A shorter one tonight but I still managed to fit in an
Awww . . .
And an uh oh.
Chapter 16 – Mine, Yours
Sookie spent the next afternoon painting another view for Eric. With art supplies in hand, she left the house and walked for a while until inspiration hit her in the most unlikely of places. Her hands worked quickly to capture the view in watercolor. Seeing this exact spot caused her emotions to go on overload, but painting through the pain was healing. What had happened here was scary, scarier than anything she’d encountered in a while. For a girl that had faced near death, rape, and a kidnapping attempt, that was saying something. Seeing the torn palm trees from Eric’s rampage, looking at the exact spot on the beach where he’d sat waiting for the sun, and then remembering that he’d allowed her to save him caused her to stop her painting strokes momentarily as she realized something. Finishing this painting had become more important now so she wiped her tears and kept going; happier and lighter for her revelation.
Ginger would be so proud that she’d had another of those A-HA moments.
Unlike the day before, she kept her eye on the time and got in bed with Eric while he was still at rest. Her sparking blue eyes were on his as they opened. He smiled and examined her face. “You look different tonight.”
Not wanting to give him clues, she shrugged his comment off. “More tan.”
“No, it’s not that, though I noticed that. It’s your eyes.” He narrowed his eyes to take a closer look. “Yes, the eyes. What did you do today?”
“I figured something out.”
“What’s that?” At first she was quiet then tears started to well up in her eyes and he thought something bad had happened. “What is it Sookie? What happened?”
“There is nothing wrong; these are happy tears.”
“I’m still confused by happy tears Lover.”
She laughed. “I feel great; better than I have for years Eric. What I figured out today is that I’m not holding back my feelings anymore. I mean, I’m still a little scared, but I won’t let that stop me.”
“What have you been holding back Sookie? What has the fear prevented?” She went silent. Clearly, she was still letting a little fear prevent her from saying her feelings so he offered some encouragement.
Taking her face gently in his hands he offered, “Sookie, you know nothing you could say would ever change my feelings about you. Nothing.”
“And what are those feelings Eric? Will you tell me?”
“I’ll answer even though I asked first.” She gave him a weak smile through the tears that had quietly started to fall. “Sookie, I’m in love with you.” She gasped. She knew he felt that way, but he spoke THE BIG WORDS! The words she’d discovered today she felt herself and was afraid to say.
Tenderly he wiped her tears and waited for her to speak. Her comments started with a small smile. “Eric, that’s exactly what I was afraid to say to you.” As he was still holding her face, she now did the same, taking his face in both her hands and kissed him. “I love you too Eric. I don’t know why I was afraid to say it. I’ve been pretty sure you loved me but when you put my Gran’s horrid quilt on the back of your leather sofa, that’s when I knew you loved me.” They both laughed. “You’d have to love me to allow that afghan to be on display.”
“I have been in love with you for a while and simply, well impatiently, waiting for you to catch up. I didn’t want to overwhelm you by saying anything yet.”
She sniffled. “A while?”
“A while.” He affirmed with a tender kiss and she breathed a sigh of relief. “What still has you scared about us?”
“I’m afraid that it’s too easy to be in love while we’re on vacation. Things will be different when this is finally over and we go back to the real world.”
“Location, work, other people . . . Sookie no outside factors will change my feelings. We’ll love each other wherever we are and no matter what we’re doing.”
“I promise.” He kissed her nose after he spoke and she giggled. “What made you figure it out today?”
“It’s not something I can tell you.” He was clearly confused. “Come; I’ll show you.”
She took his hand and they walked away from his house towards Pam’s. When he realized where they were headed, his hand stiffened and Sookie needed to encourage him to go on. Though he had ordered the repairs for Pam’s home, the work hadn’t started since he didn’t want Sookie disturbed by the noise. Frankly, he didn’t want to see the house in its destroyed state. Thankfully, she turned him towards the beach instead and they stopped at her easel.
He was stoic as he looked at it and this worried her. “Eric?” His hand reached out and ghosted over the painting, right on the spot where Sookie had found him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to upset you. When I left with my supplies I kept walking until this spot called to me.”
He was quiet for a few moments with one hand still raised to the painting and the other grasped tightly between Sookie’s two hands. After several long moments, he spoke. “I’ve never been as scared as I was that morning Sookie. I didn’t want to go on and at the same time, I was afraid to die. If you hadn’t come to me, hadn’t pushed . . .”
“I’ve never been that scared either Eric. Today when I painted this, I realized the fear that stemmed from the thought of losing you was because of how much I loved you. The more I painted and relived, the more I knew that I truly was in love with you that morning – not merely friends. I think Bill’s blood blocked it before. When I thought you were going to meet the sun, all I felt was the fear. The next night when you left for a while and I didn’t know where you were, again all I felt was fear. I’m sorry it took me so long to realize what the fear was masking.”
“I’ve told you before; I would have waited forever for you.” He pulled her close to his chest and whispered to her, “Though I’m happy I didn’t have to wait too long.”
“What do we do now?”
“Now? Well I’d have my way with you if it weren’t for your time of month. Actually, for the record, I don’t care about that; frankly, I would enjoy it.” She made a face. “But I know that will take time for you.”
“Let’s go to the main island and have dinner while we wait for your brother and friends.”
“I have stuff here to eat and I wanted to make something for Lafayette.”
“Not your brother?”
“I don’t want him dead but at the same time, I don’t really like him right now, so no. I’m making Lala’s favorite sweet.”
After their shower, while they were dressing, Sookie had another of those giggle fits over Eric’s shirt. “Did you pick that shirt for a reason?”
“I might need something visual to help me while dealing with your brother.”
“Fair enough and it’s not as bad as some of your shirts.”
Once Sookie stopped laughing, Eric asked Sookie about her plans for the next few days since there would be so many others on the island. After only a short time with her, he was already spoiled by her near nocturnal schedule, but for her he’d suck it up and take whatever time she offered. So he was shocked to hear that she planned to spend only mid afternoons with everyone – barring a special event – and she would be with him when he rose and for as much of the night as possible. They continued their talk while heading to the kitchen. Sookie had been so caught up in vacation mode that when Eric asked her about Thanksgiving she stared at him blankly; she hadn’t thought about the holiday. “Lover, when you go on vacation, you really go on vacation.” He chuckled at her.
“You’re very distracting.” She smirked. “I’ll talk with everyone about Thanksgiving since they’ll all be here.” Though her head was in the pantry gathering the ingredients for the pie, he could hear her clearly. “Can you help me?”
“What do you need?”
“SOOKIE! I thought we were waiting . . .”
“ERIC! Your hands to grab the stuff I need. Here,” She handed him several items then instructed. “Put these on the counter then meet me at the fridge.”
Once she had everything out, Eric leaned his elbows on the counter as he watched her. Her first task was causing a huge mess. “What are you doing?”
“I want small bits of the chocolate so it will melt easily, but my hand is so warm it’s melting the full chuck of chocolate before I can cut it.”
“Here, I’ll chop the chocolate then. My hands aren’t warm.”
“Mmm. Then I’ll lick off what little chocolate does get on you.”
That statement caused a look of lust to cross his face but he started working right away while Sookie opened and closed the cabinets. By the time she finished looking everywhere, she was frustrated. “What’s wrong Lover?”
“The whipped cream for the pies . . . there’s no mixer here for that. I’ll need to whip it by hand.” Then her face turned bright. “Never mind, you can whip it.”
“SOOKIE, again . . . yesterday you mention handcuffs, today whipping? Lover, these BDSM references really have got to stop. I think we should plan on making love softly and gently at first.”
Her stare was blank for a few minutes as he stood there waiting for some witty or naughty reply but he didn’t get it this time. “I don’t think I have anything to say back to that. No actually, I do: I’m having pulled pork for dinner and you will keep your mouth quiet about that.”
His head shook back and forth, “Tsk, tsk, Sookie. I can’t resist. Are you pulling the pork?” He turned to give her a view of his crotch. “That one makes me hard Sookie.”
“I give up. Go back to work.” He kissed her sour-looking face and went back to his chocolate. The quiet only lasted a moment though before he heard Sookie snicker and he joined her. “I think laughing with you is my favorite thing.”
“That’s because we haven’t done what I know will be your favorite thing yet Sookie.” He heard her mumble ‘naughty’ under her breath but they both kept working on the pie.
Once Sookie had eaten dinner and dropped off the French silk pies in the guesthouse refrigerator, they headed to the plane. She tucked into him as they took off and they remained quiet for the flight. Eric held her and played with her hair in his efforts to keep her calm. They landed and he drove them to a restaurant with outdoor seating so Sookie could enjoy a drink while they waited. With its bistro tables and fresh flowers, Sookie thought the place was charming. They sat at a table with four chairs but Eric chose to sit close to her, not across from her. “It is a nice view.”
“Yes it is, but I prefer to be closer to you regardless of the view.”
“So sweet.” When he started to say something she said, “I know, only for me. That’s fine. I don’t want to share you with anyone else.”
“There will be no sharing. I’m yours.”
“And I’m yours.”
“No arguing?” She shook her head no to confirm. He was shocked. “You always hated when Bill called you his.”
“I didn’t love Bill. Well, not really. So I want to be yours, and I want you to be mine.”
“Agreed. We belong only to each other.” Eric really wanted to bring up a blood bond but given her history with vampire blood, he didn’t think it was the right time for her. That didn’t mean he was going to ignore this milestone in their relationship. Though their declarations came sooner than he thought, he was prepared. He kissed her softly and waited patiently as she gave her drink order. When the server was gone, he reached in his inside jacket pocket and produced a box for her. “Sookie, I have a gift for you.”
“Hmm, I thought I felt something when I was tucked against your chest but that robin’s egg blue has me nervous. I’m not that kind of girl.”
“What kind of girl is that, Sookie? The kind of girl that deserves to be wooed and spoiled? Because I’m telling you right now, you are. Prepare yourself because this is the first of many gifts. You already agreed to be mine. We didn’t come together because of blood; you didn’t seek me out for money. We love each other and I want to spoil you.”
“How can I spoil you in return though?”
“Your love spoils me, I assure you. Rising with me in the evening, bathing with me, and laughing with me Sookie; those are the greatest gift.”
“And that’s why I don’t need jewels since your love spoils me too.”
He harrumphed and cursed himself for setting himself up so he changed tactics: he begged. “Please Lover, to provide you with gifts gives me joy.”
His face was almost laughable but it still worked. “Ok Eric. Put the pouty lip away before someone else sees it.” His smile was radiant – almost victorious – as he handed her the box. Inside she found a white gold and diamond key pendant on a chain and earrings in the same gold (with diamonds of course). “These are beautiful.”
“Not as beautiful as you min kära. I’ve had these since we arrived here and have been waiting for the day we moved forward from friends. I actually thought we might have been in Alaska or Sweden by the time this happened. You surprised me tonight so I’m celebrating. You, Lover, have the key to my heart now.”
“I will cherish this above all other gifts you may ever give me. Nothing will ever compare to realizing I love you and hearing that you love me. Every time I wear these pieces I will remember this day.”
Without delay, Sookie put the new jewelry on and kissed Eric sweetly. Right as she leaned in for another kiss, the waiter presented her cocktail so she backed off and sipped that until they were more or less alone in the area again. Eric enjoyed the taste of fruit and rum on her lips and mouth for a few minutes before he lifted his head and announced that he heard a plane coming in. “It’s a short drive to the airfield. We should head over.” He stood and helped her up after placing money on the table.
They were walking hand in hand to the car when she suddenly exclaimed. “Wait! Why did we fly over here to meet them? We all can’t fit in your floatplane for the trip back.”
“I thought you’d want to greet everyone right away so I rented a second floatplane.”
“Oh. OK.” They took a few more steps before she spoke again. “You know I’m gonna hug my friends, right?”
“I know. I don’t like it though.”
“I’ll shower before we go to bed.”
He gave her a grin. “I’ll help.”
“You are so thoughtful! Aren’t you?”
He backed out of the parking spot and headed to the airport. Eric could tell that Sookie was nervous about something but he kept quiet to give her the space she needed to either think through whatever it was or talk about it. When she turned to him as he parked, he wasn’t surprised by her question. “You’re going to hurt my brother, aren’t you?”
“Honestly, yes but I’m planning to do it when he’s off V.” Her brow furrowed in confusion so he clarified. “I want him to remember it and since I’m only planning to hit him once, I want to make it count. If he’s in pain from withdrawal, he might not notice as much.”
“You’ve put a great deal of thought into this.”
“Sookie . . .”
“I get it; I’m literally commenting on how thorough your thought process was on giving Jason what he’s got coming to him.”
“Violence will be part of our lives Sookie. For you, I will endeavor to consider all angles and the impact on you; provided we aren’t in immediate danger.”
He raced around to her door to help her out. “Shall we?”
“We shall.” She stood and looked around. “Oh, from this side I can see we’re close to your club. I didn’t realize that the other night.”
As they walked, she kept talking and he realized she was still nervous after the chat about hurting Jason. It made him wonder if she had told him everything about Jason, perhaps he’d done more than hit her the one time he knew about. The plan he made to hurt Jason was the truth, for tonight he intended to only acknowledge the boy but if things went downhill, he’d respond. Her whole body stiffened as they saw the group deplane and his eyes darted between Sookie and their guests; her nervous chatter stopped. When Eliane and Barry walked off, she smiled and waved almost robotically. Sam and Lala got the same reaction. When she ignored Bubba, the King of Rock and Roll, he knew the problem was Jason. As her brother appeared at the top of the stairs, she looked down. That meant she didn’t see the other man with Jason, and that man had a death grip on Jason’s arm. To Eric’s surprise, a Were from Shreveport, Alcide Herveaux, was also on the flight assisting Dr. Ludwig. Eric had been surprised that Ludwig was flying rather than teleporting, but Eliane had explained during a telephone call that the doctor wanted to stay with her equipment. For Sookie’s silver problem, the doctor needed to customize a dialysis machine. Eric funded the project and they were planning a phase two: retrofitting the machine to work for vampires with silver poisoning. It was a joint business venture that would create a partnership between the two. Sookie’s voice broke him from his thoughts. “Jason is really unstable. I don’t want to be on the plane with him.” She still wasn’t looking up, but at least she was talking. “He’s not happy.”
“Who is the man with him?”
“I take it you know the Were?” Eric nodded. “The man is his friend Hoyt. From Sam’s thoughts I already know he called him and he really hopes you aren’t mad but Jason was in really bad shape and Hoyt was the only one able to talk him onto the plane. The Were was added to help control him.” Finally, she looked up at him and the hurt look on her face made him angry. Her brother had already affected her, and not in a good way. “I’m sorry Eric. My family baggage is too much.”
“No Lover.” He kissed her. “Meeting family is part of what happens when you’re with someone, right? I mean, you’ve got Pam to deal with.” His attempt to lighten her mood worked a bit and she smiled. “Wait until she finds out you now accept gifts. Prepare for a whole new wardrobe.”
When she didn’t comment, he started to grow more concerned about her mood, but the welcome hugs seemed to brighten her a bit. As he’d previously explained to her, Eric was polite but emotionless as he met her friends. It was especially important with the Were from Shreveport in the group; he could gossip with those back home if Eric let his Sheriff persona slip away.
Luckily, Eric was holding Sookie’s hand despite his cool demeanor, so with his superior reflexes he was able to pull Sookie back and defend her against the fist Jason was about to punch in her face. Jason’s words though, they made it out of his mouth before Eric could stop him. “Looks like you moved on from your precious Bill pretty fast. What have you gotten us into now, bitch?!”
Go ahead – flame me for the cliffy – I know you want to!