’s hand, “You said this one is your favorite, right?” She gestured toward the dark cabin in front of them.
Eric beamed, and Sookie knew that his open smile in that moment had not been given to another person in at least a thousand years. She stifled her emotions so that she wouldn’t cry and walked by Eric’s side to the cabin door. He opened a concealed panel to the right of the door and put in a code as well as scanned his thumbprint.
“That’s like James Bond,” Sookie marveled.
Eric chuckled. “It’s also very practical. I have many safe houses all around the area and until recently, I rarely stayed anywhere for two nights in a row. Often, I would decide where to stay at the spur of the moment, so bringing that many keys with me would not be―um―comfortable. This house, as I said, is my most secure. Over many years, I have built much of it myself, and the humans that wired it for electricity and plumbing and later for satellite and wireless service were all driven here blindfolded by me, and they were glamoured to forget all about it after each night of work.
“You have wireless―even up here?”
“A man has to be connected, my love.” His eyes glittered. “And satellites are amazing things! I also glamoured the surveyors from my cell phone company to feel like they just had to have a tower nearby.”
“Crafty vampire,” Sookie teased.