Chapter 7 – The Talk
After the crap she’d already started to learn about Bill, Sookie thought she was fine to hear whatever Eric told her; she wasn’t. To Sookie’s shock and horror, Eric told her what Barry had learned. Bill Compton had been sent to Bon Temps to procure Sookie for the Queen. “Sookie, from what Barry learned, Bill tried to get his blood in you right away. Bill explained everything to Lorena; they didn’t know Barry was listening in. The very first night Bill met you was a set-up.” Sookie gasped. “The Rattrays were glamoured to think about draining Bill to see if you could hear it. You did. Luckily, Bill kept your telepathy from Lorena so Barry and I connected the dots. To Lorena, thankfully, he made it seem that you’d overheard them.”
“I fell right into his plan.”
“The silver chains on Bill, were they like the ones this morning?”
“Yes. He sizzled, but they were thin – he could have broken right out I guess.”
“I’m certain he was never in danger.” The next part was harder to discuss so Eric unconsciously ran his fingers through his hair. “The night the drainers came after you . . .”
“Was also a set-up. They had blank minds when they approached me. They’d been glamoured not to think.” Eric let her continue as the pieces fell into place in her head. “He let them beat me almost to death so he’d have to give me blood.” Her anger grew as she remembered. “I thought for sure I was going to die. I’m sure they broke my back. All for some fucking plan.” She rose and started pacing and Eric let her – she needed to work through this. “You know, I wasn’t saving m virginity for my husband or anything like that. I simply can’t be physical with a human, but I thought I was in love, I thought he loved me.”
“I’m sorry Sookie.” Just like Eric did earlier, Sookie paced the room muttering about the situation. If he would have predicted a reaction, tears would have been at the top of his list. He hadn’t expected to hear her muttering about staking, frying, and silvering. He wanted to laugh at the little spitfire, but the situation was too upsetting. It was obvious Bill was still planning to try something. He was also pretty sure the Queen would overturn his decision to eject Bill from his area: she had made him the Area Investigator after all. They needed to plan, well as soon as he got through the rest of the story. Sookie was calming a bit so he moved to guide her to the couch again.
“What I don’t understand is, why the love part? Why not just take me to New Orleans? Why couldn’t they just offer to hire me for my telepathy?”
“There’s more to tell.”
“Shit. I kinda knew that but was ignoring it at the same time.”
“You remember what Godric told you about being part Fae – specifically Fairy?” She nodded. “We have much to discuss on that but for now, you should be aware of what that means to a vampire. Pure fairy blood is irresistible to a vampire. Your blood tastes sweeter than a human and is very enjoyable, but I was able to stop myself. Of course, now other blood will taste like sludge to me.” He leaned in and sniffed her neck.
He stayed where he was and when he finally lifted his head he had a dreamy look on his face. “Where was I?” His face cleared and he laughed at her attempt to look angry. “You’re trying to look fierce but you really only look like an angry kitten. But we should get back to your situation. It would appear that your fae-ness comes from your father’s side since your cousin Hadley is fae.”
“HADLEY? How do you know about Hadley?”
“She’s Queen Sophie Anne’s favored pet. Your cousin blabbed about you to the Queen; now Sophie-Anne and her child Andre want you. As her procurer, Bill was sent to Bon Temps. Per Hadley, she thought you’d fall for his southern charm, something about your favorite movie?”
“When I was a teenager it was Gone with the Wind. I used to admire Scarlett O’Hara, but that’s a discussion for another day. Hadley wouldn’t know any better about me since she ran away from Bon Temps after stealing from my Gran. BITCH! She sold me out?”
“It would appear so. Bill was to procure you for the Queen but along the way he got greedy. He wanted to own you and loan you to the Queen. That’s why he was taking longer – though Bill whined to the Queen that it was my interference that extended his work. You had apparently been turned off of vampires altogether after meeting me and he had to work harder to gain your trust to leave with him. He was planning to ask you to marry him then he would complete a blood bond before heading to New Orleans.”
“A blood bond?”
“It’s unbreakable. You would have been tied to him forever.”
“What is that? Can that be forced?” Sookie grew pale at these words. She was obviously very disturbed by the conversation.
With a reverent tone, Eric answered. “A mutually desired blood bond can be a beautiful thing Sookie, or so I am told. It’s rare and the few couples I’ve met that are bonded out of love are very happy. Unlike a divorce, it can never be broken. The bondeds would need to share blood regularly or they will feel pain; they cannot live too far apart – if they choose to be apart at all. In terms of vampire law, a human bonded to a vampire cannot be taken from the vampire for any reason; that’s what Bill wanted. Whether it can be forced? It would be akin to rape if you ask me but yes, it can be forced and after hearing Bill’s other actions, I have no doubt he would have forced this bond.”
“I need a minute.”
“I’ll go to the front desk and get you a key. I’ll also get your clothes from your other room and give you some space?”
“You’re just going to fight while you’re there.”
“I might accidentally trip and land on top of him and my fists might connect to his face. What’s your point?”
“Can you get him in the balls once for me? Or is that a no – no for a man to do to another man?”
“It will be my pleasure.” He kissed her forehead and walked out leaving her alone with her thoughts.
In Sookie’s review of her relationship, she had no doubt she would have agreed to marry Bill and she probably would have said yes to a blood bond. With a giggle, she realized she should probably thank the maenad for ripping her back apart. The conversation with Ginger was eye-opening and likely saved her from Bill’s plans. Still, she wasn’t safe. Bill’s words scared her about being up for grabs. Eric couldn’t protect her 24X7 – sure he could punish someone, but that wouldn’t undo some actions – like if a blood bond was forced before Eric could get to her. When Eric returned, she planned to discuss this further. One thing this situation taught her was that she’d lived in her bubble of Bon Temps for too long. Years of hiding away had kept her naïve to the world and she wouldn’t allow that to continue. Hopefully Eric would be willing to help her break out of the small life she’d been living.
Curiosity got to her and she cracked the door open to listen across the hall. At the moment it was quiet, so Eric hadn’t returned from the front desk. She just decided to wait though and that’s how Eric startled her. She was so focused on the listening to the left of her; she didn’t hear Eric sneak up from the right. He whisper-yelled into her ear, “Nosey.”
This caused her to jump back, squeal then laugh. With her hands waving like she was trying to smack him she whisper-yelled back to him. “You’re bad. Can’t blame me for being curious can you?”
With a wink he left her and headed down the hall. Since Eric had busted in the door to Bill’s room earlier, she could hear clearly. Eric sauntered into the room and simply informed Lorena and Bill that he was there for Sookie’s things; Bill started whining immediately. After wheeling the cart of clothes and her bag into the hallway, Eric returned to Bill’s room and she started hearing the sounds of punches. She was completely onboard with Bill getting a beating, but she decided she didn’t need to hear it. That had her back on the couch with the door shut waiting for Eric. It didn’t take him long to return with her things and join her on the couch.
“Eliane needs to return most of those.”
“Nonsense. You liked all of them – I could hear you fawning over them while you tried them on.” Her mouth opened but he cut her off. “Sookie, I have more money than you or Pam could ever spend. You do now too, it’s one of the things we must discuss.”
“I have no idea what you mean.”
“I know but you will. Godric wanted you to have one of his bank accounts. It was a request he made in Swedish.”
“He informed you in Swedish because he knows I would have said ‘NO’ which is what I’m saying now.”
“Sookie, it was one of my maker’s final wishes. I’m not taking your ‘no’ for an answer – actually I didn’t ask a question. I have a lawyer coming here tonight to take care of some of these business items. Let me continue please?” She nodded knowing she would fight this money thing later. “Sookie, you still aren’t completely safe.”
“I’ve already gathered that. You could easily punish someone but you can’t be by my side 24X7. I like the sun a bit too much for that.”
“So we have some choices here. You could run, change your name, and live out your life – but away from Louisiana. Forever. You would need to stay away from vampires Sookie. I would help you; I have resources that can take care of new identifications and places to stay at first.”
“Why would you help me leave? I thought you wanted . . .”
“You thought I wanted you?” She was looking down but she nodded; he used his hand to have her look at him. “I do Sookie; I want you and care for you more than you can imagine. I care for you enough though, that if a life away from vampires is what you want, then I will make it so.”
They stared at each other for a few moments. Sookie didn’t doubt his words at all, but she was shocked by them. In his eyes, she was positive she saw love or something pretty much like that (since she just learned she wasn’t that good at relationships, she couldn’t be sure). He still had his hand on her chin and his thumb was softly moving back and forth calming her. In her mind, she questioned if he really was the right one for her, but at the same time she admonished herself. Right now, she needed space to grieve for Gran, to decide how to get out of this mess she was in, and to figure out who she was away from the smallness of Bon Temps. She cupped his cheek with one hand and simply said, “Thank you but I don’t see running as my path.”
“We have other options. One my lawyer can handle tonight. At this moment, you work for me as an asset via a verbal agreement only. I want to formalize that. It will offer us protection. Paperwork can be filed logging you as my asset. The Queen can still request your services, but through me. You would not be part of court; your blood, actually no part of your body, would be available to anyone.”
“On paper Sookie. I know I’m asking for your trust here but I think it’s the best . . .”
Her hand went up while she stopped him. “I agree. If there’s one thing you’ve earned it’s my trust.”
His relief at her agreement had him turning playful and he leaned in with smoldering eyes. “Have I earned a kiss too?”
“Sure.” She pushed her lips out to a humorous length and playfully pressed them to his making a loud muaaah noise. Then she pulled back with a giggle.
“Not what I had in mind.”
She turned serious. “I know Eric. I need time.”
From his chat with Godric, he knew Sookie loved him but that wasn’t a guarantee of romantic love or a long term commitment. He hadn’t been kidding when he commented that a blood bond could be a beautiful thing – and it was something he wanted to pursue with Sookie. But now wasn’t the time. He had business to address tonight, the memorial for Godric tomorrow night, and somehow settling Sookie safely before he went away to grieve. The control he was displaying now was short-lived at best. He wanted to hide in one of his safe-havens and fall apart. “We both need time Sookie.”
“But that won’t stop the flirting.”
“Of course not; I’d be afraid you were sick if that happened.” She laughed and he did as well. “So a contract for an asset – is that it?”
“For the moment. My lawyer should be here within in the hour and perhaps you want to wear something other than a tee shirt and my boxers?”
“Probably a good idea. You’re in jeans, is casual good enough or are you changing?”
“Casual is good.”
“Ok, and should I move rooms now? You got me a key to a new room right?”
“Move rooms? Sookie, I’m not letting you out of my sight and during the day tomorrow you will have guards. Bill could be planning something before we even leave Dallas. I got you a second key to this room.”
“This is your resting place though.”
“And if there’s one thing you’ve earned it’s my trust.”
Well, that stopped her comments. “Very well then; I’ll change and come back out.”
The lawyer arrived while Sookie was still in the bedroom giving Eric a chance to review the paperwork first. Desmond Cataliades was a daemon that had worked for Eric for years. At one point he had worked for the Queen but he had left New Orleans forcing her to find alternate royal council. Eric trusted him with all his legal and financial affairs. Pamela also used the man for her needs, and today Eric was going to set-up Sookie under Desmond as well.
Both men rose from the table when Sookie opened the door to the bedroom. “Here she is. Sookie Stackhouse, may I introduce Desmond Cataliades. Desmond, this is Sookie.”
“A pleasure to meet you dear. Let’s sit.” Desmond pulled some papers out from a folder. “Miss Stackhouse . . .”
“Sookie. This is your contract with Eric. It covers the pay rate for use of your gift, benefits, travel conditions in addition to your protection requirements. I’ll give you a moment to review it.”
Eric and Desmond were quiet while Sookie read through the contract. A few sections required clarification and the section where it stipulated Eric and / or guards of his choosing would be with her at all times surprised Sookie. “You’re going to work with me?”
“I won’t leave your protection in question.”
“Well, everything else seems fine though laughable.”
“What do you mean?”
“Getting paid to do something my brain has done for years. And paid so well, I could make in a month what it would normally take me a year to make as a barmaid.”
“Proving what I told you before; you’re too good for that town and Merlottes.”
They both signed the contract with Desmond and his assistant serving as witnesses. Sookie was surprised to see the young man join them from the hall when he was called, but said nothing. If Eric and the lawyer didn’t want him at the table, she wasn’t going to invite him.
“Let’s move onto Godric’s estate, shall we?”
“Oh Eric, I’ll give you some privacy.”
“No Sookie,” He grabbed her hand as she tried to leave. “This concerns you as well.”
“I told you before . . .”
“It was one of his last requests. Just hear Desmond out.” Her posture didn’t relax and he was afraid that she would refuse so he added, “Please?”
Sookie knew a please from Eric was a huge deal so she acquiesced. “Fine.” She plopped into the chair and turned to the lawyer. “Mr. Cataliades, what do you have for me?”
“Desmond, please. I have your account information. The transfer has been handled with Eric’s help.” The lawyer handed Sookie another file and she opened it. “I’ve taken the liberty of moving a starter amount from this account into your local Bon Temps account so you can access it right away.”
Silence; there was nothing but silence as Sookie took a look at the amount of money in the account. She literally had nothing to say and it went on for so long that Eric started to worry. “Sookie.” There was no reaction so he touched her arm. “Sookie? Talk to me.”
“Um? You’re one of the most verbose women I know and you just said um?”
“Did you see this? This is yours Eric. He was your maker.”
“Sookie, that’s only one of his accounts. I don’t need it; I want you to have it. He wanted you to have it.”
“Why do I even have a work contract? I’ll never need anything.”
“You have a work contract so I can protect you.” There was a knock on the door that stopped the conversation and Eric rose to open it. A hotel employee came in with a wheeled cart of food and wine. “I ordered something for you and Desmond.”
“Thank you Eric.”
Sookie snacked on the large assortment of finger foods while Desmond and Eric reviewed the rest of Godric’s estate. Sookie could tell it was a hard conversation for Eric but he kept his composure, just as he kept a hand on Sookie’s leg for comfort. With the hand she wasn’t using for food, she simply caressed his hand as the conversation went on. Eric did have a new habit though, when he spoke of Godric, his hand went to the raven claw pendent around his neck. It nearly broke Sookie’s heart to see it. Finally it was over and Desmond was leaving. Sookie was glad, she wasn’t sure how long she could keep from crying and she knew that wouldn’t help Eric.
Nervously, Eric broached the topic of the people who would spend the next day with Sookie. Having Eliane and Barry would be a treat so she was excited about that. Having guards depressed her but she didn’t fight it as Eric thought she might. Once he explained his fear that Bill would try to capture her during the day anything she wanted to say against guards was gone. Bill’s anger and threats when he came to the room tonight had truly scared her. None of the other times he had yelled at her had scared her as much. If Eric hadn’t stepped in, she feared he would have beaten her or worse.
She was so lost in those thoughts; she didn’t hear Eric step out from the bedroom, now dressed in a suit for his meeting with Nan Flanagan. “Penny for your thoughts.”
“Eric, I don’t need a penny anymore. I’ll never spend that money.”
“Backrub for your thoughts?”
“Now you’re talking.”
“Aaand your back to a ‘no’.” He pouted. “It was worth a try.” He moved to sit next to her on the couch. “I’ll be gone for a while and Thalia will be here.”
“Who will be at the meeting? Will something bad happen?”
“Bill and Lorena will be there with Stan and Isabel. There should be no problems. You’re a secret – an innocent bystander.”
“Will Bill try to get Nan on his side to force you to return me or anything?”
“He can try.”
“Oh, ok. Be careful.”
“Always.” He kissed her forehead. “Will you go to sleep?”
“A nap maybe. Wake me when you get back?”
“What a cluster fuck. Stan, explain why I had to be called into Texas for this. How did a 2000 year old vampire get himself caught by the Fellowship? Was he lax in his personal protection?”
Eric growled and stood tall over Nan. “Don’t talk about him like that.”
Stan intervened immediately. “NAN! Have some respect.” He stared her down for a moment before she nodded in recognition of his words then he continued. “You need to hear what Eric learned.” He turned to Eric.
“The Fellowship has created a weapon Nan; a weapon that can bring a 2000 year old vampire to his knees.” From there, Eric spoke to Nan about Farrell’s betrayal; the weapon they’d created and his personal experience at the Fellowship. Nan was so shocked by what she heard all her questions about Eric’s escape were forgotten.
While most of the discussion was painful – it was Nan after all – for a few minutes, Eric thoroughly enjoyed the meeting when she turned to question Bill. “I understand you were brought here to assist as an investigator. Please tell me your findings.”
“I investigated Godric’s home and attended some meetings at Stan’s, but I was not part of the,” he paused, “situation last night so have nothing to share about this weapon.”
“Excuse me? Wouldn’t that be a key part of your investigation? Have you tried to learn more? Where were you during all this? I thought it was your pet who served as some sort of decoy?”
“She was sent in to see if anything could be discovered.” Eric was confident Bill would not divulge Sookie’s talent to Nan, and he was correct. “After she was captured, my maker arrived and I was . . . unavailable to aid the investigation.”
“How the fuck are you unavailable to aid the investigation when you’re the investigator?” Eric worked hard to contain his smirk while Nan screamed at Bill. When Bill didn’t answer she continued. “Never mind, I’m contacting the Global Vampire Council so we can go through this information. I’ll deal with your ineptitude later Bill.” She turned to her guards. “Get Roman on the speaker phone.”
By the time they were done, the Council was planning a communication to the monarchs for each state and a task force was being planned. Roman, the head of the Council, asked Eric straight out to participate and he declined. “I’m planning something else for right now Roman. I appreciate the honor of being asked, but I must decline at this time.”
“I understand Eric. Godric will be missed. If you change your mind at any time, let me know. I believe a task force to monitor all Fellowship activity needs to be permanent. We have other groups popping up around the world; anti-vampire-terrorism is a real threat for us now.”
“I will keep that in mind Roman.”
“We can talk tomorrow before the service; Nora and I are flying in for it.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
The two men kept their connection to themselves. The fact that Roman and Godric shared a maker (a long since finally dead maker) wasn’t anyone’s business. Eric had always liked Roman and he and his maker remained close throughout the years as well. He couldn’t say he was happy about Nora attending, but as Roman’s child, it made sense for her to come and pay her respects. He’d have to warn Sookie though. A few centuries ago he and Nora enjoyed each other for a while. It was something to do at the time and Eric had no remaining desire to be with Nora. Nora, however, never gave up trying to get back with Eric and he was sure tomorrow night would be no exception to her outlandish behavior. Yes, Sookie would need to be warned. A futile thought passed through his head; Sookie should really skip the service for Godric but he knew damn well that the stubborn woman – no stubborn fairy – wouldn’t agree to that. That didn’t mean he wouldn’t try. After all, a tiff with Sookie was always satisfying. He enjoyed having someone stand up to him for once in his life. Yes, a short little tiff could be a fun distraction for both of them right now. He smiled at the thought and returned to his room to wake his little fairy from her nap.
The smile disappeared as he approached his door: Sookie was crying out. He ran quickly to the bedroom and Thalia was already there waking Sookie from a nightmare. “I’ve got this.” Trying to offer comfort, he pulled Sookie into his lap and rocked her. From her words, Eric gathered her nightmare was about Bill taking her away. It hadn’t occurred to him that this could be a natural reaction to their discussion and he cursed himself for not considering it. “Sookie, shh . . . shhh . . . you’re OK, I’m here. I’m here.”
“Eric.” She’d woken but was still shaking from the nightmare. For comfort, she turned more into him and wrapped her arms around his waist. They stayed that way for a while before she finally said, “That was scary.”
“I know; I could tell. Do you want to talk about it?”
“No. Just hold me?”
“And Eric . . . don’t leave me.”
Eric suddenly realized he had planned to do just that: leave her, well everyone. His desire to grieve on his own was gone; he knew what he needed to do. Sookie had to come with him. Not as his lover, but as his friend. If the relationship was meant to be more, it would happen. For now, they both simply needed each other. He vowed, “Never Sookie, I’ll never leave you.” With satisfaction, he could feel her physically relax at his words.
Even more shocking was her reply. “I’ll never leave you either Eric.”
A/N: In case you didn’t read my post – I have hectic schedule coming up – so I don’t know when I’ll post. I’m not abandoning you guys – just a few weeks of stuff to get over.