I woke up hot and sweaty, something I hadn’t felt in a long time. Sleeping with a vampire was like having your own personal air conditioner. I felt gross as I peeled myself away from Eric’s body. That was when I noticed Eric’s body temperature was much higher than normal. Everything else about him seemed normal except for that. I grabbed my phone and left a message for Pam to get over here as soon as possible because there was definitely something wrong with Eric. I took a quick shower and got dressed in jeans and t-shirt. I wanted to be ready for anything tonight. I ate my breakfast and got back into bed with Eric as fast as I could.
Eric was still warm so I went into the bathroom to get a couple of cold washcloths to cool him down. After placing one on the back of his neck and one on his forehead, all I could do was wait. I sat holding Eric’s hand worrying about what kind of spell the witches had placed on him.
I was flipping the washcloth over on his forehead when Eric woke. His eyes popped open and he looked startled before he took in a big, deep breath. Eric kept taking big breaths and staring at me.
I broke out of my trance-like state, cupped Eric’s face in my hands, and locked my eyes with his.
“Eric, what’s wrong? You’re scaring me. Your body’s been warm since I woke up. I’ve been trying to cool it down and now you’re breathing like a crazy person.”
“Mitt hjärta slår,” Eric whispered, but I had no idea what he just said. Someday soon, I was going to have Eric give me Swedish lessons.
“Eric, honey,” he scowled at me. “Can you please speak English for me?” It would be just my luck that he couldn’t.
“I said my heart is beating,” he said a little louder.
I laid my head down on Eric’s warm chest that was rising and falling with each breath he took. If that wasn’t wrong enough, I then heard his heart beating. I sat up suddenly not knowing what to think or do. I placed my hand over his heart and looked into his eyes once more.
“It is,” I whispered back. “Your heart’s beating and you’re breathing! Are there any other changes?”
“All my senses are dulled. My vision isn’t as clear, my hearing isn’t as acute, and my body feels sluggish.”
I lay my head back down on his chest once more to listen to his beating heart. Thump-thump, thump-thump. I lay there listening for a minute while running one of my hands up and down his arm. This was the first time in over a thousand years that Eric’s heart had beat. Then I heard a sound that I never thought I would hear from Eric. His stomach growled!
I sat up again and looked at Eric. I couldn’t decipher the look on his face or our barely-there bond.
“Eric, can you feel me in the bond?” I asked him.
“I can still feel both you and Pam, but faintly,” he said, and then his stomach growled again.
“You’re hungry. Let’s go upstairs to the kitchen and I’ll make us some breakfast. I already called Pam when I woke up since your body was hot so she should be here soon.”
“Good, we have to find this witch and quickly.”
We quickly dressed and headed up to the kitchen. I wasn’t really sure what to make him for breakfast. I figured since Eric hadn’t eaten anything in a very long time I should make something that hopefully wouldn’t upset his stomach. I decided to make scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon. I sat out orange juice, milk and some water.
Once it was all done, I went to get Eric from his office. He was sitting at his desk looking at his monitor, probably going over his emails. I noticed that he wasn’t looking as white as he normally did. It wasn’t much but I could tell.
“Breakfast is ready when you’re done,” I said to him. He looked up at me, and then shut down his computer. We walked to the kitchen in silence. I couldn’t imagine what Eric must be going through. That witch was going to be sorry she ever messed with Eric Northman.
I put the food on our plates and set one down in front of Eric. He sat there looking at it for a minute.
“It’s scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. I put a glass of orange juice, milk, and water out for you to drink. I wasn’t sure what you’d like.”
“Thank you, Sookie. I’ll try it and we’ll see.”
I picked up my fork and started eating my eggs while Eric leaned forward and sniffed each item. I wanted to giggle at him, but I knew he wouldn’t appreciate it.
“Everything smells much better in the state I’m in now. It’s making me very hungry.”
I picked up a piece of bacon and ate it and Eric did too. His eyes lit up when he tasted it. He ate his eggs with a little difficulty, but I tried to act as if I didn’t notice. He scrunched up his nose when he tasted the orange juice. It was really cute, but I didn’t tell him that. I noticed he didn’t like the toast too much, but he ate all his eggs and bacon.
“That was very good. I didn’t eat anything like this when I was human.”
“I’m glad you liked it and until you’re back to your vampire state you can try all kinds of food that you’ve never tried. There are so many things,” I was trying to think of all the things he could try. Chocolate, definitely chocolate.
Just as I was getting done cleaning up all the dishes, Pam came in, and she looked frantic when she stopped in front of Eric.
“Master, what has happened to you? You smell … human. I can barely feel you through the bond and I’m standing in front of you.”
“It looks like whatever spell that witch put on me has turned me human, but I can still feel you and Sookie very faintly through the bond. Come, let’s go into the living room, and figure out what we’re going to do.”
We all walked into the living room. Eric and I sat on a couch together and Pam took up the chair closest to Eric.
“Have you heard anything from the trackers we sent last night?” Eric asked Pam.
“Yes, I had a message when I woke up saying they have not yet found the witch.”
“We need to get out there and search for her and her coven. I want you to get as many of our vampires on it as you can. Also call the Weres and see if they can spare anyone else to help us,” Eric turned to me. “You will stay here while Pam and I go out searching.”
“If you’re going I’m going. I can read their minds. You’ll need my help.”
Pam was shaking her head, “Neither one of you are going. It’s not safe.”
“I am going,” Eric argued.
“Master, do you still have all of your vampire abilities?”
Eric’s shoulders slumped down while he put his head in his hands. “No, I do not,” he said bitterly.
“Then you will stay with Sookie where you will both be safe.”
Eric got up and was pacing back and forth through the living room muttering I don’t know what. I don’t think he was speaking English. Pam’s phone rang and Eric and I listened to her side of the conversation, but there wasn’t much.
Once she got off the phone Eric spoke to her. “News?”
“News, but not good news. That was Rasul. He overheard Sophie Ann speaking to someone, but he wasn’t sure who,” she paused, looking around the room for a minute. “Eric, it was the Queen who sent the witches. She’s trying to eliminate you so she can get to Sookie.”
I had been listening to Pam and, when she was done, Eric let out a roar that scared me half to death. I don’t think I had ever seen him so mad. I jumped and scooted into the far corner of the couch with my knees up. I knew Eric wouldn’t hurt me, but his reaction scared me.
The witches had done this to Eric because of me. The Queen wanted me and she was never going to give up. I hated that I was causing so much trouble.
“If I give myself to the Queen, will she order the witches to turn Eric back into a vampire?” I whispered.
“No, she sees Eric as a threat, and with him human he’s vulnerable and will not be able to protect you,” Pam said.
“Sookie, you cannot possibly be thinking about going to Sophie Ann. Why would you think that?”
“I would go if it would get the witches to change you back.”
“And why would you do this?” Eric asked.
“First of all because I love you,” Eric raised an eyebrow at this. “Secondly because this is my fault. The Queen sent the witches to do this to you because she wants me. If it wasn’t for me, you would still be a vampire.”
“I will not let you give yourself to the Queen because I love you,” this time it was Pam who raised an eyebrow. “Do not worry, we will find the witches and they will reverse this spell. I will be vampire again. Do you not like me as a human?” he asked, looking more vulnerable than ever.
“Of course I like you. You’re still the same person. I feel bad this happened to you because of me. I know you love being a vampire,” Eric crossed the room to sit by me. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed the top of my head.
“Now that that’s all settled,” Pam said with a raised eyebrow. “Neither one of you can be out helping to find the witches. We don’t know who else the Queen has sent for the both of you. I think you both need to get out of town, out of the state, until we find the witches and have the spell reversed.”
“I AM NOT GOING INTO HIDING! I MAY NOT BE A VAMPIRE RIGHT NOW BUT I AM A STILL A WARRIOR!”
“You’re a very good warrior, but how are you going to protect yourself and Sookie if you’re surrounded by a group of vampires or Weres? You’re not going to be any good at protecting Sookie if you’re dead.”
“Where do you expect us to go?” I asked.
“I don’t know. It would be helpful for it to be someplace that is owned by a human so no vampires can get in, have light tight rooms, and out of this state.”
“We can go to my house since I own it,” I spoke up.
“You cannot go to your house. Everyone knows where you live. Any witch or Were could get in,” Pam said.
“I know of a place,” Eric said almost sheepishly. “I recently bought a place in Sookie’s name so it would be vampire safe.”
“Great! Go pack what you need. I’ll go fill up the Escalade so you can take it. How far away is it?” Pam asked.
“Too far to drive. We must fly. I’ll buy the plane tickets and arrange for transportation for once we arrive.”
“Where are we going, and don’t think I’ve forgotten that you bought some house in my name, Mister?”
“We are going to the Bahamas. Go pack. I’m going to get us on the first flight out.”
With that, Eric stood up and started walking to his office as if this was all just a normal night for him. I couldn’t believe him. He bought a house in my name in the Bahamas. Why would he do such a thing? I mean, I’m happy we have somewhere to go right now, but still. I thought he understood that I didn’t want him buying me things, especially expensive things. I knew there was nothing I could do about it right now, but he was going to hear about it sooner or later. While Pam and Eric were in his office planning and whatever else, I went to go pack.
I packed about a weeks’ worth of clothes for both Eric and I. He didn’t really have anything that said beach, so I packed his regular stuff. I figured he could buy something there if he needed or wanted it. I knew I was going to need a swimsuit if we were going to the Bahamas. Then I went into the bathroom and packed our stuff from there. All Eric had was hair gel and a comb so he was easy.
Once I was done, I sat on the bed and cried. I was overwhelmed by everything. We’d just had six months of peace, and now all hell had broken loose. Eric was human, the Queen wanted Eric dead, and to take me to live as a slave in New Orleans.
I was lying under the blankets silently crying when Eric came in to find me. He lay down behind me, pulled me into his chest, and kissed the back of my head.
“Are you okay, Sookie?” He placed a hand on my shoulder and pulled me until I was lying on my back. “Why are you crying?”
“Why am I crying? Because you’re human right now, and the Queen wants you dead,” I cried. “I’m sorry I’m being so selfish right now by not thinking about how this is affecting you. How are you with all this?”
“I’m fine. I don’t like that I cannot fight, but Pam is right and I need to do what I can to make sure we are both safe,” he said with his accent much stronger than normal. “Although I have not wanted to be human, there are things that I will be able to do with you that I normally cannot.”
“Like what?” I smiled at him and placed a kiss on his chin.
“I’ll get to see you in the sunlight, watch the sunrise and set with you, and eating breakfast are a few things. Do you ever wish you could do things with me that we cannot because I’m a vampire?”
“Not really,” I said, and Eric raised an eyebrow. “You may not normally eat food, but you sit with me while I eat and talk to me while I do. I knew we were never going to have a picnic lunch. I knew what I was getting into when I got involved with you. I pretty much keep the same hours as you do, so I rarely see sunlight anymore,” after I said that Eric frowned.
“Do you not miss it? Being in the sun?”
“I miss it sometimes, but I like being with you more.”
“We’ll have to figure something out so you can get out in the sun.”
“I can always set an alarm and get up. I can go to bed a little earlier so I won’t be so tired. I want you to know that the last six months have been the happiest of my life so far. Truly and I would be happy to do all the things you mentioned earlier. We should bring a camera so we can take hundreds of pictures of you in the sun. Do you have a camera?”
“No, I don’t have a camera, but I’ll send Pam out to buy one tonight and deliver it before dawn. Our flight leaves at 8:00 in the morning, so if there’s anything else you need, we can send Pam to get it.”
“We both need swimsuits, and you really don’t have any beach attire. Are we going to be able to go to the beach while we’re there?”
“We’ll be able to go to the beach. You can see it from the house,” he smiled. “Let me send Pam a text of what she needs to get us.”
While Eric sent Pam a text, I went to the kitchen to make us something to eat. Unfortunately for Eric, I was used to eating pretty simply since it was just me eating, unless he took me out to eat. I made us some sandwiches, apple slices, and poured us some milk. Eric walked in just as I was getting done putting all the ingredients away. We sat and ate at the kitchen island.
“When we get to where we are going we’ll have to go to the grocery store so I can make you some real food,” Eric nodded and continued to eat quietly. “Is there something wrong? Do you not like the food?”
“The food’s fine. I was thinking that I don’t like that you’ve given up so much to be with me.”
“I haven’t given up anything that I was unwilling to give up. Being in the sun is an easy fix, and I wouldn’t be able to be out having a picnic in the sun with a human boyfriend. I mean I could have a picnic with someone, but that person wouldn’t be my boyfriend. You know I can’t have a human boyfriend.”
“Can you hear me?” He asked, looking a little sad.
“I haven’t tried to, but no I haven’t heard you. We’ve touched and I didn’t hear anything so your secrets are safe, but I would still be with you even if I could,” I smiled at him.
“I wouldn’t care if you could hear me, but I know that you don’t want to hear me. Do you ever want children?” He asked and then looked down. “I’m sorry I can’t give you children.”
“No, I don’t want any children. I never have. I wouldn’t want my child to have my curse and my life, our life isn’t safe for one. If I ever really wanted one I could always adopt, but I really don’t see that happening.”
“I hope you’re not saying that just to make me feel better. I hate to think there’s something out there that you cannot have because of me.”
“I’m not lying to you. I always tell you the truth and you know that,” he nodded. “The only thing I want that I don’t have is for us to be safe and out of danger.”
“There will always be some danger since I am a vampire, but once this is all over we’ll be safe.”
“There is one thing that I want right now.”
“What would that be?”
“I want you to make love to me.”
“I can most definitely do that,” Eric said as he laid a passionate kiss on my lips.
There were no more words for a long while. Once we both caught our breath, we hopped in the shower to wash the sex off us so we would be ready to go in the morning. We both got into bed and cuddled up to each other after setting an alarm and taking our luggage upstairs. Pam would put all the items she purchased in our luggage.
“I hope you know I still haven’t forgotten about you buying a house in my name.”
“It’s only a house in your name. A place where we can be where vampires have to have an invitation to come in. Some place that no one has known about until tonight. No one should be able to trace it back to me.”
“So you didn’t buy it for me?”
“No, I bought it for us. It’s only a name on a deed, Lover,” Eric said and then kissed my forehead. “We should try to get some sleep so we can get up in the morning. I’m lucky you wore me out or I don’t know if I would be able to go to sleep,” I giggled hearing that. That’s how I felt most of time. Actually, I was feeling that way now. “Good night, Sookie,” he said, and then gave me a slow, sensual kiss.
“Good night, Eric. I love you!” I kissed his chest where his heart was now beating.
“I love you too, Sookie,” Eric said as we snuggled up closer to each other.