Chapter 1 – What’ll it Be?

Pick your poison WP

“What’ll it be?”

Sookie looked up at the bartender and for a moment she forgot what she wanted. “Ahhh.” This was not the normal Native American man that usually worked on Thursday nights. This bartender was gorgeous, glasses and all. So gorgeous, he made her nervous.

With one eyebrow raised over the eyeglass rim (God that was sexy) he smiled and responded, “Ahhh? I’m certain you can do better than that. Pick your poison.”

Knowing she needed something to calm down, her lips took over and answered automatically. “Gin and Tonic please.”

“Coming right up.” The tall blond bartender moved quickly and mixed her drink while she watched – and she did watch. He was beautiful and she was certain she would have remembered seeing him before. Maybe he was new at the bar.

“Your drink Miss, on the house.”

“On the house?” Her eyes went wide then she grinned. “Well I must thank the house then.”

“Your smile just did. I own this place.”

“Oh, I was just thinking you must be a new bartender, I usually see Longshadow on Thursdays.”

The bartender laughed, “You read my mind. I thought you were a new customer. I’m certain I would have remembered meeting you.” The compliment worked and Sookie smiled shyly while a blush formed on her cheeks. “So you come in on Thursdays?” She nodded. “That explains it; I’m usually off on Thursdays. I need to rest-up for the busy weekend. So did you get to know Longshadow well?”

“Not really. I mean, he makes a good drink and keeps up with the orders.” Her statement ended with a sigh.

“But . . .”

“He gives me the creeps; always staring at me when I’m here. He’s not nearly as nice to look at as you.” She coughed on her drink. “Well, that just kinda slipped out.”

He barked a laugh at her. “I’ll try not to inflate my ego at your accidental compliment. As for Longshadow, he was fired, you won’t see him again.”

A subject change was in order to get over her loose lips so she asked, “So the owner ey?”

He nodded. “Built this place 5 years ago with my sister.”

“And are you Fate, Being or Necessity?”

The bartender just stared at the tiny blond in front of him for a moment. Nobody had ever guessed the meaning behind the name of the bar. “All three at once: past, present or future. You know, I’ve never encountered anyone who knew what the bar name, Norns, meant, rather who the Norns were.”

“I’m a history major. I’m working on my graduate degree now and my doctorate research is focused on Vikings. I’m quite familiar with Yggdrasil, the World Tree. In fact, the three sprits or Norns who live in the Well of Fate are a major part of my dissertation. I guess you could say that it’s an educational requirement for me to study this bar, given it’s name. I’m comparing the three Norns to ‘threes’ in other religions, cultures and beliefs.”

The bartender leaned forward and rested his arms on the bar to focus on just this conversation. “How do you mean?”

“The three graces, the holy trinity, three aspects to the Egyptian sun god – you get the idea.”

“I do.” He’d never realized what a turn on it could be to speak to a smart woman. When he first noticed her, he thought she was beautiful, now he wanted her badly. “So why do you come here on Thursday nights?”

“Thor’s night?” He smirked at her Viking reference. “I’m a graduate assistant and I teach History 101 on Thursday nights. I come here with some of the students after class.”

“History 101 – undergrad?” She nodded. “Aren’t they too young for my bar?”

“It’s night school, most of them are older students taking classes after work.”


“So why the Viking bar name? Are you descended from Harald the Ruthless or Svein Forkbeard?”

“Something like that.” He looked to his right. “Let me fill that bar order. I’ll be back shortly.”

“I’m just about done and I’ve ignored my friends. I’ll be heading out. Nice talking to you.”

She turned and left before he could even ask her name; it didn’t matter. Starting next week, he’d be working every Thors Day from then on.


“Your gin and tonic.”

The blond bartender placed a drink in front of her and she exclaimed, “You remembered! You’re here on a Thursday too.”

“I did and I am.” He put his hand out. “You left before I could ask your name last week and I just couldn’t have that. I’m Eric Northman.”

“Sookie Stackhouse, a pleasure to meet you.” She shivered. “Your hand is cold!”

“The pleasure is all mine, I assure you.” He pulled out a bar towel. “Sorry, cold hands come with the job – well the ice behind the bar.” This week he’d added an extra bartender to the schedule for Thursday so he could visit with this woman exclusively when she arrived. He leaned over the bar to get closer. “How was class tonight?”

“Wow, you have a good memory too!” She smiled at his memory but it quickly changed to a frown when speaking about class. “Class was alright. It’s hard to keep the adults interested when they’ve already put in a long day at work and your class is a requirement for them; not something of extreme interest. It’s not like I’m teaching children and we can do history skits.”

“I would guess not.” Eric watched as Sookie put her lips around the small straw in her drink and sucked; even that action drove him crazy. His attraction to her was beyond words. He’d spent the entire past week just thinking about seeing her again. How he would act, how he could get her to stay longer perhaps. “Maybe you should serve coffee at class.”

“That might help.” With her arms out, she looked around. “Tell me about yourself, why a bar?”

“The bar comes alive at night and I love nights. My sister and I worked together in a bar before and had dreamed of starting our own one day. I get to meet the prettiest girls this way too.”

“Oh, well I better move on so I don’t cramp your style.”

He couldn’t have her leaving this quickly again so he grabbed her hand, “I think I’ve met the fairest of them all and want to focus on her right now.”

“Wow, you’re a charmer, or wait, is that Prince Charming? My Gran would tell me to run away from you I bet.”

“Your Gran would be right, I am one of the ‘bad boys’. I promise to be a perfect gentleman for you though. Would your Gran approve?”

“She’d be skeptical.”

He chuckled at the comment. “Fair enough. So tell me, what do you do on all your other nights?”

“Last week I mentioned that I’m a grad assistant. That means I serve as a slave to my assigned professor this semester. When I’m not running around for him, I’m finishing my research. In my spare time I work at a bar closer to home; Merlottes Bar and Grill.”

“A busy life.”

“It’s February of my last semester, three and a half more months and then I’ll be pounding the pavement looking for work.” She took another sip of her drink. “Enough about me, what do you do in your spare time?”

“I’m not that interesting. I mostly work in the back office of the bar and I have other businesses I need to manage as well.”

“So a workaholic.”

“Possibly. I could be convinced to spend some time away from work by the right person.”

“I’ll look around for that right person.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “You’re bad.”

“You’re too easy.” She responded with a giggle. “So you do all that and tend bar?”

“It was purely coincidence that I was tending bar last week. We hadn’t hired a replacement for Longshadow and my sister can’t tend bar.” He scoffed. “Actually, she can she just won’t.”

“A diva?”

“The original. Her clothing budget for a week is what I spend in a year.”

“Oh my God! I live on a $600 monthly stipend and weekend tips. I can’t imagine.”

“You’re focused and goal oriented, she’s . . . she’s not.” He added a shoulder shrug that had Sookie laughing. “What are you planning to do with that beautiful brain of yours?”

“I’m toying with an offer for my post doctorate year, to assist a professor at Stockholm University for a year. It sounds interesting but I would have to leave my Gran and move there. It also pays only a bit more than my current stipend, though it does include room a board. But now I’m babbling. . . and you probably have orders to fill.”

“I’ll tell you a secret.” He moved even closer to her across the bar; she leaned in as well. “I’m not tending bar tonight; I was just waiting for you. So that means I’d love to hear your babble.”

Sookie was dumbfounded. Nobody had ever said or done anything so sweet and she told him so. He shushed her. “Nobody can ever think I’m sweet here.”

“It’ll be our secret then. I’ll tell anyone that will listen how mean you were to me.”

“Perfect.” They laughed. “Can I get you another drink?”

“Nope, one’s my limit, as is 10PM; I have both an early start and a late night on Fridays.” There was a moment of hesitation before she continued. “Thank you for the chat Eric. I enjoyed myself very much.”

“I did as well. Maybe next Thursday?”

With both a nod and a smile she confirmed. “I’ll be here.”

He couldn’t resist taking her hand and kissing the back of it before he responded. “I look forward to it.”


Two weeks later, Sookie took her usual seat at the bar and was offered her drink. “Your gin and tonic.”

Sookie looked quite sad as she took the drink. “Thank you.”

“Cheer up buttercup, he had a meeting, he’ll be out in a moment.”

Sookie looked up at the slender, tall blond bartender and thought perhaps she was Eric’s sister. “Are you Pamela?”

“I am, you can call me Pam.”

“Oh, I thought you didn’t make drinks.”

“I was ordered to. I assure you,” She looked at her nails, “This is not my cup of tea but the slave driver didn’t want anyone else talking to you.”

Sookie laughed. “You’re kidding me?”

“Nope.” She leaned over the bar. “I assure you buttercup, you are all he thinks about.”

“From a few weeks of chatting on Thursdays?” She gave her a bored look but nodded umm hum. “Oh.”

“Yes, OH.” She stood back up and took a moment to study Sookie. “To tell the truth, I was eager to check you out. Very few have ever captured my brother’s attention like you have. I wanted to see if you were worthy.”

“Is he aware that you’re out here assessing me?”

“I’m sure he’ll figure it out.”


“I don’t know. So far you haven’t impressed me.”

“Hmm, feeling’s mutual. Guess we’ll take a wait and see approach.”

Pam just stared at the woman for a moment then burst out laughing. “Oh, I think you impressed first buttercup. Nobody has talked back to me in a while.”

“From what little I know of you from Eric, seems like you need more people to stand up to you.”

“Don’t push it.”

“Pamela, you’re needed in the back.” Eric’s voice startled Sookie but not Pam at all. She just nodded and left the bar. “Hello Sookie.”

“Eric. How was your meeting?”

“Boring, all meetings are boring.”

“Poor baby.” Her lips formed a pout but her eyes sparkled since she was teasing him.

“You are so cruel.”

“You’re too easy, we’ve been through this.”

She watched as he walked around the bar to her side. This was new; they’d never been this close before. With his hand out, he asked, “I have reserved a booth for our Thor’s day chats. Will you join me?”

“Sure.” She took his hand (also new) and they walked to his booth. “Eric, can I ask you something?”

“You just did.” He smirked. “Yes, certainly.”

“Your sister said I have captured your attention.”

“You have.”

“What does that mean? We’ve seen each other for about an hour over the past few weeks. I . . .”

“I know you’re focused on your education and have no time for anything else. Having said that, I feel a pull to you but I’m trying to control it. I simply look forward to and enjoy our weekly chats. No pressure.” He rubbed circles on the back of her hand. “I’m sorry she said anything that made you uncomfortable.”

“Curious, not uncomfortable.”

“Then why are you looking down and fidgeting?”

“I enjoy our chats too. You’re right I have no time for anything else. Even if I had time though, I don’t know that we’d be any more than this.”

His hurt was apparent. “May I ask why?”

“Eric,” She almost sounded like she was saying ‘duh’ at the same time. “Women talk in the ladies room here. I know you’re ah . . . popular; with many of them. I’m not that kind of girl.” Eric’s face tightened at her words but he said nothing. Sookie jumped in. “I shouldn’t have said anything.” She even got up to leave. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I’ll . . . I’ll see you around.”

He grabbed her hand. He couldn’t let her walk away. “Don’t go. I might only have one night a week but it means too much to me see it end.” When she looked torn, he added. “You’re right about the other women Sookie but I’ve never done a relationship – ever. I don’t know what I’m doing here but can we at least keep going as we have been; no pressure, just talk?”

“Alright. Honestly, I would miss this time as well. With my hectic and stressful schedule, it’s the highlight of my week.”

“Then in addition to our love of history, we have that in common.”

“That and well; I’ve never had a relationship either.” She sat next to him. “I think we can build on that.”


By April, Sookie had met Eric at the bar every Thursday night, except for the week of spring break. Nothing more than talking and little pecks had ever happened and Sookie was fine with that. Her dissertation was just about finished but she had her defense to prepare so she was still quite busy. Time for romance wasn’t on her list of priorities. She still hadn’t accepted or rejected the offer for Stockholm but she was still torn between her desire to work so closely with one of the top professors on Viking history and leaving her Gran. It was this topic that she and Eric were focused on tonight.

“So your answer is due in three weeks and you still don’t know what to do?”

“No. Eric I’m no closer to a decision than I was when I first got the letter.”

“I am prepared for this problem.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I’ve detected a lack of resolution on your part and I recalled your deadline was approaching.”

“So what do you have to help me?”

He waived his hand and a waitress approached them in their booth with a clipboard and pen. “I have this.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Ah, wait.” He wrote some words and drew lines on the paper and showed it to her. “I have this.”

She laughed out loud and he pouted. “I’m hurt Sookie. I thought this would be a good idea.”

“It is. I’m laughing because I haven’t thought of it. All these weeks. . . “

“Then let’s start. First, the pros: It’s a fantastic learning opportunity.”

“It is Eric. The job opportunities once I’m done will be phenomenal. That’s a problem again though.”

“No problems, not yet. More pros please.”

“I’ve studied so much about Vikings but have never been to see where they lived Eric. I can’t put a price or value on that.”

“I can see that. What else?”

“Well, the offer in itself is like a reward.”

“I don’t understand.”

“There were several hundred applicants for the position.”

“Sookie, that’s phenomenal. I’m so proud of you.” Sweetly, he leaned over and kissed her forehead. “So the cons?”

“My Gran. I’m all she has. Sure, my brother lives in Bon Temps but he only comes around for a meal. She won’t make it alone. Which leads to the next problem. I don’t expect many of my job offers to come from Louisiana schools. When I started down this path, Gran was in better health. Now, now she’s frail Eric. She had a stroke last year and she’s still not back to where she was before it. I owe her my life. This is the woman that took my brother and I in when my parents died, well you know.”

“I know. Sookie, what if there was another way?”

“I’m open to options.”

“What if I hired someone to take care of your Gran for you?”

“Eric, I can’t . . .” She was glad she hadn’t said anything about the student loans that would start to be due in the fall; he’d probably offer to pay those off as well.

“Sookie, you know we both share a love of Viking history, we’ve spoken many times about it. I want you to have this opportunity.”

“You haven’t known me that long and you’re making this offer?”

“I’ve known you long enough to know you’re worth it.”

“I’m a little overwhelmed.”

“I’m sorry. It’s getting late for your Thursday night anyway.”

“Yes, I should go. Goodnight Eric.”

“Goodnight Sookie.”

She gave him her usual peck on the cheek and headed out. Eric went to his office and slammed the door. He had to move forward with Sookie. Over the past few weeks, she had become an obsession: he didn’t think about anything else. Pamela was always furious with him because of it – she just wanted him to ‘grow some balls and take the girl’ as she often said. While he wanted her, at the same time he wanted her to have the opportunity in Stockholm. The offer to care for her Gran went over like a lead balloon though. Now he didn’t know what to do and only a week to put a plan in place.


Two weeks later, Eric was practically pacing in his bar waiting for Sookie; she hadn’t shown up as usual the week before. Last weekend he almost drove out to Merlottes to see her but he was afraid she might see that as stalklerish. At just about her usual time, Sookie came into the bar but she didn’t seem like he typical happy self. Still, seeing her now relieved Eric and he moved to meet her at their booth. “Hi.”


As he sat, he looked closely at her; something was obviously wrong. “I was worried.”

“I’m sorry.” She started crying and instead of the sitting he pulled her from the booth and walked her to the meeting rooms he kept in the back.

“Sookie what is it?”

“My Gran. Eric, my Gran died last week.” She got the words out and immediately burst into tears. Eric just sat in one of the seats and pulled her onto his lap, soothing and rocking her until the crying abated. “I ruined your shirt.”

“It’s nothing. Sookie, why didn’t you call me?”

“We never exchanged numbers.”

“I own a bar with a publicly listed number.”

“I ah . . . Eric, I called the bar when it happened the beginning of last week. I was told you were out of town. I didn’t leave a message.”

“Give me your phone.”


“Give me your phone, I’ll enter my number.”

“Eric, I don’t have a cell phone. I’ll give you the number at my Gran’s.”

Well, that was going to change and tomorrow. Instead of telling her his plan and starting an argument, he just pulled out his phone to enter her home number. “Ok, I have your number and I’ll call to leave my number on the answering machine.”


“Sookie, did you teach tonight?”

“Yes. I missed all last week. I’m behind.”

“And not that I’m not happy to see you, but why did you come here tonight?” The darkness around her eyes and the fact that she’d lost weight just in two weeks hadn’t escaped him. “You should be resting.”

“I.” She stopped. He gently turned her face to his and tucked some stray hairs behind her ear. His eyes seemed to pull the truth right out of her mouth. “I wanted to see you.”

His grip on her became tighter. “I’m sorry you went through last week alone.” With his schedule, he wasn’t sure what he could have done – but it would have been something. “What happens now, do you need help with the house?”

“No, Gran owned it and it came to me. I signed over my half of my parent’s house to my brother.” She said brother and he noticed she shivered a little.

“Sookie? Why do you seem nervous or upset about something?”

“It’s nothing.”

“Sookie, remember we’ve talked about my bullshit meter and it’s off the charts.” He caressed her cheek. “Is there something wrong with your brother?”

“Not wrong, no.” She sighed and stood to pace, then she tried to change the subject. “So I’ve never been back here, funny that you call this room Landthing.”

“Yes, hysterical. Sookie tell me about Jason, what happened.”

“He accused me of not caring for Gran, said that it was my fault she died.” Eric started to say something and she stopped him. “I should tell you everything before you start.” She bit her lip. “He was so upset; when he got to the hospital he hit me.”

“HE HIT YOU!” Now Eric was standing with his hands clenched. “I’m going to kill him.”

“No Eric, you’ll do nothing. He needs to cool down. I cried; he got angry. He’ll realize what happened soon and apologize.”


“ERIC! Don’t make this time any more difficult for me than it is. Please.”

He paced for a few minutes before he answered. “Fine. Let’s get you home and resting though. Give me the keys to your car; I’ll have it delivered by the morning.”

“Eric.” She was about to protest.

“Don’t argue with me Sookie, please. I can hardly stand that you went through this without me, let me help you now.”


After collecting her keys and arranging for her car to be delivered, he carried her to his car and buckled her in. She fell asleep pretty quickly and he regretted that he forgot to get her address in his GPS before they headed out; he needed to wake her now. “Sookie . . . Sookie.”


“I get off the Bon Temps exit, but I don’t know anything after that.”

She guided him to her house and he moved to pick her up from the car again. “I can walk.”

“Indulge me.” Her eyes rolled but she said nothing. When they got to the door he handed her keys back (minus the car key he’d left with Chow), and she unlocked the door. There was an awkward moment at the door as they both tried to figure out what came next. “You’re welcome to come in Eric, but I’m afraid I won’t be good company.”

He walked her into the house and placed her on the couch. “I’ll leave you to rest – but promise me you will.”

“I will. I don’t have anything tomorrow morning so I can sleep in.”

His desire to kiss her was starting to take over – but now, while she was in mourning, was not the time. So he gave her a peck on the forehead and left after confirming he would see her the next Thursday.


The following Monday, Eric was surprised to receive a call from Sookie. “Is everything alright Sookie?”

“Well, I should yell at you for sending me this phone but I’m too excited about something else.” He could hear her take a breath. “I just wanted to tell someone my news. I accepted the position in Stockholm. I leave the week after graduation.”

“Sookie, I’m thrilled for you. We must celebrate.”

“I love that idea but I present and defend my dissertation in three weeks. I can only promise you my usual Thursday night this week – then maybe nothing until I’m done with that.”

“I understand. I’ll see you on Thursday.”


When Sookie pulled into the parking lot of Norns, it was deserted. Three other cars pulled in with her; the students who usually grabbed the after-class drink and they were all confused. Before they could figure out what to do, Eric walked out. “Sorry.” He directed is apology to the students with Sookie. “I closed the bar as a surprise to Sookie but had no way to warn you.”

One of the women in the group smiled at Eric. “Not a problem Eric. You two enjoy yourselves.” With that, the students moved quickly to their cars and bolted out of the parking lot.

“Why did you do this?”

“You deserved a celebration Sookie but I understand the limits on your time. This is a compromise.” He put his hand out. “Come inside.”

Nervously, she took his hand and walked into the bar with him. The interior had been decorated with Swedish flags and what must have been hundreds of yellow and blue balloons. “Eric! I love it.”

“I’m glad. I cleared all the tables.”

“I see that – why?”

“I realized that my bar was missing a dance floor. I want to dance with you Sookie. Will you dance with me?”

“I’d love too.”

Sookie pushed through her exhaustion and stayed with Eric at the bar for a few hours. They danced together, they reviewed some of the books he’d purchased for her on Stockholm and Sweden in general, and they marked up some maps of the area – places he wanted her to visit during her year in what she’d learned was his home country. As with the week before, Eric had arranged for her car to be driven to her home so he could take her in his car. This time, however, he gave into his desire to kiss her. “Sookie, I know with your dissertation meeting coming up you won’t be able to visit me for two weeks. I want to kiss you so I can bear those two weeks. May I?”

“You may.” And he did. He moved her to the porch swing and had her straddle his lap. With one hand on her waist and the other behind her head, he positioned her for their first kiss. It started soft and then he gently touched his tongue to her lips. Guessing that was a request for her to open up, she did and he consumed her and she gave back just as good. His teeth and tongue were everywhere and she’d never had such a kiss her life – of course she’d only been kissed once so it wasn’t like she had much experience for comparison.

When he was done, she was left panting and she put her head on his chest to recover. “That was wonderful Eric. Now I’m going to miss that while I toil away on my schoolwork.”

“The timing is good. I have to go out of town, so you can focus on schoolwork knowing my lips aren’t in the area.”

“Leave your lips here.”

“If only that were possible my Sweet.” He kissed her nose. “I’m leaving you now so you can get some sleep. Text me if you can. I have a strange travel schedule but will respond when I can. What day is your presentation and defense?”

“The 3rd.”



The next few weeks flew by and because they were both busy, they’d only exchanged a few texts. Eric did remember her big date and sent flowers (a blue and yellow arrangement) to wish her luck and she was both excited and saddened. Here, just weeks – really days – before she was leaving the country, she found someone with whom she finally connected. He was so perfect for her; in fact, he pushed her to take the position that would separate them. Instead of wallowing though, she dressed in her only suit and headed to her presentation. A few hours later, she sent Eric a text:

S: Success! I have my degree!

E: Wonderful Sookie, rather Dr. Stackhouse. I’m flying home tonight; can I see you this weekend?”

S: Aren’t you needed at your bar over the weekend?

E: I’ll make time for you.

S: How ‘bout I come in Saturday night?

E: Saturday can’t come soon enough

On Saturday, Sookie arrived at Norns and looked for Eric. He found her first. To him, she glowed in her white dress with red flowers. “I’m in love with that dress.”

“I treated myself today. Gran’s house sold.”

“I know that was a hard decision for you.”

“The likelihood that I would be getting a job near Bon Temps after this year is pretty low.”

“I understand.”

“That’s why Eric,” She paused. “Tonight is it. I’m packing for the next two weeks but I won’t be coming back in. It’s too hard.”

His face tightened, but he’d expected this. “I understand that as well. I don’t like it, but I understand. You Sookie are starting your career and essentially your life. Bon Temps, or even here in Shreveport, is not big enough or good enough for you.”

Tears started pooling in her eyes. “Thank you Eric. This is already too hard. I need to leave.”

“I’ll walk you out.” When they got to her car he asked, “A kiss goodbye?”

“Yes.” The kiss was no less magical than their first and it only hurt more when they broke apart. “I’ll never forget you Eric.”

“I know you won’t. I have your text number.”

“Oh, I need to return that phone before I go.”

“No, it’s on an international plan and pre-paid for a year. At minimum I get to talk to you next Spring when the contract is up.”



“Not goodbye Sookie, never goodbye.”

Sookie could only nod as she drove off. About twenty minutes into the drive she had to pull over she was crying so hysterically. Chow pulled over from several cars behind to ensure she was OK, just as Eric had asked. When she pulled out again, he did as well and continued to follow her until she arrived in Bon Temps.


Two weeks later . . .

“Welcome to Stockholm Dr. Stackhouse.”

“Thank you.”

“Bjorn, ma’am.”

“Bjorn. Do you work for the University?”

“No ma’am. Just hired to transport you.” He reached for the cart with her luggage. “This way to the car.”

As they approached the limousine, Sookie stopped suddenly. “There must be some mistake.”

“No ma’am. This is the car hired to drive you to your new home.”

“If you’re sure.” He nodded. “Let’s go then.

Sookie took in every bit of scenery as they drove, the sun was starting to set but that didn’t deter her from looking at everything she could. Bjorn was kind enough to help with some of her Swedish, as he also spoke English, but she had a decent foundation. Of course, Eric had taught her some things as well.

She was surprised to start pulling up a very long drive when she hadn’t yet seen the sign for the University. “Did I miss the sign for the University?”

“Your home is off campus ma’am.”

“Oh, I thought I was staying in a larger dorm room.”

“Not to my knowledge.”

A large castle came into view and Sookie gasped. “What is this, apartments?”

“You’re meeting someone here who will answer your questions. I’m really just the driver.”

She nodded absently as they approached the building. A man came out of the front doors and her heart stopped. It was Eric. The car hadn’t come to a complete stop before she was working the door handle and Eric walked up quickly to help her out. She jumped into his arms and cried while he squeezed her tightly and swung her around. “How?”

“It’s a long story. Come see your new home Sookie.” He guided her into the house and to a large study. “Let’s sit; I have much to tell you.”

“Yeah, like where are your glasses?”

“I don’t need them.” He paused. “Sookie. There’s something you should know.”

“Oh, is this when you finally tell me.”

“Tell you what?”

“Well, you are a vampire, right?” He stared at her in shock until she spoke again. “Eric, you were planning to tell me, right?”

“I was. I just don’t know how you know. Wait, can you read my mind? I was pretty sure you couldn’t.”

Now she was shocked. “You knew?”

“I guessed.”

“I can’t read your mind. How did you guess, I never. . . “

“You gave it away once. When you mentioned that women talk about my popularity, I knew that wasn’t true.”

“They were glamoured to not speak of their relationship with you. I knew it and didn’t keep that fact in check when I blurted out the bit of hearing them talk. I could see their thoughts, including the bites. I’ve always known there were other species, like I know my boss at Merlottes is a shifter. I just didn’t know what else was out there; well until I saw the biting.”

“And you still came to meet with me.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” She was confused and a little offended that he’d think she was so petty. “That you’re a vampire doesn’t change how much I enjoyed our talks. How about you? You kept meeting me even though you weren’t sure if I could read your mind or not.”

He gave back the same attitude. “Why wouldn’t I? That you’re a telepath doesn’t change how much I enjoyed our talks.”

“Touché.” They laughed together. “Now what?”

“Now I explain how this came to be.”

“Yes, please.”

Before he began, an older woman walked in with a drink and some snacks for Sookie. “Will you need anything else ma’am? Your majesty?”

“No thank you.” The shocked look on Sookie’s face was not a surprise when he looked at her. “I guess I’ll start with that.” She nodded and Eric told her how he’d been appointed as the Vampire King of Sweden over 600 years ago. He left the throne fifty years ago when Pam wanted to see the states. His older vampire child, Karin, stayed in Sweden to hold his position for him. When Sookie made the decision to go to Stockholm, he returned to take his throne back. Pam, he informed her, would remain in America taking over his position as a Sheriff under the Queen of Louisiana. He further explained that vampires were set to reveal themselves in just a few months, so they wouldn’t need to hide their relationship. Finally, and this was the big one, he informed her that the global vampire council had many goals for their integration into human society and one was correcting the current knowledge of long gone cultures. “I’ve already spoken to the head of the council about you. Once we are revealed, you will be heading up the team.”


“You. I wanted to find a way for you to use your brain and stay with me. Selfish, I know.” Knowing how selfish it was didn’t stop him. He’d fallen in love with this woman and being without her was unacceptable.

“As high handed as it all sounds, I can’t argue.” At her acceptance, he breathed a sigh of relief. Then she giggled. “I guess we’ll start with Vikings?”

He waggled a finger at her. “I’ve been trying to correct you for months.”

“I know that, we’ll get it all corrected officially.” She paused to take a drink. “So you did all this when you were out of town?”

“The trip was both dealing with politics and setting up a home for you here.”

“Ok, any more information for now?”

“No, I think we’ll let what I’ve already told you settle in. I’d like to show you around your home.”

“Do you live here?”

“I do, but you will have your own suite until you decide you want more.”

“Until I decide? What about you?”

“I would have you living with me in my suite tonight it you wanted it.”

Sookie paused at that. Didn’t she have the best of both worlds right now? Eric and her career? She most certainly did. Did she want more – like ‘living with him literally’ more? Again, she most certainly did. The past few months had been hard, sad, and full of promise all at the same time. With Eric giving her space while she thought this through, she reminded herself of something else. The past few months had also been full of love; love for Eric. She had one question for him though (well, a million but one would do for now). “Eric. Say I move in with you, literally with you. What does that mean?”

“I hesitated to say this before until I knew I could work all this out, but I’ll say it now. I love you Sookie Stackhouse and I want you to be mine.”

The waterworks started. “You do?”

“Yes Sookie. In fact, I would like you to marry me before the reveal is announced in the fall.”

“I love you too Eric.” She sobbed out then took a breath. “I’m an old fashioned girl though; you’ll need to propose properly.”

“Like this?” He dropped to one knee and pulled a ring box out of his pocket. “Sookie, I was in love with you by the time you walked into my bar on our third Thursday together. I knew then that I wanted you forever but I waited so you could have a chance to achieve your goals. Now, hopefully your goals and my goals will become our goals, so I ask you. Will you marry me?”

With a smile and tears she answered him. “That was a proper proposal.” She put out her hand. “Yes. Yes I’ll marry you.”

“Whew, I felt like you were channeling Gran and she was evaluating me.” He stood and kissed her softly. “So, I have one final question tonight. Am I taking your bags to your own suite or our suite?” He took her hand. “Tell me, what’ll it be?”








59 thoughts on “Chapter 1 – What’ll it Be?

  1. I don’t know how I did not see this before. But what an awesome start to a story. I can’t wait for an update!!

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