After the events of last night, never did I think I would rise and Sookie would be gone. After a quick assessment, she wasn’t in our bed or the hotel room. I threw our bond wide open to find her several miles away, distraught and in terror.
I had died for the day in my clothes and didn’t bother changing. I needed to get to Sookie as fast as possible. Grabbing my phone and shoes, I made my way out of the hotel and in the direction of my bonded. She didn’t seem to be in pain, but she was struggling not to break down. Had someone taken her? Where was Alcide? He was supposed to be with her if she went anywhere without me. If he let anything happen to her, I would kill him as slowly and painfully as possible.
Sending my love and strength to her, I flew in the direction our bond was telling me to go along with hundreds of flashing lights, sirens and a large plume of smoke in the sky. The closer I got, I realized that The Pyramid of Giza was where the smoke was coming from. No longer did it represent the beautiful glass pyramid but a huge pile of rubble on fire.
Had Sookie been inside the building when it happened? Surely not or she’d be in pain or more distraught. Why would she have gone there during the day? We were supposed to be leaving Rhodes right after sundown. Right at this moment.
I slowed my descent when I could feel that I was close to Sookie but couldn’t spot her amongst all the people. They were everywhere in what was left of the parking lot and the surrounding grass. Most seemed to be emergency management helping the injured, but there were plenty of spectators as well.
Where was my Sookie?
My only thought that kept repeating in my head was that I couldn’t lose her now as I searched the area for her.
Why hadn’t I reassured her last night and told her no matter what we’d figure everything out?
I knew now wasn’t the time to be second-guessing everything that had happened, but I couldn’t help myself. I would never forgive myself if something had happened to her and knew that when I had died for the day, she had been crying. Gods, I needed her to forgive me for yesterday.
Flying to the south side of the building I found Sookie with a bullhorn to her mouth giving directions to someone manning a crane that was helping dig through the rubble with Alcide standing a few feet behind her with his arms crossing his chest. She was in jeans, a t-shirt and tennis shoes that we were almost entirely black from smoke.
Landing in an area where no one could see me (I didn’t need that drama right now), I then vamped my way over to Sookie wrapping my arms around her and pulling her into my chest. Burying my nose into her hair, she smelled badly of smoke, but I didn’t care because she was unharmed and in my arms.
“Eric, what are you doing here?” She asked in bewilderment. “I can’t believe you’re up.” She pulled back and looked around blinking a few times realizing it was dark. “That must be why I’m so tired. I’ve been at this all day.”
“At what?” I questioned, pulling her back against me until her cheek was against my chest once again. I didn’t want to ever let her go.
“Helping. I woke up to sirens as the emergency vehicles raced by. I convinced Alcide we had to see what was going on. It had to be something big,” She replied, her voice muffled from being pressed into my chest.
“And you decided to help?” I asked from the top of her blonde, smoky head.
“What was I to do? Leave all the people trapped. I could hear them.” On the last, she broke down sobbing. “It was so horrible, Eric. You have no idea. Almost everyone is dead. I helped as many as I could, but there were some we didn’t get to in time.”
“You did the best you could. I know you did. You wouldn’t do anything less.” I said as I ran my hand through her hair trying to comfort her the best way I could at that moment.
“I wish I could have done more.”
Once she was still crying but had calmed down a great deal. I turned with her in my arms to give Alcide a look that he could easily read. What the fuck were you thinking letting her do this? I knew Sookie loved to help and would have felt incredibly guilty if she hadn’t, but I didn’t think she had thought about the consequences from the attention she had brought to herself by helping find the victims.
Alcide looked at me with a what could I do expression. He was lucky his face wasn’t meeting my fist at that moment. Maybe later though. The possibility was growing as was my anger.
“Sookie,” I softly said as I pulled back enough so that she could look up at me. “I need to get you out of here. “
“But…” she started, but no, I couldn’t let put herself in more danger.
“No, Sookie. I’m sorry. I know you want to help and you have.” After holding her to me for a moment, I asked her, “Is there anyone else alive?”
“No,” she sobbed out, clutching the back of my shirt in her tiny fists.
“Okay, then let me take you back to the hotel to get you cleaned up and call the airline to see if there’s another flight we can catch tonight. Let me do that for you, Sookie.”
“Please,” she whispered before collapsing against me. Picking her up in arms, I turned around to face Alcide. “Meet us at the hotel,” I grunted at him before I walked back to where I had landed and took off for the hotel.
It only took a few moments for us to get back and into our room. Once inside I made my way with Sookie still in my arms to turn on the shower and then began stripping our clothes off so that I could get her clean.
“Thank you, Eric,” Sookie murmured once we were under the spray and I was shampooing her hair.
“No need to thank me, älskare. I’d do anything for you,” I replied as I rinsed her hair out.
“Even forget about last night?” she asked looking up at me from under her wet lashes.
“Sookie, you have no idea how I felt when I rose for the night to find you gone and to feel what you were feeling, I shook my head unable to go on for a moment. “I had no idea what had happened, and all I could think about was that I might lose you and the way last night had ended. I wanted to give you time to think, but I should have listened to what you had to say and how you were feeling. I know there will be plenty of occasions where I will have the impulse to crush a human’s skull or want to kill them, but that doesn’t mean that I will. It’s my baser instinct. But I do know that I will have to plan, scheme and kill. It’s part of the Supernatural world, and I need to know that you can accept that part of me. I don’t love to trick, deceive or kill, but I do enjoy the planning and battles. It’s something that has followed me from my Viking days.”
Finishing cleaning up Sookie, I let her think about what I had said and then dried us both off before taking her into the room for her to get dressed.
“You finished getting dressed, and I’m going to call the airline. Have you had anything to eat today?”
Shaking her head, she went to her suitcase and dug out some clothes.
“Would you like me to order you some room service? You must be hungry.”
“If we have time that would be wonderful of you,” she answered giving me a small smile.
We were in luck. There was a flight leaving in three hours that would have us arriving in Shreveport with two hours until dawn. That gave us plenty of time to check out and for me to take Sookie out to eat. I had our bags packed, told Pam our new plan, listened to a lengthy message for my Queen letting me know that she and her entourage were already headed back to Louisiana and was very thankful that my bonded had convinced all of us to move to a different hotel, and was waiting by the door when Sookie came out the bathroom still looking tired after her day.
“Our flight is in three hours so I thought I could take you out to eat.”
“What about Alcide?” Sookie asked.
“He may join us if you’d like,” I replied. I didn’t really want him to join us. I wasn’t sure I could keep myself from asking him why he’d let Sookie go into that situation today.
“I’m sure he’s hungry too. Let me send him a text and tell him to meet us down in the lobby in a few minutes.” I watched as she sent her text and put her phone away in her purse. “Before we go I’d like to talk to you if that’s okay,” she said before biting her lip and looking away.
“What would you like to speak to me about? Should we sit? You’re so tired, dear one.”
“Yes, let’s sit. Please. I don’t want to have to wait until we reach Shreveport or maybe even tomorrow night to talk to you. I’m sorry about last night and the way I reacted. You’re right it was my knee-jerk reaction to hearing the situation, but I do know that you are a fair man and that you don’t relish killing but that there are situations where it must be done. I’ve killed because I had to not because I wanted to and I understand that the Supernatural world is nothing like the small town I grew up in. You’ve lived a very long time and will continue to live for hundreds if not thousands of more years, and it would be impossible for that amount of time to go by without having to protect yourself and the ones you care about. I promise you that I love and accept who you are and there may be times when you’ll feel my initial reaction and may not like it, and I may feel the same from you, but give me a few moments to wrap my head around the situation, and I’ll do the same for you.”
Taking her in my arms, I murmured into her hair, “I can do that.”
Thinking that I might lose Sookie almost broke something deep inside of me and then to rise and she be gone had only reaffirmed the pain in my chest that continued to grow the more I thought of it.
“You still have something you want to talk about?” She asked a little nervously.
Maybe because where my train of thought had gone had made me nervous once again about my relationship with Sookie. I needed to talk to her about her comment of forever. Her forever or my forever.
“You’re doing so well at reading the bond,” I chuckled. Too well. “I do have more I want to talk to you about, but we don’t have time right now. I need to get you fed and get us to the airport so that we can go home.”
“Positive. It’s nothing that’s so important it can’t wait. I want to get you fed and home. Those are my top priorities. Don’t worry when we have time, we will talk,” I explained as I took her hand in mine and led us out of our room to meet with Alcide.
“I’m surprised you haven’t killed me yet,” Alcide chuckled nervously from across the table. I couldn’t see Sookie’s face, but I could feel her confusion through the bond. Alcide must have seen it on her face since he continued,” I tried to stop her, but she wouldn’t listen, and you know how she is. I knew that you’d want me to stay by her side and I would have pulled her out of there if she was in any danger.”
“You don’t think she was in any danger?” I asked with menace dripping from every word. “Everyone who saw what Sookie did today will start to ask questions about how she knew where the people were that she helped. What if someone figures it out? Hmm?”
Turning my head, I glanced at Sookie, letting her know I wasn’t only speaking to Alcide. Had neither of them thought about the consequences even once?
Even though I didn’t need to, I couldn’t help the sigh that escaped me. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens and hope that everyone is thankful for the people who were saved today that they don’t dwell on the circumstances of how that came to be. We’ll be lucky if no one asks any questions or becomes suspicious.”
Sookie looked and felt horrified by the truth I had given them. I could feel her fear escalating enough that I had to use the bond to calm her enough that she wouldn’t start hyperventilating in the middle of the restaurant. She didn’t need any more attention in this town or anywhere for quite a while. Preferably ever. If all my attention hadn’t been on Sookie, I would have noticed the regret and guilt covering Alcide’s then pale face. Instead, my eyes and body turned toward my bonded as I ever so slowly calmed her down through the bond and my hands lightly ran up and down her arms trying to soothe her. When she had left the hotel to see what all the commotion was, Sookie hadn’t thought of the consequences. She was only being her usual kind-hearted self and wanted to help. I understood that, but I didn’t want her on anyone’s radar. Especially the governments.
“Do not worry, min älskade, I will never let anything happen to you. NEVER. No matter what,” I vowed. “I wanted you to be aware of the possibilities that might arise. I see now that I should have approached this conversation a little differently,” I spoke trying in every way I could to calm and reassure her. “We don’t have much time until we need to leave for the airport so why don’t the two of you decide what you want to eat before we have to be on our way.”
“Right,” Alcide replied gruffly. He knew I was right and he was a good friend to Sookie. He didn’t want her in trouble especially when he was the one that was supposed to have made sure that nothing happened to my bonded while I was dead for the day.
“Okay,” whispered, Sookie, looking down at the hand I was still holding and sweeping my thumb back and forth across her knuckles. “Eric, I’m…” she started until I interrupted her with first a finger to her lips and then a soft caress of my mouth.
“I know. No worries. You’ve had a long, arduous day. I want you to sit back and relax while enjoying your food.” Sookie wanted to apologize, but I didn’t need it. I wanted her happy, healthy, and relaxed. Not worrying.
Sitting back in my chair, I looked across the table to notice a small smile from Alcide. It seemed that I had done right by Sookie. It would make her life easier if he didn’t hate that we were together. Not that what he thought would tear us apart, but I knew it weighed on Sookie. She didn’t have many friends, and she wanted the ones in her life to approve of the lifestyle she had chosen. To live with me. A vampire and to bond with me. I could never give her children or be with her in the sun like Alcide could, but I would give her all the happiness she deserved and more. I would give Sookie everything if she only let me. I gave him a chin lift before taking out my phone to text Pam, who was already at the airport and wouldn’t let the flight home leave without us. She needed to be updated.
Catching up on business while they ate, I was almost done when they had finished, and the bill had been paid. I didn’t want to have to head to the bar once we got home or ever if I had my way. There were other things I had planned like tasting every inch of my bonded and hopefully have a very important talk. The one I was both excited and nervous to have. One that could change my life. And hers. Forever.