SOOKIE POV, CONTINUED
Exactly an hour after sunset, Eric Northman knocked on the old farmhouse door. I’d arrived home from training Holly later than I’d wanted, so I was still getting dressed.
Of course, Gran wouldn’t have let me greet Eric at the door anyway.
As “tradition” called for when “a new gentleman came a callin’,” Gran answered the door. In fact, even if I had been ready, I’d already been instructed to linger upstairs for a few minutes after Eric’s arrival so that I could “make a memorable entrance”—as Gran put it. Of course, I “watched” Gran’s interaction with the vampire by eavesdropping on her thoughts.
I couldn’t help but to admire how Eric looked—so beautiful and alluring. So much more carefree than the last time I’d seen him.
Gran clearly liked what she saw, too! In fact, her eyes dragged up his body, assessing and appreciating the vampire.
Black boots. Dark blue jeans that fit so well they were likely illegal in some countries. A blood-red V-neck T-shirt. His long, golden hair neatly pulled into a low ponytail.
Gran’s thoughts about being “old but not too old to appreciate a good-looking hunk of Viking” were amusing to say the least.
Eric’s blue eyes sparkled as he presented Gran with a bouquet of flowers.
She giggled like a schoolgirl as she showed him into the living room and offered him a TrueBlood. He accepted immediately—even though I knew how much he hated the stuff.
As I quickly tied my shoes, I continued to listen in as Gran broached the subject of Eric’s origins—a faux pas when it came to vampires. I had a moment of panic as I worried that Eric might harm her. After all, he had no reason to behave with civility.
He didn’t know me. He didn’t know Gran.
However, I should never have doubted him—either the first time I’d known him or this time.
I’d always had the impression that Eric was prone to brutality, but it became clear to me now that he actually wasn’t. Eric was prone to honor.
He spoke with Gran comfortably—charmingly.
I scoffed at myself as I realized just how jaded I’d been toward Eric from the start—at least, from my “first” start. I was determined that my “second” start with him would be different.
I supposed that Bill could be blamed for a part of that jadedness. He’d certainly indicated—more than once—that Eric was dangerous. And, of course, the Viking was dangerous. But Bill had implied that Eric posed a clear threat to me—that he wanted to own me. That he’d hurt me in some way.
Eric—with all his sexual innuendos and “claiming” talk—hadn’t helped his cause. And my shortsightedness certainly hadn’t helped either. It hadn’t been until after I’d lost Eric that I realized that “claiming” and “owning” were different things altogether. Sophie-Anne had wanted to own me. So, too, had Victor and de Castro.
Eric had simply wanted to assert something he believed was true—intrinsic: that I belonged to him.
Not by force.
But by mutual need, desire, and affection.
Otherwise, Eric would never have bothered with me. He would have merely drained me.
Again—hindsight made the world so clear.
The truth was that Eric Northman could be a highhanded, manipulative jerk at times. He’d asked me to suck the silver from his body in Dallas, after all. However, when I’d initially balked at the idea, he’d quickly offered an alternative—getting a knife to cut out the bullet. I hadn’t run for the knife. Plus, Eric shouldn’t have needed to tell me anything about taking his blood anyway. By then, I’d already taken Bill’s blood more than once. I knew enough to know that it affected my senses and my feelings to a certain extent.
Yes, I could have run to the kitchen—a mere fifteen feet away; I could have taken a knife from the butcher’s block. I could have cut the silver from Eric’s body. But I hadn’t done that. Still—I’d managed to talk myself into believing that the bullet-sucking moment was a sure sign of Eric’s manipulation: his first step in making me his by using his blood.
And maybe it had been. And maybe Eric was highhanded and manipulative. He certainly was opportunistic. But—just as certainly—he’d saved my life in Dallas.
And I’d kept the bullet. Part of me had wanted him—even back then.
The completion of our bond had been another black mark against Eric in my book. I’d told myself that he’d taken advantage of the situation by presenting himself as the lesser of two evils.
But he hadn’t been any kind of evil at all in Rhodes!
Hindsight now told me that Eric had seen the completion of our bond as an opportunity to better protect me—not as a chance to control me. After all, when had he actually tried to control me? I’d been so fearful that my emotions weren’t really my own that I’d failed to recognize that—if Eric had been controlling me—I wouldn’t have been resisting him at every turn.
Through our bond, Eric had tried to comfort me. He’d attempted to use it to help me to understand his affection for me—to understand him. He’d used it to warn or caution me when a situation was dangerous. But he’d never tried to force me to do—or feel—anything against my will!
And—again, thanks to hindsight—I now realized that his support in our bond had kept me alive when I’d been held by Things 1 & 2.
I’d been so sure that Eric would come for me—despite all the pain Neave and Lochlan had bestowed upon me. Hindsight told me that I’d been so certain because Eric had been with me all along—at least through the bond.
I closed my eyes tightly, remembering how he’d acted as if I’d broken a part of his heart when I’d broken our bond.
When I’d saved Sam’s life with the cluviel dor, I’d broken another piece of his heart.
No wonder Eric had begun acting colder toward me!
Self-preservation was a vampire’s most fundamental urge, after all. And I’d behaved in such a way that Eric eventually needed to protect himself from me!
Shaking myself from my musings, I finally headed downstairs to “make my entrance.” I’d resisted the urge to wear my white dress with red flowers, despite the fact that “all Erics” would likely appreciate that garment.
However, I wanted for everything about this “new” time to be different from before. Thus, I wore a jean skirt and a red camisole with a button down white shirt over it. I’d put on my generic-brand Keds—because I knew that Eric and I would need to do the meat of our talking outside, at least until Gran was sound asleep.
I was met with an amazing sound as I took a step from the stairs toward the living room. Eric and Gran were laughing together. No one laughed like Eric did when he was truly amused by something. It was as if beautiful music grew legs and then skipped about the space that was trying to hold it. I closed my eyes, imagining how Eric’s whole face transformed and his spirit shown through his eyes whenever he laughed like that.
I paused for a long moment, having to work hard not to cry as it hit me that the two people I’d loved the most in my life had met—finally. And they liked each other, too! It was a beautiful moment.
Composed—and hoping to stay that way—I stepped into the living room. Eric stood and nodded toward me.
“For me?” I asked of the pink lilies that Gran had already put into her nicest vase and set on the coffee table.
“They’re mine,” Gran answered possessively—and playfully. It was nice to see her so giddy.
“This is for you,” Eric said, pulling a little box from the pocket of his jeans.
I took it with a frown.
“Jewelry?” I asked, biting my tongue to keep myself for telling him that such a gift was inappropriate until he knew me better.
Of course, I already knew him.
“Perhaps,” the vampire smirked.
“Open it,” Gran urged, more excited than I was.
I chuckled when I saw what was inside the box. Indeed, it was a lovely piece of jewelry, and Eric had likely spent too much on it. But I loved it nonetheless.
It was a pendant on a delicate gold chain.
“A question mark?” Gran asked of the pendant, which was just that—as in the punctuation mark. It was adorned with two turquoise stones.
“An item I found in Victorian London,” Eric explained. I gasped at the little piece of history that I’d already taken out of the box.
“I shouldn’t accept it,” I said for Gran’s benefit.
Gran chided me. “Of course you should, but,” she looked at Eric sternly, “I’ll have you know that my grandbaby is a lady and should be treated as such.”
Eric smiled genuinely and bowed a little. “Of course.”
Seeming satisfied, Gran looked at me. “Well—put it on,” she ordered in an almost chastising way.
I looked up at Eric. “Thank you. It is beautiful.”
He was silent for a moment. “It is appropriate, my little enigma.”
Gran practically squealed, believing that Eric’s gesture was a sign of romance, rather than a literal symbol of all the questions I’m sure he had for me.
I held out the necklace to him and then turned, holding up my hair as I did so—a silent request for him to put the chain on me.
A silent gesture that I trusted him.
Plus, I enjoyed his touch as he secured the necklace.
“Would you like to take a walk?” I asked Eric once I turned back to look at him.
“That sounds lovely,” he replied, his eyes intense.
Gran smiled widely and gave me a hug, making sure that we “young people” knew that she was headed for bed and that Eric was welcome back any time.
For his part, Eric took a moment to remind Gran of how “young” he wasn’t before taking my hand.
“Your grandmother truly believes that I’m here to court you,” I commented once we were outside of Sookie’s home.
“Easier that way,” Sookie responded. “Even if it’s not true, it’ll make her happy to think I’m not a complete recluse.”
“Recluse?” I asked, ignoring the fact that the enigma’s “even if” had left our current interaction up for interpretation. Maybe the young woman truly was insane enough to believe that I was there for a “social call.” Clearly, she didn’t recognize or fear the very real possibility that I’d have to kill her by the end of the night. I’d liked the grandmother, however, so I didn’t want to have to kill her as well. Hopefully, Adele could be glamoured so that I could remove all memory of me from her mind if I had to dispose of her granddaughter.
However—as I strolled beside Sookie—I realized I didn’t want to do that either. My instincts seemed to run more toward protecting the walking and talking question mark.
“I can’t date humans,” Sookie said in answer to my question. “Their thoughts come in too clearly—overwhelmingly—especially when I touch them.”
“You really can read minds,” I commented.
She nodded in confirmation. “Humans—yes. Weres and shifters too—but not as easily. Not fairies unless they allow it. Not vampires except on rare occasions. And demons sound like static to me unless they project thoughts into my head,” she responded.
“What do you mean that you cannot hear vampires except on rare occasions? How rare?” I asked, turning to look at her so that I would see any signs of deception.
She smiled up at me.
“I know what you’re doing,” she commented. “You’re trying to read my expression so that you’ll know if I’m telling the truth—but you saw me bluff Bill. So—no matter what you see—you’re going to wonder if I’m tellin’ the truth.”
“I am much more perceptive than Compton,” I stated flatly.
“No doubt,” she agreed. “But you can’t glamour me, so you won’t be one hundred percent sure—unless . . . .”
“Unless?” I asked, feeling my eyebrow rise with the question.
She took a deep breath. “There’s a way for you to know I’m telling the truth—with no doubt.”
“What way?” I asked, stepping toward her—invading her personal space.
Like before, she stood her ground. In fact, she seemed to move an inch closer to me—as if she were being drawn in.
“If you want, we can exchange blood so you can sense any dishonesty in me. Or you can just take my word for it.” She smirked. “I will never lie to you, Eric, though I might not always tell you the whole truth,” she added with a giggle.
Her statement sounded like something I would say.
I’d not exchanged my blood with a human since I’d made Pam, yet the thought of doing so with the relative stranger in front of me had an uncontrollable effect on my body. My fangs had extended even before she’d finished her offer. And—as she’d giggled mischievously—my cock had “extended” as well.
I inhaled deeply. Sookie Stackhouse smelled fucking divine! My nostrils flared as I tried to place what her scent reminded me of.
“Sunshine,” she smiled as if reading my mind. Despite what she’d said, I still wasn’t certain that she couldn’t read all of my thoughts. “You’ve told me before that I smell like sunshine and a certain kind of wildflower that grew near your human home.” She sighed and looked up at me with love-filled eyes. “You always did like the way I smelled.”
I shook my head and took a step back—in fear. In awe. I wasn’t certain which one. “How could you know that? I was still trying to recall what your scent reminded me of when you said that. So you couldn’t have gotten it from my mind. Are you a witch?” I accused, taking another step back.
“No,” she said with a frown, “but I will tell you about one who’s going to be a problem for you soon.”
We were quiet for a moment as I studied her. Her face was the picture of sincerity—and affection for me.
It was disconcerting to say the least.
“You speak as if we met well before last night,” I broke the silence.
She chuckled. “Actually, we won’t meet for more than a week.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
She took a deep breath. “You won’t believe anything I say to you unless you can confirm that I’m not lying. So?” she asked, holding out her wrist to me.
Offering her blood.
My fangs quite literally ached for it.
“What if I want to drink from somewhere else?” I leered.
“Uh-uh. Not this time, buddy. You wrist. Me wrist. Clothes stay on. I know how you are.” She giggled. “Actually I’m almost as bad as you when we share, so I don’t wanna tempt fate. Let’s be,” she paused, “clinical about this.”
She knew how I was? Well—then—she also knew I was cautious by nature. What if her blood was poisoned somehow? What if her offer to exchange was a trap?
Exemplifying again that she seemed to know exactly how I was, she said nothing, waiting patiently for me to process my next step.
“My child knows of my location. If you try to trap me—or disable me in any way—she will come here. And your grandmother will likely be her first victim. The first of many,” I emphasized.
Sookie took a deep breath, but her resolve didn’t waver, nor did fear flash into her eyes. There was nothing but openness in them—and trust. And she didn’t lower her wrist either.
“I would never intentionally hurt you, Eric,” she promised.
“Unintentionally?” I asked.
Her eyes were suddenly full of guilt and pain. In that moment, she was the one who seemed to be a thousand years old.
“I’ve been through too much to not know that my intentions don’t matter at all sometimes,” she whispered.
It was in that moment that I made my choice. “You wrist. Me wrist. Clothing stays on. Because of how I am,” I smirked, wishing to lift her suddenly darkened spirits.
My attempts worked as her smile returned.
“Don’t forget clinical,” she said with mock sternness.
I stepped toward her and took her proffered wrist in my hands. I was anything but clinical as I carefully prepped her delicate wrist, licking to raise the artery and then to numb the area so that she’d feel less pain. When I bit, she sighed and moaned in pleasure.
So did I. She was exquisite.
Sweet, but not too sweet.
I felt full immediately, but I wanted more.
So much more.
Her blood was like nothing I’d ever had before. And—to add to the pleasure of the experience—she played with the hair at the nape of my neck as I took another draw.
“What are you?” I whispered around the wound, though I was careful to spill nothing.
“Part fairy,” she sighed, looking as stoned as I felt. “One-eighth. But—don’t worry—this time around I’m hoping that they stay out of my life.”
Her words sobered me enough so that I stopped pulling her blood into my body. “Fairy?” I gasped.
She nodded and then motioned for me to clean the mess I’d made. “Just part fairy.”
Automatically, I nicked my finger with my fang and spread blood onto her tiny wounds before licking up all the excess blood. Her eyes stayed on mine the whole time, and I saw lust that matched my own.
I should have run screaming for the hills. Tasting part-Fae blood was one thing. Giving a fairy my blood? That was another thing. Fairies were devious and dangerous to my kind.
However, instead of draining Sookie Stackhouse and getting the “hell out of Dodge,” as the humans in my area often said, I moaned at the flavor of our blood mingling together. She licked her lips as if wanting a taste. I longed for her to wrap those lips around many parts of me, the least of which was my wrist.
“My turn,” she rasped rather throatily once I’d cleaned her wrist thoroughly.
“It would be much more pleasurable if I was buried in you when you took my blood,” I said in a throaty tone of my own. “I’m sure we could make it—clinical.”
She gasped, and—as I inhaled—her arousal almost overwhelmed me. Her arousal and her . . .
“You are a virgin!” I asked with surprise. I’d had her investigated by an associate on the police force in Shreveport. Among the innocuous things that he’d discovered about her was her age: 25.
In today’s culture, it was rare to find an 18-year-old virgin, let alone one who’d “escaped the clutches” of men into her mid-20’s.
“I am?” she returned with a frown.
“Yes,” I answered with confusion.
A tear slipped from her eye. “Well—then,” she sighed. “I guess that’s another mistake fixed.”
“You truly are an enigma, Sookie Stackhouse,” I whispered, thumbing the pendant I’d given her before thumbing away her tear and bringing it to my mouth. Delicious. In the next moment, I was biting down on my wrist and offering her something I didn’t offer lightly.
And I still didn’t know exactly why I was doing it either.
I was generally much too methodical to do something such as this—with a part-Fae no-less!
I was generally too protective of myself to allow vulnerability of any kind.
Likely, the woman now eying my blood greedily was insane.
Or a witch.
Or just plain trouble.
Gods! How I liked trouble sometimes.
A/N: So what do you think of Life 2 Sookie’s solution for getting Eric to believe that she’s telling the truth? Is Eric being too cavalier with his safety?
I always thought that Eric was initially struck by Sookie in the books—that she intrigued him. And, relatively early in the book interactions, we see Eric doing things that demonstrate that he finds her valuable and worth taking risks for: Longshadow, Dallas, the orgy, etc. She wasn’t even “his” yet. Given how he was in the early books, I felt it was reasonable that he’d be captivated by her again. Plus, this time, she’s not denying her own interest. And—as Eric says at the end—I always figured he was up for a little trouble. I tried to write him as seeing an exchange as half calculated risk and half gut instinct.
Like I said in my post, I will be trying to release a chapter a day so the story’s momentum is—hopefully—built. I hope that you will keep the comments and support for the story coming!