When Sookie woke up, she was in the comfortable bed in Slidell again. It took her a moment to register that she was in the same bed that she’d been in earlier that day. And just like the night before, Eric was across the room as if waiting for her to rise.
“Did you find the clothing satisfactory?” he asked. “I was not sure what sizes I should ask for, so I told Octavia to get a range. I would have requested the sundresses that you seem to love so much, but you will need things that do not stand out—at least for the most part.”
Sookie sat up in the bed a little. She noticed that she’d been tucked into the covers. “The clothes were fine,” she said a little groggily.
“You did not care for these?” he asked, holding up the size 4 jeans she’d put onto the dresser earlier.
She smiled a little. “Those are a bit too small.”
He nodded in understanding. “I’ll have you make a list of things you would like, as well as your correct sizes. Octavia has a young understudy who will likely be able to select things more to your style, though you must keep to a conservative wardrobe for now.”
“Okay,” Sookie agreed.
“I brought you some food,” he said, gesturing toward the bedside table.
There was a tray with sliced cheese and bread as well as fruit.
“I cannot cook,” he said in order to explain his selections. “When I was a human, foodstuffs were prepared very differently.”
“It’s okay,” she assured, picking up the tray. “This is fine.”
She took a small bite of the bread and cheese when he looked at her expectantly.
“Bread did not smell much different when I was a human,” he observed. “And we had something similar to those,” he added, pointing to the blackberries on the plate.”
“That’s real interesting, Eric, but don’t we need to talk about what happened earlier? The dream?” she asked.
“Only if you still feel like staking me after your blood connection to Bill is severed,” he smirked.
She sighed. “Don’t be a jackass, Mr. Northman.”
“Don’t be stubborn, Miss Stackhouse,” he returned, his smirk even more prominent.
She rolled her eyes. “Do you want to hear about my dream?”
“The one where you staked me?” he asked, his eyebrow arched. “Absolutely! I always love to hear about how people dream of my demise.”
She sighed. “Can you be serious?”
“I am capable,” he said—his playful tone finally eliciting a smile from her lips.
“Good,” she laughed a little. “So do it! I need you serious for a minute.”
“One minute,” he agreed with a sparkle in his eyes.
She took a deep breath. “Bill seemed real in my dream, Eric. The things he said, the things he knew, the things he did—it was like he knew what had been going on with this.” She gestured between herself and Eric. “With our—uh—partnership. Could he know? Could his blood be telling him? I mean—that’s not possible, is it?”
“It is not,” Eric answered after he’d taken a moment to consider.
“Then how could he have known all those things in my dream?” she asked. “He knew that you’d told me about the queen sending him. And he seemed to have a prepared explanation about that—as well as for the file Russell showed me.”
Eric’s expression hardened. “If you want me to respond to the question, ‘how,’ then you must be ready for the answer.”
She shivered a little at his words. “I’m ready.”
Eric looked at her through wary eyes. “Fine. But you should shower and eat first,” he said, gesturing toward the food. “You can prepare yourself something else if you wish. I will not take offense. Octavia has instructed that you should eat as much as possible before the spell is conducted. I’m sure that you will also want to shower. And now that you are awake, I also have a few things to do; after that, we will speak again.”
Sookie sighed. “Why does everything always have to be done according to your timetable?” she asked with frustration.
“Because, Sookie Stackhouse, my goal is to get at least two more meals down you before Octavia comes at five this morning to prepare for the spell, and it is already past one o’clock. Plus,” he smirked, “I am particularly fond of my timetable.”
Again she couldn’t help her smile. She really did want another shower. Wetting oneself was not a pleasant experience—not mentally and not physically—and though she’d cleaned herself in the public restroom at the gas station as best as she could, it wasn’t the same as a real shower.
“Fine,” she relented.
“I shall meet with you in the living room in 90 minutes,” he said as if making a business appointment.
“Fine,” she said again.
As soon as Eric heard the shower turn on in Sookie’s bathroom, he stripped her bed of its sheets and exchanged them for the extra set he’d found. Though the used sheets were not soiled by the scent of Sookie’s urine from earlier, the vampire guessed that she would welcome the fresh sheets nonetheless.
After Eric had thrown the sheets into the washing machine, he texted Octavia with a disposable phone. He’d dropped his personal cell phone into a lake not far from where Russell had halted his pursuit the previous night.
The witch immediately texted back that all would be ready by morning and that her apprentice, Amelia, had agreed to be glamoured so that she could not speak of the severing spell, of Eric, or of Sookie. Amelia had also agreed to stay with Sookie during the days in order to prepare her meals and to take care of her until Sookie adequately recovered from the effects of the spell.
Eric’s phone beeped again, and he was pleased to see that he had a text from Brady Jones, the man whom he had contacted to get Sookie’s new identity papers in order. Brady was requesting a few pictures of Sookie for her new licenses and passports. Eric texted back, promising the new photos by the next morning.
Next, the vampire sped to the car and grabbed his duffel bag and the trash he’d taken from the gas station. He placed the small trash bag into the garbage container in the utility room, knowing that Octavia would be taking care of all the refuse coming from the home in order to ensure that no traces of himself or Sookie were found.
Starting a fire was next on Eric’s agenda, and he took his time with it. The act of preparing the foundation for a hardy, lasting fire also served to center and to calm the Viking. He’d taken a great chance in bringing Sookie with him. Had she not agreed to throw her lot in with his, he would have already been out of the country by now. He sighed as he struck the wooden match and lit the kindling. Indeed, having Sookie along was a calculated risk.
Eric sighed. If he had not succeeded in blocking Bill’s blood from tracking Sookie during their almost three-hour drive earlier that night, Bill would now know that she was near New Orleans. And the Viking had no doubt that Russell would either use Bill or follow him.
Eric was counting on the fact that the concealment spell around the house would prevent Bill from continuing his tracking. Octavia had assured him that the stronger camouflaging spell that she had erected around the property would make it impossible for any vampire—no matter how strong—to track Sookie through any blood connection. However, discovering just how potent Bill’s ability to influence Sookie’s dreams was, Eric would not be underestimating the Civil War veteran again. Thus, the Viking wouldn’t rest easy until the severing spell was completed.
Yes. Eric needed to be sure that Bill couldn’t track them. But there was more to it than that, and the “more” disconcerted the Viking. Every part of him was literally aching for Bill’s blood to be eradicated from Sookie. Every molecule of his own blood in her despised the insidious pieces that Bill had left behind.
After the fire was going strong, Eric left the house and stealthily flew toward a commercial complex. Finding a drug store, he landed in a dark corner of the parking lot and assessed the store’s security features. There were two cameras outside the main entrance, and there would likely be many more cameras inside. The last thing that Eric needed was for the store’s video system to capture his presence in Slidell. If he were leaving the next night, it would be one thing; however, he would be staying in the town for at least a week—if Octavia was right about the effects the severing spell would have on Sookie’s health. Luckily, the parking lot surveillance system had many blind spots; thus, Eric was easily able to glamour an arriving customer, who got him the items he needed.
His task completed, Eric flew back to the house.
Lingering right outside of his property’s borders, the vampire was satisfied. During his outing, he’d been trying to track Sookie’s blood with his own. He’d used all of the strength that came with his thousand years of life. He’d used every trick of the blood that his maker had taught him.
And, when his blood tie to Sookie had failed to help him find her, he’d tried his nose, but there was nothing—no trace of her—until he stepped back onto the property. The potion Octavia had given him to conceal scent obviously worked well, and the camouflaging spell around the property seemed to work even better, for it covered both scent and blood ties. It was a shame that such spells were difficult to produce and sustain.
According to Octavia, the scent concealment potion had a range of about ten to twenty feet, so a supernatural being would have to be right on someone using the potion in order to smell him or her. And—even better—the potion worked to conceal not only a person but also the personal belongings he or she had nearby at the time the potion was applied. Thus, scents transferred to clothing and other personal items were also covered, and no scents would be left behind either. The only drawback to the potion was its lack of longevity. It could last no longer than two nights, and it was eliminated by water. Also, the ingredients needed for the potion were rare and the process for making it was time-consuming. Luckily, Eric had a standing order for the potion with Octavia, and she would have another batch ready for him before he and Sookie left the area.
Now more confident that neither he nor Sookie could be tracked by scent or blood, Eric zipped into the house. As soon as he did, he smelled Sookie, and he had to work very hard not to let his fangs pop into place. Not smelling her at all one moment and then having her scent seem to wrap around him in the next was an almost overwhelming contrast. He shook himself out of his “Sookie stupor,” however, and quickly went downstairs to the small basement. He’d been lucky to find a home with a basement in the area since the elevation of the city was generally lower than sea-level; however, the part of Slidell where he’d bought his property was on the northern outskirts of the city and was at a slightly higher elevation.
Eric quickly assessed the area that would be his home for the next week or so. It was plain, but adequate—a lot like the space where he normally slept. The upstairs bedroom Sookie had chosen was light-tight, but since she had already settled there, Eric had decided to stay in the basement. It was more secure anyway, for its one entry point had locking mechanisms which would make it difficult to enter—especially for a human. The witch who would be taking care of Sookie was unknown to the Viking, and even though he trusted Octavia and planned to heavily glamour her protégé, it was better to be safe than sorry. He set his duffel bag onto the small bed, grabbed some clean clothing, and decided to take a quick shower. His appointment with Sookie was in less than fifteen minutes, and he didn’t want to incur her wrath by being late.
He smiled to himself. Or maybe he would be just a little late. He did so enjoy seeing her fire.
Sookie looked impatiently at the clock on the mantel and then even more impatiently at Eric as he sauntered into the room as if he wasn’t fifteen minutes late for their meeting.
“You’d think that vampires could tell time.” She glared at him.
“Oh we can,” he answered with his signature smirk, “right down to the millisecond.”
“Then why are you late?” she seethed.
“I enjoy riling you, Miss Stackhouse,” he responded with an unapologetic shrug of his shoulders.
She huffed. “Well I’m tired of being riled!”
He leered at her. “Maybe you’ve just never been,” he paused and looked her up and down, “riled correctly, Sookie. But feel free to take out any frustrations that you feel on my body.”
The suggestiveness of the vampire’s words and in his tone made Sookie blush. “Eric,” she stammered, “we need to get one thing straight right now.”
“And that is?”
“I won’t be havin’ sex with you during our little partnership—got it?”
“Oh—you might change your mind, little one. I have been told that I am irresistible.” His eyebrow arched as if to prove just how irresistible he was.
Her breath hitched.
“You are attracted to me,” he said as he took a step toward her. “I can feel it.”
“I never said that you weren’t handsome,” she retorted, her anger with him at odds with the lust he’d begun provoking by his mere presence. Something about his wet, unstyled hair was just downright irresistible, but she was determined to resist him nonetheless. She went on, “But I’m not gonna fall over and spread my legs for you just because of that.”
His lips turned up into an amused grin. “You would not have to fall, nor would you have to spread your legs—at least not too wide. In fact, there are some positions where you wouldn’t have to spread them at all.”
She exhaled loudly and blushed a deeper red. “Please, Eric. I need you to promise me that you won’t use your blood or your other charms to try to seduce me.” She sighed and in that moment, she felt defeated. “I’ve been seduced too much lately.”
“Yes,” he said, his leer disappearing and his eyes sparkling with sincerity. “But there would be many differences in the way I would seduce you.”
“What?” she asked, definitely feeling more riled than before—for a variety of reasons. “Sookie, I have had a thousand years to perfect my seduction techniques,” she said sarcastically, doing her best impression of him.
He laughed out loud. “You are quite entertaining, Miss Stackhouse! I knew there was a reason I wanted you along.”
She chuckled a little and shook her head.
“As a matter of fact,” Eric said without the least bit of boastfulness in his tone, “I have had a thousand years to learn how to properly pleasure a woman, but those are not the differences I was talking about.”
“So,” she asked, suddenly curious, “what are they?”
“I want to have sex with you, Sookie—very much—but not because of some secret plot to get you to fall in love with me or so that I can control you. I want to fuck you because you are a beautiful woman and your blood calls to me. I would give you enormous pleasure. But—make no mistake—I would also take my own pleasure and your blood. There is nothing romantic or idealistic about what I want from you. However, there is nothing hidden in my agenda either. I would happily accept the short-term role as your,” he paused as if searching his memory for a word, “rebound man. Or—perhaps you could look at it as revenge sex.”
By the time Eric was done speaking, Sookie was an even deeper red. “You don’t pull any punches, do you?” she asked.
“I’m too goddamned old to pull punches,” Eric smirked. “Plus, I have no reason to lie to you about my motives regarding you.”
She took a deep breath to steady herself. “Regardless, I’m not the kind of girl who could just sleep around, Eric.”
“I realize that,” he responded.
“Right. Well—because of that—I need you to promise me that you see this—what we’re doin’ together—as business.”
“The business of survival has always been my primary goal,” Eric mused. “And I am not one to force a woman. I cannot promise that I will stop hoping to get you in a bed or against a wall or on a . . . .”
“Eric!” she yelled, placing her hands half over her hot cheeks and half over her ears.
He chuckled. “However—I will patiently wait for you to change your mind.” He smirked. “And you will change your mind.”
“Not likely,” she said under her breath.
He chuckled again, added another piece of wood to the fire, and then settled down onto the couch with her. They shared a companionable silence for a minute or two as they both looked into the fire.
“It’s a little warm for a fire, isn’t it?” Sookie asked after a while.
“Octavia requires one, as well as its ashes,” he responded simply.
“Oh,” she said softly. “Well—it’s nice. I always liked fires growing up. My grandpa used to make them a lot before he died, and Gran would make a few a year, especially around Christmas time or when the propane tank was getting low.”
Eric spoke in a low voice. “Without fire, my people would have been lost to the cold of our winters. That far north, the nights were also very long in the winter, so fire was the only light we had much of the time.”
Sookie took a deep breath. “Will you tell me how the dreams work, Eric?”
“Yes,” he said emotionlessly before turning to look at her. His eyes did not match his tone. “Have you eaten your fill for now?”
She nodded in affirmation.
“Good,” he said, looking into the fire again. “The dreams vampires can send differ based on whether the vampire is awake or asleep. First, I will tell you about the dreams all vampires can send when we are awake—because I want you to be assured that you will be safe for the rest of the night, should you have time to sleep again.” He paused. “There is some diversity in the strength of the dreams related to a vampire’s age and practice with the skill, but the basic principle is the same for all vampires.”
Sookie nodded, signaling that he should continue.
“After a human takes a vampire’s blood, a blood tie forms—as I told you last night. This allows the vampire to know if the human is awake or asleep. Once a human is asleep, a vampire can instruct his or her blood to stimulate the limbic system and the amygdala.”
“Huh?” Sookie asked.
“Those are the parts of the nervous system related to emotional responses, behavior, and memory. They are highly active when humans are dreaming, and a vampire will use them—as well as a human’s hormones—to create the effect he or she wants.”
“It is relatively easy. Once our blood is in the dream center of a human, it guarantees that the human will dream of us. If we want a human to fear us, we stimulate one hormone. If we want the human to lust for us, we stimulate another. If we want the human to feel safe with us, yet another is stimulated—and so on. It is very scientific—actually—but most vampires learn by instinct or trial and error as we monitor humans with our blood during their sleep. Dreams will naturally stir memories within a human, most likely the ones at the forefront of a human’s waking thoughts. Basically, the human provides the content, the vampire shows up as a guest star, and then the vampire controls the mood, changing it or prolonging the dream as he or she sees fit.”
Sookie closed her eyes and lowered her head as she remembered the various dreams she’d had at night which had featured Bill as a ‘guest star.’ “So every time Bill was in one of my nighttime dreams, he put himself there?”
“Likely,” Eric responded without looking away from the fire, “though you could have inserted him into your dreams yourself. Normal dreams are, after all, products of your unconscious mind. But any dream originating from you would have been less vivid, and the emotions of it would have quickly dissipated.”
She nodded in understanding. “What about the dreams that I’ve had during the day.” Her voice became meek. “The one I had today?”
Eric looked back at her. “Are you sure you want to know, Sookie? Once you know, everything that you feel for Compton will be shifted. Soon, you will not have to suffer dreams from him at all. It might be best not to hurt yourself with knowledge.”
“I went through hell today, Eric. And I know that Bill did that to me. And it wasn’t because he was starved or near death. It was because he is obsessed to get ahold of me.” She shook her head. “My feelings for him have already shifted. So—please—tell me. I have a right to know,” she implored.
He nodded. “As I indicated yesterday, when a vampire is sleeping, the dreams are generally not as potent—unless the vampire is what we call a dream-weaver.”
“Huh?” Sookie asked. “Like that song that was in Wayne’s World?”
Eric chuckled a little. “I’m afraid not, little one.”
“Why do you call me that?” Sookie asked.
Eric thought for a moment. “I was not aware I was calling you that. I do not do it consciously, so I’m not sure. Perhaps it is because you are small compared to me. Or young.” He shrugged. “I can try to stop myself from saying it—if that is your wish.”
Sookie shook her head. “No. It’s okay. So,” she took a deep breath, “what is a dream weaver?”
A/N: After the last chapter, a few of you still seemed afraid that Sookie was going to do the “foolish, stupid” thing and forgive Bill. Please remember that this is Sookie pre-season 4. She didn’t get more of Bill’s blood after the van incident. She is trying to take control of her own decisions. If you look at what has been written in this version of the story so far, you’ll see that Sookie hasn’t really considered going back to Bill at all. The woven dream forced her to try to get to him, but you will notice that she wants to learn about that kind of dream b/c she wants to understand why she did something that went against her own wishes. She wants to face what Bill really is.
That said, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the continued love for this story!