I woke up back in our familiar bed, but I missed our bed in the Bahamas. I was also going to miss having Eric all for my own. After going through my morning ablutions, I headed to the kitchen for a light breakfast. After eating so much food over the past week with Eric, it was weird to go back to eating by myself. Eric normally sat with me while I ate and he drank a True Blood, but it wasn’t quite the same.
I made a couple of pieces of toast, spread some jam on them, and then poured a glass of orange juice.
I cleaned up my little mess and straightened up the kitchen. I hadn’t looked at the clock before now, but I noticed it was already late. Eric would be up soon. I decided to write out my grocery list. There wasn’t much food in the refrigerator and I was going to need to go to the grocery store, or have someone else go. I wasn’t sure if Eric would let me go by myself right now or what the threat level was. Maybe that was what Eric wanted to talk about tonight.
Not really looking forward to the conversation because I knew whatever it was, it wasn’t going to be good. When Eric mentioned it last night, I could feel that he was somewhat anxious. If it made him nervous, then it couldn’t possibly be good. Eric was rarely nervous, if ever. Just thinking about it was making me slightly sick to my stomach.
I felt Eric begin to awaken, so I headed back to our bedroom. I quickly climbed into bed and sat beside him, wringing my hands in my lap. The first thing Eric did was to reach out and place his hand on top of mine to cease the wringing movements.
“Why are you nervous, Sookie? This was not the way I was expecting to wake up this evening. Did something happen?” He asked and sat up.
“Nothing happened. I was thinking about what you said last night. That we need to talk, but I could feel that you were nervous, and if you’re nervous, then whatever it is cannot be good.”
Eric lightly chuckled, “It’s not bad, at least I hope not. We need to discuss our future.”
Future? That didn’t sound good at all. I was more anxious than before! It sounded as if he was breaking up with me. Isn’t that what someone said to you before they broke up with you? The dreaded tears started to well up in my eyes and spill over.
“Dear one, don’t get upset. I don’t understand what is happening here,” Eric said while furrowing his brows. I could feel his concern and worry.
“Are you breaking up with me?”
Eric let out a big laugh, but that only made me more confused and pissed me off! What the hell?!
“I’m not breaking up with you. Far from it. I’ve told you before that I would like to spend the rest of my existence with you. Where you’re getting that I want to end things, I have no idea,” he said shaking his head.
“I’m sorry. Really I am. It’s just you’re nervous, and you want to talk about the future. I’m pretty sure in many relationships that means breaking up. Please, go ahead with what you want to discuss.”
Eric gave me a little smile. “I want to talk about the Queen. After sending the witches to curse me and kill me, it’s obvious she has no intention in ceasing in her attempts to take you and end me. She needs to be eliminated. You know that if I end her that I will be made king,” I nodded. “How do you feel about that?”
“I know that you don’t want to be king, so it’s more about how you feel. Will you have to move to New Orleans?”
“No, I wouldn’t have to move to New Orleans. I can rule from anywhere I want in Louisiana. You are correct in that I have never wanted to be king, but I see it as the only way to keep you safe.”
“Eric, I don’t want you to do this for me! Can’t you just kill her, and then appoint someone else as king?”
“I could do that, but there isn’t anyone I trust enough to rule who would not see you as another asset that they would want for their own. The only resolution I see would be for me to rule.”
I threw myself at Eric and hugged him tightly. “So then you’ve decided that this is what you will do?”
“Yes, if it will not be too much for you. Things will change. I’ll have to give up Fangtasia and being the sheriff for my duties as the ruling monarch. Initially, it will be more work, but after some time it should get easier so I’ll have more time if I choose the right people to work with me.”
“Are you going to give Pam Fangtasia?”
“No, I will make her my second. I haven’t decided what I will do with it; possibly find someone to run it. Pam and I need to go through the vampires of Louisiana to see who might be trustworthy. We’ll need to gather our allies to kill the Queen, and then I will appoint them as sheriffs and other members of my staff.”
“I’m sorry you have to do this,” I whispered into his neck.
“There’s nothing to be sorry over. My father always wanted me to be king. It’s about time I accept the position and responsibility. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you,” I kissed Eric’s neck while still hugging him tightly.
“I have one question for you,” Eric said while pulling me back to sit on the bed. He cupped my face with both of his hands while looking me deeply in the eyes.
“You know you can ask me anything. Go ahead,” I said, but I felt Eric beginning to get worried.
“When I kill the Queen and become King, I would very much like it if you would be my Queen.”
Shock. Total and complete shock. I was definitely not expecting that. Was that even possible?
“Eric, I don’t think that’s a very good idea. I don’t think vampires would take you very seriously with a human for a queen.”
“Do not worry about them. Just think about it.”
“I will. I’ll think about it.”
“Thank you. When a vampire becomes a monarch, they have a ceremony called a coronation. The king or queen is named, and then all the vampires in attendance swear fealty to him or her. During this ceremony, I would for like us to be pledged.”
“Are you asking me to marry you by vampire custom?”
“I am,” Eric said, and I could feel how nervous he was. Did he think I would say no?
“That has to be one of the most unromantic marriage proposals I have ever heard,” I laughed. “Are you afraid that I’m going to say no?”
Eric nodded his head, “I want to pledge myself to you and you to me. I want you to be my queen. I want to do this in front of all the vampires of Louisiana.”
“Saying it will be in front of all those vampires doesn’t exactly make me want to say yes.”
“We would not have to do it in front of everyone if you don’t want to, but then all the vampires in Louisiana would know that you are my wife, that no one can take you away from me.”
“Are you only asking me this for my safety?”
“No! That is not how I meant for it to come across. I only plan on being married once, and I am only asking you because I truly want this. I love you, Sookie. You are the love of my long, dead life. You and our love are something I never knew I would want or have, but now that I have you, I know that I cannot live without you. Will you please marry me?”
Tears were pouring down my face from Eric’s words. I never thought I was going to get married, let alone have anyone ask me. Who cared that humans would not recognize our marriage? We would know and that was all that was important.
I launched myself at Eric again, this time cupping his face with my hands. I lightly kissed him, and then I pulled back enough to look Eric in the eyes, “Yes! I’ll marry you!”
Eric quickly pinned me on the bed and smashed his lips into mine. It was the most passionate kiss we’d shared yet. Eric kissed my entire body up and down, not leaving a single area untouched.
A couple of hours later we finally got out of bed to get cleaned up. Eric needed to go to Fangtasia for a meeting he had Pam setup. The vampires he most trusted would be there to plan the overtaking and assassination of Sophie Anne.
When we arrived at Fangtasia, there were only a few cars in the parking lot. I guess they closed down for the meeting. Eric parked in the back in his usual parking space, and we walked in the back door and went immediately out to the floor. Eric sat on his throne and there was already a chair waiting there for me. I promptly took my seat and placed my hands in my lap.
Pam and Chow were behind the bar heating up True Bloods for all the vampires. I looked around the room to see three other vampires. I noticed Alcide sitting at a table alone. I had only met Alcide a couple of times. Eric and I had an initial meeting with him when I met him for the first time. Eric had Alcide send some trackers out for the Weres who had attacked him. We still didn’t know where they had come from, but I knew Eric would never give up his search. He wanted vengeance for his family.
After waiting another five minutes while everyone sipped their drinks, Jessica came in through the front door. She quickly took a seat and Eric asked for everyone’s attention.
“Thank you all for coming. What is said tonight must not leave this room. I asked you all here because you have never given me reason to not trust you. Some of you I have known for hundreds of years. I called this meeting because I plan on killing the Queen and I need your help.”
If the room could have got any quieter, it most certainly did.
“As you all know, the Queen recently sent some witches to curse me. She did this with the intention of having me killed and to take Sookie. If you don’t already know, this is Sookie Stackhouse, my bonded and soon to be pledged.”
Pam’s eyebrows nearly shot to the sky while the rest of the vampires in the room eyes bugged out. I guess us pledging was a big deal. Alcide was quiet on the outside, but not on the inside.
That poor girl, what has she gotten herself into? She sure seems like a sweet lady. I’ve heard Northman has never had a pet, so maybe he really likes her. I hope she knows what she’s doing.
Listening to Alcide’s thoughts angered me. I had almost forgotten how prejudiced people could be. I knew no one got to see the way Eric treated me when it was just us, and I hated always having to justify that I really was with him because I chose to be. I guess his reputation certainly didn’t help matters.
“I need to know if any of you are not willing to help us in New Orleans. I want this over by the end of next week, so we need to make plans and preparations starting now,” Eric said.
No one said anything or got up so I guess they were with us.
“Alcide, do you think you can get any more from your pack to help us? After this is all over, I’m hoping the vampires of Louisiana and the Weres will be able to work together, at least in Area Five. I’m planning on ruling Louisiana from Shreveport.”
“I’m not sure how many will be willing to help, but I’ll ask discretely and also let them know you want to work with them once this is all over, but you can count on me.”
“Thank you, that’s all I ask.”
Eric looked around the room for a moment.
“Maxwell Lee, I would like you and Indira to scout out the Queen’s palace. I need to know how many guards there are and where they are. Report back to me as soon as you have the information. Once we have this information we’ll have another meeting. You two may go so you can get whatever you need for your trip.”
The two vampires nodded their heads to Eric and made their way out the front door.
“Jessica, I want you to work with Pam training to fight until we leave.”
Jessica nodded her head.
“Thalia, after we kill the Queen, I want to make you Sheriff of Areas 3 and 4. As you know, they are not very populated areas. This will get you out of serving time here. Do you accept?”
Thalia only nodded. Personally, she scared me. I didn’t know much about her except she was older than Eric and never seemed happy.
“Good. That’s all for tonight then. We will reconvene once we know more regarding palace security.”
Thalia left through the front door and Jessica met us at the bar.
“So, Sookie, you accepted my master’s proposal. Very good. We’ll have a short amount of time to plan the coronation and pledging. I’ll need to start looking for dresses,” Pam said with a twinkle in her eyes.