“Eric?” I said, but right at that moment I felt the baby kick for the first time. I couldn’t believe it! It was just this tiny little movement, but it was the most amazing thing so far in my life, and Eric was there, standing right in front of me! I blinked a few times, thinking that I might have been hallucinating. I had given up on ever seeing Eric again, but there he was, right in front of me with the most confused look on his face.
“Sookie?” I heard him say.
I walked over to stand in front of him, but Eric just stood there, staring at me. I had never seen him act that way. I remembered the rest of my groceries in the trunk of my car, decided that I should get them out, and put them away. Once I had everything out of the trunk and was on my way back inside, I looked over my shoulder at Eric. He was still just standing there.
“Eric? Are you okay?” I asked him. I was starting to get concerned. He looked up at my face and gave a stiff nod. “Well, if you’re okay, could you help me get these groceries inside the house?”
That seemed to finally bring Eric back from wherever he’d gone. He quickly walked up, took all the bags out of my hands with one of his, and opened the front door with the other. Once I stepped over the threshold, I invited Eric into my house. He actually looked relieved once I had given him the invitation. Did he think I wouldn’t let him in? There had only been one time that I had rescinded his invitation and that was after Jackson. I had been through too much back then and just needed to be by myself for awhile. Ever since then he had always had an open invitation into my home.
Eric followed me into the kitchen and sat the bags down next the other ones I had previously brought in. I started taking everything out and putting them away. Eric walked over to the table, sat down, and stared at his hands while I put my groceries away in silence.
What the hell was wrong with him?
Once I had everything put away, I walked over and sat across from Eric. I sat there looking at him for a few moments, but he continued looking at his hands. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. It had been five months from the time when we had last seen each other. Not once had Eric ever acted like this in all the time I’d known him.
“Are you okay? You’re starting to really worry me,” I asked him. I could feel the concern etched on my face.
Eric looked up at me and it looked as if he was searching my face for something. What I didn’t know. Finally, all he said was, “Yes,” and then he continued to stare at me for a long moment.
“You’re pregnant,” he said. A statement. No question about it.
“Yes,” I answered and kept quiet for a minute. “I knew you would jump to conclusions about me being pregnant, but I never thought you’d have this reaction.”
Eric snapped his eyes to lock onto mine. “Do you have a human or a shifter now as your lover?” He spit out each word bitterly as he said them.
“What?! No, I don’t have anyone! First of all, I don’t want one, and secondly, even if I did, I’m sure it’s not very easy to date while pregnant. Plus I’m not exactly looking my best here!” I glared at him. What the hell was wrong with him!
“Is this the real reason you left?” He said, and then pointed at me.
“No! How dare you, Eric Northman! I told you why I left. I found out I was pregnant just a couple of days before I was going to head back to Bon Temps!” I yelled at him.
Eric glared at me, and then it hit me. I knew that if I had returned that Eric would believe I had been cheating on him. I also knew that he would never want me again, which was obvious by the way he was glaring at me.
“Am I that repulsive to you? Stop looking at me that way.”
Eric shook his head. “You’re not repulsive. You are and always have been very beautiful.”
“Then why were you glaring at me as if you want to kill me?”
“I‘ve never wanted to kill you,” he said, but I arched an eyebrow at him knowing that statement was a lie. “All right, that’s not true, but it has been a very long time since I’ve wanted to kill you. I only wanted to kill you once, when you wouldn’t tell me what happened when I had amnesia. I had all these feelings, and I didn’t understand why they were so much more intense than they were before I was cursed. However, I knew even then that I could never kill you. It would hurt me too much for you to die,” he replied and I knew he was telling the truth.
“I just can’t believe that you’re pregnant and that you cheated on me,” he was back to glaring at me again. I didn’t need the bond to know that he was extremely pissed.
“I didn’t cheat on you, you asshole! I was raped!” I yelled at him once again from across the table.
Eric was visibly shocked by my revelation, but now I was pissed and hurt that he would think I would cheat on him. Although everyone knew that vampires cannot procreate, I could see why he would think that. Anyone would, still, I had thought he knew me better than that.
“You were raped. When? Why didn’t you tell me? I’ll kill whoever did this to you!” He stood up and started pacing back and forth through the kitchen.
“He’s already dead, Eric. I didn’t tell you because we never really discussed what happened when the fairies tortured me. I didn’t want to talk about it, and I was waiting for you to tell me why you didn’t save me.”
Eric stopped in front of me and dropped to his knees. He cradled my face between both of his hands and I gasped at how close he was. I’d forgotten how much he could affect me when he was close to me this way. I looked into his deep blue eyes and saw that they were rimmed with red. I had never seen the real Eric so vulnerable before.
“I am so sorry. I had no idea. I would give anything for none of that to have happened to you.” I nodded. I would too. “Why didn’t you come back to Louisiana? Because you’re pregnant?” I nodded once more.
“I couldn’t go back to Bon Temps where everyone already thinks I’m crazy and for them to now think I’m a whore. I don’t want my baby growing up around those kinds of people. I knew you would think I cheated on you and would want nothing to do with me.”
“Because we never talked about what happened with the fairies I would have assumed you had been with someone else, but I would have listened to you, allowed you to explain to me eventually. We have a bond, Sookie, and I can tell when you are being honest with me. It’s true that if you had been unfaithful to me that I wouldn’t want a relationship with you, but I will always protect you, no matter what.”
“Speaking of our bond, why can’t I feel you? All I’ve been able to feel is your life force inside of me ever since I stopped taking the potion.”
Eric let go of my face and walked back over to the chair where he was previously seated. “I’m blocking it. I’ve been blocking it for a couple of days now. I didn’t want you to feel that I was getting closer to you and run.”
“I wouldn’t run from you,” I told him honestly. “I may have been expecting you if I could feel you, but I wouldn’t have run. I didn’t come back because I knew you wouldn’t want me anymore, and I didn’t want to raise a baby in Bon Temps. I don’t want my child to be raised hearing negative, terrible things about his or her mother, and it is very possible that this baby could be telepathic. I don’t want my baby being treated the way I have been treated my whole life.”
“You shouldn’t have assumed I would want nothing to do with you. You should have come and talked to me.”
“Probably, but my head wasn’t in the right place at the time. I didn’t even know if there was an ‘us’ anymore.”
“I don’t understand why you would think that,” he said with furrowed brows, and I could see that he really didn’t understand.
I sighed, unsure if I wanted to get into this with him right now. “Do you really want to have this conversation right now?”
“Yes, I do. After having read your note I’ve been wondering what you meant by ‘if we even have a relationship or where we are in it.’”
“This is some profound conversation for us to be having first thing,” Here I thought I would never see Eric again, and now we were going to begin on a serious topic. I was unaccustomed to something of this nature with Eric. We never seemed to discuss the topics that were most significant for us, and especially not when considering where our relationship stood. Those were the most important things we needed to discuss.
“Did you want to make small talk? I think this is an essential conversation we need to have, not discussing it is just putting off the inevitable.”
“So now you’re ready to talk to me. Are you finally ready to answer my questions?”
“I’ll answer anything you ask me.”
“Are you sure about that?” Before, whenever I would ask him, he would always say that he would tell me when I was ready. I never understood that. If I hadn’t been ready, then I wouldn’t have asked.
“Do not doubt me. If I say I will answer you, then I will.” Eric’s accent had become more pronounced with every word, and he’d dropped his contractions. That was his “tell,” and that let me know he was getting emotional, something that rarely happened with him.
“Okay! No need to get all huffy. It’s just that I’ve asked you these questions in the past and I’ve yet to get an answer out of you, so I’m sorry if I’m a little skeptical.”
“I have had nothing but time to think while you’ve been gone. You also mentioned in your letter that I didn’t want to give you answers to things that are important between us.”
“You’re ready to do that now?” I asked him still wondering if he really would.
“Yes. I do not want you to run away again. I have learned from my mistakes.”
“Let’s go into the living room where we will be more comfortable talking,” I said and he gave me a curt nod.
Eric followed me into the living room. Once I sat down on the couch, he sat down right beside me, not leaving any space between us. I moved as far away from him as I could and still be on the couch. I turned my body toward him and Eric followed, doing the same.
“I want to begin by talking about our bond. You know that I’ve always thought our bond was making me feel things that were not really there,” he nodded. “While I was taking the potion, I realized that I do love you even with the bond gone,” Eric smiled and took one of my hands in his. I thought about pulling it away, but decided not to, not yet. “Can you explain to me how the bond really works?” He nodded once again.
“As you know a vampire must exchange blood with a human three times before a bond occurs, and then it is permanent,” It was my turn to nod. “It is a very rare occurrence that a vampire will bond themselves to a human,” I raised an eyebrow at this. “Vampires do not want humans to know their emotions and the emotions they receive from their bonded are much stronger than when there is only a blood tie.”
“Couldn’t the vampire just block the bond all the time the way you’re doing to me?”
“I am sure they could, and I am sorry about blocking the bond. You never seemed to want to feel it before. Do you want me to open up the bond to you?”
“Yes. I think it will be helpful,” I said, and then felt the bond start to slowly open. All I could feel was Eric’s anger.
“Sookie, I have never lied to you. Never. I am not about to start now,” I felt his honesty through the bond, but time would tell. He’s never wanted to answer these questions, not that we always had time. It always seemed as if something was coming up and getting in our way, like someone wanting to kill me.
“I’m sorry. You have always been truthful with me,” I said, nodding my head and Eric always had been. Even when the truth would hurt, he would tell me. “Although when it came to us it was always hard to get answers from you.”
“I will try to change that… I am changing that. I cannot make you feel things. If you try and stop resisting our bond, and concentrate on it, you will be able to identify your feelings and mine. They are separate, but I can push certain feelings to you to help you. For example, if you are scared I can push confidence to you or calmness, but you will be able to tell that it is coming from an outside influence and may choose whether or not you let it influence how you feel. I will only do this when it is needed. The first time I did this was when we were in Rhodes and you were standing up at the trial. I pushed my strength and confidence to you.”
“I remember that. Normally I can tell when you’re coming near because of the bond. I get a feeling of happiness and peace. Why is that if it is not making me feel things?”
“Have you ever felt happy or calm when you knew that I was coming and you didn’t want to see me?” I shook my head. “Then could it possibly be that you were just feeling that way because you truly wanted to see me?”
I thought about it for a minute before Eric interrupted my thinking. “The bond lets you know that I’m coming near even subconsciously. I think that if you didn’t fight it, then you would understand it better,” I glared at him. “Still, I should have explained all of this to you before now. I’ve always wanted you to be happy with our bond.”
“Is that all? Concerning our bond,” I felt hesitation coming from him. There was something he didn’t want to tell me. “What aren’t you telling me?”
He chuckled, “See? You are already reading the bond better than before,” He said and I just stared, willing him to continue. Eric sighed and ran one of his hands through his hair before continuing. “Another reason why vampires do not bond to humans is their short life expectancy. When the vampire’s bonded dies, the vampire will eventually meet the sun.”
I gasped. Meet the sun? Why? “Why, Eric? Why would they do that? Why would you?”
“As I told you before it is very rare for a vampire to bond themselves to a human. A vampire only bonds him or herself to a human they plan on turning or someone they care very deeply about. For the vampire, it is extremely devastating for them when their bonded dies. The hole that is left when the bond is no longer there eventually leads them to meet the sun.”
I sat there stunned for I don’t know how long before I could finally talk. “Why would you do this? Did you know this when you bonded yourself to me?”
“I knew. Why do you think, Sookie? I have always cared about you.”
“But to bind your life with mine? I’m a magnet for danger and I could die at any moment. You couldn’t possibly care that much. Again, why would you do this? Why did Andre want to?”
“I think about your mortality quite often, and I believe Andre wanted to bond himself to you because he was planning on turning you. When a vampire has a bond with the human they turn beforehand, they will always be together. I’m sure Sophie Anne and Andre were counting on your telepathy staying with you once you were turned.”
“I’m glad he’s finally dead then. I never even wanted to be in the same room with him, let alone be stuck with him for an eternity.”
“Yes, that is why I could not let him bond to you. Andre was not known for being a kind vampire. Plus, eventually he would have found some way to punish me for interfering in the corridor that night.”
“I can’t believe you did all that for me. Seriously, what were you thinking?”
“At the time I wasn’t thinking. All I knew was that you were scared, and I couldn’t let Andre bind himself to you.”
“Do you regret bonding with me?” I asked him, afraid of his answer. I still couldn’t believe what he was telling me.
“I have never regretted it,” he said with conviction.
“We’ll talk more about this another time. Now, how about this pledging business? Why couldn’t you tell me what was going on? What does it all mean?”
“I didn’t really have time to tell you what was happening. I didn’t want Bobby to tell you or write you a note. Truthfully, I thought if you knew ahead of time then you wouldn’t have gone through with it. I only found out about DeCastro’s plan to take you to Vegas when there was only an hour of daylight left. I still had the ceremonial knife from Rhodes, so I had Bobby deliver it to you.”
“What does it mean?”
“We are pledged. We are married to one another. It’s just like when you saw the King of Mississippi marry the King of Indiana, only we will be married until one of us dies, unless you divorce me. No one can take you away from me, and DeCastro must ask my permission for any services he wants of yours. Of course, since he’s my king I have to oblige, but I can demand that I accompany you and other matters related to your safety.”
“So we can get a divorce?” He nodded. “Do you plan on divorcing me?” He shook his head. “How many times have you been married in all your life?”
“Before this, just the once when I was human and that was not of my choosing. You are the only wife I have chosen.”
“That may be the case, but I didn’t choose to marry you. I had no clue what was going on. Didn’t you think about how I would feel about this or react to it?”
Eric turned and looked straight ahead. I felt a brief touch of sadness when I had said that I didn’t choose to marry him, but it was quickly locked away.
“Again, I wasn’t thinking too clearly at the time, which I seem to do quite often concerning you. I knew you wouldn’t be happy with Victor showing up on your doorstep and carting you off to Vegas permanently. I only wanted you to stay and be happy.”
“Thank you,” I said to him. Eric turned back to me and I felt that he was surprised by me thanking him. “I don’t think I’ve ever realized all that you’ve done for me, especially knowing now how dangerous it was for you to do them.”
“If I would have asked you to pledge yourself to me, what would you have said?” Eric asked me. I could feel that he genuinely wanted to know my answer.
“I don’t know,” I replied, looking down at my hands. “If you said we have to get married tonight, that night, I probably would have said no. If you had asked me while we were out at dinner or some other setting, I would have said I needed to think about it at the time. We hadn’t been together for very long, but Eric, whenever I’ve thought about being married it was never for a political move or so I wouldn’t get kidnapped. Most girls want to be married for love, not for any other reason.”
“I want you to know that I wouldn’t have pledged myself to you if I didn’t want it. It was not a political move for me. It was to keep you with me, to keep you safe. I know that you don’t count our pledging as us being married, but I would like you to think of this as a real marriage with me as your husband and you as my wife.”
“You know, most of the time before a person gets married, they are asked and there are rings, not just a knife getting passed around.”
“Yes, I know in human marriages a knife isn’t passed around. If I asked you to marry me and got you a ring, is that all it would take for you to consider this a real marriage?”
“It would be a start. Eric, you know I like to have a choice, so you should have known I wouldn’t like you marrying me without me even knowing it.”
“I figured it was better to ask forgiveness than permission. I couldn’t ask you while you were off living in Vegas. I’m sorry I didn’t ask you,” Eric grabbed both of my hands in one of his and looked me right in the eyes. “Will you marry me, Sookie Stackhouse, and be the only wife that I have ever chosen?”
When I mentioned him asking me I didn’t think he would ask me tonight. I looked down at our joined hands and back up to his face again and then back down to our hands. Eric’s whole right hand was a light pink color, and there were no fingernails on his hand. I pulled my hands free of his and grabbed his left hand. It was as white as ever with fingernails.
“Eric, what happened to your hand? Why is it pink? And you have no fingernails,” I asked him with concern. I couldn’t possibly imagine what could be wrong with his hand. Was he dying? Did he have Sino-AIDS? I felt Eric tense before he took his hands back and put them into his lap. I quickly grabbed his hand back to look at it. I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it if he wouldn’t allow me, but let me continue my inspection.
“We were having such a good conversation. Let’s not talk about that tonight.”
“A good conversation? You call what we’ve been talking about a good conversation? It must really be bad then. Are you dying?” I asked as tears welled up in my eyes.
“I’m not dying. I promise you. It is getting late and you should get some sleep. You need to sleep for the baby,” he said as he looked down at my stomach. “We can talk more about this another time.”
“I want to talk about it now,” he shook his head, and I could feel that he was determined not to talk about it anymore tonight. “How long are you going to be here? I want to know what’s going on.”
“I should‘ve known you would notice,” he said, looking down at his hands, and then turned to look at me. “I will be here for another two nights. It took me two nights to fly here. I can only be gone a week before too many questions will start to be asked about where I am. I will be back tomorrow night if you are not working.”
“I’m not working. I have tomorrow off and I only work during the day now.”
“Then I will be back just after dark tomorrow night.” Eric stood and headed toward the front door.
“Where are you staying?” I asked, fidgeting with the hem of my shirt.
“In the ground. I can’t risk any vampires seeing me here. If it is all right with you, may I use your backyard?”
“You’re going to ground?” He nodded his head while I worried my lip. “I have a basement here. We can make sure it’s light tight and you can stay here. It will be much safer.”
“Sookie, for many centuries I went to ground every night. I will be safe,” he said as he looked down at me.
“I’m sure you will be, but… Do you not want to stay here?”
“That’s not it,” he said while taking my hand in his. “Will you be comfortable with me staying here?” He asked me.
“Of course, why wouldn’t I be?”
Eric just shrugged. “I don’t want you uncomfortable, and I want you to know I wasn’t planning on staying here. I only came to find you and hoped that you would talk to me. I never expected any of this.”
“Well, this is definitely not how I saw my night playing out either, but I’m happy to see you. Come on, let me show you to the basement. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s better than being in the ground.”
I stopped off at the hallway closet to gather up some blankets and a pillow. Eric chuckled at me but said nothing. I knew he didn’t need any of it, but I wanted to think of Eric as being comfortable while he slept for the day. We walked silently to the basement door and down the stairs. I looked around to find the best spot to make Eric’s bed. I picked the right hand corner of the basement and set it up.
“Make yourself at home. I know you have a while until dawn. I have cable in the living room or you can do whatever,” I shrugged. “I’m sorry I don’t have any TruBlood. Do you need me to get some for you tomorrow?”
“I’ll be fine Sookie. Thank you. You didn’t have to do any of this. I don’t need you to get any TruBlood. I should be fine until I get back to Louisiana.” I was instantly jealous thinking about who he would be feeding from when he got back. I noticed a raised eyebrow, but he didn’t say anything about my jealousy.
“You’re welcome. We’re not done talking though, buddy. If you want to be in a real relationship with me, then there’s plenty to talk about and figure out.”
“I agree. Good night, Sookie,” Eric said and he leaned down to kiss me on the forehead.
“Good night, Eric.”
I slowly walked back up the stairs, and then into my bedroom. While getting ready for bed I thought about all Eric had told me tonight and we still weren’t done. What could possibly be wrong with his hand?
It didn’t take me long to fall asleep. One thing about being pregnant was I never had a hard time going to sleep. Unfortunately, I had to pee all the time so I woke up around 5:00 am with an intense need to use the restroom. When I opened up my eyes, I swore I saw Eric standing in my doorway, but after I wiped my eyes and looked back, no one was there.
Surely, Eric wasn’t standing there, was he? Why would he do that?
I used the restroom and got back into bed. If tomorrow night was anything like tonight, it should be very interesting, but wasn’t that always the way with vampires?
I am making what I think the bond should entail, if a vampire turns their bonded. Now that we know CH never intended for Sookie and Eric to be together, of course she would say vampires never stay together for very long.
I’m dismissing any facts that we’ve learned in the last few books. So from here on out this my Sookie and Eric, in my world.
In this story, Appius Livius Ocella is dead so we have nothing to worry about with him.