Waking up to Sookie’s warm body wrapped around mine was something I’d never get tired of even if I rose with her by my side every night of my existence. It was something I’d never done before, but now that I had I was addicted to feeling her hot breath bathing my skin as the warmth from her body transferred to me. The way her arm would be around my waist, and sometimes she would be holding my hand in hers.
Last night she had told me I was her forever. Too caught up in the moment and her words, I didn’t question whether or not she meant her forever or mine. I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it now, but I’d never try to make her my child if she didn’t want it. Maybe the other in her would prolong her life. I didn’t know, but I was willing to try anything to make her mine for the rest of eternity. When this whole summit mess was over, I needed to figure out what else Sookie was and I needed to somehow mention it to her without her freaking out on me.
“I know that you’re awake,” Sookie’s voice rose from my chest as her finger started to trace the outlines in my stomach.
Turning quickly, I surprised her by pinning her to the bed with one of my hands grasping both of hers and bringing them above her head and settling the rest of my body on top of hers and between her legs. I could only chuckle as she squeaked out my name and then started to pant as I trailed kisses down her neck.
“Älskare, you smell of us,” I growled against her skin as I nipped along her collarbone.
“Us?” she questioned in a heavy pant.
“Your intoxicating smell, sex and my blood.”
“Really?” she questioned with a whimper as my hand glided along the smooth skin of her inner thigh and skated across the area she wanted me most.
“I love the smell of us combined. It screams mine,” I answered just before I sucked her pert nipple into my mouth.
Knowing that I rendered Sookie speechless, I thought she had forgotten about my comment of her smelling like sex and my blood, but I should have known she wouldn’t forget. I could tell she was getting ready to ask once the delirium of her orgasms had faded.
“Eric,” Sookie whispered my name as she ran her hand through my hair and every occasionally, scratching my scalp causing me to purr in a very manly way. That was the way Sookie thought of it, and I could tell from how happy I felt her get every time the sound escaped my chest.
“Hmm,” I hummed as I nuzzled her once more and played innocent.
“Is the smell strong?” she finally asked. She wasn’t sure how to ask me. Afraid I’d get offended and unsure if she should be offended. I almost wanted to laugh.
“Not strong. I can tell you showered during the day and washed much of my smell off you. Why? Does it bother you to smell of me and our sex?”
“Not of you, but I’d rather not be walking around a convention area filled with vampires who can smell… our sex,” she said with a rising blush.
“It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s natural. No one is going to think less of you because you had sex with your bonded,” I responded cupping one of her glorious ass cheeks in my hand.
She let out a defeated sigh knowing I was right. “I’m not ashamed or embarrassed about the actual deed it’s just… I don’t like the idea of anyone smelling it.”
“Deed?” I questioned in amusement. Deed was the last thing I’d call what we had done last night or earlier. I’d prefer she called it mind blowing, toe curling sex but since I could tell this bothered her, I wouldn’t question her use of words. Through the bond, I knew how she felt as each orgasm I gave her left her breathless and sated.
Sookie lifted her head to give me the stink eye I knew she didn’t mean.
“Even though most Supernatural creatures have a heightened sense of smell that doesn’t mean they are going around sniffing for sex, Sookie. Vampires sense of smell is so extreme we rarely take in the air of our surroundings unless it’s for security purposes. If you knew how badly a room full of humans smelled you’d understand. We must dampen our senses when out in public otherwise, all the smells and sounds would drive us mad. If someone is sniffing around, then it’s because they want to.”
“So, you wanted to smell our… sex?” she asked raising her eyebrows in a knowing way and making her sleep-self look even more adorable than she already was.
Taking a deep breath so that she could see and feel my chest expand a deep smile formed on my face as I watched her cheeks pink up while dipping her head down to then look at me from under her eyelashes.
“The simple answer is yes. But there are no words to describe the way your smell calls to me, excites me and calms me all at the same time. You smell of my homeland; wheat, sunlight, and honey. And now that we are bonded my scent is mingled with yours and my blood screams ‘MINE’. Don’t get mad,” I said trying not to smile. I knew Sookie hated hearing that four letter word, but I wanted, to be honest with her. From the bond, I could feel that she was only slightly perturbed with me saying it.
“I know you don’t mean or say ‘MINE’ the way most Supes do, but it’s ingrained in me to fight it. Plus, I think claiming is more of a male trait. I’m not saying that there aren’t times I don’t want to claim you because there have been a few times at Fangtasia when I’ve heard what some of the customers were thinking, and I wished my name was tattooed across your forehead.”
“Min älskade,” I spoke quietly as I pulled her to me nuzzling her neck. Love burst from me from her words. Having Sookie wanting to claim me did the opposite of what it did to her. It turned me on making me want to skip our duties for the night and show her what a proper claiming was. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend the whole night in bed or even another thirty minutes. We had to get ready and make our way back to the Summit. Placing a kiss that was a promise for later upon her soft plump lips, I pulled away. “Thank you. Jag älskar dig. We need to get ready for Sophie-Ann’s trial, but when we get back, I promise to let you claim me.”
Nipping her lips one final time, I stood from the bed with Sookie in my arms and headed for the bathroom.
“I can’t believe they are still going to have her trial. Carter’s death months ago should have been the end of these allegations,” Sookie sulked as she started to get ready.
“Everything will be fine I promise, min älskade. No matter what happens tonight at the trial we will be safe,” I assured her from the shower.
“Do you think they’ll find her guilty?” She asked more than a little worried.
“I don’t know that’s why I made contingency plans just in case. There’s no evidence only heresy, but without knowing who’s on the jury, it’s hard to tell.”
“How do you know there isn’t any evidence?”
“Because both of them wanted to kill the other to get the other’s state and it wouldn’t be wise for there to be any way for evidence to show up.”
“How do you know?”
“Because it’s what I would do.”
“Right,” she replied tightly and left the bathroom.
Quickly finishing my shower and drying off, I made my way into the room to find Sookie sitting on the bed facing the windows. We didn’t have time for this, but I couldn’t let us leave this room with her feeling… I wasn’t sure what she was feeling, but the pain in my chest was telling me it wasn’t anything good.
“I’m sorry, Eric.” She spoke still looking out the window with her shoulders hunched over.
“Sookie…you know I’m not a good… man. I’ve never tried to hide who I am from you.”
In all my thousand years, I never thought I’d have to answer to anyone and now here was this tiny blonde sitting in front of me.
“Eric,” Sookie spoke softly as her arms went around my waist. When had she gotten up from the bed and made her way over here? “Please, don’t feel this way,” she pleaded, looking up at me with wide eyes filled with tears.
“Don’t feel that way about the things I have done in my past. I can’t change them, and even if I could, I wouldn’t want to. I have reasons for everything I have done in my long life. I’ve done them to protect me and mine, and I will continue to do so. If you can’t accept that, then you need to tell me right now.”
I could not let Sookie, even though she was the love of my undead life, make me feel guilty. That was a path that would only lead to destruction.
“No, no, no, no! What you’re feeling is killing me. Don’t Eric. Please don’t! I love you so much. Beyond any words imaginable,” she rushed out.
“You may love me but do accept who am I and what I’ve done and may have to do in the future?” I questioned. The thought that if Sookie said no made me want to tear the entire hotel apart before my heart shattered.
Placing both of her hands on my chest, Sookie looked up at me. Sadness and regret were etched on her face making me hate my words but knowing they had to be said.
“I know we don’t have time tonight to go into a deep discussion but trust me Eric that I do love and accept who you are. I’m so sorry about how I responded earlier.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond. With Sookie’s reaction earlier, she didn’t seem like she accepted that part of me, but she was right we didn’t have time for this conversation. Was it possible that we had bonded too early without me making sure she had thought everything through?
“You are right we don’t have the time to discuss this tonight. I’d like to think about if you can truly accept me during our time here and once we get back to Shreveport we can reconvene.”
A tear slipped out of the corner of her and trailed down her cheek. “You’re disappointed in me,” she said softly. I could tell her was holding back a sob on her last word.
“I love you, Sookie. Now we must be going.” Swiping my thumb along her chin, I wiped away her tear before turning toward the door.
“But you’re still disappointed,” she said following.
“Yes, I’m disappointed in you and myself. I will not lie. Please come. We cannot be late for the trial.”
Just before the elevator doors opened, Sookie took a step in front of me tipping her head back letting me see her sad eyes. “I really am sorry.” Placing her hand on my chest, she stood on her tip toes and placed a hesitant kiss on my chin.
“I know, Sookie.” Leaning down, I placed a kiss to her soft pink lips before pulling back as the door opened.
The second we stepped off the elevator we were greeting by Andre who for a vampire looked frazzled. I guess if I loved my maker and there was a possibility he would be experiencing the true death by the end of the night I’d feel the same way. Instead, I could only be so lucky. It had been a long time since I’d felt him in the bond and I wanted to keep it that way.
“Come the trial is starting in a few minutes. Sookie make sure to read everything and let Northman know. He’ll get word to me.”
“Okay,” Sookie said then looked up at me sadly.
Taking Sookie’s hand in mine, we made our way to the convention hall only to be stopped by the Ancient Pythoness herself. She gripped Sookie’s other arm and stared at Sookie in a way that scared me and sent horrified shivers through Sookie.
“It’s good to see you following your instincts little girl. Keep it up,” she said with a toothless smile.
“Who was that?” Sookie asked as the Ancient Pythoness made her way to the stage with the help of her handmaidens.
“That is the Ancient Pythoness,” I spoke quietly in her ear.
We watched as five vampires seated themselves on the stage with the Ancient Pythoness in the middle as we made our way to our seats beside Pam.
I suppressed a growl when Quinn made his way to the stage stating the trial could begin.
Sophie-Ann was escorted into the room and onto the stage with a guard on each side. I watched as Andre leaned forward in his seat looking nervous for a vampire.
“Henrik Feith, state the case of Arkansas,” the King of Missouri said.
I didn’t listen to what he had to say until one of Sookie’s fingers started tapping on my hand.
“Someone told him that,” she said quiet enough for only me to hear.
“Told him what?” I questioned against her ear.
“That Sophie-Ann was planning to kill Henrik. He was going to let the lawsuit drop, but now he’s afraid for his life.”
Before I could question her, Sookie stood up, speaking, “She doesn’t want to kill you.”
Dear Gods help me. She was going to get us both killed.
“Whoever told you that Sophie-Ann wanted to kill you is most likely behind Jennifer Carter’s death,” she spoke making her way to into the isle.
“Silence!” The Ancient Pythoness called out as she sat on the edge of her throne and now glared at Sookie. “What right do you have to speak at these proceedings?”
“None at all, Your Majesty, but I know the truth.”
“If you know the truth then why did I leave my cave to attend this hearing?”
I stood behind Sookie with my hands on her shoulders giving her the courage to finish speaking.
“While I may know the truth, I can’t get justice done.”
I felt Sookie’s panic before it quickly went away and her body tense underneath my hands.
“Then tell us what you know,” the Ancient Pythoness demanded.
“Someone told Henrik that the Queen of Louisiana wanted to have him killed so that he would testify against her.”
“She didn’t want to have me killed?” Henrik asked from beside his lawyer.
“No, she didn’t,” Sookie replied making her way to the front of the room. I kept my place behind her giving her my support and protection.
“How do we not know you’re not lying. You work for her after all.” Henrik stated.
“Are you a seer, little girl,” the Ancient Pythoness asked.
“No, ma’am. I’m a telepath, “Sookie answered with her shoulders back. She was becoming proud of who she was. I couldn’t be prouder of her at that moment if not a little afraid now that every vampire in the room knew she could read minds.
“Can you read vampire minds?” the Ancient Pythoness asked.
You could feel the room grow quiet. If a vampire thought Sookie could read their mind, they would kill her in one of her heartbeats that I treasured.
“No, ma’am I cannot. I read this all from Mr. Feith’s lawyer.”
“Hmmm,” the Ancient Pythoness hummed. “Indeed. Sophie-Ann Leclerq, is this true?”
“Yes, I offered Henrik a place within my state and my protection,” Sophie-Ann answered regally.
There was a long silence before anyone spoke.
“Sophie-Ann Leclerq, I declare you innocent of murdering your husband, and by law and right Arkansas is yours.” Turning her head eerily, the Ancient Pythoness asked, “Now, that you know you have protection Henrik who told you that the Queen of Louisiana and Arkansas wanted you killed?”
Before he could speak, Henrik had a wooden arrow sticking out of his chest. The humans cried out as the Ancient Pythoness demanded to know what had happened, vampires sit the floor to escape the same fate as Henrik, while I threw myself over Sookie and watched as Henrik hit the floor and turned into a pool of black and red. Another arrow flew passed where he had been standing to lodge itself in the far wall. Someone didn’t want him to answer the question. By the time, I had Sookie up, and on her feet, the assassin was dead by a Britlingen.
Holding Sookie to me, we stood out of the way by the Louisiana court and behind the Queen with the room in chaos. They were questioning if anyone had seen the assassin and if anyone knew him. I was sure they would find no leads as to who the assassin was.
“Do we have to stay for the ball?” Sookie asked looking up at me.
“You don’t want to stay? You look beautiful.” I was remiss that I hadn’t told her earlier in the night.
“No, I’m getting a headache,” she said putting a hand to her head and trying to look pained. I knew she was faking it, but I didn’t really want to stay any longer either.
“Then we shall get you back to the hotel so you can rest. Let’s give our goodbyes to the Queen, and I need to let Pam know that we are leaving.”
It didn’t take long to for us to leave. Sophie-Ann was beyond happy that she wasn’t going to be meeting the true death and that she had also gotten Arkansas. I did notice Sookie slipping a piece of paper in the Queens’ hand though as we left.
We didn’t speak until we were back at our hotel, in our room and Sookie was taking off her dress and jewelry.
“Why fake a headache?” I asked taking off my tie and jacket and placing them on a chair.
“Because I have something I want to tell you and I couldn’t do it with anyone around. Can we sit down?” she asked nervously.
“Sookie, you can tell me anything. I want you to know that,” I said as I took her hand and lead her over to the bed.
“Even after earlier?” she asked biting her lip.
“Always, no matter what. I will always be here for you.”
“Why do I feel like there’s more to that statement. Like we’re over after tonight.”
I watched as Sookie’s eyes filled with tears, and she tried to keep them in.
“That’s entirely up to you. We can’t be together if you can’t accept my past, Sookie. I am vampire, and I will kill again. Not for fun or sport but because I must. I killed during my human days too because again I had to. I want you to give it some time. Don’t rush to answer because you’re afraid you’re going to lose me.”
“But I don’t want to lose you,” she cried clutching my shirt.
“I don’t want to lose you either, but you know I’m right, Sookie. Please give it time. Now, let’s sit so you can tell me what you wanted to tell me.”
Sookie wiped a stray tear that broke my heart, but I had to be strong. I didn’t know when I’d have to scheme or kill someone next. It could be tomorrow, a year from now, ten years from now or a hundred (probably a lot sooner than I wanted), but the longer we were together, the harder it would be when that day came if she couldn’t accept me.
“I… I… this seems so irrelevant now. I just want to talk to about earlier and try to explain but I can’t because I had a stupid initial reaction to what you were saying. I immediately felt bad about it, but I understand why you want me to think about it. I do, and I’m sorry I felt that way.” She spoke softly and kept brushing away her tears. Each time feeling like a dagger in my heart.
“I know you’re sorry. I know. Please tell me what you needed to say to me in private,” I spoke looking her in the eye and taking one of her hands in mine. I didn’t want her to think I was heartless. This was hard for me too, but it was for the greater good. I needed to know where she stood.
After sitting in silence for a few moments, I decided to break the quiet and get her talking. “What was on the piece of paper you slipped into the Queen’s hand tonight?”
“Oh, you saw that?” she asked finally looking at me.
“Not much gets by me. What was it?”
“I had an idea, and I knew we were leaving tomorrow and hadn’t had a chance to talk to her in private, so I wrote her a note,” she answered.
“Are you going to tell me what it said?” I asked gently. Sookie was nervous but also sad, and I knew she was having a hard time talking.
“It was a suggestion that she marry Andre since he’s her child and she can trust him. I’ve seen the affection they have toward one another. It makes sense at least to me.”
“It would be a wise move,” I said thoughtfully. “Is there anything else? There was no reason to be nervous about slipping her a note.”
“I don’t know the protocol,” she answered looking away.
“Sookie, you’ve saved her ass more than once. She can forget protocol this once. What else is there? I can tell there’s more.”
“You know during the trial, I said that I was hearing Henrik’s lawyer. I think that I was really hearing Henrik,” she said so quietly that I barely heard her. I could feel and hear her fear with each word she spoke.
“Have you ever heard a vampire’s thoughts before tonight?” I asked hesitantly. I knew the answer immediately through the bond and for one brief second, she was going to lie. She was scared, and I understood that because any vampire that thought she could hear their mind would kill her. Just as I thought earlier during the trial.
“Yes,” she squeaked out.
“You have no reason to be afraid of me. I promise,” I replied trying to allay her fears. Smoothing my thumb across her hand in mine.
“Even if it was you,” she asked in stilted words.
“Even if it was me. When did this happen?”
“The night Longshadow attacked me but I didn’t want to I swear! It was horrible like snakes. It was not a place I wanted to be.”
“Any other times other than tonight?” I asked calmly. I didn’t want to scare her.
“When I met Stan Davis, I heard his read name, but that’s it. I…”
“I trust you,” I said cutting her off, she was about to become hysterical. “During those times were you trying to read vampire minds?”
“No,” she said shaking her head. “I was afraid of you back then, and after seeing inside your mind, I never wanted to see inside another vampire mind. I would never try, and I know that if word got out, I’d be killed or taken.”
“I know. I had the same thought. Do you have any theories as to why you’ve been able to read vampire minds those select few times?” I asked brushing my thumb along her pulse point at her wrist.
“The first two times I’d had Bill’s blood and then last night I that little nip of your blood and I was nervous every time,” Sookie answered looking everywhere but me.
“It goes without saying that this does not leave this room. Tell no one, and if happens again I want you to tell me as soon as possible, but don’t worry I won’t let anything happen to you. Now it’s been a long night so why don’t you get ready for bed and try to get some sleep. We’ll be leaving just after sundown to head back to Shreveport.”
Sookie hesitated for a moment but then retrieved a few of her things before heading to the bathroom and turning on the shower.
As for me, I tried to shield Sookie from my emotions as I shut down my side of the bond until I could only feel where Sookie was and that she was alive.
Sookie had read my thoughts and two other vampires. That was not good, and I had to make sure that no one ever found out. Not even Pam. I had other things to think about like the fact that I didn’t want this to be the end of us. I had planned on spending the rest of my existence with her, and now that it could be in jeopardy I wasn’t sure how I would be able to spend the rest of my nights without Sookie in them, but it was better for us to know now than years down the road at least that was what I was telling myself. I was stuck in my own thoughts that I hadn’t heard the shower turn off or Sookie come out of the bathroom. It wasn’t until I felt her warm hand on my cheek did I realize that she was right in front of me.
“Eric,” she whispered before she wrapped her arms around my neck and tucked her head under my chin. “I already miss you, and you’re right here with me.” She was trying so hard not to cry. I was sure that if I could feel her at that moment, I’d have the same feeling.
I didn’t know what to say so instead I moved the blankets down and placed us in the bed. I had already put in the code for the room, and the light-tight shutters were in place. Now dawn couldn’t come soon enough. I didn’t want to think anymore even though dawn to dusk would only be like a blink of an eye for me. I needed that blink of time. Tucking Sookie into my side, I rubbed one hand up and down her back before placing a kiss on her forehead.
“Goodnight, Sookie. I love you. Always.”
A sob hitched in her throat before she squeezed her arm that was on my stomach and holding onto my side. “Goodnight, Eric. I love you more than you know.”
My last thought before dawn took me was that I hoped her love would be enough.