Maybe I should have called this one finally?
Chapter 22 – Shotgun Wedding
Vandræði – Trouble
Sookie watched as Eric was obviously getting upset at whatever the Queen was saying but he kept his voice even for his responses. When she first went to him while he was talking she tried to support him with her arm around him, but he started pacing after only a few moments into the chat, so she simply sat on the bed and waited. At least he didn’t ask her to leave so it couldn’t be too political – so she thought. He hung up and proceeded to curse for several moments in English and some other language then he sat on the bed with his head in his hands. Sookie waited.
Finally he spoke to the floor, “She has Pam.”
“Has her? Has her how?”
“In a cell, she’s already been hurt – while I was on the phone.” Sookie swallowed, really not liking where this whole thing was going. “Queen Sophie-Anne has accused her of abducting or possibly killing Bill.”
“Why would she think Pam . . .”
“She doesn’t. I’m sure Sophie-Anne knows where Bill is. It’s a ploy to get us back. Mostly to get you back I’m sure.”
“ME!? Pam’s being hurt because of me?”
“Pam’s being hurt because of greed Lover. Don’t take the blame.” He had finally turned to look at her and she could see his eyes were a bit red from some tears forming, but he didn’t give into them. “I have to go.”
“Of Course.” She moved closer to him and held his hand. “What do you know?”
“According to Sophie-Anne, Bill’s been missing for two nights. While we’ve been gone, she’s needed to intervene on two fights between them so she’s made the leap that Pam is responsible.”
“That’s hardly evidence.”
“I know, it’s all planned, but the Queen has Pam and I need to sort it out in person.”
“I’ll go with you.”
“NO.” His tone was firm. “That’s what they want.”
“I’m still yours, they can’t take me and you know I can help.”
“You want to go?”
“Want to? Hardly, but it is what it is.” She paused for a moment then shouted out an idea. “HEY! Can you call Roman?”
“I don’t work for the council yet so Roman can’t help. Sophie-Anne is a monarch; she’s within her rites – as long as she hasn’t manufactured this whole thing that is.”
“So we need to go.” Resigning herself to their next steps she sighed loudly. “Do you think we’ll be back for Christmas?”
“I hope we can return for Christmas. I wanted to enjoy the holiday here with you.”
Noticing his sour expression she reminded him, “It’s not your fault either. When do we leave?”
“I’ll contact Barry now, I’d like Thalia to go with us; Barry can stay and close up the houses. I need time to plan.” He stood and took her hand. “Why don’t you eat – I can hear the buzzer for your casserole; I’ll make some calls.”
A short while later, Sookie was cleaning up from her dinner and Eric was hanging up the phone when he started giving her an update. “We leave at dawn. Thalia and I will fly in our travel coffins and Patuk will be with you as protection. Barry will be here for a few days then will fly back to Shreveport. I don’t want to expose his scent before Thalia completes her contracts with him.”
“So she’s going to own him like you own me?”
“Yes, and they are bonding before she leaves.” Sookie’s face conveyed the shock she felt right away. Reluctantly, he continued, “Sookie.” It wasn’t her name, but the resigned tone he used as he said it that had her guessing what he was about to say.
“We are too I guess.”
“I love you and I want to bond with you. I need that to be clear.” She nodded, knowing he was telling the truth. “Right now though, the risk of our travel and possible rescue mission makes bonding a necessity for safety. I did get a chance to speak to Roman, for his advice only, as I said he can’t intervene at this time; though he wants to meet in ten days to deal with the contracts. The Council will be sequestered for a quarterly meeting starting two days from now; we’ll meet with him after that. For now though, he recommends bonding.”
Suddenly, she was feeling backed into a corner. Of course she wanted to help Pam and Eric, but now she felt like her choice was being taken away. With her anxiety growing, she took it out on Eric and responded with a very snarky, “How romantic.” Since they were in the kitchen, she grabbed a knife from the block. “Did you want to use a knife and get it over with?”
“Sookie. This isn’t how I wanted this and you know it!”
“This is our life now though, right? Someone else will always be in control.” She knew she was spiraling and decided walking away would be best. “I’m going to pack. I need space.”
They had time for her to work through her distress since it was barely sunset and they weren’t leaving for hours so he let her go. When cornered, Sookie lashed out and he didn’t have it in him to handle it appropriately right now. The situation was already too upsetting and he needed to focus on his strategic planning. It was only about a half hour later that she came up the stairs with tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry. I’m overwhelmed by fear for Pam and for us and this sudden need to do something that impacts the rest of my life. I took it out on you and you don’t deserve that.”
“Lover, I’m no better. If you hadn’t walked away we probably would have had a significant fight since I too was ready to lash out. We should remember to step back sometimes.”
“Yes. Still love me?”
“Always.” They kissed to make up and he suggested next steps. “I thought we might take a long soak in the tub and do our first exchange.” To try and soothe her he continued to rub her back. “Please know it was my desire to plan something very romantic for our final exchange and I’m sorry we’re stuck here.”
“I get it, I do. I was planning to tell you I wanted to bond here in Alaska anyway. I’m mad at the timing, the forced feel of it – like a shotgun wedding. It’s yet another thing that feels like it’s being done to me instead of chosen by me willingly.”
That statement spoke volumes to the Viking and he took her face in his hands so she would see the sincerity of his next request in his eyes. “Lover, I don’t want you to think of the bond that way. Please stay here with Barry. I’ll leave Patuk as a guard and perhaps have Indira fly up as extra protection. I will find Bill and get Pam back. This way your decision on when to bond will be your own.”
“I’m not letting you leave me. We stay at each other’s side, right?” He opened his mouth to interrupt but she stopped him. “Let me finish, please.” She took a deep breath. “The forced feeling isn’t about you, but the Queen and the circumstances. I promise you, I won’t ever blame you for the timing of our bond. Right now, I’m going to focus on the benefits of bonding. Well, one in particular.”
“What benefit do you mean Sookie?”
“Increased libido from vampire blood.”
“I like the way you think Lover.” He gave her a kiss. “Thank you for not holding this against me. I wouldn’t blame you if you did.”
“I don’t think I could hold anything against you. Well, maybe if you keep forgetting about removing your snowy boots.”
He looked affronted. “I’m getting much better.”
She giggled and he was pleased her mood was turning quickly. “Your improvement is due to constant nagging.”
“I love your nagging. So, a bath?” He picked her up to move to the bathroom and fill the tub for them.
Her eyes narrowed. “I’m onto you. You want to do a bath because we never got rid of the fish smell.”
Their conversation continued as they were undressing each other. “I’ll admit to the secondary motive but honestly, we need to complete three exchanges in one night. I’m picking the bath as one.”
“Ok, can we do the final exchange on the porch swing?”
“A good idea Lover.” He lowered them both into the tub and positioned Sookie between his legs, her back to his chest.
She pointed to the side of the tub. “I see you grabbed the vinegar and baking soda from the kitchen.”
He nodded. “We’ll try some of that after.”
“After?” Her voice rose in question.
“After we make love and exchange.” He’d twisted her hair on top of her head; they’d deal with the washing later.
“I’m too stressed to enjoy this. I think we should focus on the task we . . . “
He cut her off, “Let me calm you down Lover. It might not be the time we chose, but we are bonding; a sacred custom for vampires. I refuse to belittle it by rushing through it.” Using the remote next to the tub, he turned on some soft music and started massaging to work out the tension in her back. It took several minutes but her shoulders finally slumped and he knew she was relaxing. A bond was too special, as far as he was concerned, to look at it as a task and he was glad she’d accepted his help to relax. As soon as he felt she was ready, he started to plant kisses down her neck and back. She responded by moaning so he reached around to play with her breasts; plucking and pinching her nipples until they grew painfully hard. Then he moved his legs between hers, bent them, and used his knees to spread her wide in the tub.
So far, there were no complaints from a certain someone who wanted to finish the task. He took that as the sign to keep going.
Using his fingers, he started moving quickly in and out of her chamber while rubbing her nub until he could tell she was close. For him, the friction she created from squirming had him hard and ready to cum as well. He bit his wrist and presented it to her and as she began sucking on the wound, he bit into her. Sookie wasn’t prepared for the way Eric’s blood tastes. It was nothing like her first experience; Bill’s blood was almost bitter where Eric’s was sweet. After a few draws, she could feel her body’s reaction. Eric could feel it too so he sped up the actions with his hands while rubbing his cock between her back and his stomach. The coil snapped suddenly for both of them as they came hard. Sookie was breathing heavily when he pulled his wrist away. “That was more intense than any other time we’ve been together. Is that from sharing blood? Was it like that for you?”
“It was Sookie. I was only rubbing against your back and it was very intense. As far as it being from blood? I don’t know. I’ve only shared blood with Pam and Godric and it was never like that with them. Must be the love we share.” She leaned around so she could see his face and added, “I can feel love from you, you know. I thought I’d feel anger.” Eric was reeling at the emotions coursing through him: love and some contentment from Sookie coupled with his own joy at being able to feel her.
“This was timing Eric. I’m frustrated about it but it is what it is. Why would I be angry with you about it?” She spun around on his lap to more easily face him. “Now, when we’re with the Queen, I’m pretty sure you’ll get a bunch of those negative emotions. Can you feel murderous?”
He chuckled. “My fierce little fairy.” He kissed her nose. “And you’re still my stinky little fairy. Let’s take care of that.” They both chuckled at his wording while he adjusted her so he could wash her hair again. Once he was sure the fish scent was gone (and it took a few washings), he suggested their next actions. “We should get out and cover some protocol.”
Her tone was sarcastic and her face scowled to match her mood. “Oh goody.”
“I’m sorry Lover, we’ve put this off since it’s been mostly you and I alone and no hierarchy, but this is important.”
“Very well. Let’s get dressed and go to the kitchen. This conversation requires hot chocolate.”
Eric dressed quickly and started heating the milk for her drink. It was something Sookie indulged in frequently so he was well versed in how to make it himself. He was adding the chocolate shavings into the milk when she walked in. “Mmmmm, I love how that smells. You made me the salted caramel.”
“My selection was selfish. It’s my favorite.”
Her eyes brightened as she asked, “Oooh, so I get kisses while we talk Cuddles?”
“Always Lover.” She sat and he focused on her. “And we’ll start with Cuddles.”
“I know that’s only to be used for us alone.”
“I was certain you knew that but I’m talking about what you call me in general.”
She grumbled as she lifted her mug to her mouth to take a large swig. “I’m not going to like this one I’m sure.”
With his vampire hearing he heard her words. “No Lover you won’t. In court or more strictly, at the palace, I am master to you.” She scowled. “I don’t know if Bill spilled the information that you can’t be glamoured or not. In any case, they need to believe I have control over you. So my title is Master and you will need to act like I am your master.”
“Unless I give you permission.”
“No arguing with you.”
He nodded, pleased that she understood all this entailed. Though now, he felt some irritation from her. “You can argue with me after we leave the palace. We’ll stay at my place in New Orleans, so you can give me all the grief you want when we are in private.”
“What else is related to this master business?”
“I may be asked about your training. The fact that I’m lying about this aspect, or rather lack of this aspect of our life cannot be divulged. Andre and the Queen are big on using physical punishment to train their pets. You may witness it and you cannot react.” He took her face in his hands and gazed at her. “I will send you calm the whole time. Hopefully that will help.”
More frowning accompanied her response. “Lovely.”
“Since I want you as prepared as possible,” He paused not liking what he needed to tell her. “Hadley or when we return him, Bill could be the ones punished in front of you. They will try anything to get a rise out of you or see if you will agree to break our contract to prevent someone’s punishment.” Sookie was puzzled over this and he explained without needing to be asked. “If the Queen convinced you to lie and say I forced the contract, she would work with the Council to have it broken. It won’t work with our bond, but I can’t dismiss any possible action she might try.”
“This is why Jason and my friends are still in hiding?”
He nodded and answered so it was clear. “The reality is they need to stay that way until you and I are under contract with the council.”
“Thank you for protecting them.” She touched him. “You know that would never happen anyway, I would never lie and say you forced me.”
“We know that, but she doesn’t.” He leaned in for one of his tasty kisses and then pulled back to continue the discussion. “Your telepathy will be tested. I’m certain she’ll have instructed someone to send thoughts intended to disgust you. You’ll be asked about it.”
“Why disgusting thoughts? Why not have me verify facts?”
“It’s a game. She’ll get enjoyment from your reaction.”
“I can handle that. I have for my whole life.”
“I know you can.”
Eric spent the next hour reviewing more information about the hierarchy and rules Sookie needed to know before they met with the Queen. Sookie had to refrain from rolling her eyes several times. The hardest was when Eric described the uniforms for the Queen’s guard. They wore black suits with white shirts but the kicker was the tie: they had to wear the tie that was assigned for the night so it would coordinate with the Queen’s gown. Sookie didn’t think anyone could be that far gone on matching and fashion. Then Eric told her something that made her realize the woman was certifiably crazy: Eric had received an email so they could also coordinate their outfits for the night. Up until that moment, Sookie had planned on her little black dress. That wouldn’t do now. Eliane was purchasing Sookie’s outfit and would meet them at the airport in New Orleans when they landed. “What’s the color scheme?”
“Red and black; women can wear gowns that are a combination of the colors or all black. That means the Queen will be in all red.” After moving closer to her than they’d been, he leered at her. “I can’t wait to see what Eliane picks out. I told her to get foundations from La Perla.”
“ERIC! I hardly think that’s our focus right now!”
“You’re right Lover. I know things are tense and I’m worried about Pam and the coming days. Having said that, you need to know that I will always find ways to soothe and comfort you even in the worst of times.”
“I appreciate that. I’m sorry I snapped.”
“No, you were right to react as you did, on the surface it does appear I was being flippant. I’m taking everything about this situation seriously as I also take your wellbeing seriously.”
Giving him a sideways smile she responded with a bit of humor. “And La Perla underwear is part of that?”
“Finding ways to make you smile is part of that.”
“You always make me smile.” Of course, they smiled at each other and kissed.
“As you make me smile Lover.” He paused then ruefully continued with the subject at hand. “I have more to cover.”
“Of course you do.” To acknowledge they were returning the conversation to business, she moved back in her seat. “Go on.”
“I love you.”
“Great, if you’re starting with that, it’s going to be bad.” She took in and let out a deep breath. “I’m ready and I remember you love me.”
“As far as the Queen is concerned, you are an asset or a tool to be used. Your contract is an asset contract. Granted, she will need to pay you for specific work but that doesn’t change her opinion.” Before he could go on, he took an unneeded breath and rubbed his face with his hands. “The Queen already wants you and finding out I love you will only fuel that desire since she’s angry with me. I will have to treat you as my asset while in her presence. Actually, I need to act coldly towards you in front of others where it could potentially get back to the Queen or someone else who would benefit from seeing how I care for you. It will be the same for Barry and Thalia when they interact around vampires.” Sookie remained quiet and since Eric was nervous about her reaction he filled the silence with more words. “Lover, this will be hard for me as well as you. Harder for you, I know, but it’s not what either of us want. I assure . . . “
She cut him off. “I get it Eric. I’m not happy about it but I don’t blame you and we’ll get through it.” Then she did something that truly surprised him: she smiled. “In fact, I have an idea. I’ll make it a game and you, buster, will have to provide the prizes.”
“What do you mean vandræði? You have a look of mischief about you.”
“I’m going to keep count of the times you refer to me as something other than your lover or bonded. Asset, telepath, tool, or whatever derogatory term you use. For each time you do that, I get . . .” She looked to the ceiling as if thinking it through. “Ten minutes of my choice from you.”
“I hardly see how that’s a deterrent to me. We could do massage, or cunninglingus, or a game.”
With her most wicked smile she chimed in. “OR, I could choose toilet scrubbing, painting or floor waxing.” Eric couldn’t control the horrified look on his face. “Oh yes, this will help me through the meetings where I have to look down and be referred to as your tool.”
“Sookie, toilet scrubbing?” He shook his head. “I don’t even want you to scrub toilets.”
She nodded and smiled. “Given your reaction, it’s at the top of the list now.” Thoroughly enjoying her idea and wanting to clarify, she moved closer and sat on his lap. “And you said deterrent. This game isn’t meant like that. I fully understand what you need to do; the show we need to put on. This is my coping mechanism Eric. It’s going to hurt to stand there and be referred to as anything but your significant other.”
Suddenly realizing the full meaning of the game, he agreed quickly. “I will happily play this game with you Lover. If this is what’s needed to help you cope, we will do it. Throw your worst tasks at me. I’ll even give you ten minutes for every derogatory reference to you by anyone – not only when I say something like that.”
A smile grew as she realized that ‘he got it’. “I love you. Let’s do our next exchange. Has it been long enough?”
“Yes. We only need to do a finger prick really, unless you want to. . .” His eyebrows waggled at her.
“A finger prick exchange is good. I wanted to sled with those floodlights on – since we have to leave soon.”
“Anything you want Lover.” He picked her up and carried her to the mudroom.
“Kill the Queen?”
“Do you want me to be King? If so, then I will kill her for you.”
She looked almost as horrified as he had over the toilet scrubbing. “No! I think the council thing is the way to go. I was only kidding.”
“I know, but if you wanted a kingdom, you only need to say the word.”
She shook her head at him. “Let’s exchange then you can help me with my snow clothes. I don’t want any part of a kingdom – for me or for you. I won’t share you with a state full of vampires.”
With about four hours til dawn, Eric helped an exhausted Sookie out of her snow clothes (and remembered without nagging to take off their boots and place them in the boot tray). Since she had expressed a desire to complete their bond while making love on the porch swing, he moved them to the upper room, started a fire there, and got her snuggled under the blankets. “Rest Lover. I’ll come back in an hour. I want to pack quickly.”
She started to sit up and offered, “I’ll help.”
“No. You’re tired and I want you to enjoy our bonding.” He guided her back down then used the two tricks he knew that would get her to sleep: a backrub and humming. It worked quickly and he was able to pack a small tote for each of them: he truly wanted to return quickly and enjoy Christmas in Alaska so he didn’t feel the need to pack more. The tote would get them through the next day or so and Eliane was meeting them with everything else they might need. While Sookie napped, he also checked his email. A quick call he’d made to Alcide earlier had the Were helping with the investigation of Compton’s disappearance and when Eric followed up the Were, had several leads already. As suspected, Weres from Richland Mississippi were involved. Lorena had something going on in Mississippi and this was yet another example. While Eric was pretty positive she was involved, he didn’t know why or how.
Noting that a full hour had passed, he grabbed a special something he’d saved for their bonding and went off to wake his Lover. For their final exchange, they would use a dagger owned by Godric. It was one of the items he’d had Godric’s dayman, Michael, ship to him and it held special meaning. He was pretty sure Sookie would approve. While he knew Sookie wasn’t thrilled with the timing, he was happy to be completing the bond. Once they were out from Louisiana’s rule – specifically the Queen – he’d make this up to her. He approached the room quietly so he could wake her gently; it was a favorite activity of his. From her nap and the layers of blankets she liked, Sookie would be extra warm right as she woke and when she became aware (conscious or subconsciously) that he was next to her, she’d become extremely snuggly. He often kept the wake up time going as long as he could; thoroughly enjoying his cuddles. He shook his head at the thought: he truly did own the name Cuddles she’d given him.
It was Sookie that surprised him though when he entered the room. The little rascal hadn’t slept the whole hour and she had been very quiet with her preparations. He had felt stirring through the blood tie they already had, but dismissed it as a dream. The room was lit from several candles and the near full moon. That same moon was providing light to their favorite view of the Homer Spit. Well, the spit usually was his favorite view in the room, right now it was Sookie. She was wearing a royal blue babydoll that had him hard immediately. The neckline came up and wrapped around her neck like a wide choker. From the neck, the halter style nightie flowed down and the center section over her chest was see-thru tulle exposing the full curve of her breast but not the nipple. His only movement was to raise one hand and indicate that Sookie should turn so he could see the back. When she did, he sucked in his breath and Sookie giggled knowing that was a completely unnecessary reaction for a vampire; she guessed it was the thong since she normally didn’t wear butt floss.
“What’s this?” When she’d completed her 360 degree spin, he had one eyebrow was raised and his tongue had come out to lick his lips.
Sookie knew what it meant to be someone’s prey at that moment.
“It was one of your Christmas presents but I thought tonight deserved something special. I know how meaningful and important this bonding it to you, Sweetie.”
“Thank you Sookie. I’m grateful you recognize how I feel about this – even under the forced circumstances. I know this is a new concept for you and you didn’t choose it.”
“While I, or rather we, didn’t choose this timing, I’m confident the bonding would have happened.” She took his hand and moved towards the swing. “Now come here and tell me how we complete the bond.”
Holding a velvet bag, he sat next to her on the swing and pulled the dagger out. “This was Godric’s. I had his dayman ship it to me so we could use it for our bond. This will make it easier for us to exchange while facing each other.” He wanted to tell her that it was his hope that they would pledge using this same knife sometime soon, but giving the timing of well, everything, waiting seemed to be the best plan. Instead, he continued with his thoughts on how to proceed. “You’ll be able to make a cut in my neck and I’ll bite you.”
“Uh oh. My babydoll has a collar. I guess I can’t wear it.”
A low growl came from Eric’s throat at her words. “I’ll take care of it.”
“I’m sure you will. How or when do we do the exchange?”
“We’re doing it first.” From the expression on her face he could see she was surprised. “Sookie, I want you to feel me as I can already feel you. Since you first had my blood this evening, I can’t express how whole I am. Having you inside me?” He touched his chest. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. When we were out sledding, I could feel your enjoyment and excitement and it added to my own. When you were frustrated at the discussion on protocol, I felt that loud and clear too. I want to share this with you before we make love because I don’t want you to miss sharing the feelings with me. I have no doubt it will be more powerful than anything we’ve experienced.” Eric was overflowing with his reaction to the partial bond and trying to prepare her. After pausing for a moment, he thought of the best way to express it. He took her face in his hands and spoke to her sincerely. “Now I know why vampires bond Lover; I feel like you’ve shared your very soul with me and I’ll never be alone again. Thank you.”
His sincerity about his emotions and thanks to her took her breath away for a moment. With tears and a smile, she responded to him. “I’m ready. I want to feel that too Eric.”
Taking Sookie’s hand, he moved them both to the middle of the swing; Sookie straddling his lap. With reverence, Eric pulled the dagger from the bag and handed it to his soon-to-be bonded. “Cut me here.” He pointed to the side of his neck. She nodded in understanding. While he fiddled with the bow holding her collar up, he told her, “You’ll cut first and start drinking; then I’ll bite.” He moved her into position and after giving her a sweet kiss, he tilted his head. Sookie didn’t hesitate and after creating a short cut, latched on and drank. Eric bit her immediately and they both felt the bond burst through into each of them. For Eric his connection to her grew and the feelings became more intense. For Sookie, it was almost overwhelming since she’d never felt anyone else’s emotions. Her reaction was both emotional and physical: tears streamed from her face as she tried to process the feelings and she experienced both an orgasm and dizziness. Eric healed her wound and helped her to lie back on the bed while she caught up. He’d had a release too but that was secondary to his concerns about Sookie right now. “Lover, are you OK?” She gave a small nod and found his hand though her eyes were closed. The squeeze she gave him was reassuring so he moved to hold her while she recovered. It didn’t take long.
“That was intense. I felt your joy when you were drinking from me, I felt both our orgasms and I’ll add a WOW for that.” He chuckled with her on that reaction. “I felt and still feel your concern but you don’t need to worry. I’m fine, it was like it hit me hard and I needed to adjust. I’m not dizzy any longer.”
He could feel that she was better; he also felt a bit of lust too but he needed her to lead on anything further. He noticed the mess he’d made of her and informed her, “Lover, my reaction to our bonding is all over your nightie.
She clucked her tongue at him. “You should have taken it all the way off before.”
“I was too excited to get to the biting part.” He started to stand. “I’ll get something to clean it up.”
She grabbed his arm before he could leave the bed. “Why don’t you take it off.”
It almost pained him to say it, but he needed to be sure she had enough energy for more. “I can feel your yearning but if you’re too tired we can wait.”
“I’m good to go – I’ve had quite a bit of vampire blood tonight.” To entice him, she moved close enough that her nipples were rubbing against his chest. “Make love to your bonded, please?”
“I like that.”
“What, me asking for you to make love to me?”
“No, my bonded; you’re my bonded. We’ll never be apart.”
She smiled at his smile as he reveled in his feelings but she cut off his dreamy state using a somewhat forceful tone even if her words were kind. “Sweetie, ah, could you stop being so sappy and get back to the consummation part of the bond.” She pointed to herself. “Horny bonded here that needs taking care of.”
“Yes Ma’am. Love bossy Sookie.”
A/N: Cookie season starts for me this Thursday – it’s a time killer – so we might have a few delays. Hang in there if I’m late, I’ll do the best I can.