I rose to Sookie’s warm body snuggled up to me. I turned on my side and wrapped my arms around her, pulling her tight against my body. I lowered my face to her hair and took a deep breath.
A big smile came across my face. Once again my Sookie smelled of me and the sweetness that was all her.
I never thought we would be bonded again. Hell, I never thought I would have my wife in my bed, our bed willingly again.
Truthfully I had given up on us. It seemed like no one in the universe wanted us together, and I felt like Sookie wanted us together least of all.
So to say that I was surprised to see her pacing in my living room waiting for me yesterday is an understatement. Never before had she taken the initiative to come to my house. Only once had she come to see me on her own free will without our discussing it first.
I had been ignoring her phone calls and texts, but who wouldn’t. She had used the cluviel dor on that fucking shifter and then to find out that you can only use it on someone you love. It was like she had personally sent a stake through my heart.
I wanted her to use the cluviel dor to get me out of the contract that my maker had made with the Queen of Oklahoma. I had used all my resources to try to find a way out of that contract and had found none.
The cluviel dor seemed the only way out, but I was too proud to ask Sookie to use it on me… on us. We were both testing each others love. I wanted her to finally show me that she loved me, that she was choosing to be with me. She wanted me to get out of the contract to show my love for her.
Couldn’t she see that everything I did was because I love her? I let her humiliate me time after time. No vampire let their human treat them the way I let Sookie treat me, but I knew that if I pushed her for more than I would lose her. That’s exactly what I thought had happened when she used the cluviel dor a few nights ago.
I held little hope that our meeting with Mr. Cataliades was going to solve our problems. My maker had made sure that I could not get out of this contract. Even in his true death he was making it so that he as making my life miserable.
There was no way I was going to give away my freedom for a hundred years to that stupid bitch Freyda. Give up my wife? My bonded? They want me to give up the only woman I’ve ever loved or will love?
Over my dead body.
“Hey,” I heard Sookie say before she placed her palm against my cheek cupping it and lightly rubbing her thumb over my cheekbone. I opened my eyes to see and feel worry etched across her face. “What are you thinking about, that’s got you so worked up?”
“The contract, losing you,” I growled out before pressing my lips together in a tight line.
“You’re not going to lose me. Whatever we have to do to keep you free we are going to do it. Whether that is Mr. C. getting you out of the contract, killing Felipe and Freyda, or leaving the country. We’ll find a way. I’m not leaving you ever again,” she said. I could feel the truth flowing through our renewed bond. Where had this Sookie been for the last year?
“Eventually I’ll lose you,” I said as I pulled her even closer to bury my face into her neck.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she said with confusion.
I grunted into her neck before I placed a kiss behind her ear and nuzzled my nose against her a little more. “Something to talk about another day. First we need to figure out how to get out of this mess,” I pulled up to look at her face.
I could feel her bewilderment as she tried to figure out what I was talking out. With a heavy sigh, I kissed her temple and breathed her in. We’ll discuss the issue of turning her on another night, just not tonight. I wasn’t going to talk about how she never wanted to be turned. I had just gotten her back and though things were better than ever between us, we had other issues to deal with first. Primarily my having to marry another woman. I wasn’t going to push or fight with her tonight. Later we would have a discussion once we knew where we were headed in our lives.
I placed a soft, lingering kiss on her pink, plump lips before a mischievous smile spread across my face. “Let’s go get cleaned up before our meeting.”
After an extra long shower with my wife, where we dirtied each other up more than once before finally stepping out of the shower squeaky clean, we headed out for our meeting with Mr. Cataliades.
I watched from the corner of my eye as Sookie wrung her hands together and nervously bit her bottom lip. I wrapped my hand around hers and slowly entwined our fingers together before lifting her hand and placed a kiss on the back of her hand.
“Sookie, I don’t want you to get your hopes up meeting with Mr. Cataliades. We’ve both been going over the contract for months and haven’t found a way out of it yet.”
She pulled her hand from mine and crossed both of her arms over her chest, pushing her bountiful breasts up making me want to lean over and nip at them. Feeling her hurt and anger toward me made me keep my eyes on her face instead.
“I wish you wouldn’t have hidden it from me for so long. You should have listened to Pam and told me. I had a right to know as soon as you did,” she said before looking out the car window.
“What good would it have done for me to tell you? You never even cared about our marriage until it was too late. How was I supposed to know you would have cared? You’ve been pushing me away ever since we got together.”
My grip was so tight on my steering wheel I heard it whine before I relaxed my hands enough to not break the damn thing. Although she was still looking out the window, I could feel her hurt and smell the tears as they trickled down her cheeks.
“Dear one, I’m sorry. I should have told you. At first I thought I would be able to get out of it and then…” I trailed off as I felt her upper body against my arm and her head upon my shoulder.
“It’s not only your fault. I have blame in this too, with the way I’ve treated you. I’ve never really given you a fair chance. I’ve made you pay for Bill, Quinn, and my own mistakes. I know it wasn’t your fault that when the curse was broken that you didn’t remember what we had together. You asked me many times what happened, but I was so heartbroken that you didn’t remember and I would never see my Eric again.
“I’m sorry for pushing you away and breaking our bond. I should have spoken to you about it,” she said curling her arm around mine. My shirt sleeve was getting wetter by the second from her tears. “I’ve missed not being able to feel you until last night. It’s going to be different now, right?” she asked looking up at me with her eyes pleading for us to be different.
I lowered my head a placed a kiss to her forehead, speaking against her as I drove. “I promise. I’ll no longer keep things from you. We’re in this together from here on out.”
When we arrived at Fangtasia, Sookie excused herself to the bathroom to clean her face up before our meeting started. I wasn’t sure how she was going to react if the news wasn’t in our favor.
Mr. Cataliades arrived right on time giving me a firm nod and Sookie a kiss on the hand. I had no idea they were so close.
“How are you my dear?” He asked Sookie while taking his seat in one of the chairs in front of my desk. I had placed a chair next to me for Sookie to sit in. I wanted her to feel like part of the team, on my side. Nothing would be hidden from her.
“I’m alright, I guess. I’d be better if you’d tell us that you can get Eric out of this contract,” she replied before taking my hand in hers. She gave me a questioning look, asking if it was okay for her to hold my hand in front of the demon. I have her a smile and a small nod, receiving one back from her.
“Has anything changed since the last time we spoke Mr. Northman?” Mr. Cataliades questioned me.
“Nothing has changed. We were wondering how our bond and marriage were factored into the contract. These should be upheld and cancel out the contract my maker made. I had been released and not spoken to my maker for more than seven hundred years.”
“Hmmm. I see,” he replied. Looking in deep concentration for a few moments before he continued. “Unfortunately, since your maker is dead, your king is the only one who can negate the contract and we both know he is unwilling to do so.”
He looked over at Sookie with sad eyes, “I’m sorry to tell you that you will be forced to divorce and break your bond before the marriage takes place. You will likely have to perform the act in front of both the King of Nevada, Arkansas, and Louisiana and the Queen of Oklahoma.”
“They would make us divorce and break our bond?” Sookie asked in a shaky voice.
“I’m afraid so, Ms. Stackhouse. He can’t be married to two people at the same time.”
“Northman. Mrs. Northman.”
“Sookie?” I asked shocked. Never once had she referred to herself as Northman. Besides being shocked I was overwhelmed with Sookie calling herself Mrs. Northman. I never realized until then how much I wanted it.
“If it’s okay with you I want to put in for a name change,” she said shyly looking at me from under her eyelashes.
The smile that was on my face and the feelings she could feel through the bond told her I was more than happy for her to be Mrs. Northman.
“What happens if I refuse to divorce him? We’ve been married for over a year and bonded even longer.”
“I’m afraid vampires don’t see it like that. They will force you to divorce,” the demon responded back.
“How will they force us to divorce?” she asked getting more and more upset by the minute.
“They will threaten death. If you don’t do as they say, they will kill you,” Mr. Cataliades replied.
“They can’t kill me! We are bonded. If they killed me than it would be in Eric’s right to kill them.”
“You make a valid point, Mrs. Northman,” he said as pride filled our bond when he called her by her new name. “I will present the argument to Mr. DeCastro and will let you know his response. We have very little time left before you must arrive in Oklahoma and sign the contract.”
“How long?” she asked nervously.
“In one month time. I assure you Ms.,” he paused and gave a nod of apology. “Mrs. Northman, I will do everything in my power for you to keep your husband, I cannot guarantee you that we will be successful in this endeavor, however, I will do everything to see that we are. If there is nothing more than I will send this latest petition off to Mr. DeCastro and I will let you know when I find out the verdict. It should only take a few days until we know.”
He stood and gathered his briefcase before he nodded to me once again and wished us a good night.
Sookie sat in silence, but her emotions were in turmoil. Fear, regret, sadness, and hopelessness. I let her have a few minutes to herself while I finished up the paperwork that had been left on my desk for me to sign. I knew that she needed this time to herself, to come to grips with what she’d learned tonight.
Once I was done, I stood and pulled her into my embrace. Cradling her head with my hands. “I’m sorry, Sookie,” I whispered against her lips. She closed her wet eyes and fought to control her trembling lips.
“What do we do now?” she murmured. A rebellious tear rolled down her cheek and I quickly smoothed it away with my thumb.
“We decide whether we stay and became monarchs of four states or we leave everything behind and start anew.
“What do you want?” she asked, her blue eyes boring into mine.
“You,” I replied. “I don’t care what we do as long as I’m with you.”
Sookie turned her head and kissed the palm of my hand.
“Are you done here?” she asked, a tear escaped and she roughly wiped it away. She squared her shoulders when I nodded my head. “Good. Let’s go home.”
I pulled away and grasped her hand with mine and ushered us out the back door and to my car. I helped Sookie get settled in and then made my way around to the driver’s side. We were on the road for only a few minutes when I asked her if she was alright.
She nodded her head and I felt as her determination grew. She wasn’t going to let the news tonight set her back from what she wanted. Luckily, what she wanted was me.