Summary: Is Eric’s departure to Oklahoma really the last time he and Sookie will see each other? Where will Sookie go for asylum after he leaves? E/S Pairing. HEA
Canon? Kinda: Takes place about Dead Reckoning. I have not read the books after this one so I made up some of my own content related to Desmond, the marriage contract, some characters, and details on their separation. Slightly AU as noted above.
Written for Sephrenia’s Fall Challenge. Thanks woman for the inspiration (and the banner above).
Beta: MistressJessica! Thank you!.
“What time is it?”
“4:00 AM. I have two hours.”
“I can’t believe this is our last ni . . . night ever Eric.” Tears that had stopped for a while started to fall again and Eric caressed her back and kissed her hair to soothe her.
“I know Sookie. I’m sorry.”
Eric and Sookie were cuddled together in her bed. All the investigation and work to get Eric out of his contract to marry Freyda had failed and they were spending one last night together before he had to leave the state. Sookie had cried after he rose from the cubby in her spare room but he calmed her down so they could make love one last time. It was the most intense love making either had ever experienced. For both of them it wasn’t about the sexual satisfaction but the connection – the last opportunity to ever be together – though they did enjoy the joining as well as the connection. In fact, Sookie requested that Eric fuck her hard enough to feel it for days.
He obliged, willingly.
The usual post coital bliss was replaced with a sadness that felt like a heavy blanket covering them. “Are you staying in the cubby here today?” Sookie looked up at him from her position on his chest. Eric couldn’t tell if her look was hopeful or heartbroken. He figured it was probably both.
“No. I’m being picked up from my main home in Shreveport at first dark.”
Sookie’s nose turned up as she snorted out in disgust, “You mean escorted by Freyda’s minions.”
“She doesn’t want me to get lost.” He moved to sit them up with Sookie on his lap. “We have some things to discuss.”
“Like what? We’ve already covered safety. I won’t b . . . be here by dark tomorrow night.” It was a struggle but she got the words out.
“That’s why you had a strange look when you asked about the cubby.” She nodded through some more tears while he offered some reasoning. “It’s easier this way. I wouldn’t want to rise and find you missing. . . “
“And I wouldn’t want to be here at first dark without you.” She looked up expectantly at him. “So what’s left to discuss?” Using a free arm, he reached to the nightstand and presented her with a thick envelope. “Do I want to know?”
“Several new identities, access cards to bank accounts, two burner phones with pre-programmed help numbers, and addresses for houses you can use at any time. I bought the houses for you using one of the fake identities.”
“Eric, this is too much! I’ve never been with you for money. I can’t ex. . . “
With a finger to her lips, he cut her off. “You are my wife Sookie. I don’t care that de Castro’s lawyer dissolved our marriage on paper. You are the wife of my heart now and always.”
“But it’s my fault all this is happening. Felipe didn’t try to get you out of the contract as punishment for Victor’s death.”
“We don’t know that.”
“If not that reason, then he wants me, so again it’s my fault.” He tried to interrupt her but she stopped him. “You know I’m right Eric. As soon as you’re gone he’s coming for me. That’s why you went over all the safety topics. You essentially told me to leave the state but not where. You don’t want to know in case they try to torture it out of you.”
He chose not to acknowledge the truth of her statements and tried to place the blame where it clearly belonged. “My maker and Freyda started the whole thing and you know it. Sookie, you need to leave the state because of my maker.” Pointing to the envelope, he added, “This will ensure you can do what you need to do to be safe and enjoy life.” Placing the envelope to the side, he took her face in both hands. “When I leave here tomorrow I won’t have control over any part of my life. Though the wedding is still two months out, my servitude to Freyda starts when I kneel before her and pledge fealty. What’s contained in this envelope is my decision, my money and my wish for you. One thing you don’t need to do is defend your honor about whether you’re with me for money. You barely let me spend a cent on you. Let me leave you knowing I’ve done everything I could for you.”
“You loved me Eric, that’s all I needed.”
“I still love you; I can’t do it in person anymore.” His eyes pleaded with her to agree.
Her heart hurt and melted at his words. What she hated most about the situation was the loss of freedom that Eric just described. The contract did indeed mean servitude for her beloved Viking. At that moment, she realized that not taking his help was selfish, that if the tables were turned she would want him to be safe and secure. She pulled up her big girl pants (virtually as she was naked in bed) and responded. “I love you too.” She pointed to the envelope and offered, “I accept all of this. Thank you.”
They kissed over her response for a moment. With a bit of nudging, she positioned him on his back and requested. “I know this is so selfish, but could you please hold me until I fall asleep one last time? Will you have enough time to get home?”
“I will Lover. I would like nothing more than to hold you right now.” He used his hand to guide her face to his. “After one last kiss.” The kiss lasted a short while but it wasn’t lustful; it was the physical expression of their love and their goodbye. As soon as her head hit his chest, he felt her hot tears and for the one and only time during this whole situation, he allowed his own tears to fall. He cried angry tears at his maker for taking his freedom for the next hundred years. He cried bitter tears for the need to leave his children and visit them only once a year. Mostly though, he cried grief-stricken tears for the loss of his fairy wife. Eric had shed a tear or two in his life, but nothing, not even the death of his human wife had evoked this reaction. The lovers clung to each other through their grief until Sookie’s exhaustion claimed her. When he left he kissed her sweetly, placed a final gift and note on her nightstand, and took to the sky.
. . . .
Sookie woke up and immediately felt the loss of her lover, husband, and friend. She didn’t have the time to grieve though; she had to move forward. The whole night with Eric had been beautiful and heartbreaking and she would cherish the memory of their last time together forever. She indulged in those memories for a moment before she sat up. From her new position, she spied a box with a folded note on top:
This is something I’ve had for a while but it never seemed to be the right time. First we got married without your knowledge; then we dealt with Victor’s death; and most recently, the contract. My guess is you would have refused this so I’m being a bit of a coward and leaving it with you, hoping you’ll accept it now. Even if you don’t wear it, please keep it and know what you mean to me.
Warily she opened the box and wasn’t surprised to find an engagement ring, a gorgeous, shiny engagement ring. She spoke to the empty room. “You got something right buddy; I wouldn’t have accepted this.” Emotions threatened to take over and she sighed to calm herself before adding. “But now I’ll wear it because it will keep you close.” She shook her head. “I need to stop talking to myself.”
There was a second note in the box:
When I saw this ring I knew instantly it was the ring for you. It is as unique and beautiful as you are Lover. I included a chain in case you want to keep it and not wear it on your ring finger. I know the human meaning behind the ring and understand if you are reluctant to appear engaged.
She put the ring on her finger and spent a moment at the window enjoying the sunlight that bounced from the diamonds. With yet another huge sigh, she turned and pulled out her new luggage. Eric had not so subtly arrived with it while he danced around her need to leave the state. She wasn’t taking much and once her bags were packed, she pulled out the note she’d pre-written for Sam, left it on her back porch, and headed out.
A few hours later, Eric walked to the waiting limousine. Knowing his new wife would dress him to her standards, he had only one small bag of clothing and his laptop for the trip. The two guards that had arrived to escort him, exactly as Sookie described, were shocked when he walked out and sat in the backseat without a word. They had the trunk open and even checked the porch to be sure he wasn’t expecting them to load up more luggage. “Sir, do you have any luggage?”
“The bag in my hand.”
“You do realize you won’t be coming back?”
They were both perplexed and stared at each other for a moment before they got in the back of the limousine with Eric and headed to the airport.
. . . .
Two weeks later in Mississippi
“Miss Stackhouse, a pleasure.”
“Your Majesty, th. . .”
He cut her off. “Call me Russell dear.”
Sookie nodded and started speaking again. “Russell. Thank you for agreeing to see me.” He nodded as he offered her his elbow. She took it as he led her from the front door to his office. Being in Russell’s mansion again brought back some joyful and painful memories for Sookie. Still, she was trying to keep it together. In the past two weeks, she’d cried buckets of tears but now was the time to establish a safe life and hopefully Russell would help.
She had to trust somebody.
After getting Sookie seated in a chair in front of his desk, Russell sat next to her. News of Eric’s contract with Oklahoma had made it to most of the monarchs in the United States and Russell knew for certain that the marriage was not something the Northman was entering into willingly. Right now, he could see that Sookie was upset even as she fought to appear composed and he felt the need to calm her. “What can I do for you dear?”
“I need safety, asylum if you will. In exchange for my telepathic services I would like to live in your kingdom under your protection.”
Russell was silent for a moment and Sookie sat still and waited. She knew the ancient vampire was thinking through his response. While she should be afraid – she had essentially walked into his territory and set herself up to be taken unwillingly – she wasn’t. There was a sense of honor she felt from the king next to her. Russell picked up on her lack of fear and commented on it. “You are quite confident that I won’t simply take you as mine.”
She sighed. “Your majesty,” she started then paused. “I’m so well known from Rhodes at this point many vampires could do exactly as you described – take me. As far as vampire monarchs I could trust, I felt I was limited to two: you and Stan in Texas. Your age won out. If I’m going to be protected, I might as well go with the stronger of the two.”
“Pragmatic; I appreciate that. You have my guarantee of protection under the following conditions: I will claim you as mine only if you agree to live here and have guards.”
“I anticipated all of that.”
“We’ll draw up some paperwork to make this official. I’ll make an appointment with my lawyer. You know him I believe: Desmond Cataliades.”
“Desmond is in Mississippi?” Her voice raised up in question.
He nodded and answered. “Another refugee from Louisiana requesting asylum. He arrived about a month ago. It seems that de Castro’s losses are my gain.”
“You didn’t mention blood in your conditions. Will you require my blood?”
“No. I’m quite happy with my donors and I will guarantee you will not be used as a donor at any time. It’s the least I can do for the woman who saved so many of my kind in Rhodes.” Russell also knew if the Northman ever found out he’d allowed Sookie to be fed from, the fact that she wasn’t really his anymore wouldn’t matter: the Viking would go beserker.
“Thank you Russell.”
Russell stood and helped Sookie out of her chair. “Let’s get you settled in your new home.”
The following week, Desmond arrived with the paperwork designating Russell as Sookie’s owner. After greeting her sponsor warmly, Sookie walked with Desmond to Russell’s office. Desmond greeted Russell officially, “Your majesty.”
“Desmond, good to see you.” He motioned to his meeting table. “Shall we?”
After they were seated, Desmond pulled out the contract. He paused though before handing it over. “I have a question for Sookie before we begin.” Russell nodded his consent. “Sookie, why did you and Eric allow the contract to go through even though Appius was finally dead?”
“According to de Castro’s lawyer, the way the contract was written had nothing to do with Appius being alive or not.”
“Yes. He handled my . . . our divorce a month ago.” She choked a bit on the words and Desmond took her hand.
It was as Desmond feared. When all this Freyda/Oklahoma business started, Desmond’s life was in danger from an unknown threat and he was forced to flee for his life. A month ago, suddenly the threat was over and he chose to leave Louisiana for good. A month ago was right when Eric and Sookie’s divorce was final. That was too much of a coincidence. There was something in the contract that would nullify it – he was sure. The question now though; was it too late? “Sookie, do you have a copy of the contract?”
“I don’t have the final one being signed but I have the first few versions.”
“Did they alter the text or add items to it?”
“They altered the specifics of the marriage requirements and Eric’s ability to see his children. The rest of the changes were additions.”
“The additions are no problem – it’s the core contract that may give me options. What were the marriage requirements?”
“Options? I don’t understand.”
“Sookie, I don’t want to get your hopes up, but I believe the threat to my life was to keep me away from you and Eric so I couldn’t help.”
“WHAT!?” He nodded. “There’s a . . . a chance?”
“I don’t know. Can you explain the requirements that were changed?”
Her heart was nearly beating out of her chest as she worked to answer Desmond’s questions. “The original contract stated that Eric couldn’t see his children the entire time he was married to Freyda. Freyda offered . . . annual visitation rights if you will in exchange for two marriage requirements. First, Eric had to live with her the entire time – not just in the same state. Second, Eric and she needed to . . . join at least twice a week, not the usual once per year as in standard vampire marriage contracts.”
“I see. I’d like to see the contract as soon as possible.”
“I have it in my room; we can review that after we sign this contract.”
Russell who had remained quiet the entire time now added. “Sookie, if Desmond can do something about Eric’s marriage contract, you don’t want to be owned by me. We’ll need to add wording to our contract to allow for that.”
With a nod Desmond agreed. “That’s why I wanted to ask about the marriage first.”
“I gathered as much.” Russell offered. “Sookie, why don’t you get that contract and we’ll meet up again in about two hours?” He turned to Desmond with a raised eyebrow.
“Two hours should be fine, thank you your Majesty.”
Sookie tried to contain her excitement as Desmond worked. He was quietly reading through the contract and making notes. Sometimes, his eyebrows would go all the way up to his hairline or he would make a ‘hmm’ sound and she would gasp and stare at him, but he never looked up; he kept reading. Finally, after an hour and a half, he lifted his head from its downward position, looked at Sookie, and smiled widely.
Sookie burst into tears.
. . . .
Meanwhile in Oklahoma
“I don’t give a fuck Freyda. We aren’t married yet, I have no obligation to,” Eric sneered, “service you as you request. Until I’m forced to on paper, I won’t go near your infected cunt.”
“You will not speak to me that way!”
He gritted out his response. “Get used to it; I’ll speak to you anyway I want. Don’t like it? Don’t marry me. Gods know I didn’t ask for any of this.”
“We’re going to be together for a very long time Eric. I think we should try to get along,” Freyda retorted before storming out of his room. As she did many nights, she headed towards the donor area to take her aggression out on a willing human. The whole relationship with Eric was not working out as she’d planned. Of course she had Eric’s fealty and that was important; she was a young queen, easily taken over. Having the Viking as a defender was a huge win. Only for Freyda, it wasn’t the only reason she went into the contract with Appius. She wanted Eric to herself: his strategic brain for outwitting any enemies, his body for defense and pleasure, and his heart for love. Yes, the ultimate goal had been her need to have the Viking’s love. She wanted him to look at her as he did the telepath. She wanted to feel the pleasure he had given his ex-wife. She wanted him devoted only to her as he had been to Sookie. Unfortunately, the reality was not happening that easily. Appius had agreed to control Eric as needed for Freyda to help him behave.
Appius’ death was very inconvenient.
Rather than heeling nicely, Eric took every opportunity he could to insult her. The staff at the palace watched their interactions and Freyda had even heard some of the betting that went on behind the scenes: how long before Eric insulted her, would Eric storm out first or Freyda, that sort of thing. For now, she held her head high knowing that in just another six weeks, they would have their elaborate wedding ceremony at the upcoming vampire summit in Philadelphia followed by the signing of the contract. Once the contract was in place, she owned him. The tables would be turned and she wouldn’t tolerate his behavior any longer.
Eric stomped around his room. The room he thought was his only private sanctuary in Freyda’s palace, but tonight she proved she didn’t even respect that. He’d gone to the donor room to feed at first dark and when he returned, he found her lounging in his bed – waiting for him in a provocative outfit. The bitch didn’t realize that nothing about her was appealing. Nothing about any of the women here was appealing. He even tried to fuck his aggression out on a donor but he couldn’t. He missed Sookie. Honestly, he wasn’t sure how he would even get an erection for the wedding night and each of the contractual fucks he needed to give Freyda for the next 100 years. Using a picture of Sookie to get hard was probably something the vampiress wouldn’t like but it may be his only option.
Perhaps he should call Ludwig about Viagra for vampires.
As he often did, he booted his laptop and watched the videos he had of Sookie. It was the only thing that gave him any peace since he’d left her. Pam had contacted him and confirmed that Sookie vanished from Louisiana. Sam had even gone out of his way to call Pam at Fangtasia and relay the information Sookie left in a note. Basically she told him that she was leaving for her safety and that she’d asked him to move into the farmhouse and keep it up – in case she could ever return. Sookie had also included a private note to Jason but nobody knew what it said yet. Surprisingly, Sookie’s brother had actually left Bon Temps to try and find her. Pam put a tail on him and had reported that Jason had had no luck. At Eric’s insistence, Pam funded Jason’s futile search by having money deposited into his bank account. The boy hadn’t figured out yet that his money just kept replenishing, not depleting. Even though Eric was confident that Jason wouldn’t find Sookie, at least he was out of Bon Temps for the time being. That turned out to be a good thing since Felipe’s second, Sandy Sechrest, had arrived in Bon Temps the day after Eric left for Oklahoma. She found nothing of interest, of course.
From the end of the hallway, he could hear Freyda telling a guard to come collect her fiancé so they could do some wedding planning. With a sigh, an action that was now a regular occurrence for him, he left his room to meet with his bride-to-be and prayed that she didn’t have something stupid like tablecloth colors to discuss with him, again.
Thankful that he could call Pam at any time, he left his wedding planning meeting with Freyda and dialed his child at Fangtasia. The entire conversation was in Old Norse, so he spoke freely. “I want to kill her.”
“You say that every night.”
“I really mean it tonight though.”
“You say that on the nights when you have to participate in wedding planning. What was on the agenda tonight?”
“What? The bride to be is letting you know what she’s wearing before the wedding?”
“Yes, I had to offer an opinion.”
“I bet you had one to offer.” Pam snickered from the other end of the call.
“I’m pretty sure she knows I don’t give a fuck what she wears when I’m forced to pledge to her.”
“So what is the bride wearing? White?”
“No. It’s a red dress and for the first part of the ceremony she’ll be in a hooded red cloak – actually we both will.” He raised his voice to mimic Freyda. “Isn’t that just to die for Sweetheart?”
Pam laughed at his impersonation. “Well, maybe a cloak is a good idea. You can pretend Freyda is someone else until she removes it.”
“I may have said something to that effect as well.”
Pam laughed out loud at that. “You didn’t?!?!” He joined her laughter and confirmed that he did in fact say he would pretend she was Sookie. “I bet she loved that.”
“Her face pinched together like she’d eaten a daemon and she didn’t say anything when I got up and left.” He chuckled. “It was quite satisfying.”
“Which staff member won the bet tonight for who would walk out first and how long it would take?”
“He seems to do the best. I guess as Freyda’s primary guard he knows her very well.” Pam was quiet for a moment. Even though they frequently enjoyed some banter on their calls, she knew deep down that Eric was still hurting. Not being near Sookie bothered her too and she wasn’t the one in love with the tiny fairy. “How are you otherwise?”
“It’s all I’ve got Pam. I don’t even have hope.”
“I wish I could give you hope. I don’t even know where she is.”
“That’s safer for her.”
“So for the first days of the summit, we’ll still be sharing a room, right?”
“Yes, up until the third night when we’ll have,” he again raised his voice, “the vampire wedding of the century!” He sighed. “Then per the contract, my days will be spent with her.”
“I’m sorry about that.”
“I’m not. Not being able to see you or Karin for 100 years was unbearable.”
“Still. . .”
“Pam, it was my decision and I’d do it again. I must go. I have a meeting with the security team to review some changes here.”
“I will speak to you soon Master.”
. . . .
Six weeks later, Philadelphia, PA
“Did you enjoy your day Sookie?”
She nodded with a smile. “Yes Russell. We visited the Adventure Aquarium today – we took the ferry across the river; then had lunch back in town. You pay my guards to have fun with me you know.” She smiled at Russell while she moved to sit with him at the table in her room.
“Paying the guards is necessary, you know this.” He put a hand over hers in concern. “Are you still getting up too early? Sounds like it. You need to shift to nighttime for some of the events here.”
She smirked. “I know, I’ll be fine, I’m sure.”
“I know you will dear.”
“Why are you alone?”
“My hubby shoo’d me from the room so he could surprise me with his outfit.”
“What’s on the agenda for tonight that he needs a special outfit?”
“The opening ball. Are you sure you don’t want to attend with us? I promise you one of us will keep an arm on you the entire time.”
“It’s better this way Russell. We talked about this when the summit came up.”
The two continued to chat while Russell waited for his husband Bartlett to ‘pretty himself’ up for the night. The past few weeks at Russell’s had been very soothing for Sookie. He hadn’t even asked her to work for him yet; he simply had her every desire fulfilled personally or by his staff. Every night they spent time together as friends, talking and sharing. Sookie fully appreciated the history he’d experienced and she absorbed his stories. In return and at his request, she treated him like a normal person, not a monarch and he had to admit it was refreshing. A text from Bartlett telling Russell he was ready cut their conversation short.
“My love awaits Sookie. I’m to go pick him up.”
“Tell Bartlett I said hello.”
He kissed her cheek. “Will do.”
As Russell opened the door he turned back to her and gave her a brilliant smile then told her, “Oh and later tonight we’re doing some shopping for our favorite girl – there’s a LaPerla in the hotel that’s staying open all night.”
. . . .
“I swear I just heard Sookie.” Eric and Pam had been walking from their room to the elevator in the summit hotel when Eric had stopped suddenly. He shook his head and started walking again. “Gods, I must be hearing things now. Like some last ditch effort since my pledging is so close.”
“Did she go to work for anyone – maybe she is here?”
“Not that I know of, but then Freyda does not keep me in the loop.”
Pam put her hand on his arm to stop him. “Do you really think it could be her?”
“See what you can find out.”
“Will do. Oh, there’s Russell, I didn’t know he was on this floor.”
“Good evening Eric, Pamela.”
They bowed and greeted the King of Mississippi. “Your majesty. We didn’t know you were on this floor.”
“I’m not; I had a meeting with one of my staff and now I’m late collecting my husband.” With a nod he hurried past them towards the end of the hall.
Eric waited until they were on the elevator before he turned to Pam, smiled, and said. “Russell smells like Sookie.”
. . . .
“Pamela, I don’t understand how we’ve been here for three days knowing she’s here somewhere but I never saw her.”
“Eric, has it occurred to you that she’s really here to work and it’s better for both of you that you didn’t meet?” She softened her features. “Eric, I know you would have wanted to see her but is that fair to either of you? You are getting married tonight.”
“I know Pam. I’ve got an hour left.”
A knock on the door stopped their conversation. When Eric opened it, it was one of the staff from the supernatural wedding planner Freyda had hired for the event. “I’m here to prepare Mr. Northman for the ceremony.”
“I’m pretty sure my master can dress himself.”
“Pam, I’ll see you in the ballroom. Freyda’s got two guards with this guy. It’s not worth the fight.”
With a sardonic tone she huffed out and offered, “Thank goodness I’m dressed already.”
An hour later, Eric stood on the dais at the center of the ballroom. Rows of golden chairs were filled with all the summit attendees. Stan Davis stood with him as the officiant. It was the only concession Freyda had allowed. Eric wanted someone he knew to perform the ceremony. At the moment, it really wasn’t providing the help he thought it would. Trying to look through the cloak that hung on his head and fully framed his face, he barely saw as Pam worked her way up to the front row. He’d give her grief later for showing up so late but even late, her presence was somewhat soothing even if he couldn’t feel anything; she’d closed their bond. For a brief moment he regretted not having Karin with him but she was out of the country at the moment and her presence wasn’t necessary.
After all, the ceremony wasn’t something he wanted to attend himself, no need to drag his older child back for it.
The main double doors were opened by two pages and Eric glanced at the cloaked figure in the opening. His first thought was how stupid the cloak idea was. Nobody could see anything with the large hood shrouding her face. What he could see was Russell walking in with Freyda. That wasn’t planned but he’d need to wait until after the ceremony to ask.
Russell and Freyda walked quickly up the aisle – a little too fast Eric thought – but fast was fine. Eric wanted to get the pledge over, sign the contracts, fuck her and mark off the first of his next 36,500 nights of his life.
As his bride reached the dais, she held out the velvet bag containing the knife for the pledge. Eric moved to grab it and froze. The left hand holding the bag bore the engagement ring he’d purchased for Sookie. Scared to get his hopes up but knowing he had to confirm, he inhaled deeply and smelled his Lover’s scent. For a moment he worried that Freyda had done something to Sookie and stolen the ring but Russell’s presence pushed that thought out of his head. Trying to contain his optimism, he raised his hand to remove the cloak from the woman in front of him when he heard a screech from the doors to the room.
“THIS IS MY WEDDING! GET THAT FILFTHY HUMAN OFF THE DAIS AND OUT OF MY CLOAK!”
Russell smiled at Eric and indicated to give him a moment. “Freyda. I believe this situation was explained clearly to you just an hour ago. Your contract with Appius is null as it states that Appius needs to be present to sign the final pledging contract. I don’t see him here, do you?”
She had continued to move forward and approached Russell. “That contract was approved and Northman agreed to sign the pledge contract right after this ceremony. Are you suggesting he go back on his word?” On his pledge of fealty?”
“I am, simply because the contract that forced him to make those commitments was voided at the time. You are the one who worked to hide the details of the contract with the help of de Castro and his lawyer.” He sneered at Freyda who had reached him by now. “I can’t prove any of that, so I’m letting it go, but you can’t stop the wedding that’s happening right now.” Russell nodded his head and several vampire guards came to remove Freyda. When she saw them, she panicked and actually lunged herself at the dais towards the bride. With Russell’s quick movement, she was stopped and then pulled from the ballroom while kicking and screaming.
Russell waved his hand and a few additional guests walked into the room and moved to sit in the front row next to Pam. Eric nodded to Jason, Hoyt, Sam, and Tara from Bon Temps. With a flourish, he pushed back the cloak covering his bride and revealed his lover, his wife, his friend. Sookie beamed widely at Eric as she handed him the knife then bowed her head. As per the protocol for the ceremony, he kissed the knife and handed it to Stan so he could cut both their wrists over the pledging cup.
Right after Stan had made the cuts and they bled in the cup, Eric grabbed Sookie’s wrist to heal it. “No. I want this to stay. I want the mark.” He smiled at her and nodded, liking her plan for a physical remembrance.
They each drank from the cup and sighed at once again having each other’s blood. With a wide smile Stan offered. “I had planned to simply announce that we were off to sign contracts but I think something different is now in order.” Eric looked at him with a bit of confusion and Stan continued. “By the power vested in me by the Church of the Ever-Living God, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Eric, you may kiss your bride, the right bride if I may add.”
“You may add Stan, you may,” Eric said before taking Sookie into a passionate embrace and kissing the breath out of her. The Bon Temps folks in the room erupted in cheers and applause.
. . . .
Shortly before dawn that morning, Eric and Sookie were cuddled together in their bed. At Russell’s insistence, Sookie’s room for the summit was light tight; this enabled them to reunite in private. Both of them were very satisfied with their wedding night consummation. Eric was trying to piece together what had happened. So far he’d learned about Sookie’s fateful decision to go to Mississippi where she reunited with Desmond Cataliades which led to the review of the contract. “So de Castro’s lawyer, Whaller, either blatantly or stupidly missed the loophole and Desmond found it after reading the contract right away?”
“Yep. He read it once and found a few options, but the one about Appius being present for the contract signing was the glaring one; well the wording was ‘all parties present’.”
“And after you found that?”
“Russell was onboard to help right away. He and I signed a temporary ownership contract that lasted until the moment I married you. He felt that was safest since I would be here for the summit with all these greedy vampires around.”
“I knew you were here.”
“Yes, Russell was sure you smelled me on him. I stayed hidden since Russell wasn’t going to approach Freyda until right before the wedding. Though he had me guarded well, we didn’t want to take any chances.”
“And who confronted Freyda?”
Sookie laughed as she answered. “Russell but – and this was a coincidence – Russell ran into Pam on his way to Freyda’s. So she got to enjoy it and she snagged the cloak.”
“That’s why she was late and closed the bond.” Sookie nodded. “I couldn’t believe when I saw the ring. Then I smelled you. I was trying hard not to get too hopeful.”
“I was ready to burst. I was so excited. Russell was no help: out buying me a dress, underwear, getting me hyped up in general. We didn’t come prepared for me to step-in since we didn’t really know how the confrontation would play out. I mean, we were sure the contract was null, but there could have been fighting or well it’s Freyda – who knows.”
“And he did pick some fantastic wedding night lingerie.”
“Too bad it didn’t survive.”
“I’ll buy you more.” His face turned serious for a moment. “I owe Russell. He cared, he more than cared for you – he was instrumental in this outcome.”
“He’s become a friend.”
“I know, he was quite complimentary about your companionship.”
“I’ll miss him I guess but I can handle that since I get you. And Eric, I mean forever.”
“My forever?” He asked with his eyes wide and she nodded. “When?”
“End of next summer. I want the best tan possible.” With a loving look on her face, she added, “I never want to be apart. Vampirism gives us that.”
“Thank you Sookie. I didn’t think it would be possible to be any happier right now.” He kissed her in thanks. “Sookie.” He turned serious suddenly. “I’m sorry.” She opened her mouth but he put a finger over her lips so he could keep going. “I’m sorry that you had to save me – and glad that you did at the same time. I’m sorry you were at risk – and really happy you made your way to Russell. I’m sorry we were apart – and I won’t allow anyone to come between us again.”
“This falls on Appius and Freyda – and now it appears de Castro. Speaking of de Castro, what will you do? You haven’t really pledged fealty to any monarch, right?”
“I have a plan and I’ve started some discussions, but I have to ask you something first.” She nodded for him to continue. “I’ve been offered a Sheriff position out of Louisiana. How would you like to live near your new buddy Russell?”
A/N: Thanks voters for wishing this story be continued – at the moment I don’t have any current plans for that. We’ll see . . .