Chapter 1 – Eyes wide open
Ginger’s phone rang at 4:30 AM; it was her master, Eric Northman, calling from Fangtasia. Without explanation, he ordered her to shop for a list of specific food items and have them at Fangtasia no later than 6:00 AM. Since her loyalty was without question, even if most of her other thoughts were a puzzle; she dressed, shopped, and arrived within 45 minutes of his call. Once there, she was shocked to see Bill’s human, Sookie Stackhouse, resting on the sofa in Eric’s office. Earlier that morning, she’d heard when Sookie arrived and master called a doctor. Whatever injured Bill’s human must have been bad to leave all those wounds still covering her back.
Now, several hours later, Ginger sat and waited for her charge to wake. Dr. Ludwig had left very specific instructions for Sookie’s care and she’d done everything on the list. Sookie’s back had been washed and treated with a numbing salve so she wouldn’t feel the pain. Ginger brushed her ‘patient’s’ hair, trying to get the blood out as best she could. Since she couldn’t dress her without help, Ginger just covered her up and rested in Eric’s chair.
Finally, around noon, she heard sounds coming from the sofa. “Sookie, you’re finally waking up. How do you feel?”
“Ginger?” The woman made an affirmative ah hah before Sookie answered. “I feel horrible, but not like I’m going to die anymore.”
“Based on what Master Eric told me, that’s an improvement. Do you want anything?”
“I have that. Got a straw too so you can stay mostly flat on your stomach for now. Dr. Ludwig gave me some numbing cream – I can put that on in a minute. After that we might be able to move you a bit and get you dressed.”
Though she had a blanket covering her, Sookie was pretty much exposed and had been out for a while. She had no idea who had seen what body parts and given the pain she had been in – and was still in – she couldn’t find it in herself to worry about exposure at the moment. With more care than Sookie thought was possible, Ginger gave her sips of water then coated her back in the cream from Ludwig. After the numbing took effect, she helped Sookie sit up and get into a large Fangtasia shirt and what looked like a pair of Eric’s boxers. Sookie argued that she was probably bloody and Ginger calmed her saying she took advantage of her unconscious state and cleaned her. Since Sookie was moving so slowly, it took a while to get her changed making her tired again and she went back to sleep for a few more hours. When she woke for a second time she felt significantly better and even sat up and asked for food.
“I’ve got a sandwich for you.”
“Thanks Ginger. I really appreciate this.”
“It’s not a problem. Master Eric is giving me tonight off. He’s resting downstairs today.”
“What about Bill?”
“He went home before sunrise.”
“He went home? He left me here?”
“Master had obtained my services to care for you by then. Bill tried to get someone named Jason but he wasn’t answering. It seemed better to keep you here.”
“He couldn’t rest downstairs?”
“He kinda left in a huff. I think he was pretty upset that Master was obviously so concerned for you.” Not able to hide her surprise at that comment, Sookie just gaped at Ginger. “You didn’t know about Master’s feelings for you?”
“How much he wants to fuck me?”
“That’s not what he wants.” Sookie raised one eyebrow at her. “Well, knowing him, he wants that too.” She giggled a bit with Sookie. “From what I’ve heard – you know he and Pam can argue – that’s not all he wants and Pam teases him.”
That was curious and exciting but Sookie quickly brushed it aside even waving her hand as she replied. “It doesn’t matter, I’m with Bill.”
Ginger took Sookie’s trash from her meal handing her some water and a pill. “That pill is for the pain; Dr. Ludwig said you could have it after you ate something.” Sookie thanked her and took the pill. Ginger continued to strike up conversation. So, how long you been Bill’s?”
“I hate that terminology. We’ve been dating since June.”
“I didn’t think pets and Masters dated.”
“I’m not his pet. I’m his girlfriend. Bill is mainstreaming.”
“I’ve never met a vampire that truly mainstreamed. Master Eric doesn’t believe Bill.”
“Yes, he’s made that clear to me before.”
Ginger sat next to Sookie, suddenly interested in the conversation. If she learned about Sookie’s relationship with Bill, then Master Eric would be very grateful; he might even reward her. “Tell me about you and Bill. I enjoy a good love story.” She moved closer with her elbow on her knee and her chin resting on her fist – right in Sookie’s face. “When did you first meet?”
Sookie was surprised to find that Ginger, of all people, was a good listener. Given that the pain pill was pretty strong she spoke more freely than normal. “He came into Merlotte’s one night and he was silent. I couldn’t hear is mind and it was refreshing.” Sookie continued telling Ginger about the drainers that she’d heard that night – openly discussing her telepathy. Even though Ginger had been part of Sookie’s mind reading when they were looking for the Fangtasia thief, she’d been glamoured to forget so she stopped Sookie to ask about her telepathy. Again, since she was a bit loopy from the pain pill, she simply answered the questions then got back to the story about Bill. Ginger was enthralled listening to Sookie describe how Mack and Denise Rattray had bound Bill with silver, that she’d saved him by hurting the Rattrays, and then she refused the blood he offered in thanks.
“Blood? He offered you his blood?”
“He did. It was in vials from the Rattrays collecting it. He didn’t offer to let me bite him or anything.”
“Did ya take it?”
“That’s good ‘cause then you wouldn’t know if you really love Bill or if he built the attraction.”
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN!?” Sookie was more than a little upset at that comment. Her body flinched in pain since she’s also jerked away from Ginger in reaction to what she’d heard.
“Do you need more numbing cream?”
“No – I want to know what you meant about vampire blood.”
“Vampire blood does all kinds of things to humans.”
“Yes, Bill told me it would make me look younger and increase my libido.”
“Well sure but there’s other stuff. He can send you dreams – have you had those? He can track you now – like his blood looking for his blood.” Ginger shrugged not really understanding the words she was saying. “He can feel and influence your emotions.”
“INFLUENCE? Send dreams?”
“Yeah, the dreams are supposed to make you even more attracted to him. If you hated him, it wouldn’t make you love him right away but if you were attracted to him he could make that grow into love quickly.” Ginger handed Sookie the water again; she’d been told to have her drink lots of fluids. “Why are you getting upset? You said you didn’t drink his blood.”
“That first night I didn’t.”
“OH, you mean you did some other time? Were you already in love with him then?” Sookie’s tears started before Ginger even got the whole question out. “Oh Sookie, I guess not. Tell me what happened.”
“Bill came in a few nights later and I asked him to meet me after work. You see, my Gran wanted to meet Bill and see if he would speak with her friends about his time in the Civil War. He agreed and we made plans for him to meet me after the bar closed that night.”
“Were you attracted to him then?”
Sookie was quiet as she thought through the question. His silence was nice; he was good looking enough – not striking. “I was interested in him. It could have had some attraction with it.”
“Hmmm. So what happened when you met him after your shift?”
With a grimace, Sookie told the story of the Rattrays revenge. “Bill wasn’t there; I waited for a bit and finally gave up. On the way to my car, the Rattrays came after me. It was strange, I usually hear thoughts if I have my shields down – and I was trying to listen out for Bill.”
“I thought you said you couldn’t hear vampires?”
“I can’t; I feel an empty bubble where their head is. And each vampire feels different to me. I can tell Bill, Eric and Pam apart now. Anyway, they beat me so much I thought I was going to die; Bill finally appeared and healed me with his blood. That’s when those dreams started that you mentioned.” At those words, Sookie blushed and added with a whisper, “Really sexy dreams.” She paused to shake off the bad thoughts and continued. “He came to see me and my Gran two nights later. Now that I think of it, it was really strange; it was like I was bursting to see him.”
“Now you love him.”
“But can I be sure?”
“Tell me about your relationship; let’s see if we can figure it out. Where do you go on dates? What stuff do you like to do together?”
The questions, innocently asked, had Sookie dumbfounded. The past few weeks of memories passed through her mind and she couldn’t come up with anything except that they had sex or she sat while Bill worked on his computer program. She liked to read; he liked Wii Golf. She liked to go out; he preferred to stay at home. She liked to work; Bill kept trying to tell her to quit or only work days so she would have more time for him. “Bill’s never taken me on a date.”
“But you said you were dating?”
“He sometimes drives me home from work. Usually we just spend time at my house or his. We live next door to each other, well separated by a cemetery it’s not like he has to drive to see me.”
“What does that have to do with anything? No dinner out? Dancing? Movies?”
“Bill doesn’t let me eat in front of him. I love dancing, but Bill doesn’t. Movies can be hard for me but I can go.”
NOTE – this section in bold simply because it was missing when I first posted the chapter. I’ll take this note down and unbold it in a few days.
Trying to be encouraging, Ginger put a big smile on her face and offered that dates don’t need to be any of those things. She went on a long speech about how just being together was nice; that if he loved and cared for her, that was all that mattered. The problem was Sookie wasn’t sure that was true. The more Ginger spoke, the more her concerns grew. A few times, Bill had hurt her before – physically hurt her. Bill always apologized and somehow she always forgave him. Recalling what Bill had done jarred her; Adele Stackhouse, her Gran, hadn’t raised her to be a doormat. Ginger broke her out of her thoughts. “Whatcha thinking ‘bout over there?” Ginger stared at Sookie as if she was the mind reader and expressed her thoughts. “He never mistreated you did he?” Sookie caressed her elbow unconsciously and simply nodded. “Tell me.”
“It’s not so bad – one time it was necessary. I was here. I talked smart to Eric and Bill was truly concerned. ‘Course he could’ve taught me more about protocol rather than just hurting me.”
“He just squeezed my elbow but hard enough that it was bruised for a few days. The other time was just jealousy I guess.”
“Ooh, did you go out with someone?” Ginger asked.
“No, nothing like that. I went out shopping one night. You see, we had a killer loose in Bon Temps that was targeting women associated with vampires. I was scared to be home alone at night and Bill was attending some meeting for a few days so I drove to the mall here in Shreveport. I ran into Eric and he can be fun you know – I completely forgot to be scared for a while. Anyway, he shopped with me. He didn’t even care that we were in the kids department; I was buying a present for a friend’s child. We even just hung out until the mall closed then he took me for an ice cream sundae.” Remembering the evening, Sookie giggled. “It was interesting eating in front of Eric. He kept asking me – ‘what does that part taste like’? Ginger – have you ever tried to describe how chocolate or bananas taste to someone who has only had blood for 1000 years?” That comment had both women laughing now. “He walked me to my car and I hugged him in thanks for the fun evening.” She smiled at the memory for a moment and Ginger watched as it turned into a frown.
“Fast forward a few days. I wound up in the hospital ‘cause the killer DID come after me while Bill was gone – turns out he was my friend’s fiancé! There was a big dog that came and helped me fight him off –thank God for that. The dog – guess it was more like a wolf, ran off when the cops arrived. “She put a finger on her chin like she was thinking then added, “hmm, I wonder if he was a Were? I can’t hear their thoughts when they’re in animal form. Anyway, Bill returned from his meetings. He drove me home from the hospital and promised to take care of me. That’s when things fell apart. He carried me to my bedroom and while he was settling me in – his nose went up like a bloodhound would when it catches a scent. You know what I mean?” Ginger nodded but didn’t say anything; she was too invested in the story to break Sookie’s train of thought. “He was furious as he dug through my hamper and pulled out the dress I’d worn to the mall.” Sookie shivered at the memory. “He grabbed me on my upper arms and lifted me roughly from the bed before he even spoke. I didn’t know why he was so upset. The yelling started next. He accused me of sneaking around with Eric while he was gone. I tr . . . tried to explain and he just kept screaming at me.” She took a sip of water before continuing. “After a while he settled and I explained. He apologized for being overly rough but told me that per vampire custom, I had been wrong to spend time – even what appeared to be innocent time – with Eric and it was Bill’s obligation to correct me. It wasn’t too bad, but it did leave bruises.”
“Yeah – but that’s the part that doesn’t jive with his so-called mainstreaming. At least he cares for you though too – that’s part of the package. He keeps up your house and he protects you?” Ginger tilted her head to the side in question. “What did I say now?”
“I don’t want to be a kept woman!” It was almost barked out.
“Hey – I’m just sayin’ what I hear around Fangtasia. Most of the women here would kill to be a vampire pet; the clothes and money. Protection probably isn’t so important to them but you seem like you could use it.” Her eyes narrowed for a second then she added. “But he left you when there was a killer loose.”
“I know.” Unable to hide her disappointment at that eye-opener, Sookie looked down. Other instances where Bill hadn’t been there for her crept in, starting with the very first time he was late and the Rattrays got her. Next was Longshadow’s attack; it was Eric who stepped in to save her. When Rene had been captured, she was in the hospital and it was Eric who flew by to check on her. Later she discovered from one of the nurse’s thoughts that Eric actually came in while she was asleep and sat by her bed. Without realizing it, she spoke aloud. “I never even thanked him for that.”
“Thanked who? Doesn’t sound like you need to thank Bill for anything.”
“Not Bill, something Eric did.”
“Sookie, why did you or rather why do you stay with Bill?”
“I don’t know. It’s almost like I started to excuse his behavior in my head even though I didn’t want to.”
“Did you have any of those dreams when this happened?”
“Oh God Ginger, every night I have those dreams.”
“I wonder if he’s manipulating you to forgive him.” Ginger shook her head from side to side. “Sookie . . .”
Sookie knew that tone – it was pity.
“Ok, let’s forget that for a moment. What about this. Think back to your other boyfriends. Is he someone you would’ve dated before?”
“I never dated before Bill.”
Ginger’s eyes went wide. “NEVER?!”
“Nope; just a kiss once.”
“Well think about it now.” She returned to sitting right next to her. “What men would you date if you could?”
Sookie quickly rattled off a checklist of requirements. “A gentleman – not just for show – but all the time. Someone who would make me laugh. Sexy – but faithful to me. Interested in the books I read, how my day was, what makes me tick.”
“So ask yourself, is that Bill?” This was GINGER – the idiot – asking her the right questions. How is that? “You don’t even need to answer me right now – just answer it for you. If you ask me, sounds like you described Master Eric.”
“Except the faithful part Ginger.”
There was a mischievous glint in Ginger’s eye as she leaned into Sookie. “Master hasn’t had anyone in weeks. Pam openly blames you. That’s all I’m saying.”
Sookie could only look in shock at Ginger’s last thoughts. ‘Did I describe ERIC as the type of man I’d want to date? The same Eric I’d been convinced only wanted to fuck me? Course, Bill is the one who convinced me of that. Had Eric really STOPPED having sex with the fangbangers?’
“I’m going to get us some supper. You just rest.”
Ginger left Sookie to her thoughts. She started evaluating Bill against her ‘man’ requirements. Bill certainly acted like a gentleman when they were in public. That same personality was around most of the time they were together. It wasn’t there right away though and sometimes a different version of Bill did appear. After she saved him from the Rattrays, he was gruff and crude. At the time she’d forgiven his rude behavior thinking the poor man had been in pain. That same crude and even mean Bill would come out, usually when he wanted something – her time, sex, or other compliance – and she said NO. They would fight and now that Sookie was really thinking about it, she would be ready to leave him and yet by the next night, she was all ready to forgive and move forward. ‘Was he manipulating me with dreams, sending me feelings?’
Deciding he really only acted like a gentleman, she moved onto the next topic on her list: someone who made her laugh. Unfortunately, that was too easily evaluated. Bill did not make her laugh. An occasional funny thing would happen but nope, he was a stick in the mud. Comparing Bill to Eric was almost laughable (pun intended). The one night she’d spent with Eric outside the bar had been all fun. They laughed over funny items for sale, they snickered at some of the ‘fashions’ on the folks shopping (shameless she knew), and he had her clutching her sides from laughing too hard at the ice cream parlor. Course, he was telling stories about Pam but they were funny. When she mentioned how different he was at that time, he quickly explained Sheriff Eric versus the real Eric. When he said it then, it made sense but thinking about it now warmed her heart. He was very serious about his need to appear a certain way, and yet for her he knocked down those walls and just had fun. That was something she hadn’t spent time thinking about until now. Since the night at the mall, they’d been exchanging texts as well. Mostly, Eric’s texts were somewhere between flirty and downright naughty – and always fun. It was no contest, Eric was fun; Bill had a stick up his ass.
Onto the next item: sexy but faithful. She had no doubt Bill was faithful but sexy? ‘I’m just moving on from that one. I’m too new to sex so maybe it’s me that’s the problem. I mean, Bill enjoys it. I think I’ve had an orgasm or two but some women don’t get there anyway.’ She was lying to herself and she knew it. If anyone would know what is possible during sex it was a telepath. The sex lives of the Bon Temps residents were open books to her. Sookie knew who really got the most out of sex, who was faking, who was avoiding . . . nope, no secrets there. That information extended to Shreveport now and she knew from the minds at Fangtasia that the women who’d spent time with the Viking were always satisfied. Yes, Eric was the definition of sexy if she had to admit it.
Now she was down to her final category: wanting someone who was interested in her. Bill failed before she even got the whole thought through her head. If she tried to tell him about her day, or the news article she read, or something that had happened to a friend, he would focus on her for a moment or two, looking bored, then give her a stiff smile and say something like ‘that’s nice dear’ and move onto something else. In fact, she was pretty sure she and Eric shared more of their life stories together in one evening than Bill and she had shared during the entire relationship. It was almost like an alarm went off in her head but she was still too weak to really get around and ‘act’ on anything at the moment. Besides, the last thing she needed was for Bill to get angry again. Her next moves needed to be handled carefully. She didn’t want to be manipulated right back into his arms again.
“You OK there Sookie?”
“Ok, ‘cause you look like you’ve just had a revelation.” Sookie was shocked at what Ginger had just said and it must have shown on her face. “You know Sookie, an AHA moment.”
Sookie knew what a revelation was; Ginger knowing it was what shocked her. In a day that Sookie would swear she dreamed, Ginger surprised her yet again. Ginger, the Fangtasia idiot, had her re-evaluating her relationship with Bill. Ginger, the woman who frequently parked her car only to have it roll out of the spot because she forgot to put it in park, had suggested Eric as her preferred type/person? Ginger, who thought her Harlequin Romances were literature, had just used the word revelation appropriately? Ginger, who forgot to eat all the time, was now making Sookie soup for dinner. Sookie looked up with her mouth still open in shock and was actually relieved to find that Ginger had in fact put the whole can of soup in the microwave starting a small fire. The act of stupidity actually grounded Sookie before her thoughts spiraled out of control. ‘Maybe,’ she chuckled to herself. ‘The day is real after all.’
A little over an hour before sunrise, Eric woke from his day death. Pam rested next to him and wouldn’t rise for another hour. His age gave him the luxury of staying awake after the sun rose and rising before it fully set each day, though he had to stay out of the light. This evening would be very entertaining since he could smell Sookie still here. Fangtasia’s basement was light tight as was his office unless someone opened the door. That was a risk he didn’t want to take with Ginger being involved, so he stayed downstairs for now. Besides, he promised himself that he would watch the security feed from the day – just to ensure that Ginger cared for Sookie as he instructed. Truthfully, he also glamoured his pathetic bar manager to engage Sookie in conversation giving him the opportunity to learn as much as possible about his little obsession. Yes, Sookie had become his complete obsession in the past few weeks; he wasn’t about to ignore it any longer.
Eric couldn’t decide if he wanted to watch the live feed or the recording from the day. Since Ginger was currently putting out a small fire and Sookie looked like she was almost laughing about it – he started with the live feed but quickly abandoned that for the recording since once the fire was out Sookie took over to cook so they could eat. Gods! Ginger was an imbecile.
Eric sped through the recording of Ginger bathing Sookie and the first wake up since they really didn’t talk much – it was more about getting Sookie numbed up and dressed. With great difficulty, he did NOT look at any parts of Sookie’s exposed body. Had it been any other woman he would’ve looked but not Sookie; she deserved his respect in this way. Of course any other woman wouldn’t be worthy of this level of attention. He fast forwarded the security recording until Sookie woke again. He was pleased to see Ginger following Ludwig’s instructions for Sookie’s care. The information he’d fed to Ginger about his fascination with Sookie made its way into the conversation and it definitely gave Sookie pause. She had thought, as he suspected, that he only wanted to fuck her or use her. That he had romantic desires was clearly news to his little obsession.
Exactly as he’d implanted with his glamour, Ginger guided Sookie into a conversation about Bill and their relationship. It was a pathetic move on his part, he knew it, but he had to know if he had a chance of winning the tiny spitfire from Bill. Rage grew, and he had to actively calm himself when he heard about the drainers in Bon Temps, that Sookie fought them off, and then they came back for revenge. It all seemed too convenient; a way for Bill to give her his blood thereby giving him a tool to influence her through dreams and manipulated feelings. He knew she’d had his blood but he had no idea it happened so soon after they met. He was glad he’d fed Ginger the information on the dreams and feelings Bill could send as it seemed Sookie was now concerned about the origins of her feelings for the Civil War Vet. Ginger was doing quite well. Eric was smirking even though he was sitting by himself, very pleased with what he’d learned until Ginger asked if Bill had ever mistreated Sookie. The smirk was gone and the rage was back. He recalled when Bill grabbed her elbow at her first visit to Fangtasia. Sookie hadn’t even winced – giving credit to her poker face – so he was shocked to learn that Bill’s correction left bruises that lasted for days.
When Sookie continued, Eric felt something in addition to rage grow within him: guilt. He’d met her at the mall on purpose. Because Bill had left her when a killer was loose in town, Eric hired a Were to protect her and the guard called Eric when she arrived at the mall. Their meeting at the mall was not a coincidence; nor was the wolf that appeared when Rene attacked her. The time at the mall was truly enjoyable for him and Sookie obviously felt the same way. That made him happy until she told Ginger that Bill grabbed her brutally after smelling him on her dress. He had no idea Bill was violent with Sookie. Eric wanted to pull the lesser vampire apart but this situation needed to be handled delicately. Sookie still had his blood, and per vampire law, Bill owned her.
As the two women continued to talk, he noted that Ginger made comments about how she forgave Bill over and over again. Sookie would never be a doormat; she wasn’t raised that way. He simply had to find a way to get Sookie out from under Bill’s control. He shot off an email to a witch he’d hired many times, Octavia Fant, and requested that she investigate how to break a blood tie. His vampire child, Pam, was copied on the email in case he needed her to help follow-up or make arrangements.
Eric’s anger abated a bit seeing Sookie’s reaction when Ginger told her about his lack of sex; her look of shock was priceless. Even more amusing was that he hadn’t even fed that one to Ginger. It was completely true and very much noticed by the Fangtasia employees and clientele. Since the night at the mall, Eric had no time for any other women. He drank bagged blood and abstained from sex. That thought had him glancing at his hand, and he conceded that his ‘no sex’ policy had the exception of relieving himself nightly while envisioning Sookie in the white and red dress she was wearing when he first met her.
The next few moments of the recording caught him up to the current live picture. They’d both finished some soup and Sookie needed a human moment in the ladies room. Leaning heavily on Ginger, they both were just walking out of the office as the sun finally set. Eric made his way up the stairs to greet his lovely guest. “Good evening Sookie, Ginger.”
“Master.” Ginger bowed making Eric a little green. She was loyal but pathetic.
“Eric. Thank you for having Ginger stay with me today. She was good company.”
“I’m glad to hear it.”
“Master, I’m just helping Sookie to the ladies room, we’ll be right back.”
Using the time Sookie was taking care of business, Eric found Ginger and glamoured the knowledge of Sookie’s telepathy and Weres away; then left her to finis helping Sookie. When the ladies returned to the office, Eric released Ginger. “Ginger, you can go. You have the night off as we discussed.”
“Thank you Master.” This time Sookie giggled quietly.
When the door closed behind Ginger, she had to knock so Eric could open it again as she managed to trap her purse behind her and the door automatically locked when closed. After getting her completely out the door, Eric turned to Sookie and they both burst out laughing. “Eric, the . . . the best is,” she paused to laugh some more, “she, she put a can of soup in the microwave – and I’m telling you . . . she put in the whole can – and the paper label burst into flames.” Sookie laughed again that stopped short when she moved her back to much. “Owww!”
Seeing her suddenly in pain stopped Eric’s laughter as well. “What can I get you?”
“The cream? I don’t like the pill it made me too loopy.”
“Pam is showering, if you can wait just a few minutes she can apply it.”
Her first reaction was to bite her lip and Eric had to will his erection down at the action. Every little thing this woman did set him off. “I know I should say yes and wait but I moved too damn much with the laughing. Can you behave?”
His answer was serious. “Yes Sookie; I will.”
“Thank you. I’ll rest on my stomach here; can you pull the shirt up once I’m down?” He nodded. “Oh, and there’s gloves Ludwig left.”
“I find I’m too curious to see if this will numb my fingers.”
“Ooookay, suit yourself.”
Eric grabbed some large binder clips from his desk drawer and once Sookie was situated, he pulled the shirt up, bunched it together and clipped it out of his way. At his first pass over a mark she winced and he stopped. “Keep going Eric. It’s worth it.” So he continued coating her back then carefully pulled the shirt over and rested it on the cream. “I know this is weird for talking, but I’ll stay like this since the cream needs to work in.” Sookie was referring to the fact that she was on her stomach with her head turned to the side.
He moved to sit right on the floor in front of her face, tucked the stray hairs that had fallen across her eyes behind her ear and started talking. “Problem solved, I can see your beautiful face now.”
“Sweet talker. You know, I meant to thank you for something and I remembered today.”
‘Ah yes, she did say that on the recording.’ His head tilted to one side. “And what is that?”
“After Rene attacked me and was captured, I knew you stayed with me at the hospital.” He tried to deny it and she stopped him. “You didn’t get every nurse that had seen you with glamour Eric. So thank you.”
“It was my pleasure.” He sighed. “I wanted to heal you but you were and still are Bill’s. Honestly, I don’t know why he didn’t heal you himself.”
“He refused saying it was my fault that Rene got to me. Well, I don’t want to talk about that.” The look of hurt on her face was evident. She must really be in pain or tired since her poker face was absent.
Given what he’d learned about Bill’s reaction to their mall trip, he wanted to apologize to her, even just bring it up – but he wasn’t sure how she would feel about his watching the video of her day. He swept that desire under the rug. “Bill will be here soon, said he would leave his home shortly after first dark.” Her hurt look turned to fear at that comment. “Sookie, is there . . . “ Eric’s sentence stopped right there as he gripped his chest and yelled out in pain.
Pam was up the stairs in an instant, still wet from her shower, but thankfully dressed. “What did you do to him?”
Sookie was trying to move and help Eric but stopped to defend herself. “Nothing. He was talking one minute then in agony the next.”
“IT’S GODRIC PAM! Call Isabel.”
While Pam moved quickly to call this Isabel, Sookie lowered her body with difficulty to the floor. Eric welcomed her presence as it soothed him a bit. A moment later he was yelling for Godric again – the bond to his maker was closed. “Eric, what happened?” Sookie asked in a panic.
“My maker. Something happened that caused him great pain; then he closed the bond or the bond disappeared. I can feel a small bit telling me he is still with us, but I can’t feel anything else. Pam, what did Isabel say?”
“She’s on her way to his house. He’s not answering his phone.”
“But he rested in Dallas last night?”
“Then I must go. Sookie I’m sorry I know you need tending to and we needed to discuss something else, but I must go to my maker.” Sookie was running a hand up and down Eric’s arm to offer comfort. It was an unconscious action on her part and given the situation, he needed the contact to help stay calm.
“Of course. Can I help?”
“You’re still recovering.”
“It’s only pain, not open wounds. I’m certain you can use the assistance of a telepath and it would be my way of thanking you for helping me.”
“No thanks were needed vandræði.”
“What does that mean? What did you just call me?”
He laughed. “It slipped out. Something in Old Norse, the language I spoke as a human.”
“And?” The fact that he didn’t translate hadn’t escaped her.
“I called you trouble.” She frowned and he made a joke. “Well you are trouble Sookie, but I assure you it’s welcome. I was getting bored.”
“If my trouble is fun, then let me go and help. You can enjoy it my van dray – whatever for longer.”
“I’ll leave the Old Norse to you, unless there’s something for my hero – you know to match all the trouble I get into.”
“There are a few words that could translate to hero, the easiest for you is min hǫldr – you pronounce it like ˈhōl-dər.”
“Ok min hǫldr – how soon will you have to leave?”
He looked to Pam. “As soon as Pam books my travel.”
“You’re not going to fly yourself?”
“Heard about that ey?” She nodded. “I can’t risk it. If Godric opens the bond and is still in pain, I would likely drop from the sky. Falling isn’t the problem since I would heal but that would take too much time.”
Pam indicated she was finished on the laptop by looking up and Eric nodded to her. “You both leave in an hour from the private airfield. I got you suites at the Silent Shores – with the possible exposure I thought you might want to stay somewhere other than Godric’s home.”
Sookie, while anxious to help realized she couldn’t just pick up and leave. “I don’t have clothes – neither do you!”
“I have clothes at Godric’s home. If you’re serious, we need to ask Bill since you’re his.” She scowled. “I know it’s a pain but I can’t risk breaking protocol. If he approves, I’ll buy you everything you need in Dallas.”
“Very good. I app . . .” Eric’s phone rang and he reached for it immediately. Sookie waited while Eric listened then ended the call. “Eric?”
“Godric’s house . . . there was a struggle. Godric’s dayman, Michael, was found unconscious in the kitchen.”
Pam didn’t believe what she just heard and asked, “Who could take down a 2000 year old vampire?”
“I don’t know Pam. Isabel could smell only humans and Godric. Godric had taken a shower and it appears he was apprehended in his kitchen – that’s where the entrance to his chamber is so I’m thinking they got the upper hand – but how? He’s so old and so strong.”
Sookie reassured him. “We’ll find him Eric.” Her hands hadn’t stopped the constant stroking on his exposed arm.
“Thank you Sookie. I’m glad you’ll be coming with me to help.”
“OH. NO. YOU’RE. NOT!”
Eric looked up at the seething vampire from his seat on the floor with Sookie. “Ahh Bill, we’ve missed you.”
A/N: Most all setting up our background since I didn’t start with Bill and Sookie’s meeting. Thanks for giving this a try. Action picks up in the next chapter.
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