Some might say that my life is complicated. Complicated doesn't cover it at all.
Today, I've had people shooting at me, both my first love and man I'd ever given myself to and the man that I... currently have some incredibly complicated feelings towards, crowding all around me. I have a fairy great-grandfather whose brother, I have just found out, is responsible for killing my parents when I was little. I've been bleeding, bruised, sore and heart sore and, again, all of that is just today.
My formerly amnesiac boyfriend for whom I have some incredibly complicated feelings just now happened to be sitting on my bed, in my bedroom.
"We must talk."
That was Eric, a 1000 year old vampire, right now looking uncharacteristically serious as he sat on the end of my bed. That's right, the end of my bed. If we can just overlook this being just the latest in a long line of Eric's impositions where my personal space is involved, and look instead at the timing he's picked for this conversation, you'll see that it suits only him. Eric comes across as arrogant and self-absorbed as he mostly is. Nothing left of the lover I'd had in my bed for such a short time, so why do I keep on looking?
Simple. Because he's just told me that he remembers everything that passed between us while he didn't have any memories.
I'm not an unattractive woman. In fact, being able to hear most of the inner thoughts of the people in Bon Temps, I know that people don't find me unattractive. More than a couple of those thoughts have continued on towards wondering why a nice, pretty woman like me would continue to associate herself with vamps. The reason for that has always been simple: When I'm around vampires, I can't pick up what they're thinking. Zip, nada, zilch. It's... refreshing.
However, entering my room to find Eric in it right now is anything but refreshing. There are a lot of overdue conversations between us but, right now, there is nothing that I want more than to just... skip it.
"Does it have to be now?" I asked wearily, putting down my bag beside the door to my room. I'm not in the mood to be fighting with him, but I'm just not in the mood to talk through everything we need to talk about either. Not for the first time, I wished for the simpler times of before vampires had personally insinuated themselves into my life. I'd have damned Sophie-Anne, except she was dead already. Fancy, though. The idea of wishing for those simpler times before vampires would never have occurred to me back then.
It was sure as hell occurring to me now.
Eric stood. Every muscle in the vampire's body shifted to make this movement as lithe as 1000 years of practice could make it. It was mesmerising to watch Eric. Sometimes, I caught myself staring, only to find myself gazing into his all knowing smirk when I came back to myself.
All this would be fine except I still don't know where my feelings end and the blood bond begins. Before I was with Bill, he had me drink some of his blood without telling me any of the side effects. I felt cheated by that. At least I came to Eric knowing more about the situation when humans drink vampire blood.
Three times, now, Eric has convinced me to drink his blood and, after the events of today, I have drunk more from him than in any time previous. Granted, we needed for me to be able to get up and walk out of the war zone we found ourselves in, so I wasn't exactly questioning it at the time but...
I was questioning it now.
Eric loomed over me. There was a smile on his lips that was halfway between the knowing smirk of the 1000 year old Viking who was Sheriff of Area 5 and the young man wondering lost who found his way into my house, and my heart. It was the perfect smile for him to give, since I'd been falling for both of these men who wore the same face for months now.
He reached out to touch me, but I knew that if his fingers touched my bare shoulder, I would be lost. Touch intensified mental activity with humans, meaning that I could pick up on what people were thinking easier if I was touching them, or they were touching me. With the blood bond, every part of me would just want to curl up against him and let him take care of everything in whichever way he wanted. I'd experienced this before, fought against it before. I knew I didn't have the wherewithal to withstand him right now. Just because I had feelings for Eric, didn't take away my awareness of the ruthlessness in him.
I stepped back.
Hurt mingled with annoyance flashed through Eric's eyes, again that deadly combination of the 1000 year old vampire and my short lived amnesiac lover.
Before he could speak, I said, "I'm tired... actually, tired doesn't cover it. Try exhausted, with a side of I want to sleep for at least a week. I can't talk with you about stuff right now, I just... can't." I hadn't realised I was so near to tears until Eric's impassive expression caused me to continue arguing my point. I hadn't realised just how exhausted I was from just everything lately until I'd had to explain it to someone else.
Suddenly, his arms came around me and my head fitted perfectly in the dip of his collarbone, beneath his chin. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to convince myself not to cry but, that's the thing, when people are nice to you when you're feeling hard done by, it's that much harder just to keep it together. Added to that, Eric was making soothing 'shhh'ing sounds and I...
I'd known I wouldn't be able to withstand him tonight.
Luckily for me, there was a large amount of amnesiac lover!Eric in control tonight. Or maybe I'd just managed to impress upon him the sheer patheticness of me and he realised there would be no valid point to pursuing anything else tonight. Either way, after a gentle kiss on the top of my head that almost made me melt there and then, Eric held my hand and led me to my bed.
"Do you have pajamas?" he asked.
I nodded. He followed my line of eye sight and grabbed them for me while I sat cross-legged on my bed with my pillows propped behind me. For some reason, watching such a powerful vampire fetch platonic night clothes for me made my whole night seem just that little bit better.
He pulled the covers back, but he didn't try to put himself under them with me. Actually, he didn't try anything with me at all which actually allowed me to relax for the first time in too many hours.
How had this become my life, I wondered?
"Shh, none of that." The blood bond again. He'd obviously felt a small spike beginning to upset the relaxation that had just begun. I relaxed more truly this time.
The last thing I remembered that night was a soft brush of fingers against my hair line, but I have no idea whether I was near enough to sleep at that point that that was just part of the night's dream.
These are the conversations I very much missed seeing both in the books and the series. I've done my best to merge the two so that they reference both but will be confusing to no one who has only seen/read one or the other.
I'd said I wanted to sleep, and sleep I did.
I had glorious dreams of mundane things and people. I dreamed of having a whole shift at Merlotte's where me and Sam didn't say a cross word. I dreamed that Pam smiled at me, and said she was happy to see me again. I dreamed of sitting in the kitchen with Tara and talking about our honeys. I dreamed of Grams, as I'd seen her the last time, a ghost in the graveyard,telling me that she was proud of me, that she was safe, and happy, and that I had to let her go back to God. I dreamed that I met my great-grandfather Niall and there were no fairy politics, no fairy war for me to get all caught up in.
I dreamed about my little cousin Hunter, Hadley's son.
I had a lot of things to think about when I woke up. I felt well rested, but that didn't mean that all the problems in my life had just went away. I was glad that I woke up several hours before sundown. There was a part of me that strongly believed I would have a vampire visitor come to claim on the kindness he'd shown me the night before and ready to collect in the form of the long conversation that we had coming to us.
I had a couple of things I needed to do before that.
For starters, Hunter. He was Hadley's son from before she'd gone and shacked-up with Sophie-Anne. Now both of them were dead and Hunter's father, Hadley's ex-husband, Remy Savoy, was bringing him up.
When I'd last talked to Remy, fairies had been out to kill me and it just hadn't seemed a good idea to involve him and his family in the mess of that. Still, Remy had imposed upon me the difficulty that was likely to be faced if me and Hunter didn't speak before Hunter started going to kinder this fall. Hunter was like me, a mind reader. When I'd been growing up, there hadn't been anyone around me to help me with the thoughts that I kept getting from people all the time, nobody to understand that I wasn't crazy or trying to upset people with my little gift. I was determined that Hunter wasn't going to experience the same thing.
The phone call with Remy was short, basically letting him know that I'd managed to find some 'free time' and would be happy to make a visit to see him and Hunter in the next couple of days. Remy was free on Friday during the day, and that was good because I had a shift over at Merlotte's that night. I said that I would be there, and I'd be gone again before Hunter's bed time.
Thinking of Friday night and work made me think of Sam. Sam really hadn't been happy when he'd smelled Eric on me. Had been even less happy when Things were sometimes difficult between me and Sam -I put that up to the fact that he didn't like me dating vampires a lot of the time, but there was also the fact that he liked me a little more than he should for just my boss- but he was still my friend, and I owed it to him to make things up to him.
I called Merlotte's after calling Remy. That conversation was longer.
"Sam Merlotte," he answered.
"Hey Sam. It's me. Sookie," I added, just in case he'd somehow forgotten the sound of my voice in the last couple of days.
"Hey there... Sookie." Sam sounded like he wanted to say more, but wasn't very sure what to say. It was a feeling I could definitely say I empathised with. Talking to him had always been so easy once upon a time. Since the vampires, and finding out he was a shapeshifter, things had kept being difficult. Half the time, I hardly felt as though I could apologise fast enough before something else would come along to upset things between us.
"I was wondering," I said, injecting more than a healthy amount of happy into the tone of voice I used. "It's been ages since we caught up outside of work. What's say you and I go out for a nice lunch somewhere, away from Merlotte's and..." Vampires, werewolves, fairies, trouble in general. Pick one.
Sam obviously picked up what the end of that sentence was suppose to be. There was only a small pause this time, before Sam made his decision. "Yeah," he said. "I'd like that. When would you like to do that?"
Since I was now already busy Friday, working all weekend, and tomorrow was my only other day off this week, I said brightly, "Is tomorrow too soon?"
"Tomorrow sounds perfect." Another short pause, then, "Sook, I'm happy to hear from you like this. You're right. It's been too long since we've caught up properly."
A couple more niceties passed between us, convincing me that I still had a good friend in Sam Merlotte, before he had to get back to work, and I had to let him off the phone.
The rest of the day was largely spent with me trying to get my head sorted over everything that had gone on lately. It would take a lot more than one afternoon to get that stuff sorted properly, but I liked to think that I made a steady start that day.
And so it was I was sitting in my kitchen, having a small bit of dinner, when Eric came into the house. I'd changed into a pretty summer dress, one of my favourites. I hadn't thought about it as wanting to look good for him, until he strode into the kitchen. His eyes roved over me hungrily, and I felt that familiar prickle of pride. Attractive I may be to the average human man. Among vampires, I struggled to be able to compete.
In that moment, it didn't matter. Without words, Eric swept into the room and drew me to him. Next minute, we were kissing as though all the air had gone out of the room and all we could do was breathe into each others' lips. I clung to him as though he were a life support and, for his part, he grasped me as though he would hold me even if my knees chose to give out. Which they were dangerously close to doing.
I don't know what it was about that moment that drew us together like that. I wasn't thinking very much at all. The strap of my summer dress fell quickly from my shoulder, and I was reaching underneath the neat, black shirt Eric was wearing at the same time as his fingers were digging into my thigh right beneath the hem of my dress. I couldn't find it in me to mind. If it was effect of the blood I'd had of his, or the blood bond that was now stronger than ever, or merely the history that existed between us, both of our clothes were quickly dispensed of and I was gasping into him and never more conscious of the fact that he didn't need to be breathing.
His eyes were darker than their usual blue as they stared into me, making me conscious that I was writhing about on the couch that he'd brought us to. He was aroused, no mistaking that, but he had a better control over it than I did.
"Eric..." I moaned, and that had the effect of stripping him of a little of the control he'd held onto. With a growl, he grabbed me to him again and savaged my mouth with his. I could feel, in his arousal, that his fangs were sharp, but he was taking some pains not to pierce me with them. Obviously I'd had more than enough of his blood already. There was no suggestion of blood transferring during our sexual acts and, for just a second, I wondered how close drinking from him the other day had made me to becoming a vampire.
But I didn't think on that for too long.
Our clothes were stripped away and his hard length was pressing against me rather insistently. I was already so far gone into melting, and he knew it, even without me widening my legs to give him greater access. He moved straight into me, sheathing himself in one thrust. I screamed out, and he swallowed the sound with his mouth, thrusting in and out slowly, well, slowly for him. Slowly for him probably meant normal speed for any human male.
I was already starting to rise towards the cresting point. I started gasping out his name, over and over again, squealing out in my ecstasy as warmth and shudders shot through me, but he wasn't done. He wasn't nearly done. I caught sight of a grin flash across his features as he increased the tempo now, and we rode me towards my second orgasm. And my third.
It was not a short time later when we found words again.
"I have made sure that Bill will not bother you. We both agreed that you have had more than enough trouble with the supernaturals in your life. In this brief time without any vampire, were or fairy wars, we thought you shouldn't have to deal with any of us unless you choose to."
I looked at him significantly. Our clothes were still splayed on the floor, wherever they'd fallen between the kitchen and the lounge room. The two of us were still tangled up in each others' limbs. I, at least, was still floating in the basky sense of recent orgasms. Plural. I didn't have it in me to get angry just then, but I did have it in me to be cheeky.
"Is that what you came here to tell me?" I asked, slowly raising one eyebrow to him.
He caught my meaning immediately, and had the grace to look at least a little abashed.
"I hadn't planned..."
"Me neither. I chose to do this with you once you were here."
Now that the words had started coming, I was beginning to feel uncomfortably aware of the space of all the taking that hadn't happened between us. We would have to have those conversations soon. It wasn't exactly like we would be able to live only in moments of mind-shattering sex. I couldn't, anyway. I had morals still that no longer applied to a thousand year old vampire.
It was thoughts like that which caused me to pull away from Eric, even though every inch of my body was rebelling against me for making me do so.
Eric only moved so much as to allow me to move more gracefully to one side of the couch. He was unashamed, playing naked across two thirds of the couch and smouldering at me with his eyes even as I attempted to find the bra and panties that had been pulled from me. Eventually, I just put my summer dress back on without them.
Eric was looking no less appreciatively at me after that. Jeez, it was like he could still see my naked body underneath the clothes. Didn't matter, I told myself. I had put the dress back on for my equilibrium, not his. He could make of it whatever he liked.
"So... we should talk..."
"So... we should talk..."
I hate that sentence, and every sentence that's anything like it. Countless romantic comedies, not to mention real life, have signalled to us that that statement is an introduction into something terrible and, after the bliss we'd just shared, I wasn't sure that I wanted to invite in anything else that might be terrible.
Still, the words were out there now and, in response to them, Eric immediately straightened. All evidence of leering was struck from his features. It was remarkable, truly, the change that came over him.
"Yes," was all he said to begin.
Now that I'd begun it, the whole thing seemed so daunting. There was just so much to say. First, there was the issue of his remembering everything. If he remembered everything, and he was here, then he was obviously okay with everything that had happened between us. Unless, of course, he only remembered some things. Then there was the matter of the knife. Las Vegas vamps had tried taking over the Louisianna state and, at the height of it, Eric had handed me a package to give to him, thereby securing my safety here in Bon Temps, and ensuring that I was able to stay here rather than being manhandled off to Las Vegas with unknown vamps. What Eric hadn't told me was that this little token, a ceremonial knife, was one that bound me to him, and him to me, as though we were to all intents and purposes married in the eyes of the vampires who mattered.
I had no idea how Bill had even reacted to this, or if he'd even heard the news, and I had more than a little irritation holed up in me for Eric not being more upfront with me on that little matter.
Finally, there was that one thing that Niall had told me on the last time he had seen me, but I was trying not to think of that one too much, lest it get my hopes up where hopes had no place being.
Obviously, from his silence, Eric was waiting on me to take the lead on this conversation.
"You remember..." I decided to go from the start, raising an eyebrow at him, but he really had that impassive expression down pat. "Everything?"
"Everything, lover." The knowing smirk on his lips was softened by the expression in his eye. If I hadn't known to look at both, I might have missed it. But, this was Eric. I thought it was fair to say, by this point, that I knew him a damned sight better than almost anyone else other than Pam. He let me in sometimes and, while under the spell that had taken his memory, he'd let me in in ways that I doubted even Pam had ever seen.
I nodded, as though his answer was merely a technical thing I had been wanting to assert first off. "Good," I said. Carrying that burden of being the only one to remember hadn't been fun. "Good," I said again.
Eric reached out to hold my hand. His skin was so pale against the tan of mine. My lips parted, and I looked into his eyes. They seemed to be peering into me, looking for answers to whatever it was that he was currently feeling through our bond. "Were you worried about what would happen when I remembered?"
"Well," I tried to scoff, but I'm afraid that I sounded more like an insecure young woman than anything else. "You weren't exactly acting like yourself."
Still holding my hand, and looking into my eyes, Eric murmured, "I haven't felt so deeply for another being in almost 1000 years. Perhaps not even then."
Those words had the effect of taking my breath away in a major way, as well as taking a big chunk of anger out of the whole knife and marriage situation.
I shook my head, pulling at my hand, which he immediately let go of. Clearly, he wasn't of a mind to do anything that I would later point out had been some form of compelling either by his sheer presence or the blood bond between us. Smart vampire. Although, at this point, I was almost wishing that he would give me just a little something to be irritated over so that I could talk about the marriage situation a bit more vehemently.
His expression had reverted into that impassive mask again by the time I looked at him next.
I exhaled, then worked on narrowing my eyes and pinning him with the biggest glare I could summon right then. This was a big deal, you know? I may be a telepath and a waitress and someone who a lot of people mistook as not very smart a lot of the time, but I had the same dreams and ideals as a lot of other women. I'd imagined that, one day, when I got married, there would be the ring, and the man down on one knee, and the white dress, and someone that I loved walking me down the isle to the man of my dreams.
"Why didn't you tell me what was going on with the knife?" I demanded. There was a fine line here, between showing him how annoyed I was by the whole thing, and keeping to myself how hurt that I was.
I should have known that the hurt would just translate down the bond between us. Or maybe Eric just didn't desire to have this conversation turn into a heated argument, and so kept it on an even keel. In any case, his voice was mellow as he answered, "Would you have gone along with it had I told you?"
"That's not the point!" I answered.
"It is." Eric sighed, but he kept his eyes on me. "Had you not gone along with it, I can't say that you wouldn't have been in Las Vegas right now, far away from me, and from any support that I could give you. The marriage tied you to me..."
"I'm already tied to you in so many ways," I argued. "Couldn't Las Vegas have just accepted one of those?"
Eric shook his head, but amusement lifted the sides of his lips ever so slightly. "No, lover. He wouldn't have accepted one of those."
I pouted. Eric leaned a little bit closer, his eyes on my lips now, rather than on my eyes.
"I would advise..." he said, his voice a harsh grumble, "that if you want to have this conversation to it's natural conclusion, you keep such alluring expressions from your face."
My heart rate leapt up at that. I couldn't help it. The man was a very, very sexy man and, now with all of the memories of the times he'd had with me, he had a lot more ammunition than he'd ever had with me before his amnesiac spell. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about that yet, though I knew exactly how my body felt. Traitorous body, it was more than ready to toss aside this whole conversation in favour of something much more fun.
"Noted," I said.
I tried to pitch my expression into something that wasn't a pout, and wasn't alluring, and I have no idea how successful I was with that. Especially as he was still very naked on the couch there, and I was still very much noticing. I clenched my jaw. Surely that wasn't alluring. My heart refused to beat any slower, and I noticed Eric's eyes dip towards where I could feel my pulse pounding in my throat.
Before he could say or do any more, I rushed into the first thing that I could think of to say in order to distract us both. "And this blood bond! How am I ever meant to know if what I feel for you is... is... real?" I finished the sentence in a very small voice. It was difficult to finish anything when Eric was looking at me, and now reaching out towards me, like that.
"This is real, lover." His eyes moved from my throat, to my lips, up to my eyes again. He had taken my fingers instead of my hand this time, and was lightly playing with the skin at the tips of my fingers, making me shudder. I'd never thought that the tips of anyone's fingers were particularly erogenous before that. Apparently, Eric was all sorts of an education. "Believe me. I know my thoughts. Now," he added, with a slight roll of the eyes. "It has just taken me a little bit of time to come to terms with those thoughts."
Again, my mind slipped towards the information Niall had told me about Eric, but I made myself veer away from that without giving it more attention in the moment.
"Now that I have come to terms with them," he smiled, "I can help you come to terms with yours. I would never have you feel conflicted about us, lover."
"Well, I do feel conflicted," I said, edging dangerously close again towards pouting territory, but not knowing how to get around it. It was all very good that Eric now knew where he stood. I only wished I had at least half of his level of surety./p>
He didn't move closer to me, like he had the last time. Instead, his expression turned contemplative. "This is very worrying to you, isn't it?"
"I'm not a big fan of not knowing my own mind, no," I said, with not a small amount of sarcasm.
Again, that little amused lift of the lips, and then back to his contemplation. "How can we prove to you that you know your own mind?"
I couldn't believe it. This was a vampire asking me how to get around this problem? "You're the one who's had blood bonds before, haven't you? I don't know anything about them!"
This outburst actually had the effect of relaxing Eric's expression, and I couldn't even begin to understand that. A minute later, with a wide smile, he illuminated it for me.
"Never has a blood bond I've experienced or heard of had the same spark as what is between you and I, my lover. If that is the only thing that is concerning you..." Now he did start to move towards me. The cheeky curve of his lips just made me want to give in and go for a second round of pleasure. Maybe we'd even make it to the bed this time.
But I wasn't used to just wanting to 'give in'. And I wasn't just some inexperienced young woman anymore who didn't know the power that sex alone had over people. I'd never had this with Bill. I'd had his blood too.
I'd had his blood before I'd had Eric's. That was important...
Eric stopped advancing on me, once he saw and felt that I had become deep in my own thoughts. His head tipped to the side and he only waited a couple of seconds before asking, "What is it?"
I looked back into his eyes. They were blue, lighter than when he was deeply aroused, but darker than when he was coldly whiling away time in Fangtasia. I thought again of what Niall had said. I thought about Bill. What I had had with Bill had been amazing, truly. But I'd been more drawn to Eric when I'd had just as much blood of his as I'd had of Bill's. To be truthful, I'd been drawn to him even when I'd been sassing him for the first time in the club, annoyed that Bill had had to bring me to some Prince of the Night who thought I was his to command.
It wasn't just the blood that meant I no longer minded that I was his to command. So much had happened between now and then. I shook my head.
"Nothing," I said, in belated answer to his earlier question. I could tell that he didn't believe that, but he wouldn't press me. That was good for I didn't think I was ready for the things those thoughts had been heading for.
I was ready to see that cheeky curve of his lips, however. I was more than ready to show with my actions how much I felt for him.
I wasn't 100% happy with the state of our 'marriage' still, but that was perhaps a subject that we could come back to at another time.