“How are you feeling?” Eric asked her after a few minutes of being snuggled up together.
“Fine,” Sookie replied instinctively. Eric gave her a disbelieving look.
Taking in a deep breath, Sookie’s face fell and her eyes started to well up before him. Eric pulled her as close to him as possible with her burgeoning belly between them.
Gods he hated to see her cry. It always caused a deep ache in his chest, but he would endure or take even more if there was any way for him to take away her hurt.
“Do you want to talk about it?” He asked after kissing her forehead.
“What’s to talk about? Once again, I have someone or something out to kill me only this time I have a baby to think about. I can’t let them kill an innocent child because of my foolish mistakes,” she said with a sniff as her tears started to fall.
“I know you’re scared and you have every right to be, but I promise to protect both you and the baby. I won’t stop until my true death. “ Eric vowed as he let a hand run down her arm, and then tenderly caressed her belly. “They won’t be able to find you here. Is it possible for you to contact your grandfather? Maybe he’d know who it is or give us some clue. I won’t stop looking for them until they’re dead.”
“Unfortunately, these ruthless motherfuckers probably have the same idea, but…”
“That’s supposed to make me feel better?” She squeaked out.
A broad smile spread across his face before he continued. “But,” he said pointedly. “They’re not as ruthless as I am nor are they fighting for something as precious as I am.”
Looking up at Eric from under her wet lashes an almost innocent smile spread across her face causing Eric to run his thumb along her full bottom lip.
“You certainly can be sweet, Eric Northman,” she spoke against his thumb.
“I’m only telling the truth. I can’t be without you ever again. I’m being purely selfish,” he replied, leaning in and hovering over her sweet lips with only an inch between the two of them.
He looked up into her eyes, to her lips, and then back to her eyes.
“May I kiss you, Miss Stackhouse?” He asked, gulping as he took one last look at her perfect lips. “If it’s too much, too soon, I’ll understand.”
His hand moved to cup her cheek as his thumb made its way from her lip to sweep against her cheekbone.
Sookie hated seeing the uncertainty in his eyes and before her brain could talk her out of it, she leaned in the remaining distance and pressed her lips to his.
Cool met hot and in that moment everything seemed right in the world as their lips met.
Eric pulled away, afraid that he wouldn’t be able to stop and he didn’t want to push Sookie into doing anything that she wasn’t prepared for yet.
“Sweet,” she whispered with a coy smile.
“Only for you. You’re tired and it’s late. Why don’t we go lay on the couch and watch a movie?”
“That sounds good. I don’t think I’ll be awake for long. Too bad there isn’t a TV in here too,” Sookie replied with a yawn.
“If you want one I can pick one up tomorrow night and set it up for you. Just say the word.”
“Word,” she responded with a laugh.
“Your wish is my command,” he replied with a playful bow.
Eric helped her up from the bed and into the basement’s entertainment area. They both sat on the couch while Eric flipped through the channels trying to find something to watch at four in the morning.
After a few minutes, Sookie stretched out on the couch and placed her head on Eric’s leg. Eric had grabbed the blanket off the back of the couch and set it over her before he started to run his fingers through her hair.
How could the simplest of touches bring him such immense peace?
“Do you think it would be alright if I ventured to the upper part of the house tomorrow?” Sookie asked with a yawn.
His fingers stilled for a moment before they continued working their way through her hair.
“You can go upstairs, but I want you to leave the door to down here open and if you think anything is wrong, anything, I want you to come back here and lock the house down.”
“I don’t want you to be left vulnerable,” she responded, turning her head to look up at him.
Her concern for him continued to warm his cold dead heart each and every time she worried for him.
“I’ll be fine. If anything were to go wrong, I should be able to feel it through our tie. I’m more worried about you. I’m not trying to be insensitive here, but you’re quite a bit slower than you normally are. I want you to be able to get back down here as quickly and as safely as possible. Please do this for me?” He pleaded with puppy dog eyes.
How could she resist those eyes? And she knew that he knew that when he gave her that face he’d always get his way. She shook her head at him with a slight smile on her face.
“I hope you don’t think that every time you want to get your way you’re going to pull that face. It’s not fair,” Sookie spoke quietly as she traced his eyebrows with her thumbs.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he replied, trying to look innocent.
“You, Eric Northman, may be able to get whatever you want with those puppy dog eyes but you cannot pull off innocence,” she said, first laughing, and then yawning.
“I beg to differ,” he said with a cocky smile which quickly gave way to flattening out with his face becoming serious once more. “I don’t want you to feel trapped, but I need you safe. Please promise me.”
“I promise you.”
Her face turned solemn and she turned back to the TV as she pulled the blanket up to her chin.
“What just happened?” Eric asked as he leaned over her so that he could see her face.
“Nothing,” Sookie replied and then closed her eyes.
“It sure as hell doesn’t feel like nothing,” Eric spoke each word filling with more agitation than the last.
“You’re going to have to stop doing that.”
“Doing what? Making you promise me to be safe?” With only a shake of her head, Eric became more frustrated. “What is it then? Talk to me,” he wrapped an arm around her and pulled her back flush against him. “Don’t shut me out.”
“It’s these damn pregnancy hormones. I’m being overly sensitive, nothing more. I hate that you have to feel all of these emotions that I have little to no control over,” she responded quietly.
“You did warn me.” Still curled over her body, he placed a kiss on her forehead before he sat back. “Was it something I said that upset you?”
Letting out a deep sigh, Sookie turned in his lap so that she was still laying down but facing him.
“In a way,” Sookie looked up at his face and could see his curiosity and love for her. Looking back down, she fisted his shirt in her hand before she spoke. “I’m big and I’m only going to get bigger, and it’s going to take some time until I’m ready to have sex with you.”
Sookie paused and curled into herself, hating herself for feeling this way.
“You told me it would take time and I understand. I don’t see what the problem is.”
Eric couldn’t understand where these feelings were coming from or why and he thought they had little to do with her hormones.
“I’m worried,” she whispered against his rock hard stomach.
“About?” Eric asked after a few moments of silence.
“Say I finally become ready in another month. I’ll be huge and disgusting,” she quietly said as a tear slipped down her cheek. “And if it’s after the baby’s born then we’ll have to wait a mandatory six weeks after he’s born. Who knows what my body will be like afterwards?”
“First of all, I think you’re more beautiful now than you’ve ever been. I don’t know if it’s a fairy thing or not, but you’re glowing from the inside out. You’re not becoming fat, but round with child.”
“Soon I’ll barely be able to reach you with how large my stomach’s becoming,” she said with a pout.
“If you can’t reach me then I’ll just have to reach you, Sookie,” he sighed. He waited until she looked up at him before he continued. “I don’t care how long it takes for you to be comfortable with yourself and ready. I’ll wait for as long as it takes. I have a feeling that there’s more to this than you’re telling me.”
Eric felt her nod against him and stayed quiet. He didn’t want to push her, but wished it were easier for her to talk to him.
After several minutes of quiet, he would have thought she had drifted off to sleep if it wasn’t for the continued steady beat of her heart and breathing.
“I believe that you think you can wait until I’m ready, but I know your reputation. You’re not one who’s used to going without sex for a day let alone months.”
Sookie felt his body stiffen and his hands leave the touch of her body. When she looked up at him, she saw that his eyes had turned cold and a slight twitch in his jaw. Pushing herself up, she sat beside Eric as she watched him shutdown. His hands were balled up into fists on each side of his legs and he continued to stare ahead without uttering a single word.
After trying several times to lift up his hand and get him to talk, Sookie slowly rose from the couch before a sob broke out. She quickly wiped away her tears and headed to the bathroom.
She had been in the shower sobbing for what felt like hours over how she had already fucked everything up with Eric when he stepped into the shower fully clothed and wrapped her in his arms. Before burying her head in his chest, she caught the sight of a single red streak on his otherwise stoic face.
“I’m sorry,” they both said in unison. Sookie let out a laugh that was mixed with a sob as Eric picked her up bridal style before he gently sat her on the bathroom’s vanity, and left to get a towel.
Once he was back with a stack of towels, he wrapped one around her body and then her hair with another before cradling her back against his chest.
Sookie let out a squeak and then pushed herself away from his chest.
“You’re freezing and wet. Take off those wet clothes. What were you thinking?”
Eric started to peel off his wet clothing that were clinging to every inch of his body and Sookie couldn’t take her eyes off him until he started pushing down his tight black jeans. She knew if she caught sight of what he had to offer, her resolve would waver and she’d jump him. Though it sounded good at the moment, she knew she needed time, and didn’t want to have any regrets the next day that could make their situation more stressful.
“You’ve seen it all before,” he chuckled.
“I know, but you’re too tempting. Why don’t you take a shower and when you get out I’ll be dressed and ready for bed?”
Sookie sat without looking until she heard the shower water come on, and then she slipped off the counter and made her way into the closet to her suitcase. She searched for something to wear to bed, but the only thing Willa had packed was a long flannel nightgown. There was no way she’d be able to sleep in it without burning up. Looking around she decided on wearing another one of Eric’s shirts and a pair of his boxers. Maybe tomorrow she’d do their laundry since she kept wearing his clothes.
When Eric came out of the bathroom steam bellowed out and Sookie felt a rush of heat not only from the steam, but also from seeing him with only a towel wrapped around his waist.
He smirked as he made his way into the closet. When he came back out, he had on a pair of pajama pants sitting low on his hips.
Slipping into bed, Eric spooned up behind Sookie wrapping his body around hers. She wiggled in closer to his body that was warm from the shower, before lacing their fingers together.
“I’m sorry,” she said with a sniff.
“No more crying tonight,” Eric softly demanded. “It is I who should be sorry. I knew you were upset and I let you leave. I wanted to wait to talk to you when I was calmer.”
Eric laid his head on her pillow and inhaled her scent to try and center himself.
“Do you believe that I would be unfaithful to you?”
Although he tried to hide it, Sookie could hear the hurt in his voice.
“No,” she stated with confidence. Sookie tried to turn around but Eric had her pinned in place.
“I promise I will stay faithful to you until the end of my days and you should know I never go back on a promise,” he vowed as his cool breath caressed her ear.
“I know.” Taking their joined hands to her mouth, she kissed the back of his hand before cradling them to her chest. “I’m sorry I hurt you.” Sookie sniffed again.
“I know,” he replied with a sigh. “You know of my reputation, but I haven’t been that way in quite some time. I can wait as long as you need. I doubt it will be longest I’ve gone without sex.”
“I find that very hard to believe. I mean you could have anyone you want.”
“And I plan on having who I want. I want you and no one else. Trust me when I say all will be well. I won’t pressure you and I don’t want you to pressure yourself.”
“Can I ask you a question?” She asked with a loud yawn.
“You can ask me anything,” he replied nuzzling his nose into her hair.
“What’s the longest you’ve gone without sex?” Eric could feel her trepidation of his answer.
“Twenty-five years. And in case you’re wondering which I’m sure you are, it’s been almost four years since the last time I had any type of sexual encounter with anyone.”
That time when Sookie tried to turn over Eric rolled off of her and let her re-adjust herself on her other side before he wrapped his arm around her.
Sookie’s mouth was still hanging open when Eric looked down at her after her long silence.
“Really?” She whispered. She couldn’t believe he had ever gone that long without sex and that he hadn’t had sex in the last four years. It was more than she could hope for. Sookie realized she needed to stop thinking that something was going to come along and end their relationship. She wasn’t going to mess up as she had done in the past. Eric loved her and he wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize it. They had both been through enough over the years and now was their time.
“Yes, really. Are you ready to go to sleep?”
“No,” she shook her head. “I’m having a really strong craving. Why do they always have to happen late at night when there’s nothing I can do about it?” she pouted.
“What are you craving? Perhaps we have it or I can go to the store and get it for you.”
“You’d really go to the store for me?” Sookie asked, perking up with a smile.
“I’ll do anything to keep that smile on your face. What is it that you’re craving?” he asked as he ran his thumb along her smiling face.
“I want tuna with water in a can, a box of Macaroni and Cheese, chocolate ice cream, and a can of V8.”
Eric got out of bed and quickly got dressed before he brought her phone over to the nightstand on her side of the bed. He leaned down and kissed her forehead before he started to head to the door. “Call me if you think of anything else you want or need. I should be gone no longer than twenty minutes.”
Fifteen minutes later Eric was strutting through the door with his bag of goodies. It made him happy and proud to provide what Sookie needed.
“Thank you,” Sookie said as she took the bag out of his hand and made her way into the downstairs kitchen. She sat each of the items out on the counter and retrieved a bowl from the cabinets. After draining the tuna in the sink and then emptying it into the bowl, she opened up the Mac and Cheese and dug out the cheese packet and sprinkled it over the tuna. Next, she got out two spoons, one for the tuna cheese concoction, and the other for her chocolate ice cream. Last but not least, she got a glass, filled it with ice, and then poured the V8 into it.
Sookie took it all over to the bar and then sat on a barstool as she devoured her late night snack. After eating all of her powdery cheese tuna mix and half of the pint of ice cream Sookie looked up to see Eric looking like she’d never seen him before.
“Are you okay?” Sookie asked with a giggle.
“Is this a normal craving for you?” He asked after he opened his eyes.
“Not normal, but I’ve had it a couple of times since I’ve been pregnant. Why?” she asked curiously.
Eric looked her over and then let out a deep breath. “That has to be the most disgusting combination of food. Just the sight of it,” he shook his head. “I’m sorry, Sookie; if my body could throw up it would.”
“It’s not normally this bad. If it bothers you then you can leave. It won’t bother me none. Let me clean this up, and then I’ll be ready to go to bed.”
After rinsing off her dishes and putting them into the dishwasher, Sookie used the restroom, and brushed her teeth before joining Eric in bed.
He wrapped his arms around her holding her tightly until she fell asleep. Only right before he went into his daytime rest did he ease his grip so that she’d be able to move once she woke up the next day.