Since I had begun living with Eric we had established a routine. I would either be in bed when Eric woke or I would be in the shower, it didn’t seem to make any difference where I was; Eric would ravage me for nearly an hour, first thing, and then we would get ready for work.
I would go to Fangtasia with him and would sit in his booth while he worked in his office, and then we would trade places. Once I had filed all the paperwork and finished anything I needed to do with the employees I would go back out to the bar. Normally the office stuff didn’t take too long since I had already filed three months of paperwork that first time.
Tonight I sat at Eric’s desk busy at work when I felt him coming closer, and he was not in a good mood. Eric was angry and apprehensive for some reason. I looked up when he walked through the door.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“You have a visitor who is insistent upon seeing you,” he said through clenched teeth.
“Oh. Who is it?” I couldn’t imagine who would want to see me and causing this reaction with him.
“The shifter. I told him you were busy, but he said he would call the police and tell them I had kidnapped you since no one has seen you for a couple of weeks.”
“Why would he do that? He saw us at his bar, and I called and talked to Jason and Hoyt this week. He’s just being an asshole. I’m going to go out there and talk to him so he’ll leave us alone.” Sam was taking this too far and it wasn’t smart to piss Eric off. I was pretty sure he’d be happy to kill Sam after he’d left those bruises on my wrists.
He nodded his head before responding, “I will be on my throne if you have any problems.”
“You do know how ridiculous it sounds when you say that, don’t you?” I said to him, laughing, rolling my eyes, and trying to lighten the mood.
“It may to you, but I am the main attraction around here. It is my bar, so it is my throne.”
“How would they all feel if they knew you had a girlfriend? That you were becoming so domesticated?” I teased him as I trailed my hand down his chest.
“I do not think of you as my girlfriend and you know it. You are my bonded. I know that it is not a common concept with humans, but you are much more to me than a girlfriend,” he said very seriously and it made me melt a little inside. “And I am not becoming domesticated.”
I almost thought he was going to pout.
“Okay, okay,” I said since I could feel he was not in any mood for me to be teasing him. “I’m sorry for teasing you. You know I love you.” I told him and rose up on my tippy toes to give him a quick peck on the lips. “Let’s get this over with.”
“Yes, let us get it over with so we can go home, and you can show me just how much you love me,” he said with a smirk.
“Yes, I’ll show you just how much,” I replied.
We walked down the hall heading back into the bar area. Eric took his place sitting on his throne looking as bored as ever. I spotted Sam sitting at a booth on the other side of the room and walked over and sat down across from him.
“What the hell were you thinking, Sam? Why did you threaten Eric when you knew he had not kidnapped me? Why? Do you have some sort of death wish?” I questioned exasperatedly.
“Why?! Why?!” Sam yelled before realizing where he was and then started to whisper yell. “Because no one has seen you since you left the bar that night. Then the next night I get a call from that bloodsucker and he threatened me. He said that I bruised your arm when I grabbed it, but then he said that he had already given you his blood so there was no evidence.”
“All of that is true. I did have bruises on my arms and he did give me his blood. I may not have been back to Bon Temps, but I’ve talked to Jason and Hoyt. I’m going to be renting my house to Hoyt and Jessica.”
“Why would you be doing that? Are you that desperate for money? I’ll give you back your job if you need it,” he said with concern in his voice.
“I’m not in any need of money. I’m working here now. I read people and I’m also the office manager and make a hell of a lot more money than I ever did waitressing. Believe it or not, I’m really enjoying myself here. I’m using my disability and it’s getting so much easier to control. I’m also finding drug dealers, underage kids, and drainers who should not be here. It’s much better than using it to figure out what someone wants to drink!”
“I can’t believe you are letting him use you like that. Are you stupid? You’re getting yourself deeper and deeper into their shit. Why are you going to rent your house to Hoyt and Jessica if you are making such a good living here?”
“First, Eric is not using me. He offered me the job and I took it. There was no pressure for me to take it, and I’m never going to get out of their vampire shit. The Queen sent Bill for me. There’s always going to be some vampire who is going to try and take me away. Second, the reason I’m renting my house is because I’m living here in Shreveport. I don’t want my house to sit empty, and they needed a place.”
“Don’t you see that Eric can easily take you away just like any other vampire?”
“Eric isn’t taking me anywhere but home,” I said shaking my head. “Stop thinking he’s so evil. He’s not going to hurt me. He’s the one who’s protecting me from all the others. If you were really my friend, you would see that.”
“How can you be so fucking blind, Sookie? You’re going to get yourself killed being around them.”
“And you think that being around a shifter is any better?” I snapped back at him.
“Of course, it’s better. I have no ties to any Packs or vampires. You would be safe. Why can’t you see that?”
“Why can’t you see that you can’t protect me? What are you going to do when they send twenty or thirty Weres to come get me? What are you doing to do when they send five or more vampires after me?” I sighed and rested my head against the back of the booth. He was never going to get it.
“It’s just not that. My life is with Eric now. He’s my boyfriend and I want to be with him. You and I are never going to happen,” I said shaking my head. “You have always been my friend up until recently, but I only care for you like a brother. I’m sorry, Sam.”
“Does he like you calling him your boyfriend?” He said with a sneer.
“No, he doesn’t. He would prefer it if she called him her bonded,” Eric said as he walked up to the table.
“You’re … you’re … you’re bonded to him? Why, Sookie? You can never get away from him now. Did he trick you into this? I can kill him if you want me to.”
“NO! I was not tricked, it was my decision, and why the hell would I want you to kill him? I just told you he’s my boyfriend and my life is with him! I love him!”
“He’s obviously controlling you through the bond. Don’t you see that?”
“What I see is you grasping at straws. He can’t control me and, even if he could, he wouldn’t.”
“How do you know he can’t? He’s lying to you. Why can’t you see what he’s doing to you?”
“It’s because of my disability that he can’t control me, just like I can’t be glamoured. Sam, please stop this! I’m happy, really truly happy for once in my life! I’m sorry that it’s not how you wanted it, but this is my life and I’m going to do what makes me happy. Please don’t come back here and try to stir up any more trouble. My friends and family know where I am. I think it’s time for you to go now,” I said as I stood up. Eric put an arm around my shoulders and kissed the top of my head as we walked back to the office.
“I’m proud of you,” he said and gave me a slight squeeze. “You handled him very well. Do you want to go home?”
“Not yet,” I shook my head. ”I’m going to finish my work back here first. Thank you for letting me take care of that. I know you wanted to handle that your own way, and I could feel how angry you were at what he was saying.”
“I knew you could handle it,” he gave me a smile. ”Let me know when you are ready to go home,” he said, and then dipped his head to kiss me until I was breathless, leaving me just inside the office with a smirk on his face.
I tried to get back into making the employee schedule for the next week, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what Sam said. It didn’t matter what I said, he was never going to listen. If I wasn’t with him, then supposedly I was never going to be safe and happy.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be happy, in love and living with Eric, but here I was and it was wonderful! I decided that I needed to get some fresh air and clear my head of Sam’s stupidity.
I walked out of the office and went out the back door. I let the door close behind me as I leaned against the wall. I looked up to see the moon and stars. I had been doing more of that this week than seeing the sun. I either needed to find a tanning bed here in Shreveport or start setting my alarm so I could wake up earlier and lay out in the sun.
I had just taken a few deep breaths enjoying the nights’ cooler air when I heard a sound coming from the parking lot. I figured it must be a cat or something since I only heard the noise once. It really was a beautiful night, but I decided I should go back in and finish my work. Then I could go home, and maybe Eric and I could use the hot tub tonight.
When I turned around to open the door Bill was standing at my side. What the hell?
“What are you doing here, Bill?” It had been awhile since I’d seen him and, let me tell you, I had not been missing his visits.
“Well, Darling, I’ve come to have a little fun with you before I take you to the Queen.”
The next thing I knew Bill had some type of cloth in front of my face, covering my nose and mouth, and I could barely stay awake.
I woke up with a horrible headache and could barely open my eyes.
“Aww, you’re awake, but I’m not quite ready for you yet. I didn’t think I would be able to get you tonight, so I’m a little unprepared. This is going to hurt,” he said before he punched me in the face. I felt blinding pain where he hit my cheekbone, and then I was out like a light.
The next time I woke up, I was tied to a chair in Bill’s living room. All of my clothes were gone except my bra and panties. My headache was still there, and I kept fading in and out of consciousness.
I fought hard to stay awake. I knew it would be easier for Eric to find me if I was awake. I could feel him, but I knew he was far away, probably in Shreveport. He was in a rage, but I felt his relief that I was awake. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
I woke up feeling hands running up my thighs. I was hoping that everything earlier was a dream, and I was in bed with Eric, but the splitting pain running through my head told me it wasn’t a dream. I opened my eyes to see Bill running his disgusting hands over me. I tried to jerk away, but I couldn’t move since my hands and legs were tied down.
This wasn’t looking good. Bill had tied my legs spread open, and he was getting closer and closer to my underwear.
“This time I’m glad to see you awake, Darling. It’s time for us to have a little fun, and then tomorrow night I’m giving you to the Queen. I’ll be back in her good graces, and then I can get out of this shit hole.”
“Please don’t do this, Bill. Please!” I begged him.
“It’s too late for that. You’ve made me look stupid, and I’ll be punished just like I’m going to punish you,” Bill said before he slapped me hard across the face.
Tears fell down my face, but I would not make a sound. There was no way I would give him the satisfaction. He pulled out a knife and I held my breath. What was he going to do with that? I didn’t have to wonder for very long when he cut off my bra and panties.
“It’s been too long, my sweet Sookie. I’ve missed having your body whenever I wanted. I’m sure you’ve been giving it to Northman, but never again,” he laughed. “You’re never going to see him again and if you do, it will be at the palace where the Queen will have control over you.”
“You can’t do this. I belong to Eric. He’s going to kill you when he gets here.”
“You’re so naïve, Sookie. He will not be making it here tonight. I made sure of it. By the time he gets here tomorrow night, we will be on our way to New Orleans. He can’t save you from me or the Queen, and that’s only if he lives.”
“You’re wrong. He will save me and when he does, he’s going to kill you.”
Bill started to take off his clothes in front of me. I turned my head so I wouldn’t have to watch. I didn’t want to see his disgusting body. How could he do this to me? I knew Bill wasn’t the vampire I thought he was, but I never thought of him as a rapist.
Oh God! He was going to rape me. ‘Please Eric! Please! Find me!’ I prayed and called out in my head. I knew Eric felt what I was feeling. I could feel he was in a full-on rage. My body was shaking from my fear of what Bill was going to do to me and Eric’s rage pulsing through me. The only good thing at this moment was that I could feel him getting closer. I only hoped he would get here in time.
I was jerked out of my thoughts when Bill grabbed my chin and made me look at him. I tried to fight his hold, but he was too strong.
“There will be none of that. The harder you fight me, the harder this will be on you.”
“Do you really think I’m just going to sit back while you rape me?” I yelled at him.
“It doesn’t matter, I will have you one last time,” he roughly grabbed my breasts with one hand and with his other hand he grabbed my hair, pulled my head back, and started to kiss down my neck. I tried to fight him off as best as I could. When I tried to bite him, he slapped me hard across the face once again. He let go of my hair and palmed both of my breasts. “I have missed these, but I have missed this more,” he said as he slid his hand down my stomach getting closer and closer to the one spot where, if he touched me, I knew I would break. Bill knew about my uncle. He had killed my uncle. How could he do this?
“Please, Bill! Don’t do this! Please don’t do this!” I cried and begged.
He looked up at me with an evil smile on his face. I knew at that moment there was nothing that was going to stop him. He was enjoying this too much.
He got right in my face and said, “I’m going to enjoy every inch of your body and your blood, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
I had to think of something, anything to buy me time! Eric was almost here. There wasn’t much I could do though. I headbutted him in the face, but he only smiled back at me.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” he said, and then punched me in the stomach. I threw up all over him and by the time I finished emptying my stomach contents, I was seeing stars.
“You stupid bitch. You’re going to pay for that!” He yelled at me. He pulled my head back again, and then punched me in the jaw. I cried out as the pain radiated through my jaw and body. I heard a loud thump outside, and then a roar so loud it shook the windows.
Eric was my last thought as I slipped out of consciousness. I continued slipping in and out. I couldn’t see anything. I could only feel my own pain and Eric’s bloodlust. Everything was happening to the right of me out of my eyesight. Once I heard Eric yelling, another time I heard Bill screaming in pain, and then I heard sounds I didn’t ever want to hear again.
I woke up to Eric frantically calling my name over and over again. I slowly opened my eyes to see Eric’s concerned face right in front of me.
“Eric!” I sobbed out. I tried to move, but realized I was still tied up. Eric zipped out of the room and was back before I could blink with a knife and was cutting off my bindings.
Once they were off, I threw myself at him. He wrapped me in his arms, hugging me to him. I never wanted to leave his embrace ever again. It was the only place I felt safe.
Eric stood up and tried to sit me down, but I only clung to him tighter. “No! Please!” I begged. He walked us into the kitchen and sat me down on the counter with me still attached to him.
“I want to give you my shirt to cover you up. Let me take it off and put in on you,” he said soothingly. “Then I can give you some of my blood and we will leave this place. Can I do that for you?” I heard the pleading in his voice. I couldn’t get a handle on his emotions since they were all over the place. I felt his guilt, rage, affection, and so many others I couldn’t name at the moment.
I nodded my head and the second he let go of me, my body started shaking and I started sobbing even harder. Eric slipped his shirt over my head and had me back in his embrace in seconds.
“Shhh, it will be alright now. I am so sorry I was not there and it took me so long to get to you. Please take a little bit of my blood. I cannot stand to see you like this and knowing you are in pain.”
I nodded my head. I was still crying too hard to speak. He pulled one arm away and I heard him pierce his skin with his fangs. Eric pulled back a little more, and then presented his wrist before my mouth.
“Drink, and then we can get out of here and go home,” I nodded my head again and drank. Once his wrist closed up, Eric pulled me back into his arms, walked out of the kitchen, and out of Bill’s house. I hoped I never had to see it again. I briefly wondered what Eric had done to Bill. I was pretty sure he was dead I thought as we took off into the night sky.
I kept my face in the crook of Eric’s neck and cried the whole way home. I wanted to stop, but my body had different ideas. Eric was feeling extremely guilty, but I didn’t want him to think that this was his fault. I was the one who went outside without telling anyone. I should have been more aware of my surroundings.
It took us about twenty minutes to get home. By the time we got home I had calmed down somewhat. At least my body had stopped shaking. Maybe Eric was influencing me, I wasn’t sure, and I didn’t care if he was.
Once we got inside, Eric took us straight into the bathroom and started the tub. While waiting for the tub to fill, he got out his phone and his fingers flew across the keys.
“I am letting Pam know that I have you and that we are home,” he must have felt my slight curiosity. “I am going to sit you on the counter here while I get undressed. Is that okay? Unless you want to bathe by yourself.”
“I want you in there with me. Please,” I said clinging to him even tighter. I was still crying, but my sobbing had stopped.
He nodded, and then undressed at vampire speed before he quickly took off the shirt I was wearing. Eric picked me up and stepped into the bathtub with me. He slowly sat down and I clung to him, straddling his body.
Eric held me for a long time while he caressed my hair and back. Eventually he got the shower gel and soaped up his hands. He washed my back and then my arms, but he couldn’t reach anything else with me in that position. I felt him cupping water onto my hair, and then as he massaged shampoo into my hair.
“Sookie, I need to rinse your hair, and I would like to finish washing you. Can I do that? I promise that you are safe here. We are at home, and I will let nothing hurt you. Never again,” he said with a look of concern and sadness on his face.
I could feel him trying to push down his rage, but he couldn’t cover it up from me, not all the way. I nodded for him to continue cleaning me. I turned around to sit in between his legs. First, he rinsed the shampoo from my hair, conditioned it, and then washed my legs, and then my stomach. When he reached my breasts, he stopped.
“May I touch you here to clean you?” He asked quietly with concern. I nodded for him to continue. He was being so careful with me, but I was grateful for it. I didn’t know how I’d feel right now if he was touching me in these places without asking. I knew Eric would never do what Bill did, but I felt so violated. I was going to have to explain this to him. He needed to know that it wasn’t only because of Bill.
“Do you want me to clean here?” he asked when his hands were about to move to the inside of my thighs. “I will only clean, I promise.”
“Yes,” was all I could say. I figured I needed to start talking before he wondered how broken I was. After I told him of my past, he may think I’m too broken and not want me anymore.
Once I was cleaned and rinsed, Eric slowly got us out of the bathtub. He wrapped a towel around me and one around him. He set me down on the bed and quickly got out one of his t-shirts and a pair of yoga pants for me out of the closet. He came back with a pair of boxer briefs on.
I slowly put on the clothes he had brought out for me. I was happy he gave me one of his shirts to wear. It smelled like him and his scent always made me feel safe. When I was dressed, I got into bed and Eric joined me. He pulled me into a tight embrace and kissed the top of my head.
I laid there for a long time trying to figure out what to say. Eric was rubbing my back with one hand and stroking my hair with the other while humming lightly.
“I need to tell you something,” I said, and tried to sit up so I could look at him.
“You can tell me anything,” he picked up my hand and kissed the back of it, and then slowly rubbed circles on it with his thumb.
“When I was little, I used to have a funny uncle,” he furrowed his brows at this.
“I do not think I know what you mean by funny uncle. You do not mean he made you laugh. You feel sick and ashamed talking about him.”
“No, he was not funny,” I shook my head. “Not like that. It started when I was around five. He would come over and touch me inappropriately. He told me not to tell anyone, and I didn’t for a long time. I tried to tell my parents, but they wouldn’t believe me. My parents died when I was seven, and then Jason and I went to live with Gran.
“He came over one day when Gran needed to go the grocery store to get an ingredient for the pie she was making. My uncle offered to watch me while she went to the store. She came back earlier than what he was expecting and caught him in my room. Anyway, she beat him with a broom and told him to never come back, and he never did. The worst part of it was what he was thinking while he was touching me. What Bill did to me tonight brought back those feelings and those thoughts… I will understand if you do not want me anymore. I should have told you before,” I said and looked away.
Eric pulled me into his lap and cupped my cheeks with both hands. Looking me in the eyes, he said, “I wish I had known you when you were a little girl. I would have made sure you did not go through any of that. This does not change my feelings for you in a bad way,” I raised my eyebrows at that. “I knew you were strong, but you telling me this; it shows me that you are stronger than I ever imagined.”
I didn’t know how he could think that. I didn’t feel strong at all. “Sookie, look at me.” I had turned my eyes downward when he was talking before. I didn’t want to see his rejection. I slowly looked up at him. “Nothing is going to change the way I feel about you.” He stopped talking and pulled me even closer to him. I had my face buried in his chest. I felt him take a deep breath and then let it out.
“I do not know how Bill got to you tonight, but I am sorry I was not there to stop it. One minute I could feel you and then the next I could not. Immediately I went into the office and you were not there. You were not outside in the parking lot, but I could smell you and Compton. I could smell the chloroform he used to knock you unconscious. The only thing I did not know was where he was taking you. Pam and I were coming up with a plan; one of us was going to head to New Orleans and the other to Bon Temps when a large number of Weres attacked us.
“When I felt you wake up, I could tell you were heading toward Bon Temps. We fought through the Weres as quickly as possible. I am so sorry it took me so long to get to you,” he said as he ran his knuckles down my once-bruised cheek. “I pushed myself to go as fast as I could possibly go. I was pushing my strength to you. I could feel him hurting you and the horror of his actions. I need to ask you this, but I want you to know that it will not change my feelings for you. It will change nothing between us. I need to know if he died too soon. Did he violate you?”
“He didn’t rape me. He only touched me with his hands, but he was going to.” Eric’s grip on me tightened.
“He still died too slowly for what he did to you,” he said.
“Let’s lay down. I have something I want to tell you.” I stiffened up. This couldn’t possibly be good. “Don’t worry, it is only a story I want to tell you. You opened up to me about your uncle and I want to tell you about my human family. My father was a chieftain in my village,” he started as we laid down. “I guess to you it would be like a king. My father wanted me to take on more responsibilities so that one day I could take over. I was lazy and did not want to be the chieftain or marry anyone. One night I was having sex with a servant girl, and when I came back to my home where my family lived, they were dead. My mother and baby sister were already gone, and when I got to my father he was very close. I promised him vengeance.
“They were killed by Weres and I saw a dark figure leaving with my father’s crown. I have been looking for who killed them for over a thousand years. The last I saw of the Weres was during WWII, until tonight. I was too late to save my family that night, and I was almost too late to save you tonight. I have not cared for any human since my family died until you.”
“You weren’t too late tonight, and if you had been with your family back then you probably would have died too. I’m not happy that your family died, but I’m happy that you’re here with me now. Thank you for saving me tonight, and for telling me about your family.”
I lifted my head up and looked Eric in the eyes. “Thank you,” I said to him and gave him a chaste kiss on the lips. I could still feel and see the guilt on his face. “Eric, it wasn’t your fault Bill took me tonight,” he started to interrupt, but I raised my hand to stop him. “No, let me finish. I left the office and went outside to get some air. I couldn’t get what Sam said out of my head,” he raised both his eyebrows at that.
“It’s not what you think. It’s not that I agree with him. It’s the opposite. I was angry at what he said. I thought he was my friend, but obviously he isn’t if he cannot be happy for me. So I went outside to get some fresh air. It was such a nice night, and I was getting ready to head back inside when Bill showed up. He put a rag over my mouth and then I was out. It’s my fault. I didn’t tell you what I was doing. We should have just gone home after the incident with Sam. I’m sorry, Eric! Please, you have nothing to feel guilty about.”
“I do, but I do not want to fight with you tonight. I am just happy that you are safe and home here with me. Jag älskar dig, min Sookie. Mer än du vet. He sat up and kissed me so sweetly.
“Let’s lay back down. It has been a long night for you and you should rest.”
“This is definitely not how I was planning on spending my night once we got home.”
“No, it is not, but we have many more nights to spend together. Although not enough,” he said sadly.
“Bill said he was planning on taking me to the Queen tomorrow night. He wanted to get back into her good graces. I don’t think she has given up on me, but I don’t think she was in on it either.”
“I do not think so either, but we need to figure out where the Weres came from. I have an acquaintance who is a Were and he owes me. I will call him later tonight or tomorrow and we can meet him at Fangtasia?”
I panicked at the thought of going back there. Logically I knew nothing would happen. I’d be lucky if Eric gave me any breathing room while we were there, but right now after tonight, I was not thinking rationally.
“I promise you, you will be safe. We do not have to go in tomorrow if you do not want to. You can take your time and go back whenever you want. I want you to feel safe.”
“I feel safe with you, in your arms,” I told him and gave him a kiss on his chin.
“We’ll see how you feel in a couple of days. Tomorrow night we will stay home and watch a movie. We’ll do whatever you want.”
“I wanted to use the hot tub tonight, which was my plan earlier.”
Eric pulled me tightly against him. If I were any closer, I probably would have been inside of him. He was sending me serenity, strength, and something else… Something that made me feel warm inside.
“Can I ask you a question?” I felt him nod against the top of my head. “Earlier you were speaking Swedish, right?” He nodded again. “What were you saying?”
“I said I love you, my Sookie. More than you know.”
“You love me?” I asked him in total disbelief.
“Of course I do. Don’t you feel it?”
“I don’t know. I feel something that feels like warmth and affection.”
“That is my love for you. I thought you knew.”
“How was I supposed to know? I don’t speak Swedish.”
“You can feel it, that’s how you’re supposed to know.”
“It would have been nice for you to tell me. I’m sorry, but I’m going to be a girl here. You have to tell me things, not just expect me to feel them. Before I told you I loved you, did you feel it?”
“I felt something, but I was unsure of what it was. You know that I’ve never been in love, so I didn’t know what it felt like. It was my mistake that you didn’t know. I have told you before, it was just in Swedish.”
I laughed at him. “It doesn’t count if you say it in a language that I don’t know. How would you like it if I said I love you in a language you don’t know?”
“You can try,” he laughed at me. “I’m not used to all of this, Sookie, but I am trying.”
“I know you are and you’re doing a good job. I sometimes forget this is as new to you as it is me,” I told him.
“You are the only one I have ever loved. Just know that, my Sookie.”
“I love you, Eric,” I said as I snuggled as close as I could.
He wrapped his arms around me and threw a leg over me making me feel safe, protected, and loved. “As I do you. Sleep well.”