“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”—T. E. Lawrence
Sookie looked down at the directions Eric had given her one last time and made the final turn toward her destination. She said a little prayer of thanksgiving that she was so close.
It wasn’t just that she was anxious about being out in the open either. No—her major concern at that moment was finding a bathroom. She looked down at the two empty bottles of water and cursed them both.
She’d decided to drive straight from Vicksburg to Slidell since the trip was only a little over three hours. And she’d certainly not needed to stop for gas. Who knew that a vamp-mobile would be a hybrid? Of course, Eric’s was! He’d called it practical. She found herself smiling as she lay her hand on the passenger seat before giving it a pat.
“You’re nothing if not practical, Mr. Northman,” she said with a little chuckle.
From the outside, the car looked like a normal Toyota Prius. However, there was currently a 6’4″ vampire stretched out and dead for the day. In fact, his face was probably right below her hand.
Sookie marveled at the ingenuity of Eric’s car and the resting place within it. Unless someone looked very closely, Eric’s enclosure wouldn’t be noticed. The light-tight area began under the front seat on the passenger’s side. That seat was actually hollowed out, but that wasn’t really perceptible. Eric’s space ran down the whole length of the car—under the back seat and then to the end of the hatchback. The car sat slightly higher than the norm, but that wasn’t really obvious either. The only part that was tricky was the space between the front and back seats, which would usually have been open for foot room, but whoever had designed the space made it look like a box was on the floorboard on “Eric’s side” of the car. And it looked as if there was luggage in the hatchback. All-in-all, it just seemed like a normal car.
Sookie sighed with relief as she found the address she was looking for and pushed the button of the garage door opener. Not used to parking in a garage, Sookie pulled in slowly, despite her anxious bladder. Her worst fear had been wrecking and finally killing the un-dead vampire next to her in the car, but Eric had assured her that even a launched missile would have a difficult time penetrating his enclosure. Still, she proceeded carefully. She’d tempted enough fate during the last several months, and she wasn’t anxious to continue in that pattern.
As soon as Sookie parked, she pushed the garage door opener again and exited the car quickly. She danced from foot to foot as she waited for the garage door to completely close. Then she entered the code Eric had written down for her and dashed into the house. The garage door led to a kitchen, and—thankfully—there was a half-bath nearby.
Her human needs seen to, Sookie felt a hundred percent better. She walked back to the garage and stared at the car for a little while before going back inside the house. It wasn’t as if Eric would miss her if she wasn’t there.
Sookie sighed. Eric Northman was such an enigma to her. But, when it all came down to it, there was something about him that she trusted—despite the silver-sucking trick he pulled in Dallas. In fact, she trusted him a heck of a lot more than Bill at this point.
She couldn’t help but to think that she’d made the best choice for herself—as well as for her family and friends. If Eric was afraid of Russell, then the people she cared about wouldn’t stand a chance. It seemed clear that Russell would be watching everyone she cared about, but as long as she didn’t contact them, the Mississippi and Louisiana king could watch all he wanted. Sookie sighed. That made her the biggest threat to her friends and family. Being with them would put them in more danger—just as she feared her presence would somehow endanger the vampire in the garage.
She sighed again. In truth, that had been one of the main reasons why she’d contemplated going off on her own. Yes—she was telepathic and might be able to know that danger was coming during the daytime. But what could she really do about any danger? She’d learned the hard way that the light in her hands sputtered out after a blast or two. She feared that Eric would count on her; she feared that she would let him down.
Sookie closed her eyes and leaned heavily against the kitchen counter. Intentional or not, she seemed to have let down just about everyone in her life. She just prayed that she’d not endangered those she cared about the most when she left them at the hospital. Even before she’d decided to go with Eric, she’d thought about the likelihood that Bill would find her brother, Lafayette, Tara, and Alcide. But she’d counted on three things as she’d made her decision to flee.
First, she’d counted on the fact that Bill truly was acting irrationally. The moment she’d removed the second IV and he’d smelled her blood, his eyes had become dilated, and they’d stayed that way. And he’d certainly been trying to manipulate her feelings. Hopefully, that desperate impulse to get her had continued after she and Eric flew away. If it had, then Bill would have immediately left the hospital to try to pursue them; he wouldn’t have taken the time to stop and question her friends and her brother.
Second, she’d been counting on her loved ones’ ignorance. Even if Bill had questioned them, they knew nothing that could endanger themselves or Eric. All they knew was that Eric had told her about Bill’s duplicity and had asked to speak with her in private for a few minutes. She knew that at least Alcide and Tara would assume that Eric had taken her from the hospital against her will. Hell—they might even try to help Bill find her! But she didn’t think Bill would hurt them. Manipulate? Hell yes. Glamour? Probably. Hurt? No. Sookie had come to realize during her drive that Bill truly believed that he was acting in her best interests, and harming her friends and brother would not fit into the “narrative” that he had created for himself—and for them as a “couple.”
Third—frankly—she’d counted on her loved ones following their usual tendancies. If Sookie knew anything about Tara, she knew that following a blow-up such as the one she’d had before she stormed out of Sookie’s room, her friend would not be sticking around the hospital. And Sookie also understood Tara’s self-preservation instincts. Hearing that Franklin Mott was alive would have spurred Tara to get out of the area. She also knew that the compassionate nature of Lafayette would have likely compelled him to try to talk to Tara before she left the hospital. Sookie just hoped that he’d not come back to her room until Bill was long gone. Sookie was also counting on Alcide’s nature. As a Were, Alcide would have been able to smell Bill, and since Jason had been with Alcide, they could have kept themselves out of the vampire’s path.
Unless they’d purposely confronted him.
“Please, God,” she begged as she squeezed her eyes shut even harder, “just let them all be okay. Please don’t let me have hurt them again. I can accept them all hating me for leaving or blaming me for letting myself get taken by Eric. But, please, don’t make them have to suffer because of me anymore.” She felt a hot tear rolling down her cheek as she continued, “I’m sorry, Gran. I’m sorry that you got killed because I let myself fall in love with someone who was only manipulating me. I should have known that he couldn’t truly love me. I’m sorry that Tara’s in danger from Franklin Mott because he found her while he was looking for me. I’m sorry that Jason’s gonna be followed because of me. They’re all in danger because of me,” she sobbed as more tears created watery trails down her cheeks.
Sookie shook her head and opened her eyes before roughly pushing her tears away. Honestly, she couldn’t understand why Eric would want her with him at all.
“Mom, you were right,” she said to the empty kitchen. “I am defective. And it would have been better if I’d never been born,” she added, repeating the thoughts that she’d heard from her mother’s head so many times when she’d been a child.
Sookie took a deep breath. She knew that self-pity would get her nowhere, and the ten minutes she’d gotten lost in it were already indulgent enough on her part. After all—as her mother always told her when the pain of hearing all the thoughts around her would make Sookie cry—”feeling sorry for oneself was just plain selfish.” So Sookie forced her mind to move away from the mistakes that she’d made—the mistake that she was.
The ability to do just that had been how she’d survived with her telepathy without going as crazy as the people of Bon Temps already thought she was. Yes—instead of crying over spilt milk, she’d always tried to be useful. She’d striven to help Gran in every way possible after the matriarch had taken her and Jason in. She’d tried to be a good friend and a good waitress. She’d tried to be a good sister.
Now she hoped that she might be able to do something beneficial for Eric. After all, being an “asset” was better than being a “freak” or a “blood slave.” She took another deep breath. No matter what had happened in the past, she was determined to help the vampire who was helping her get free of her blood tie with Bill. She was determined not to repeat past mistakes. And she was determined not to hurt anyone else she cared about—even if that meant never seeing them again.
Sookie realized that she could no longer afford to be naïve about the lengths to which a vampire would go in order to control her telepathy. Manipulation and seduction? Check. Coercion and imprisonment? Check. Kidnapping and torturing those she loved to make her comply. Check. Check.
After her discussion with Eric and what she felt Bill trying to do in her blood the night before, Sookie had a lot more questions, but very few illusions. She hoped that Eric would eventually tell her what it was that was so special about her blood and why sparks could fly from her hands, but she wasn’t going to hold her breath. If their interactions had taught her anything, it was that Eric had his own timetable, and it was not necessarily the one she would have chosen.
Sookie sighed and looked around the kitchen of what would be her home until she healed from the severing spell. She shivered at the thought of that unknown spell—of being under the influence of a witch’s spell at all—but she set those thoughts aside, knowing that the risks were worth it. She had to break the blood tie with Bill; it was her only chance to be free.
Eric had told her not to leave the house, but apparently he’d arranged for what she would need. She shook her head, once more confused by the vampire. What was he? Her friend? Her protector? Her partner in trying to survive? Or maybe he’d prove to be the biggest manipulator of them all—the best liar?
She couldn’t be sure about anything at the moment. Her emotions were just too raw.
What she did know was that when Eric arranged for something, he went all out. The kitchen was fully stocked, and since she’d only had a granola bar that morning, she quickly grabbed what she needed to make herself an omelet. There were also potatoes, so she made some hash browns as well. She smiled a little; hash browns was a dish that Gran had always made for her when she was brooding about something. And, to Sookie, it seemed quite appropriate to indulge in comfort food at the moment.
The refrigerator also held several kinds of juices, and Sookie chose the cranberry. She thought briefly about making herself some coffee, but the vampire blood and her thoughts would likely make sleep hard enough to come by as it was, and one thing that Eric did tell her to do before he got into his hidey-hole in the car was to try to get some sleep. He said that it would be a long night and that she should store up as much strength as she could before the severing spell was carried out the next day.
He’d also told her that if she slept during the day, then her dreams of him would likely not be as intense as before, but Sookie wasn’t so sure. She’d taken quite a bit of his blood, and even though it was day time, she was well aware of the feelings that dreams about Eric Northman were capable of eliciting in her. After all, she’d had both of her dreams about Eric when it had been daytime, and they’d both been extremely emotional for her. But he had promised not to purposely influence his blood to make her dream. Apparently, however, the blood could have a “mind of its own” sometimes—whatever that meant.
She scoffed out loud.
Of course, Eric could do nothing to stop Bill from trying to make her dream. But, according to Eric, Bill wouldn’t be able to send a powerful dream since he would be sleeping. So, if anything, it would be an “echo” of what he’d sent before he went to sleep for the day. She just hoped that Eric’s blood inside of her—operating with a “mind of its own”—could counteract Bill’s.
Sookie sighed. She was tired of dreaming.
Because of her telepathy, she’d always had trouble sleeping, and she’d always had troubling dreams based on the thoughts of others. Her mother’s bitterness, her father’s weariness, her brother’s resentment, her gran’s worry. The matters preying on the minds of the people of Bon Temps. Her uncle’s plans for her. Her fears of dying alone—of never finding love.
Yes—it was safe to say that she’d been “over” dreaming even before vampires entered her life and began to manipulate her dreams.
Sookie sighed for what seemed like the millionth time since she’d woken up in the hospital. She didn’t really understand everything about the dreams vampires could send, and she hated to be uninformed, but for now, she would do what Eric advised and try to sleep. Or—at the very least—she would lie down and try to rest.
Once she’d washed her dirty dishes, Sookie made her way upstairs to what seemed to be the master bedroom. On the bed were several shopping bags that contained some women’s clothing and a few hygiene products. The first bag contained jeans in several sizes, ranging from a 4 to an 8. Putting them up against her body, Sookie figured that the size 6 would fit best and that the 8, though a little roomy, would be good for when she had to spend a lot of hours driving. The 4, however, would likely not even fit over her thighs. She refolded those neatly and put them on the chair before looking in another bag. In it, she found some underwear—modest white bikini panties in a size medium and a couple of bras, also in a modest, though comfortable, style. She grabbed the bra that matched her chest size. There were also socks, T-shirts, and a gray hoodie, as well as sweatpants. She opted for comfort and took the sweatpants and a T-shirt, along with the hygiene products, into the en-suite bathroom.
Feeling a little tired because of her large breakfast/lunch, Sookie took a shower and washed her hair in record time. After brushing her teeth and hair, she made one last pit stop to take care of her human needs and then climbed into the bed, happy to find it soft and warm.
Despite her earlier fears of being kept awake by her swirling thoughts, sleep found her quickly.
Sookie shivered as she took in the façade of Fantasia. The bar looked deserted, though it was clearly night time. She was surprised when she saw no one at the door. Usually there was a long line of fangbangers waiting to get inside. And Pam was almost always to be found overseeing that line. Eric’s progeny seemed to enjoy cataloging the fangbangers as if they were cattle and scaring them as if they were sheep.
Despite the fact that the hair was standing up on the back of her neck, Sookie walked through the red door of Fangtasia. For some reason, she didn’t want to go in, but her legs weren’t really following her mind’s directions at the moment, so in she walked.
The interior of the club seemed just as deserted as the exterior as Sookie walked toward the throne as if she were being pulled to it. The eeriness of the scene made her suddenly wish that she was not alone—that the individual who usually sat on the throne would appear. Even though the Viking vampire frustrated and annoyed her much of the time, having him there would have made her feel better—maybe even safer.
“So—you believe that I can make you safer?” came a voice from behind her.
Sookie whirled around to see Eric there, sitting on a throne that was the mirror image of the one she’d just been looking at. He was dressed in the same clothing he’d been wearing the first night she’d seen him at Fangtasia. She looked down and saw that she was in the dress she’d been wearing that night too.
“Do you really think that you are safer with me?” Eric asked, his voice laced with disbelief.
“You said you would—keep me safe,” Sookie answered almost breathlessly. His sudden presence had startled and comforted her at the same time, and she was having a hard time reconciling the two emotions.
“I do not remember promising such a thing,” the Viking said contemplatively. “And—anyway—I don’t make promises that are impossible to keep.”
“Sookie,” came another familiar voice from behind her. The sound of it made her stomach drop, even as her heart began to beat wildly.
“Come to me, Sookie,” the voice whispered.
Afraid to turn around and face the owner of the voice, Sookie kept her eyes fixed on Eric; her own were pleading. “Help me,” she gasped.
“You cannot trust Eric,” the voice said. “Now—come to me!”
Unable to control the movements of her own body, Sookie felt compelled to turn around and face Bill. He was sitting on Eric’s throne and dressed about as nonthreateningly as a kindergarten teacher. He wore khaki slacks and a light blue polo shirt.
“I love you, Sookie,” Bill said with a smile on his lips. She couldn’t tell if the expression was sincere or sinister. Somehow it seemed to be both at the same time.
“If you asked it of me, I would kill him,” Eric said from behind her. “Other than that, I can be of no help to you, Miss Stackhouse.”
“Did you hear him?” Bill said in a smooth, seductive tone. “He is threatening my life. And he will kill me if you don’t stop him, darling.”
From nowhere, Sookie felt a sudden jolt of fear—panic. And, even in the next second, she felt as if she were drowning in fear. She tried to calm herself with a deep breath, but she found that she could not catch one.
“Please save me, Sookie,” Bill said with desperation in his eyes. “If you do not come to me, Russell will kill me!”
Suddenly, Bill’s shirt disappeared and silver chains wrapped themselves around his arms and chest, securing him to the throne. His skin sizzled.
“Sookie,” Bill pleaded, “if you don’t come to me, Russell is going to torture me—even worse than Lorena did! Please—I love you. Come to me.”
Sookie flashed to the memory of what Bill had looked like after Lorena had finished with him and tried to rush over to him. However, her feet would not move her.
“Bill!” Sookie cried out. “I can’t get to you!”
“He is stopping you,” Bill said, gesturing over her shoulder toward Eric.
“Yes I am,” confirmed the Viking’s voice from behind her.
“Eric, I have to get to Bill!” Sookie screamed. “I have to go to him or he’ll die! I’ll die!”
Sookie was shaking with her fear now. Her whole body was fighting against whatever power was holding her in place. She had to get to Bill! Everything in her told her she had to free him!
“You will not die, Sookie,” Eric said from behind her. “Nor will he die. Think, little one. Think.”
Sookie registered Eric’s words, but shook her head. She had no idea what Eric could want her to think about! In fact, all she could think about in that moment was saving Bill. She loved him! She loved him so desperately that it physically hurt her. The pain that he was feeling from the silver physically hurt her.
“That’s it, darling,” Bill said. “Fight Eric’s hold on you. He is manipulating you. He wants you for himself. Please come to me, Sookie. Save me and we can be happy together. Russell will free me once you have come, and he has promised to let us live together in freedom. We can get married, darling. We can go to Vermont tonight and do what we should have done weeks ago. We will be safe, Sookie. I promise.”
“I do not make promises that are impossible to keep,” Eric said from behind her, repeating the words he’d used earlier.
Sookie continued to struggle. “Let. Me. Go!” she yelled. “Eric, please, I have to get to Bill! I can save him!”
“I cannot hold you for much longer, Sookie,” Eric said quietly from behind her. “As I promised, I did not send you a dream before I fell to my sleep.”
“This isn’t a dream!” Sookie yelled. “This is Bill’s life!”
Eric sighed behind her. “It is a dream, little one.”
“If you aren’t trying to manipulate me, then why can’t I get to Bill?” Sookie asked venomously as she looked at Eric over her shoulder.
“My blood is holding you,” the Viking said.
“You lied to me then!” she yelled.
“No,” he said calmly. “Think, Sookie. I told you that my blood could have a mind of its own. It is here to try to stop Bill’s blood from influencing you, but it cannot hold you for long—not against the strength of what was sent by him.”
“I don’t believe you! Not about anything!” she bit out as she sank to her knees and turned back toward Bill.
“That’s right, darling,” Bill said. “Fight him! Show him that our love for each other is stronger than his attempts to manipulate you. Remember how he tricked you into taking his blood in Dallas. He did it again last night. I was coming to save you, Sookie. I love you!”
“Bill,” she wheezed, trying to crawl to him now. Her fear seemed like a living being in her body.
“Fight him,” Eric said from behind her.
“Yes, fight him,” Bill responded. “Focus on our love and you will be free of him! Put aside all the lies that Eric has told you about me and come to me. If you don’t, Russell will kill me! Sookie,” he added in agony, “the silver burns so badly. Please help me.”
“What about the file Russell had?” Sookie whispered, though questioning Bill seemed both to cause her physical pain and to ratchet up her fear.
“I did not collect the information in that file, Sookie. Eric was lying to you, trying to turn you against me,” Bill insisted. “Sookie, it hurts!” he cried out as smoke rose from his body. “Your accusations hurt me!”
“The queen?” Sookie asked.
“I do not know what Eric has said to you, but he is a master of lies. He is trying to use his blood inside of you in order to keep you from me, Sookie. Only you can save me, but only if you fight his influence!”
Sookie turned toward Eric. “Bill’s right! Why should I believe anything you’ve told me? Why did I listen to you? Bill loves me! Russell kidnapped him and then Lorena tortured him! And you probably gave Russell that file on me! You had Bill’s handwriting copied! You made up that story about the queen! It was all you! I hate you!”
“Kill him, Sookie. Kill him, and save me,” Bill said venomously.
Suddenly, Sookie felt something in her hand. She looked down and saw that it was a stake. The wood was rough against her palm.
“If you do this, he will have you, Sookie,” Eric said evenly from behind her. “Think, Sookie. Think for yourself!”
“I am thinking for myself,” Sookie yelled as she found that she was able to move as long as she was moving toward Eric.
“Don’t, Sookie,” Eric said.
“I have to!” Sookie yelled as she propelled herself toward Eric.
The stake poised a mere inch from his heart, he caught her hand. “Think, Sookie.”
“I have to save Bill,” she said. “And to do that, I have to kill you.”
“What will become of you if you save him?” Eric asked.
“We’ll be happy. We’ll go back to how things were before.”
“There are no paths for you that will lead to the beginning,” Eric said enigmatically.
“Shut up!” she yelled. “Shut up and let me kill you!”
“Let you?” Eric asked, as a little smile ghosted to his lips. “I have already let you do too much to me, and yet you ask for more.”
“Only one thing more,” Sookie cried with murder in her eyes.
“My blood cannot deny you, Sookie Stackhouse.” His smile stayed on his lips, but it left his eyes. “And as I have told you, it is all about the blood for a vampire.”
With that, his hand released hers and she thrust the stake into his chest—into his heart—but instead of being covered with his gore, Sookie landed with a thud onto the throne. Eric was simply gone.
“Good girl,” Sookie heard Bill say from behind her.
His voice shook her from the shock of killing Eric as well as the surprise of the Viking’s disappearance.
“Bill!” Sookie yelled as she finally was able to run to her beloved’s side. “I’m so sorry for doubting you!”
“It was not your fault, my love,” Bill comforted.
Sookie yanked at Bill’s chains, but she could not free him.
“Why can’t I get these off of you?” she asked.
“You have to find me, Sookie. You must come to me. I can no longer feel you because of Eric’s blood in you, but we can make things right. All you have to do is come to me, Sookie.”
“I will,” she promised, even as she began to weep. “But I’m so scared! What if I’m too late to save you?”
“Just hurry, and you won’t be,” Bill said in a smooth voice. “But first—let me feed from you, Sookie. Let me feed so that I am strong enough to survive until you come.”
Immediately, Sookie climbed onto Bill’s lap and tilted her head so that her neck was next to his face. His fangs clicked into place, and for a moment she was back in that van, feeling all the fear that she had felt then as he bit into her flesh.
Bill fed deeply, yet she didn’t feel like she was being physically weakened. She just felt more and more afraid.
“Bill,” Sookie whimpered. “Please. Stop.”
Bill pulled back and licked his lips. “I am sorry, my love. I am just so frail because of the silver. Let me feed you now. Let me take away your fear,” he said seductively.
Suddenly, his bloody wrist was before her, and Sookie drank. She no longer had the capability to ask how his hand got free so that he could give her blood. She didn’t question anything in that moment. She just drank.
“Come to me, Sookie,” Bill said as he pulled his wrist away. “Let nothing stop you.”
Sookie jolted from her sleep with a mixture of fear and anger in her heart. Eric had tricked her again! And Bill was in grave danger—all because she had let Eric’s blood manipulate her!
She scrambled to her feet and then ran downstairs, her feet clad only in socks. In her hurry, she skidded on the tile floor of the kitchen as she tried to stop and grab the keys from the counter. Her forehead hit the countertop as she fell down, and she skinned both her knees on the hard floor. But she didn’t let those wounds stop her. Instead, she eyed the kitchen stool that had toppled over with her—the wooden kitchen stool. With a strength that she was sure came from Eric Northman’s treacherous blood, she broke the stool and collected one of its wooden legs before grabbing the keys.
She then ran to the garage and to the car where Eric was sleeping. Immediately, she regretted not knowing how to open his hidey-hole, and her fingers gripped the makeshift stake tightly. She wished nothing more than to push it through Eric’s dead heart in that moment. Promising herself that she would kill the Viking at sunset, she got into the car and started it, even as she impatiently punched the button of the garage door opener.
Her fear once more increased as she thought of Bill hurting under silver chains. As soon as the door was half opened, she put the car in reverse and quickly pulled out the garage. Then she found her way out of the neighborhood and finally to the highway that would take her to Bill.
“I’m coming, Bill. I’m coming, Bill. I’m coming, Bill. I’m coming, Bill,” she chanted over and over and over to herself—as if in a trance —as she sped toward the man she loved.
She said it so many times that her voice became strained and squeaky. But she kept right on saying it nonetheless.
This is to the “guest” reviewer (at fanfiction . net) who thinks that this story is repeating the plot of Back and Forth too much. I have to admit that there are similarities. There are blood ties to be dealt with. There are blood bonds to consider building. There are dreams to be had and explained. There are “common” enemies that must be dealt with. I very much try to add variety to each of my stories, and this one feels very different to me than Back and Forth. I’m sorry if you don’t think so.
You also took issue with Sookie taking the time to ask questions and weigh her options. I’m going to defend the half an hour or so that she took. She’d seen Lafayette tortured, she’d been tricked by Eric to take his blood, Eric had seemingly been on Russell’s side not 48 hours before, and she’d been nearly killed. Plus, as this chapter showed, she (like any telepath, I think) has some major self-confidence issues! I think that she’s trying to smarten up and NOT go half-cocked into dangerous situations. Moreover, she’d just learned that Bill had been manipulating her (and her emotions with his blood). She’d learned that the only man to ever “love” her probably didn’t. Again, a little time to weigh her options is called for. Note that she NEVER considers returning to Bill in Chapter 10. She considers staying put in Vicksburg, running on her own, and going with Eric. She weighs the pros and cons of undergoing a magical spell from a witch she doesn’t know (when she just found out that there was such a thing as witches). Plus, Eric had told her that the spell would mean a lot of pain for her. I’d take twenty minutes to mull that particular decision over too if I had them—and Eric’s giving those minutes to her. She’s shown that she has a lot of instinctual trust for Eric, and she’s demonstrated that there’s no way she wants to return to Bill.
As for this story leading to the same fate for Eric at Russell’s hands as occurred in Come Back to Me—all I can say is that it doesn’t. But, as I said before, there will be—inevitably—some similarities between this story and my other E/S stories. I hope that you will continue reading for the 95% that I believe is different. If not—then I’m sorry to lose you in this story and hope that you will try out any others that I do. Like I said, I try to keep things “fresh,” but—ultimately—it is up to the reader to decide for himself/herself if I succeeded. And that is—inevitably—subjective. Thanks for sharing your opinion. You should feel free to sign in with such things. What you wrote made me think and was constructive, so you needn’t fear any “retaliation” on my part. And—hopefully—my others readers would also respect your opinion as well.
I hope you will keep going,
ONE LAST NOTE: I want to thank Sephrenia especially for the chapter banner for this. Sometimes I give her only a little bit of information, yet somehow she manages to make something that is perfection!