While Sookie was seeing to her human needs and cleaning up a bit after their lovemaking, Eric unzipped his bags and cased out the closet. He’d not brought many clothes since there simply wasn’t room for them yet. Because of the Maenad, however, Sookie did not have much clothing either. He knew that with the additions that he would need to make and the shopping spree that Pam was bound to take Sookie on, the small closet would soon become inadequate for their needs.
Sookie came out of the bathroom and took in the sight of Eric, naked and contemplative, in front of the closet. The image took her breath away for a moment.
“What are you studying there, lover?” Eric asked in a teasing voice.
She shook her head and grinned at her husband, choosing to answer his question with one of her own. “What are you studying in there, cowboy?” she asked as she walked behind him, smacking him playfully on the bottom.
“I’m just thinking that we need a bigger closet,” he chuckled before hanging up a few shirts. She walked over to the chest of drawers and gestured toward the left side.
“All these are empty for you,” she said, opening the top one. She grabbed all the neatly folded underwear from his suitcase, except for one pair, and put them into the top drawer. She threw the remaining pair at Eric, whose back was again turned to her. Still, he caught them and grumbled good-naturedly as he put them on. Sookie sighed as she checked out her property, now disappearing into the boxer-briefs. She then added some socks to the top drawer before closing it and pulling open the middle one. While she neatly stacked some T-shirts into it, Eric put a few pairs of folded jeans onto the highest closet shelf, which he could reach easily.
“Maybe when the contractor is here Tuesday, we can talk to him about making our bedroom and bathroom bigger by combining them to Jason’s old room next door?” Sookie suggested.
Eric looked at her a bit surprised, but also quite pleased, “I confess, min kära―I’d thought about doing that right after I bought the house, but I wasn’t sure you’d approve.”
“Well, we do need a lot more closet space, and if this is gonna be our light-tight room, I’d like to make it so that there’s a desk for you to work at if you’re awake a bit in the mornings and late afternoons like you’ve been the last few days.”
Finished unpacking Eric’s smaller suitcase, Sookie unzipped her own bag and backpack, which he’d also retrieved from downstairs. With a smile on her face, she hung up the two gorgeous dresses she hadn’t chosen. Meanwhile, Eric picked up the red dress and his discarded clothing from earlier. “I will have Bobby add this dress to my dry cleaning―if that’s okay, min kván?”
Sookie nodded appreciatively and then took her dirty clothes out of the backpack. She gave Eric a smile as she walked into the bathroom, carrying the clothes to the hamper. While in the bathroom, she took off her necklace and beautiful sapphire earrings and set them reverently into her jewelry box.
She then completed her nightly ritual by brushing her teeth. Within moments, Eric had joined her at the sink and was brushing his too. She couldn’t stop herself from giving him a pasty grin as he winked at her in the mirror.
“And it would be nice to have a bigger bathtub as well, lover,” Eric suggested provocatively as soon as he was done rinsing his mouth out.
Sookie looked at the average-sized bathtub and then at her anything-but-average-sized husband. “You’ll have to special order us another Viking-sized tub,” she smiled at him as he lightly wiped off a bit of toothpaste from the corner of her mouth.
“With room for a fairy too,” Eric added as he kissed the spot he’d just wiped.
The couple returned to the bedroom, and Sookie set her cell phone alarm while Eric zipped his smaller bag―now empty ―and put it into his equally empty larger bag.
“And we could definitely use a bigger bed,” Sookie laughed. “As much as I love to snuggle into you, I think the cuteness of seeing your feet hanging off the end of the bed is wearing off.”
Eric winked as he set the consolidated suitcases into the corner of the room and then climbed into his side of the bed. “I will always wish to hold you close to me, min kván, but I admit that it would be nice not to be hanging off the end of the bed while I’m doing it.”
“Well then,” Sookie said as she dropped her robe and slipped naked into bed next to him, “we’ll talk to the contractor Tuesday, and I’ll think about some things I want while I’m at work, and you can think about some stuff you want before you sleep. We’ll compare lists tomorrow night after the football party.”
“Sounds like a plan,” he said. Then he pouted, a look that seemed so out-of-place on her thousand-year-old vampire that Sookie couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“What’s wrong with you, buck-o?” she asked teasingly. “Did someone take your toys away?”
Eric’s eyes glinted wickedly even as he attempted to pout even more deeply. “Why do you get to be naked while I have to wear these?”
She heard him pop the waistband of his underwear. “Fine,” she said permissively. “I just don’t want you runnin’ around the house naked.”
He smiled brightly and winked again as he shimmied out of the garment and threw it to the end of the bed. Then, he pulled her naked body into his so that she was lying on his chest. They both sighed at the convergence of their flesh, her warmth on his cool. Knowing of Sookie’s need to sleep so that she would be ready for her work the next day, Eric calmed his smoldering desire to once again bury himself into his beloved’s supple, welcoming body. Instead, he softly stroked her hair as she nestled into him snuggly. She laid her left hand on the other side of his chest, and he covered her hand with his free one.
“Do you like it?” he asked, touching the ring.
“Oh gosh!” Sookie exclaimed, raising herself up a bit so that she could meet Eric’s eyes. “I love it. It’s perfect. I don’t know how you picked it, but I think that if every ring in the world were lined up for me to choose from, this would be the one I’d take.”
Eric smiled. “I was feeling a lot from you through the bond when we were apart, but I think I know when you saw this for the first time,” he said, once again touching the ring. “It was soon after Miranda texted me to tell me that you’d cleverly confirmed that your brother and friends had not discussed our pledging. You were very, very happy in that moment and a little surprised too, right?”
“Yep,” Sookie confirmed as she eased back into him.
“And when I texted you later? What had happening right then?”
“Well, Pam had given me three dresses to choose from, and I’d tried on the first two, and they were really beautiful, but you texted right after I put on the last one, which is the one I wore. I knew that I was wearing my wedding―or pledging―dress right then. And I was thinkin’ about how much you’d love it.”
“I did love it,” he whispered into her hair. “And I love you, min kván.”
“I love you, husband,” Sookie smiled into his chest. “I can’t wait to marry you again once humans can marry vampires in this state. I’d marry you a thousand times if I could.”
Eric resumed stroking her hair until Sookie’s breathing evened out to indicate her sleep. At dawn, he missed seeing the sunlight coming in through the blocked off window and was anxious to have shutters that he could control in their room. He thought briefly about some of the other things he’d like to have in their renovated master suite including larger windows or maybe even a little balcony.
He then wondered if he could convince Sookie to redesign the whole second floor to be light tight. Currently, there were three smaller bedrooms upstairs, plus the one that they were in, which was a bit larger. He loved that this room had a fireplace, but it really was quite small for two, especially since one of them was a 6’4” Viking.
They could keep Sookie’s old room and en-suite bathroom available for guests if she liked and could even make it light tight in case Pam needed to stay over. However, Jason’s old room and the next room over, which now housed mostly boxes of things that Eric had saved after the Maenad episode, were not used much as far as he could tell. They could make that space into an office for himself and a little library and reading room for Sookie, with floor to ceiling bookcases on one wall. Since he knew that the contractor could reinforce the floor, walls and ceiling so that they could be essentially fire proof, he would feel comfortable bringing many of his books here so that Sookie could enjoy them too. The thought of his bonded sitting in a window seat in that room, absorbing the afternoon sun and enjoying a book, made him smile widely. He couldn’t stop himself from thanking God, or the gods and goddesses, or fate, or magic, or whatever had brought Sookie to his side.
The bedroom they were currently occupying was on the left at the top of the stairs, and its bathroom was in the corner of the house sharing a wall with a small bathroom attached to Jason’s old room. Given the shape, Eric felt that their master bedroom could be easily extended into the space of both current bathrooms and that walk-in closets could be added. Jason’s old room could be converted into a large, luxuriant bathroom for them. Their bedroom would essentially become a large rectangle, and they could have a little sitting area over by the fireplace.
He smiled at the thought of building new furnishings for that area. His hands imagined the smoothness of the wood even as his fingers continued to enjoy the smoothness of Sookie’s skin. He’d certainly had his beloved in mind when he’d made the furniture for the bedroom in the cabin, but this would be different. He’d be making these furnishings knowing that they would be used by both of them―for their home. The thought of building a little workshop for himself behind the house and spending nights fashioning the wood even as Sookie watched him, or read, or played with the kitten, or did anything at all―just as long as she was near him―made his heart want to burst forth with beats of happiness after a thousand years of dormancy. It lay still, however. Yet the space inside of his body where the fairy bond had formed did thrum and pulse, alive and enlivened by his love.
As he continued running his fingers lightly through his sleeping wife’s hair and along her flesh, Eric wondered if Sookie would agree to make all those changes he was contemplating. They’d be nice, but what mattered most was that his bonded and he would be together in the rooms, no matter what they ended up looking like.
The sun had been up for about an hour when he finished his musings, but Eric still didn’t feel the need to sleep, nor did he feel any danger from the sun. He thought briefly about going to the living room, where most of the curtains were still drawn, and enjoying the indirect sun of the morning, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave Sookie. As much as the thought of sunlight enthralled him, the source of that light―his beloved one―was much more captivating to him.
So Eric held Sookie closely and simply breathed in her scent until he chose to go to sleep.
Sookie awoke to the sound of her cell phone alarm and grumbled as she had to detach herself from Eric in order to turn it off. It read 9:30, which meant she had gotten about four and a half hours of sleep. She knew she should have been exhausted, considering her recent mental and physical exertions, but she’d had Eric’s blood too much recently to feel anything other than refreshed. She thought seriously about pushing the snooze button and curling back into her husband. Even thinking that word made her want to put her cheek back on his chest and wrap her arms around him, but she managed to sit up.
The room was quite dark thanks to the black-out curtains, so Sookie reached over to her nightstand again and turned on her lamp. She gathered her robe off of the end of the bed and slipped it on.
She looked back at Eric’s sleeping form and thought again about how innocent he looked in his slumber. He could be a cruel, violent vampire to his enemies, and he could be a passionate and primal force of nature with her (the slight tenderness in her lady bits―despite the vampire blood―was a testament of that). But in bed like this, he looked completely at peace―completely innocent. His hair was ruffled and fell onto his forehead in the boyish way she loved so much. The planes of his beautiful face were completely relaxed. She could admit that she was still not a hundred percent used to the fact that he didn’t breathe, but she’d become comfortable with the feel of his cool, unmoving body next to hers. Having never slept with a warm-blooded man, Were, or whatever, she wondered if the difference would be shocking, but was also certain that she’d never have to find out. Despite Eric’s not breathing, however, Sookie felt the vivacity of their shared bond even as he slept dead next to her. Its constant presence and pulse more than made up for Eric’s own lack of a pulse.
She couldn’t help reaching out to trail her fingertips from Eric’s forehead, down his cheek, to the cleft in his chin, and finally to the perfect spot on him where his collar bones met one another. She sighed wistfully and whispered, “So beautiful.”
Eric grunted a bit in his sleep and then surprised Sookie by opening his eyes groggily before focusing them on her face. “Mmmm,” he mumbled. “That’s exactly what I think every time I look at you.”
“You’re awake?” Sookie asked, her surprise evident in her tone.
Eric slowly sat up in bed and propped himself against the headboard. He spent a moment analyzing what his body and blood were telling him, and then he answered. “Yes―very much so. I was not yet being pulled under by the sun when I took my rest this morning. I decided, however, to enjoy the act of sleeping next to my bride,” he continued as he raised his hand up to copy her previous movement―fingertips trailing lightly from her forehead to the hollow under her neck. “But I think I’ve been in something more like downtime than my usual sleep. I feel rested, but the sun is yet to pull me under, min kära. Again, all this is evidence of your gifts to me.”
“But won’t you get the bleeds? What if you lose your ability to sleep completely? Won’t you die?” Sookie was worried now.
Eric shook his head. “I do not think so, my love. I have felt the same as I always do despite not going to my rest right at daybreak and not sleeping until dark. And downtime for vampires can be as restorative as our sleep. It will be fine.” He pulled Sookie into him and held her for a moment.
He kissed her forehead and asked, “So what were you getting ready to do, wife?”
She grinned at him, “Well―other than petting you―I had just gotten up, and I need to shower and eat before I go to work.”
“Ah, you must be there at 11:00, correct?”
“And it is currently 9:43, so you have about an hour before you must leave, correct?”
Sookie nodded again, smiling at her husband. As simple as it was, knowing that Eric knew her work schedule was a big thing to her. Bill used to ask only if she was working the next night, and though it hadn’t occurred to her then, she now realized his question had little to do with wanting to know about her life. It had to do with Bill’s plans in regard to her. Whether she worked in the day or not was inconsequential to him. However, Eric was interested in her―in Sookie Stackhouse―both the day and the night versions.
Eric could tell that Sookie was processing something in her beautiful mind and gave her a moment to do it. When she looked back at him, he kissed her nose lightly. “You shower, min kván. I will sit with you as you eat your meal if you will have it in the living room where the sunlight can be muted.”
Sookie smiled even wider. “That sounds wonderful.” She returned the kiss to his nose and got up. She quickly grabbed the clothing she would need for work and looked at Eric. “I love you.”
“The feeling is very mutual,” Eric returned, wanting nothing more than to shower with and ravage his beautiful wife. However, he knew how important being on time and dependable in her work were to her.
“Oh―check on the kitty,” she added, as she bounced into the bathroom. Eric chuckled at his wife’s exuberance. As he got up and reached into the bottom of his three drawers to pull out a pair of dark gray track pants that Sookie had unpacked for him, he smiled at all the little things he was beginning to associate with their domestic life. They seemed to naturally fall into sharing tasks like his unpacking or her dishes. Finally being with Sookie sexually had been a revelation, to be sure, but to be sharing her space, her time, and her life were more like bolts of lightning to his very spirit.
He thought for a moment about going to the kitchen to prepare her breakfast―not that he could do much. But even though Eric felt that he would be fine, the sun did stream fully into that room, especially in the mornings, and he did not want Sookie worrying before her first day back at work.
As he carefully walked into the hall and avoided most of the light entering the house, he decided to see if Miranda or Jarod could prepare her morning meal. He knew Sookie might be a bit frustrated that he’d done this―calling him high-handed―but he would ask the couple to join them to eat so that she would be less likely to be upset. He dialed Miranda.
After a short conversation, Eric hung up a bit frustrated. As the call had ended, Miranda had been giggling on the other end of the phone. For his part, Eric had not even thought that the fierce Werelioness knew how to giggle.
She’d been amused when he had asked―rather than ordered―her to cook some form of breakfast food for Sookie. And then she’d found it even more funny when―after asking him why he’d requested and not just commanded―Eric had explained that Sookie would not like that. He had expounded on his statement by telling her that his wife was prone to see Miranda and Jarod as friends more than guards and that she wouldn’t want Eric to be inhospitable. That is when Miranda’s chuckling had started. She’d said something about never seeing a tamed thousand-year-old vampire before, and then she’d broken into what could only be termed a giggle fit.
Eric had closed the curtains in Sookie’s old room and was petting the kitten lightly. He had not been pleased when he’d hung up, but at least Miranda was sending Jarod inside to prepare something called French toast while she herself checked to make sure all the curtains in the living room were drawn sufficiently. They’d also both agreed to join Eric and Sookie in the living room for the meal. Still, Eric bristled as he heard Miranda’s giggles return sporadically from the floor below. However, he eventually shrugged off his frustration. Thinking about it, he didn’t mind if the close circle around them knew how much he was willing to set aside his vampire nature to be a better partner and husband to Sookie. If his behavior caused giggle fits in a ferocious Were, he resolved to see those fits as merely another way in which his life with Sookie was unique and full of wonder.
He picked up the kitten and took it with him to their bedroom, certain that Sookie would want to greet the little creature.
As Sookie re-entered the bedroom dressed in her work uniform, Eric was putting on a T-shirt and the kitten was curled up on the end of their bed working its claws into the quilt. He asked, trying to sound casual, “Do you enjoy a breakfast food called French toast?”
Sookie looked a bit baffled as she sat next to the kitten and began petting him, “Yeah―why?”
“Well,” Eric said innocently. “Jarod is preparing this meal for you, Miranda, and himself, and they will join us to eat―if that is okay with you.”
Sookie was not fooled by Eric’s innocent act; she knew just how NOT innocent he was. “And whose idea was this little breakfast meal, Eric?” she asked with a more frustrated air than she felt.
Eric looked relieved despite her tone because he could tell through the bond that she was more amused than upset.
She smirked, despite herself. “This bond thing isn’t gonna let me pretend to be upset with you at all, is it?” she pouted.
“Nope, lover,” Eric chuckled as he zipped over to her and pulled her into his arms. “But then again, how did you know that I’d asked Miranda to arrange for your breakfast?”
“Hmm,” Sookie voiced contemplatively. “I guess I felt you hold something back, or at least like you wanted to hold something back.”
Eric chuckled again and then turned a bit more serious. “It may be possible for us to learn to shield our emotions from each other, though we could never be untruthful. I suspect the skill would be even more easy for you to learn than myself since you are used to shielding your mind from the thoughts of humans. If you want, we can look into it more.”
Sookie looked up at Eric even as he bent down and met her lips with a soft kiss. “That might be a good idea for sometimes, Eric. I love our bond―don’t get me wrong―but no one wants someone else to be able to gauge their thoughts or emotions all the time.” Sookie smiled ruefully, “I know that first hand. Until I learned how to control my telepathy, I was always finding myself in the thoughts of my family and friends, and it’s just not right to know everything. There are a lot of thoughts, just like there are a lot of emotions, that are for the thinker or feeler alone.”
“I love our bond too,” Eric said as he pulled her to his chest in an loving embrace. “But it would be nice to be able to shield things from you at times.”
“Like what, buster?” she asked teasingly, looking up at him.
He grew quiet for a moment and answered seriously, “Like when I am frustrated by work or when I must exact punishment on someone. Honestly, I do not wish for you to know how much I sometimes enjoy that part of being a vampire―at least not first hand. I’d also want to be able to surprise you sometimes without you thinking I’m hiding something.”
She spoke up with a twinkle in her eye, “And I’d like to be able to surprise you too or even pretend like I’m exasperated with you, even when I’m really not. And it would be nice to be able to just feel my own feelings at work and not have you worried all the time or angry about my normal, everyday frustrations.”
“Then we will look into it,” Eric said as he kissed her forehead. “Jesus will be in possession of Godric’s books soon, and we’ll add blocking out each other’s emotions to the list of things for him to look into.” He paused for a moment, “In fact, I am thinking about putting him on retainer; on-call consultant would be his official title. He is part demon, you know, and if he had more time to really work on his craft, he could be an excellent sorcerer, or as his family calls themselves, an excellent brujo. Of course, this would most likely involve him quitting his job as a nurse, and I am not sure if he would be willing to do that.”
Sookie had finished toweling off her hair and quickly returned the wet towel to the bathroom, picking up her hairbrush along the way. Once she was back in the bedroom, she answered Eric’s implicit question meditatively, “Honestly, I think that Jesus would like to do what you’re thinking of asking him.” Eric interrupted her train of thought briefly as he reached for the brush and motioned for her to sit on the edge of the bed. He settled behind her and began gently untangling her hair even as the kitten resettled onto her lap. “Ahhh, that feels nice,” Sookie said closing her eyes in bliss.
She smiled to herself as her husband stroked her head even as she stroked the kitten’s. “My two boys,” she thought to herself joyfully. After a minute or two, she continued where she’d left off before, “Anyway, I think Jesus would like to have time to learn everything about bein’ a brujo, and I know after the whole Marnie thing that he’s real powerful. He was able to expel Antonia from Marnie, after all, and saved me from the circle of fire Marnie’d trapped me in.” Eric’s touch became more tender at the mention of those events. Sookie could feel through the bond Eric’s regret that he could not get to her.
Sookie attempted to send comfort to him through their bond, her first time trying to do such a thing. Immediately, he sighed appreciatively, “Thank you, min kära.”
She smiled and continued her earlier thoughts about Jesus. “And he’s kinda afraid of all the demon stuff, I think. So it’d be nice if he could have some time to deal with all that, but I also know that Lafayette’s mom lives at the facility where he works, and that might make him more prone to stay there.”
Eric was done removing the tangles by this point, but continued brushing. The act comforted him, and he could tell it relaxed his beloved. Their shared bond echoed with their joy at being close.
“Will you let me mention it to him first?” Sookie asked, settling backwards into Eric’s chest.
“Of course, min kära,” Eric answered. Jesus will feel freer to tell you of his true desires on the matter.” He brought his arms around her stomach and rested his chin on her shoulder as she sank into him. After a few minutes, her stomach grumbled, causing them both to laugh.
“Let’s get you fed, wife,” he said rising and extending a hand to help her up. “And then I can kiss you goodbye before you leave for work.” Sookie grinned and patted his ass as he turned around.
“That sounds perfect,” she said.
Just then, her cell phone rang. “Hey Sam,” Sookie said, answering the phone after checking the caller I.D.
After a pause, she said, “Yep, I am getting ready for work right now, and I’ll for sure be there.” She rolled her eyes. Eric could hear the skepticism in the shifter’s voice on the other end of the line.
Then Eric tensed. Sam had just asked about Eric and whether they’d solved the problem that had kept her from working two days before. He also asked if the vampire had finally left her in peace.
Sookie took a deep breath, “Listen, Sam, I know you have your issues with Eric, but you need to know that we are together now, a real couple. So I don’t want you talkin’ bad about him around me, okay?”
There was a long pause on the other end. “Fine,” Sam said gruffly. “See you later.” He hung up.
Sookie sighed as she turned off her phone and then sought the comfort of her bonded’s arms. Eric knew better than to talk badly of Sookie’s friend or suggest that she quit her job, so he just held her close for a few minutes, sending his pride for her and comfort through the bond.
The kitten chose that moment to begin crawling up Sookie’s pant-clad leg, and she couldn’t help her giggle. She reached down and picked up the tiny creature and then looked up at Eric. “It seems like both my boys are trying to make me feel better.”
“Always,” Eric said, kissing Sookie’s forehead even as he pet the cat’s head. He looked at Sookie with a glint in his eyes. “Now, let’s get you fed, wife. We wouldn’t want you to be late for work.”
A/N: Forgive me if I have screwed up the layout of Gran’s house, but I’m describing it how I see it in my head. The show and the book descriptions don’t seem to gel either, so I’m just making up my own layout.