YES! A chapter from Mags. Sorry for the delay. New school year, Scout camping, other real-life – but I did warn everyone.
I won’t keep you from the next chapter (hope you still remember this story).
Thanks to my beta MistressJess for giving this a TWICE over – she’s a fantastic and dedicated beta.
Chapter 8 – Saying Goodbye
Translation reminder – min modiga man (my brave one)
The next day Sookie woke at about 1:00 PM and shook her head at Eric. Wanting to offer him as much protection as possible, Sookie had insisted that she sleep on the pull-out couch in the sitting room. Eric wanted her to be comfortable in the bed. Obviously he pretended to give in and she went to sleep on the couch as she planned. Yet somehow she woke up in the bed – with a big Viking curled around her. “I’ll give you a piece of my mind when you’re up Mister. How am I supposed to keep you secure in here for the day now!?”
Still muttering to herself, she got up and took care of her human needs. For several moments she stood at the door trying to decide what to do. Once she unlocked the bedroom door, it couldn’t be locked again from the outside. Sookie heard Barry in her head. ‘There are two guards outside the door to this suite. It’s only you, me, and Eliane in here now. He knows the door will be unlocked.’ She stayed at the door. ‘Sookie, I’m not lying to you. He said he left you a note.’
‘Oh, I didn’t see that. Hang on.’ Sookie looked around the room and saw there was a note on the floor. In her bratty reaction to being in bed with Eric, she’d thrown back the blankets and the note blew off the nightstand. Oops.
My Favorite Smart Ass:
I guess you’ve figured out that I was not letting you sleep on the pull-out, silly girl. By now you’re probably mad at me and concerned about security. There are no problems. Two guards are stationed outside the room and if you leave, one will go with you while one stays in the sitting room. You only need to shut the door; don’t worry that it cannot be locked.
I’m certain you would tell me if there were any concerns with Eliane or Barry so I don’t consider them a risk. If you have any reason to worry about either of them – or anyone in the hotel, simply notify your guards.
Since you also insisted on attending the service tonight, please plan to leave at sunset. No food will be provided, so you’ll need to eat before then. I’ll feed you again when we return to the hotel. If you change your mind, I’ll arrange for guards to stay with you while I go. I would prefer that you not attend the service, but given your reaction to that suggestion last night, I guess you still plan on going. And speaking of your reaction, did I tell you you’re gorgeous when you’re yelling at me? (Simply ensuring I meet my flirt quota for the day).
I will see you tonight.
With a smile on her face, she stepped out of the bedroom and was greeted by Eliane.
“Good morning sleepyhead.”
“Eliane, it’s good to see you.” Sookie’s new friend moved to embrace her as she left the bedroom, carefully closing the door behind her.
“Sookie, do you want breakfast or lunch?”
“Coffee I can make here. How about some Danish or something to nibble on?”
Eliane took care of placing the room service order and Sookie sat next to Barry on the couch. They had a ‘thought to thought’ conversation while they waited. ‘How are you?’
‘I’m OK Barry. I can’t thank you enough.’
‘You’re my friend.’ He reached over and grabbed her hand.
‘Ditto. Barry, did you get fired?”
“I did, but it doesn’t matter. Eric and I spoke this morning. I’m moving to Shreveport and taking a position with him.”
“It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
Eliane interrupted their mental conversation. “Your coffee Sookie.”
“Thank you Eliane. I’m really happy you’re here.”
“Me too Sookie; I was worried about you. So your situation is over?” Sookie nodded. “Good. I’m glad. What happens next?”
“I don’t know. We have the memorial tonight.”
Eliane was confused. “What? Who?”
“Did you see the news about the Fellowship?” Eliane nodded. “One of the vampires that was killed was Eric’s maker; Eric considered him to be his father. He was such a good man. It’s going to be hard.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry Sookie.” Eliane’s face brightened. “How about a distraction?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, shopping, or the spa? The movies?”
“I don’t know about going out. . . . Of course Eric did hire guards. Barry, do you have a preference?”
“I think both of you lovely ladies need mani/pedis. I’ll call my friend at the hotel spa and see about getting you in.”
“What will you do?”
“My back hurts, I’m pretty sure I’m in need of a massage.”
A few hours later, the group was returning from the spa and a late lunch/early dinner so Sookie could get showered and dressed by first dark. They stepped off the elevator on the ninth floor and were attacked. Sookie didn’t see everything clearly; arms and legs moving, growling, and even some sprayed blood. She saw Barry was putting up a good fight though. The brawl was over in a minute, and a stunned Sookie clung to Eliane in the elevator. That’s when she saw Barry was hurt. “BARRY!” Ignoring the two attackers on the ground, she moved to touch Barry. Much to her relief, he was breathing but unconscious.
“Here Eric.” She wasn’t surprised that he’d heard the fight; she now knew he woke about an hour before sunset. What did surprise her though was when he came running down the hall wearing only his boxers with his hair dripping and tiny streams of water running down his chest. ‘God I love that chest’, she thought, but she quickly changed her thinking to focus on Barry and the attack.
“Are you hurt?”
“No Eric, the guards and Barry stopped them.” She turned to the two Were guards, “Jon, Tim, are either of you hurt?”
“No Ma’am; thank you for asking.” Jon answered. “Eric, I’ll call my Packmaster for assistance with these two.”
“Thank you. Can you have them held for questioning?” Jon nodded while Eric moved to pick up Sookie. He turned to Thalia who also heard the commotion and joined them. “Thalia, can you assist Barry? I want to get back in the room.”
Sookie was concerned about Barry and Eliane noticed. “Sookie, I’ll stay out here with Barry and Thalia. You go get ready.”
Now that Eric had Sookie in his arms he started assessing her for injuries. In a huff, she crossed her arms over her chest. “Don’t you start sniffing me! I’m fine; nobody even touched me.”
“I smell others.”
“I was at the spa Eric. I was going to take a shower before getting dressed.” At those words, he headed in the bedroom of the suite so she could use the bathroom, but she stopped him. “I’m all set-up in the other bathroom. Eliane was going to do my hair.”
“I told you I knew the door was unlocked, I don’t consider Eliane a risk. There is no need for you to use the smaller bathroom.
“Eric. I had everything I needed for the day in the sitting room. I know the door didn’t lock but I had no plans to open it while you were in there. I won’t expose you like that.”
His dead heart warmed. “You really worried about me today?”
Her face spoke ‘DUH’ loud and clear. “And you got me guards. Now let me down so I can be ready to leave at sunset.”
“Don’t you need help in the shower?”
“I’m certain that you’ve had your shower – you know that wet hair is a dead giveaway – besides I know you’re going to follow-up on the attack – well the planned abduction.”
“So it was an abduction?”
“Oh yeah. They were thinking way too clearly to miss it. Lorena hired those goons and you can track them back to Mississippi.” She started patting his arms. “Now let me down Mister. I have to get started if we’re going to leave on time.”
His smile turned playful. “For a kiss.”
Her smile in return was equally as playful while she tried to scold him. “You behave.” He shook his head and said ‘nuh-uh’ in response. “Fine.” She moved to kiss his cheek but he turned quickly and she got his lips instead. “Happy now?”
“Hardly.” He stilled and listened for the update on Barry. “Barry is fine, he took a blow to the head and Thalia gave him a bit of blood – only external – to get rid of the cut and bruise.” He lowered her to the floor as he spoke.
“Good – but why did he fight? Did you tell him to serve as a guard?”
“I didn’t Sookie. He fought because he cares for you; at least that’s my guess.”
“Well I’m glad Thalia healed him. I’ll be out shortly.”
While Sookie showered, Eric called Neal, the local Packmaster, and arranged for some time to question the Were’s that attempted to abduct Sookie shortly after first dark the next night. Since Neal knew about Sookie’s talent, Eric told the local Packmaster what they knew about Lorena hiring them and their origins were Mississippi. Since the Were’s came into his territory, Neal would oversee in the punishment of the men.
Right at sunset, Eric, Sookie, and Thalia headed out for the memorial service at Stan’s home. Eric was dressed in an all black suit and Sookie in a little black dress that Eliane had thankfully already purchased for her. Before they left, Eric tried once again to get her to stay at the hotel with Thalia, using the abduction attempt as his reason. She declined with enthusiasm again. In addition to paying her respects to Godric, Sookie also wanted to be there for Eric.
The mood at Stan’s was subdued as they gathered. There were many vampires there, more than Sookie thought would be but Eric had told her that Isabel had mentioned the memorial on the news when she was asked about the Fellowship and the death of the two vampires. Except for Michael, Godric’s dayman, Sookie was the only human coming in the room for the actual service; the other humans (donors) would be waiting in the rest of the house. Eric had warned her about it and he was emphatic that she literally be holding onto him or Thalia the entire evening. That, she agreed to with no argument.
On the drive over, Sookie had asked about the service. Eric simply told her he didn’t know what to expect; he’d never been to one. Godric’s age was the reason Stan had called everyone together. They were both curious as they looked around to see what had been prepared. A podium had been set-up in the largest room: Stan’s living room. In fact, it was the only piece of furniture in the room since there were so many vampires; there wasn’t space for anything else.
Eric introduced Sookie to many in the room including Roman, the head of the Global Vampire Council. “Miss Stackhouse, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I understand you spent some time with Godric before he met the sun.”
“I did. He told me many stories from his life during that time. I heard about many friends and acquaintances from his long life.” She smirked and he returned it. “Many sound like people I’d like to meet.”
“I’m sure.” A thin woman with a sneer appeared next to Roman as he continued. “Let me introduce you to my child, Nora Gainesborough.”
Sookie gave a small nod and acknowledged the woman. “Ms. Gainesborough.”
“Human.” Eric stiffened but Sookie soothed him by rubbing her hand on his lower back. Eric had warned her about Nora and she simply couldn’t be bothered by her behavior tonight. Nora didn’t notice she’d upset Eric because she kept talking, “Eric, after the service why don’t you and I get together for a reunion?”
“No thank you Nora.”
“I’ll let your human stay.”
“Her name is Miss Stackhouse, Nora, and I’m not interested. I haven’t been interested in a reunion in decades.” He turned to look at Sookie. “Sookie, I’d like you to meet someone else.” With that, he led her away from Nora before anything further could happen. At least he could hope. They continued around the room greeting and meeting others until Stan moved to stand at the podium. After everyone quieted, Stan called Eric to the front once he believed everyone was present. When he tugged on Sookie’s arm she stayed firm, next to Thalia. Eric turned back and pleaded for her to join him with his eyes so she conceded. The quick look he gave directly to her exposed his vulnerability and his need.
Now with Eric and Sookie beside him at the podium, Stan started:
“At over 2000 years a vampire, Godric was rare among our kind. His leadership in this state and at other locations over the globe has earned my respect and I believe his passing warranted a gathering of remembrance. I thank each of you for attending. Some of you even traveling from out of state to be here.” Sookie noticed he nodded to Roman as he said the last part.
Stan’s speech continued on about Godric and his life but Sookie had to stop listening for fear the waterworks would start. Fortunately, since she was concentrating on other things, she heard voices outside the house. In a matter of seconds, Sookie realized it was the Fellowship from some of the minds; then she heard the countdown. As softly as she could, she whispered to Eric “Fellowship outside, countdown.”
In the blink of an eye Eric focused on the voices outside and heard the countdown as well. “EVERYBODY GET DOWN!” Eric bellowed as he hugged Sookie to his chest and dropped to the ground on top of her.
Sookie could hardly breathe and only saw blackness. In truth, she thought she’d been hit and was knocked unconscious. Then she heard voices and growling and realized the black she was seeing was Eric’s chest on her face. “Eric!”
“He’s been shot Sookie.” Roman had landed next to her since he was so close to the podium. “I need to get the two of you out of here. Vampires are wounded and they’ll be looking for blood. Can you walk?”
“Help me get him off me.” As Eric was pulled back, Sookie saw many of the vampires chasing after the gunmen. “Roman, I know you guys are big on revenge and all, but they killed humans tonight not vampires. You’ll get justice and it will help your cause better.”
Roman understood the tiny human’s words right away. “Everyone stop.” He raised his voice only a little but it had the intended effect; he was the head of the Global Council after all. “We will capture the gunmen and call the police. Humans were killed.” He issued a few other commands and got Sookie and Eric quickly into a bedroom in the back of the house. “Sookie, it’s silver. See if you can get the bullets out. If not, he’ll have a much longer recovery time and more pain.” She nodded. “I must deal with the Fellowship. Lock the door behind me. Open it only if Eric is able to protect you or when I or a representative of mine comes back for you. Do you understand?”
“I do and thank you.” She suddenly panicked. “Thalia?”
“She’s fine. She was collecting Fellowship members. I’ll leave you to tending Eric.”
Roman had placed Eric on the bed and Sookie pulled his shirt open to find the entry wounds for the bullets. Bullets, she realized, he’d taken for her. Again another time Eric had been the one to protect her. She found two holes and started wiping the blood to get a better look. With a strained voice Eric spoke. “You’ll have to dig them out.”
“You’re awake, thank goodness.” Her focus moved to his face as she caressed it and brushed his long hair back.
“Sookie, the bullets.”
“Oh! Yes, let me find something.” She ran to the attached bath and found several things to try. It was the tweezers that worked – but not until she had to dig around a bit; causing even more burning for Eric. She was crying for his pain by the time she got them out. “Why aren’t you healing?”
“It’ll be slow since I lost blood.”
“And you can’t have mine.” He shook his head. The silver in her blood would do him in right now. “I’ll go find a donor.” She moved to get up but he was still able to pull her hand.
“No you won’t. I heard Roman. I can’t protect you right now, and there are still vampires feeding out there.” He waved one hand. “Come min modiga man, stay with me.”
“But Eric . . .”
“I won’t get any worse; we’ll wait for Roman.” He could see that she was still unconvinced to stay with him. “Sookie, please don’t fight me on this. I’m certain once Roman has dealt with the authorities he will return.”
“Let me clean you up then.” She bit her lip. “Can you stand for a shower?”
“Not yet. I want to focus my energy on the wounds.”
“Sponge bath it is Mr. Northman.”
He waggled his eyebrows. “Will you behave Nurse Stackhouse?”
She winked as she backed away from him. “Maybe.”
In the bathroom she gathered wash cloths and towels. Since she couldn’t find a basin to use for warm water, she improvised and grabbed the trashcan in the room. Why would a vampire even need a trashcan in the bathroom, it’s not like they blow their noses? She cleaned it first then filled it with warm water.
Eric stayed still and enjoyed the feeling of Sookie washing him. It took some effort but the two of them got him out of his torn shirt and jacket so she could get him as blood-free as possible. While cleaning his chest, she could swear he was purring and she figured it was contentment; she liked the sound and the fact that her actions caused it. When she got close to the wounds, he flinched but didn’t open his eyes. Seeing the wounds again reminded her what he’d done for her. “Thank you Eric.” His eyes popped open and his eyebrow rose in question. “For taking the bullets; for shielding me.”
“Sookie, I have some pain, but that’s all for me since you got the silver out so quickly. These bullets could have killed you. At a minimum I would have needed to heal you and right now, I don’t want you to have my blood.”
Her hands popped away from him in surprise. “You don’t?”
He grabbed her hands and pulled them back towards his body. “Sookie, I want us to grow closer because of how we feel and I’m willing to take the time to get there. I know that the blood builds on something already there but I fear you would always have doubts. I don’t want that if there’s going to be an ‘us’.”
Wetness pooled in her eyes as she responded. “Eric, that right there; it’s the most perfect thing you could have ever said about what’s happening between us. I need the time and you’re probably right.” She gave a heavy sigh. “I would’ve doubted everything I felt given my history with Bill.”
She was close to his face for this conversation and Eric moved to put his hand in her hair. His desire to kiss her was a living thing so he gently pulled her head towards him. Feeling no resistance, he looked at her lips to give her a clue and she continued to move towards his face. She was so close he could feel her heating up in addition to her deepening blush and her heart was racing. Just as she hovered over his lips there was a loud knock on the door.
“Sookie, it’s Stan. I have a donor for Eric.” When she didn’t answer right away he added, “Roman sent me.”
With a huge sigh she backed up and moved to let him in since she could feel that it was only one vampire and a glamoured human, a man, much to her relief. The donor simply sat on the edge of the bed and handed Eric his wrist. Sookie had never seen Eric feed before so she watched with fascination as he bit and drew blood. What surprised her was that the act turned her on. Eric was feeding from the man’s wrist, but staring at Sookie as she took in the sight. It didn’t escape him that she was aroused; her scent gave it away. His focus needed to be on healing so he willed his erection down directing his energy to the wounds. They closed before he took his fifth and final draw from the donor. Sookie simply let the man out and Eric was standing behind her before the door closed. “ACK! Eric, don’t sneak up on me like that!” Her hands were flying as she spoke.
His chuckle was music to her – he must have been feeling better to play. “I love riling you up though.”
“So I’ve noticed.” Since he was right next to her she inspected the wounds. They were both still pink but healing before her eyes. “I guess we have to go talk to the police or something?”
“No. I want to sneak out the back and fly us out of here. We could be stuck for hours.”
“Agreed; let’s get out of here.”
Only because Sookie complained about him flying with no shirt, did he put his suit jacket on for the flight. They exited the bedroom, found Stan and explained they were leaving; he gave them no argument but he did thank Sookie for her warning to Eric. This worried Sookie a little since she didn’t want to expose her gift but Stan quickly clarified that he barely heard it and he was the person besides Eric who was closest to her. Stan confirmed that he would ensure Thalia had time to return to the hotel before sunrise which relieved Sookie’s concerns. Before they could get caught up in anything else, Eric carried Sookie out the back door and shot up in the sky. Thankfully, he had the forethought to cover her mouth because she started to screech at the height; not a good idea for a stealthy escape. When she calmed he removed his hand and anger over being quieted was her first reaction; he knew it was really her fear of flying talking so he let her rant while they flew. Her colorful vocabulary surprised him and he actually thought his little Southern belle could give Pam’s potty mouth a run for her money. For the moment though, he enjoyed his fiery fairy and let her continue her verbal beating. At least her hands weren’t flailing around as usual – they were gripping tightly to Eric.
Eric landed them softly and far behind the hotel so she could complete her dictionary of curse words before they walked into the hotel. The landing actually quieted her and he laughed. “You done?” She had the decency to look embarrassed and nodded her head yes. “Good because I was thinking I’d need to wash that mouth out with soap. It would be like returning the favor for the sponge bath.”
“Sorry, I was . . . “
“Frightened. I know. Though now I know to keep Pam away from you. I don’t need her learning any new swear words.”
“I’m not that bad.”
“Sookie, I was blushing.” He smirked at her. “Are you hungry?” She nodded. “Do you want to eat out?”
“You have no shirt. It’s also 2:00 AM; it’d be hard to find something. Room service is Twenty four hours. That’s fine.” They continued to the elevators. “I can walk you know.”
“Yes, I’m aware.”
That’s all she got, well that and the smirk before they got in the elevator. At least it was empty so nobody questioned his stained jacket and death grip on her. Sookie asked Eric to order her dinner and hopped into the small shower leaving Eric to use the big bathroom. Eric was faster, as usual and when he came out he started making arrangements for his leave of absence. Pam was already on board, the problem was the Queen. Per Pam, Sophie-Anne had requested an audience before he left. She shouldn’t need to meet with him so his first thought was Compton. The whiner probably ran to New Orleans and cried about Eric. At least she wasn’t denying him; she simply wanted the meeting before he left. Since Pam was also expected at the meeting, she would pack for him and join him at the palace; he would leave from there. Sookie would leave with Thalia and he wanted her to go anywhere but Bon Temps; somewhere he didn’t know about. After two days, Thalia would escort Sookie to his house in the Bahamas for their vacation. Neither of the women knew the plan yet; he’d discuss it with Sookie while she ate.
Since her dinner arrived and she still wasn’t out, Eric knocked on the door. “Sookie, your dinner arrived.” He didn’t hear anything back. “Sookie?”
“In a minute Eric.”
Something was wrong – he hadn’t been listening since he was busy with plans, but now that he’d thought of it, she had been in the shower for a while. When she came out he inspected her – exactly how she hated – and she told him so. “I’m worried about you Sookie.”
“I had a meltdown about the whole thing, OK? You had to save me – AGAIN; humans were dying all over that house Eric. That’s not normal for me.”
He quickly opened the beer that came with her meal hoping it would help. “Geez, I gotta cut back on the alcohol. I never drink every night like this.”
“I hardly think two glasses of wine last night and beer tonight – if you drink this – is a problem.”
“I know, but I work in a bar Eric. As do you. I don’t like how drunks behave.”
“Fair enough.” After he’d helped her to a seat, he took the one next to hers and nodded to her plate. “Did I order correctly? A burger and fries?”
She nodded. “The order was perfect. I was soooo craving something like this. Really unhealthy but so good.”
He laughed at her enthusiasm over something as simple as her meal. “Sookie I need to talk to you about something.”
“I’m leaving Shreveport for a while.” Her eyes grew large and much to both his pleasure and his dismay they filled with tears. She even put down the fries in her hand – she had been shoveling them in. “Sookie, calm . . . “
His words caused a pain to shoot through her. After what they’d discussed; he was leaving her already? “You said you wouldn’t leave me.”
“I’m not. I’m inviting you to travel with me.”
“I want you to join me.”
“The Bahamas, Alaska, and Sweden.”
“Covering for me as Sheriff.”
“Just me and you?”
“Thalia will travel to those locations and have separate accommodations. So really only you and me.”
“But we aren’t ah . . .” She struggled. “You can’t even feed from me. And I work at Merlotte’s. My house – who will take care of my house? You’re not talking about two weeks here, are you?”
“Sookie. We’re going as friends. If something more happens, then something more happens. Be aware that I’ll likely flirt and try to woo you though.”
She smiled at that. “I would expect nothing less.”
“Good. Before that though, I need to grieve. I need to think. I can’t do that in Shreveport. You need to grieve too. You need to erase the Bill shit. You can’t do that in Bon Temps.”
“You said you ejected Bill.”
“That won’t last. He’s the Area Investigator – the Queen will override me.”
“Then no, I’m not ready for Bon Temps.”
“And your job . . . are you really going back to waitress? You don’t need to work.”
“I haven’t accepted that money yet Eric.”
“Have you thought of setting up and using the money to run some charity? You could draw from the fund to cover your expenses and still provide something for the greater good.” Her eyes sparkled so he continued. “We can discuss this, make a plan while away.” Her head was starting to shake yes so he went in for the kill. Taking her hand in his he offered. “I need you Sookie. I must go away for a while and I’ll still go if you don’t come with me – I’ll arrange for your protection – but I must go. I’m asking; no, Sookie I’m begging you to come with me. Please.”
She only required a moment to look in his eyes to see the need there. It was the same look that convinced her to stand with him at the podium for Godric’s service. “I will. I promised you last night I wouldn’t leave you and I mean it. Where are we off to first?”
“I’ll need to pack my bikinis then.”
“No need, it’s a private island.”
“What does that mean?”
“Nude sunbathing and skinny dipping Sookie.” He waggled his eyebrows and licked his lips before adding, “In fact, don’t bother with clothes at all.”
A/N:Coming up – getting the heck out of Dallas.
I think I’m good to go on a regular posting schedule – I hope!