Chapter 18 – Landscape Designer
December 10, 2003
Eric rose and listened carefully. He couldn’t hear footsteps or any voices, so he guessed that Sookie was in her cottage. He finished his Norse work, showered, and headed over, enjoying the early sunset in December. As he approached the cottage he heard music blaring from within. The day had been warm and Sookie left the windows open. He knocked, this was Sookie’s private sanctuary after all, and in a moment he was greeted by Sookie’s beaming smile.
“Are you ready Sookie?”
“Yep, let me turn off the music and we can go. I like your braids; I wish I could do that to my hair.”
“I can braid your if you want.”
“If it’s not trouble, I’d like that.”
“Trouble? To get to fondle your thick wavy hair? I don’t think so. Let’s stop in the house where I can grab a tie.”
Twenty minutes later, they were walking to the SUV and Sookie’s hair was in a complicated braid she could never have done on her own. “Stop playing with it.”
“I’m not playing with it, I’m just feeling how tight they are yet it doesn’t hurt.”
“My people learned to braid like that to keep our hair clean as long as possible. That it happens to be stunning on you is a bonus. Of course, anything is stunning with you.”
She blushed at his words and got in the car while Eric held the door open for her. She couldn’t believe this was the same man she met in the warehouse just about 2 months ago.
On the way to the mall, Eric commented about the music he heard from her cottage. Sookie was playing something she called contemporary Christian. Thinking back over prior conversations, he didn’t recall Sookie speaking about missing church, yet he heard comments from both Gran and Sookie related to Jesus and God. He asked about her beliefs and was stunned when she replied that while she was raised as a Christian, as was Gran, they both believed that all religions had value; that no one group was ‘right’. This was different than most humans he met, many vehemently proclaiming that whatever they believed was the one and only true religion. When Sookie saw his stunned face, she commented. “Eric, how can anyone claim a one and true religion? Depending on where you live or how you were raised, you were exposed to a particular religion, or none, but I’ll comment on that later. Does my God hold it against someone for where they were raised? If so, then wouldn’t those not born where Christianity exists be, well, doomed? That’s just stupid, cause wouldn’t God then be responsible for them being doomed? Gran and I believe that the core of any religion is creation and that some divine intervention was required to get the universe started. Those scientists that don’t believe in religion: I ask them – who created the dust and the particles that started everything? It all comes back to something divine. I don’t care what he, she or they are called, somebody started something.”
“You have some definite opinions on this.”
“Oh, have I offended you or your Gods?”
“Not at all. I’m curious about something.” She nodded to have him continue. “Why did you not go to college? You’re quite intelligent, you’re a critical thinker, you have so much potential.”
“There was no money.” He started to say something, and she put her hand up. “Hold on – let me explain. I know with our income, I could have gotten financial assistance, but if I was off at school, how would Gran have paid the bills?”
“So, it wasn’t lack of desire?”
“Honestly, I never spent a moment thinking about it. I did poorly on tests at school and I always intended to work full time right after graduation. I was already working after school and weekends to help make ends meet.”
“What about now?”
“What about now? What do you mean?”
“You can go to college now. I would love to see you take classes, we can spend time discussing them, that beautiful head of yours would be used to its full potential.”
“What would I study?”
Eric was shocked her first response wasn’t a refusal and he responded with some ideas. “How about comparative religion, history, English literature? You have interest in those – but really, you can study whatever you want.”
“I assure you, it’s only a bit of boredom that has me thinking about this.”
“I understand, I was fully expecting ‘fight Sookie’ to emerge, I’m glad to see ‘sweet Sookie’ here instead.”
“Don’t start thinking I’ve become compliant.”
He gave her a lopsided smile. “I would never think that.”
They pulled into the mall parking lot and started on their shopping. Pam had provided a detailed list for Eric, and he simply grabbed the requested items and paid for them. Sookie shook her head and questioned the fun of that kind of shopping. Eric informed Sookie that Pam had been a very good girl and he had a surprise planned for her as well, but missing anything on her list just caused too much grief. Sookie lead Eric to a jewelry counter and started looking for her gift to Pam. She had come to care a great deal for her and had something specific in mind. “Sookie, I usually purchase jewelry from Tiffany or Cartier. Can we get some ideas here and order something from one of them?”
“I want something that says Best Friend. I know it’s corny, and she’ll probably hate…”
“She’ll love it Sookie. In fact, I’ll tell you what her surprise is, and we can coordinate.”
“I got her a new car, how about a keychain that says Best Friend.”
“That’s a really good idea. But, I don’t even see keychains here.”
“We’ll have it made. Maybe add a pink sapphire to it?”
Sookie smiled. “Is there time?”
“We’ll search tonight.” Taking her hand, he led her out into the open mall. “What do you still need to get?”
“I need to go to the Maternity Shop for Dawn, and then find something that says Daddy for Jason.” They started walking towards the maternity store. “Oh, and I need cheap underwear for Pam from Sears. I want to hide her keychain inside a pair in a sealed bag. She hated that underwear that came in a bag.”
Eric bellowed loudly enough that he caused a scene but they just kept walking. “Sookie, you are endlessly entertaining.”
When they were leaving the mall, Eric’s phone rang. “Pam.”
“Eric, I need you at Fangtasia for a Sheriff thing.”
“Ok, let me drop Sookie at home and”
“It can’t wait; the mall is only down the road.”
“What about Sookie?”
“We’ll keep her in your office or the employee room.”
“Fine.” He ended the call and turned to Sookie. “Sookie, I’m needed at Fangtasia and Pam says it can’t wait. We’ll park out back and go directly into my office.” They had gotten in the car and started out of the parking lot.
Sookie was quiet for a moment or two; then confessed. “I’m scared. What if there are other vampires there, what if I screw up?”
“I’m hoping you won’t even run into another vampire, but it you do, don’t talk back to me. That’s the most important thing. If you need to say something, just say ‘Eric’ calmly.”
“You mean, Master?”
“You don’t have to call me master, or look down or any of that other crap. I’m your companion.” He sure as hell wasn’t going to have her call him master after the time it took to call him Eric.
“Oh, are those the rules? I thought…”
“It’s not really the rule, but I don’t give a fuck.”
“Ok. And, I’ll just stay in the office?”
“Or the employee room. I’ll give you a laptop, you can search for degrees.” He guided the car into his parking space. He was around the car and reaching for Sookie’s hand while he scanned the area.
“I don’t smell like you.”
“Shit, let’s get in the office.”
Pam was waiting, tapping her foot impatiently when they walked in. “Pam, what’s so important?”
“Andre is waiting in your booth. I kept him out there figuring you would bring Sookie into your office.”
Eric cursed loudly, scaring Sookie. “Who is Andre, why are you so upset?”
“He is the Queen’s child and her second in command. Pam, you need to hide Sookie.”
“HIDE me! What will he do?”
“I’d rather not find out.” He paced for a moment. “I have to get out there. Pam, get Sookie my laptop and we’ll set her up in the employee room, just in case.” When she left, he turned to Sookie. “I’m sorry about this, but” he hesitated.
“As you reminded me, you don’t smell like me. We need to exchange blood, and quickly. I cannot guarantee that he won’t see you in the hall or somewhere else, and I need to be able to protect you.”
“We’ll talk about it later, just do it.”
Eric moved to stand behind Sookie. “You can’t hesitate when I put my wrist in front of you- we need to be fast.” She nodded. He bit his wrist and presented it to Sookie; then he hastily prepared and bit into her neck. Enjoying the taste of Sookie he remembered, but not the subtle sunshine flavor and sweetness. Once again, the flavor exploded in his mouth and he moaned at it. That combined with Sookie’s actions of licking and sucking on his wrist had him hard. Not unaffected either, Sookie moaned with pleasure herself. Eric cursed Andre for ruining the act. He wanted to enjoy it, but now it was rushed and he needed to stop short. He quickly healed her neck, and started to walk Sookie down the hall to the employee room. He stopped at the door and she looked up. “Your lips are bloody,” he said before he bent to claim her mouth.
While enjoying their kiss, they heard Pam from the other end of the hall, speaking so both Sookie and Eric could hear. “Yes Andre, I was just coming to get you. Eric has arrived.”
They parted quickly and Eric’s last words were like a command. “I’ll send Pam in with a laptop so you can get that research done on the night bloomers.”
Back in his office, Eric indicated for Andre to sit in one of his desk chairs as he moved to sit behind the desk. “Andre, this visit is unexpected.”
Pam joined them as Andre answered. “I’m making the rounds. I didn’t realize you would not be in tonight.”
“You just beat me here; I was picking up Christmas presents for Pam.” He paused as they stared off for a moment. “Will you need a donor this evening?”
“Yes, thank you. That girl I saw briefly in the hall will do nicely.”
Eric steeled his features, having known his request for Sookie would be a possibility. “She’s not a donor. She’s my landscape designer and was here to review some plans and continue some research on the night blooming plants I requested.”
“I think she is more than your landscape designer. I’m positive I smelled blood when I entered the hallway; I’m sure she could be convinced to donate more tonight.”
“Andre, you know we don’t have unwilling donors in Area 5. Well, a few vampires thought otherwise last month and they are now re growing their fangs.”
Andre glared at Eric, unsure if he really was trying to behave or if there was a veiled threat to him personally. ‘I’ll seek out that girl on my own after this meeting.’ Finally, he said. “Yes, you’re right of course, we only want willing donors.”
“Pam, can you select a donor for Andre, please?”
The meeting with Andre was a waste. He wanted to review the monthly reports Eric prepared for December in person, claiming it was a routine audit. The donor Pam selected was brought in and Andre drank from her while Eric drank from an additional donor Pam selected from him. He cursed that he had to ruin the taste of Sookie’s blood still in his mouth with the blood from the fangbanger, but Pam was on her game: Andre would have questioned Eric if he didn’t drink.
With the ‘audit’ complete, Pam escorted Andre out to the main floor and Eric left to collect Sookie. He was surprised to find the employee room empty. Pam came back to the hallway to explain in a whisper. “Thalia drove her back to your house and is staying to guard her. Andre just looked too interested.”
“Thank you for getting her out of here Pam. I have no doubt Andre is looking for her at the bar or on the dance floor now.”
“He did a round to look for her. I’ll go see if he left.”
She returned as Eric was packing up some items from his desk. “He’s gone. Why didn’t you just introduce Sookie as your companion? That’s why you registered her.”
“Too soon, I saved that only if it was a last resort. We had to exchange quickly before Andre came in.”
“How did she take that? How does she feel now?”
“You could tell she wasn’t happy, but she said nothing. I’m sure I’ll hear about it at home. I’m headed there now; I can feel she’s still upset.”
Sookie was waiting for Eric in the den when he arrived home. “I was worried.”
“Andre doesn’t scare me.”
“It didn’t seem like that when we first got there.”
“You’ve got me there. I was worried about you and the situation. And Sookie, I know I already said this, but I’m sorry about how we had to do our exchange.”
“You’re sorry about how we did it, not that we had to do it?”
“No Sookie, I won’t lie. I wanted to exchange blood. I want to exchange even again, but we should talk about what that means.”
“I appreciate that you want to be open and honest, but can we do it some other night?”
“You have a headache.” It was a statement, based on the pain he could feel through the bond. “And a bad one.” He noticed she was keeping her distance and hoped it was the headache.
“Yeah, Fangtasia is LOUD.” She didn’t clarify that it was the minds that were loud, not actual spoken voices or music. She also didn’t mention the thoughts of sex, much of it with Eric that flooded her mind – some of it pretty nasty looking. While many thought of Eric sex, several of the women complained in their thoughts that Eric hadn’t been taking fangbangers to the office as he used to. Not knowing what to think about that, she tucked it away.
“You know, the hot tub is very good for headaches.”
“Like you get headaches and would know. I don’t think that’s a good idea tonight. I need to get to bed.” She saw his jaw tighten a bit. “I do have a quick question though.” He nodded for her to continue. “Earlier tonight when we went to Fangtasia.”
“You said ‘I’m your companion’, not you’re my companion.”
“Caught that huh?”
“That’s not really the correct phrase, I mean, it’s ownership for vampires, and I would be YOUR companion.”
“Yes, and when we are around other vampires, you would be mine, not the other way around.”
“But when it’s just us?”
“When it’s just us, I’m yours Sookie.”
“I still, I mean, it’s still too fast.”
“You’ve been here for weeks. But you can have all the time you need.”
“Eric.” She was still upset at the ‘sex with Eric’ images from Fangtasia. “I’ve enjoyed some time with you, but time may never make this happen. You may never be the man for me.” Considering what she saw in the minds of some of the women and knowing she would NEVER do some of those things; she really thought it was more likely she could never be the woman for him.
His face fell, but he quickly adjusted and instead of lashing out from being hurt at her words he turned the situation into an opportunity for a lewd comment – something safe for him. “Oh but Sookie, I’m plenty man for you.” He accompanied it with his usual leer.
“I’m headed to bed where it’s safe.”
“I’ll walk you to your door for my goodnight kiss.”
THAT she couldn’t handle after all those images. “Not tonight Eric. I just, I can’t.”
He respected her wishes and hoped it was just the headache, but something nagged at him and he wondered what happened at Fangtasia when he had left her alone for a while.
“A Christmas party? What the fuck Eric.”
“I have no idea what she’s doing, or possibly up to. We have to go; you can’t refuse an invitation from the Queen.”
“What about Sookie?”
“The invitation included pets and companions, but I’m not ready for her to be around so many vampires, especially at the palace with all the state’s sheriffs and the members of her court.”
“She is your companion, and now she smells like you. Are you sure you just aren’t hiding her.”
“You could be right, but this is only next week, I need more time to plan her introduction.”
“Fair enough, but we will be gone two days.”
Eric was quiet after that comment, trying to think of the best scenario for keeping Sookie safe while he was away. Part of him, the strategist, was concerned that Andre had smelled something too wonderful at Fangtasia a few days ago and he was hoping that Eric would either bring Sookie to the palace OR leave her here, unguarded. Neither was going to happen. If Thalia was around, she could guard Sookie, but she had just left on her annual trip to her homeland, Greece. Indira certainly could be trusted, but she alone would not be able to protect Sookie fully, she just wasn’t old enough or skilled enough as a warrior. Godric, now was that a possibility? Godric would probably travel with Theresa, so he would need to come clean about that relationship ahead of time. Yes, he was going to do things right and be upfront instead of getting caught later. Having made his decision, he called his maker.
Godric was actually quite happy for the opportunity to visit Eric and meet Sookie. As predicted, he would travel with Theresa, so Eric knew he was in for a difficult discussion with Sookie. He told Pam to close up and headed home.
The sound of Christmas carols was spilling into the garage from the house. ‘For someone who thinks Fangtasia is loud, she certainly plays her music at a pretty high volume.’ He chuckled. ‘Maybe that’s to cover up her own singing voice. How anyone so beautiful and perfect could sing so badly, I just don’t know.’ Still, the loud music covered his approach and Sookie squealed out loud when he vamped into the house and grabbed her from behind, her hands full of the pine garland she had been winding around his stairs. “ERIC! One of these days you’re going to regret sneaking up on me!”
“I don’t think you can hurt me Sookie. I’ll take my chances.”
“Ok, but don’t blame me if I wet my pants OR YOU one of these times.” He looked stricken at her words for a moment until she laughed at him. “Sorry, you may forget some aspects of being human, but that’s a real possibility. Just warning you. Why are you home early anyway? Was there an especially smelly group of Fangbangers?”
“They’re always smelly Sookie. No human has ever smelled as sweet to me as you do.” To prove his point, he nuzzled her neck and inhaled deeply while she was still in his arms. Sookie was distant for a few days after Fangtasia, but slowly they returned to their usual flirtations and he had been relieved. Now he was worried distant Sookie was going to come back after this talk. “I came home to talk to you about something happening next week.”
“You have that tense look about you. I’m not going to like it, am I?”
He nodded in acknowledgement and carried her to the couch in the den. “Sookie, I received an invitation from the Queen to attend a Christmas party at the palace. The trip will take two nights next week.”
“The Queen has a Christmas party? Do I have to go?”
“The Queen has never had a Christmas party before; I’m not sure what she’s up to. As for you going? While I would love to dress you up and dance all night with you, I’m not ready for you to be exposed like that yet.”
“Dancing would be fun, but you’re right, the Queen and all those sheriffs, I wouldn’t enjoy it anyway.” She stopped for a moment; then smiled. “Can I stay with Gran while you’re gone?”
“That would be too risky. I’ve arranged for someone to come here and guard you.”
“Why wouldn’t the usual guards be enough?” She looked at him as she asked and she could see he was trying to formulate his response. She understood. “This could have something to do with Andre; did he smell me or something?”
‘Far more clever than we ever thought.‘ He smiled. “That is my concern my little strategist, and while I am unhappy about the risk, I’m thrilled that you pulled that together so quickly.” She smiled back and he enjoyed it for a moment, knowing the next part of the conversation would be difficult. “My maker, Godric, is coming in to stay here with you, while Pam and I are gone. He is bringing his companion, Theresa.”
“Oh, I’m excited to meet Godric. Will I like Theresa?”
“Godric is also happy for the opportunity. As for Theresa, well, there is something you should know before she arrives.” He took an unnecessary breath and started to explain his history. He was honest with Sookie about his relationship, except, of course the reason why he had taken her to love him. As he expected, Sookie was horrified, weeping at some parts for a woman she never met. Eric explained how many centuries ago, vampires often created slaves in this manner – but they were necessary for survival. He willingly admitted that was not the reason he took Theresa. The why was a problem, as Godric forbid him from discussing his ultimatum. He promised Sookie he would never lie to her, so he explained that the reason was something that he could not share as he had been forbidden to discuss it. Sookie had understood that explanation before; he wasn’t sure that would be the case tonight. When he was done, he tried to pull Sookie to him as she cried and processed the information, but she recoiled from his touch. “I need time to think about this. I’m going to my cottage.” He was powerless to do anything but watch her walk away.
Even by the next week when Godric and Theresa arrived, Sookie had still apparently not accepted the situation with Theresa. She still rejected Eric’s attempts to talk about anything besides what she called business. He tried a few times in the first few days to touch her, something she had been accepting but now rejected. Sookie’s reaction created a new feeling in Eric: shame. He was so distraught that Pam hadn’t teased him about the emotion, even though she knew he felt it from him. That Pam was being overly kind about the situation almost made it worse.
Godric arrived late the night before Eric and Pam were due to fly to New Orleans. Sookie immediately took to Godric and Theresa. Eric claimed to have work to complete before the trip so he left them alone.
“So Sookie, Eric told me about your cottage, would you show it to Theresa and me?”
“Certainly. Follow me.”
Theresa ooo’d and ahh’d over the plant area. “Godric, look at this planting area.”
“What’s the phrase for that? Ah yes, Sookie you have a green thumb.”
“Yes, I enjoy plants. Right now, I’m trying to expand the night blooming plants we have. I’ve been rooting some of the one I purchased for spring planting, trying to add more. When I was working on the landscape lighting, the mentor Eric found for me is extremely knowledgeable horticulturist, beyond just landscaping, and has worked with plant grafting. I’ve been working with him to expand or change the varieties of night bloomers. I feel a bit like Frankenstein, but it’s been fun. I have some successes and many failures.”
“As it would be with anything Sookie. I commend you for expanding your skills and trying.”
Theresa broke in with a huge yawn. “Oh, Theresa, Pam told me you don’t keep vampire hours due to your job. Let me show you to your guest room. Godric, you can wait here if you want.”
“I will thank you.”
Back in one of the guest rooms, Sookie checked that the instructions she received were correct. “To confirm, you and Godric will be sleeping separately for this trip?” She looked down at her hands. “I don’t mean to pry; I just want to be sure you’re comfortable.”
“Yes Sookie, this is what we discussed. I don’t have access to Eric’s light tight chambers, so this will enable me to wake up as I normally do and go about my day.”
“Very well. I’ll leave you to your sleep. I’m going to pick Godric’s brain for a history lesson.”
“Enjoy that Sookie. He’s very forthcoming about his past to those closest to him.” Sookie’s face grew concerned. “Don’t worry Sookie that means you as an extension of your relationship with Eric.”
Sookie hadn’t pried yet, she really didn’t want to dip into Theresa’s head, until now. Mentioning the relationship with Eric caused too much curiosity and she lowered her shields as she left the bedroom. Theresa’s thoughts were very clear: ‘Glad he found someone. She seems very sweet, and Godric has assured me he hasn’t hurt her at all. I don’t think he would given how badly he feels about what happened with me. I’m pleased that we finally made peace.’ She put her shields back up and headed down the stairs. Sookie mulled over what she had heard. ‘They made peace. I wonder when that happened and she knows he feels guilty. I’m glad for both of them. I hate that he did it, and I want to know why, but their peace over the situation is good.‘
She found Godric in the sitting area of her cottage, looking over her current book The Long Ships. “Did my son pick this one for you?”
“No he frowned when it arrived. I think he prefers that I learn about his people by listening to his stories, which I do enjoy. I like to read though and then question him endlessly. He can get frustrated easily when I share sections of the books on Vikings; then ask him to respond. He’s too easy to rile up.” She giggled.
“I’m glad he found you.”
“Would you share something with me?”
“Ask me anything. I will tell you if it is a vampire secret.” She grumped at him. “Seems you can get easily riled as well. But go on, ask me.”
“Would you tell me why you turned Eric? What did you see in him?”
Godric nodded and paused for a moment before he started. “He was dying, so close Eric would tell you that Odin’s ravens were circling. . His men had already placed his broken body on a funeral pyre and they were simply waiting. I couldn’t let him go. His battles were a sight to behold. You see, I had been watching him for several days: his leadership, his fighting. Wandering the world for 1000 years had made me lonely and when I saw your Eric, my heart sang. I killed his fighters and approached him. When I approached him, he literally thought I was death, there to claim him.” He chuckled at the memory. “I guess I was. I explained what I was and asked him to walk the nights with me. I told him we would be father, son, brother to each other and he accepted. He certainly made me proud. We fought together, we survived together and more recently we prospered together.”
“You love him.” It was a statement, not a question but Godric nodded. “I’m glad you turned him. For him to have died and burned would have been a waste.”
“I agree. Now, enough about death, tell me about your planned college courses.”
The next night, Pam and Eric were flying to New Orleans and Pam was saying goodbye to Sookie in her cottage where she had spent most of her time the past week. “Sookie, he regrets the relationship with Theresa and he’s completely broken thinking you will never smile at him again, or let him touch you.”
“I know Pam, but can’t you see how horrible it was?”
“I wish he hadn’t felt the need to disclose everything.”
“It’s better that way. What if I found out later that he withheld information? That would be worse.”
“So does that mean there is hope?”
Ignoring Pam’s question she asked something else. “Can I ask you something, and you’ll be honest?”
“I’ll try, you know some things we…”
“Yeah, vampire secrets. I know. Pam, does he like doing that stuff?”
“Whips and causing pain? Creating a true slave?”
“Wow, nothing like asking a loaded question when he only gave me a few minutes to say goodbye. Thanks muffin.” She paused and considered her answer. “I think you need to separate Theresa as a specific um, let’s call it an issue, in his history. Not even he ‘liked’ what was happening but he had his reasons, which are…”
“Yeah, secret. Ok, I get that. But what about in general?” Sookie asked because she met some woman named Yvetta at Fangtasia. The meeting was brief as Yvetta came into the employee room for a few minutes to use the bathroom, but when Sookie mentioned she was there with Eric – because Yvetta asked – she was flooded with images of bondage, whipping, some pretty heavy stuff.
“Sookie, he’s existed for over 1000 years, he’s tried many different things. I gather you are asking because you are unsure about a sexual relationship with him?” She nodded. “Sookie, you need to discuss this with Eric, but his interest in you isn’t sex.” Sookie raised an eyebrow, silently challenging the statement. “YES, he wants to have sex with you, but he wants YOU: your companionship, your trust, your love. Knowing Eric as I do, the physical relationship would be an extension of those things, not simply physical gratification.”
“You didn’t really answer my question.”
“What Eric may have done with prior women doesn’t mean he needs that with every woman. I know he is prepared to remain faithful to you – that is already a huge change for him.” Sookie heard he mumble that he’s already given up fangbangers and when she asked Pam to repeat it, she ignored her and continued her discussion. “Sookie, is your question about what he likes part of the reason you have kept your distance? He’s been assuming it was because you couldn’t get past Theresa.”
“I hadn’t thought about my feelings that way – but I think you are right. I can move passed Theresa. I guess I’m concerned about what he would want to do on a regular basis.”
“Well sugar cake; that you need to discuss with him.”
“But if I discuss that, it could lead him on.”
“And why are you still holding back?”
“What if I only have feelings because it’s like the Stockholm Syndrome? What if he is just suffering from the inverse, Lima syndrome?
“Sookie, you have unexpected depths. To answer your question though, I have done some research. He’s not suffering from Lima syndrome. I can tell you, the first night within an hour of meeting you – he wanted you. He did not develop sympathy for you after you were captive. For Stockholm Syndrome? I don’t think that’s the case. Sookie, do you feel the threat of death or injury from Eric? Are you in isolation? Does Eric dictate everything that you can and cannot do? The level of trauma and fear of your captor harming or killing you is a huge part of the syndrome. I don’t think that’s the case. Do you?”
“No, I mean, I’ll think more about it, but no.”
“Good, I really must get back to the house so we can leave. Would you like to join me and say goodbye to Eric?” She added for good measure. “You know, you simply can’t predict these events at the palace. He could be injured or killed if someone was planning a coup while we are there.”
“Is it working?”
She followed Pam to the house while she thought about their conversation. The truth was Sookie had missed Eric during the past week. She had grown accustomed to his caresses, their talks, his foot rubs, even eating dinner together had become a habit that abruptly stopped and she hated it. She spent time thinking about Theresa and realized that it was in the past, as were many things he had done that she probably didn’t even know about. Could she hold him accountable for a thousand years of mistakes? No. As for Theresa, she didn’t even know why he had done it, though she sure as hell wondered what could possibly be the reason. In the end, she decided Pam was right, she could move past the Theresa situation, and she needed to talk to him about his ideas on their possible intimacies. Her making decisions about them as a couple by just assuming what he wanted was wrong.
As she approached him in the foyer she smiled brightly for the first time in a week. The weight of her concerns was gone, and she reached to him for a goodbye hug. Standing there, just waiting to see if she would come to say goodbye, Eric gasped when he heard two sets of footsteps walking through the house. When he saw her smile, his heart soared and he welcomed her in his arms. Though Godric and Pam were in the foyer, for a moment he ignored them and simply enjoyed Sookie. He held her for several moments just drinking her essence in. When she looked up and stood on her toes for a kiss, he thought his knees would buckle from under him. When their lips met, it hit him: He was in love with Sookie Stackhouse. Now he knew what Godric was talking about, why he set Eric on this path.
Sookie broke for air and he wanted to say something. He wanted to proclaim his love, but he knew she would not be ready. Through feeling her emotions, he knew that she cared for him – held affection if you will, but love? She wasn’t there yet, so he remained quiet while caressing her back as she clung to him. That she had forgiven him was a huge step and he would be satisfied leaving her with this kiss and embrace.
“I must go to make the plane.”
“I know. Don’t get hurt or killed. ….. well more killed.”
“It’s called true death and I have no intention of leaving you like that. Two nights, I’ll be back. I will miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too.” He kissed her forehead one more time and walked through the door.
Godric and Pam had left the foyer when the kissing started, and they were waiting by the car. Godric pledged that Sookie would be safe until his return, and Pam and Eric left for the airport.
After a moment, he turned to Pam in the car. She was smiling, having felt her maker’s emotions. “Pam, I’m grateful. I don’t know what you said to her, I’m not even sure I care what you said to her. Thank you.”
“I’ll tell you some of what we discussed but some things she needs to talk to you about in her own time. But, we have the whole plane ride to do that. Right now, we can discuss how much you want to thank me.”
“Unlimited pairs Pam, and matching bags.”
She smiled as she pulled up the Louboutin website on her phone.