Five minutes later, neither Eric nor Sookie had moved significantly.
There had been no need for a euphoric, shared vision or daydream, for they were both exactly as they wanted to be. The bond between them pulsed and sang with energy―with joy. Eric’s penis was still lodged in the sheath of Sookie’s body. And their foreheads were still firmly set together. The dagger had been moved back to the table and their arms were slung around each other’s bodies in an easy embrace. Finally, Eric shifted slightly, and with a moan, removed himself from Sookie’s body, causing her to moan at his absence as well.
As Sookie lifted her forehead from his and raised herself up a bit, Eric sighed deeply. Then―both laughing―they looked at each other. Playfulness and love swirled in Eric’s blue eyes. “Before, it was difficult to stifle the impulse to be inside of you all the time, my little fairy. I think that now you are trying to make it impossible.”
“Me?” Sookie asked innocently. “You’re the one that is always lookin’ at me like I’m dinner or somethin’.”
Eric laughed louder, “You are dinner or something.” He playfully nudged her neck with his nose.
Sookie snorted and teased, “I knew you were only after my blood, you big, mean, old vampire.”
Eric’s eyes filled with mischief as he said, “I vont to suck your blood!” His fangs clicked down, but the smile on his lips belied any danger.
Sookie laughed out loud and popped Eric on his chest. “If you aren’t careful, Mr. Viking vampire, I’ll have to go all Tinker Bell on your ass.”
Eric leered, “Feel free to tinker anything you want on my ass, Miss Stackhouse.”
They both laughed and then sighed at the same time, enjoying the closeness that the bond afforded them.
Eric retracted his fangs and gently placed Sookie down on the blankets. He got up and added more wood to the fire, not wanting her to be chilly in the cool early November night.
When he was done, he turned around to find Sookie staring appreciatively at his ass. He chuckled. “Oh all the parts of me you have to choose from, I cannot believe that this is your favorite,” he said patting his bottom.
“I have lots of favorites,” she protested as he settled next to her, propping himself up on his elbow and pulling the afghan that had been made by Sookie’s Gran over them.
“Oh really? Do tell, min kván.”
“Well, I love your eyes for one. And that little dimple on your chin,” she said as she touched it. “And I love your hair when it’s soft like this.” She ruffled his bangs playfully and he pretended to purr like a cat. Sookie giggled.
She asked abruptly, “Hey! ‘Kván’ is new! What does it mean?”
“It means ‘wife’ in the language of my parents.”
Sookie’s smile glowed. “Aren’t you bein’ a bit premature, cowboy?” she teased.
Eric shook his head seriously. “No, what we just shared was far more than a normal bonding and more than a normal pledging and more than a normal wedding, I suspect. Sunday night might make it official in the eyes of other vampires and supernaturals, but you are already my wife in every way that matters to me.”
Tears gathered behind Sookie’s eyes again. “How do you say husband in your language?”
“A husband is called a bóndi.”
“I like that,” Sookie laughed. “It sounds kind of like ‘bonded’ already.”
Eric laughed with her and kissed the tip of her nose before pulling her toward him and settling her onto his chest. After a while, he felt Sookie’s body relax completely into his, and he heard the even breathing that signaled her sleep. He carefully picked up his cell phone, which he’d put on the coffee table earlier, and texted Pam and Miranda with additional orders for the next two days. Though not the same as a human wedding, he wanted to make the pledging as memorable for Sookie as he could. Then he checked in with Isabel and Rasul. After about a half hour of work, he eased himself closer to Sookie and sighed contentedly as she snuggled deeper into him.
The fire eventually went out of its own accord just as sunlight began to filter through the windows. Eric felt no danger from his old nemesis, nor did his body tell him to sleep. He lightly ran his fingers through the hair of his lover, his beloved―his wife―and he thought about the miracle of her love for him as well as the miracles wrought on his body because of that love. He lay next to her for a long time as the sun rose higher and higher and more light steamed in―until finally it reached his exposed foot. He watched for a long time as his flesh was lit by the indirect sunlight but not burned by it.
It was 8:04 in the morning―exactly 86 minutes after the sun had risen―and light was streaming into the windows before Eric’s body finally registered the pull of the dawn and the need to be out of the sun. He gently nudged Sookie, “It is time for me to go to my day rest, min kván.”
Sookie stretched and then noticed the sun coming into the room. “What time is it?” she asked Eric warily.
“It is a little after eight o’clock, and I have just felt the warning pull.”
“You’re okay though right?” Sookie asked, her worry leaking into the bond.
“Yes,” Eric answered placing his cheek on her forehead. “I have been enjoying the sunlight spilling through the window and lighting your face.”
Sookie put her arms around Eric’s neck sleepily and whispered, “Take me to bed where we can both rest, min bóndi.”
At 12:15 Sookie awoke to her own face smiling back at her. Eric had left on a dim light in his cubby so that Sookie could see where she was. She could also see a framed picture of her and Gran on Eric’s bedside table. The picture had been her favorite since it had been taken. Carefree, both Stackhouse women were smiling at the camera. Sookie couldn’t even remember the exact moment it had been taken, which made the picture all the better in her mind. When she saw it, it symbolized one of a million beautiful moments with Gran.
She felt a tear in her eye as she thought of Eric cherishing the photo as she had. There were many pictures in the old farmhouse of just Sookie, but Eric had chosen this one to put next to his resting place. When she thought about it, however, it seemed like a uniquely Eric choice.
She sighed happily as she felt Eric’s arms around her body and his head resting lightly on her abdomen. She smiled to herself, remembering that this was Eric’s favorite thing and noticed that her fingers had unconsciously begun to play with her beloved’s hair. Sookie allowed herself a few minutes of enjoying her sleeping vampire, who the next day would officially become her husband in at least one sense. She smiled at the fact that he’d called her wife already―more than once―and she realized that she thought of him as her husband already as well. Something about his body, his blood, his magic, his mind, and most importantly his heart sang out to her.
With great reluctance, Sookie climbed out of the bed and grabbed the T-shirt Eric had left for her at the end of it. If her bladder had not been extremely insistent, she would have been tempted to stay in bed until nightfall. She gave Eric one last look and climbed up the steps.
Sookie saw to her human needs and then took a quick shower. She decided to forego a bra for the sake of comfort and threw back on Eric’s T-shirt, which smelled deliciously of her vampire. “My vampire,” she thought with a smile. “My property,” she said out loud with a laugh. She added fresh underwear and yoga pants to finish her comfortable ensemble and then went to the kitchen.
She sighed contentedly as she found a coffee maker on the counter and soon found coffee and filters in the cabinet above. After starting a pot, she grabbed an apple but longed to have a toasty bagel. She’d have to make some additions if they were to stay at the cabin a lot. She sat down at the table and enjoyed the sun streaming into the window as she munched on her apple and enjoyed her coffee.
Next, Sookie decided to explore the cabin a bit. The bookcases in the living room were her first destination. She thumbed the spines and noticed a bit of dust. She chuckled when she thought of Eric cleaning. He had told her, after all, that she was the only other person he’d brought up here, so he must be the one to do his own housekeeping there. The thought of him with a dust rag in his hand was equal parts sexy and hilarious to Sookie.
Most of the books on Eric’s shelves were old, clearly first editions. Sookie pulled a copy of Moby Dick from the shelf and cringed. She’d always hated Melville. She smiled at Eric’s copy of Pride and Prejudice, knowing that she’d get good usage out of that book. In addition to literature, Eric had a good deal of history and philosophy books on his shelves, and Sookie took out a worn copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. She smiled at a marked passage: “The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.” Eric was clearly ‘a fighter of old,’ and he’d lived through everything that had come at him for more than a thousand years, a thought that still boggled Sookie’s mind.
Out of the corner of her eye, Sookie saw the boxes of Godric’s books that Eric had told her about the night before. She got a refill of coffee and quickly discerned which of the boxes contained the books that were written in English. Putting that box on the coffee table, she settled onto the couch, which seemed even more comfortable than it had the night before.
As she began to pull the texts out, she grew a bit nervous. Some of them seemed to have been written hundreds of years before and were bound in velum. Sookie quickly went to get a clean dish cloth so that she wouldn’t have to handle those books directly with her hands.
The books seemed mostly historical, containing stories of supernatural beings. Some actually seemed to have been written by Godric himself, journals that recorded vampire wars throughout the years as well as human events that touched the lives of vampires in some way, such as the Great Plague that swept through Europe, the Inquisition, and the Salem witch trials.
Sookie was in awe of all the history contained within the books but refused to get lost in it. She promised herself that she would return to read everything once she was more settled into her new life.
One of the more promising-looking books seemed encyclopedic in nature, despite its being handwritten, and was entitled History of the Undead. Sookie was excited to see a table of contents inside and quickly turned to the section titled “Ties and Bonds.”
As Sookie began reading the section, she recognized that it contained all the information Eric had told her a few nights before concerning ties and bonds, and she guessed that this had been the book Eric had been referring to during their conversation.
Sookie kept reading and found a piece of information about the second kind of tie that confirmed the fact that vampire blood―given unselfishly or for love―could not be used to control or manipulate the human. Basically, the blood couldn’t go against the vampire’s original intentions in giving it, even if those intentions were to change. Vampires, therefore, were warned to avoid making this kind of tie.
Sookie huffed, “It figures.”
The description of blood bonds was also cautionary, warning that the human in the pairing would end up with just as much power as the vampire in the bond. As Eric had told her, bonds allowed humans to sense the vampires’ emotions, locate them, and tell if they were being untruthful. The book indicated that, in order to keep humans from accessing the vampires’ emotions, they could, over time, develop something that seemed akin to the shields she used to keep out people’s thoughts. She filed that piece of information away so that she could discuss it with Eric at a later date.
Sookie thought of the irony of her situation. She’d spent her whole life looking for someone she couldn’t hear. And now, she would soon marry someone that she had voluntarily agreed to “hear”―maybe not his thoughts, but his emotions. However, she had no trepidation. She’d felt Eric’s emotions throughout their lovemaking the night before, and his feelings had worked only to amplify hers. As she reached out for the bond between them and felt the peaceful sensation that signaled his sleep, she grew to love the bond even more.
She looked back at the book and continued reading. Vampires who formed the first kind of tie, the kind designed to control―the kind Bill had formed with her―were warned that this type of tie could change. In other words, if a vampire who created the first kind of tie were to change in the way he or she felt about a human or fall in love with the human, the bond type would change if blood were given again. Ties could be “redrawn” from selfish to selfless, and vampires were counseled to avoid getting too close to the people they tied with. They were cautioned that this would cause them to lose the ability to influence or control their blood in the human.
For Sookie, this information was the proverbial last nail in the coffin for Bill. “Pun intended,” she said ruefully to herself. If Bill’s intentions toward her had transformed from selfish because of the queen’s orders to selfless because of love for her, the nature of the tie would have changed too. He would no longer have been able to influence her, nor would he have wanted to, according to the book. She would no longer have had disturbing dreams about him. Yet, every time Sookie had taken Bill’s blood, his attempts to manipulate and control her would recommence even more forcefully.
Sookie shook her head. “He might act the genteel, honorable Southern gentleman, but when it all comes down to it, those are just empty actions,” she said quietly to herself.
She continued looking through the books for a while. Most of them had no real sense of organization and would have to be read through completely by someone. She did become engrossed in a passage describing Dracula, who was apparently quite real. Sookie resolved to ask Eric if he knew the famous figure.
After another hour or so with the books, Sookie decided she needed a break from them. She’d found nothing else pertaining to her situation, but she looked forward to delving into them some more after Jesus had mined them for hidden gold.
Next, she turned her attention to the paintings in the living room; all were of seascapes in grays and blues. The waves seemed to be rising from the canvases, the paint thick and buoyant. In one of the paintings, she noticed a Viking longship, what she knew from Eric was called a drekar. Though she could not clearly make out the dragon carving, she knew that she’d been on the vessel before in her dream. She gasped at the realization.
None of the paintings were signed in any distinguishable way, but she intuited that they had been done by Eric, and her pride and awe for her vampire grew. “Mine,” she grinned again at the thought.
She next wandered into the bedroom. She’d spent very little time there the night before. She opened the closet and saw several versions of what she considered Eric’s uniform inside―high-end T-shirts and jeans that she knew would fit him in a way that should have been illegal. She ran her hand along the wood of the closet, knowing that Eric had crafted it, and then brought her hand up to the pendant with their initials on it, which hung around her neck. She sighed as she thought about his long fingers and strong hands working the wood. She walked over to the side of the bed that she already thought of as Eric’s side and lay down, inhaling deeply. The pillow, however, did not smell of Eric, and Sookie realized that he probably had not actually slept in that bed, despite the fact that there were no windows in the bedroom. With a blush, she looked forward to helping him christen it.