February 4, 2003
A few nights had passed and as planned, Gran was moved to a rehab facility where she was settling into her new routine. Tonight, Eric, Sookie and Thalia were returning to the palace. Eric had prisoners to visit and Sookie had human employees to read at Sophie-Anne’s request. Thalia was going to stay with Sookie while she worked since Pam was needed at Fangtasia. While Eric drove, Sookie spent the trip laughing at Thalia’s stories about her and Eric’s escapades over the years. To Sookie’s surprise, they had lived in the same locations many times over the years. Per Thalia, Eric respected her need for space and Eric always valued Thalia’s talents. Hearing about some of their near escapes, disguises to stay hidden, and pranks on other vampires had Sookie in hysterics. “Oh Thalia, it’s so good to laugh like this. I hadn’t realized how on edge I’ve been the past few days.”
“Mistress, spending time with Compton will do that to you.”
Eric had explained the use of the term mistress by some of the Area 5 vampires after Ivan first used it. It was a term of respect for Sookie, Eric and their bond. Hearing that stopped the cringes Sookie had whenever she heard the title.
“Master, will you allow me some time with the prisoners. I want to take out some of my personal justice on behalf of my mistress.”
“Certainly, Sookie just needs to be secure at the time.”
“Of course. I was thinking close to dawn after you have left for your house since I am staying at the palace.”
“That will work.”
Knowing that Thalia’s desire for justice was a great honor towards her, Sookie recognized what she needed to do. “Thalia, I am honored by your request. Thank you.”
Thalia simply bowed in Sookie’s direction.
“Sookie, you should try to nap now. We have about two more hours of driving and you will need to work when we arrive.”
“I wish cars had front bench seats so I could put my head in your lap.” He snickered. “TO SLEEP ERIC!”
Thalia laughed from the backseat and offered. “Master, I would be happy to drive and the two of you can sit in the back as this is a bench seat. Just don’t tell Pam I drove her car.”
“We won’t. She was quite grumpy that I wanted to take this tonight. Let me pull over.”
Sookie was asleep shortly after settling in the back seat, her head on Eric’s lap. Eric played with her hair, as he often did, with one hand while he made calls or texted with his other. After a short while, Eric lowered his phone for a moment and concentrated on Sookie. His concern for keeping her safe was a living thing within him and it was evident to those closest to him. Thalia broke the silence. In her 2000+ years on earth, she rarely liked anyone. Sookie she liked even respected, as well as Eric. She was aware of the changes coming for both of them when they returned from this trip and it saddened her. To her, Eric was making a mistake and she would try to do what she could to have him rethink it. Starting now. “She’s special Master.”
“I don’t just mean her telepathy. She accepts us. No, that’s not even right. She isn’t bothered by what someone is, vampire, human, Were. Those, what does she call them?”
“Yes, those labels mean no more to her than blue or brown eyes. I’m not the only one in your retinue made happy by our Mistress’ beliefs. Anyone that has spent time guarding her or her family is surprised and pleased.”
“And I’m pleased that so many of you see the treasure in Sookie. Her views, those labels, that’s been her thinking since before we met. In fact, she corrected me the first night we met when I told her I was a vampire and not a man.”
“She corrected you on the first night and lived? That alone makes her special.”
“I’ll tell you the story someday.”
“I look forward to it.” She concentrated on driving through the city streets of New Orleans. “Do we need to switch back before we get to the palace? It’s only 5 blocks away.”
“No, but I’ll wake Sookie.” He bent over her sleeping form and nuzzled his nose to her cheek. “Min älskade, we are here.” A smile formed on her lips before her eyes even opened. He stayed bent over, using his hair as a bit of a curtain. “Come on sleepy head, I know you can hear me. We are almost to the palace.”
“I’m too comfy; tell the Queen she’ll need to wait.”
“Are you my ‘Sleepy Sookie’ tonight?” He chuckled at her pout and decided on a new tactic. He reached his arm as far down her bare leg as he could and started trailing it up towards her hip. Her smile returned, replacing the pout. When he got to the hem of her dress, he simply took it with him baring even more of her leg. “Almost to the guard station Sookie and your dress is creeping up.”
“Ok, OK, Stop!” She abruptly sat up. “You don’t play fair.”
“You’re only just realizing that?” He leaned towards her. “Give me one last kiss before we get under the watchful eyes of the palace.” She complied but they pulled apart quickly as soon as Thalia reached the gate. No need to give the guards a show.
“Thalia, you have Northman and the telepath?”
“I have SHERIFF Northman and his BONDED, my Mistress Miss Stackhouse with me.” She corrected the guard while glaring at him. “Where shall I park?”
The guard guided Thalia and soon they were headed to the palace entry. “Thalia. Sookie cannot be left at any time. Do you need to feed before we separate?”
“No Master and she will not leave my side.”
“Ahh, Sookie, welcome back to the palace.” Sophie-Anne greeted her as they walked into the throne room. “Eric, Thalia, good to see you as well. Thalia, you will be serving as Miss Stackhouse’s escort while she works?”
“Yes your Majesty.”
“Perfect.” She waved Rasul over. “We have a brief meeting with Cataliades, then Rasul will you escort the Sheriff to his, ah play time and then come back to the meeting room as we discussed?”
“Yes your Majesty.”
“Here is Cataliades now.”
“Sookie, so good to see you.”
She moved to hug the daemon. “Uncle Des. How are you?”
“I am well, and I’m here for you in fact.”
“What’s going on?”
“I have the details of Mr. Compton’s and Ms. Ball payment for damages. Shall we sit?” They all took seats at a table that had been set-up for the quick meeting.
“Payment? They are already being punished.”
“They are also paying you as the victim. It is similar to a human court in the US: a criminal trial outcome which you had a court and now a civil trial outcome which we will discuss here.”
“I thought Eric was the victim under vampire law?”
“The Queen has made it clear to me that you personally are the victim. Now, can we go through these details?”
Sookie was shocked as her Uncle Des reviewed the money being paid for her kidnapping, well mostly the bites. She was also handed the deed to the Compton Estate up the hill from Gran’s. “Wow, Gran was already a lady of leisure, now she can really relax. I can pay for so much rehab now. While I’d rather not have been kidnapped, I’m still gonna enjoy this.” They all laughed at Sookie’s enthusiasm.
“Sookie, after you sign this paperwork, I have a surprise for you. I took the liberty of inviting Hadley to the meeting room. You have time for a brief reunion before your interviews start tonight.”
“That’s very generous of you, thank you.”
They finished the paperwork quickly and Eric rose to leave for his tasks. “Sookie, I will meet up with you later. Rasul can reach me if needed.”
“Thank you Eric.”
The Queen held out her arm towards the back doors to the throne room. “Sookie, I’ll show you to Hadley and Rasul will be there shortly to take you through the business of the night.”
Sookie was a bit nervous to see Hadley. It had been a few years and Hadley was a stealing drug addict the last time Sookie saw her. If Sookie thought about it, Hadley was never really much of a cousin or a friend to her over the years either. Still, for Gran, she would be pleasant while they had this short time together. The meeting room door was already open and Sookie could see her wisp of a cousin at the table looking at a magazine. “Hadley.” Sookie called and she turned to get up.
“Sookie! You look wonderful.”
“Hadley, you do as well, I really mean it. You, Oh God, Gran will be so happy when I tell her how healthy you are.”
“Mistress, I can wait outside the door for you if you like?” Hadley and Sophie-Anne’s brows raised at Thalia’s designation for Sookie. Sookie could hear Hadley wondering why Sookie garnered such a title, while she was the companion of the Queen and was still treated only slightly better than the donor pool.
“Thank you Thalia that would be perfect.” She kept her smile but internally she grimaced. Hadley’s thoughts about Sookie hadn’t changed. Hearing Hadley’s jealous musings made Sookie realize that she was no different then when she was at 10, 15, or 22. In a nutshell, she was jealous and thought that Sookie was now using her mind trick to curry favor with the Queen. Sookie decided to tackle that problem head-on. “Hadley, I’m hear working for the Queen. I’m not trying to curry favor. I’m with Eric and I don’t need anyone else in my life. Can you relax so we can just enjoy a visit? Don’t you want to know about Gran and Jason, or some other folks in Bon Temps?”
“I can’t relax with you reading my mind!”
“Sorry Hadley, but that’s my job.”
“To read MY mind? I am the Queen’s bonded companion.” She crossed her arms to end her statement.
“Not YOUR mind, but all the minds here at the palace. With the bond the Queen doesn’t need me to read your mind.”
Snidely, Hadley replied. “How would you know that?”
“I’m bonded to Eric. Now can we please get to a visit? The Queen told me we only had a short time tonight.” When Hadley’s stance didn’t change she added. “Seriously, I’m not here to take anything from you and Gran will kick my butt if I don’t come back with an update.”
“Fine. What do you want to know?”
‘Just perfect. A great way to start my night at the palace.’ Sookie was using her talent for hiding her emotions and smiled brightly at Hadley. “Well, how did you meet the Queen?”
Hadley launched into her sad tale about drug addiction and being found in an alley by the Queen. Sookie wasn’t really ‘liking’ Hadley at the moment, but she was family and she was relieved that she had been found and cared for. Gran would be happy too. Sookie was just about to update Hadley on Gran when Hadley started getting up. “You can’t stay?”
“Sophie-Anne needs me, since your Master is pulling poor Andre’s fangs out and she’s going to feel it.”
“Hadley, Eric didn’t request Andre’s fangs, Sophie-Anne set that punishment for the kidnapping.”
“Oh yes, your ‘kidnapping’ and being bitten a few times. You just had to make a big deal about that. Poor Sookie.”
“HADLEY that’s enough!” A voice boomed from the hallway as the door opened. “Come here this instant!”
Sookie watched as Sophie-Anne grabbed Hadley roughly and pushed her to one of the large guards from the throne room the other night. “Sookie, I apologize for Hadley’s behavior. It won’t happen again.”
Hadley scoffed at Sophie-Anne’s words and she was promptly stopped by the Queen. “SILENCE!”
Wanting to get away from this drama, Sookie simply stated. “It was no problem your majesty. Now I’m certain I should get to work with the staff interviews so I can complete as many as I can in the next three nights.”
“Rasul will assist you. I will be unavailable for the rest of the night, so I will say goodnight now.”
Sookie bowed and said goodnight as well. “Thalia, can you take me to freshen up somewhere?”
“Certainly. Rasul, could you guide me, I am unfamiliar with the location of the restrooms?”
“Actually, we have a hospitality room for Miss Stackhouse; it’s just down the hall.” He gestured for them to follow and he opened a door to a lovely sitting room with a small dining table. “This room is for Miss Stackhouse while she is at the palace. Please let me know if there is anything missing. I will ensure it is procured immediately.”
“Thank you Rasul.” She grabbed Thalia’s hand. “Shall we?” She practically pulled the tiny vampire into the room with her, though Thalia could have stopped her, and she ran for the bathroom. “I’ll be out in a minute. Can you just stay here, please?”
Sookie emerged a few minutes later and Thalia noted her eyes were red and puffy. Her fury grew thinking that Hadley had caused her Mistress to cry. She would speak to Northman about this to ensure he knew. “Time for me to work.”
“I’m certain if you need a few more minutes…”
“Working will take my mind off the visit. Please don’t tell anyone that Hadley upset me so much, I don’t want it getting back to Gran.”
After discussing the system and signals with Rasul, Sookie interviewed about 20 of the palace human staff before she received word to meet Eric at the entrance to the palace. Thalia escorted her and handed her off to a very eager Eric. Sookie could tell she was going to be in for one of those more adventurous love sessions once they got to his New Orleans home. She was right, but this time he ensured they exchanged blood before she fell asleep to prevent any soreness the next day.
The next two nights were similar except she didn’t see Hadley, and her interviews expanded to include any palace vampires who had day people or pets that they wanted Sookie to interview. Sookie was continually sickened by some of the humans she read. A few dozen Fellowship of the Sun followers and thieves (stealing blood, money or goods from their masters) were identified from her interviews. All were taken to some offsite location. As with her first palace visit, she also searched for information about check-ins with superiors or other triggers and Rasul noted those as well. She felt disgusted with humanity when she was done her last interview.
It was the last night of interviews; Sookie had finished early leaving about 2 hours before dawn. After coming up with a plan for her extra time, she asked Thalia to escort her to the New Orleans home. ‘I have a surprise for my bloodlust Viking and this will give me plenty of time to prepare.’ After bathing, she donned a robe and hung out in the bedroom until she felt him open the bond. That indicated he was on his way. She went downstairs and asked Thalia to wait outside since Eric was almost there. “Tell him I’ll be in the office.” Thalia smirked, she wasn’t an idiot and she could tell Sookie was very anxious for Eric to arrive.
“I will see you tomorrow night when you and Eric arrive at the palace to pick up Andre. Enjoy the rest of the night you lucky girl, or maybe it’s my master who is the lucky one.”
Once Thalia was out the door, she stripped and positioned herself bent over the desk with her torso raised up by resting on her elbows. It was in that position that Eric found her and since he was ready to go, he unzipped and plunged while he fondled her hanging breasts. As promised, he built up to the full bloodlust effect and hadn’t fed at all after finishing with Lorena and Bill. He was pounding her harder than he ever had and she was taking everything. A few thrusts in and she had her first orgasm. He flipped her over, spread her while her butt was at the edge and sat in his chair. From there, he feasted like he was starved on her delicious cum. When she was close to another orgasm, he bit her thigh and she lost it. Standing again and using her hips as handles, he thrust back into her and had he not held firm on her hips, she would have launched off the desk. With another bite to her neck, he finished with a roar and Sookie was seeing white lights for a few minutes. She came back to reality with Eric bent over cleaning up the blood he’d dripped on her. “Min kära, that was fantastic. Are you OK?”
“Oh yes, more than OK, this is going in my book of memories.”
“Let’s get a quick shower; we need to be in the light tight room. I’ll give you some blood once we’re in bed.”
“Can you carry me?”
On the final night of their stay in New Orleans they only need to go to the palace to pick-up Andre then they could return to Shreveport. While sitting with Eric in the back had been nice for the trip down, they decided to keep their intimacy more private and Andre rode up front with Eric while Thalia sat in the back with Sookie. Andre seemed well behaved in his seat, but anyone could see that he was seething and Sookie questioned the wisdom of having him in Shreveport for the remainder of his 38 nights. The decision had been made, so she just trusted Eric to keep her safe. Thalia turned to her. “Mistress, I was wondering…”
Ander cut her off. “MISTRESS? Why do you call her that? Is this an order from Northman? She is not your Mistress.”
“Andre, I suggest you remember the words of your maker and Queen from just thirty minutes ago.” Eric started with barely controlled anger. “I am your MASTER; you are my SLAVE. You don’t talk unless I give you permission.”
Now Sookie was sure this was NOT a good idea. ‘He’s going to hold a grudge, and when he returns to the palace, he’s back to being above us in the hierarchy.’ She kept her own mouth shut and closed her eyes. When she woke, she was leaning against Thalia and Pam laughed saying ‘got it’. Sookie was confused until Pam turned her phone around and showed Sookie a picture of her resting on Thalia. “Pam, delete that. You know she doesn’t want anyone to see that.”
“No way, this is pure gold.”
They filed into the office where Eric sat at his desk and asked Pam for a report on the area. Andre glared from Eric to Sookie, clearly upset that he would cover Area business with a human in the room. Eric took care of the problem. “That human is already privy to more Louisiana business than most vampires. She stays and you won’t glare at her. Actually, Pam, could you find Maxwell, I need him for something before we begin.”
Sookie sighed and took out her laptop to catch up on homework. Her work hours the past few days had prevented her from doing schoolwork and she didn’t want to get too far behind. When Maxwell entered the office with Pam, Sookie looked up, she knew what was coming and she truly didn’t want to miss any of it. Andre was GOING to be a pain when he returned to the palace no matter what, so she decided to enjoy it. Maxwell addressed the room. “Sheriff, welcome back. Mistress, I trust your work went well at the palace?”
“Yes, Maxwell, thank you for asking. How is your lovely Amy?”
“Fine Mistress, I’ll tell her you were asking about her.”
Eric requested. “Maxwell, can you drive Andre to pick up his car?”
The corners of Maxwell’s mouth twitched just a bit, but he managed to keep it under control. “Certainly Sheriff.”
“Andre, my car is out back.” Maxwell gestured to the backdoor.
“What’s going on? What car?”
“Well, we can’t chauffer you around Shreveport. That would defeat the purpose of having a slave. I’ve procured a, how should I describe it, hmm, a ‘classic’ Gremlin for you. Ironically, nobody wanted to drive such an exquisite piece of machinery so it would be here when you arrived, but Maxwell agreed to drive you to its current location. He has the keys already. When you come back, Pam will have your list of errands.”
The door slammed behind them as they walked out and the three of them burst into laughter. Sookie had seen pictures of the car and it was hideous. Rust spots covered what was left of the bright yellow and black paint job. The seats were mismatched and she wasn’t sure they looked healthy. She knew for sure she would never put her ass down on one of them for fear it carried a disease. She couldn’t wait to see Mr. Prissy pants drive the thing while he hunted down La Perla underwear for Pam. Too bad Andre’s allergy to the sun was going to prevent him from doing some of the more embarrassing errands like drop offs to Goodwill.
Eric was behind on some work, so he shocked Sookie and called it an early night. “I have a surprise for you min älskade.”
“If I tell you, it’s not a surprise.”
“How long do I need to wait?”
“Not long. Let’s head out.”
“They drove only a short while until they pulled up to a fancy French Restaurant.”
“Is it still open?”
“I booked it for this late.”
“Luckily I’m in a ‘palace worthy’ dress.”
“I knew you would be, I’d never let you be unprepared.”
“You seem melancholy, what’s going on?”
“I think the time at the palace, when we were separated for so long each night wore on me, that’s all.” He sped around and reached for her hand to help her out of the car. “Come, I understand the food here is the best in Shreveport.”
“I have no doubt. I’ve heard of this place for years, but never dreamed I would be able to eat here.”
They held hands into the restaurant and to the table, Sookie ignoring the hostess who wanted to know why Eric was with a fat chick. “Eric, the restaurant is empty.”
“Yes, I rented it for the evening.”
She shook her head at the extravagance but said nothing. The menu was in French so Eric ordered for Sookie. She trusted him, he spent enough time with her when they ate that he would know what she liked and didn’t. They talked about nothing important while she ate and when they were leaving he swooped her up and carried her out, even while she protested the whole time. The New Orleans trip had been hard and exhausting and as usual, Eric knew just what they needed.
“I have another surprise.” He told her as he walked passed his Corvette towards the B&B across the street.
“This place has a whirlpool bath and I thought you would enjoy a change.”
“Ok, but you didn’t have to do this, we haven’t been home, that would’ve been nice too.”
She felt that pang of sadness or something from Eric. “Eric?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t think about that.”
“No worries, we’ll only be here a few hours before we have to head home to your light tight chamber.” He simply nodded and walked into the B&B using the key Pam had already procured.
“We have the honeymoon suite min kära.” He walked down the hall to the guest room with the door open. “Pam has already dropped off a bag for each of us.”
“That was nice.”
He placed her on the bed and went to fill the whirlpool tub while she checked out her bag. “SHE PACKED ME THONGS! She knows I hate those.” She could hear him chuckle over the sound of the water.
“You don’t need anything right now, actually, you better be stripping!” She felt a burst of amusement and lust and decided her Eric was back; that they just needed this alone time. “Ahh, good girl, you were stripping.”
“Silly, how could I take my bath with my clothes on?” She ran to the bathroom and shut the door.
He stripped himself then went to go into the bath. It was locked. “Sookie?”
“Sookie.” He tried again, this time he heard giggling. “What are you doing?”
“I’m taking my bath.”
“That ‘s OUR bath.”
“Oh, I had no idea. You better come in then, before it gets cold.”
“You locked the door.”
“Then I’ll finish and be right out.” More giggling.
“Sookie, we only have about three….”
She surprised him and moved quietly over the sound of the whirlpool jets and swung the door open. She hadn’t even gotten in the tub at all. What she had done was dress in the same babydoll she’d worn the first night they made love. His eyes bugged out when he saw her. Pam was getting a present. She knew how much he liked that babydoll. “The best part is I have a duplicate of this babydoll Eric.” He moved his hands to grab it. “So you can….”
“rip it. But I guess you had that planned already.”
Eric carried her into the tub and proceeded to tenderly wash every inch of her body. Sookie described the feeling from him as reverence, or perhaps it was like he was savoring the moment, but that didn’t make sense. When he carried her to the bed, he laid her down gently; then lit some of the candles in the room while she waited for him. He returned and proceeded to make love to her. Slow, tender and almost calm love. They’d enjoyed the bloodlust from the past nights, but this was truly as they were expressing their love and Sookie cried from the powerful feelings bouncing in the bond. Like their first night, he kissed or licked ever inch of her flesh before rising up and entering her. His strokes were slow and he whispered words of his love to her with each one. Normally loud, this mating was quiet, only the soft sounds of their flesh touching and his whispers. They both came quietly and he held her while she cried after. When Sookie finally looked up, she noticed his eyes were rimmed in red.
“Won’t you please tell me what’s wrong?”
He nodded and sat up a bit, straddling her over his legs. “Sookie, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Your place right now is with your Gran.”
“I can spend time with Gran at Rehab each day. We’ve talked about this.”
“You also talked about wanting her to rehab at home. I want that for her too.”
“OK, none of this should be causing the feelings I’m getting from you. You’re scaring me.”
“Sookie, I want you to go live with your Gran.”
“For a while . . . that’s what you mean, right?”
“No Sookie. I . . . I release you. You’re no longer my prisoner. You will still have my protection and the protection of the Area 5 vampires. Actually as a registered asset, approved by the Queen, you have the protection of every vampire in the state.”
“The Queen! You can’t just release me.”
“No, you are released; officially, the judgment and punishment have been set aside. I didn’t tell you sooner because I wanted to make the appropriate arrangements for you to be safe and for your Gran to rehabilitate at home.” She started crying and shaking her head. “It’s for the best Sookie. My world is violent. You will be protected and I will still see you when you have to work for the Queen.”
“SEE ME FOR WORK?” She started screaming. “You son of a bitch, you aren’t just releasing me from prison, you’re breaking up with me?” Now she started beating his chest while sobbing. “How could you? We love each other.” He let her go on for several minutes, yelling and sobbing and slapping until he finally grabbed her arms.
“Let me explain.”
“Nothing could explain this, NOTHING.”
“I want you to think back to before we met. Would you EVER have considered a life with a vampire?”
“That’s a dumb question. That’s like asking a Catholic if they ever considered marrying a Jew. You fall in love with who you fall in love with. Jesus! Too many people are all up in arms about labels.”
“It’s not just a label and you know it. You can’t have my children.”
“And I told you before I never thought I would have children. I told you that before we were dating.”
“Then why did I get such sadness from you when you spoke to Theresa about her desires? What happens 17 years from now when you realize you made a mistake?” She started the head shaking and sobbing again. “I spoke to one of my vampire colleagues at the palace, the visit before last. He had a companion that also just chose to leave him for a normal life and family. I don’t want resentment from you in 5 years.”
“That won’t happen.”
“What about the fact that you can’t share over half of your awake life with me?”
“I would rather have half my time with you then live without you for all my time. And you’re forgetting one big thing.” He raised his brow. “I’m not a normal human. I can’t be with a human man. Hell, my telepathy has improved so much since we bonded, I could never even consider a shifter or a Were.”
“So I’m acceptable leftovers?”
“THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT!” She hit him again. “Don’t do this, please don’t do this. You told me you couldn’t live without me.”
“Unfortunately, neither can you. We will have to exchange blood as long as you are alive or we will suffer from bonding sickness.”
“That’s all you meant when you said that?”
“No, that’s not what I meant and you know it.” He took an unnecessary breath. “But I won’t meet the sun while you are alive. It wouldn’t kill you, but it would cause you considerable pain and suffering and I won’t do that to you.”
“I don’t understand why you are doing this. You love me, I can feel that.”
“I’m doing this BECAUSE I love you. I want more for you than me.”
“Was this some sick plan all along?”
“No, I only started thinking about this after your Gran had the stroke and you talked about rehab at home.”
“Then let’s just focus on the rehab at home and still see each other as much as we can.”
“Sookie, I said that’s what caused me to think of it. Not the only reason.” He grabbed her hands to comfort her, but she pulled them away. “I’m afraid that the beauty, the light that is you will be gone if you stay with me in darkness. I can’t watch that happen. I can’t.”
“You bastard! You made me fall in love you; now you’re leaving me.” She got up to get away from him and he was crushed.
“Potts is outside waiting to drive you to Gran’s.”
“That’s Adele or Mrs. Stackhouse to you. You don’t deserve to call her Gran.” Ouch, he knew he deserved it. She would understand in time. He needed to do this. She deserved more than he could ever provide.
Throwing on the jeans and shirt Pam had packed for her she yelled out. “I can’t believe Pam didn’t warn me about this, try to soften the blow. I thought she was my friend.”
“She IS your friend, she doesn’t know. I kept her out of the loop.” Sookie looked at him in shock. “Thalia is moving into your Gran’s in the safe room for the foreseeable future. Potts will be there as well for your day security. There will also be Weres.”
“I want you not all those other stand-ins.”
“You’ll understand in time. Now, we need to head out, dawn is approaching rapidly.”
Sookie stood firm in the room. “I won’t leave.”
“Sookie, I MUST leave. As it is, I might have to dig a hole for the day.” He moved back to her. “I’m leaving for Dallas tonight to help Godric. The Fellowship issue is becoming too big in his state and his King made an arrangement with our Queen for me to help. That’s why we spent the past few days in New Orleans, so you could read everyone she wanted. Part of my deal for being in Texas is that she won’t reach out for your talent while I’m gone. She also won’t discuss your talent with any other states; she owes me since she didn’t let me kill Bill, Lorena and Andre for the blood offense.”
“You’re, you’re really leaving me?” The tears started again, he anger gone for the moment and replaced only with despair. “Please, don’t.”
“It’s for the best. I must go now.” He headed for the door and she ran to him. She clung and begged him not to go. “Sookie, even if we weren’t changing our relationship I still must leave now. Because of both the dawn and the arrangement made with Texas.”
“NOOOOOOOO. I’ll fight for you. I’ll stalk you, I won’t give up.” She wailed as she ran after him, grasping his arm, trying to pull him back, but he kept walking using the approaching sun as his excuse. He only had a few minutes now; digging a hole would be necessary.
When he got to the door, Potts was already there with Alcide and Peter. Never emotional, Potts had tears in her own eyes for Sookie’s pain – and a glare of anger for Eric; she clearly did not agree with his decision. Alcide had never seen anything so heartbreaking: Sookie was sobbing and begging while she kept trying to cling to Eric and pull him back. Eric was stone faced, but he could see a small amount of red starting to pool in his eyes. Alcide would never call it out to Eric or tell anyone, but it was there nonetheless. So overcome with emotion, neither Potts nor Alcide could speak so Peter explained his presence. “Eric, we thought you might be cutting it close so we have a coffin ready for you in the back of the SUV. We also have one of Ludwig’s little helpers for Sookie. Perhaps you can get her in the back of Potts’s car; then I’ll close you up in the coffin?”
Eric nodded and handed the clothing bags to Alcide; then picked up Sookie. She wrapped her arms around his neck and continued to weep as he walked her to the backseat where Potts had already position herself, the shot from Ludwig ready. Just before he placed her in the car he whispered. “I will always love you min älskade, there will never be another for me but I want you to live a life in the sunshine. I know time will heal this pain.” Her voice was too overcome to respond through her crying but she vehemently shook her head to indicate just how wrong he was. Once Potts had her, he shut the door and gave her the sign for wish and when she saw it, she screwed her eyes up in pain and looked away. For Eric, it was the first time in hundreds of years he wished he wasn’t a vampire.
In my head, I’ve been writing this chapter for a few weeks, always listening to Maroon 5’s Daylight. On top of the fact that this would have been hard to write, the day that I wrote this was April 25, a SVM day of horror for me as I finally permitted myself to check out the spoilers for the last Sookie book. I was kinda upset (understatement) at CH’s decision THEN wrote this. Can anyone say TISSUE? And honestly, how do you explain all that crying to your husband? Um, a fictional character in a book didn’t end up with the right man; then I decided to write the chapter where I break them up in my book? Yeah, no sympathy for that.