Chapter 32: Immersion

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There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”—Sylvia Plath


“What if I did break under torture?” she asked worriedly. “I wouldn’t want you to be hurt because of me.”

Eric sighed. “And I would want you to break to preserve yourself, but I know that you would not. And even if you did, this is worth it,” he said motioning back and forth between them. “I hate the way you cause me to have feelings. I hate the way that I care about you more than myself at times. You will probably be the death of me, but you are worth it, little one,” he added as he pushed a few errant strands of her brown hair behind her ear.

Sookie’s eyes let loose two thick tears. “I think that speech of yours is going right to the top of my memories list. It’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”

“You are worth so much more than you think, Sookie Stackhouse. I hope that you live long enough to know that for yourself. And I hope I live long enough to see it.”

“Me too,” she said quietly.

“Which part are you agreeing with? Me living long enough—or you?” he asked with sudden mischief in his tone.

She chuckled. She loved how he could draw a laugh out of her at the oddest of times.

“Jackass,” she mumbled even as he flashed her a grin.


[Three nights later]

It had quickly become Eric’s favorite time of night.

“Bath time,” he said, trying to keep his countenance and his tone neutral.

Of course, he knew that Sookie could recognize his glee. In addition to her being a telepath, Eric was finding that Sookie was a great student of body language and expressions—especially his, it seemed. And—for, perhaps, the first time in a thousand years—Eric was letting someone study him. In their little haven in Slidell—away from everyone else—they were studying each other. And it was nice.

“Perhaps I should go it alone tonight,” Sookie teased, just as she’d done every night for the last five. Of course, she was now well enough to bathe herself, but they both knew that she was not going to follow through with her threat. Plus, she still had a fever—albeit a slight one—and neither one of them wanted another of Octavia’s lectures.

Eric was beginning to think that the witch thought of herself as a kind of matchmaker, but he was enjoying his time with Sookie too much to make waves—except in the tub, of course. Sookie’s “wear-your-undergarments-in-the-tub” rule was still in effect, but since she took a shower during the day now, and Eric always took a quick one at night, cleaning themselves wasn’t really the goal of the bath.

Officially, they still bathed together because Octavia had initially advised that they do so. Unofficially, they did it in order to enjoy the closeness and the relaxation that the baths offered them both. Given the fact that they would have to leave Slidell in three days—whether Sookie was fully recovered or not—they were both keen to enjoy their little bubble for as long as possible.

Having ignored Sookie’s empty threat, Eric was already in the bathroom running the water.

“Lavender or Sandalwood?” he yelled from the bathroom as he looked at the choices of bath oils.

“You pick this time,” she returned at a normal volume. She knew he would hear her.

As always, he was already stripped down to his boxer-briefs before he came back to collect her. And—as always—she actively ignored the bulge in them. She still wasn’t certain if the sizeable indentation she saw was him hard or soft. He was quite “discreet” when it came to that, a fact that she was both thankful for and decidedly not thankful for. Regardless, however, Eric had nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, Sookie was almost afraid to imagine the size of Eric’s manhood if what she’d seen represented him in a “relaxed” state.

She raised her arms and entwined them around his neck. She was now perfectly capable of walking—at least for short distances—but he always carried her to the bathroom for bath time nonetheless.

“Human needs?” he asked as they crossed into the steamy room.

“I’m good,” she said. He sat her onto the edge of the tub and motioned for her to lift her arms. Of course, she knew the drill by now and was already raising her arms so that he could remove her nightgown. She had begun putting on a modest bra and panties set under her nightgown after her shower in the late afternoon, and she wore it through their bath time. After that, she just put on a fresh nightgown and panties since most of her sleeping was now from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. or so.

“Mmmm, lavender,” she said.

“I knew that’s what you really wanted,” he chuckled as he lifted her into the tub and settled in behind her. They both sighed at the sensation of the hot water. He always made it slightly uncomfortable at first, but that meant that they’d be able to stay in the tub for over an hour before it got too cold for Sookie.

“Yes and you like the sandalwood best,” she observed.

“Then why do you always pick the sandalwood?” he asked.

“The same reason you pick the lavender,” she returned.

Neither of them said anything for a few minutes as they settled into each other. During their first baths together, he had needed to hold her in order to keep her steady, but now he just did it because they both felt better when he did.

“You were going to tell me what Godric was like when you were first made—remember?” Sookie requested, not feeling shy about her question at all, given the level of comfort that had grown between them. Plus it was “bath-time,” and there was an unspoken rule between them that any subject could be broached during that time.

“Are you sure you wish to hear of him from that time?” Eric asked. “In many ways, he was not as you knew him.”

She sighed, sank into Eric’s chest, and turned a little to her side so that she could be more comfortable. “I’m sure.”

Eric raised one of his large hands and began to caress her hair—as he did every time they were like this. Sookie had long ago written it off as a subconscious action on his part.

“Godric was honorable, even then,” Eric began, “but he was brutal too. He did not consider human life to be valuable—not as he did in the end.”

“Yet you held on to part of your humanity,” Sookie observed. She’d come to learn that Eric had held onto many “human” things. His belief in his gods and his adherence to many of his father’s lessons about life were just two of them.

“Yes—but Godric didn’t care for the human part of my personality much—not back then, at least. He did everything he could to stifle it.”

“Like what?”

Eric chuckled. “Well—he got tired of me talking about my children and my parents and the battles I’d fought in. So, when I was about a week old, he commanded me not to speak of my human life for two hundred years. He said that if it was still important to me then, I could talk of it all that I wished.”

“So—of course—you stubbornly waited,” Sookie laughed.

“You know me well, little one,” Eric grinned. “When I was able, I spoke of my parents and our traditions. I spoke of the Weres that had killed my family. Not long after that, Godric began to aid me in my quest for revenge.”

“You changed him,” Sookie mused.

“I don’t know,” Eric said truthfully. “In truth, I was like any new vampire at first. I can remember feeling incredible bloodlust, and—as I’ve told you—I killed some humans before I learned to control myself.”

“And after you learned?” Sookie asked.

“I have killed fewer and fewer over the years,” Eric said with a sigh. “Outside of battle or my duties as sheriff, I saw little reason to kill, and, ironically, a vampire’s need for blood lessens over time—at least as far as nourishment goes,” he finished ominously.

Sookie sighed and shivered a little, though she didn’t pull away from him. She knew that Eric was referring to his need for vengeance—his need to spill Russell’s blood. For a thousand years, he had wanted the blood of the being who had killed his family. She couldn’t help but to wonder if he’d be satisfied once he took it—if he managed to survive his confrontation with Russell. She shivered again.

“Are you cold?” he asked.

“No,” she responded. “I just . . . .” She stopped midsentence. “I was just thinking about the fact that you’re eventually going to fight Russell, and that thought scares me.”

“You should not be scared. I will not allow the battle to come close to you,” he said forcefully.

“I’m not scared for me, Eric. I don’t want to lose you,” she responded in barely a whisper.

She felt the pressure of him kissing her head. “Then I will have to live through my encounter with Russell, little one.”

“You’d better,” she said.

“Do not worry. I’m crafty.”

She chuckled a little and took his hand that was wrapped around her waist into one of hers. She threaded her fingers with his.

“And wily,” he added.

She giggled, but then became suddenly serious—and angry. “Wait—what did you say about me not being nearby when you fought Russell?” she asked, as she turned around in the tub to face Eric. “I’m not gonna stay in some safe house while you fight him!”

“Sookie,” Eric began, obviously trying to placate her, “according to my spies, Russell and Bill think you are dead. As long as they think that, you won’t be in danger.”

“So what? You’re still in danger!” she returned forcefully.

“Yes, but you don’t have to be. I’m of half a mind to find somewhere that I know you’ll be safe and leave you there!” he said, raising his voice a little.

“Oh no, you won’t, Eric Northman! I said that I would help you through all this, and I intend to! What the hell are you even talking about? I know you’ve been factoring my telepathy into your plans!”

“Well—maybe I should un-factor it and change my plans,” Eric said, his chin jutting out a little. “I don’t want you to be needlessly in danger.”

“Needlessly!” she yelled, scooting her body away from his as much as the tub allowed. “Needlessly!” she repeated as she closed her eyes for a moment. “I swear to God—if I didn’t know it would hurt me more than you, I’d smack you in the face right now!”

“Why? I’m just trying to keep you safe.”

“And I wanna help you stay safe, you idiot!”

“Idiot?” he stormed.

“Yeah! Don’t you dare turn back into your highhanded ass-aholic self and start making decisions for me! We have already settled this!”

“And don’t you dare let your stubbornness get in the way of good sense!” he returned.

By now, they were both looking at each other with fire in their eyes. Stormy blues met burning browns as they tried to stare each other down.

His fangs clicked down. “You have no fucking idea how much I want to kiss you right now!” he said loudly.

“Well—why don’t you?” she said back, her voice challenging him and her body arching slightly toward his of its own accord.

“I have no fucking clue!” he admitted with an exasperated chuckle, effectively taking the tension out of the conversation with his laugh.

She shook her head a little and then smiled back at him. “I know why.”

“Care to clue me in?” he asked with sincere curiosity.

“It’s for the same reason you don’t want me anywhere near Russell,” she responded with a sigh. “You’re trying to protect me.”

Realization framed Eric’s features as he retracted his fangs. “Yes. You are still not fully recovered. Plus, you are not yet ready for a sexual relationship.”

Her eyebrow arched. “How do you know that?”

“Our argument has caused your heartbeat to rise more than it should have. And your breathing is still a little labored,” he said with concern.

“No. I mean—how do you know I’m not ready for a physical relationship yet?”

“Because you haven’t told me you are,” he returned.

She smiled a little and nodded. “You’re right. I would have told you.”

They were quiet for a few moments. Their eyes were still locked, but they were no longer battling.

“We should not fight, little one,” Eric said softly. “I do not like it.”

She smirked. “Well, we wouldn’t be fighting if you weren’t tryin’ to make decisions for me.”

“What if those decisions are to keep you alive?” he questioned.

“Are you willing to hide away with me—permanently? Are you willing to give up your plans to take down Russell?”

“No!” he growled.

“Not even if you knew for sure that Russell was gonna kill you?” she asked shakily.

“No!”

“And what if I made arrangements to have you put into a silver cage in order to make sure you couldn’t fight him—to make sure that you stayed safe.”

“I would hate you for it,” he snarled.

“Then—please—never put me into a position of hating you, Eric. I don’t want to. You mean too much to me. This,” she said as she motioned between them, “means too much to me.”

Realization flooded his features again, and he closed his eyes tightly. With them still shut, he reached a hand out to her and she took it. Gently, he pulled her back against his body until they were in their earlier position. One of his hands went to caress her hair and the other wrapped around her waist.

“I could not bear for you to hate me, Sookie Stackhouse,” he said as their fingers thread together again.

“Then don’t push me away. Let me help—at least until my help is no longer needed.”

She felt him nod behind her and, once again, she felt the pressure of his kiss on the top of her head.

They were quiet for a few minutes, both of them using their current closeness to help them move beyond their earlier argument.

“You called me an ass-aholic,” Eric chuckled. “I can’t say I’ve ever been called that before.”

Sookie giggled. “You know—if there were a twelve-step program for behaving like an ass . . . ,” she began jokingly.

He tickled her side a little. “I wouldn’t complete that sentence if I were you,” he said with playful warning in his tone.

She squirmed, but then settled back against him.

“So,” she said, after they’d been silent for a few more minutes, “you were telling me about Godric.”

“Yes,” he responded. “What do you want to know?”

“You said he used to be brutal?”

“Yes,” Eric answered. “Not all the time, but he could be. No vampire I knew of wanted to make an enemy of him.”

“And what about humans?” she asked. “Did he kill a lot of them?”

“He did not kill excessively, but he didn’t avoid it either—not if the blood was good,” Eric answered truthfully. “Godric made a point of teaching me how to control my own bloodlust—even when I was very young—but that was for practical reasons more than moral ones. In fact, up until about two hundred years ago, he hardly ever saw a reason to stop himself from draining a human that he particularly enjoyed the taste of.”

Sookie sighed. “I know that he felt a lot of guilt before he died.”

“He said that our very existence was insanity—that we didn’t belong here,” Eric said, his voice becoming almost other-worldly as the horrible memory of that early morning on the rooftop filled him.

Sookie stroked his palm with her thumb and turned her head slightly to kiss his shoulder. “He was wrong, Eric. You do belong here—just as much as humans or Weres or anything else.”

“He said that vampires weren’t right—that we weren’t right,” Eric said, still as if in a memory-laced trance.

“And you reminded him of the lesson he taught you,” she said gently.

“That there is no right and wrong—only survival or death,” he whispered.

“Yes—and he said that that lesson had been a lie,” Sookie reminded. “But you already knew that—didn’t you? You already knew that it was a lie?”

She felt him nodding.

“Yes,” he sighed out, barely audibly.

“You’ve always behaved and lived according to what you thought was right and wrong,” she said.

“How do you know that?” he asked.

“Because I know you.”

“I’ve done horrible things,” he said gruffly.

“Yes. But not when you were in control of yourself and not when another way was the right way.” She took a deep breath and took a chance that a theory she’d been contemplating was correct. “Did you know that Lafayette was my friend when you first captured him?”

“No,” he answered. “I knew only that he had been selling Eddie’s blood and that Eddie was missing.”

“What would’ve most sheriffs done in that situation?” she asked.

“Kill Lafayette immediately and call the case closed,” Eric responded critically.

“Were you plannin’ to kill Lafayette for selling V?”

“No. I’d learned that Eddie was just as complicit in the situation as Lafayette was. But I would have killed Lafayette—even having found out that he was your friend—if I’d learned that he’d killed Eddie.”

“I know,” she said. “But you took the time to figure out that he hadn’t killed Eddie.”

“Yes,” he affirmed.

“What would you have done with Lafayette if I hadn’t found him?”

“Before the queen compelled me to sell her V, I’d planned to keep Lafayette for another week and then to glamour him to never sell V again.”

“Why a week?” she asked.

“That would have satisfied anyone from the Authority or the Queenship who ‘audited’ my report about the matter. But—make no mistake, Sookie—I wouldn’t have let Lafayette live because I cared anything about his life,” he added. “It wouldn’t have been practical to kill him. Too many knew of the fact that he sold V, and vampires might have been suspected if he’d disappeared for good.”

“Maybe your reasons were practical,” she responded thoughtfully. “But the fact is that you would have shown him mercy—because there was no need to kill him. You knew the ‘right’ and the ‘wrong’ of the situation; you knew that what he’d done didn’t automatically demand his death, so you weren’t going to give it to him. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize that at the time. I’m sorry that I didn’t see how you always tried to do what you thought was right for your people.” She kissed his shoulder again. “I’m sorry that I didn’t see that you’d begun to think of me as one of those people by that time.”

They were quiet for a moment.

“I fear that Godric hated me in the end,” Eric confessed softly.

“He loved you,” Sookie averred.

“I don’t know. I think he hated that I finally became the vampire he’d always wanted me to be.”

“Did you?” Sookie asked.

“I tried,” Eric whispered.

“But you have held onto your humanity too—in a lot of ways. I know you try to hide it, but the evidence is there. For example, you still remember your family and you still want to avenge their deaths.”

“Only a vampire could hold onto a grudge for a thousand years,” he stated flatly.

She chuckled lightly. “True—but as a Viking, you would have held onto it until you died. Right?”

“Yes.”

“And after you died?” she asked. “Would’ve you hunted for your family’s murderers even in Valhalla?”

“No,” he responded. “My enemies would not have been there. After greeting my father and the other fallen warriors, I planned to journey from Valhalla to seek the murderers in Helheim.”

“Helheim?”

“Helheim is similar to your conception of hell. It is the lowest level of Niflheim, the mist world. I planned to wait there for my enemies. I did not expect to be able to leave there once I’d exacted my revenge.”

“So you would have held to the vow you made to your father—no matter what?”

She felt him nod.

“You and I will never have the same ideas about killing or revenge or punishment—or lots of things,” Sookie said with a sigh. “But I think that’s as much to do with your being a Viking—a human of that time—as it does with your being a vampire.”

“Then how do you explain Pam being even more apt to punish and to afflict suffering than I am?” he asked with a little smirk in his tone.

“It’s Pam,” Sookie intoned. “I bet she would’ve wanted to torture someone for scuffing her shoes even when she was a human.”

They both chuckled at that comment.

“Does Pam kill indiscriminately?” Sookie asked after a minute. Her tone had lost its humor.

“No—but she loves to torment a wrong-doer. I take pleasure in doing so too,” he said.

“And that’s one of the ways we’ll always be different,” Sookie returned with a sigh. “But when it comes down to what’s ‘right’ versus what’s ‘wrong,’ I think we’d agree more often than not.”

“So the way we act from there is the difference?” he asked.

She nodded against his chest.

They were silent for a few moments.

“I think Godric felt guilty because he thought he’d finally succeeded in driving out all of your humanity,” she said with a mixture of hesitancy and certainty. “And—if I know you—you were so anxious to please him that you tried to hide the fact that you continued to ‘live’ your ‘human’ version of right and wrong, even as you applied it to your existence as a vampire.” She sighed. “And that’s the difference between you and Godric. You adapted, Eric. He couldn’t. That’s why he thought vampires were ‘wrong’ in the end. And—that is probably why he closed off your bond,” she added in a whisper.

During their bath two nights before, Eric had told her all about how Godric had shut down their bond during the last years of his life. Sookie knew how much that act had hurt Eric, so she sank back into his body even more in order to offer him the comforting contact of her own.

“Godric wouldn’t let me feel him, just as your mother couldn’t help but to let you hear her thoughts,” he commented after a moment.

“But the effect was the same for the both of us,” she added. “Their actions hurt us.”

“Yes,” Eric said simply. He had long since come to understand that Sookie and he shared many things in common as far as their pain was concerned.

“But Godric seemed like a great maker in a lot of ways.”

“In most ways,” Eric clarified.

“I know he loved you, Eric,” Sookie reiterated vehemently. “He even told me to take care of you.”

Eric chuckled. “I know. I heard.”

She giggled, “Of course, I made him no promises at the time.”

“I heard that too,” he joked as he tickled her side again.

She squirmed in his arms and swatted his hand away before taking it back into hers.

“Yet you’ve fulfilled his request anyway,” he said, his tone turning more serious again.

She nestled against his chest. “I—take care of you?” she asked uncertainly.

“I think so,” he said contemplatively. “Yes. I am sure.”

They were silent for a few minutes as the scent of the lavender lulled them.

“What is your first memory as a vampire?” she asked.

“Hunger,” Eric answered quickly. “Unbelievable hunger. But Godric had brought me two men who were mortally wounded in a battle.”

Sookie gulped. Despite her acceptance of him, it was still sometimes difficult for her to reconcile the two Erics she had come to know. Both were fierce and clever, but the one who held her was also extremely gentle and caring. On the other hand, she knew that he could be ruthless. Lafayette had told her what Eric did to the man who had set Malcolm’s nest aflame.

“You finished them off? Killed them?” she asked.

“I drained them both within minutes,” he said unapologetically. “However, I will forever be grateful that Godric taught me to feed with control in the midst of the battles occurring at that time—instead of in a village full of innocents.”

“Me too,” Sookie whispered.

“Never mistake me as a good man or vampire,” Eric said in a soft voice, his gentle tone contradicting his words. “However, on battlefields, I did try to find those who would have died whether or not I drained them.”

“Because of what happened to Randulfr and Vermundr?”

“Yes,” he said with a sigh. “But—at times—the blood was too tempting, so I did sometimes kill those who could have lived beyond their injuries. And,” he paused, “I have killed innocents before. My existence has not always been comfortable. There have been times when Godric and I were forced to go nights and nights without food, especially as we travelled. If we came across people living in seclusion during those times, we were forced to take our fill in order to survive.”

“Have you ever killed a child?” she asked.

“Yes. As a human—during battle. What you would consider children often fought alongside men.”

“Did you fight when you were a child?”

“Yes—though, of course, I fashioned myself as a man,” he said with a little smirk.

“How old were you?”

“I was eleven winters old when an enemy clan attacked us to take our harvest. They did not succeed. I killed four men that day—more than anyone else in our village. My father was proud of me—and my mother made me a new tunic to commemorate the day.”

Finding that she, too, was proud of him, Sookie squeezed his hand.

“Did you ever kill a child as a vampire?” she asked after a silent minute.

“No—though I once inadvertently did something that led to a child’s death.”

“What?” she asked quietly.

“It happened because I could not control my feeding. Godric and I were moving across the North Sea by ship. It was only a two day journey, but we had been travelling for a while before that. We had stowed ourselves in the cargo hold, and one of the boys on the ship stumbled upon us during the night. I had never eaten from a child, and I took too much. Godric finished him when I could not.”

The two were quiet for a while.

“I am the monster Bill told you I was,” Eric finally said. “But you are also right about me. I have tried to maintain some honor—some adherence to what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’—during my existence as a vampire. I fear that it will not be enough to merit my entrance into Valhalla when I am finally struck down.” He paused. “But I have tried to remember my human parents’ teachings—as well as my maker’s.” He paused again—this time for a little longer. “If I let myself feel the weight of all the bad deeds I have done . . . .” he stopped midsentence—his unconscious caresses of her hair stopping as well.

“You’ll end up like Godric,” she finished for him.

“Probably. It is not unheard of for my kind to choose to meet the sun if their guilt overtakes them or if they become bored with the endlessness of their nights.”

“Do you get bored?”

“Yes. Sometimes. But when I do, I try something new—a new business, a new place to live, a new lifestyle. And you are new. This is new. Talking like this.”

“What about when you get bored with me?” she asked nervously. If she ever did entangle herself romantically with the vampire holding her, she needed to know the answer to that question in order to protect herself.

Eric, too, understood the underlying subtext of her question. He answered thoughtfully, “I wish I could say that I would never tire of you, Sookie. I wish I could fulfill the romantic notions that you have been taught to crave by human society and the media. But I will not make promises that I cannot keep—especially not to you. What I can say is that I do not foresee a time when I become bored with the thing that is between us now.”

“Friendship,” Sookie said quietly.

“I think that is what it is,” Eric contemplated. “I have never really had a human friend. Associates—yes. People that I trust or enjoy being around more than others—yes. But you are—more.”

“And if we were ever to pursue something romantic?” she asked apprehensively.

“You are asking if I would tire of you?” he asked.

“Yes,” she answered. “I would get old eventually.”

Eric sighed, even as his reflexive caresses to her hair resumed. “I honestly cannot say what might happen in the future. I have never tried fidelity—neither as a vampire nor as a human. I cannot imagine a time when I would not want you, and right now, you are the only partner I wish to pursue for blood or for sex. But that could just be because of our situation—though I had begun to think of you in this fashion even before you traveled to Jackson.” He paused for a moment. “But—as I said—I have never tried monogamy. Thus, I cannot guarantee I would not eventually seek out another. But this kind of thing happens with humans too—does it not? And you could just as easily become bored with me after a time.”

She chuckled. “Not likely.”

“Hmmm?” he questioned.

He could feel her skin temperature rising and knew she was blushing. “I’m a telepath, Eric,” she said. “I have heard lots of women thinking about being with you—remembering things about you.”

“Oh?” he asked with a mixture of curiosity and caddishness.

“Yeah, and bored was not a thought that any of them had.”

He chuckled. “So I got stellar reviews?”

She smacked his chest lightly. “I think you already know that.”

“Perhaps I glamour them into thinking that I am a god when it comes to sex.”

Sookie shook her head. “Nope. Glamour feels different.” She grinned. “Geez—I can’t believe I’m tellin’ you this stuff. Your ego is already too big!”

He chuckled even louder and pulled her into him a bit more. Strangely—especially considering their current topic—neither one of them interpreted his act as the prelude to anything sexual.

“Do the women think about the size of anything other than my ego?” he asked with mischief in his voice.

She smacked him again, but giggled against his chest. “All the time, actually. But,” she paused, “take it from a telepath, sometimes things get exaggerated in people’s heads. And,” she giggled a little louder, “another thing I’ve learned is that size doesn’t matter.”

“You wound me,” he said with mock hurt in his voice.

She patted his arm. “Don’t worry, big guy. It seems you have put your thousand years to good use. I’ve never heard a complaint from anyone’s thoughts about your size or your—uh—technique.”

“That’s good to know,” he chuckled.

“But seriously,” she said twisting around a little more in order to look up at him. “What the heck were you doin’ to that Yvetta woman in your dungeon?”

“What?” he asked innocently. “She was enjoying herself, and so was I. And I can fuck at maximum speeds when I have someone tied up like that.”

Sookie put a hands over her ears. “Stop!” she ordered. “TMI!”

Eric winked at her. “You were the one who asked. Anyway—did her thoughts tell you that she was not enjoying herself?”

“No,” Sookie relented. “She was really—uh—happy with your work.”

He chuckled.

“Was she your girlfriend?” Sookie asked. “She thought of herself as that.”

Eric sighed. “No. I had fucked her a few times though. However, I didn’t particularly enjoy her company—outside of sex, that is. And she was becoming—how do humans put it? Oh yes—clingy. It was nearing the point when I was going to have to glamour her to go away, but she had tasty blood, and as you saw, she was adventurous.”

“Do you always do it like that? Have sex like that?” Sookie asked, her face now a deep shade of crimson. “‘Cause you’re cute and all, but when I am ready to start something with someone new—if it’s with you—I am so not into that kind of thing. Just FYI.”

Eric laughed heartily. “Preference noted.” He kissed her forehead affectionately. “Do not worry. I enjoy sex in a variety of ways—not all of which require chains.”

“Good,” Sookie said with a little laugh, “’cause I’m not really into the idea of getting tied up.”

“Would you like to tie me up?” Eric asked flirtingly.

She giggled. “Hmmm. I don’t know. You’re too good with your hands.”

She leaned forward, and he knew that was his cue to begin her massage.

“You are getting spoiled,” he grumbled good-naturedly.

“They do make me feel better though,” she said as she looked over her shoulder at him with a beseeching look.

Eric had given Sookie a back massage during each of their baths together. Afterwards, he would wash her hair and massage her scalp before they ended their bath. Then he would rub her legs and feet once she was resettled into bed. His attentions were like an elixir to her still-sore muscles.

In truth, the massages were something of an elixir to him as well—though he wasn’t sure why that was.

“And you are Swedish—well, at least, sort of,” she added.

Eric just chuckled and started to rub.


A/N: 

Thanks SO MUCH for all the continued comments/review/love for this story! It continues to “floor” me! After the last chapter, I was thankful how so many of you supported the slow pace that I’m taking at getting these two together sexually! I really appreciate that. And many of you shared bits about your own experience with getting over a first love after the last chapter too! I appreciated knowing that you’d connected with the story (either in comparison or contrast)!

As for the logistics? Well—let’s just say that the tub in this house is oversized and leave it at that. 😉

Here’s the tub that I was envisioning.

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50 thoughts on “Chapter 32: Immersion

  1. Loving this story so much. It is a slow burn, but it is perfect for these two to get over things and form a strong friendship. I love how honest they were, and how Eric pointed out that even a human could get bored. Him doing the same is nothing different. Love it!!!!

    1. I’m so glad you are still loving it! I always thought that Sookie would be most likely to get bored–since she’s had so few partners. It’s almost insulting to say that Eric couldn’t be monogamous if he found a woman he had a preference for. And–it might be a “new” thing for him, and he’s always up for trying new stuff. At least, that’s what I think. Again, thanks for reading and always leaving your thoughts. Very appreciated!

  2. Heh, Eric might get a kick out of the newness of monogamy, too…! Great chapter! I love how they’re (you’re!) doing such a great job of establishing the foundation of their friendship before they go any further. I love the physical intimacy between them, too. It’s definitely sensual, but not sexual, and is both new and soothing to the both of them. Great job!

    1. I agree. A thousand years of mostly meaningless sex would make him be interested in something different–at least that’s what I think. Sensual is a good word for what I was trying to achieve. The long “tease.”

      1. And you are achieving it beautifully! They’re both easing the other into accepting their growing closeness as natural, so when they eventually shift into a physically romantic relationship, they’ll already be accustomed to the emotionally romantic part. Great job!!

              1. *serious nod*

                Next time, yeah, might be a good idea. That was just too funny, though – I don’t think a warning would have been enough…I think I spewed yesterday’s coffee, too…

                *Note To World: Wet wipes CAN come in handy for aught other than sex…*

  3. Great chapter. It’s good they are getting to know each other while they have down time. It shows Eric to be more than a horn dog and Sookie not a frigid bitch.

  4. That was beautiful. I’m glad they are still having baths. They are just lovely together, and I am very glad that they are taking things slow. Eric seems to be accepting of his feelings a bit more now, which is nice. His boat is still floating down De Nile about the intensity though lol.
    I love this story so much. I’ll miss it. But then I feel the same way at the end of Touch The Flame week too!

  5. Like everyone else who has replied, I am really enjoying the way they are getting to know each other and he is sharing his life’s stories with her. I am hoping that we stay with them for a few more chapters before you transition back to Russell. I imagine he’s been mighty busy planning since so many days have passed in the timeline since we saw him. I’m secretly hoping that Eric and Sookie move to the next phase of their relationship innocently of course before they leave their bubble. At least some stomach butterflies and kissing. 🙂 Til next time, I’ll enjoy Touch the Flame. We’re so close to the party there. Great Chapter! Thanks.

    1. It’ll be a little while before we go back to see what Russell’s up to. Now that he’s got Bill as his little minion, we can imagine him screaming into his phone at Victor, Franklin, Hallow, etc. for their inability to find Eric. We won’t see him again until he’s received his first meaningful clue about where Eric is…..

      As for whether they will be together before they leave their bubble….well—that’s hard to answer.
      Kat

      1. I know no matter what happens, it’ll be great. 🙂 I’m mostly nervous about him getting his clue from Hallow. LOL I really like Olivia and I don’t want anything to happen to her….time will tell. Definitely worth the wait. Just hard not to guess.

          1. Octavia…of course…can’t believe I called her Olivia. I blame being sleep deprived from so many late nights of reading. (embarrassed)

  6. Great chapter with a wonderful conversation. It is good to see Sookie and Eric so comfortable with one another. I’m looking forward to the action though.
    This might even help me through s7 of the real show (sigh).

  7. that was a great chapter, loved it, loved them talking to one another, learning about one another and asking the serious questions about their future together…. so looking forward to more… KY

  8. I love that they are slowly getting to know each other. I think they both need this time to develop a friendship. Eric is right any human could get bored and stray, but we know that once they get together that’s not going to happen. I like that you are taking it slow. I’m not expecting them to get together romantically in Uninvited. Great chapter and looking forward to more!

      1. I’m not expecting it to happen. I like that they are taking their time and getting to know each other. Before this they didn’t really know each other. I think they both need this time. Sookie needs to heal from the severing spell and Bill’s betrayal, and Eric needs to be able to accept his feelings for Sookie.

  9. Loved this chapter they are so sweet together and it’s nice to see Eric share his memories of Godric with her!! I’m getting solace in your stories and in other people’s stories cuz I ‘m afraid of what S7 will throw to us I only hope the characters I care about have the ending worth watching for (Eric Pam Lala, Jason and Andy)

    1. I’m afraid I hold little hope for S7. I just hope that people keep on reading and writing TB/SVM stories even after the nonsense occurs. I intend to write Sookie/Eric stories as long as there is interest, so I hope you’ll keep reading!
      Kat

  10. Great job at a very intimacy-building chapter… Considering how little Bill-free interaction Eric & Sookie had had in TB up to when this story starts, they do need time to even get to know each other so to me it makes complete sense that they do not go into a physical/romantic relationship right away… Aggravated by Sookie’s trauma post-Bill/post-severing spell… It was a long chapter but I could have read and read and read… It was lovely and very engaging…

  11. Everyone’s pretty much said it all, so I’ll just say…great, wonderful, fantastic, romantic, chapter as always 🙂

  12. I’m glad to see you have them actually taking the time to talk and get to know each other better. That’s something they had a problem with in canon – communication. Keep up the great work!! Now on to “Touch the Flame”.
    Katrina

  13. I love that they’re building a friendship first, and I really do hope that Eric finds himself decidedly UNBORED with all Sookie ever! Hopefully since he’s never been monogamous before the novelty of it will intrigue him, and then the soul-deep connection they have will make the sex better than anything he’s ever had before. I’d really love to see a monogamous Eric – just a hopeless romantic I am!

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